Moscow, July 17, Interfax - The Constantinople Patriarchate's delegation that is going to visit Kiev on the Feast of Russia's Baptism on July 28, can be disappointed by the things they see there, the Russian Orthodox Church official warns.
"It is announced that guests from the Constantinople Patriarchate will come to Kiev, but there can be inconvenient situation of comparing the number at the two processions with cross", deputy head of the Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Nikolay Balashov said at a Wednesday press conference in Moscow.
He explained that he meant a festival procession with cross of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church held on the eve of the feast on July 27, and a march from St. Vladimir Cathedral to the St. Vladimir Hill of "the so-called Orthodox church of Ukraine" set up last year and supported by Constantinople and Ukrainian authorities. Last year the canonical Orthodox Church gathered 250,000 believers at its processions with cross, while the march of the non-canonical church attracted only several thousands of people.
"It is not clear how it will turn out to be this year. The thing is that St. Vladimir Cathedral is administered by so-called honorable patriarch Filaret, who, as we know, is not satisfied with "this honorable role" and restored "the Kiev Patriarchate," Father Nikolay said. "It is difficult to say with whom Constantinople officials will be in this situation and where a liturgy of the newly-established church will take place."
He is also perplexed with intentions of the Constantinople Patriarchate to bring a particle of St. Andrew's relics to Kiev celebrations.
"Perhaps, Constantinople does not know: there is a particle of St. Andrew's relics in the Kiev Lavra of the Caves and also in Odessa in our canonical Ukrainian Church," the priest said supposing that bringing of the relics was organized "to somehow settle the problem of evident dominance in number of the canonical Church believers over believers of the artificially set up from schismatics."