17 February 2022, 14:34
Russian Church calls the attempt to challenge Patriarch Kirill’s title political
Moscow, February 17, Interfax – The Russian Orthodox Church has refuted accusations in its address made by Metropolitan Gregory of Peristeri who suggested to deprive it of autocephaly and doubted the validity of the Moscow Patriarch title.
In the official statement posted at the website of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations, the Russian Сhurch officials reminded the Greek metropolitan about the Act of the Great Council 1593, which ordains the Patriarch of Moscow to occupy a place after the Patriarch of Jerusalem and be called a brother of the Orthodox patriarchs and his title is to be signed 'The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Northern Lands.'
"The text of this conciliar act especially emphasizes the equal status of the Patriarch of Moscow in relation to the other Primates of the ancient Churches. As the text makes clear, the Council also accords the Patriarch of Moscow fifth place in the diptychs after the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Metropolitan Gregory’s assertion that the fifth place of the Russian Church in the diptychs is an "error which needs to be rectified" and his proposal that the Church of Cyprus should occupy fifth place directly contradicts ecclesiastical custom and the universally recognized decision of the Orthodox Church, and can only be explained as an acute need to find political allies," Russian Church officials stressed.
The reason for Metropolitan Gregory’s reproaches against the Russian Church has become the establishment of its Patriarchal Exarchate in Africa that accepted over 150 priests, who don't agree with the creation of non-canonical "Orthodox Church of Ukraine" (OCU).
The Russian Church said it was not trying to split the Patriarchate of Alexandria, and that the creation of the exarchate in Africa was not an encroachment on the canonical territory of the ancient Church of Alexandria, its sole goal being to give canonical protection to the Orthodox clergy in Africa who "do not wish to participate in the lawless legitimization of the schism in Ukraine."
"The Russian Orthodox Church has always treated Eastern Patriarchates venerably, for centuries it has shown them support and today it tirelessly struggles for these Patriarchates to be preserved on their historical territory in conditions of ever-growing persecution of Christians in the Middle East," the statement said.
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