–– Sito di FORMAZIONE PERMANENTE MISSIONARIA –– Uno sguardo missionario sulla Vita, il Mondo e la Chiesa A missionary look on the life of the world and the church –– VIDA y MISIÓN – VIE et MISSION – VIDA e MISSÃO ––
Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk (Kremlin photo)
Ukraine, October 17, 2018
“We cannot continue to celebrate the Office together and our priests can no longer participate in liturgies with the hierarchs of the Constantinople Patriarchate,” announced Metropolitan Hilarion, who is responsible for external relations for the Moscow Patriarchate, at the end of a Synod of the Russian Orthodox Synod at Minsk.
“We cannot maintain contact with a church that is now in a situation of schism,” he said. The break occurred after the Constantinople Patriarchate, the highest moral authority for the Orthodox world, recognized the independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Moscow regards the Ukraine as falling under its jurisdiction since Kiev is the birthplace of Russian Orthodoxy.
Prince Vladimir was baptized in Kiev 988 prior to beginning the evangelization of the Rus people. This is the reason that, since the break up of the Soviet Union and the independence of the Ukraine in 1991, Russia has done everything possible to keep the 30 million Orthodox Ukrainians within its orbit.
However, the annexation of the Crimea at the beginning of 2014 exacerbated political and territorial tensions between the two countries. Since there are often close links between religion and politics in the Orthodox world, it is not surprising to note that this conflict has had repercussions in the religious arena.
Thus, the Ukrainian Church’s gaining independence with backing from Parliament and Petro Porochenko, the pro-Western president of the Ukraine, can be viewed as a way of liberating itself from Moscow’s influence.
Like Vladimir Putin to whom he is close, Russian Patriarch Kirill deeply mistrusts the West.
However, is all this worth the cost of a schism? The consciences of believers cannot help but feel saddened by this new rupture between two churches that share the same faith.