Patriarch Kirill ignites debate over clash with Constantinople


by Sergei Bolotov

Ridus, 14 October 2021


The director of the Center for the Study of Problems of religion and society of the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academies of Science, Roman Lunkin, explained the strange words of Patriarch Kirill to the effect that "Constantinople does not have anything to do with the history of Russia." In the expert's opinion, they should be understood not as an historical but a philosophical interpretation of the current schism between the Orthodox churches of Russia and Constantinople .


"This statement by the patriarch must be assessed within the framework of the confrontation with the patriarchate of Constantinople. The patriarch's words in this case are not a historical assessment nor a denial of known historical facts but an attempt to explain and mitigate the schism that has been continuing for three years now. And to show that the consequences of this schism do not play a primary role in the life of the RPTs [Russian Orthodox Church]," Lunkin explained.


The religious studies scholar noted that for everyone who remembers history, if only within the context of the school curriculum, the patriarch's words may seem absurd. However in fact the patriarch did not intend to revise history but rather he made an attempt to calm believers who are worried because of a break with the Greek Orthodox tradition.


"It is already clear that this break has only become deeper and will most likely last for a long time and it will not be resolved within the lifetime of Patriarch Bartholomew, at least. Patriarch Kirill seems to be saying that, in principle, there is nothing terrible in this schism and it will not exert a decisive impact upon the fate of Russian Orthodoxy. It has turned out that this has not caused dramatic damage to either us or the Greeks, although our paths have diverged. This is what the patriarch wants to say," Roman Lunkin concluded.


In his blog, Archdeaon Andrei Kuraev also reacted to the patriarch's sermon on the day of the Protection of the Mother of God. He called Kirill's words "a new salvo in the patriarchal 'war of thrones'" and cited the close historical link between Constantinople and the Russian state.


"In the course of six centuries, the Russian church was a part of the patriarchate of Constantinople. The bishops it appointed kept the Russian princes from resisting the Mongol yoke because the Mongols were allies of Byzantium in the confrontation with the Turks," the clergyman wrote.


"Is it really possible for the city from which political, ideological, architectural, literary, ethical, and other models were taken to be alien for the history of Russia? And later, is it really possible for the city that the Russian empire strove to conquer by throwing itself into wars to be considered not to have anything to do with its history?," Kuraev added.


We recall that the Russian Orthodox Church broke off communion with the patriarchate of Constantinople, accusing Patriarch Bartholomew of legalizing Ukrainian schismatics. Also the Synod of the RPTs resolved to cease commemorating in the Divine Liturgy the primates of the Greek, Alexandrian, and other churches, who recognized the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Ridus has previously described in detail what is wrong with the new church of Ukraine and why the RPTs does not want to recognize Ukrainian autocephaly. (tr. by PDS, posted 17 October 2021)

Russia Religion News Current News Items

Editorial disclaimer: RRN does not intend to certify the accuracy of information presented in articles. RRN simply intends to certify the accuracy of the English translation of the contents of the articles as they appeared in news media of countries of the former USSR.

If material is quoted, please give credit to the publication from which it came. It is not necessary to credit this Web page. If material is transmitted electronically, please include reference to the URL,