Metropolitan Hilarion: There is a zero probability that the world was created without the participation of God
E. Gracheva: Vladyka, at the end of September there was a meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, at which the Patriarch outlined that one of the main tasks of your Department is to overcome the schisms in World Orthodoxy, which were generated by the "insane invasion of the Patriarch of Constantinople into Ukraine." How are you going to solve this task set before you by the Patriarch?
Metropolitan Hilarion: Having said that Patriarch Bartholomew fell into schism, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill only stated this sad fact. He did not say anything fundamentally new in comparison with what had already been said by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church after Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople recognized the Ukrainian schismatics and turned them with a stroke of his pen into the supposedly legitimate “Orthodox Church of Ukraine”. The Russian Orthodox Church did not agree with this lawless and anti-canonical act for a number of reasons, of which the main one is that these people do not have canonical ordinations, that is, fr om our point of view, they are self-ordained.
The legitimacy of the current bishops who serve in the Church rests solely on the fact of apostolic succession, namely, that the chain of ordinations that has come down to them has never been interrupted. However, there is a rule that a bishop can be ordained by at least two or three bishops. If a person has not been ordained by two bishops or was ordained by two non-bishops, then his ordination is invalid. It was this method of ordination that was used in the Ukrainian schism. There was an impostor posing as a bishop (in fact, he was a fugitive deacon) and a defrocked bishop - fr om these two adventurers came the so-called "hierarchy" of one of the branches of the Ukrainian schism. These self-ordained people were recognized by Patriarch Bartholomew as bishops. Moreover, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is part of the Moscow Patriarchate and consists of millions of people, was abolished by a stroke of Patriarch Bartholomew’s pen, so to speak. Its rights were transferred to the schismatic structure, and now, with the help of the Ukrainian state, Patriarch of Constantinople is trying to ensure that this schismatic structure would be granted the property of the canonical Church. This is why, in fact, he went to Ukraine.
All these acts are as lawless as, as His Holiness Patriarch Kirill said, insane, that they testify to the fact that Patriarch Bartholomew has completely lost his canonical consciousness. Moreover, he lost the idea that he must act in harmony with other Local Churches. In this case, he acted not only without the consent of the others, but also contrary to the clearly expressed position of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Therefore, he received what he deserved, and the words that are now being spoken to him, he fully deserved. He ceased to be the first among equals in the family of Local Orthodox Churches, because he wanted to be the first without equals, and this does not happen in our Orthodox tradition. As our Holy Synod stated, he has lost the right to be called the spiritual leader of the 300 million Orthodox population of the planet. He no longer represents world Orthodoxy, but represents only his own Church and, perhaps, those Churches that want him to represent them. The Russian Orthodox Church is not one of these Churches.
E. Gracheva: Vladyka, a number of other important issues were discussed at this meeting. It became known that the Russian Orthodox Church may accept into its ranks the clergy of the Alexandrian Patriarchate who disagree with the decision of their Primate to recognize the non-canonical Ukrainian Church. Is it an already resolved question, that the Russian Orthodox Church will expand?
Metropolitan Hilarion: We are talking about several dozen priests who turned to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia with a request to accept their parishes into the Russian Orthodox Church.
The fact is that when the Patriarch of Alexandria joined the Patriarch of Constantinople and recognized the schismatic structure in Ukraine as the "Orthodox Church", commemorated its leader during the divine service, this caused an internal split in the Alexandrian Church, which was to be expected. A number of priests, who did not agree with this commemoration and with the recognition of the schism, turned to us, namely to Patriarch Kirill, with a request to accept them into the Russian Orthodox Church.
We, nevertheless, took a break, because we still hoped that this decision of the Patriarch of Alexandria was not irreversible, that he would come to his senses and revise it. Moreover, we sent him signals about this: he knows that clerics have contacted us, knows that we have suspended consideration of these appeals in order to be able to receive a signal fr om him about a change in his position, but we did not receive this signal. Moreover, in August of this year, Patriarch Theodore went to the island of Imvros - this is the place where Patriarch Bartholomew was born. There they performed a divine service together, in which the leader of the Ukrainian schismatics Epiphany Dumenko also took part. From the point of view of church canons, if a hierarch concelebrates with a schismatic, he himself falls into schism. Unfortunately, church canons do not give us any other interpretation. And now, after this concelebration has taken place and Patriarch Theodore has finally identified himself with the schism, we have no reason and no way to respond with a refusal to such appeals.
How we will consider them, how long they will be considered, and how our presence in Africa will be structured - we have yet to decide at the next meetings of the Holy Synod.
E. Gracheva: More on international topics. In recent days, we have all been observing the aggravated situation in Kosovo, wh ere the police of the self-proclaimed republic now do not allow vehicles with Serbian registration plates to enter the territory. Naturally, this confrontation attracted the attention of the entire world community and is alarming. The question immediately arises about the fate of Christian shrines. How would you rate this new escalation?
Metropolitan Hilarion: I assess it as another round of the spiral that is unfolding before our eyes and which, unfortunately, leads to tragic consequences for the Serbian population of Kosovo, for the Serbian Orthodox Church and for Serbia in general. I am not surprised that Serbia reacts in this way to what is happening.
I have visited Kosovo and Metohija and saw with my own eyes the terrible consequences of the armed confrontation. I saw destroyed churches, settlements left by Serbs; I have heard many stories of innocent people being killed at the hands of the Kosovar Albanians. But all these stories are carefully hushed up in the West: the West has chosen Kosovo as a hero, and Serbia as an anti-hero. This unilateral Western support for Kosovo, while completely ignoring the will of the Serbian people, has already led to what happened. But, unfortunately, this escalation does not end, and we in the Russian Orthodox Church have always consistently come out in support of the Serbian Orthodox Church and its interests throughout its historical and canonical territory, which undoubtedly includes Kosovo. There are the main shrines of the Serbian Church, majestic monasteries with unique frescoes. We are very concerned about the fate of these monasteries and frescoes, but most of all we are concerned about the fate of the Serbian population of the Kosovo region. We very much hope that a political solution will be found that will not be unilateral, but will satisfy both sides.
E. Gracheva: Another important topic to which our attention is drawn is the results of the elections in Germany. The era of Angela Merkel as chancellor has ended before our eyes. There is no other way to say - the present era. She was in power for 16 years, several times Merkel was recognized as the most powerful woman in the world. How would you assess her decisions and what Christian Germany has become after the years that Merkel was in power?
Metropolitan Hilarion: Angela Merkel is undoubtedly an outstanding politician. In the history of modern Germany, she is put on a par with Konrad Adenauer, Helmut Kohl and other prominent male politicians. She became the first female politician to hold the post of chancellor and held it for 16 years.
If we talk about how Germany has changed over the years, then it has changed a lot, of course. But whether these changes can be attributed to Angela Merkel is a question that experts must answer.
Now there is a lot of writing about the fact that there will be two transgender deputies in the new German Bundestag, that is, two men turned into women. Is this the merit of Angela Merkel or her fault? Or Angela Merkel has nothing to do with this? I think, most likely, we are talking here about those tendencies that are becoming more tangible in Western society and lead to such phenomena. And already no politician, even a politician of this magnitude, can stop these phenomena.
Speaking specifically about Angela Merkel, she was a representative of such a trend in politics, which since the time of Bismarck in German has been denoted by the word Realpolitik, that is, real politics based not on ideological premises or prejudices, but primarily on the idea of the welfare of its own people and on political pragmatism. Angela Merkel knew how to balance between the interests of the European Union and the interests of her own country. It is no coincidence that, even at the most critical moments, she continued and never interrupted the dialogue with the Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, with whom, I think, they have established very warm and friendly relations.
Let's hope that under the next Chancellor, relations between Russia and Germany will progressively develop.
E. Gracheva: Vladyka, last week we talked about the tragedy with the shooting at Perm University. This week, a great public response was caused by the audio recording that appeared, wh ere you can hear how a university professor (his name is Oleg Syromyatnikov) locked the room from the inside during the shooting and did not respond to students' requests to stop classes. You are the head of the university yourself. How would you rate such an action of the professor?
Metropolitan Hilarion: I do not want to judge or condemn the professor, but I think that in all situations of this kind, the most important thing a teacher should think about, what he should take care of is saving lives. If he locked the room from the inside in order to save the lives of the students, as he explains it, then it was the right and balanced decision. If there was any other motivation, then I think that in this case an investigation should be carried out, and only on the basis of the results of the investigation it will be possible to make a final judgment on this issue.
E. Gracheva: Vladyka, thank you very much for answering our questions.
Metropolitan Hilarion: Thank you, Catherine.
In the second part of the program, Metropolitan Hilarion answered questions from viewers that were sent to the website of the Church and the World program.
Question: Vladyka, what evidence is there for the existence of God? The arguments that priests usually cite as an answer, today, in the 21st century, sound very unconvincing, childishly naive, and finally, they simply contradict common sense and scientific data. Can you name any compelling evidence for the existence of the supernatural?
Metropolitan Hilarion: I do not know what arguments you have in mind and what scientific evidence refutes the existence of God. I have not yet found a single convincing evidence against the existence of God. But to imagine that everything appeared by itself, that all this gigantic mechanism that makes up the Universe was formed from some kind of explosion, from some substance and then, by chance, the Universe, and galaxies, and the solar system appeared, and then life appeared on Earth, mankind and such a complex mechanism as the human body, and that all this appeared by chance - for me it seems absurd.
Take a Swiss watch, lay it out and ask yourself: if there is any chance that a Swiss watch could appear by chance, without a workshop, without craftsmen? Some elements just accidentally flowed together and we get a Swiss watch as a result. The probability for this is zero. Likewise, in my opinion, the probability that the world was created without the participation of the Creator, without the participation of God, is zero.
And there are so many arguments that it is impossible to bring all of them. There is an extensive literature. Read the book by Archbishop Luke (Voino-Yasenetsky) "Spirit, Soul and Body", wh ere he very interestingly proves the existence of God on the basis of natural phenomena, the structure of the human body. Incidentally, he was a surgeon who received the Stalin Prize for his research in the field of purulent surgery, who for many decades combined church ministry with surgical practice. Saint Luke once said the following phrase. When he was asked: why did Gagarin fly into space and did not see God? (although Gagarin never said this), st. Luke replied: I have been operating on the brain for many years, but whenever I opened the skull, I never saw the mind in it. That, however, does not mean that there is no mind in a human brain.
Therefore, take more seriously those arguments that come not only from the lips of clergymen, but also from the lips of scientists, among whom there are many deeply religious people.
Question: Dear Vladyka Hilarion, please help me. How can one explain to a son that it is impossible to live without God? He says that he does not need this and does not want to know anything about faith in the Lord. But I love my son very much and dream that he will grow up as a believer.
Metropolitan Hilarion: It seems to me that if you love your son very much, then you should, first of all, share with him what is interesting to you, what is dear to you, and how he will respond to this depends on him.
To truly love faith, God, the Church, a person needs to have a certain response, his soul must respond to it spiritually. It is impossible to simply inspire a child, it is impossible to convince him of anything like this. If you feel that he resists, does not want to listen to you, then it is better to give him freedom. Let him come to this. If you impose something on him, try to drag him into the church by force, most likely it will be counterproductive. You can only make your son a truly religious person by inspiring him to conduct his own spiritual search, so that he would learn to independently build his relationship with God.
Question: Dear Vladyka Hilarion, in one of your TV programs you advised Orthodox girls to look for a future spouse in the church. But my experience shows that this is almost impossible to do. The fact is that if there are men in our parish, they are mostly married. And if he is single, then this is a 40-year-old notorious loser, broken by life. I am a beautiful, slim, tall girl and I consider only successful men who are able to support a family and raise future children for the role of a husband. Among non-believers, I have met adequate men with a good profession. There is confidence that next to such a person one will always feel support and protection. Vladyka, tell me, can a Christian woman marry an unbeliever?
Metropolitan Hilarion: First, if you are so beautiful, slender and tall, then I do not understand at all why you are asking this question. I think that one way or another you should already be in a relationship, and for sure there are already those men who would want to conquer your heart.
Secondly, if you are asking the question of whether it is possible for a believing girl to marry an unbeliever, then remember the words of the Apostle Paul: “an unbelieving husband is sanctified by a believing wife” (1 Cor. 7.14). These words, however, refer to the marriage that has already been concluded, and not to the marriage that is still being planned. You must understand that if you are a truly religious girl, and your husband is anti-religious, inclined in his feelings against the Church and will prevent you from raising children in the Christian faith, then this can ultimately break apart both your destiny and your marriage union. Therefore, you need to think ten times before marrying such a person. At the very least, such a person should be open to the fact that you will maintain your belonging to the Church, attend church, and bring up children in the Orthodox faith. And, of course, you must understand that if a person is generally an unbeliever, not a church member, then you will not be able to marry him at church, which means that your marriage will be fragile and may fall apart.
That is why we, clergymen, never advise believing girls, even beautiful, slender and tall ones, to marry unbelieving men.
With this quote, I would like to conclude this transfer. These are the words of the Apostle Paul from the First Epistle to the Corinthians: “for an unbelieving husband is sanctified by a believing wife, and an unbelieving wife is sanctified by a believing husband” (1 Cor. 7.14).
I wish you all the best and may the Lord bless you all.
DECR Communication Service