Kiev, July 28, Interfax – The self-proclaimed “Kiev Patriarchate” has rejected a call by the Moscow Patriarchate to repent and return to the Russian Orthodox Church.
“By considering the Kiev Patriarchate to be a schism, the leaders of the Russian Church are manipulating the minds of believers by misleading them and the entire public. There is no church schism in Ukraine, but only the division of jurisdiction (subordination),” the “Kiev Patriarchate” Synod said in statement on Tuesday.
The only possible and acceptable way of overcoming the church division in Ukraine is “by forgetting the current disputes and recognizing the independence of the local Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” the authors said.
The current leaders of the Moscow Patriarchate are trying to involve the Ukrainian authorities in destroying the “Kiev Patriarchate”, the statement said.
“It is clear from the speeches and statements made by senior members of the Moscow Patriarchate during the current visit by the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church to Ukraine that they do not want a constructive dialog to overcome the division within the Ukrainian Church, but they want to start systemic demolition of the Kiev Patriarchate under the guise of ‘changes in political circumstances’ and are trying to involve the Ukrainian authorities in this,” the document said.
The statement calls on the believers, clergy and episcopate to unite around the “Kiev Patriarchate” in the face of “new manifestations of aggression on the part of the Moscow Patriarchate against the Ukrainian Church.”
Meanwhile, the Moscow Patriarchate said that an increasingly large number of members of schismatic communities in Ukraine are realizing the need to return to the canonical Church.
“Schism is no longer stylish. It was fashionable in 1990s to promote separatism and disintegration; there was resentment in the air. Now people are tired of that, they come to realize that they have to live in this country together with their children and grandchildren,” head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk said Monday in an interview to Inter, a Ukrainian TV channel.
Increasingly more people in Ukraine are beginning to think, “Do we really need to live in the atmosphere of animosity and accusations all the time or will it still be better in the atmosphere of peace and benevolence?” he said.
Today schismatics in many Ukrainian regions express their desire to return to the canonical Church, and this process “constantly continues, although not on a massive scale yet,” the metropolitan said.
“People are pressed by this feeling of being unable to participate in the life of universal Orthodoxy. In schism, awareness of one’s own inadequacy is very strong,” the Moscow Patriarchate official said.