U.S.A. challenges Russian stance in religious rights debate


Krasnaya Vesna, 12 December 2020


The Russian Orthodox Church (RPTs) is trying to split world Orthodoxy, the ambassador of the U.S.A. to Greece, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, declared on 9 December, the official website of the American embassy in Greece reports.


As reported, during a conference on religious diplomacy, which was held in an on-line format, Geoffrey Pyatt stated that "Greece and the United States work as strategic partners in order to respond to challenges that Russia casts down to our democratic values and, in particular, to the freedom of religious expression here in Europe."


He emphasized that the American Commission on International Religious Freedom called Russia a "country that evokes special concern for systematic, continuing, and blatant violation of freedom of religious confession." "Russia not only casts challenges to the authority of the ecumenical patriarch, but it also continues its attempts to destroy the unity of the Orthodox church, inflaming instability, and undermining the sovereignty of independent nations with an Orthodox majority," Pyatt said.


The ambassador declared that a group of local churches that have recognized the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine now includes the Church of Greece, Church of Alexandria and all Africa, and the Church of Cyprus, and this list "will continue to grow."


He also was disturbed by the fact that "literally in this month, Metropolitan Ilarion falsely stated, in the name of the Russian church, that the ecumenical patriarch initiated a schism."


We recall that in early 2019, due to the unification of two uncanonical Ukrainian schismatic religious structures, that were not recognized by a single local church—the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (UPTsKP) and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAPTs)—a new religious structure, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PTsU), was created in Ukraine.


Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew granted to the PTsU autocephaly and the status of a local metropolitanate of the patriarchate of Constantinople, encroaching on the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church (RPTs), which evoked a sharp reaction from the RPTs. As a result, the RPTs cut off any relations with the Constantinople patriarchate.


At the present time, the PTsU has been recognized by, in addition to the patriarchate of Constantinople, the Greek church and the Alexandrine patriarchate. The primate of the Cypriot church recognized the PTsU unilaterally, doing this contrary to the position of his own Holy Synod.


The only canonical Orthodox church in Ukraine that is recognized by all churches is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. (tr. by PDS, posted 12 December 2020)

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