KARLOVY VARY, January 28. /TASS/. The hierarchs of the Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church are standing against the schism in Ukraine and express their support for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, Archbishop Christopher of Prague, Orthodox Metropolitan of the Czech lands and Slovakia, told a TASS correspondent on Monday.
"The hierarchs of the Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church support the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church [of the Moscow Patriarchate]," he stressed. "We pray for the unity of Orthodox Christians. I firmly believe that Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, as well as Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, who is trying his best to regulate the situation, will soon begin to resolve the Ukraine issue on the basis of mutual understanding."
Metropolitan Christopher also expressed "deepest regret with regards to the increased tensions between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Constantinople Patriarchate." According to him, this can negatively affect the global Orthodox community. Besides, this does not facilitate peace in Ukraine, he added.
The archbishop also stated that the number of Orthodox churchgoers in the Czech Republic and Slovakia is growing due to an increased number of migrants from the former Soviet republics. "First and foremost, this concerns Ukrainians; to be more specific, the migrants from the Western regions of Ukraine. There are more and more believers of this nature in our churches," he noted.
Metropolitan Christopher pointed out that the number of Ukrainian migrants had risen in the wake of the 2014 crisis. According to him, its citizens, preoccupied with the situation in the country, "are moving [to the Czech Republic and Slovakia] with their whole families, joining the Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church."