ROC: Patriarch Bartholomew makes it clear there is no legitimizing schism

Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolam

The ROC underscored that Patriarch Filaret continues to be a schism initiator for the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

It was said in the interview with Greek agency Romfea by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolam who had arrived in Athens to participate in the International Assembly of Orthodoxy.

"Meeting with four Ukrainian hierarchs, Patriarch Bartholomew very clearly said there will be no legitimating of the split, and this is an important statement," said Metropolitan Hilarion. "I very much hope that the solution of the problem of the Ukrainian split will take place solely in a canonical way."

According to the hierarch, an important fact of the conversation that took place at Phanar is that Patriarch Bartholomew stressed that the split for him is a split, and he sees in Filaret Denisenko the initiator of the split.

"Filaret Denisenko for 25 years has been deceiving people in a variety of ways," said the Bishop. “Now he makes people believe that the Patriarchate of Constantinople will bestow autocephaly to his structure almost the other day. And on top of that he asserts he will certainly not agree to anything inferior to the patriarchy – neither metropolitan nor archbishopric. He says, "I am a patriarch and will remain a patriarch." It seems that this is the most important thing that interests him: that he should not be deprived of the patriarch's koukoulion, which he once illegally put on himself."

Metropolitan Hilarion said that the ROC is no less than Constantinople, is interested in that the schismatics return to the fold of the Church.

"We believe that the path of return for the schismatics is open," the hierarch noted. “Moreover, as recently as December last year, Filaret Denisenko appealed to the ROC’s episcopate headed by Patriarch Kirill with a call to forgive the sins of the past and enter the path of a dialogue. Our Church responded very positively to the letter received. But as soon as it became known, someone rebuffed Filaret, and the next day he publicly disavowed everything he had written in his letter. This means that there are forces in Ukraine that do not want the return of the schismatics to the Church by the canonical way, but, on the contrary, they want to legitimize the split."

Earlier it was reported the ROC intends to discuss the ssituation in Ukraine with representatives of Phanar. The meeting which will be hosted in Moscow is scheduled doe July 9.

In mid-April, Poroshenko turned to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople with a petition granting Tomos on autocephaly to the Church in Ukraine and announced the creation of a Single Local Church. The Verkhovna Rada supported the appeal of the President.

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