Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk: Decision demanded by church canons was taken today
A briefing for journalists was held after the session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church that took place in Minsk on October 15, 2018. Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, told the mass media representatives about decisions taken at the session.
“The decision on the complete cessation of the Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople was taken today. This is a forced decision, but our Holy Synod could not take another one as the logic of the latest actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople has led to it.
Several days ago it was decided at the session of the Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople that it restored in holy orders the anathematized leader of the Ukrainian schism Filaret (Denisenko) and the leader of another schismatic group. The decision was taken “to revoke” the act of the Patriarchate of Constantinople of 1686 on including the Metropolis of Kiev to the Moscow Patriarchate and on establishing a stravropegia of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine.
All these decisions are unlawful and canonically void from the point of view of the Russian Orthodox Church which does not accept them and will not adhere to them. The schism remains a schism. Its leaders remain the leaders of schism, and the Church which recognizes schismatics and enters into communion with them excludes herself from the canonical space of the Orthodox Church. It is the main reason for which we have to break communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople which has completely identified itself with the schism.
I would like to tell you that it is not the first case of this kind in the history of the Orthodox Church. Once the Patriarch Nestorius of Constantinople fell into heresy which was condemned at the 3rd Ecumenical Council and the Patriarch was deposed. A thousand years later the Patriarch of Constantinople signed a unia with Rome. This action was condemned by the heads of other Local Orthodox Churches. The Russian Orthodox Church also condemned it. As patriarch-uniat was elected and there was no canonical patriarch in Constantinople at that time, the Russian Orthodox Church independently elected her metropolitan and since then has begun to live as an autocephalous Church.
Even recently, in 1996, the Church of Constantinople intruded into canonical territory of the Russian Church by establishing its jurisdiction in Estonia, and we were forced to break the Eucharistic communion with this Church.
Decision demanded by church canons was taken today. We adopted the Statement of the Holy Synod with thorough explanation of why and on what grounds the decision was taken. For instance, we mention the canonical rules which do not allow a bishop of a certain Church to intervene into the affairs of another Local Church. We cited the interpretations of a renowned Byzantine canonist John Zonaras and of St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain. They say that the Patriarch of Constantinople has the right to accept appeals within his Church but cannot accept appeals from other Local Churches, on which it insists for no reason The new and anti-canonical teaching on the alleged privileges of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to unilaterally accept appeals from other Local Churches finds no grounds in the holy canons of the Orthodox Church. On the strength of all these reasons the decision on breaking the Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople was taken today.
We hope that the common sense will prevail and the Patriarchate of Constantinople will change its attitude to the present ecclesiastical reality. But until this change takes place and the unlawful and anti-canonical decisions remain in force from the point of view of Constantinople, we will not be in communion with this Church which happened to be in schism today.
Metropolitan Hilarion answered questions of the journalists.
– You said that in 1996 a decision was taken on breaking the Eucharistic communion with the Church of Constantinople. Could the events of that time be compared with that what is happening now?
– In 1996 the Patriarchate of Constantinople encroached upon the territory of the Russian Orthodox Church and established its jurisdiction on her canonical territory. We had not recognized this decision and do not recognize it. However, the canonical crimes committed by the Patriarchate of Constantinople now are more grievous as it declared its intention to grant an autocephaly to a part of the Russian Orthodox Church, and not the part which once belonged to Constantinople.
The territory of the Metropolis of Kiev, which became a part of the Moscow Patriarchate in 1686, is not the same as that of the present Ukrainian Orthodox Church. It was much smaller. Donbas, the south of Ukraine, Odessa and many other areas were not its part The decision “to revoke” the act of 1686 and an attempt to present the case as if the whole territory of Ukraine was a part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople for over three hundred years contradicts the historical truth, and we said about it in the Statement of the Holy Synod.
– What kind of response the believers should give to the decision of the Holy Synod? What this decision means for the simple parishioners of the Russian Orthodox Church?
– I believe that that response should be calm. Practically this decision means that we will not be able to concelebrate with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, our bishops and priests will not celebrate Liturgy together with hierarchs and priests of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and laypersons will not be able to take Holy Communion in churches of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. We said about it in the Statement.
– Will there be any appeal to the heads of other Local Churches?
– We will inform all Local Churches about the decision.
– What do you think about the developments that can lead to the escalation of conflict in Ukraine with the seizure of church building and violent actions?
– We hope for common sense. We hope that no clashes will occur. We have heard the assurances of the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that all the believers in Ukraine will have an opportunity to go to the Church to which they belong and that no obstacles will be created in their way. We do hope that these promises will be fulfilled.
–What does this situation mean for Belorussian Orthodox Church? Is she automatically breaking relations with Constantinople?
– The Belorussian Orthodox Church as a part of the Russian Orthodox Church accedes to this decision. Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus took part in the session of the Synod; yesterday we discussed the situation with the members of the Synod of the Belorussian Orthodox Church. The decisions concern the entire canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church, Belarus including.
– Do members of the Synod of the Belorussian Orthodox Church support these decisions unanimously?
– You can raise this question with the Patriarchal Exarch.
– Recently President Poroshenko met with His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry and either tried to persuade him to become the head of this new but yet not established autocephalous church, or threatened him. Could you tell us about this meeting in detail?
I believe it correct to put this question to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine. It should be noted that His Beatitude took part in the whole session today and supported the decisions as all members of the Synod did.
- 14.11.2018 17:20Metropolitan Hilarion: Patriarch Bartholomew’s actions do not heal the schism but rather deepen it
- 13.11.2018 19:18Resolution of the Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of 13 November 2018
- 17.10.2018 14:01Metropolitan Hilarion: The fact that the Patriarchate of Constantinople has recognized a schismatic structure means for us that it itself is now in schism
- 16.10.2018 09:37Patriarch Irinej of Serbia: Patriarchate of Constantinople has taken a decision to which it has no right
- 16.10.2018 09:19Metropolitan Hilarion: the Patriarchate of Constantinople has lost the right to be called the coordinating center for the Orthodox Church
- 16.10.2018 08:59Metropolitan Hilarion: Decisions taken by Constantinople run contrary to canonical Tradition of the Orthodox Church
- 16.10.2018 08:51Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk: Decision demanded by church canons was taken today
- 15.10.2018 20:12The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has considered it impossible to remain in the Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople
- 15.10.2018 20:07Statement by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church concerning the encroachment of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the canonical territory of the Russian Church
- 15.10.2018 14:52Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East calls for convocation of a Pan-Orthodox Council
- 12.10.2018 16:43Three hierarchs of Bulgarian Orthodox Church make statement on situation in Ukraine
- 08.10.2018 08:43Statement of the Holy Synod of Antioch Concerning the Current Developments in the Orthodox World
- 05.10.2018 15:55Primate of the Polish Orthodox Church calls upon His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew to convene inter-Orthodox synaxis to discuss the Ukrainian issue
- 02.10.2018 20:15Statement of the Holy Synod of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate on the interference of His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople into the internal affairs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
- 02.10.2018 16:39Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk gives interview to Romfea
- 01.10.2018 20:43His Beatitude Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria and All Africa: Church does not bow down to politicians
- 01.10.2018 19:24Patriarch of Alexandria will inform all the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches about the real ecclesial situation in Ukraine
- 30.09.2018 23:22Metropolitan Hilarion: Isolation need not to be feared
- 28.09.2018 19:32Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church holds its regular session
- 22.09.2018 19:14Primates of the Church of Alexandria and Polish Orthodox Church issue appeal concerning the situation of Orthodoxy in Ukraine
- 21.09.2018 10:35Bishop Irinej of Backa ‘On Inaccuracies of Ecclesial and Journalistic Statements on Ukraine’
- 18.09.2018 23:15Metropolitan Anthony of Borispol and Brovary: Sin must not be legitimized for the sake of some geopolitical or national issues
- 18.09.2018 14:30Statement by Metropolitan Seraphim of Kythira and Antikythera (Greek Orthodox Church) on uncanonical actions of Patriarch of Constantinople in Ukraine
- 14.09.2018 22:25Metropolitan Hilarion: The decision to suspend the liturgical mention of the Patriarch of Constantinople does not imply breaking off the Eucharistic communion
- 14.09.2018 22:00Holy Synod calls upon Primates of Local Orthodox Churches to initiate pan-Orthodox discussion on the church situation in Ukraine
- 14.09.2018 19:57Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev: Our Church has all attributes of independence
- 14.09.2018 14:51His Holiness Patriarch Kirill chairs extraordinary session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church
- 14.09.2018 10:35Polish Orthodox Church states that there must be no haste with regard to the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in order not to deepen the schism
- 12.09.2018 15:42Statement of the Synod of the Belarusian Orthodox Church (Belarusian Exarchate of the Moscow Patriarchate) issued on 11 September 2018
- 10.09.2018 14:52Statement by the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad on the appointment of exarchs of the Constantinople Patriarchate to Kiev
- 08.09.2018 21:40Metropolitan Hilarion: Patriarch Bartholomew will bear personal responsibility before the judgement of God and the judgement of history
- 08.09.2018 21:33Metropolitan Hilarion: Current situation creates a threat of schism for Universal Orthodoxy
- 08.09.2018 14:15Russian Orthodox Church Holy Synod Statement as of September 8, 2018
- 31.08.2018 20:10Fraternal meeting of Primates of Church of Constantinople and Russian Orthodox Church
- 31.08.2018 12:33Primates of Church of Constantinople and Russian Orthodox Church have begun their meeting