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    Bishop Michael on Bartholomew’s meeting with Kirill: personal relations should not stand in church’s way

    In an interview with the Spiritual Front of Ukraine, Bishop Michael of Koman, Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Ukraine, commented on the possibility of a meeting between Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church.

    Journalist Inna Maretska asked whether the Ecumenical Patriarchate tried to find common language with Kirill after his blessing of the war in Ukraine.

    Bishop Michael emphasized that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has repeatedly condemned the war and the blessing of military operations by Kirill: “… the blessing of an armed attack, the blessing of military operations is not the work of God, and unworthy of a person who represents the church or has a sacred rank.”

    The bishop also noted that personal relations between superiors should not harm the church. The hierarch added that he did not see a connection between the Bartholomew and Kirill’s meeting in 2018 and the current situation.

    “Of course, there were no personal meetings, as far as I know. And you rightly pointed out that the face-to-face conversation is personal, it plays a lot. Understand that all hierarchs, we are all human, no matter what post or rank we hold, we are all human. Of course, we can have personal understandings, misunderstandings, we can fight on a personal level. Well, it’s human nature. It is necessary to look for ways of reconciliation on a personal level. But this should not harm the mission of the church, it should not harm our duties that we perform and our ministry. It must be borne in mind that whatever misunderstandings there may be on a personal level, they should not harm the church, the church should not suffer from the fact that the two people did not find understanding. It is from these positions that even I would evaluate the conversation that you referred to. I was not present either, I only read what was covered in mass media. That is, the biggest mistake of many church leaders is that they transfer their personal relationships, their personal preferences in communication to the life of the church. And you can’t do that,” noted Bishop Michael.

    The bishop of Koman earlier said that the key to launching dialogue between the churches in Ukraine is the relevant willingness to do so.

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