10 January 2006, 15:02
Alexy II warns Patriarch of Constantinople against interference into Ukrainian church affairs
Moscow, January 10, Interfax - Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia called upon the head of the Church of Constantinople Bartholomew I not to interfere into church affairs in Ukraine.
The repetition of ‘Estonian mistakes of the past’ in Ukraine ‘is fraught with catastrophic consequences not only for Ukraine, but for the entire Orthodox world’, the patriarch said in his interview to the Greek newspaper Vima.
Answering the question of what he would say to Bartholomew I whom Ukrainian politicians ask to promote autonomous or autocephalous status (independence - IF) of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the Primate called upon his brother to ‘be particularly responsible and discrete in all that concerns Ukraine.’
He reminded of ‘a sad Estonian experience’, as ‘hasty and ill-considered steps were taken to satisfy ambitions of certain politicians and also the wish of a small group of believers’, thus frustrating church peace in the country for a long time: a part of the Estonian Orthodox Church parishes was taken under jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1996 that has brought about a church conflict as yet unsettled.
Alexy II noted that preparations for ‘the Holy and great council of the Orthodox church’ were ‘suspended’ because of the Estonian church problem. It is a deplorable fact as Orthodox theologians spent much time and effort to arrange the event.
‘The Ukrainian Orthodox church has a right to choose its historical way independently’, the patriarch underscored and added that ‘politicians cannot interfere in its internal life’.
‘The majority of its faithful do not want to break off spiritual bonds with the Russian Orthodox church’, and their opinion should be taken into account, Alexy II said.
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