2018-09-11 17:05:00

Patriarch Bartholomew's position on Ukrainian Church motivated by politics rather than religion - Russian Imperial Family head

Moscow, September 11, Interfax - Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople's position regarding the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has been dictated not by ecclesiastical but by political motives, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna (Romanova) of Russia, the head of the Imperial Family of Russia, said to Interfax on Tuesday.

"It's impossible to find another explanation to Patriarch Bartholomew's position," Maria Vladimirovna said.

This position "leads to the inevitable severance of relations between the Constantinople Church and the Russian Orthodox Church," she said. "These steps are truly disastrous for global Orthodoxy," she said.

"Attempts to destroy civilizational unity of the brotherly peoples of Russia and Ukraine and to sow enmity between them are surely a geopolitical project aimed at submitting Ukraine to Russia's geopolitical rivals and weakening our country's international positions," Maria Vladimirovna said.

"This project involves actions toward destroying the Orthodox foundations that were laid back in Kievan Rus and were further developed in the Tsardom of Muscovy and the Russian Empire," she said.

"These activities are pursued by people extremely remote from the Church," she said.

"The Patriarch of Constantinople's mediating efforts may be helpful only if approved of by all parties and are not forcibly imposed from the outside," she said.

"The preparations for autocephaly have been started against the will of the Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox Churches and have been assigned to two metropolitans whose independence is just out of the question," Maria Vladimirovna said.

This policy, "amid the dramatic tension, will engender new confrontation," she said.