Moscow, October 29, Interfax - Pope Francis has a balanced position on the events involving the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations, said.
"We have never heard any support for Constantinople's rapacious actions from the pope or his representatives. We have never heard any support for the Ukrainian authorities, which intend to discriminate against the Russian-speaking population. And we generally see a very balanced position from Pope Francis personally, the Vatican as a state, and the Roman Catholic Church on different levels," the metropolitan said on the program Church and World on Rossiya 24.
He said he and Pope Francis discussed situation in Ukraine at their recent meeting. "I expressed to the pope the point of view of the Russian Orthodox Church on the events that are taking place,' the metropolitan said.
The pope is not being convinced to take the side of the Russian church in the conflict with the Constantinople Patriarchate over Ukraine, he said. "Of course, we don't assume that the pope can be an arbiter in this dispute, that's totally impossible. And it would be wrong to involve him in this issue or expect any actions from him, or to express solidarity with this or that party. The Orthodox Church lives according to its own laws and rules, and we will resolve this problem independently, without the pope's participation," he said.
The metropolitan declined to provide details about his talks with the pope, saying they were confidential.
In September, Patriarch Bartholomew sent two exarchs to Kiev to prepare for the creation of an autocephalous church independent of the Moscow Patriarchate. On October 11, the Synod in Istanbul invalidated its decree of 1686 on the transfer of the Kiev Metropolinate to Moscow, declared the creation of a metochion in Kiev, and rehabilitated the leaders of the self-proclaimed Orthodox Churches in Ukraine. In response, the Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate declared the full severance of relations with the Church of Constantinople.