Phanar head calls ROC’s restriction of pilgrimage to Greece "murky affair"

Patriarch Bartholomew. Photo: ekathimerini

Patriarch Bartholomew accused the Russian Church of using pilgrims as a tool for exerting economic pressure on the Church of Greece.

The head of the Patriarchate of Constantinople considers the decision of the Russian Orthodox Church to limit the pilgrimage to Greece "a murky affair". The Ecumenical Patriarch spoke of this issue in a video message during the beginning of the 4th Panhellenic Conference on Pilgrimage Tours that took place in Arta (Greece), reports the “Orthodox Times”.

According to Patriarch Bartholomew, the Russian Orthodox Church uses pilgrimage tourism " as a tool for exerting economic pressure on the Church of Greece and the Greek people".

“We have great difficulty in criticising the touristification of pilgrimages when an Autocephalous Orthodox Church is using them as a tool for exerting economic pressure on the Church of Greece and the Greek people. The reason for this is the official recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The Russian Orthodox Church has adopted the same approach as it concerns the Holy Communion in order to oppose the Ecumenical Patriarchate,” said the head of the Phanar.

He stresses: “If you claim that you have spoken the truth, but in reality, you tell lies because the truth is against your own interests, then it doesn’t matter what you say. You are involved in a murky affair.” 

“It is sad that pilgrims, who remain steadfast in Orthodox faith, face nowadays such challenges and alienation in a money-centred society. They expect the Church offers them pastoral support. It is sad that the pilgrimage of innocent Christians is exploited by foreign parties that are against the ethics of Orthodox Christianity, in order to promote secularisation of the Church from within,” resumed the Patriarch of Constantinople.

We recall that earlier Patriarch Bartholomew called all those opposed to the Phanar ignorant people who go against their "benefactor" and challenge "what is considered sacred and right".

As reported, after the recognition of the OCU by the Archbishop of Athens and All Hellas, the Russian Orthodox Church broke the Eucharistic communion with him and published a list of dioceses of the Church of Greece that are undesirable for pilgrimage.

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