Athens, June 29, Interfax - Head of the Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion disproved the opinion that the transfer of the Metropolitanate of Kiev to the Moscow Patriarchate had a temporary nature.
As was reported, the delegation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has visited Istanbul where the residence of the Patriarch of Constantinople is located. The conversation in which the Patriarchate of Constantinople was represented by Patriarch Bartholomew, Metropolitan John of Pergamon, Metropolitan Emmanuel of Gaul and Metropolitan Bartholomew of Smyrna, lasted six hours.
“Metropolitan John of Pergamon, in particular, addressed the events traced back 300 years, when the Metropolitanate of Kiev was incorporated in the Moscow Patriarchate, and began developing a theory whereby this transfer was of a temporary nature, and the Metropolitanate of Kiev, according to the decision of then Patriarch of Constantinople, was to be installed in Moscow while being subordinate to the Patriarch of Constantinople,” the metropolitan said in his interview with Romfea church news agency.
He stressed that archive resources did not confirm this theory of the Constantinople Patriarchate official.
“Recently, we have worked much in the archives and found all the available documents about these events – 900 pages in both Greek and Russian. They quite clearly show that the Metropolitanate of Kiev was included in the Moscow Patriarchate by the decision of the Patriarch of Constantinople, and the temporary nature of this decision is not stipulated anywhere with no date specified,” Metropolitan Hilarion said.
He specified that none of these documents states that the Metropolitanate of Kiev is handed over to the Moscow Patriarchate for ten years or twenty years or one hundred years and never in the past three and a half centuries has the Patriarch of Constantinople challenged the membership of the Metropolitanate of Kiev in the Moscow Patriarchate.
Metropolitan Hilarion also urged to remember that the Metropolitanate of Kiev at the moment when it joined the Moscow Patriarchate was much smaller territorially than the present Ukraine: there was no Odessa or Donetsk or Crimea in it. “Accordingly, the present Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is a completely different territory from the one that was incorporated at that time,” he said.
According to Metropolitan Hilarion, this Ukrainian Orthodox Church is the one canonical Local Church of Ukraine. “There is no need for creating a new ‘local church of Ukraine’ when there already is the Local Church in Ukraine. This Church has over 12 thousand parishes, over 200 monasteries, and it units millions of the faithful throughout the territory of Ukraine. And it has not asked for autocephaly”, the metropolitan said.