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An interview of Metropolitan Hilarion of Volo…

An interview of Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk to RIA Novosti

In an interview to RIA Novosti, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, сchairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, spoke about the visit of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to the United States.

- Vladyka Hilarion, what do you think of the fact that Patriarch Bartholomew called Biden “our president?”

As is known, the greatest part of the flock of the Patriarch of Constantinople does not live in Turkey, but in the United States. The Greek Diaspora in that country is the major sponsor of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, lobbying its interests in the top power offices. Therefore, I see nothing surprising in this expression used by Patriarch Bartholomew, for whom the focus on the United States is strategic, and he does not conceal it.

- Do they, in the State Department, having proclaimed “the US commitment to supporting religious freedom around the world,” after the Patriarch of Constantinople – Blinken meeting also think about the freedom of the persecuted members of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, or about the freedom of the Orthodox believers in Montenegro, where schism is being supported?

The leaders of the United States, as is known, were forthrightly interested in the formation of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU.) The first to congratulate the newly elected leader of that structure was the State Department’s representative. So, no wonder that we have not heard fr om American leadership any disapproval of the persecutions against the canonical Church in Ukraine or in Montenegro. And I do not think that we ever would.

- What do the plans - “to work with the Orthodox Christian community worldwide on issues of shared concern” - announced at the meeting between the Patriarch of Constantinople and the US Secretary of State imply? What “shared concern” and “issues” are they talking about?

I think we should not deceive ourselves. Neither the President of the United States is the leader of the whole world, not the Patriarch of Constantinople is the head of all Orthodox Christians. Neither has been empowered by anyone to work “with the Orthodox Christian community worldwide.” We can see on the example of Ukraine wh ere such interaction leads: its outcome is a schism in Orthodoxy and persecution of believers.

- How can Patriarch Bartholomew’s visit to the US tell on the situation of the majority of believers in Ukraine and on the life of the Orthodox in the world as a whole?

As I have already said, the US does not conceal the fact of its involvement in granting the so-called autocephaly to the Ukrainian schismatics. Two years since those events, we see that the attempts to split the Ukrainian Orthodox Church have not led to success. The unity of the canonical Church, despite the persecutions, has become even stronger, which is why we should not exclude that the persecutions against the canonical Orthodoxy in Ukraine after Patriarch Bartholomew’s visit to the United States would only intensify.

Interviewed by Olga Lipich


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