Ukrainian press sets Moscow church against America


Religiina Pravda, 13 September 2021


The RPTs [Russian Orthodox Church] continues to spread propaganda to the effect that "Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew meddled in Ukraine on orders of the U.S.A."


This was declared on air on the Rossiia-24 television channel by the head of the Department for External Church Relations of the RPTs, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Ilarion, Glavkom reports.


He also declared that the Russian Orthodox Church is a geopolitical competitor for the U.S.A.


He said, the RPTs "is called to unite people in various countries" and "is—whether we wish it or not—a geopolitical competitor for the U.S.A."


"It is a thorn in the side of those politicians who follow the principle of divide and conquer." Therefore there exists in the U.S.A. the opinion that in order to weaken the Russian Orthodox Church it is necessary to dismember it," the priest said.


Ilarion explained that Ukraine faced such a phenomenon when "on orders of the U.S.A. Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew meddled" in the country.


"He promised to heal the schism, but instead of healing of the schism there occurred a deepening of schism. He promised to unite Orthodox believers, but instead of unification there occurred a further disunity and polarization," the representative of the RPTs said. (tr. by PDS, posted 13 September 2021)


RIA Novosti, 11 September 2021


Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew, having arrived in Ukraine, carried out the orders of the U.S.A. for deepening the church schism in the country, declared the chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow patriarchate, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Ilarion.


"There exists in the U.S.A. the opinion that in order to weaken the Russian Orthodox Church it is necessary to dismember it. This order was actually carried out by Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew when he meddled in Ukraine. He carried out this order in full: today Ukrainian society is divided not only on the basis of language and not only on the basis of political orientation but also on the basis of religious identity," he said on air on Rossiia-24.


The metropolitan emphasized that Patriarch Bartholomew promised to unite Orthodox believers of Ukraine, but instead of unification, after his visit their occurred a further division and polarization. "Employing the principle of 'divide and conquer,' it is impossible to achieve either unification or consolidation. Throughout the post-soviet space the Russian Orthodox Church plays a consolidating role and even in those situations where conflicts have arisen between states, the church continues to unite people. This is why it is a thorn in the side of those politicians who employ the principle of  'divide and conquer,'" the bishop concluded.


Patriarch Bartholomew visited Ukraine on 20-24 August, participating in the celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of the independence of the country. During the visit he conducted a liturgy with schismatics from the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PTsU) in the cathedral of Holy Wisdom in Kiev and he met with the president of the country, Vladimir Zelensky; the prime minister, Denis Shmygal; and the speaker of parliament, Dmitry Razumkov.


Parishioners of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UPTsMP) conducted a prayer vigil at the Verkhovna Rada, where the meeting of the patriarch with Razumkov was scheduled. As a correspondent for RIA Novosti related, many participants in the event held signs with slogans: "Bartholomew blesses the robbers," "The blood of Orthodox is on your hands," "Give us back 500 churches," "We are millions and we have one primate—His Beatitude Onufry (the primate of the UPTs—ed.)," and others.


In 2018, on the initiative of the then president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, and Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew, a unification council was held in Kiev at which two schismatic organizations created one structure, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PTsU), which received from Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew a tomos concerning autocephaly (independence). Following the creation of the PTsU, discrimination against the UPTs intensified on the part of the state and nationalistic Ukrainian groupings. (tr. by PDS, posted 13 September 2021)


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