Moscow, January 7, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia views the recent conversion of the Church of Hagia Sophia into a mosque as judgment, he said he believes it is the divine retribution on Bartholomew I of Constantinople for deepening the schism in Ukraine.
"I don't want to criticize my counterpart in Constantinople in any way, but undoubtedly, everything that happened in Constantinople, in Istanbul shows the signs of a divine retribution. Patriarch Bartholomew led the schismatics into the holy site in Kiev, the Sophia [Cathedral] in Kiev and lost the Sophia of Constantinople, it became a mosque," the patriarch said in a Christmas interview with the Rossiya-1 television channel.
In late 2018, Patriarch Bartholomew founded the new church on the basis of the two uncanonical religious organizations of Ukraine, causing the Moscow Patriarchate's indignation.
"You took the Holy Sophia in Kiev away from Orthodox people, the Orthodox Church, you came there and led the schismatics there and you lost your own Sophia. [...] I believe one can hardly imagine more obvious consequences of God's will and the consequences were immediate, because the sin was too grave," Patriarch Kirill said.
Patriarch Bartholomew's deed is not a mistake, but a crime, he said, adding that a way out of the current situation should be found together.
"We must pray for each other, at least in personal prayers, as it is now impossible in services, because we do not mention the patriarch of Constantinople in diptychs. But we must pray for each other and do our utmost so that this crisis in Orthodoxy, imposed from the outside, ends as soon as possible," he said.
The Russian Orthodox Church is ready to go down its part of the road to achieve this goal, he said.