Russian priests and laity have chosen the path of spiritual slavery, not even fathoming the idea that their patriarch could be wrong about something.
That’s according to Bishop Michael of Koman, the exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Ukraine, who spoke with lb.ua.
Asked about Russian Patriarch Cyril, whose actions and statements pose a threat to world Orthodoxy, Bishop Michael said: “Don’t put an equation mark between the Moscow Patriarch and the Church. We distinguish the Church as the body of Christ from certain functionaries who lead certain organizations over certain periods of time. He’s not there forever. He’ll once be gone.”
To an assumption that Cyril has serious influence over his parish, and that the “Russian world” concept is deeply engraved in people’s minds there, the exarch said: “Mostly yes. It (the Russian world – ed.) dominates there. But you should understand that we should feel sorry for these people – they chose spiritual slavery for themselves. In many ways, they do not allow themselves not only to disagree but also to allow the opinion that their hierarch may be wrong about something.”
“When two adults communicate, when there’s a culture of dialogue, even if they disagree on something, they respect each other’s differences. They may not agree with me, but they do not express hostility towards me, they do not try to suppress me or impose their opinion on me. We may exchange views, agree on some things, and not agree on some. And now we see that people (Russians – ed.) stick to exactly the side, which is prone to the forceful imposition of their ideas. Like, if you don’t agree with us, then you are bad, you’re fascists. I don’t know why the head of the Moscow Patriarchate is developing such a direction of communication or conveying ideas to his flock. I’m not even going to rate it. Although you are right, some people often let others think for them. They do not express their own opinion, do not verify facts, but accept the finished product. They were told that Ukraine is bad, and they just took it at face value,” Bishop Michael said.