Russian church leader claims Constantinople hoodwinked Moscow


RISU, 14 December 2020


The head of the Department for External Church Relations (OVTsS) of the Moscow patriarchate, Metropolitan Ilarion, admitted the fault of the Moscow patriarchate in the fact that the Constantinople patriarchate "interfered in Ukrainian church life."


"I think that actually some of the blame lies on us, and I must admit that we made one very big mistake," the metropolitan said in an interview, which was published 14 December by the Greek newspaper "Katimerini," Credo.Press reports.


The permanent member of the Synod of the RPTsMP explained that the topic of autocephaly was discusses throughout the whole process of preparation of the Pan-Orthodox Council, which was held on Crete in 2016, but "on this topic we did not manage to find complete agreement."


"We actually agreed that autocephaly in the future would not be granted by the unilateral decision of the ecumenical patriarch and that granting autocephaly would be possible only with the consent of all local churches," Interfax quoted the metropolitan. "All that remained was to agree as to in which form the signatures would stand under a tomos concerning autocephaly. On this topic we did not manage to achieve agreement. And what happened then? Patriarch Bartholomew sent letters to local Orthodox churches with the suggestion to remove the topic of autocephaly from the agenda and to hold the Pan-Orthodox Council. We agreed to this suggestion, and that was our big mistake."


Metropolitan Ilarion noted that the Moscow patriarchate then (at the precouncil conference in Chambesy) "trusted" Patriarch Bartholomew, who said for all to hear that he recognized Metropolitan Onufry as the only canonical head of Orthodoxy in Ukraine.


"Those were his words, and we trusted those words. We thought: if that's what the ecumenical patriarch says, then let's conduct the council as he promised us, and after that we will continue the discussion of the topic of autocephaly. We should not have trusted him; he deceived us. And that was our big mistake," the representative of the RPTsMP acknowledged. (tr. by PDS, posted 14 December 2020)

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