Moscow, October 31, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate has urged compatriots living abroad to be understanding toward the decision of its Synod to sever relations with Constantinople and to draw together.
"We expect our compatriots living abroad to understand the existing situation, unite, and increase their support for our foreign communities and parishes of our Church, which may be necessary in some cases," Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, said at the World Congress of Russian Compatriots Living Abroad on Wednesday.
He reminded believers that taking a principled stand on canonical issues does not mean abandoning good human relations with Orthodox Christians from other countries. "Enemies of Orthodox Christianity all over the world want to sow discord between us, seeking to isolate our church, but we must overcome these obstacles with patience and love," the metropolitan said.
On October 11, the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate abrogated its 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.
According to Metropolitan Hilarion, Constantinople "not only violated the principles of brotherly love between local Churches, but also those of basic human trust, without which even secular diplomatic relations are impossible."
This is an attempt to turn the Russian Church into a hostage to the global confrontation between Russia and the West, he said.
"The objective of the illegal actions of the patriarch of Constantinople is to destroy the unity of the Russian Church. Their objective is to carry out an external political order. The U.S. Department of State published two statements in support of the resolution of the issue of so-called 'Ukrainian autocephaly' by Patriarch Bartholomew in the past few days alone," Metropolitan Hilarion said.
The Ukrainian authorities also state directly that the structure they are creating in Ukraine should serve political goals primarily that of isolating Ukraine's Orthodox believers from Russia and the Russian Church, he said. "They are virtually trying to turn the Russian Orthodox Church into a hostage to the current global confrontation between Russia and the West," he said.