Speaking to Ukrainian journalists in Phanar on December 6, Patriarch Bartholomew mentioned the obstacles the Russian Church is posing in global Orthodoxy.
The Ecumenical Patriarch stressed that there was no “schism” that the Russians had been claiming. His All-Holiness recalled that this “schism” was formed precisely by the Russian Orthodox Church in 2016, when the ROC and three other Local Churches under the latter’s influence chose not to attend the Great All-Orthodox Council in Crete. At the last moment, the Russians and the three other Local Churches withdrew from the meeting.
“The dream of our Russian brothers is to seize the lead in Orthodoxy. But this won’t happen. That’s because, according to the canons and rules of the Orthodox Church, approved by the Ecumenical Councils many, many years ago, this advantage, these privileges rest with the Ecumenical Throne,” Patriarch Bartholomew said.
His All-Holiness pointed out that His Beatitude Archbishop Chrystosomos of Cyprus said in an interview that this situation, this structure of the Orthodox Church, is “cemented.” The first chair among the Orthodox Churches will always be Constantinople, while Moscow’s chair shall be the fifth.
“We have no problems with the Russians. They are the children of Constantinople. Like you, Ukrainians, all the Churches in the Balkans and the Church of Russia received autocephaly from Constantinople,” Patriarch Bartholomew underlined.
It should be recalled that Patriarch Bartholomew praised the cooperation between the OCU and the government in Ukraine.
Read the full speech of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on Spiritual Front of Ukraine.