Moscow, July 6, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church has described the claim by Patriarch Bartholomew who said earlier this month that "never has the Church of Constantinople passed Ukrainian land to Moscow" as "strange"
"This claim looks rather strange, given that after the handover of the Kiev Metropolitanate to the Moscow Patriarchate in the 17th century the Church of Constantinople has never laid claim to Ukrainian dioceses," priest Pavel Yermilov, a religious historian and professor of theology at Saint Tikhon's Orthodox University, told Interfax.
He recalled that there is the fundamental historical document which confirms the transfer of Kiev's archdiocese to the Russian Church, the 1686 document from Patriarch Dionysius of Constantinople.
He then quoted from the document: the Church of Constantinople "hereby resolves in writing for the Holy Metropolitanate of Kiev to be subordinate to the Holy Patriarchal See of the great city of Moscow, i.e. for the Metropolitan of Kiev to be ordained in it by His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow."
"Of course, one might try to put forward various interpretations of the 1686 document but I don't think anyone would take them seriously, for the point of this document is quite clear and, like I said, has never been disputed," the historian said.