24 July 2008, 15:21
Patriarch Bartholomew met with Ukrainian schismatic leaders on the eve of his Ukrainian visit
Moscow, July 24, Interfax - Patriarch Bartholomew has recently met with leaders of two schismatic Ukrainian structures - Filaret Denisenko ("The Kiev Patriarchate") and Mefody Kudryakov (the so-called Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church).
"According to information that wasn't widely spread, Bartholomew I met with these people in mid-June in his residence in Istanbul," head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Ukrainian Orthodox Church Archimandrite Kirill (Hovorun) said.
The self-proclaimed Kiev Patriarchate convened its "Bishops Council" few days after it to declare that "canonical" status of this schismatic structure had been regulated and Constantinople would help settle its problems, the interviewee of the agency reminded.
The Ukrainian Church representative also cited another fact that is even more remarkable: in the run-up to the 1020th anniversary of Russia's Baptism, Bartholomew I distributed invitations among the heads of all local Orthodox Churches to participate in Kiev celebrations and even arranged for accreditation of the press to spotlight Ukrainian events.
Representatives of the Russian Church and Orthodox community have more than once urged Bartholomew I to give up interfering in church affairs of Ukraine as it is a canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Deputy Chairman of the Ukrainian Union of Orthodox citizens Oleg Sheludchenko, commenting on Constantinople interference in the matters of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, reminded that it was the Constantinople Patriarchate in 1920 that "recognized renovation schism inspired by Bolsheviks, but the Russian Orthodox Church headed by Saint Patriarch Tikhon though at worst position then, was persistent and managed to overcome it."
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