R.P.Ts. DOES NOT RULE OUT POSSIBILITY OF CHURCH SCHISM IN BELORUSSIA ON UKRAINIAN SCENARIO
RIA Novosti, 10 July 2021
The chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow patriarchate, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Ilarion, supposes that church schism could be instigated in Belorussia on the analogy with the Ukrainian schism, although the likelihood of such a scenario is still not great.
“The likelihood that events in Belorussia would develop according to the Ukrainian scenario is still, thank God, not great. There is no support within the church public, nor in the hierarchy or clergy, for the idea of autocephaly. But, of course, those forces that are interested in shaking up the political situation, after seeing what happened in Ukraine and understanding that the church factor in this may play a not unimportant role, will be interested in promoting the idea of Belorussian autocephaly. . . . But we cannot rule out that the forces that are intent on dismembering the Russian Orthodox Church (RPTs), which have already clearly shown themselves in Ukraine, will want to display themselves in Belorussia also,” he declared on Saturday on a broadcast of “Church and World” on the Rossia24 television channel.
Earlier, Belorussian President Alexander Lukashenko, during a meeting with the clergy in the Zhirovichi monastery, spoke about the attempts of opponents of the Belorussian state to declare the autocephaly of the Belorussian Orthodox Church (BPTs). He also reported that he had directed the speaker of the upper chamber of parliament of Belorussia, Natalia Kochanova, to maintain contact among the state, leadership of the country, and the patriarchal exarch of all Belarus, Metropolitan of Minsk and Zaslav Veniamin for keeping track of this topic.
“Already there are certain schismatic structures. They are still completely invisible. There are small groups of people who call themselves ‘the autonomous church.’ In the main, these people are outside the borders of Belorussia—in the U.S.A. and other countries,” the metropolitan added.
In 2018, on the initiative of the then president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, and the patriarchate of Constantinople there was an “autocephalous unification council” in Kiev, at which two schismatic organizations created one schismatic structure, the so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PTsU), which received from Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew a tomos concerning “autocephaly” (independence). The only canonical Orthodox church in Ukraine remains the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UPTs), which has suffered increasing discrimination after the creation of the PTsU. (tr. by PDS, posted 11 July 2021)
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