The Moscow Patriarch sent the UOC (MP) Vicar of the Odesa Diocese, Archbishop Viktor of Artsyz, a response to his open appeal dated July 23, 2023. Archbishop Viktor angrily wrote in his address that, to his great disappointment, at the latest Bishops’ meeting in Moscow, Patriarch Kirill “did not say a single word about the need to stop this Cain war, to stop the murders and the destruction of peaceful towns and villages, to stop the bloodshed.”
The head of the Moscow Patriarchate, Kirill, who blesses the Russian troops to kill Ukrainians, responded to this with a statement in which he called the accusations against the Russian Orthodox Church “unfounded and unjust.” Kirill also noted that the bishop of the UOC (MP) chose an “extremely defiant tone of address” to him. Kirill’s appeal was published on the website of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Patriarch Kirill avoids clearly naming the culprits of the destruction of the temple and the suffering of the Ukrainian civilian population – Russian forces. He talks about the war in general terms, instead of naming the reason – Russian aggression. References to prayers and assistance provided by the Russian Orthodox Church to the victims sound empty in this context – even cynical. After all, it is as if the rapist provided first aid to the victim, whom he constantly stabs, rapes, and kills.
In addition, the head of the ROC manipulatively hints that Ukraine allegedly started the war in Donbas nine years ago. Of course, the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church does not speak about the annexation of Crimea and the invasion of Russian troops in 2014. That’s because it does not fit into the Kremlin’s propaganda paradigm.
A clear position from the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, or a condemnation of the aggression and the perpetrators, was not heard again, which is not a surprise, no matter how sad it is. After all, spiritual leaders are called to defend the truth, not lies. Instead, Kirill justifies himself, claiming he supposedly cares about the Pan-Orthodox unity with other hierarchs and therefore continues “invariable commemorations of the Orthodox patriarchs.” He also thanked those who, together with him, “openly speak in support of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.” This of course sounds cynical against the background of the ruined temple.
Kirill also said that he understands the “difficulties” facing the UOC (MP): “I understand well the difficulties of the archpastors and clergy of the canonical Ukrainian Church, which now lives in such conditions, when an ordinary greeting or sympathy becomes a reason for initiating a criminal case. Therefore, I cannot tell you much in this letter.”