Moscow, September 14, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has accused the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople of repeatedly encouraging schisms in the Russian Orthodox Church and vowed to firmly follow the legacy of Holy Patriarch Tikhon in this respect.
"What is happening now regarding the posting of the so-called exarchs [in Ukraine] is a mirror-like reflection of what the Patriarch of Constantinople undertook in the 1920s, when our church led by Holy Patriarch Tikhon was in a desperate situation," Patriarch Kirill said in opening an extraordinary meeting of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church dealing with the situation surrounding the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on Friday.
At that time, Patriarch Tikhon "experienced immense pressure on the part of the authorities," and the schismatic organization inspired by the authorities, the so-called Renovationist Church, was gaining strength, when Patriarch Gregory VII of Constantinople decided to send a commission to Moscow allegedly at a request by some Orthodox believers, Patriarch Kirill said.
"Naturally, the Russian Orthodox Church didn't send any requests to Patriarch Gregory VII, and perhaps it's the schismatic Renovationists who did so," Patriarch Kirill said.
"And Patriarch Tikhon wrote a very clear and canonically substantiated letter to protest the uncanonical sending of some commission by another local Church to a canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church, which he led," he said.
The patriarch reminded the Synod members about "the hardest conditions" in which Patriarch Tikhon had to act, but, "despite the fact that he was virtually deprived of freedom, he determined his position courageously and clearly."
"I think that, as the events happening in Ukraine now are a mirror-like reflection of what happened in the early 20th century, we should follow the line that Holy Patriarch Tikhon determined very courageously in the hardest years for our Church and which is the only right and canonically substantiated line," he said.