2017-12-05 11:29:00

Patriarch Kirill hopes church division in Ukraine can be overcome

Moscow, December 5, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said he hopes that division in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will be overcome.

"I hope that all this division can be overcome at some point with God's mercy. And I would be happy to see an indication that Ukraine's bishops want to overcome this division. They have love in their hearts for those who have separated and, of course, they suffer from this division along with everyone," Patriarch Kirill said during a meeting with Patriarch Daniel of Romania in Moscow.

Patriarch Kirill thanked all local Orthodox churches and the Romanian patriarch personally for supporting the canonical Church in Ukraine.

The Bishops' Council held in Moscow last week considered an address by Filaret Denisenko, leader of the "Kiev Patriarchate," which contained "a request for the restoration of prayer communication with Christians who are part of the Ukrainian church schism." The letter ended with the words "I ask forgiveness for everything I have done, for having sinned in words, deeds and all my feelings, and also sincerely forgive everyone from my heart."

The Bishops' Council saw that address "as a step towards overcoming the division and restoration of church communication by those who once fell away from the unity of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church." The Bishops' Council created a special commission for negotiations with representatives of the Ukrainian schism.

However, Yevstraty Zorya, spokesman for the "Kiev Patriarchate", later said Filaret does not believe he is in breach of the canons with respect to the accusations on which the Russian Church anathematized him in 1997 and said he has no intention of "repenting before the Russian Orthodox Church."

Filaret said on Sunday he was ready to meet with Patriarch Kirill, adding that he has not received any offers of a meeting.