13 November 2008, 16:12
Constantinople shouldn't encroach on canonical territory of other local Churches - Moscow Patriarchate
Moscow, November 13, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church believes the Constantinople Patriarchate should abandon its ecumenical ambitions and should become more open to brotherly inter-Orthodox dialogue.
"When a decision had to be made on the Estonian issue, the Constantinople Patriarchate unilaterally and without any consultations established its own parallel structure there. Brothers do not act like that," Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, a deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, said in a television program.
The Constantinople Patriarchate set up the so-called "Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church" in Estonia in 1996, which is not recognized in the Orthodox world, Fr. Vsevolod said.
"It is utterly wrong to make use of political moments for tearing believers off the body of the Church they belong to," he said.
"Therefore, the Russian Church does not act like our brothers from the Constantinople Patriarchate did," he said.
"When we have been told for years to establish our jurisdiction over part of the Georgian Church, we have said openly that the issue of pastoral guidance of believers in South Ossetia and Abkhazia is possible only through direct dialogue between the Russian and Georgian Orthodox Churches," he said.
Fr. Vsevolod also questioned the Constantinople Patriarchate's right to say that "the entire church diaspora, that is, all the Orthodox believers living outside the canonical territory of this or that local Church, have to obey it."