Moscow, October 30, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia says the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople's decisions on Ukraine are part of a global order to destroy the "island of freedom," as he described the Russian Orthodox Church.
"The stakes are very high, and the order to destroy the unity of our Church is an order that has a global dimension. This is not just a fight for jurisdiction, this is a fight to destroy the only powerful Orthodox force in the world. When we're talking about 150 million [Orthodox believers], this is truly so," Patriarch Kirill said at a meeting with participants in the Faith and Word festival in Moscow on Tuesday.
"Certainly, someone had to deal a blow to this island of freedom. Why do I call Orthodoxy an island of freedom? Because we are free from global brainwashing and the dominance of someone else's thoughts over us," he said.
"The tragedy of Ukraine goes beyond the boundaries of politics and has a mystical dimension," the patriarch said.
He also discussed details of the preparations for his closed meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul on August 31, which he said was the last attempt to settle the conflict with Constantinople over Ukraine diplomatically.
Patriarch Kirill said he proposed to Constantinople that Bartholomew and he meet on neutral territory, such as the Swiss town of Chambesy, but the latter insisted on meeting at his seat in Istanbul. The patriarch said some in Moscow tried to talk him out of the visit as being too humiliating.
"I realized that this was [Constantinople's] desire to cut us down to size. But this is [only] humiliating to those who pay attention to such trifles. I am ready to walk anywhere, if only I can prevent the developments that we are having today," he said.
Patriarch Bartholomew's position on Ukraine was "quite harsh and radical" at this meeting, he said.
On October 11, the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate abrogated the ordinance of 1686 that put the Kiev Metropolitanate under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, announced the opening of a mission in Kiev, and rehabilitated the leaders of the unrecognized Ukrainian Orthodox churches. In response, the Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate fully severed its relations with the Constantinople Patriarchate.