Six months after the Orthodox Church in Ukraine was granted autocephaly, Moscow Patriarchate’s cold war against the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople continues.
In a statement, an official with pro-Moscow Ukrainian Orthodox Church states that the Phanar (Ecumenical Patriarchate) “has requested or demanded all sorts of favours, economic or political, from political and Church leaders”.
In a press release, the Ecumenical Patriarchate responded stressing this “is not true but rather defamatory and offensive to the mother Church in Constantinople”. Highlighting something everyone knows, he notes that nine of the 14 Orthodox Churches in the world obtained their autocephaly from Constantinople, Moscow included.
In a recent homily, Bartholomew spoke about granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church, saying that “The right answer that the Ecumenical Patriarchate gave to the Ukrainian question finds its foundation in the secular tradition of the Orthodox Church, which is inspired by the Gospel and by respect for the sacred canons, stripped of any political consideration or diplomatic pressure.”
It must therefore be very clear, Bartholomew goes on to say, “that the continuous use of disinformation through the Internet, the so-called ‘fake news’, are aimed at damaging the rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as sanctioned by the sacred canons.”
Finally, the statement adds that “on January 6, 2019, the Ukrainian Church obtained its own autocephaly, that is the possibility of self-administration, a right, as per Orthodox tradition, that is based on the synodal exercise.”
The relationship between the mother Church in Constantinople and that in Kyiv is akin to the relationship that exists between mother and daughter: a secular bond that finds its origin in the baptism of Saint Vladimir.
None of the various insinuations (and the Phanar is convinced of this) will be able to break this relationship, this bond, because the Ecumenical Patriarchate has always acted in a spirit of sacrifice and self-denial for all its children.