It would be something for us all to laugh at if the schism wasn’t so serious and having consequences for the unity of Orthodoxy in these most troubling of times.
In an article translated into English on the popular Mystagogy blog, Metropolitan Demetrios of Goumenissa, Axioupolis, and Polykastron actually claimed that the Russian Orthodox Church is being expansionist in Ukraine.
He starts off with “Explanations and Clarifications of Ecclesiastical History and the Deontology of the Ukrainian Issue,” and says this schism crisis is artifically made but they blame the Russian Church for it.
Metropolitan Demetrios, a hierarch of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, claimed the Ukraine schism crisis “a smokescreen” meant to hide “the hegemony of the Russian Church and its steadily expansive actions.”
“And, instead of our Russian brothers apologizing for these two, they are turning towards regional issues (where the responsibility lies primarily with themselves).”
Putting aside the fact the Russian Orthodox Church has been active in Ukraine since 1686 and the fact even Patriarch Bartholomew acknowledged, in the past, the fact the Moscow Patriarchate has the jurisdiction in Ukraine, the claims are utterly absurd and not based in reality.
One only needs to look at the fact that in Crimea, the Moscow Patriarchate continues to recognize the jurisdiction of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church there after the events in 2014.
Good people on both sides of the issue have different views on the issue, but of course it is an undeniable fact that it is ethnic Russian majority and overwhelmingly Russian speaking, so it would have been popular if the Russian Orthodox Church claimed jurisdiction in Crimea but that they are putting the faith ahead of what would have been popular public support for such a move.
As absurd was the claims of Metropolitan Demetrios are and as despicable as what the Constantinople Patriarchate is doing in Ukraine is, still we should pray they eventually do the right thing, though granted, the chances they will are slim.
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