MOSCOW, October 30. /TASS/. The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, which is meddling with the religious situation in Ukraine and promising an autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church, is blatantly violating church canons that is fraught with a split within the world’s Orthodox Church, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill said on Tuesday.
"The split has reached Ukraine. The Constantinople Patriarchate, which is blatantly violating all the canons regulating such relations between the churches, has trespassed into our soil, our church and is declaring its priority right to do that having no excuses in the holy canons. It is a novelty of the recent decades that ascribes to Constantinople the authority it has never had and could never have," Patriarch Kirill told the Faith and Word festival of the Orthodox media.
According to the Patriarch, the Constantinople Patriarchate’s influence in the past stemmed from the might of the Byzantine Empire, which was in the orbit of Greco-Roman cultural influences. "But even then, canons were strictly observed and not a single patriarch of Constantinople had ever meddled with the jurisdiction of other patriarchs," he said.
"And when they say now that Constantinople has a right to receive appeals from other churches citing the canons of the Fourth Ecumenical Council as a ground, it is nothing but a lie," Patriarch Kirill stressed. "If we keep silent, a precedent will be created. The schism between Rome and Constantinople began from such precedents."
Ukraine’s church crisis
On October 11, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople decided to proceed with granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church. It revoked the 1686 decision on transferring the Kiev Metropolitanate under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate and reinstated the heads of two non-canonical churches in Ukraine, Filaret of the Kiev Patriarchate and Makariy of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church, to their hierarchical and priestly ranks. In addition, it announced plans to bring back the Kiev Metropolitanate under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
On October 15, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church said in response to that move that full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople was no longer possible.