ROC Hierarch: Only honest dialogue can overcome rifts in Orthodoxy

Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk. Photo:

There is a threat of the deep split in Orthodoxy which can be overcome via honest and fraternal dialogue between the Local Churches, Met. Hilarion (Alfeyev) explained.

On February 21, 2020, the Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), commented on the significance of the upcoming Primates’ Council in Jordan, the ROC DECR’s press service reports.

Metropolitan Hilarion noted that the Synaxis of Primates, which will be held in Amman at the initiative of the Jerusalem Patriarch Theophilos III, is a fraternal gathering, rather than a pan-Orthodox meeting, and its purpose is to discuss the issue of maintaining church unity.

“Unfortunately, the fact today is the existence of splits and serious divergences between the Local Churches. There is a threat of the deep rift in the Orthodox Church. These splits can be overcome only through honest and fraternal dialogue and joint efforts of all the universally recognized autocephalous Churches. We hope that the upcoming event will be an important step in this direction,” said the hierarch.

According to him, "political interference in the process of creating the so-called ‘Orthodox Church of Ukraine’ was obvious from the very beginning. We are fully aware that the subsequent recognition of the schismatics by the Churches of Greece and Alexandria did not take place without the participation of external forces.”

“We know that pressure was also exerted on some Primates on the issue of the meeting in Amman. In any case, it is difficult to somehow interpret the refusal of the Archbishop of Athens to participate in this event, which he told reporters immediately after his meeting with the American ambassador. Let me remind you that he announced the recognition of the OCU after he’d had a series of meetings with the same diplomat,” added Met. Hilarion.

He expressed hope that the Synaxis in Amman “will lay the foundation for other similar meetings that our Orthodox family needs now.”

Recall, the Primates’ Council will be held at the initiative of Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem. During the event, it is planned to discuss the “Ukrainian religious issue” and a number of hot-button issues that arose in World Orthodoxy. At the moment, participation in the Synaxis of Primates has been confirmed by representatives of the Jerusalem, Serbian, Russian, Romanian and Polish Orthodox Churches, as well as the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.

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What will happen if the Church of Greece recognizes the OCU?
it will put itself out of Orthodoxy
it will give rise to global recognition of the OCU by Local Churches
nothing will happen, the Greeks will be the first and the last to recognize the OCU
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