According to Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the Russian Church shares responsibility for war crimes in Ukraine with the Kremlin authorities, LRT reports.
“The Church and the state leadership in Russia cooperated in the crime of aggression and shared the responsibility for the resulting crimes, such as the shocking abduction of Ukrainian children,” the patriarch told a conference on intercultural and religious dialogue at Lithuania’s Seimas on Wednesday.
“They have provoked enormous suffering not only to Ukrainian people but also to the Russians who count more than 100,000 casualties and responsibility for terrible atrocities,” he added.
According to the patriarch, the government in Russia has been trying to instrumentalize religion and use it for their own ends since the Tsarist times, and this is still being done now with the Kremlin regime promoting the “Russian world” ideology.
“Of special importance in this respect is the pan-Slavism, the ideology according to which all Slavs will be united under Moscow’s leadership. This 19th-century deeply racist ideology found its religious expression in ethnophyletism condemned as heresy by Constantinople in 1872,” Bartholomew I said.
According to the patriarch, recent decades have shown that hopes that economic globalization will unite people on a cultural and spiritual basis and lead to world peace have not come true. Religion has become marginalized and used for geopolitical and political goals.
Ukraine will need not only major physical but also spiritual post-war reconstruction, he stressed.