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    Patriarch Kirill tells WCC Ecumenical Patriarch to blame for war in Ukraine

    Moscow Patriarch Kirill (Gundyaev) remains adamant about Russia’s war against Ukraine, continuing to blame Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for the current situation of Orthodoxy.

    The statement came after Kirill met in Moscow with the delegation of the World Council of Churches (WCC), reports the Orthodox Times.

    The reasons for the delegation’s visit to Moscow and the meeting with Patriarch Kirill, as described by Secretary-General Jerry Pillay himself, were the need to end the war, to work for the unity of the Orthodox family that is so seriously divided in this context, to discuss the role of the Churches in achieving peace both internally – among Christians – and more generally, and to propose a meeting for a round table discussion on these issues, with the participation of all sides.

    To the questions raised by the Secretary General of the World Council of Churches, the Patriarch of Moscow gave answers that did not always touch on the substance of the questions.

    The absence of any condemnation of the war in Ukraine initiated by the Russian government was evident, while referring to the situation in the ecclesiastical landscape in Ukraine, he directly blamed the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    “We are particularly upset by the participation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in this conflict – it is precisely the participation in the development of the ecclesiastical crisis in Ukraine that makes it difficult for us to participate in committees headed by one or another representative of Constantinople,” quoted the Patriarch as per the Russian Orthodox Church website.

    He claimed that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate headed by Metropolitan Onufriy), “is currently subjected to very strong repression and restrictions in its activities through divisive groups created in Ukraine. Unfortunately, these groups received the support of the Patriarch of Constantinople.”

    The statement issued by the World Council of Churches describes how the Patriarch of Moscow expressed concerns about the feasibility of a round table dialogue due to the consolidated external influences.

    Patriarch Kirill expressed his desire to participate in the round table dialogue but stressed the need for internal consultations within the Russian Orthodox Church while thanking the WCC for its proposal and actions towards peace and unity.

    The WCC Secretary-General himself acknowledged the significant challenges that need to be overcome in order to give dialogue a chance.

    “It is clear that the prospects for the conflict, its causes, and its path to a just peace remain extremely polarized. However, this demonstrates the critical importance of efforts to create a safe space for dialogue, and for the WCC, this must begin with efforts to bridge the inter-Orthodox differences that reflect the current geopolitical confrontation.”

    In the announcement of the Moscow Patriarchate, Kirill once again denounces the Ecumenical Patriarchate, stressing that it is the one responsible for the division of Orthodoxy in Ukraine while stating its “inability” to sit at any dialogue table if there is a representative of the Phanar.

    However, when the Russian Church was allowed to speak – something that happened under the auspices of the World Council of Churches in Karlsruhe last September – it did not.

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