MOSCOW, January 31. /TASS/. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia hopes that he will be able to visit Ukraine in the future to meet with the believers of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, he said in an interview timed to the tenth anniversary of his enthronement.
"I hope that God would bring about my visit to Ukraine. Political situation and conjuncture are fleeting occurrences. Today we have these political forces, then others… I still retain hope that I would be able to pray in the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, to meet with my believers, with the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Church, which, at the present time, heroically defends canonical Orthodoxy," he said.
The Russian patriarch called on the canonical church’s congregation to "stick to their faith and to resist temptations", stressing that "spiritual, cultural and civilizational unity of Russians and Ukrainians is stronger that temporary political schemes and models that work towards destroying this unity."
According to the patriarch, the best word to describe the current situation in the global Orthodox world due to Constantinople’s actions in Ukraine is "a crisis".
"If there is a schism, there is anger. We are witnessing this: seizure of churches, beatings of priests… Can the word of God and His righteousness spread with the aid of violence, deceit, reliance on political forces? Can God’s will spread with the aid of some political party? Never," he said.
Church crisis in Ukraine
Since the February 2014 coup, Kiev has sought to create an independent church in Ukraine that would sever ties with the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In April 2018, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko wrote a personal letter to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople asking for autocephaly for the Ukrainian church.
On December 15, 2018, Kiev hosted the so-called ‘unification’ council held under the supervision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and brokered by the Ukrainian authorities. The canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church refused to take part in the event, stressing that both the ‘unification council’ and Poroshenko’s newly founded ecclesiastical establishment were illegitimate. Nevertheless, after the council, the Ukrainian president announced the establishment of a new church in the country - the so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine.