2018-06-28 16:50:00

Legitimization of Ukrainian schism could cause bloodshed - Moscow Patriarchate

Athens, June 28, Interfax - The legitimization of the schism in Ukraine could lead to bloodshed, according to the Russian Orthodox Church.

"Filaret Denysenko [leader of the self-proclaimed Kiev Patriarchate] has deceived people using various methods for 25 years. He is now trying to convince people that the Constantinople Patriarchate will grant autocephaly to his structure in the near future. [...] He is also saying that the Kiev Lavra of the Caves and the Pochayev Lavra will need to join this new church structure as soon as it is created," Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, said in an interview with the Greek ecclesiastical news agency Romfea.

The realization of these plans may have tragic consequences, as believers will just not give away their monasteries, he said.

"Some 50 churches of the canonical Ukrainian Church have now been illegally taken over by schismatics. Orthodox Christians are being subjected to violence. Imagine what will happen if schismatics start taking over monasteries. Thousands of people will come together to defend them, blood will be shed," the metropolitan said, adding that "this should be prevented by all means."

He said he believes it is significant that Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew said at a recent meeting in Istanbul that to him, any schism is a schism, and that he sees Denisenko as the initiator of this schism.

Metropolitan Hilarion also said Patriarch Bartholomew has said that the people who are spreading rumors that a tomos on autocephaly has already been written are enemies of the Constantinople Patriarchate.