Moscow, December 14, Interfax - Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware), the head of the Patriarchate of Constantinople diocese in the British Isles, has sided with the Russian Orthodox Church on the question of whose canonical territory Ukraine is.
"Though I am Metropolitan of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, I am not at all happy about the position taken by Patriarch Bartholomew. With all due respect to my Patriarch, I am bound to say that I agree with the view expressed by the Patriarchate of Moscow that Ukraine belongs to the Russian Church," Metropolitan Kallistos said in an interview with the Slovo-bogoslova.ru, commenting on the decision by the Synod in Istanbul in October to overturn its over 300-year-old decree handing over Kiev metropolitanate to Moscow.
"After all, the metropolitanate of Kiev by an agreement of 1676 was transferred from the omophorion of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to that of the Patriarchate of Moscow. So, for 330 years Ukraine has been part of the Russian Church. Now, that will not be a popular view in Constantinople, and I know that His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch has taken a different view. But certainly, I feel that it was unwise of the Patriarch of Constantinople unilaterally to say the agreement of 1676 is cancelled," Metropolitan Kallistos said.
He quoted Aristotle that "even God cannot change the past."
"This is a fact of history that Ukraine has belonged to the Russian Church. I believe therefore, it has been a mistake for the Ecumenical Patriarch to give autocephaly to the two schismatic bishops - Philaret and Makary," Metropolitan Kallistos said.
Because the problem concerns all Orthodox Churches, their primates should meet to resolve the situation, he said.