Head of DECR MP considers Pope Francis’s visit to Ukraine unlikely

Pope Francis. Photo: cruxnow.com

After the meeting with the Pope, Metropolitan Hilarion said he doubted the visit of the head of the Vatican to Ukraine in the face of the current persecution of the UOC.

The head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, expressed doubt about the arrival of Pope Francis in Ukraine in the near future due to the ongoing persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the country, reports ITAR-TASS.

Following the meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican, the hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church noted the difficult situation in the canonical Church in Ukraine due to the actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

“There is also a schism in the Church, which not only was not healed by the actions of Constantinople but was only aggravated,” said Metropolitan Hilarion. “The canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which unites millions of believers, has more than 12 thousand parishes, more than 250 monasteries, the Church, which represents the largest religious denomination in Ukraine, is now being discriminated against, and in some places – persecuted.”

According to the hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, the decision to visit Ukraine will be made by Pope Francis, but personally he does not know "if a visit will be possible in such a situation".

Commenting on his meeting with the head of the Vatican for RIA Novosti, Metropolitan Hilarion said that Pope Francis should not be drawn into a conflict with schismatics in Ukraine. “We should not involve the Roman pontiff in solving inter-Orthodox problems and we will not do this. The situation in Ukraine cannot but cause our common concern, but whether it will be discussed at the meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch (Kirill - Ed.), is still to be determined,” he said.

Earlier, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said that organizing the Pope's visit to the country was "on the agenda".

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