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Old March 19th, 2019 #1
Alex Him
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Metropolitan Amfilohije of Crna Gora and Primorje: Patriarch of Constantinople destroyed the centuries-old unity of Orthodox Churches



6 January 2019 - 11:07







On 3 January 2019, Metropolitan Amfilohije of Crna Gora and Primorje gave an interview to Vijesti TV in which he said that Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople had destroyed the centuries-old unity of the Orthodox Churches instead of playing the role of consolidator of all Orthodox Christians.

The archpastor said that many theologians and bishops in Greece are critical of Patriarch Bartholomew’s behavior and that other Local Orthodox Churches, including the Serbian Orthodox Church, did not accept the decision on Ukraine taken by Phanar not in the spirit of God’s Church. He also said that the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s behavior was conditioned by the influence of secular politics of Europe and America as it needs their support, but its expectation that all Ukrainians would join the schismatics has not come true.

The interviewer asked Metropolitan Amfilohije whether the Patriarchate of Constantinople was the supreme ecclesiastical authority for the Serbian Orthodox Church, and the hierarch answered: Absolutely not. He continued to say that the supreme authority exists only in the Catholic Church in the person of Pope, while Orthodoxy has during ten centuries struggled to uphold the teaching of the equality of the authority of bishops. The Serbian hierarch is convinced that Patriarch of Constantinople had committed an error of intervention to the life of the Russian Church by rescinding the decision taken by Patriarch Dionysius’ some three hundred years ago thus showing that Patriarch Bartholomew wanted to play the role of Pope in the Orthodox world. The Orthodox Church has remained Orthodox because it never has a Pope.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5340169.html






Nativity of Christ is celebrated at the Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church in Damascus



7 January 2019 - 14:59







On 7 January 2019, the feast day of the Nativity of Christ, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Church of St. Ignatius the God-Bearer at the Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church in Damascus.

Bishop Moises of Darayia officiated with the blessing of His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East. Archpriest Matta Haddad, a cleric of the Cathedral of the Antiochian Orthodox Church in Damascus, and Hegumen Arseny (Sokolov), representative of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to the Patriarch of Antioch concelebrated.

Praying during the divine service were Mr. Eldar Kurbanov, charge d’affaires a.i. of the Russian Federation to the Syrian Arab Republic; hegumeness Pelagia, mother superior of St. Thecla convent in Maaloula; composer Andrei Kormukhin, coordinator of the Russian ‘Sorok Sorokov’ lay movement; Ms. Valentina Lantseva, president of the St. Paul charity foundation; staff members of the Russian Embassy in Syria and members of the Russian Orthodox Church living in the capital of Syria.

After the divine service Bishop Moises greeted the worshippers with the Nativity of Christ. Hegumen Arseny thanked the archpastor for celebrating at the church of the Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church in Damascus and presented him with an icon of St. Seraphim of Sarov with a particle of the relics of the saint.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5340165.html






Metropolitan Chrysostom of Dabrobosan: Patriarch of Constantinople and his Synod made a schismatic-sectarian mockup which they called the ‘church’



7 January 2019 - 15:40







Metropolitan Chrysostom of Dabrobosan, head of the Metropolia of the Serbian Orthodox Church, centered in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), in his Christmas address to the clergy and flock stated with regret that “celebration of the Nativity of Christ this year will go down in history of the split and fragmented Church.’ According to the archpastor, the unity of the Holy Orthodox Church ‘was attacked from within itself.’

The hierarch severely criticized the actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine, saying: “The Patriarch of Constantinople and his Synod, as if performing on a theatrical stage, played with the Mystery of the Church and its unity. They attacked not only the Church of the martyrs in Ukraine, but hit the entire Church of Christ, its holiness, catholicity, apostleship and – first of all – its unity. They betrayed Jesus Christ, who unites all and everything with him in himself. They tore apart the chiton of the unity of the Orthodox Church in order to make a schismatic-sectarian mockup which they called the “church” from the shreds of the schism generated by its enemies.

At this difficult time, Metropolitan Chrysostom called the entire Orthodox flock to remember martyrs and sufferers for Holy Orthodoxy in Ukraine and pray that God would grant them strength to unite with patience around God-Infant Christ, around His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine and all metropolitans and bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5340161.html






Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk celebrates Divine Liturgy in Gorny Convent



9 January 2019 - 15:58







On January 9, 2019, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, who is on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with a blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, celebrated the Divine Liturgy at Gorny Convent of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission. During the service at the convent’s Cathedral of All Saints, he was assisted by Archimandrite Alexander (Yelisov), head of the mission, and clergy of the mission and the convent.

Worshipping were sisters of the convent and pilgrims.

In his archpastoral homily, Metropolitan Hilarion conveyed greetings and a blessing from His Holiness Kirill upon the sisters of the convent and workers of the mission. He said that the aim of this trip to the Holy Land was to make a pilgrimage to the places where our Saviour walked and to meet with His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem and discuss church affairs with him.

Speaking about the celebrated Nativity of Christ, His Eminence underscored the importance of faith, stressing that Christ did not say ‘it is my power or the power of God that has healed you but ‘it is your faith that has saved you’.

His Eminence also spoke of the need for the faithful to commit themselves to the Divine will, just as Christ did; for ‘every suffering that the Lord sends us, every sorrow and every illness is sent for nothing else but for strengthening our faith’.

He also spoke about the need for the faithful to read the Gospel every day, as ‘each time it will open something new to us, deepen our knowledge of God and strengthen our faith because through this reading we come in touch with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself’.

In memory of the service celebrated that day, Metropolitan Hilarion gifted to the convent’s library a copy of his book ‘Jesus Christ. Life and Teaching’, which has come out in six volumes.

Addressing the mother superior and sisters of the convent, Metropolitan Hilarion said, ‘You are well aware that it is not a place that brings a person closer to God. One may be far away from this place while living with Christ, and one may be in the heart of holy places while having only temporal concerns in one’s heart. The Lord calls you to live up His life and bear His holy name in your heart and feel His Divine presence and every day go ever deeper in the knowledge of God’.

Addressing Metropolitan Hilarion, Archimandrite Alexander thanked him for the celebration in the convent, noting that for the workers of the mission and sisters of the convent and all those who serve in the Holy Land, such liturgies give a special blessing and spiritual joy.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5340522.html






Metropoltan Hilarion of Volokolamsk venerates shrines in Jerusalem and Bethlehem and celebrates Liturgy at the Lord’s Sepulcher



10 January 2019 - 11:24







Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations (DECR), has continued his pilgrimage to the Holy Land he is making with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

On January 9, 2019, he visited the church of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God built at Her tomb at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Gethsemane.

His Eminence venerated the shrines in the Russian convent of St. Mary Magdalene, among them the miracle-working Icon of Our Lady ‘Hodegetria’ and the honourable relics of Protomatyrs Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna and Sister Varvara who were murdered near Alapaevsk in 1918.

In the convent, the hierarch was welcomed by the head of the Ecclesiastical Mission of the Russian Church Outside Russia, Archimandrite Roman (Krasovsky) and the mother superior of the convent Sister Elizabeth (Shmelts) with sisters. Metropolitan Hilarion attended a thanksgiving at the relics of Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna and Sister Varvara in the church of St. Mary Magdalene.

His Eminence also visited the Catholic Church of All Nations built in Gethsemane in 1924.

Then Metropolitan Hilarion ascended the Mount of Olives to visit the Chapel of the Lord’s Ascension.

During his visit to the Convent of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives (Russian Church Outside Russia), His Eminence was greeted by Archimandrite Roman and Mother Superior Varvara (Novikova) with the sisters. The convent church is famous for its 60 m-high belfry called ‘Russian Candle’. This belfry is still the tallest point in Jerusalem. In the convent, there is also the place of the First and Second Founding of the head of St. John the Baptist and the stone on which the Mother of God is believed to stand during the Lord’s Ascension. Among the venerated shrines are the Icons of the Mother of God ‘Swift to Hearken’ and ‘In Search of the Perishing’ and parts of the relics of Russian saints.

In the Judaean Desert in the West Bank, there is a Monastery of St. Sava the Sanctified, built in 484. It was the next point in Metropolitan Hilarion’s pilgrimage. Its main shrines are the honourable relics of its founder and the tomb and caves of St. John Damascene.

Later that day, the archpastor came to Bethlehem, where he venerated the place of the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

On the night from January 9 to 10, His Eminence and Archbishop Isidoros of Hierapolis (Orthodox Church of Jerusalem) celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They were assisted by Archimandrite Alexander (Uelisov), head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, and clergy of the Patriarchates of Jerusalem, Moscow and Romania.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5340530.html






Diocese of Hungary clergy support Russian Orthodox Church position on anti-canonical actions of Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine



10 January 2019 - 14:38







On January 8, 2019, the Second Day of the Feast of the Nativity, the Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos, after the Divine Liturgy celebrated at the Cathedral of the Dormition in Budapest, Archbishop Anthony of Budapest and Vienna held a conference of the diocese of Budapest clergy.

Among the topics of the meeting was the difficult situation of Orthodoxy in Ukraine and the anti-canonical actions of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople who entered in the Eucharistic communion with representatives of the schismatic groups.

Each of the priests and deacons present at the meeting had an opportunity to freely express his opinion on the problem under discussion. Many of the speakers referred to their own experience of contacts with brothers in faith in Ukraine.

As a result of the open and confidential discussion, solidarity was expressed with the stand taken by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and the Holy Synod in this difficult situation.

The diocesan clergy asked Archbishop Anthony to convey to His Holiness Patriarch Krill their assurances of filial love and constant support in prayer, the diocesan site reports.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5354576.html






Metropolitan Hilarion meets with Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem



10 January 2019 - 16:48







On January 10, 2019, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations (DECR), who is on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land made with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, visited the Patriarchate of Jerusalem to meet with His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III of the Holy City of Jerusalem and All Palestine.

They were joined in their talk by Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, secretary-general of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Archbishop Demetrios of Lydda, secretary of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem Synod, Archimandrite Alexander (Yelisov), head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, and Hieromonk Dometian (Markarian), Russian Ecclesiastical Mission.

The sides discussed a wide range of issues of mutual concern. In particular, they touched upon the situation of Christians in the Middle East, various matters of bilateral relations between the Patriarchates of Jerusalem and Moscow and problems on the agenda of inter-Orthodox relations.

In conclusion of the meeting, which lasted for over an hour and a half and was held in a warm and friendly atmosphere, the sides exchanged tokens of the meeting.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5340534.html
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Old March 19th, 2019 #2
Alex Him
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Metropolitan Hilarion meets with Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the State of Israel



11 January 2019 - 09:27







On 10 January 2019, Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, currently on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, met with H.E. Alexander Viktorov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the State of Israel.

They were joined in the meeting, which took place at the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, by Archimandrite Alexander (Yelisov), head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, and Mr. Ivan Kurovskiy, counselor for economic affairs of the Russian Embassy.

Discussed were matters of mutual interest. After the exchange of memorable gifts Archimandrite Alexander gave a luncheon in honour of the guests.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5340538.html






Metropolitan Nicholas of Akhalkalaki and Kumurdo: Alarming is an assertion that Patriarchate of Constantinople has the exclusive right to interfere in the internal affairs of any Local Church



11 January 2019 - 10:04







In an interview to the InterPressNews Georgian news agency, a hierarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Nicholas of Akhalkalaki and Kumurdo, said that in order to take a decision concerning the actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine, a thorough examination of this matter is needed. Speaking about the newly created structure, Metropolitan Nicholas emphasized, in particular, that “in the current situation it is very important to ascertain the canonicity of ordination of those who are now referred to as the Ukrainian Church, since some of them were anathematized, and all the Orthodox Churches, including that of Constantinople, recognized the anathema.” According to the Georgian hierarch, some of these people have no apostolic consecration and therefore are self-proclaimed bishops. “How will these hierarchs con-celebrate the Divine Liturgy with us? We cannot recognize such religious figures without canonical consecration,” Metropolitan Nicholas added.

The hierarch mentioned that this issue had been discussed at a session of the Holy Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church and noted that the official letter concerning the Ukrainian issue, sent by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, “contains a rather alarming phrase that the Patriarchate of Constantinople has the exclusive right to interfere in the internal affairs of any Local Church.” “For me personally it is unacceptable, for it can cause many difficulties in future,” Vladyka Nicholas said.

The members of the Holy Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church decided to continue the examination of this issue during next meetings. As Metropolitan Nicholas of Akhalkalaki and Kumurdo noted, the participants in the session found it advisable to study the exact text of the tomos granted in Istanbul, as well as to hear opinions of other Local Orthodox Churches on this matter.

At the same time, Metropolitan Nicholas pointed out that the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church would not raise principle objections of the episcopate of the Georgian Patriarchate, “but it is necessary to take into account on what conditions this autocephaly is being applied.”




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5340646.html






Primate of the Orthodox Church of Poland: Actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine can provoke chaos



11 January 2019 - 11:05







In his talk with a journalist from Polityka newsmagazine His Beatitude Metropolitan Sawa of Warsaw and All Poland underscored that in the light of canon law “metropolitan Epifany” Dumenko (head of the newly created structure called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine”) is not a clergymen as he was not ordained by a canonical Church.

“Great harm was done to this young layman by appointing him a metropolitan.” Answering a question in the beginning of the interview Metropolitan Sawa said that he had not send greetings to him.

The Primate of the Orthodox Church of Poland believes that the pride of Filaret Denisenko used by the first President of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk lies at the root of the tragic situation in the church life in Ukraine. “The Ukrainian authorities should first unite the country and end war, and only then take up church matters,” His Beatitude said. He is convinced that “the faithful should decide which church they want to belong to” and continued to say that according to church canons, only the Church from which the schismatics have fallen away, but not the Patriarchate of Constantinople, has the right to restore them to her bosom provided that they repent and offer penance.

Metropolitan Sawa added that he had advised Patriarch Bartholomew not to do the intended actions and added that “the Patriarch of Antioch suggested convening a Pan-Orthodox Council as soon as possible to discuss the situation in Ukraine and find a canonical solution to the problem.”

His Beatitude said that the Orthodox Church of Poland takes its position on the basis of Orthodox dogma and canons and noted that “Patriarch Kirill is also ready for dialogue. His latest letter to Patriarch Bartholomew proves it. First of all, Moscow, Constantinople and Kiev should discuss the matter. If they find a solution, we will accept it.”

The Primate of the Orthodox Church of Poland said that violation of canon law is “a bad precedent.” Tomos can provoke chaos. “We cannot rule that in Poland, where over a million of Ukrainians live, a group of believers will appear for whom Filaret will try to organize his parishes in Poland. I recently heard that the Right Sector (prohibited in the RF) had already looked into a possible visit of Epifany to Poland. Chaos awaits us.”




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5340715.html






Metropolitan Hilarion completes his pilgrimage to Holy Land



12 January 2019 - 09:14







On January 10 and 11, 2019, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations (DECR), continued his pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

On January 10, after his meeting with His Beatitude Theophilos II, Patriarch of Jerusalem and All Palestine, the DECR chairman went to the Jordan River and after that visited the Russian museum and park compound located in the center of Jericho on the so-call “Joasaph’s” area of about 10 hectares. This land was purchased in 1886 by Hieromonk Joasaph (Plekhanov) with the funds given by Russian benefactor Helen Reznichanko and later handed over to the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society. Surviving there is the orange-tree garden planted by Father Joasaph and several pise buildings. In 2008, the Palestinian authorities gave this land back to Russia. Archaeologists discovered there ruins of a 5-century Byzantine church.

The compound was opened in January 2011. Growing in the park are plants mentioned in the Bible, and its main object of note is Zacchaeus’s fig tree. In the museum, there are archaeological discoveries including Jewish, Byzantine, Roman and Arab coins, artefacts, church vessels and fragments of Byzantine mosaic. His Eminence Hilarion met with the director of the museum and park compound, R. Dikansky.

On January 11, Metropolitan Hilarion celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission representation in Tiberias dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene Equal-to-the-Apostles. The archpastor was assisted by Hieromonk Dometian (Markarian), deputy head of the Mission, and Rev. Alexander Karzan, DECR.

This land was purchased by Archimandrite Leonid (Sentsov), head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, in 1908. The St. Mary Magdalene church was built there in 1962. In the 90s, the church walls were painted with frescoes reflecting events linked with the Sea of Galilee also called Lake Tiberias or Lake of Gennisaret.

Addressing the worshippers, His Eminence conveyed them a blessing from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, ‘who has sent me to the Holy Land to meet with His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos II of Jerusalem and All Palestine and make a pilgrimage to holy places’. He spoke of many events from the life of the Lord Jesus Christ that took place there. He also thanked the workers of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission and nuns of the Gorny Convent who host Russian pilgrims there.

After the service, Metropolitan Hilarion visited the Monastery of the Twelve Apostles built by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in 1925 in the eastern part of the ruins of Capernaum that saw many events of the earthly life of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Catholic church in Tabgha was the next point in the pilgrimage. According to tradition, it was built at the place where the Lord worked a miracle by feeding five thousand people with five loaves and two fish.

Then Metropolitan Hilarion ascended the Mount of Beatitudes on which the Saviour said His Sermon on the Mount.

On Mount Tabor, the place of the Transfiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ, Metropolitan Hilarion visited the Convent of the Transfiguration (Patriarchate of Jerusalem). It was built in the 19th century on the remains of the Byzantine Basilica built by Queen Helena Equal-to-the-Apostles. Among those who helped to build the church were the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society and other benefactors from Russia.

On Mt. Tabor, His Eminence also visited the Catholic monastery of the Holy Transfiguration.

In Nazareth, where our Saviour lived in His childhood, boyhood and youth, Metropolitan Hilarion visited the Patriarchate of Jerusalem Metropolis of Nazareth to meet with Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth.

Then His Eminence went to the place where, according to tradition, the Holy Family lived.

In Cana of Galilee identified in the Gospel’s history as a place of the Saviour’s first miracle, when, at the marriage feast, He turned water into wine, Metropolitan Hilarion visited the Monastery of Protomartyr George the Conqueror (Patriarchate of Jerusalem) built at the place believed to be the house of St. Simon the Canaanite. The icon screen installed in the church was gifted by the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society. In the church, there are stone water yokes of the New Testament times and the venerated icon of St. Simeon the Canaanite.

In the evening, Metropolitan Hilarion returned to the Russian Mission in Jerusalem, where the head of the mission, Archimandrite Alexzander (Yelisov), gave a farewell dinner in honour of the high guest and his fellow travellers.

In his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, the DECR chairman was accompanied by Hieromonk Dometian (Markarian), deputy head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, and Father Alexander Karzan and Mr. Ph. Champion, DECR, as wells as Sub-deacons I. Nikolaev and V. Li, and Orthodox layman A. Rybakov.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5354580.html






Metropolitan Hilarion: The Russian Orthodox Church originated in Kiev, not in Moscow, not in St. Petersburg



14 January 2019 - 13:04







Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, gave an interview to the TV channel RT.


– What can the Moscow Patriarchate do to support the Ukrainian Orthodox Church?

– First of all, we are praying for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, for Ukraine and for the Ukrainian people. At every Liturgy we offer special petitions and prayers to God that He helps our Ukrainian brothers and sisters survive at this difficult time of persecution by the Ukrainian political authorities. I deliberately call it persecution because what is happening in Ukraine is evidently an intervention of the state in the internal affairs of the Churches. It was the state which initiated the process of granting autocephaly to two schismatic groups, unified with the view of receiving this document from the Patriarchate of Constantinople. It is the Ukrainian authorities which now insist that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church should change its name. However, according to the international norms, a Church itself should choose its name; it is not for the state to grant the Church a particular name. Yet, this is what is happening in Ukraine. We also note that many representatives of the Ukrainian authorities are considering measures aimed at transferring the property from the canonical Church to the newly created church organization. It concerns, in particular, the two great monasteries – the Kiev Caves Lavra and the Pochaev Lavra. Each of these monasteries has several hundred monks. Besides, the Kiev Theological Academy is located in the Kiev Caves Lavra. So, it is impossible to imagine what will happen to these monks and to the students of the Theological Academy, if these properties will be transferred to the newly created church organization which has not many, but just a few monks. It is not clear at all who will be living in these monasteries and what fate awaits the monks once they are expelled from their abodes. We hope very much that it will not happen, that, as Mr. Poroshenko said many times, each person will be able to choose to which church to go and that there will be no violent seizures of monasteries, churches or other properties.

– Some Orthodox Churches, like Polish, Serbian and Antiochian, have already voiced their stance, opposing what the Patriarchate of Constantinople did in Ukraine. Since you deal with the exterior relationships of the Russian Orthodox Church, can you tell us about the stance of other Orthodox Churches around the world?

– As of today, not a single Orthodox Church has expressed any support for the Patriarchate of Constantinople in its actions in Ukraine. No support was given either during the preliminary stages or during the granting of “autocephaly,” and as far as I know, not a single letter of congratulations was sent to this newly created organization, in spite of the insistence of the Patriarch of Constantinople that the other Orthodox Churches should recognize it as a newly created autocephalous Church. We shall see how it goes in the future. It is difficult to predict the Churches’ reaction to a letter which they will receive from the Patriarch of Constantinople and in which he will invite them to recognize this new church organization. But as of today, as I said, there is no support for the actions of Constantinople. Three Orthodox Churches officially expressed their dissatisfaction, disagreement with and dismay at what is being done by the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Each of these Churches presented it in a different way. Especially strong was the wording of the Serbian Patriarchate and the Serbian bishops who openly expressed their disagreement with the whole course of actions taken by Constantinople. Very firm also is the position of the Patriarch of Antioch and the Metropolitan of Poland.

– At the moment the Russian Orthodox Church has nearly cut all ties with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Are there any conditions for the relationships between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Patriarchate of Constantinople to be back in action again?

– I should remind you that it is not the first time in history when the Moscow Patriarchate is not in communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. There was a similar occasion in the mid-15th century when the Patriarch of Constantinople signed a union with Rome. Back then the bishops in Moscow elected their metropolitan without Constantinople’s consent, not because they did not want to receive such consent, but because there was no Orthodox Patriarch in Constantinople at the time. There was a Uniate Patriarch, and the Russian Church did not accept Uniatism. Later on, of course, other Patriarchs disagreed with the actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and then it returned to Orthodoxy. But there were years, during which the Patriarchate of Constantinople, by being united with Rome, was not in communion with the other Churches, including the Russian Orthodox Church, subordinate to Constantinople at the time. Many people are asking how we are going to survive without communion with Constantinople. I should remind you that for almost ten centuries we have been surviving without communion with Rome, and from the point of view of the Church of Rome, the Church in the proper sense is the one eucharistically united with Rome, and we are not. They recognize our sacraments, our priesthood, but still their official documents state that we are lacking one of the essential marks of the Church, that is, communion with Rome. Now the Patriarchate of Constantinople in its papist aspirations decided to employ the same rhetoric, saying that the Orthodox Church is the one in communion with Constantinople. But what happens if the Patriarch of Constantinople himself is in schism or in heresy or if he acts contrary to the will of the other Orthodox Churches? We are in a situation when we cannot be in the Eucharistic communion with Constantinople and nobody knows how long it will continue, maybe again for ten centuries, like it is with the Church of Rome. Maybe it will be a shorter period. It will depend on Constantinople. They have done what they have done, and it is difficult to imagine that they will reverse their actions, so it is equally difficult to imagine that we will restore communion with Constantinople.

– Now, unfortunately, when we are talking about Constantinople, we are talking about the new religious entity in Ukraine as well. In September, if I may quote you, you said that it is too early to compare the situation in Ukraine to the Nazi occupation of Eastern Europe. That was when all Jews had to wear a yellow Star of David on their clothing. A few months have passed already, and we are hearing more and more threats against representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate. The comparison that you made in September, is it more relevant now?

– This comparison is obviously more relevant now, because the Ukrainian state insists that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church should adopt a new name which must include the name of Russia as the “aggressor country,” as they say. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is not the Russian Church. It consists of the Ukrainians who were born in Ukraine, who are citizens of Ukraine and who are in no way citizens or agents of Russia. The only link that exists between the Ukrainian Church and the Moscow Patriarchate is the liturgical commemoration of the Patriarch. There is no other link. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is a self-governing Church, which means that there is no administrative, financial or any other dependence on Moscow – there is only this spiritual link inherited from history, which helps us be and feel ourselves as one Church. The Russian Orthodox Church originated in Kiev, not in Moscow, not in St. Petersburg. Kiev is our baptismal font. We respect political borders, but we also expect political leaders to respect self-consciousness of the faithful in Russia, in Ukraine, in Byelorussia, in Moldova, and in other states in which the Russian Orthodox Church has its presence. Recently we have often heard from representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople that it recognizes the Moscow Patriarchate in the borders in which it existed at the end of the 16th century, when the Eastern Patriarchs recognized the Patriarch of Moscow as the fifth among them. They say that what happened afterwards was an unlawful expansion of the Russian Orthodox Church. It is very strange to hear these arguments, for they imply that the missionary work of the Russian Orthodox Church in the territories that were gradually added to the Russian Empire was something unlawful. They imply that the Russian Orthodox Church should have remained within the limits of the Moscow principalities, and that all new lands added to the Russian Empire should not have been an area of missionary activities of the Church. We cannot accept such arguments. We find them foolish and believe that the Patriarchate of Constantinople is very, very wrong in these deliberations.

– Orthodox Churches around the world have equal status, but Constantinople has always been the so-called first among equals. You said in your earlier interviews that this is no longer true. So, is there anybody who is playing this role now, or anybody who is to become the first among equals?

– In the diptych, which we currently use, the first is the Patriarch of Alexandria. I repeat that it is not the first time when the Patriarch of Alexandria de facto occupies the first place. There was the Third Ecumenical Council which condemned the heretical Patriarch of Constantinople, Nestorius, and it was the Patriarch of Alexandria, Cyril, who played a leading role in denouncing Nestorius, convincing the bishops gathered together from all over the world that the teaching proclaimed by Patriarch Nestorius was a heretical one. So now in our diptych the Patriarch of Alexandria occupies the first place, but the first place in an Orthodox diptych is not something like the primacy of the Pope in the Catholic Church, because the Catholic Church has a unified structure, and the Pope is considered the head of the Church. According to the Orthodox ecclesiology, to the Orthodox teaching about the Church, Jesus Christ Himself is the Head of the Church. And administratively the Orthodox Church is a confederation (using the language of civil society and a comparison with a political structure) of independent Churches which are not subordinate to each other, even if by protocol they occupy certain places. It is, for example, like countries in the United Nations. They are listed in a certain order, but it does not mean that one country is subordinate to another one. In the same way, the Orthodox world has never known subordination of one Church to another Church. Now the Patriarchate of Constantinople wants to create such subordination, and the newly established organization in Ukraine is an “autocephalous church” (I say it in inverted commas), designed in accordance with the desires of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. It is not a truly independent Church, because the tomos granted to it lays down many conditions on which it receives this so-called “autocephaly.” One of the conditions is that it should recognize the Patriarch of Constantinople as their head. Another condition is that any bishop and any clergyman, even priest or deacon, from this so-called “church of Ukraine” can appeal to the Patriarch of Constantinople, if he disagrees with his own bishop or with his own church authorities, and it is the Patriarch of Constantinople who will resolve such matters. Besides, this “church” is deprived of the right to establish parishes in the Diaspora. In practice it will mean that the Ukrainians who are living in the Diaspora, and there are many of them in Italy, Spain, Portugal and other European countries, as well as in the USA, will go to parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church, as they do now. Even if they wanted to go to the Ukrainian parishes, there is no such possibility for this newly created church organization.

– There is a new religious entity in Ukraine at the moment. Does it have a future, in your opinion, and what kind of future awaits this new religious entity? Can we talk about long term, short term or we cannot predict anything at this point?

– I do not think I should predict what will happen in the future. I only deeply regret that the Patriarchate of Constantinople took this position. It is clear to me that it is a revenge for non-participation of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Council of Crete which was convoked by the Patriarch of Constantinople and in which we did not take part because of non-participation of several other Churches. For some reasons the Patriarch of Constantinople believes that the Russian Orthodox Church prompted these other Churches, namely the Churches of Antioch, Bulgaria and Georgia, not to attend the Council. In reality, it was the other way round. These Churches decided against participating, and it was only after they had announced it that our Church took a decision not to attend the Council. But as I said, the Patriarch of Constantinople was convinced by someone that the Russian Orthodox Church had plotted against Constantinople, and what we see now is a revenge. I think they will reap what they sow.

– Patriarch Bartholomew, like you said earlier, is trying to divide the Russian Orthodox Church. Do you think it is coming out of vengeance or something like that?

– This is what I say, and this is what many people in the Orthodox Churches which I visited say. Even many of the Primates told me that Patriarch Bartholomew was deeply offended by the Russian Orthodox Church and that he believed that the Russian Orthodox Church had organized the plot. In fact, Patriarch Bartholomew himself told me about a year ago, when I visited him, that in his opinion it was the Russian Orthodox Church which instigated this non-participation of the other Churches in the Council of Crete. I was unable to convince him otherwise.

– It is like his eyes and ears are closed, right?

– Yes, and he turns a deaf ear to many voices and many warnings coming from the other Local Orthodox Churches. We know that several Churches openly voiced their disagreement with his actions, and in private conversations representatives of several Churches advised him against going along this path. Regrettably, he did not listen either to Patriarch Kirill who visited him personally on the 31st of August, or to the other Primates.

– It became evident with the recent events that the authority of the Patriarchate of Constantinople has been diminished, no matter what is happening. What repercussions will that diminished authority have for the rest of the Orthodox world?

– The division which existed in Ukraine now exists in the rest of the Orthodox world as well. We shall see how the Orthodox Churches will respond to the establishment of this new church organization. I very much hope that they will not recognize it. In the event that some of the Churches recognize this newly created organization, the division will be likely to deepen. We do hope that it will not happen and that the Orthodox Churches will stand in solidarity with each other, as they did before.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5353558.html






A boarding school in Damascus receives aid from Russian religious communities



16 January 2019 - 14:44







The administration of the Damascus boarding school for children of deceased Syrian servicemen sent a letter to the chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, expressing their gratitude for the aid delivered to the school before the New Year celebrations.

In response to the school’s request, with the blessing of Metropolitan Hilarion, on New Year’s eve the interreligious Working Group for Rendering Aid to the Population of Syria of the Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations of the President of the Russian Federation, with the assistance of the Arabian Diaspora Regional Non-Governmental Organization, supplied with warm flooring the school’s classrooms and rooms in which pupils live.

The letter noted timeliness of this action, as well as of the deliverance of warm clothes for the pupils during Metropolitan Hilarion’s visit to Damascus in November 2018.

The administration of the school thanked the Russian religious communities and all those who took part in this project and emphasized that the aid rendered by the Russian faithful to the Syrian brothers strengthens the historical ties of friendship between the peoples of the two countries.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5357350.html
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Radicals seize church buildings of Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Chernigov and Lvov regions



17 January 2019 - 10:26







On January 16, 2019, the Church of the Holy Ascension of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Olenevka village, Borzna district, Chernigov region, was seized. It was done on instruction from the chairman the district state administration, with the active involvement of radicals and under the passive eye of police.

Members of S14 terrorist group used an angle grinder to break the lock. Some fifty young men broke into the church. They had no authorization documents confirming the legitimacy of their actions.

It occurred with the support of the Borzna district state administration which the day before had spread false information, alleging that the majority of the villagers had voted in favour of transferring the local religious community to the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”

According to the senior villager, Vladimir Krivtsy, 907 people are living in Olenevka, and taking part in the meeting were 72 villagers and 25 “guests.” As he noted, 37 people out of some 100 present voted for the “transfer.” However, the minutes of the meeting read that the decision was taken unanimously. The participants in the meeting say that only 26 people supported the “transfer,” and most of them had nothing to do with the local community.

Yet, the website of the Borzna district state administration states that “by a majority vote members of the Olenevka community took the decision to move to the Local Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”

In reality, parishioners of the Church of the Holy Ascension totally opposed such initiatives of the officials, spokespersons of the Nezhin diocese report. The parishioners gathered at their church in order to express their dissatisfaction and protest against such decisions, but they were not permitted to do so. The priest and parishioners were not let to enter the church.

The radicals came to the village on two buses, illegally seized the church and let the so-called “priests of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine” in the building. Later they posted in social networks photos from a molyeben celebrated in this church and told that representatives of the Svoboda association had joined them.

That same day supporters of the church structure recognized by Constantinople seized the Church of St. John the Baptist in Shandrovets village, Turka district, Lvov region. Aggressively disposed people, led by the village council chairman, broke the door down and seized the priest’s house. After that they went to the church and broke the lock at its front door.

Earlier, on January 13, a meeting of the villagers took place, initiated by the chairman of the Shandrovets village council, Alexei Popil. Among those present was Alexander Labetsky, chairman of the Turka district state administration. The participants in the meeting took a decision to transfer the Church of St. John the Baptist to the jurisdiction of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.” However, according to Archpriest Iliya Urusky, rector of the church, his parishioners and he were told about the meeting an hour before it started. During the meeting, a divine service was being celebrated in the church, therefore, the members of the religious community could not attend the gathering. As the result, the decision was taken without them.

As spokespersons of the Lvov diocese noted, representatives of the authorities neglected the rights of the parishioners of the church which is in the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, thus flagrantly violating the laws of Ukraine.

“Neither parishioners nor the rector of the church do not agree with the decision taken by the village community concerning the transfer to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and will remain faithful to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” representatives of the Press Service of the Lvov diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church said, “That is why we ask the authorities concerned and the mass media to interfere and protect the faithful and the rector of the Church of St. John the Baptist from infringement on their freedom of religion.”




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5357859.html






Christmas reception at Russian Consulate General in New York



17 January 2019 - 11:07







On January 15, 2019, the Russian Federation Consulate General in New York gave an official Christmas reception on behalf of Consul General S. K. Ovsyannikov and the Moscow Patriarchate Representation in the USA.

Among the guests were Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, vicar of the diocese of Eastern America; Bishop Irinej, administrator of the Serbian Orthodox Church diocese of Eastern America; Ms. Marijana Zivkovic, Serbia Consul General in New York; Archpriest Thomas Zain, rector of the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, Metropolis of Antioch in the USA; clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate parishes in the USA and the Russian Church Outside Russia and the Serbian Patriarchate, as well as representatives of diplomatic missions of various countries and public and cultural figures in America.

Mr. Ovsyannikov and Bishop Nicholas addressed the gathering with Christmas greetings and the New Year wishes.

The Passion-bearer Emperor Nicholas Choir of the Russian Church Outside Russia sang traditional Christmas hymns and folk songs, the site of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA reports.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5354960.html






Supporters of Constantinople-recognized church structure in Ukraine capturing churches of Ukrainian Orthodox Church



17 January 2019 - 13:34







Despite repeated statements of Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko that – in spite of the creation of a new church structure inspired with his participation – each person will be free to choose to which church to come and that there will be no forcible captures of monasteries, churches and other facilities, new reports keep coming about actions of radicals and local authorities aimed to effect a lawless transfer of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church parishes to the jurisdiction of the schismatic association which has received ‘autocephaly’ from Constantinople.

Thus, proponents of ‘the Orthodox Church of Ukraine’, supported by radicals from the Svoboda all-Ukraine nationalistic association and the chairman of the village council, have captured an old church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker at the Vorsovka village, Malin district, Zhitomir region, the UOC information and education department reports. The capture of the church building which belongs to the religious community of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, took place on January 13, 2019, in the presence of over a dozen Malin police officers.

Earlier, on January 10, the Vorsovka villagers had a meeting during which a conflict broke out between the OCU supporters and the community of the canonical Church, which does not wish to join the schismatics. Aggressive activists decided to take possession of the UOC community property. However, parishioners did not let the crown enter the church. Then, with the support of village council chairman Petr Podruchniy and head of the Malin Svoboda branch Nikolay Polinovsky, the church was sealed up. As a result of the incident, the rector of the canonical Church’s community, Archpriest Vasily Simchuk, suffered a hypertonic crisis and was hospitalized.

Archpriest Vitaly, rector of the church of the Protecting Veil in Malin, was appointed as acting rector of the parish. On January 13, together with parishioners he planned to hold a prayer service by the St. Nicholas church. However, the OCU supporters prevented them from coming close to the church, and the service had to be held right in the street. ‘I do not know how divine services will be celebrated next but we will do all that is possible for us to serve if not in the church, then by it’, Father Vitaly commented on the situation.

Supporters of the schismatic ‘Orthodox Church of Ukraine’ have also captured the St. Michael church in Krasnovolya village, Manevits district in Volhyn, reports the site of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church diocese of Volhyn. The incident took place on January 13, 2019, before the Sunday service planned to be presided over by Bishop Nafanail of Volhyn and Lutsk. Radicals blocked the entrance to the church and, after exerting pressure on the rector of the community, Archpriest Andrey Genalyuk, took possession of his keys. There were threats and offences addressed to the clergy and faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

After the St. Michael church was captured, new locks were installed in the church doors. Bishop Nafanail, clergy and laity who had gathered for the service had to go for the liturgy to a neighbouring village.

The law-enforcement officers who came to the scene recorded an offence and accepted an appropriate statement from the rector of the community. The diocese of Volhyn demanded that an urgent legal action should be taken in response to the actions of the initiators and captors of the St. Michael church at the village of Krasnovolya.

Provocations have continued with regard to churches belonging to the canonical Church.

On January 15, an act of vandalism was committed with regard to the stone fence of the Cathedral of the Holy Transfiguration in Sumy, a 19th-centure architectural monument, the diocese of Sumy internet portal reports. Unknown people made a provocative inscription on the fence with defamatory statements against the canonical Church. ‘The fence of the cathedral is an architectural monument to be safeguarded by law. But it did not stop the malefactors who stir up enmity on religious grounds by propagating ungrounded accusations’, the comments made on the incident in the diocese.

During the night of January 13, activists of the C14 (‘Sich’, Ukr. Cossack Host) nationalist organization wrote slogans on churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Churches in Lvov and wrote about it in social media, Vesti-ukr.com reports. Vandals damaged the fence and gates of the Cathedral of St. George and the door of the Holy Prince Vladimir Equal-to-the-Apostles in the Sikhov neighborhood, which had been restored after a fire. Similar actions with regards of the churches of the canonical Church in Lvov were also committed earlier, in November 2018.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5355019.html






The Ukrainian Orthodox Church regards the law on subordination of religious organizations adopted by the Verkhovna Rada as a violation of the Constitution of Ukraine



17 January 2019 - 18:57







The bill No. 4128-d on subordination of religious organizations and procedure of state registration of religious organizations with the status of legal entity, adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on January 17, 2019, violates the Constitution and international obligations of Ukraine, Archbishop Clement of Nezhin and Priluki, chairman of the UOC Information and Education Department, said to a correspondent of TASS news agency.

“This law, introducing changes to the subordination of religious communities, is a flagrant violation of the Constitution of Ukraine and the international obligations that it took on as a law-governed democratic state,” Archbishop Clement added and noted that this legislative act brutally violates the fundamental rights and freedoms of believers. “It is confirmed by reports of authoritative international organizations monitoring religious legislation,” the hierarch said.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5358307.html






Representative of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to the Patriarch of Antioch takes part in meeting with Syrian President



18 January 2019 - 13:14







On January 17, 2019, the President of the Inter-Parliament Assembly of Orthodoxy and Russian State Duma member, S. A. Gavrilov, visited the Damascus representation of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Russian parliament member attended a thanksgiving celebrated at the representation’s church of St. Ignatius the God-bearer by its rector, Hegumen Arseny (Sokolov), representative of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to the Patriarch of Great Antioch and All the East.

Mr. Gavrilov presented the representation church a bell cast in Voronezh according to a special technology.

Mr. Gavrilov had a talk with Hegumen Arseny at the representation’s receptions hall to discuss issues of mutual concern.

After that, Hegumen Arseniy took part in a meeting between the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and a delegation of the Russian parliamentarians, public figures and entrepreneurs.

The delegation included Mr. Sergei Gavrilov, president of the Interparliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy and deputy of the State Duma; Mr. Dmitry Sablin, deputy of the State Duma; and representatives of the Russian non-governmental organizations and entrepreneurs.

Greeting the President of Syria on behalf of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Hegumen Arseniy said in particular, “Mr. President, all the power in the universe belongs to the Almighty, and He gives it to whomever He wishes. May the Almighty pour wisdom into your heart for leading the Syrian people at this difficult time! The future of the peoples of the Middle East, as well as of the entire humanity, including Russia, depends on what occurs in the Middle East. May the Almighty grant peace to the Syrian people and to the whole of mankind!”

The participants in the meeting exchanged opinions on a wide range of issues pertaining to the humanitarian situation, foreign policy and economy.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5360298.html






DECR chairman meets with the newly appointed Ambassador of Hungary to Russia



21 January 2019 - 12:55







On 21 January, 2019, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), met with H.E. Norbert Konkoly, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Hungary to the Russian Federation.

They were joined at the meeting, which took place at the DECR premises, by Archbishop Antony of Vienna and Budapest, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Administration for Institutions Abroad; Archpriest Sergy Zvonarev, DECR secretary for far abroad countries; and Mr. Gábor Gergics, counselor of the Embassy of Hungary in Russia.

Metropolitan Hilarion warmly greeted the guests and shared with them his six years’ experience as a ruling hierarch of the Hungarian diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Ambassador Konkoly thanked Metropolitan Hilarion for the meeting, congratulated those present on the feast of the Epiphany and told them about the intensive development of the Russian-Hungarian relations, including the sphere of culture. The Ambassador underscored that the government of Hungary shows great consideration for cooperation with the Russian Orthodox Church expressed also in the state grants for restoration of church buildings of the Hungarian diocese.

Metropolitan Hilarion asked Ambassador Konkoly to convey his gratitude to the Hungarian authorities for their attention to the needs of Orthodox believers in Hungary.

Archbishop Antony told the Ambassador about current state of restoration in the churches of the Hungarian diocese, including the Cathedral of the Dormition in Budapest.

At the end of the meeting Metropolitan Hilarion and Ambassador Konkoly exchanged memorable gifts.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5357865.html






Annual Christmas dinner takes place at Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs with participation of church officials



21 January 2019 - 18:41







On January 21, 2019, the annual Christmas dinner held was at the Reception House of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the invitation of leaders of the Russian foreign affairs department.

Among the guests from the Church were Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations (DECR), Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, a DECR vice-chairman; Archimandrite Philaret (Bulekov), a DECR vice-chairman; Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations; Archpriest Sergiy Zvonarev, DECR secretary for the far abroad countries; and Rev. Dimitry Safonov, DECR secretary for interreligious relations.

From the Ministry of Foreign Relations, there were G. Karasin, state secretary and deputy minister of foreign affairs; S. Grigoryev, director of the division for relations with the Federation constituent regions, parliament and public organizations (DRPO); A. Rudenko, director of the second division for the CIS countries; A. Sternik, director of the third division for the CIS counties; I. Mozgo, DRPO deputy director; M. Melekh, head of the DRPO department for relations with major Russia religious associations; and I. Korostelyov, DRPO first secretary.

During the dinner held in a warm atmosphere, topics of mutual concern were discussed. After the meeting, Metropolitan Hilarion and Mr. Karasin exchanged souvenirs. The DECR chairman also presented gifts to other participants in the dinner from the ministry.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5358235.html
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(c) Alan Alexander Miln
 
Old March 20th, 2019 #4
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Primate of Orthodox Church of Antioch receives delegation of Russian parliamentarians



22 January 2019 - 15:32







On 17 January 2019, the Russian delegation led by Mr. Dmitry Sablin, deputy of the State Duma and vice-chairman of the ‘Combat Brotherhood’ veteran organization, visited the residence of the Patriarch of Antioch in Damascus and met with His Beatitude Patriarch John X of the Great Antioch and All the East.

The delegation included Mr. Sergei Gavrilov, president of the Interparliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy and deputy of the State Duma; Mr. Dmitry Belik, deputy of the State Duma; and representatives of the Russian charitable organizations and entrepreneurs.

Taking part in the meeting were also Bishop Luke of Seidnaya, vicar of His Beatitude Patriarch John, and Hegumen Arseniy (Sokolov), representative of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to the Patriarch of the Great Antioch and All the East.

Summing up the results of the meeting, Mr. Sergei Gavrilov noted that the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Antioch supported the intention of the Russian Orthodox Church to preserve the unity of canonical Orthodoxy all over the world.

Patriarch John X expressed his opinion that “the schism in Ukraine organized by those who are not Orthodox Christians is a political process under religious cover,” and his regret that the Patriarch of Constantinople “does not hear the voice of faith.”

“There is a risk that the schismatics will become extremist groups, alien to Orthodoxy. Attempts are being made by the Western structures to undermine the integrity of the Orthodox Church of Antioch in Syria. It is necessary to prevent the unfolding of the anti-Orthodox scenario in the bosom of one of the most ancient Orthodox Churches. The Orthodox Churches of Antioch and Russia have unique ties,” Mr. Gavrilov said.

The Primate of the Orthodox Church of Antioch conveyed cordial greetings to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia with the anniversary of his enthronement.

His Beatitude Patriarch John thanked Mr. Sablin and the ‘Combat Brotherhood’ organization for their financial aid in restoring the Convent of St. Thecla in Maaloula that had been seized and partly destroyed by militants during the war.

After the meeting the members of the delegation, accompanied by Bishop Luke, proceeded to the Patriarch Maryamieh Cathedral in Damascus and prayed at the molyeben celebrated there with the blessing of His Beatitude Patriarch John by Hegumen Arseniy.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5360312.html






Patriarch Theophilos III receives pilgrims from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church



22 January 2019 - 16:27







A group of clergymen and laymen headed by Bishop Viktor of Artsiz from the Odessa and Izmail diocese made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to venerate the ancient holy sites of Palestine and Jerusalem. The pilgrimage was blessed by their ruling hierarch Metropolitan Agafangel.

On 22 January 2019, the believers from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) were received by Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem at his residence, the UOC Information and Educational Department report with reference to the press service of the Odessa diocese.

Talking with the pilgrims His Holiness Patriarch Theophilos said that he prays for peace in Ukraine and conveyed his primatial blessing to the faithful children of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5361473.html






Oratorio dedicated to Andrei Rublev is performed in Vatican



22 January 2019 - 17:45







On 20 January 2019, a concert dedicated to Andrei Rublev was performed at the Basilica of St. John Lateran being timed to the 30th anniversary of the canonization of the great Russian iconographer.

The concert in honour of the saint canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church was performed for the first time in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. The Moscow Synodal Choir, the Choir of the Roman diocese and the Fideles et Amati symphonic orchestra performed the Smotrenje Lo Squardo Oratorio by Monsignor Marco Frisina who acted as a conductor.

At the beginning of the concert, the Moscow Synodal Choir conducted by its artistic director Alexei Puzakov, the honoured artist of Russia, and by Mikhail Kotelnikov, artistic director of the Youth Synodal Choir, performed “The Cherubic Hyman” and “In Thy Kingdom” composed by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk.

The idea of this performance belongs to Monsignor Marco Frizina and was supported by the Moscow Department of Culture, the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, the Embassy of the Russian Federation to the Vatican City State and the Pontifical Lateran University.

“The Russian side considers the joint performance of the contemporary Italian music dedicated to the Russian iconographer very important. In Rublev’s creative work we find such traditional Christian values as love and mutual understanding,” Alexei Puzakov said. Commenting on the event, H.E. Aleksandr Avdeyev, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Vatican City State, underlined its importance, saying that it was a sign of good relations between the RF and the Holy See.

The Moscow Synodal Choir performs in Rome for the fourth time. In 2014, 2015 and 2016 it performed musical pieces of the Western and Eastern Christian traditions together with the Sistine Chapel Choir at the Sistine Chapel in Vatican, at the at the Papal Basilica of St. Peter, the Cathedral of St. John Lateran and the Basilica of S. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5361452.html






Archbishop Abel of Lublin: The schism can only be overcome through repentance



22 January 2019 - 18:10







On 20 January 2019, after the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God in the city of Borispol, Archbishop Abel of Lublin and Chelm expressed support to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and its Primate His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the UOC Information and Education Department reports.

“The Lord has vouchsafed me today to participate with you in the Divine Liturgy, celebrated by His Beatitude the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Vladyka Onufry. I have the honour of knowing you, Your Beatitude, for over thirty years,” the hierarch of the Polish Orthodox Church said.

Archbishop Abel also conveyed to all those present greetings from His Beatitude Metropolitan Sawa of Warsaw and All Poland.

“Throughout its history, the Orthodox Church in Poland endured many ordeals. And today, standing at God’s Altar as a Synaxis of saints are martyrs of my diocese, hieromartyrs of the land of Chelm and Lublin. That is why, perhaps, we better than anyone understand the current situation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” the Polish hierarch said.

His Eminence also emphasized that the Polish Orthodox Church was and would always be firm and steadfast in defending the truth. “Always and everywhere we will say that the schism can only be overcome through repentance, through fasting. We believe that the deep prayer of the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry, will be heard and that after sufferings the joy of the Paschal triumph will come,” Archbishop Abel added, “We, in Poland, will be praying for the victory of Paschal joy to resound with triumph in our hearts.”

“It will be a joy not only for the Ukrainian people who understand the meaning of ecclesiastical discipline, but also for all the Local Churches,” Archbishop Abel added, “I wholeheartedly wish this moment of our shared Orthodox joy to come as soon as possible. May the Most Holy Theotokos cover all her children with her omophorion. May our prayer reach her so that she could bring our supplications to her Only-Begotten Son. And we are praying to the Most Holy Lady, saying, ‘Accept the prayers of your servants and deliver us from every need and sorrow’.”




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5361456.html






Round Table ‘Violation of Believers’ Rights in Ukraine’ takes place in Moscow



25 January 2019 - 11:01







On 24 January 2019, a multimedia round table ‘Violation of Believers’ Rights in Ukraine’ organized by the Russian Association for the Defense of Religious Freedom took place at the International multimedia press centre MIA ‘Russia Today.”

Among those attending were Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, deputy chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, and Mr. Vakhtang Kipshidze, deputy chairman of the Synodal Department for Church’s Relations with Society and Mass Media.

Report “Church Issue in Ukraine: From Schism to Catastrophe’ prepared by the Russian Association for the Defense of Religious Freedom and the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights was presented and discussed.

Also discussed were expert comments on the Law of Ukraine № 2662-VIII of 20 December 2018 on amendments to Article 12 of the Law of Ukraine on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations. It is planned to translate the Report and the comments into English and send it to the OSCE Office for democratic institutions and human rights, the UN Human Rights Committee, the Council of Europe, international human rights and non-governmental organizations.

Discussed at the Round Table were also topical issues of monitoring the violations of rights and freedoms of believers and of the interference of states into the affairs of religious organizations and communities.

Representatives of public, religious and human rights organizations expressed their unanimous support to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that is being subjected to discrimination and unprecedented pressure from the authorities.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5361485.html






Metropolitan Hilarion meets with Ambassador of Malta to Russia



25 January 2019 - 14:53







On 25 January 2019, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR) met with H.E. Pierre Clive Agius, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Malta to the Russian Federation.

They were joined at the meeting by Archpriest Sergy Zvonarev, DECR secretary for far abroad countries, and Ms Alisa Fateyeva, assistant to the Ambassador.

Metropolitan Hilarion warmly greeted the guests at the Synodal department in charge of foreign relations of the Russian Church. Ambassador Agius thanked him for the meeting and told him about his career as a diplomat and his work in Moscow.

Metropolitan Hilarion shared his reminiscences of his visit to Malta in 2004 and his participation in an international conference, noted good relations between people living in Malta and Russia who have common Christian heritage, told the guests about Orthodox presence in Malta and about rebirth of the Church in Russia where the number of churches and monasteries has increased manifold in the past thirty years.

The DECR chairman briefed Ambassador Agius on the situation in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the attempts of the Ukrainian authorities to exert pressure on it and acts of force taken by the nationalists against clergymen and lay persons.

Another topic of conversation was dire situation of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa, and many conflicts in the world, including military ones. Participants were equally in the opinion that there is no alternative to peaceful co-existence and good-neighbourly relations between nations.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5361491.html






Primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church arrives in Moscow



29 January 2019 - 11:33







In the evening of January 28, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia arrived in Moscow to attend the celebration of the 10th anniversary of primatial ministry of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

The Primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church is accompanied by Bishop Irinej of Bačka; Bishop Isihije of Mohacs, vicar of the diocese of Bačka; Bishop Stefan of Remesiana, vicar of the Archdiocese of Belgrade; archpriest Vladan Simič, secretary of the diocese of Bačka; subdeacon Dejan Nakič, private secretary to the Patriarch. Archpriest Vitaly Tarasjev, rector of the metochion of the Russian Orthodox Church in Belgrade, arrived in Moscow together with the delegation.

Meeting His Holiness Patriarch Irinej at Sheremetyevo airport were Metropolitan Aleksandr of Bryansk and Sevsk; Bishop Andrei of Rossosh and Ostrogozhsk; Bishop Antonije of Moravica, representative of the Patriarch of Serbia to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, deputy chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR); Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for inter-Christian relations; and Mr. Andrei Khoshev, a DECR staff member.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5362568.html






Patriarch Irinej of Serbia: Ukrainian problem can divide Orthodox world in the 21st century



30 January 2019 - 08:50







On 29 January 2019, after the meeting with His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia gave a brief interview.


– Your Holiness, first of all, we would like to ask you about your current visit to Moscow in such a difficult time for the Russian Church. What are your impressions and hopes?

– It is a great honour and joy for us to visit Moscow, especially for such celebrations as the 10thanniversary of enthronement of His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. It is a momentous event for the Russian people, for the Russian Orthodox Church, greatly important for the Universal Orthodoxy as well.

– What is your attitude to the newly organized “church” in Ukraine and what are the ways to settle the conflict which now seems insoluble?

– It is a great problem not only for the Russian and the Ukrainian Orthodox Churches, but for the whole Orthodox world. This problem has been brought into the Church and will have far-reaching repercussions. We all, Orthodox Christians, should be fully aware of this problem, for it can have the same consequences as the one that arisen in the 11th century. The 11th century problem divided the Church into the Eastern one and the Western one, and this problem in the 21st century can divide the Orthodox world and have serious repercussions.

We should formulate this problem with regard to Constantinople in order to remove it from the agenda. If this problem will not be solved, then, regrettably, we will have to take a concrete position on this issue. It is a blow to the unity of the Orthodox Church and it is the Patriarchate of Constantinople that will more than anyone else be aware of its aftermaths. And it is in Ukraine that we will see painful after-effects of the actions which are being committed today.

We offer fervent prayers, asking the Lord to grant peace unto us and to return unity to the Orthodox world, without which the Church cannot exist. And we must exert every effort to restore this unity.

– Your Holiness, what do you think of the recent decision of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to allow a second marriage for priests?

– It surprised us greatly, because this decision runs counter to all the existing canons. Unfortunately, it is a sign of our times and of the temptation that the Church is going through.

– The Serbian Church is also facing difficulties; I mean the Montenegrin shismatics. What do you do to respond to this problem? And is it true that the Serbian priests are being exiled from Montenegro?

– Regrettably, Montenegro betrayed Serbia and chose a wrong path. They repudiate their Serbian name and proclaim themselves Montenegrin, a nation independent from Serbia, a nation that has its own culture, its own language. Regrettably, they also formed their own “independent church.” The head of this “church” is a man who was defrocked and who proclaimed himself metropolitan of Montenegro. And it is from Constantinople that they are awaiting recognition.

Yes, it is true that currently the clergymen and monastics who came to Montenegro from Serbia and carry out their holy mission there are being subjected to persecutions. Regrettably, the Serbians are being exiled from Montenegro.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5362718.html
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Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church meets with His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia



29 January 2019 - 19:16






On 29 January 2019, at the Patriarchal and Synodal residence in St. Daniel’s Monastery, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met with the Primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church.







His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia was accompanied by Bishop Irinej of Bačka; Bishop Antonije of Moravica, rector of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s Representation in Moscow; Bishop Stefan of Remesiana, vicar of the Archdiocese of Belgrade; Bishop Isihije of Mohacs; Archpriest Vladan Simič, secretary of the diocese of Bačka; and Subdeacon Dejan Nakič, private secretary to the Patriarch of Serbia.

Representing the Russian Orthodox Church at the meeting were Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations; Metropolitan Sergy of Singapore and Southeast Asia; Bishop Andrei of Rossosh and Ostrogozhsk; Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, DECR vice-chairman; Archpriest Vitaly Tarasjev, rector of the Metochion of the Russian Orthodox Church in Belgrade; Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations; and Mr. Andrei Khoshev, DECR staff member.







His Holiness Patriarch Kirill warmly greeted His Holiness Patriarch Irinej who had arrived in Moscow to take part in the celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of the Primatial ministry of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. As His Holiness noted, this year the Serbian Orthodox Church celebrates the 800th anniversary of its autocephaly, and the year 2020 will mask the centenary of the restoration of the Patriarchate.







His Holiness Patriarch Kirill emphasized an important role of the Representations – that of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Moscow and that of the Russian Orthodox Church in Belgrade – as essential links between the two Churches.







Speaking about the plight of the Orthodox Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija, Patriarch Kirill expressed his concern over extremist forces’ increasing aggression against the Serbian population.

“We always pray for our brothers and sisters in Kosovo and Metohija,” His Holiness said, “We know that Kosovo and Metohija play the unique historical and spiritual role in the life of the Serbian people, and realize how hard it is for everyone who knows the history of Serbia and the Serbian Church to see all the bad things happening in these lands. Yet, the Lord is leading our Churches through ordeals and, perhaps, that is why you, like nobody else, understand our pain caused by the developments in Ukraine.”







According to the Primate of the Russian Church, all these developments are links in one chain, for they are “attempts to weaken the Universal Orthodoxy by means of schismatic tendencies.”







“Of course, this situation affects, first of all, the Russian Church which today suffers greatly because of the schism in Ukraine. And, undoubtedly, it is essential that the developments in Kosovo and Metohija never lead to a break-off of the spiritual link between Serbia, Serbian Church and these lands which have always been its integral part,” His Holiness continued.







“While differing in certain things, such as geography, location and history, our Churches have very much in common – first and foremost, the host of martyrs. Our martyrs were always faithful to the Orthodoxy, they laid down their life for the Church and instructed us to be faithful to the church unity, to preserve the purity of Orthodoxy and to exert every effort to prevent adverse winds from destroying the unity of the Orthodox Church today,” Patriarch Kirill said in conclusion.







His Holiness Patriarch Irinej thanked the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church for the invitation to attend the Moscow celebrations, saying in particular, “On behalf of our Church and our people we express our warmest wishes that you occupy the Throne of the Moscow Patriarchs for many more years. You lead the Russian people on the path towards God, for the glory of God and for the good of the Universal Orthodoxy. You are the head of a powerful Church and of the Orthodox people who overcame many temptations throughout the history. You are a vivid example and we strive to follow in your footsteps.”

The Primate of the Serbian Church also expressed his deep gratitude for the assistance which the Russian Orthodox Church always rendered to the Serbian Church and the Serbian people.







“I thank Your Holiness keeping yourself apprised of the developments in Kosovo and Metohija. What is currently going on in Kosovo and Metohija causes us great pain,” Patriarch Irinej said, “Kosovo for us is a sacred land ensanguined with our blood, for we defended our shrines at the time of the Ottoman Empire and under other circumstances. All that is of tremendous importance for our history and culture is rooted in Kosovo and Metohija. This is the land of our glorious history. Many saints shone forth there. We do all we can to defend ourselves from these attacks and place our great hopes on big brotherly Russia and on you, Your Holiness. We hope that with your contribution we will be able to defend Kosovo and Metohija.”







Patriarch Irinej also expressed the position of the Serbian Orthodox Church concerning the ecclesiastical crisis in Ukraine, saying, “It is a great temptation for the Orthodoxy, and it happens inside our house. Regrettably, it is not a canonical or ecclesiastical issue, but purely a political one, but the Universal Orthodoxy must address it with all seriousness. Our visit to Moscow gives a good opportunity to exchange opinions, to discuss what we should do next. We do not dare turn a blind eye to such problem. And we will pray to God the Lord, asking Him to eliminate this temptation in His Church.”




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5364048.html






His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East arrives in Moscow



29 January 2019 - 19:39








On 29 January 2019, His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East arrived in Moscow to take part in the celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of Primatial ministry of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

His Beatitude Patriarch John X is accompanied by Metropolitan Basilyos of Akkar; Metropolitan Jacques of Buenos Aires and All Argentina; Archimandrite Parthenios (Allati), Private Secretary to His Beatitude Patriarch John X; Deacon Meletius Shattahi, staff member of the Patriarchate of Antioch; and Mr. Raymond Rizk, Mr. Hassan Risheh and Mr. Georges Ghandour, representatives of the youth movement of the Orthodox Church of Antioch. Hegumen Arseniy (Sokolov), representative of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, arrived in Moscow together with the delegation of the Orthodox Church of Antioch.

Meeting His Beatitude Patriarch John X at the Vnukovo-3 Airport were Metropolitan Niphon of Philippopolis, representative of the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; Metropolitan Feofan of Kazan and Tatarstan; Archbishop Feofilakt of Pyatogorsk and Cherkessk; and Hegumen Feofan (Lukianov), head of the Protocol Service of the Department for External Church Relations.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5364060.html






Patriarch John of Antioch: We believe in the unity of our Church



30 January 2019 - 10:47







On January 29, after a meeting with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East answered questions from media reporters.


– Your Beatitude, they say Patriarch Bartholomew wants to become the Eastern Pope, to spread his influence in the East. What is your attitude to it?

– We in the Orthodox Church believe in synodality, it is our basic principle. We believe in the unity of our Church. Therefore, we do not worry over what is said about a particular person. Orthodox Christianity is Orthodox Christianity; it was such and remains such.

– During the recent meeting with State Duma members, Syrian President Bashar Assad said that attempts are made to divide the Church of Antioch, as it was done in Ukraine, in Syria and Lebanon. How true is this?

– First of all, we do not know exactly what President Bashar Assad said. The President of the Syrian Arab Republic has much respect for the Church of Antioch. The same is true for the President of Lebanon Michel Aoun. It is not a secret for anybody that some external forces are attempting to weaken the Church of Antioch by this or that way.

We are committed to our common cause, our common aims and tasks in Lebanon and Syria. And our people will not accept divisions and schism. Therefore, the Orthodox world should be solidary, united with regard to the phenomena of this sort. We welcome the position of our brothers in Lebanon and Syria and generally throughout the world. The Metropolitan of Beirut, our dear brother, and all the members of the Council share this position.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5363144.html






Patriarch Kirill Meets with Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East



29 January 2019 - 23:54






On January 29, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met with His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East and his delegation at the patriarchal residence in the St. Daniel patriarchal monastery.







The delegation includes Metropolitan Philip, representative of the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; Metropolitan Basilyos of Akkar, Metropolitan Jacques of Buenos Aires and All Argentina; Archimandrite Parthenios (Allati), personal secretary to Patriarch John X; Deacon Meletius Shattahi, a staff member of the Patriarchate of Antioch; and Mr. Raymond Rizk, Mr. Hassan Risheh and Mr. Georges Ghandour, representatives of the youth movement of the Orthodox Church of Antioch.

The Russian Orthodox Church was represented by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations; Archbishop Feofilakt of Pyatigorsk and Cherkessk, Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, DECR vice-chairman; Hegumen Arseny (Sokolov), representative of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to the Patriarch of Great Antioch and All the East; and Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations.

Addressing the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Antioch, Patriarch Kirill said, ‘I cordially welcome you to the St. Daniel monastery and thank you for joining us all in celebrating the 10th anniversary of my stay at the Patriarchal See of Moscow. Whenever Primates of Churches meet, they have an opportunity for praying together, celebrating the Divine Liturgy and discussing what worries our Churches and what is important for the whole universal Orthodoxy’.







His Holiness underscored the high level of the bilateral relations between the Orthodox Churches of Antioch and Russia, which has a long history. ‘But today our relations have I believe a special importance. We know that the Church of Antioch is going through difficult times, especially in connection with the situation that has developed in Syria. ‘And the Russian Orthodox Church is going through sorrowful trials, too, related to the situation in Ukraine. According to Holy Scriptures, he said, whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it (I Cor. 12:26), and in the Church of Christ, if one Church is going through trials, then all her members, the whole Orthodoxy, are called to commiserate with her’, His Holiness stressed.

His Holiness noted that the situation in Ukraine, where the canonical Church is suffering today, has become especially painful for the Russian Orthodox Church. ‘We are grateful to all the Local Orthodox Churches who have expressed solidarity with our Ukrainian Orthodox Church and offered her a spiritual, devotional and moral support’, he said pointing with gratitude to the open support that His Beatitude Patriarch John has given to the canonical Ukrainian Church, also in his letters. He also said that last October the Synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch clearly spoke out against the creation of parallel church jurisdictions within the canonical boundaries of the existing Patriarchate or autocephalous Churches, including also the complex situation in which the Orthodox Church lives in Ukraine.

Patriarch Kirill also welcomed the joint statement made by Patriarch John X and Patriarch Irenaeus of Serbia on October 19, 2018, in which the situation, which has developed in Ukraine as a result of the actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, is described as ‘a threat that can bring about a protracted division in the Orthodox Church’.







‘Addressing to Patriarch Bartholomew, you appeal to him to not make any decisions that could have no consensus of the Orthodox Churches, His Holiness said, ‘Indeed, the principle of consensus is adopted as a basis for decision-making in the whole Orthodox Church. The application of the principle of consensus in decision-making has been unequivocally referred to by Synaxises of Local Orthodox Churches and other pan-Orthodox assemblies, which have taken place in the recent time’.

‘Your Church’, Patriarch Kirill continued, ‘is going through a difficult time too, also in the Syrian land’. He noted with satisfaction that the Patriarchates of Antioch and Moscow are developing cooperation in the humanitarian area, including cooperation aimed to support the Orthodox Church of Antioch.

He stressed the importance of humanitarian actions carried out by Russia in Syria. Thus, in November 2018, a group of Russian medical doctors came to Damascus to help select the children who have been maimed by the war, who lost limbs in mine explosions, so that they could be given treatment in Russia including prosthesis. Two of these children have already had a rehabilitation course in Moscow and returned to their homeland.







‘The restoration work in the St. Thecla Convent in Maaloula is being completed and we hope that pilgrims will be able to visit these holy places again and enjoy coming in touch with the deep spiritual tradition of your Church’, he continued, ‘At your request, another important project will soon be implemented – the restoration of the church compound in Arbin and the church in Al-Zabadani near Damascus’.

In addition, after some difficulties had been overcome, an agreement was reached to install the necessary equipment in the Patriarchal Al-Hosn hospital, the patriarch said.

Speaking about the development of students exchange between the two Patriarchates, His Holiness said, ‘Now, five representatives of your Church, young students, are studying in Russia. In its turn, the St. John of Damascus Institute in Balamand admitted two female students from the Moscow Patriarchate. I believe it is a very good program and we have to develop it because students who study in Russia and students who are trained in the territory of your Church gain a unique experience by coming in touch with the spirituality and traditions of our fraternal Churches and in the future will be able to make a considerable contribution to the development of inter-church relations’.







Patriarch Kirill described the development of bilateral relations and cooperation as ‘very important both for the consolidation of relations between the two Churches and for maintaining good relations between our nations’.

Speaking in response, the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Antioch said, ‘First of all, on behalf of the Orthodox Church of Antioch, I would like to express the warm feeling of love and respect for the Russian Orthodox Church and personally for Your Holiness and your brothers. In this connection, I would like to stress a special importance of the fact that we are present now at the celebrations devoted to the 10th anniversary of your enthronement. It is a very important event’.

His Beatitude thanked the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church for the moving, warm and sincere words of welcome, which reflect the feeling of fraternal love and good relations existing between the two Churches. ‘These relations go deep in our history and now are successfully developing in various areas of activity’, he said

‘Your Holiness’, he continued, ‘you were quite right to note that we share the same pain and have common wounds. The first pain is over the situation in which the Orthodox Church in Ukraine has found itself; and the second is the pain of the Church of Antioch and our brothers caused by the situation in Syria’. He also mentioned the problems present in bilateral relations between the Patriarchates of Antioch and Jerusalem.







Speaking of the destructive war which continues in Syria, His Beatitude stressed: ‘We are still enduring pain. We know nothing about the fate of our brothers – Metropolitan Paul and the Jacobite Syrian Metropolitan Gregory Ibrahim, but we continue to hope that everything will end well. I would like to smooth you a little bit, Your Holiness and our brothers in the Russian Orthodox Church by saying that the situation in Syria has somewhat improved as compared to what it was before. Now there is a process of liberation of the territories, which were captured earlier by terrorists, and, in spite of the fact that some hot spots remain under their control, we hope that the full liberation is close at hand. The main credit in it, as is known, belongs to Russia, which rendered and continues to rend political, military and humanitarian aid’.

‘We believe’, he noted, ‘that our Church will continue carrying out her mission, fulfilling her task with honour, as was she did before’.

Speaking about the grave crisis in the Orthodox world, provoked by the actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine, Patriarch John stressed: ‘We called and call both the Ecumenical Patriarchate and other supreme religious leaders to solve existing problems, including the problems encountered by our fraternal Russian Orthodox Church, through dialogue, negotiations and ordinary talks. Since 1960, the principle of consensus has been laid in the foundation of our work and it should be observed today. We continue to regard this principle, as you have rightly noted, a kind of cornerstone of all our work, which has been aimed at bringing close together the positions of all the Local Churches. We do not agree with the attempts at unilateral solution of several church problems to the detriment of the whole Orthodox world, which ultimately lead to a division in this world. Therefore, the preservation of our Orthodox unity and the fact that we should continue carrying out our mission of peace, love and cooperation – all this should remain the foundation of our work in the future as well’.







His Beatitude stated that this position was shared by all the members of the Bishops’ Council, which recently took place in the Church of Antioch. ‘They spoke of the need to do everything that is possible to achieve and preserve our unity. And we wish that our voice be heard because it is improper to keep silent at our time. We should speak aloud about it. Therefore, we called and call the Patriarchate of Constantinople and other Local Churches to return to the path of dialogue and cooperation. It needs to be done the paramount principle of our work’.

He stressed: ‘We should do everything to make the pain go out of our hearts so that we could rejoice in our unity, the unity of all the Local Churches and the whole Christian world. All the Christian should adhere to precisely this principle and make it the basis of our work both now and in the future’.

I thank God for the successful development of our relations in many areas’, he said addressing Patriarch Kirill, ‘These relations have proved to be effective, and we continue doing everything possible bot make our contribution to the common cause’.







Concerning the help given by Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church in restoring Syrian churches damaged by military and terrorist actions, Patriarch John said, ‘You have rightly noted that the restoration work in the St. Thecla Convent is close to the end, and the nuns are returning to it to continue their service of the Lord God in it. The situation in Maaloula has become almost normal. It is a very good factor, which gives pilgrims an opportunity to visit holy places’. He also expressed gratitude for the stated readiness to carry out a project for the restoration of the church compound in Arbin and a church in Al-Zabadani.

‘We are exerting every effort for our brothers in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and throughout the Middle East to feel at home in their homeland and to live a life in love and brotherhood in their native land’, Patriarch John said and continued, ‘Along with the plans to restore several churches, we also want to make our contribution to the restoration of what has been destroyed as a result of the war – schools. universities, the creation of new jobs and thus to continue doing everything for the further development of our homeland. We are full of optimism and believe that our live in the future will be such as we want it to see’.

His Beatitude also expressed gratitude for support in the sphere of students’ exchange. ‘As Your Holiness have mentioned, five of our Syrian students are studying in the Russian Orthodox Church’s theological schools, while two female students from Russia are studying in the university in Balamand. It is a very positive fact. We believe that these traditions will be continued in the future as well’.







‘We thank Your Holiness, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Russian government and President Putin for the help and support they have rendered to Syria, including the Orthodox Church of Antioch. In light of the actions undertaken together and the humanitarian aid given to us, it is very important to stress that we make no distinction between Christians and Muslims. Therefore, we are called to play a considerable role in making peace return to our land’, he said.

His Beatitude congratulated Patriarch Kirill upon the 10th anniversary of his election to the Patriarchal throne and wished him a long life and service for the good of the Church.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5364087.html






His Holiness Patriarch Kirill meets with Rev. Olav Fuyse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches



30 January 2019 - 14:07






On 30 January 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met with the Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC).







They were joined at the meeting, which took place at the Patriarchal residence in St. Daniel’s monastery, by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), Archimandrite Philaret (Bulekov), DECR vice-chairman, and Archpriest Mikhail Gundyaev, representative of the Moscow Patriarchate to the World Council of Churches and international institutions in Geneva.







His Holiness greeted the guests and said: “We are very glad that you thought it good to represent the World Council of Churches at the celebration of the tenth anniversary of my Patriarchal ministry. The round number allows us to ponder over the past and the future. It is very good that it is with these thoughts I meet and talk with people whose presence at my little jubilee I consider very important.”







His Holiness noted the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches celebrated last year and continued to say: “It was an important event as such and evaluation of the WCC activities during these years. As you know, I was a member of its Executive and Central Committees for a long time and knew quite well the agenda and the part the WCC played at the time of the Cold War. Political situation in the world was no less difficult than today due to the confrontation between East and West, between the two camps both possessing weapons of mass destruction. From my point of view, the World Council of Churches played a unique part in that situation, because Christians from different countries could meet at the WCC and try to find solutions of difficult situations in churches and states, doing it on the basis of their faith in the Lord and Saviour. I repeat that international tension was no less intensive than it is today. Therefore I put a question to myself and to you: Can the WCC today play the part it used to play during the Cold War time?”







His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia is convinced that the world needs the involvement of Christian organizations into the surmounting of crisis in international relations. He said that the WCC could stand for the truth on the political map of the world at that time and wondered what the WCC members can do to renew the WCC role at present.







Topical issues of inter-Christian cooperation were addressed. His Holiness spoke about the situation in Syria and the participation of Christian Churches in the overcoming of economic hardships the country is experiencing after military actions in its territory.







At the end of the talk memorable gifts were exchanged.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5365515.html
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Primate of the Orthodox Church in America arrives in Moscow



30 January 2019 - 16:35







His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada arrived in Moscow on January 30, 2019.

Meeting His Beatitude at Sheremetyevo airport were Metropolitan Ignaty of Vologda and Kirillov, Bishop Matfei of Sourozh, Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations, and Mr. Dmitry Petrovsky, a DECR staff member.

The delegation accompanying His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon consists of Bishop Daniel of Santa Rosa, auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of San Francisco and Western America; Archpriest Alexander Rentel, chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America; Archpriest Daniel Andrejuk, representative of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; archdeacon Joseph Matusiak, secretary of the OCA Primate; Ms Melanie Ringa, the OCA treasurer; and subdeacon Roman Ostash, assistant to the OCA Primate.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5365550.html






His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada: pan-Orthodox dialogue is the only way to achieve resolution in any of the complex issues that face us today



31 January 2019 - 15:41







On 30 January 2019, after the meeting with His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada answered questions from media reporters.


– Your Beatitude, you have arrived in Moscow on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of enthronement of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill. What is your view on the role that the Orthodox Church is playing in the international arena today?

– It is, certainly, a blessing to be here. The invitation from His Holiness was welcomed by our Church, and I am grateful to be here, representing the Orthodox Church in America. It is a great blessing that His Holiness, as he did in the past, has gathered many of the Patriarchs and Primates of the Local Churches to honor this enthronement and to give witness to the unity of the Orthodox Church in the world. It is always a blessing when brothers can serve together the Divine Liturgy and bear witness to the unity of the Orthodox faith.

– Does the Orthodoxy play a great role in America and throughout the world? What can it give to the modern society?

– As the Orthodox Church in America, which was given autocephaly by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1970, we have a particularly important role to play not only within our own Church, but also in relations with all the other Churches that are present in North America. And although there are sometimes global difficulties that impact the North American context, we have a wonderful opportunity in North America to enable Orthodox Christians of various backgrounds to serve together, to work together on common goals, as missionaries to outreach and care for the poor and youth.

– Your Beatitude, what is your assessment of the situation in Ukraine? Do you think the world Orthodoxy is going to support the newly established religious structure?

– The Orthodox Church in America has recently issued a pastoral letter in reference to the situation in Ukraine. That letter speaks for itself. The main point is that as the Orthodox Church in America we fully support the process that would lead to a canonical solution to very difficult and complex issues that are currently facing us.

– What are the ways to resolve the crisis in the world Orthodoxy and to improve the reputation of the world Orthodoxy in the eyes of secular people?

– There are many ways to accomplish this. I would say that, first of all, it requires prayer. Prayer is the source of strength for us as Orthodox Christians. And prayer requires both humility and a clear mind. With prayer and humility, we can enter more robustly into a synodal and pan-Orthodox dialogue which is really the only way to achieve resolution in any of the complex issues that face us today.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5364472.html






Primate of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia arrives in Moscow



30 January 2019 - 22:16







His Beatitude Metropolitan Rastislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia arrived in Moscow on January 30, 2019.

The delegation accompanying His Beatitude consists of Archbishop George of Michalovce and Koshice, Archbishop Michail of Prague, Archimandrite Seraphim (Shemyatovsky), rector of the metochion of the Orthodox Church of the Czezh Lands and Slovakia in Moscow, Archpriest Nikolai Lischenyuk, rector of the metochion of the Russian Orthodox Church in Karlovy Vary, Hieromonk Aleksandr (Galushko), secretary of the metochion of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia in Moscow, and archdeacon Maksim (Durila), a cleric of the diocese of Prešov.

His Beatitude Metropolitan Rastislav was met at Sheremetyevo airport by Metropolitan Sergy of Barnaul and Altai.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5365563.html






His Beatitude Metropolitan Rostislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia: There is no place for schism in church life In Defense of the Unity of the Russian Church, Inter-Orthodox relations, News



1 February 2019 - 09:03







On 31 January 2019, after the meeting with His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the Primate of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia answered several questions from journalists.


– Your Beatitude, I would like to ask you the most burning question – about the ecclesiastical situation in Ukraine. I know that this issue was included in the agenda of a session of your Church’s Holy Synod. What decision will be taken – to support or not the newly established “Orthodox church of Ukraine”?

– The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia held its session the day before yesterday, and members of the Synod charged me with a duty to appeal to representatives of all the Local Orthodox Churches with a request to convene a pan-Orthodox meeting over the Ukrainian issue. Until all the developments in the Ukrainian church life are discussed and a conciliar decision is taken, our position will remain unchanged.

I would like to express support to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine. We are neighbours of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Having heard about the persecutions caused by what occurred last December, we have been praying and hoping for the solution to the problem created in the Ukrainian church life by the so-called “unification council” to be found in the near future.

– Do you think it is possible to restore communion between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Moscow Patriarchate? How can the consensus be found?

– It is not only possible; it is necessary to restore communion. I believe that without dialogue, meetings and discussion of all the problems related to Ukraine and its church life there can be no progress.

– There is another important aspect. As far as we know, many Ukrainian citizens with their families are moving to the Czech Republic and Slovakia, integrating themselves into local Orthodox communities. How do you receive them? Tell us about it.

– We accept them all. Yet, we are categorical in our attitude to the schism: there is no place for it in the church life. Any schism can only be healed through repentance and return to the canonical Church. We say it also to those coming from Ukraine; if they were somehow connected with the schismatic organizations in their country, we explain to them what the schism is and that they have to guard against it.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5364935.html






Primate of Russian Orthodox Church holds brotherly meeting with His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada



31 January 2019 - 09:40






On 30 January 2019, at the Patriarchal and Synodal residence in St. Daniel’s Monastery in Moscow, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met with the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America.







Representing the Russian Orthodox Church at the meeting were also Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations; Bishop Matthew of Sourozh, acting administrator of the Moscow Patriarchate’s parishes in the USA and Canada; Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, DECR vice-chairman; Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations; and Mr. Dmitry Petrovsky, DECR staff member.

“I am glad that you responded to my invitation and came to Moscow on the occasion of the 10thanniversary of the Local Council that had elected my humble person to serve our Russian Orthodox Church as Patriarch,” His Holiness said, addressing the high guest. He also greeted members of the delegation accompanying His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada. The delegation includes Bishop Daniel of Santa Rosa; Archpriest Alexander Rentel, chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America; Archpriest Daniel Andrejuk, representative of the Orthodox Church in America to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; Archdeacon Joseph Matusiak, secretary to the Metropolitan of All America and Canada; Ms. Melanie Ringa, treasurer of the Orthodox Church in America; and Subdeacon Roman Ostash, assistant to the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America.







Outlining the agenda of the meeting, Patriarch Kirill said, “We will have an opportunity to discuss both the pan-Orthodox matters and our bilateral relations. I would like to emphasize that our bilateral relations have withstood the test of time and nothing has overshadowed them for all these years –since the proclamation of your Church’s autocephaly to this day. Every time our delegations visited the United States they met with you and your representatives, and when hierarchs of your Church come to Moscow we receive them as welcome guests.”

His Holiness mentioned an educational project of Ss. Cyril and Methodius Theological Institute of Postgraduate Studies – the Summer Institute that offers hospitality to representatives of various Churches who want to learn more about the life of the Russian Orthodox Church. Participating in the Summer Institute programme in Moscow last June was a delegation of the OCA clerics and laypeople led by Bishop Daniel of Santa Rosa.







Having noted an important role of the Moscow Representation of the Orthodox Church in America and the Russian Orthodox Church’s Representation in New York, Patriarch Kirill pointed out that the year 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the OCA Metochion in Moscow. His Holiness expressed his willingness to endorse a project of restoration of the church of the OCA Moscow Representation by contacting representatives of the Moscow city authorities.

“We have also received your request concerning the canonization of Archpriest Pyotr Postnikov who had served at this church and had been executed at the Butovo shooting range,” His Holiness added, “We will refer this case to the Canonization Commission which will examine the circumstances surrounding the death of Archpriest Pyotr. We will share with you all the information and I hope nothing will prevent us from complying with your request.”

“I am satisfied with the work of our Representation in New York,” Patriarch Kirill also said and noted that Bishop Matthew of Sourozh, the acting representative, had been given a lofty, honourable and important responsibility to maintain and promote brotherly relations between the two Churches.







“It is gratifying to see that the Orthodox Church in America is developing. May it continue – God willing,” His Holiness Patriarch Kirill said.

His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada expressed his joy over an opportunity to take part in the celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of the 2009 Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church that elected the 16th Patriarch for the Moscow Throne. “I had a privilege, along with His Eminence Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco to represent the Orthodox Church in America at those enthronement ceremonies. And it as, therefore, a double joy for me to be here this week,” Metropolitan Tikhon said.

“For the past decade the Russian Orthodox Church has flourished under Your Holiness’s archpastoral guidance, and the fruits of your leadership are evident not only in the Russian lands, but throughout the world,” His Beatitude added.







“Your Holiness’s devotion to Orthodox unity has been clearly demonstrated through many gatherings of Patriarchs and Primates, such as this gathering,” His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon said, emphasizing that the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church has been faithful to traditional Orthodox teachings on contemporary moral and social issues, as well as on the ecclesiastical matters that have acquired particular relevance these days.

The Primate of the Orthodox Church in America noted Patriarch Kirill’s role in supporting monasticism, training the clergy and educating the youth.

“For the Orthodox Church in America Your Holiness’s emphasis on the missionary activity has truly been an icon and expression of the Russian Orthodox Church’s tradition of missionary activity for many centuries,” His Beatitude continued, “The Orthodox Church in America is itself a fruit of the seeds that were planted by St. Herman and the monastic missionaries that arrived in Alaska 225 years ago.” He also mentioned the importance of the ministry of St. Tikhon of Moscow who had been the head of the North American mission and later the Patriarch of the Russian Church.

His Beatitude Tikhon noted that the year 2019 marked the 225th anniversary of the arrival in North America of the Orthodox missionaries from Russia. As His Beatitude pointed out, this jubilee year a group of priests from the Orthodox Church in America will undertake a pilgrimage to Valamo Monastery to establish the connection between Alaska and Valamo.







“In addition, we had a very successful exchange lust summer with the Summer Institute at Ss Cyril and Methodius Institute. Led by His Grace Bishop Daniel, our clergy were able to experience very successfully the internal life of the Russian Orthodox Church. And we also have a number of seminarists who are interested in pursuing more long-term studies here,” the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America added.

His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon thanked His Holiness Patriarch Kirill for the willingness of the Russian Orthodox Church to assist in initiating restoration works at the Moscow Representation of the Orthodox Church in America and to consider the possibility of canonization of Archpriest Pyotr Postnikov.

The participants in the meeting discussed a wide range of issues pertaining to the bilateral cooperation and the situation in the Orthodox world.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5365648.html






His Holiness Patriarch Kirill meets with His Beatitude Metropolitan Rostislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia



31 January 2019 - 19:05






On 31 January 2019, at the Patriarchal and Synodal residence in St. Daniel’s Monastery in Moscow, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met with His Beatitude Metropolitan Rostislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.







Representing the Russian Orthodox Church at the meeting were also Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations; Bishop Paramon of Bronnitsy; Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, DECR vice-chairman; Archpriest Nikolai Lischeniuk, rector of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Metochion in Karlovy Vary; and Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations.







The Primate of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia was accompanied by Archbishop George of Michalovce and Koshice; Archimandrite Seraphim (Shemyatovsky), rector of the Moscow Metochion of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia; Hieromonk Alexandr (Galushka), secretary of the Moscow Metochion of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia; and Archdeacon Maxim (Durila), cleric of the Prešov diocese.







The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church cordially greeted His Beatitude Metropolitan Rostislav and the delegation that had arrived in Moscow to attend the celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s enthronement.

“Every time we meet we can discuss issues of interest for both our Churches and together ponder on what paths the Orthodox Church is following today. Every Local Church has its own agenda and its own problems, and meetings with brothers often help us find answers to the questions that interest each of us,” His Holiness said, in particular.







“Today the whole Orthodox Church is undergoing very serious ordeals caused, first of all, by the geopolitical changes that have taken place in the territory of our countries,” Patriarch Kirill added.

As His Holiness noted, the geopolitical factor has always influenced church life, and therefore, today no one can say that the geopolitical context does not affect the situation of the Churches and the inter-church relationships. “Regrettably, we sense it especially strongly because of the current situation in Ukraine. I am sure that you know much, since there are many Ukrainians in the territory of Slovakia and you receive information about the problems facing the Ukrainian Orthodox Church these days,” the Primate of the Russian Church said.







“However, despite all these difficulties, the Church in Ukraine and in other lands acts to the best of its abilities,” His Holiness continued, “The ordeals that have befallen the believers subjected to discrimination today – you may be aware of seizures of church buildings and violence against the faithful – require confession in the spirit of Christians of the Early Church. Thus the believers can remain faithful to their Church and to the canonical order and to oppose the well-organized schismatic activity in Ukraine, supported by the state.”







His Holiness also mentioned other challenges facing the Universal Orthodoxy these days.

“There were no easy times in the history of the Church. Each epoch poses new challenges and new problems to which every Local Church has to respond. And we, as the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, must together respond to the challenges and difficulties that are facing Orthodox Christians today,” His Holiness Patriarch Kirill said in conclusion.







His Beatitude Metropolitan Rostislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia congratulated the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church on the 10th anniversary of his enthronement, saying, “The memorable jubilee that you are celebrating is not only yours, but of the whole Russian Orthodox Church. It is also important for the universal Orthodoxy.”

“Over the ten years of your Patriarchal ministry the Russian Orthodox Church under your leadership has successfully responded to the external challenges, both political and ecclesiastical ones. I wish that the developments in Ukraine do not overshadow the jubilee of your enthronement – the major reason of our gathering. On behalf of our Church I wholeheartedly congratulate you and hope that your pastoral wisdom, your paternal love and care will help you overcome all the problems,” His Beatitude Metropolitan Rostislav said.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5365763.html
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Old March 22nd, 2019 #7
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His Holiness Patriarch Kirill meets with delegations of Local Orthodox Churches that arrived in Moscow for celebrations marking 10th anniversary of 2009 Local Council and Patriarchal enthronement



31 January 2019 - 21:56






On 31 January 2019, at the Patriarchal and Synodal residence in St. Daniel’s Monastery, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill met with delegations of the Local Orthodox Churches that had assembled in Moscow to take part in the celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of the 2009 Local Council and Patriarchal enthronement.







Taking part in the meeting were:

Metropolitan Theothilaktos of Tripoli and Metropolitan Athanasios of Kyrene – representing the Orthodox Church of Alexandria;

Archmandrite Stephan (Dispirakis) – representing the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem;










Metropolitan Andrea of Gori and Ateni, Bishop Vakhtang of Nikortsminda and Archpriest Kakhaber Gogotishvili – representing the Georgian Orthodox Church;

Metropolitan Niphon of Târgovişte, Archpriest Adrian Ghibanu and Priest Eugeniu Rogoti – representing the Romanian Orthodox Church;

Metropolitan Kipriyan of Stara Zagora, Metropolitan Daniel of Vidin, Archmandrite Feoktis (Dimitrov), Archimandrite Anfim (Manoilov), Hieromonk Tsvetan Ivanov and Archpriest Jivko Jelev – representing the Bulgarian Orthodox Church;










Archpriest Abel of Lublin and Chelm, Archpriest Jerzy Lukaszewicz and Deacon Andrzej Dawidziuk – representing the Polish Orthodox Church.

Among those present at the meeting were also Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations; Archbishop Roman of Yakutsk and Lensk; Archbishop Leonid of Vladikavkaz and Alania; Bishop Iriney of Orsk and Gai; Bishop Panteleimon of Orekhovo-Zuyevo; Bishop Ioann of Domodedovo; Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, DECR vice-chairman; and Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations.










His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia delivered an address, saying in particular:

“Every time we, representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches, meet, we can not only pray together, which is, of course, essential to such assemblies, but also discuss issues that worry us all.”













Patriarch Kirill mentioned the developments in ecclesiastical life in Ukraine that, he emphasized, went beyond the canonical tradition of the Orthodox Church. The Patriarchate of Constantinople accepted into communion without repentance the Ukrainian schismatics, including former metropolitan Filaret, anathematized by the Russian Orthodox Church, and “hierarchs” of the schismatic groups who have no canonical ordination. The so-called “unification council” was held in Ukraine in order to legalize the election of the head of the new “unified church.” Taking part in that gathering were only two out of ninety canonical hierarchs of Ukraine. “That is why we do not recognize this “council” and regard its decisions as void, having no canonical force,” His Holiness also said, “However, this action caused many difficulties for the canonical Church. As the schism is supported by the governmental authorities, they are now fighting against the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Its episcopate and clergy are been brought under presser. At a parish level, church buildings of our Church are being seized.”













“Our Church was compelled to respond to these uncanonical deeds… With great sorrow we took a decision to break off the Eucharistic communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople because of his direct involvement in the legalization of the schism in Ukraine,” Patriarch Kirill added.













As the Primate of the Russian Church noted, Constantinople’s involvement in the Ukrainian affairs poses a number of very important ecclesiological and canonical questions for the Local Orthodox Churches. “What does primacy in the Orthodox Church mean? We have always believed that this primacy implies the concept of “first among equal.” Yet, if the first among equal expresses a readiness to interfere in the life of other Local Orthodox Churches, disregarding their autocephalous status, it means something more. A concept of “first without equal” emerges, posing a challenge for all of us. We need to ponder on it and, I suppose, at some point to find an opportunity to discuss these new developments that, undoubtedly, can affect and do affect the life of any of the Local Orthodox Churches.”













In continuation of the meeting members of the delegations of the Local Orthodox Churches read out greetings to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on the occasion of the 10thanniversary of his enthronement.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5369369.html






Solemn act devoted to Local Council of Russian Orthodox Church and patriarchal enthronement at State Kremlin Palace



31 January 2019 - 22:02







On January 31, 2019, a solemn act devoted to the 10th anniversary of the 2009 Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church and the enthronement of His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, took place at the Grand Hall of the State Kremlin Palace with the participation of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill.
















Present at the event were Primates and high delegations of Local Orthodox Churches who came to Moscow for the celebrations. Among them Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East and his delegation; Patriarch Irenaeus of Serbia and a delegation of the Serbian Orthodox Church; Metropolitan Rostislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia and his delegation; Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada and his delegation; Metropolitan Daniel of Tokyo and All Japan and his delegation; a delegation of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria led by Metropolitan Theophilaktos of Tripoli; a delegation of the Georgian Orthodox Church led by Metropolitan Andrea of Gori and Ateni; a delegation of the Romanian Orthodox Church led by Metropolitan Niphon of Târgovişte; a delegation of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church led by Metropolitan Kipriyan of Stara Zagora; and a delegation of the Polish Orthodox Church led by Archbishop Abel of Lublin And Chelm.
















There was also a delegation of the Armenian Apostolic Church led by Archbishop Yeznik; a delegation of the World Council of Churches led by Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit; Sheikh ul-Islam Allahshuqur Pasha-zade, chairman of the Caucasus Muslim Board and chairman of the CIS Interreligious Council; and a delegation of Azerbaijan and a delegation of the People’s Republic of China.
















Present in the Grand Hall were permanent members of the ROC Holy Synod representing metropolises and dioceses in Russia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Central Asia, and Belarus.
















Among the participants in the solemn act were also President I. Dodon of Moldova; Russian Federal Assembly Speaker Ms. V. Matvienko, the State Duma Chairman V. Volodin; Russian Procurator-General Yu. Chaika; Moscow Mayor S. Sobyanin; Acting St. Petersburg Governor A. Beglov; as well as Presidential envoys in the federal constituent regions, high state official, episcopate and clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church, religious and pubic leaders, State Duma members, diplomats, scientists, cultural figures and numerous participants in the Christmas Educational Readings.
















Patriarch Kirill and President Putin took seats in the first row. The gathering saw a documentary called “The Way” by producer E. Tukharelli.






Then the assembly was addressed by Vladimir Putin. He congratulated Patriarch Kirill on the 10thanniversary of his enthronement. He said that “the state will continue developing constructive partnership with the Church in all important areas, primarily, in educating the younger generation, safeguarding the cultural heritage and solving pressing social problems”.






He stated that Russia is facing today great historical tasks in the sphere of demography, social development, raising people’s quality of life, in the work to achieve a breakthrough in the economy, science and technology. “We are well aware of this: to reach new objectives it is important for us to preserve our identity, our unity and solidarity. These are built on the values which have been honoured in all times both by Orthodoxy and other traditional religions in Russia – charity, honesty, justice, care for our neighbours and families, respect for parents and children and, certainly, love of the Motherland, the president noted.
















The common duty of the state, Church and society, he said, is to preserve and strengthen the spiritual-ethical and value foundation and hand it down to the youth. He expressed the hope that the Russian Orthodox Church will continue to be an effective peace-making force and support compatriots and people of Orthodox culture abroad. He gave a high value to the social and educational work of the Church, saying, “I know how much has been done in recent years to broaden the social service of the Church, how great and tireless is the work carried out in this area by church organizations uniting volunteers, benefactors and those who seek to help other people selflessly. This work is invaluable”.
















The head of the state expressed special gratitude to His Holiness the Patriarch and the Church for the pastoral care of the Russian military. “Your sincere and heartfelt instructions help privates and officers to defend the Motherland with honour, inspiring them with confidence in their military power and moral rightfulness”, he added.
















Mr. Putin also thanked His Holiness for continued attention to compatriots and support for communities abroad in strengthening confidence between countries and peoples and broadening humanitarian contacts. “This honest, immaculate service, which has been demonstrated by Patriarch Kirill, is an example of true love for the Motherland and our people, and the successes made in this field lay the foundation for developing the Church for decades ahead”, the Russian leader said with confidence.



















“In conclusion, I would like to congratulate Patriarch Kirill once again on the auspicious date – the 10thanniversary of his enthronement. I wish Your Holiness fortitude, long life and new successes in your archpastoral work. May your prayers help preserve the Russian Orthodox Church and our Motherland’, the Russian president said in conclusion.



















This was followed by Patriarch Kirill’s address to the participants in the solemn event.






It was followed by a festive concert. The performance was given at the State Kremlin Palace stage by a joint choir of the Russian Orthodox Church consisting of 700 singers, among then children’s, mixed and men’s choirs who serve singing in various churches and church centers. They sang compositions by D. Allemanov, V. Zinovyev, S. Rachmaninov, P. Chesnokov, Archimandrite Matfey, G. Sviridov, I. Dunayevsky, T. Khrennikov, S. Tulikov and A. Mikita.






After the concert, Patriarch Kirill addressed the participants in the solemn act, saying, “In conclusion of this remarkable evening and excellent concert, I would like to thank all the organizers, performers and all of you, my dear ones, for having been with me for these ten years. I hope you will continue to be with your Patriarch. Let us ask God that He may open for us a way to the future, which cannot but will have difficulties, to lead us to the goals that the Lord Himself points to for us all, His Church and our pious people. I thank you from my heart”.



















After the solemn act, a reception took place at the Refectory Chambers of the Church of Christ the Saviour on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church and the enthronement of His Holiness Kirill.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5369381.html
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Hierarch of the Polish Orthodox Church: there must be conciliar resolution to church schism in Ukraine



1 February 2019 - 17:40







The crisis in Ukraine caused by the establishment of the new church structure must only be resolved through consensus of all Local Orthodox Churches, Archbishop Abel of Lublin and Chełm said in an interview to the TASS news agency reporter on 31 January 2019. The hierarch of the Polish Orthodox Church arrived in Moscow to take part in the celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of enthronement of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

“The Orthodox Church of Poland emphasizes that the schism in Ukraine can only be healed through repentance. The Church has its own dogmatics and canon law, and we always criticize attempts of any sole entity to govern its life, as it is within the Roman Catholic Church. We always underscore our Orthodox conciliarity and insist that the Ukrainian issue must be resolved in the spirit of conciliar understanding of the problem,” he said.

As the archpastor noted, among those who arrived in Moscow for the anniversary of enthronement of the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church are representatives of many Local Orthodox Churches who can express their position on the matter. “Many representatives of the Churches are taking part in the celebrations, and I believe that the Church Primates will be the source that will help put an end to various speculations and work out the common position. This issue cannot be settled otherwise,” Archbishop Abel added.

He emphasized that the Polish Church would not enter into communion with representatives of the so-called “Orthodox church of Ukraine” (OCU). “We regard them as schismatics, and the Church cannot be in communion with them. It is difficult to say why Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople took such decision, but it was made not in accordance with the Orthodox practice and discipline,” the archpastor also said.

The hierarch of the Polish Orthodox Church called the creation of the OCU a political step of the Ukrainian leadership. “In this politicians see an opportunity to strengthen their position and try, with the help of the Church’s voice, to build a better future for themselves. However, in this case everybody lost – Constantinople, the President of Ukraine and the schismatics themselves who did not receive the promised independence. Glory and honour be to the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and its Primate for taking a firm stand and uniting the majority of the Orthodox faithful. In this we see the only prospect for the salvation of the Ukrainian people,” Archbishop Abel of Lublin and Chełm said in conclusion.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5366575.html






On 10th anniversary of enthronement of Patriarch Kirill, Liturgy was celebrated at Church of Christ the Saviour with participation of Primates and representatives of Local Churches



1 February 2019 - 20:04







On February 1, 2019, the 10th anniversary of the enthronement of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, he celebrated the Divine Liturgy together with Primates and representatives of Local Orthodox Churches, autonomous and self-governed Church members of the Moscow Patriarchate, as well as heads of metropolises, bishops and priests of the Russian Orthodox Church, at the Cathedral Church of Christ the Saviour.






The service was presided over by Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Patriarch Irenaeus of Serbia, Metropolitan Rostislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, and Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada.






They were assisted by the ROC Holy Synod members, including Metropolitan Onufriy of Kiev and All Ukraine; Metropolitan Vladimir of Moldova; Metropolitan Alexander of Kazakhstan; Metropolitan Vikentiy of Uzbekistan; Metropolitan Pavel, Patriarchal Exarch for Belarus; Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, DECR chairman; Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York; Metropolitan Alexander of All Latvia; Metropolitan Eugene of All Estonia; Metropolitan Daniel of All Japan; and an assembly of hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church.





































Among the concelebrants were also heads and members of delegations of Local Orthodox Churches in holy orders from the Orthodox Churches of Alexandria, Antioch, Georgia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, the Czech Lands and Slovakia, the USA, and Japan. There were also high church officials, heads of synodal department and Moscow Patriarchate representations abroad, abbots of monasteries, and clergy of the diocese of Moscow.





































Present at the service were Apostolic Nuncio in Russia, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, a delegation of the Armenian Apostolic Church led by Archbishop Yeznik; a delegation of the World Council of Churches led by WCC General Secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit; and a delegation of the People’s Republic of China.





































There were also high state officials, State Duma deputies, Moscow city officials and representatives of state and public organizations in Russia.





































Among the worshippers were abbots and abbesses of monasteries, staff members of the synodal departments, representatives of Orthodox youth organizations and numerous believers.





































The service was broadcast live by the Spas and Soyuz TV channels. It was also broadcast by the official website of the Russian Orthodox Church patriarchia.ru.





































During the Litany of Fervent Supplication, petitions were lifted up for the unity of the Orthodox Church and safeguarding her against divisions and schisms. The litany included special petitions for His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.





































After the litany, Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna read a prayer for the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church. After that, Patriarch Kirill said a prayer for peace in Ukraine. Exclamations and prayers were voiced in Church Slavonic, Arabic and English. The sermon before communion was delivered by Archbishop Anthony of Vienna and Budapest, chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate.





































After the liturgy, congratulations were extended to Patriarch Kirill by Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East. He presented Patriarch Kirill with a crozier made in Damascus.


































Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine read out a congratulatory address from the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church to Patriarch Kirill and presented him with a presentation cross and a set of two pectoral icons and a cross.






His Holiness Kirill addressed the participants in the service with a primatial homily.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5369286.html
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Old March 22nd, 2019 #10
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A hierarch of the Georgian Church: It is the faithful alone who can demand autocephaly in Ukraine



2 February 2019 - 17:17







Metropolitan Andrea of Gori And Ateni, head of the delegation of the Georgian Orthodox Church, who came to Moscow for the celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of the enthronement of His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, gave an interview to RIA News Agency, in which he spoke about the attitude to the church situation in Ukraine.


– Your Eminence, how do you assess the actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and state authorities in Ukraine?

– My personal assessment: the issue is very complicated and sensitive for the whole Orthodox Church, and it should be treated very carefully. I also think that this careful attitude also includes the need to find out the opinions of the rest of the Churches on this matter.

Does Ukraine have a right to demand autocephaly for the Church? We believe this right belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox faithful, but it should include all the clergy, hierarchy and the faithful of the Church, and all this should develop along canonical lines, not in any other way.

– Is it known when the Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church is to meet to make a decision on this matter?

– I can say nothing about it because I do not know.

– Recently, the Patriarchate of Constantinople resolved that the clergy be allowed to marry for the second time. How do you assess this decision?

– My opinion on this matter is this: If canon law is believed to be inviolable on some matters while violable on others– I do not understand such an approach…

– What is your attitude to the idea of convening a Pan-Orthodox Council or a conference on the church situation in Ukraine with the participation of all the Primates?

– It is difficult for me to answer this question because it should be decided by Primates of Churches, and I would not like stating my opinion before they speak out.

– The situation as it has developed delivers a blow on the prestige of Orthodoxy in the eyes of the rest of the world, especially non-church people. How can it be improved now, in your view?

– By seeking unity.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5366631.html






Patriarch Irenaeus of Serbia: Russian Church is one of the strongest ones in the world



4 February 2019 - 08:35







His Holiness Patriarch Irenaeus of Serbia was one of the guests who came to Moscow for the celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of the enthronement of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. He spoke on the reasons for his coming, his vision of how event will be developing in Ukraine and the fate of the world Orthodoxy in an exclusive interview to The Russian Newspaper.


– Your Holiness, how do these last ten years of the Russian Orthodox history look like from Serbia? What do the Serbs find interesting in the figure of Patriarch Kirill?

– We have come to Moscow together with several fellow hierarchs from the Serbian Church to take part in the joyful celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of the enthronement of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. This event is interesting not only for the Russian people and the Russian Orthodox Church but also for the entire Orthodox world. Because the Russian Church is one of the strongest ones among the Orthodox Churches as it plays a tremendous role in the modern world.

Both the Church and the Russian people as they are today is something amazing. The time is still fresh in our memory when, not very long ago, the Russian Church was a suffering and persecuted church. In the 20th century, she went through the severest trials in her history and gave to the Orthodox world an enormous number of martyrs for the faith. God alone knows how many were they in reality – bishops, priests, lay people who martyred for the faith.

Now, rising from so humiliated a position, the Russian Church has revived doing it for a very brief period of time. She has restored churches and monasteries, built many new churches and cloisters and, most importantly, she has revived a living Church, revived the faith in people. And in this rebirth of the Russian people, a great credit certainly belongs to this Holiness Patriarch Kirill.

We were glad to receive an invitation to this festivity from him and we thank the Lord God and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill for our participation in the celebrations and the opportunity to see all their beauty. We are also glad that representatives of other Local Orthodox Church took part in the celebrations. Our joy would have been even greater if representatives of all the Orthodox Churches had come for them. Unfortunately, not all have come, and this puzzles us and makes us think over the future of the world of Orthodoxy. Divisions and schisms are the greatest misfortunes for the Church, and today we, regrettably, are standing on the threshold of these schisms, which certainly entail serious consequences.

But let us return to Patriarch Kirill. His election to the throne is an action of divine providence and God’s grace and blessing to both the Russian Orthodox people and the world of Orthodoxy as a whole. Our time and the situation of our Orthodox Churches demand exactly such person as Patriarch Kirill. He is an image of the Primate of a Church who knows the modern world like a book and does exactly what is needed.

– What is your prognosis on how the canonical Church and the newly created one will manage to get along? When and how will the drama of disagreement taking shape in the world of Orthodoxy be overcome? Constantinople has taken actions that the Russian Church disagrees with canonically.

– The problem of schism in Ukraine is already a long-standing one; misunderstanding was great there, and all this has led to a confrontation within the Ukrainian people. We intended to help the Ukrainian people by convening a Pan-Orthodox Council or a conference to discuss this issue. We hoped that the Primates and delegates of the Primates of Local Churches would visit Ukraine to discuss all this with the people and, after hearing the representatives of the both sides, to try to find a way out of the situation.

Unfortunately, the events went otherwise. The Patriarchate of Constantinople came to the defences of the schismatics and wished to reconcile them somehow with the canonical Church. However, the Orthodox faithful of the canonical Church remained on their stand preserving the sacred canons. So, the Ecumenical Patriarchate managed ‘to reconcile’ only two schismatic groups by legalizing them and thus aggravating and deepening the existing division even stronger.

Recently I have met in Salonika with the Ecumenical Patriarch, and he told me during our talk what he expected. In his vision, if not the whole then almost the whole Ukrainian Church will reconcile with the schismatics and join the new “Orthodox Church of Ukraine”. Though it was clear from the beginning what exactly all these schismatics groups in Ukraine represent and that you will get nowhere with them…

As a result, we see that the expected merger of the canonical Church with the schismatics has come to nothing. Out of the whole number of hierarchs of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, only two of them have joined the new ‘church’, the rest remaining faithful to the canonical Ukrainian Orthodoxy. And out of the vast number of parishes of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, only a few dozen have moved over to the new ‘church’.

It is not clear what will result from the granting of this tomos, but the longed-for peace has not come. It is difficult to foresee what pace and path will the events in Ukraine take. But it is already evident that the state is threatening to confiscate the monastery lands and monasteries themselves from the canonical Church and to encroach on the shrines. So far, unfortunately, it is very difficult to foresee what will happen next.

– What is the situation of the Serbian Church? Does the authorities recon with it, do the people love it?

– We live at a very difficult and hard time. We are consoled only by the fact that the Serbian youth, most of them, come to our Church, confess the Orthodox faith, living up traditions and Orthodox customs of the Serbian people linked primarily with the faith. Almost all baptize their children, except for a small number of heretics and atheists.

Each year, the number of people who come to church on Sundays, especially on great holidays, is growing. We have a real need for building new churches. A great number of people take Holy Communion on a regular basis. Many honour the Slava, the commemoration day of the heavenly patron of their family.

The state has helped the Church by solving the problem of provision of pensions and healthcare for the clergy. The religious instruction is given in all the preliminary and secondary schools. It is attended by 65 percent of all the schoolchildren. For children whose parents are against the religious instruction, the Civic Education is taught.

In the Serbian Ministry of Education, they are thinking over a change in the law so that the religious instruction lessons, on one hand, could be attended by all the schoolchildren and, on the other, this subject could be supplemented with necessary additions from the general ethical education, lessons on philosophy and building the civil environment.

We have good relations with the authorities, and when problems arise, we quickly solve them, taking into account the interests of the Serbian Orthodox Church. We do not pay attention to isolated cases when the authorities are against the Church. It is a normal way.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5367555.html






Primate of Orthodox Church in America completes his visit to Moscow



4 February 2019 - 10:07







On February 3, 2019, His Beatitude Tikhon, Metropolitan of All America and Canada, who had attended the celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church and the enthronement of His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, completed his visit to Russia.

The delegation of the Orthodox Church in America who accompanied His Beatitude consisted of Bishop Daniel of Santa Rosa, Vicar of the diocese of San Francisco and Western America; Archpriest Alexander Rentel, chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America; Archdeacon Joseph Matusiak, secretary to the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America; Ms. Melanie Ringa, treasurer of the Orthodox Church in America; and Subdeacon Roman Ostash, assistant to Primate of the Orthodox Church in America.

At Sheremetyevo Airport, the guests were seen off by Metropolitan Ignatiy of Vologda and Kirillov, Bishop Matthews of Sourozh; Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations; and D. Petrovsky, DECR staff member.

Earlier that day, His Beatitude Tikhon celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Moscow Representation of the Orthodox Church in America. He was assisted by Bishop Matthews of Sourozh, Bishop Daniel of Santa Rosa; Archpriest Alexiy Kurenkov, rector of Belgorod Seminary; Archpriest Leonid Kalinin, head of the Church Art Experts Board, the rector and clergy of the OCA representation; and members of the delegation in holy orders.

Present in the church were Mr. Stephan Jobin, Canada’s charge d’affaires in Moscow, members of the OCA delegation, and Mr. Petrovsky.

On the eve, His Beatitude Tikhon celebrated All-Night Vigil at the Sretensky Monastery, visited the Sretensky Seminary and Donskoy Monastery, where he venerated the relics of his heavenly patron, St. Tikhon the Patriarch of All Russia.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5369318.html






His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia completes his visit to Moscow



4 February 2019 - 11:03







On 3 February 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, who had attended the celebration of the 10th anniversary of primatial ministry of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, completed his visit to Moscow.

The Primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church was accompanied by Bishop Irinej of Bačka; Bishop Isihije of Mohacs, vicar of the diocese of Bačka; Bishop Stefan of Remesiana, vicar of the Archdiocese of Belgrade; archpriest Vladan Simič, secretary of the diocese of Bačka; and subdeacon Dejan Nakič, private secretary to the Patriarch.

His Holiness Patriarch Irinej and his delegation were seen off at the airport by Metropolitan Aleksandr of Bryansk and Sevsk; Bishop Antonije of Moravica, representative of the Patriarch of Serbia to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; Bishop Andrei of Rossosh and Ostrogozhsk; Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for inter-Christian relations; and hegumen Feofan (Lukianov), head of the DEC Protocol Section.

On 2 February 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia visited the Church of Ss Peter and Paul at the Yauza Gates – the Moscow metochion of the Serbian Orthodox Church.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5369327.html






A hierarch of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia: Churches are ready to meet and address the Ukrainian issue together



4 February 2019 - 14:35







Delegations of most of the Local Orthodox Churches arrived in Moscow for the celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of enthronement of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. One of the major topics discussed during the meetings was the situation of the Church in Ukraine. In an interview to RIA Novosti news agency, Archbishop George of Michalovce and Košice, a member of the delegation of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, told about the position of the religious leaders on the matter.


– Vladyka George, can we say at the results of the meetings and talks between heads and representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches that there is a common understanding of what is going on in Ukraine, common assessment of the actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople?

– I think that there is a common understanding of complexity of the situation. We all are very well aware that a crisis time has come and we have to ponder on the current state of the Orthodox ecclesiology. Yet, each Local Church has its own expectations, its own history… At the same time, there is a desire to meet, to seek together the solution to this issue.

– What are the ways to overcome the crisis in the universal Orthodoxy caused by the Ukrainian issue?

– The easiest thing is to say that we need to pray. Indeed, first, we need to pray. Second, we all must realize what the Orthodoxy is, must realize that the times of empires, of imperial eagles have gone by; it is to Christ Crucified and Risen that the Orthodoxy in today’s world must bear witness before all people.

There should be less pathos in our activity; we have to really attend to people, be closer to them.

Problems in the Orthodox world are caused by some thrones’ claims that they stand higher than the others. Yet, we all are bishops of Christ, there is no difference between us. Of course, a Primate has his own ministry, but every Primate is, first and foremost, a bishop, just like any other hierarch.

We should go out into the streets and work with people, let people feel that we are true pastors, not princes. The time has come for it. If we do it, then, I believe, by God’s mercy we will be able to overcome everything.

– How do you assess the recent decisions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, not only with regard to the Ukrainian “autocephaly,” but, for instance, the decision to allow second marriages for priests?

– I think that such matters cannot be resolved in such a way: here, I have decided, and you all must accept it.

As for a second marriage for priests and some other decisions, they should be condemned by a council of the Orthodox Church, and we must say why they are bad, or, on the contrary, why something is good. Let us take all the decisions in a conciliar manner, taking into consideration all pros and cons, for it complies with the traditions of the Orthodox Church. This is the way we must always act.

– What major problems are facing the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia today? What are its hopes for the future?

– We are a minority. Most Christians in our region, for example, are the Uniates. We, the Orthodox Church, are the smallest group. Yet, we will not complain. What problems do we have? The same as all over Europe, basically, a large-scale secularization. The youth does not understand us. The mission of the Church is to speak such language that young people may understand. It does not mean secularization. We just need to seek new means of carrying out our mission and be closer to people, while not renouncing, at the same time, our values, the evangelic truths. Today this is the major task for our Local Church.


Interviewed by Sergei Stefanov




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5367741.html






His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East completes his visit to Moscow



4 February 2019 - 18:36







On 3 February 2019, His Beatitude Patriarch John X, who had attended the celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of the primatial ministry of His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, completed his visit to Russia.

Accompanying His Beatitude were Metropolitan Basilyos of Akkar; Metropolitan Jacques of Buenos Aires and All Argentina; Metropolitan Niphon of Philippopolis, representative of the Patriarch of Antioch to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; Archimandrite Parthenios (Allati), Private Secretary to His Beatitude Patriarch John X; Deacon Meletius Shattahi, staff member of the Patriarchate of Antioch; and Mr. Raymond Rizk, Mr. Hassan Risheh and Mr. Georges Ghandour, representatives of the youth movement of the Orthodox Church of Antioch.

His Beatitude Patriarch John X and his delegation were seen off at the airport by Metropolitan Niphon of Philippopolis; Metropolitan Feofan of Kazan and Tatarstan; Archbishop Feofilakt of Pyatogorsk and Cherkessk; Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, deputy chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR); Hegumen Arseniy (Sokolov), representative of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and Hegumen Feofan (Lukianov), head of the DECR Protocol Section.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5369336.html






Primate of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia completes his visit to Moscow



5 February 2019 - 09:10







On 4 February 2019, His Beatitude Rostislav, Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, completed his visit to the Russian Orthodox Church.

Metropolitan Rostislav had attended the celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of the primatial ministry of His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. Accompanying His Beatitude were Archbishop George of Michalovce and Koshice, Archbishop Michail of Prague, Archimandrite Seraphim (Shemyatovsky), rector of the metochion of the Orthodox Church of the Czezh Lands and Slovakia in Moscow, Archpriest Nikolai Lischenyuk, rector of the metochion of the Russian Orthodox Church in Karlovy Vary, Hieromonk Aleksandr (Galushko), secretary of the metochion of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia in Moscow, and archdeacon Maksim (Durila), a cleric of the diocese of Prešov.

At Sheremetyevo Airport, the guests were seen off by Bishop Paramon of Bronnitsy; Archimandrite Seraphim (Shemyatovsky), rector of the metochion of the Orthodox Church of the Czezh Lands and Slovakia in Moscow; Heguman Feofan (Lukianov), head of the Protocol Section of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR); Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations; and Archpriest Nikolai Lischenyuk, rector of the metochion of the Russian Orthodox Church in Karlovy Vary.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5369340.html






Schism supporters and police beat up rector of canonical Church’s community in Western Ukraine



5 February 2019 - 10:12







On February 3, 2019, supporters of the “Orthodox church of Ukraine” started a scuffle at the Church of the Holy Transfiguration in Gnezdichno village, Zbarazh district, Ternopol region. Beaten most severely by heavy-built men with red and black stripes on their sleeves and by the police was the rector of the religious community of the canonical Church, Archpriest Stefan Balan, Education and Information Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church reports.

In the morning, prior to the Liturgy, the so-called “activists” gathered near the church, carried out a provocation and disrupted the divine service celebrated by the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

It was known the day before that unlawful actions were being planned. “We warned the administration and the police that a conflict situation was being planned. We wrote a statement against interference in religious affairs. They brought together all their deputies on Friday, but took no decision. Maybe they were afraid, I do not know,” Archpriest Stefan Balan said.

Having realized that a seizure of the church was being planned, members of the religious community of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church gathered on the church’s stairs. Later, a representative of the local authorities arrived. The chairman of the village council who supported the “activists” addressed the crowd. “Yet, these people were so aggressive that, not understanding what he was saying, they began to insult him too. He got nervous, dropped keys and left,” the priest also said. According to him, the official wanted to hand over the keys to OCU supporters, but was shocked to be treated like that and left the territory of the church.

The police interfered, siding with the provokers. “A special police squad arrived quickly, and they started beating us. They were beating me, pushing the parishioners. Then some men in uniform with red and black stripes on their sleeves came and began to push us all away. They grabbed my head and broke a finger. We called an ambulance. Medical staff confirmed that I had injuries all over my body – head, chest, hands,” the rector of the Holy Transfiguration Church added.

It should be noted that on January 13, the activists held a village meeting. Some of those present voted in favour of the transfer to the newly established “Orthodox church of Ukraine,” but the religious community decided to remain in the bosom of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. As the rector had reported earlier, the parties had reached an agreement of peaceful coexistence. OCU representatives promised that there would be no seizure of the church building of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

However, the principal of a local school could not put up with it. It was he who provoked people into clashes, Archpriest Stefan believes. “The principal puts great pressure on teachers, gathers signatures and threatens to fire those who will come to my service,” Fr. Stefan said.

The representatives of the newly established structure also enjoyed support from the chief of the local police. Perhaps, there were instructions from higher authorities, Fr. Stefan assumes.

The Church of the Holy Transfiguration in Gnezdichno village was sealed up. The priest and the parishioners of the canonical Church celebrated a moleben at its doors.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5369344.html
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Old March 22nd, 2019 #11
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Nice pics Alex.
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Old March 22nd, 2019 #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T.Garrett View Post
Nice pics Alex.
Which ones do you mean?

Small pictures or photos from the Divine Liturgy?

I do not know what can be done with small pictures so that they become big ones.
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Old March 24th, 2019 #13
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Patriarch John X of Antioch: Orthodox unity is the red line that must not be crossed



5 February 2019 - 11:37







During his visit to Moscow, His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, in his talks with Russian media journalists, commented on the church situation in Ukraine.

In his interview to the RT TV network, His Beatitude underscored ‘Concerning the situation of the Church in the Ukrainian state, I can express my regret since these actions have inflicted a damage on the Orthodox Church. We hoped that these steps would not be that fast and that the opinions of other Churches would be taken into account and an agreement would be reached through consultations. What happened did happen, and we ask the Lord to help us find acceptable ways for solving this problem. Orthodox unity is the red line that must not be crossed. Respect for the geographical boundaries of Orthodox Churches is a good sacred tradition.

According to His Beatitude, in the situation of the Ukrainian schism, there are also external factors. ‘Undoubtedly, present here is a political interference in church affairs. If politics has interfered in church affairs, it will inevitably bring in differences and schisms’.

Patriarch John believed that the only solution is a conciliar discussion on the situation. ‘It is the only format, just as the format of a family in which one of its members has fallen ill. Of course, there may be different points of view, there may be a discord, but the appropriate way of healing a problem that has arisen in a family is through dialogue, through benevolence and accord between its participants. Therefore, dialogue certainly remains to be the only way’.

In his talk with a RIA NOVOSTI correspondent, His Beatitude said that the Church of Antioch has already asked Patriarch Bartholomew several times ‘to get everybody meet and discuss the situation in Ukraine, for him to convene the Primates of Orthodox Church to talk thoroughly about all the problems in the world of Orthodoxy, especially this topic’. ‘Together with Primates of other Churches – Patriarch of Alexandria and Serbia and Archbishops of Cyprus, Greece and Albania – we tried to arrange our meeting and discuss this matter. Regrettably, it has not happened so far’, he said.

As Patriarch John pointed out, ‘in such cases, what is always needed is dialogue; the Orthodox Churches need to agree on both what has happened in Ukraine and the emergence of ‘a new church’; we need a conciliar opinion, a decision of all the Orthodox Churches’.

In his interview with Interfax-Religion, His Beatitude expressed the conviction that the possibility for such a meeting is real. ‘We have honest and open relations with heads of Local Orthodox Churches, and it is a guarantee of successful dialogue. Through meetings and dialogue every problem can be solved’, he said.

He is convinced of the need for a pan-Orthodox consensus in matters of the granting of autocephaly to a particular Church. ‘The more so, there should be the consent of the Mother Church to which it belongs’, His Beatitude stressed in his talk with a RIA Novosti journalist, ‘We are praying that the Lord may give us a chance to solve this problem’.

Answering a question from an Interfax correspondent, Patriarch John touched upon the topic of the preservation of Orthodox unity. ‘All the Local Orthodox Churches believe that they make up one Church. We represent the Church of Antioch, but here in Moscow we feel that you and we are one family, the faithful of the same Church. It is very important, despite of some disagreements. Disagreements have always existed in the history of the Church, just as brothers may happen to quarrel in any family, but we all would remain one family’.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5369350.html






Patriarch Irenaeus: ‘Serbian’ Athos is with Canonical Church of Ukraine



6 February 2019 - 16:33







Patriarch Irenaeus of Serbia flew in to Moscow last week together with several Primates of other Local Churches for the celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of the election of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. The hierarchs’ talks proved to be focused on the situation of the faithful in Ukraine where, at the initiative of the state and with the support of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, a new church structure has been created resting upon those who is in schism with the Russian Orthodox Church. His Holiness Irenaeus utterly clearly stated the inadmissibility of this situation and his support for the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. He spoke of the results of his visit in an exclusive interview to RIA Novosti new agency, sharing his vision of the Ukrainian problem in the world of Orthodoxy, of Constantinople’s permission of second marriage for the clergy, as well as the situation in Kosovo and a possible canonization of his predecessor, Patriarch Pavle.


– Your Holiness, have any preliminary agreements on the situation in Ukraine been reached in the negotiations in Moscow with the participation of delegations of most Local Churches? What is to be done next?

– The program of our visit to Moscow was rather tough, and in addition to what we could hear in speeches of greeting, we have not had any special opportunities for discussions. However, we all feel the gravity of this problem. The developments in Ukraine are destroying our family. It is not something from outside; it is what is going on precisely within, in the very family of Orthodox Churches.

I expected more from Primates of other Churches – that we might meet in Moscow and discuss what happened and is happening in Ukraine. Unfortunately, many Primates did not come and sent their envoys. We only had an opportunity to have a broad talk on these issues with His Holiness Patriarch Kirill.

However, it remains a demand our time and the nearest future for us all to discuss the problem of Ukraine in more detail. It is necessary to understand how far this division may go and what consequences it will inevitably bring. Unfortunately, these consequences are already evident, and the fruits of this division can be felt.

– On Mount Athos, which is under the jurisdiction of Constantinople, there is a Serbian monastery, Chilandar. Do you know the attitude of Athonite monks to the recent actions made by the Patriarch of Constantinople in Ukraine?

– We have not yet received any new reports from the Chilandar Monastery, but I am sure that our brothers on Mount Athos are certainly with us, with their own Church. I do not think they could have taken any other stand, different from the position of our Serbian Church.

– And how do you assess the recent decision of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to permit the clergy to marry for the second time?

– This decision came as a surprise to us because it contradicts all the existing canonical norms. Regrettably, it is characteristic of our time and speaks of a temptation through which the Church is going.

– What is the situation in Kosovo now? What is the attitude of society and the Serbian Orthodox Church to the idea of dividing Kosovo into two parts, Serbian and Albanian?

– Kosovo is our grave wound. For 500 years, we protected it from the Turks and all those who wanted to take it away from us. Kosovo is not a mere geographical notion; it is our alma mater, our cradle. All that is connected with the history, spirituality and the holy tradition of the Serbs is in Kosovo and Metochia.

We believe the 1244 Security Council Resolution should be respected and full freedom and autonomy, just as all that there was before, should be ensured for the Albanian people, while it is necessary to retain the territory of Kosovo and Methochia within Serbia. This is the attitude of our Church as it was formulated by our recent Bishops’ Council.

– In Serbia and outside it, there is a great veneration of your predecessor, Patriarch Pavle. Do the faithful discuss a possibility for his canonization?

– His Holiness Patriarch Pavle is a unique person indeed in the history of our people and our Church. He was a modest man throughout his life. And the way in which he began his monastic feat is the way in which he accomplished it as a Patriarch.

He was a Primate who did not expect any help from anybody. He was a man of the people who treated him as their own as we could see on the day of his burial. He was a super-wise man. He did not talk much but what he said has become our sayings and proverbs used by Serbs today as folk wisdom. He wrote several significant books.

There are always many people at his grave in the Rakovica Monastery. The Serbs pray to him, appeal to him like a saint.

What will happen next, whether the Church will officially canonize him or not, we will see. Whatever is the decision, he is a holy man.


Interviewer Sergey Stefanov




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5369205.html






Primate of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia: The Church of Ukraine has existed since the time Vladimir Equal-to-the-Apostles, and His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry is its Primate



6 February 2019 - 20:04







On 3 February 2019, His Beatitude Metropolitan Rostislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia addressed the worshippers after the Divine Liturgy at the Church of St. Nicholas in Kotelniki – the Moscow metochion of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia. He said that Orthodoxy around the world was experiencing a difficult trial also in connection with the events in Ukraine.

His Beatitude mentioned the so called enthronement of the newly elected head of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” and underscored: “But in truth the Orthodox Church of Ukraine has existed for centuries, from the time of Vladimir Equal-to-the-Apostles and Princess Olga, from the Baptism in the Dnieper River, and now it has its Primate – His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine.”

“Some high-ranking hierarchs decided to deny it is fact, considered things confirmed by centuries as null and void, and proclaimed this imposter “metropolitan of All Ukraine.” His Beatitude called people to pray to the Lord and beseech His aid “in overcoming this temptation of our church life.”

“We have arrived with a visit to the Russian Orthodox Church not as supporters of a party, but as supporters of the canonical status of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry. We express our support to him as to bishop-confessor and to the Church he heads,” His Beatitude Metropolitan Rostislav said.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5371053.html






Metropolitan Kiprian of Stara Zagora: People have shown support for the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church



7 February 2019 - 10:49






In his video interview to YouTube channel Povesti Metropolitan Kiprian of Stara Zagora spoke about the church life in Ukraine. He said that the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church had set up a commission for studying all documents and circumstances relating to the Ukrainian church crisis and expressed his hope that with Gods aid the situation would be resolved in the canonical framework.







“I recall with joy my visit to the Laura of the Caves in Kiev on the occasion of the 1030th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia. I saw the procession with the cross; people have shown support for the canonical Orthodox Church. I was impressed by the words and prayers of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry. I am convinced that with this Primate the Church will be One, Catholic and Apostolic.”

While talking about the trials which the bishops, clerics and all the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are experiencing, Metropolitan Kiprian underscored: “All sufferings are from God, and we can endure as much as God is giving us. He is the Truth and the Love and therefore we hope that we will always abide in the One, Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church and take Holy Communion from one chalice and glorify God with one mouth in joy and in sorrow. May God’s Providence inspire bishops to take the most correct decision. We are nothing without God, but we can join our efforts and overcome any division.”

Metropolitan Kiprian of Stara Zagora added that Bulgaria is a country that had always loved Orthodoxy and was friendly to all Orthodox nations. “Love among people and, moreover, among Orthodox people will make our faith even stronger,”

The archpastor said and expressed his hope that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will preserve its unity.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5371057.html






Metropolitan Rostislav celebrates Divine Liturgy at Moscow representation of Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia



7 February 2019 - 17:59







On February 3, 2019, His Beatitude Rostislav, Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, visited the church of St. Nicholas of Myra in Lycia, representation of his Church in Moscow, and celebrated the Divine Liturgy in it.

His Beatitude was assisted by Archbishop Michael of Prague and the Czech Lands; Bishop Paramon of Bronnitsa, vicar of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; Archimandrite Seraphim (Shemyatovsky), rector of the representation; Archpriest Nikolay Lischemyuk, rector of the Karlovy Vary representation of the Russian Orthodox Church; and clergy of the representation.

During the Lesser Entrance, His Beatitude granted Hieromonk Alexander (Galushka), secretary of the representation, the right to wear a decorated cross.

After the Divine Liturgy, Archimandrite Seraphim greeted Metropolitan Rostislav and presented him with a mitre.

Then Metropolitan Rostislav presented awards of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia: Ms. A. Gromova, deputy chair of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society and head of the international center ‘Charity in History’ of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of World History, was awarded the Order of St. Lyudmila of Czechia; Mr. Peter Priputen, Slovakian ambassador to Russia – the Order of the Holy Prince Rostislav; Mr. K. Kovalev-Sluchevsky, member of the Russian Writers Union – the Medal of Ss Cyril and Methodius Equal-to-the-Apostles.

His Beatitude cordially greeted his concelebrants – the archpastors, rector and clergy, as well as the guests and parishioners and expressed his support for the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and its Primate, His Beatitude Onufry, and for the whole Russian Orthodox Church.

Then Metropolitan Rostislav visited the Museum of the Russian Icon to see its unique exhibition, the website of the Moscow representation of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, reports.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5371061.html






Head of the Patriarchal Exarchate in South-East Asia celebrates Divine Liturgy at Dormition church in Singapore



11 February 2019 - 14:46







On February 10, 2019, the Synaxis of New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church, Metropolitan Sergiy of Singapore and South-East Asia, head of the Patriarchal Exarchate in South-East Asia, celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the church of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God in Singapore.

It is the first service of His Eminence Sergiy in Singapore celebrated in his capacity as Patriarchal Exarch during his archpastoral visitation to Asia after the Russian Orthodox Church Holy Synod appointed him as head of the Patriarchal Exarchate, which includes Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, North and South Korea, Laos. Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

After the service, Metropolitan Sergiy had a talk with parishioners.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5372799.html






Representatives of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe are told about oppression against faithful of Ukrainian Orthodox Church



13 February 2019 - 10:22







On February 11, 2019, monks and clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church diocese of Ternopol met at the Pochaev Laura of the Dormition with representatives of the OSCE special monitoring mission to Ukraine to consider problems concerning the religious life in the diocese and the situation which has developed around the Pochaev Laura, the monastery website reports.

The meeting dealt with pressing problems related to the legal relations between the state and the Church and violations of the rights of the faithful. In particular, facts were given about forceful captures of churches belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church perpetrated by supporters of the new religious structure (‘OCU’). The mission was given materials proving the violations of rights and freedoms of the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The sides agreed to continue their cooperation for the sake of ensuring inter-confessional peace and stability in the country.

The following day, the representatives of the OSCE monitoring mission met with Archbishop Varsonofy of Vinnitsa and Bar. According to the reports of the diocesan press service, the ruling bishop told them about the grave inter-confessional situation in the Vinnitsa diocese and the cases of oppression and discrimination against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The archbishop told the mission representatives about the facts forceful actions carried by OCU supporters against parishioners and clergy. He also spoke about the violation of rights and freedoms of citizens, in particular, the coercive transfer of parishes to the newly created structure.

Meanwhile, the raids to capture churches of the canonical Church continue. According to the diocese of Volhyn press service, on February 12, after a long confrontation at the churchyard, supporters of the ‘move to the OCU’, in the presence of law enforcement officers, cut off the seals from the door of the St. George church of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and broke the door. The community of the St. George church led by the rector tried to defend the church but the raiders used their numerical advantage.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5372807.html
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Working Group for Cultural Cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church holds its regular meeting in Moscow



13 February 2019 - 15:49







On 13 February 2019, an annual session of the Joint Working Group for Cultural Cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church took place at the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Representing the Russian Orthodox Church were Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, DECR chairman; Metropolitan Tikhon of Pskov and Porkhov, chairman of the Patriarchal Council for Culture; Hieromonk Pavel (Scherbachev), vice-chairman of the Patriarchal Council for Culture; Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), DECR secretary for inter-Christian relations; Rev. Alexy Dikarev, DECR staff member; Hieromonk Pavel (Cherkasov), acting vice-rector for education at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Theological Institute of Postgraduate Studies; and Mr. Alexei Puzakov, artistic director of the Moscow Synodal Choir.

Taking part in the meeting on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church were Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Apostolic Nuncio to the Russian Federation; Rev. Carlo Casalone, staff member of the Pontifical Academy for Life; Rev. Hyacinthe Destivelle, staff member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Rev. Kirill Gorbunov, representative of the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow; and Mr. Pyotr Gumenyuk, staff member of the Aid to the Church in Need Foundation.

As Metropolitan Hilarion noted, opening the session, this year the Joint Working Group for Cultural Cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church holds its fifth meeting since its establishment in 2015. Over these years the working group demonstrated its efficiency in organizing various joint cultural events both in Russia and in Italy, helping people learn more about the spiritual traditions of the Churches of the East and the West and promoting mutual understanding between the Orthodox and Catholic Christians.

The participants in the session summed up the working group’s activities for the past year and discussed a number of new projects due to be carried out in 2019 and early 2020, such as concerts of religious music, exhibitions, joint conferences, presentations of books and the annual Summer Institute.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5372803.html






Patriarchal Exarch for Southeast Asia celebrates Liturgy in the capital of Cambodia



16 February 2019 - 11:34







On 15 February 2019, the Feast of the Meeting of our Lord Jesus Christ, Metropolitan Sergy of Singapore and Southeast Asia, Patriarchal Exarch for Southeast Asia, celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Church of the Holy Great Martyr George the Victory-Bearer in Phnom Penh during his archpastoral visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Concelebrating with His Eminence were Archpriest Oleg Nelin and Priest Roman Postnikov, clerics of the Patriarchal Exarchate in Cambodia, as well as Hieromonk Pitirim (Dondenko), senior cleric of the Church of the Holy Dormition in Singapore. Among those praying at the divine service were the Orthodox Khmers; some of the litanies were said in the Khmer language.

After the Liturgy the clerics and parishioners of the Church of St. George greeted Metropolitan Sergy with the 12th anniversary of his episcopal consecration.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5374645.html






Metropolitan Anthony of Borispol and Brovary: Ordeals make us stronger



16 February 2019 - 14:52







During his visit to Bulgaria Metropolitan Anthony of Borispol and Brovary, chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, gave an interview to pravoslavie.bg web portal, in which he spoke of the problems facing the Ukrainian Orthodoxy and of how Constantinople’s recent decisions and actions jeopardize the unity and canonical order of the Orthodox world. The Russian translation of the interview was published by the Information and Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.


– Your Eminence, the whole Orthodox world, including the Orthodox Christians in Bulgaria, is rather alarmed, keeping up with the recent developments in Ukraine. As the result of the so-called “unification council,” a new structure was created in your country – Orthodox Church of Ukraine – which in the beginning of this year received the tomos of autocephaly from the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The enthronement of the OCU head has recently taken place in Kiev. What is the attitude of the faithful people of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church towards these developments?

– The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has been carrying out its ministry in the territory of Ukraine for over a thousand years. Over these years our Church had different names and came under different jurisdictions, but has always been the only true Church. It often happens in history that in parallel with the true Church there appear heresies and schisms that masquerade as a Church and want to be called a Church, but they will never replace the Church. This is what we see in Ukraine as well.

In 1989 one schism emerged – the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC). Later, in 1992, a second schism appeared – the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (UOC KP). In December 2018 these two structures merged into one, called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU). However, despite all these metamorphoses, the schism is still a schism, and our Ukrainian Orthodox Church was and remains unchanged, unified and true. Believers see and sense where the true Church is and where its distorted copy is. At the same time, our faithful take hard all the developments inflicting serious wounds on the body of the Church.

– What explanation can the position of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople have? In your opinion, why did the Phanar interfere in the internal affairs of the Ukrainian Orthodoxy?

– It is better to put this question to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople himself. I cannot give an exhaustive answer, but can share with you some of my thoughts. In the early 20th century a new theory of special powers of the Patriarch of Constantinople was actively developing. In the 1920s its leading ideologist was Patriarch Meletius (Metaxakis) of Constantinople. The way the Patriarch of Constantinople acted with regard to the Renovationsts in the Russian Orthodox Church a hundred years ago is practically the same as what the Phanar is doing now with regard to Ukraine.

If we analyze the texts of the tomes that the Patriarchate of Constantinople granted for the last one hundred and fifty years, we will see how limited the autocephaly of the OCU is. In the text of the tomos the Patriarchate of Constantinople tries to secure for itself a number of special powers: the right to grant autocephaly, the right to govern the diaspora, and the right of appeal. So, all the ambitions and innovations that the Patriarchate of Constantinople actively tried to implement since the past century were successfully entrenched in the OCU tomos. Here is the Phanar’s own ideology which was unknown to the Orthodox mind up until the 19th century. However, this ideology only complicates the church life, not helping solve problems.

It surprises me that in all the problematic situations which sometimes arise in various Local Churches the Patriarchate of Constantinople, firstly, interferes, and secondly, almost in every case sides with the forces that are in opposition to the supreme authority of those Churches.

Such was the situation in the 1920s, surrounding the recognition of the Renovationists and the support of the Soviet authorities. Back then the Patriarch of Constantinople recommended the Holy Patriarch Tikhon to abdicate. Such was the situation here, in Bulgaria, when in 1998, at the Council of Primates in Sofia Patriarch Bartholomew also suggested that Patriarch Maxim of blessed memory should abdicate. There are many other examples. In a similar way Constantinople acts in Ukraine. That is why I think that it is by no means an accidental, but consistent policy of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. It only does harm to the Church.

– What is the reaction of the Orthodox world to the Phanar’s actions? What is your prognosis as to further developments in the world Orthodoxy in the face of this unexpected challenge?

– The Orthodox world is trying to preserve its unity. As of today, we have not seen any Church unanimously supporting the actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Moreover, the Church of Antioch, the Serbian and the Polish Churches, and the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia have already openly spoken against the recognition of the newly-created quasi-church organization (OCU). Patriarch Bartholomew’s actions in Ukraine are bringing schism into the Orthodox world. We see this schism beginning to show today even on Mt Athos where some (yet a minority) monasteries receive the schismatics, while the majority refrain or even shut their gates before the schismatics. This is a challenge for the whole Orthodoxy.

I am deeply convinced that we in the Church must not be guided by mundane interests, that is, interests of either the Hellenism (Greek world), or the Russian world, or the Ukrainian world. We must think, first and foremost, about the Church, about its unity. In this regard it is gratifying to see that representatives of both Greek and other Churches state that it is not the Ukrainian autocephaly, but the unity of the universal Orthodoxy that is important to them. It is very good, it gives hope.

– We see that President Poroshenko played a leading role in establishing the OCU and that the U.S. Department of State actively interfered in this process. What is the role of politics and politicians in the developments in Ukraine?

– The interest of the United States in the autocephaly of the Church of Ukraine is quite obvious. We can say that, basing ourselves on official comments and other actions coming from the Department of State and the U.S. ambassadors to different countries. As for the latest characteristic examples, I would like to recall a recent meeting of the U.S. Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey Pyatt, with the Civil Governor of Mt Athos, Kostas Dimtsas, that took place exactly on the day when a delegation of the so-called OCU visited Athos. Some U.S. officials repeatedly spoke in support of the OCU’s autocephaly. For example, the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, stated that the creation of the OCU is a manifestation of “religious freedom” in Ukraine. Yet, in reality the manifestation of such “religious freedom” led to the seizure of dozens of church buildings of our Church in Ukraine. Besides, a desire has been expressed to rename our Church, contrary to the Constitution of Ukraine and all the basic human rights principles. Our Church is being placed under colossal pressure, and for some reason it does not cause concern or produce statements of high representatives of the United States who stand up for religious freedom.

– The Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church has not yet made an official decision concerning the creation of the OCU and its canonicity. In this regard, a question arises, very important for us: is there priesthood and grace in the OCU? Are the Orthodox sacraments being administered there? Can an Orthodox Christian go to its churches?

– Our Church’s attitude to the creation of the OCU was expressed in the decision of the Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of November 13th, 2018, and of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of December 7th, 2018. We do not regard the OCU as a fully fledged Church. There were two schisms – the UOC KP and the UAOC, which merged into one organization, but it is still a schism. They were and still are outside the fence of the Church. Nothing has changed in fact; they did not return to the Church by repenting of the sin of schism, and the apostolic succession of their hierarchy was not restored.

Here, in Bulgaria, there was also a schism. In 1998 all the Bulgarian schismatics came to the Council of Primates of the Local Churches with letters of repentance, whereafter the plenitude of the Orthodoxy in the face of Primates of all the Local Churches accepted their repentance and restored them into communion with the Church. In our Ukrainian case no repentance was shown by the schismatics, no letters of repentance were written. The schismatics were recognized without repentance by a forcible and unilateral decision of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Therefore, there are no ecclesiastical reasons to regard them as a fully fledged Church. The fact that the Patriarchate of Constantinople recognized them is, indeed, a great ecclesiological problem. Did the schismatics become a Church or, on the contrary, did the Patriarchate of Constantinople disgrace itself by communicating with them? How canonical is the Patriarchate of Constantinople itself today? It is the plenitude of the Orthodoxy that must give answers to all these questions.

Yet, in this regard I would like to recall the reply of Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) of September 22nd, 1925, to a letter of a Renovationist hierarch who claimed that the Renovationists had become canonical, because the Patriarchate of Constantinople had recognized them. Metropolitan Sergius wrote in response that the fact that the Patriarch of Constantinople had exchanged messages with the Renovationist Synod was far from convincing. “We know,” Metropolitan Sergius wrote, “that there are only those in the unity of the Church who are in communion with their legitimate bishop and patriarch; that a person excommunicated by his patriarch cannot be accepted into communion by others… And that a person who enters into communion with the excommunicated one, shall be excommunicated (Apostolic Canons 10 and 12). It means that if the Patriarch of Constantinople has entered into communion with the Renovationists, so much the worse for the Patriarch. No one is above the law of God: neither patriarchs, nor laypeople. When in the 15th century the Patriarch of Constantinople fell into Unia with Rome, the Russian Church did not follow him, and the Roman Catholic priests living in Russia at the time did not become Orthodox. In the same manner, communication between the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Renovationists can only make the Patriarch a Renovationist; it cannot make the Renovationists Orthodox.”

Moreover, we see that the plenitude of the Orthodox Church did not agree to this, the Church is not ready to accept the legalization of schismatics.

– What would you say in response to accusations against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of “lack of patriotism,” “disloyalty” to its own country, of orienting itself towards Russia?

– The Ukrainian Orthodox Church artificially, I emphasize, artificially was presented and is still presented as an enemy of the Ukrainian society. It is a flagrant slander. Our faithful serve in the army, pay taxes, pray “for the authorities and the armed forces,” are law-abiding citizens. All these allegations are artificial, groundless and planted.

– Are the Ukrainian authorities oppressing the Ukrainian Orthodox Church today? Can we speak of persecutions?

– As of today, some 45 our church buildings have been seized and in a hundred and fifty cases there is still a conflict situation. When people are being driven out of their own churches, forced to find premises for celebrating divine services and praying, what is it if not a persecution? When every day the Ukrainian mass media throw tons of informational mud at the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, discriminating against it and presenting the Church as an enemy, what is it if not a persecution? Persecutions have different forms; they do not only mean killings.

– And in conclusion, what would you, dear Vladyka, like to say to the Orthodox Christians in Bulgaria?

– I believe that the Lord allowed this ordeal to befall us so that we all may get stronger – we, Orthodox Christians in Ukraine, as well as Orthodox Christians all over the world. You in Bulgaria survived the schism, and to some extent the body of the Bulgarian Church still remembers and feels the pain of the schism. It seems to me that your people, who went through the tragedy of schism, feel the pain and are aware of the problems we are facing today. Therefore, we ask for your prayers and your support for our Church and wish you to be faithful to your Holy Bulgarian Church. And I ask you to pray for the unity of the whole world Orthodoxy.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5373354.html






Metropolitan Mitrofan detained by Ukrainian police



18 February 2019 - 20:12







On February 18, 2019, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church information-education department reported with reference to the website of the Gorlovka diocese that Metropolitan Mitrofan of Gorlovka and Slavyansk was detained at a checkpoint and convoyed to the Slavyansk municipal police office.

According to the diocesan press service, one of the internal Ukrainian checkpoints carried out a regular inspection of documents after which it was announced that Metropolitan Mitrofan of Gorlovka and Slavyansk was detained ‘for identification’. To the question about the cause of the detention, the police officer answered that, according to the Ukrainian Law ‘On the National Police’, he had a right to detain anyone for a three-hour period without charge.

The hierarch was searched and an operation squad was summoned to convoy him to the Slavyansk municipal police office. The investigator had to let Metropolitan Mitrofan go. ‘I believe it was an attempt of the authorities to put pressure on me’, the archpastor said.

When his Eminence went out of the office, he saw a multitude of clergy and laity who came to support him. ‘I had a feeling that now I could put on my mantle and begin celebrating the liturgy. ‘I am very grateful to both the clergy and laity for the support and prayers they organized’, the ruling bishop of Gorlovka said.

Metropolitan Mitrofan had been going back to the Gorlovka diocesan administration from the village of Stavka, Limansk district, Odessa region, where he had celebrated the Divine Liturgy on the patronal feast of the church of St. Theodosius of Chernigov. The day before, he chaired a meeting of the Gorlovka diocesan clergy and parish council chairpersons, at the St. Sergius Convent. The meeting expressed unanimous support for His Beatitude Onufriy, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine, and stated the desire of the communities to remain in the fold of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5376256.html
__________________
Where should they dig the Very Deep Pit?
Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.
(c) Alan Alexander Miln
 
Old March 25th, 2019 #15
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Synod of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus does not recognize “Orthodox church of Ukraine”



20 February 2019 - 15:24







On 18 February 2019, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus held an extraordinary session under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of New Justiniana and All Cyprus to discuss the situation surrounding the church life in Ukraine.

Having expressed an opinion that the actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine had been aimed at pacifying and achieving the unity of the local Church, the Synod members stated that “this goal has not been achieved at present.” In the event that the unification of the Ukrainian Orthodoxy will not occur, the Church of Cyprus expects the convocation of “a Pan-Orthodox Council or a Synaxis of Primates.”

The archpastors of the Church of Cyprus believe that in principle every nation which received national independence has a right to request church autocephaly.

The Holy Synod noted that an agreement concerning the way to grant autocephaly had been reached earlier within the preparations for the 5th Pre-Council Conference, but had been annulled in view of impossibility to agree upon the means to sign a tomos of autocephaly. If it were not for this circumstance, there would have been no current problem in Ukraine.

Having raised an issue of apostolic succession of the newly-created structure in Ukraine, recognized by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus emphasized that the two-thousand-years-old experience of the Church of Cyprus, as well as of the whole Orthodox Church, arouses doubts about a possibility to legitimatize post factum the ordinations performed by the defrocked, excommunicated and anathematized bishops. “We, Orthodox, all agreed with the defrocking, excommunicating and anathematizing of some persons who had become instigators of the Ukrainian crisis. “The right of appeal, when such takes place, must have time limits with regard to its submission and consideration,” the Synod members noted. The bishops of the Church of Cyprus pointed out that even if the Ukrainian Orthodox faithful unite around the new structure, the Patriarchate of Constantinople has to find a way to soothe the conscience of the believers as to validity of the ordinations and sacraments that are being performed by this structure.

The Synod members mentioned the Council held in Crete in 2016, expressing their doubt that the non-participation of four Local Churches in it had been justified. The communiqué published by the website of the Church of Cyprus notes that the Cyprian hierarchs take a critical stance towards the cessation of commemoration of a Primate of a recognized Local Church for the jurisdictional reasons. As the document mentions, regrettably, it does not happen for the first time, for there is a break-off of communion between the Patriarchates of Antioch and Jerusalem, and earlier – “between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Athens.” The Synod of the Church of Cyprus criticized such exceptional canonical measure as break-off of the Eucharistic communion.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5376265.html






Chancellor of Ukrainian Orthodox Church meets with Catholicos-Patriarch Iliya II of All Georgia



20 February 2019 - 19:22







February 21, 2019 – Metropolitan Anthony of Borispol and Brovary, chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, met with His Holiness and Beatitude Iliya II, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, at his residence in the city of Tbilisi.

Metropolitan Anthony was accompanied by Archpriest Nikolas Danilevich, vice-chairman of the UOC department for external church relations.

Present at the meeting were hierarchs of the Georgian Orthodox Church including Metropolitan Shio of Senaki and Chkhototsku, Patriarchal Locum Tenens; Metropolitan Gerasim of Zugdidi and Tsaishi, Metropolitan Andrew of Gori and Ateni; Bishop Vakhtang of Nikortsminda; Metropolitan Theodore of Akhaltsikhi and Tao-Klarjeti; Archpriest Michael Botkoveli, secretary to the Catholicos-Patriarch; Protopresbyter George Zciadze; and Archpriest Andrew Jagmadze, head of the Patriarch of Georgia press-center.

The meeting was held in a warm and fraternal atmosphere. They discussed the church situation in Ukraine in the in world of Orthodoxy.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5377205.html






Second Session of Commission for Bilateral Dialogue between Russian Orthodox Church and Syriac Orthodox Church took place in Lebanon



24 February 2019 - 14:57







From February 18 to 22, 2019, the Second Session of the Commission for Bilateral Dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Syriac Orthodox Church took place in the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh, Lebanon.

The Moscow Patriarchate membership in the Commission includes Bishop Flavian of Cherepovets and Belozersk (Co-chairman); Hegumen Arseny (Sokolov), representative of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia to the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East; Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), secretary for inter-Christian affairs, Department for External Church Relations of Moscow Patriarchate (DECR); Mr. Sergey Alferov and Mr. Evgeny Bakhtin, DECR Staff members.

The Syriac Orthodox Church was represented by Archbishop Mor Chrysostomos Mikhael Chamoun, Patriarchal vicar and director of the Patriarchal Benevolent Institutions in Atchaneh (acting co-chairman of the Commission); Archimandrite Raban Jack Yakoub, director of the patriarchal youth department; Archimandrite Raban Roger-Youssef Akhrass, director of the department of Syriac studies; Deacon Imad Syryany, staff member of the patriarchal secretariat; and Mr. Shadi Sarweh, executive director of St. Ephrem Patriarchal Development Committee.

In the beginning of the meeting, Archbishop Chrysostomos asked Bishop Flavian to convey congratulations to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia from Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II on the recently celebrated 10th anniversary of his Primatial ministry.

The sides summed up the implementation of the agreements concluded at the First Session of the Committee and determined the further program of cooperation to be approved by the Church Authorities.

The Commission’s work to coordinate interaction in implementing projects for aid to suffering Christians in Syria, among whom is thousands-strong flock of the Syriac Orthodox Church, remains the priority for it. It was stated with satisfaction that a number of projects were successfully realized in 2018. Among them, the trip of a delegation of the Working Group for Aid to People in Syria of Russia’s Presidential Council for Cooperation with Religious Organizations to Syria and Lebanon and the distribution of a large food supply there last February; the initiative of the Russian Orthodox Church to launch a medical rehabilitation program for disabled children – victims of the hostilities in Syria; and the conference of heads and high representatives of religious communities in Syria and Russia held during the visit to Damascus of Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations, with the participation of Patriarch Mar Ignatius Aphrem II. The conference considered plans for continuation of the cooperation in this area, also with the participation of the St. Ephrem Patriarchal Development Committee, which supervises humanitarian projects of the Syriac Orthodox Church.

Another topical area of joint work is the development of relations in the academic sphere. It was noted as important the participation of a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church, Hegumen Arseny (Sokolov), in the symposium organized by the Department of Syriac Studies on the personality of Severus of Antioch (Atchaneh, May 25, 2018). This year, delegates from Syria are expected to attend academic theological conferences to be organized by the Moscow Patriarchate higher educational institutions. Concrete agreements were reached on the beginning of a students’ exchange program. It is planned to develop in the future the direct cooperation between theological schools, in particular, between those of the Russian Orthodox Church and the St. Ephrem Theological Seminary in Seidaya and the Syrian Antioch University, which was opened in November 2018 in Damascus as the first university of the Syriac Orthodox Church to train not only clergy but also laity for work in humanities, and natural science and technology disciplines.

The Commission considered it topical to promote the establishment of contacts between respective structures responsible for developing youth service through exchange of delegations and joint participation in issue activities including in the diaspora dioceses.

The sides also discussed prospects for interaction between monastics and development of pilgrimage programs, pointing to the positive experience of trips organized by the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations for pilgrim groups from the Syriac Orthodox Church to come to Russia in January and July 2018.

The Commission deemed it necessary to maintain the present level of cooperation in the media sphere, including giving mutual informational support in face of pressing challenges faced today by the Moscow Patriarchate and the Syriac Orthodox Church. The Syrian side gave a high value to the initiative of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to hold a consultation with Primates of Churches in East and West to adopt a joint statement during the aggravation of the situation in Syria in April 2018. Among other significant manifestations of this interaction was the concurrent wide distribution by the DECR Communication Service of the Joint Statement of His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, His Holiness Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II and His Beatitude Melkite Patriarch Jousseff Absi.

The participants pointed out the importance of the activation of contacts between the Russian Orthodox Church and the community of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Iraq, which took place in 2018. Archbishop Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf of Mosul, Kirkuk, Kurdistan and Environs visited Moscow in November 2018, as a member of the Council of Iraq Christian Leaders. Earlier, in March of the same year, Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), at the instruction of Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, visited Baghdad and Erbil, where he held working meetings with heads and representatives of local Syriac Orthodox communities.

In conclusion of the session, a joint Memorandum was adopted.

During their stay in Lebanon, the Moscow Patriarchate delegation visited the Monastery of the Dormition in Balamand, which belong to the Orthodox Church of Antioch, and the Theological Institute located in its territory, in which the delegation, with the blessing of Patriarch John X, was received by Metropolitan Ephraim of Tripoli. Bishop Flavian asked them to convey cordial greetings to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Patriarch John X of All the East and told them about the progress made in the dialogue with the Syriac Orthodox Church. On his part, Metropolitan Ephraim noted that the Balamand monastery is still cherishes the memory of the visit made by the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church to the Patriarch of Antioch in November 2011. An exchange of opinions took place on pressing problems of bilateral and inter-Orthodox cooperation.

The program of the Commission session included visits to holy places and historical and cultural sites in Lebanon, including the St. George Cathedral of the Metropolis of Beirut of the Orthodox Church of Antioch, the Saydet el Nourieh and the St. Elias Orthodox monasteries, as well as the city of Byblos.

The next session of the Commission is to take place in summer 2020 in Russia.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5378615.html






Provocations against communities of Ukrainian Orthodox Church take place in five villages in Bukovina



25 February 2019 - 21:17







On 24 February 2019, activists of the so-called OCU organized provocations in the five villages of the diocese of Chernovtsy and Bukovina – Berezhnitsa, Berezhonka, Zadubrovka, Vaslovtsy and Tovtry.

As the Union of Orthodox Journalists reported, citing the Information and Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, activists of the schismatic structure were brought to Berezhnitsa village in ten cars. The head of the village council tried to pacify the newcomers and asked them to observe the laws. The faithful of the canonical Church were at the time reading the Psalter and praying to the Most Holy Theotokos at the gates. Earlier, at 5 a.m., the rector of the church, Fr. Konstantin, celebrated the Divine Liturgy with the parishioners and read out the akathist to the Holy Archangel Michael. The community members were praying that peace be restored in the village.

In Berezhonka village the OCU activists tried to carry out an illegal meeting. “Some ten policemen have arrived. Peace is still kept. The religious community is praying in the territory of the church. Activists are peacefully communicating in the street. A missionary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Fr. Ioann Verenko, has come. He is disputing with those interested on the religious situation in Ukraine,” some of the eyewitnesses reported.

In Zadubrovka village supporters of the newly-created church structure arrived at 11 a.m. While waiting for an “OCU pastor,” they unfolded provocative placards, brought loudspeakers and started shouting at Fr. Leonid, rector of the church of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, inciting religious hatred. Fr. Leonid, together with the parishioners of the Church of the Holy Archangel Michael, was celebrating the Divine Liturgy. After the service everybody stayed inside the church, praying. The police was called.

To a church in Vaslovtsy village the OCU representatives came at noon. Some fifty people demanded to be let in the Church of the Holy Dormition of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in order to “celebrate a service.” The activists brought three OCU “priests” with them. The faithful of the canonical Church continued to pray inside the church. Someone called the police.

In Tovtry village raiders, acting on behalf of the OCU, tried to seize the Church of the Holy Dormition of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. A fight started. The believers called the police and filed a complaint about the provocation. Officials arrived and tried to persuade the provokers not to cut off locks.

That same day, in Veliky Kuchurov village, a religious community of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church took a vote, confirming its faithfulness to the canonical Church. After the Liturgy the parishioners carried out a meeting. According to a counting board, 632 community members voted in favour of remaining faithful to the UOC, and 4 – against it. The parish rector blessed all those present with holy water, and people went home, rejoicing.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5381945.html






Patriarch Irinej of Serbia: The Serbian Church will not accept the legalization of the schism in Ukraine



25 February 2019 - 18:37







In an interview to the Belgrade daily Politika, Patriarch Irinej of Serbia spoke, among other things, about the reaction of the Serbian Orthodox Church to the granting of “tomos” of autocephaly to the newly-created church structure in Ukraine, as well as about the inter-Christian dialogue and major challenges facing Serbia today.


How will the grand jubilee of the Serbian Orthodox Church [800th Anniversary of its autocephaly, TN] be celebrated? Do we already know which Orthodox patriarchs will be present at the main celebration at the beginning of October?

The importance and character of the jubilee condition the form of its celebration. In the first place, the eight centuries since the granting of autocephaly to the Serbian Church will be celebrated in a Christian way and in prayer.

When Saint Sava received the title of archbishop of all Serbia and the Littoral, he began his archipastoral ministry in the house of the Savior, in the monastery of Ziča. At the beginning of October, the Serbian hierarchs, that is, our holy episcopal assembly, will gather around the altar of God in this holy place which is our first ecclesial seat, so that this great anniversary may be celebrated both by the earthly Serbia and the heavenly Serbia, led by Saint Sava and all the saints of our people. Then we will celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the Patriarchate of Peć, our ancient and historic seat.

The celebrations have actually already begun. Last month, our Faculty of Theology have organized an international scientific symposium dedicated to independence and to the eight-hundred-year-old contribution of the Serbian Orthodox Church to Serbian history, theology, and culture.

Many exhibitions, concerts, and solemn events are planned in the capital, in the dioceses of the Serbian Orthodox Church, in the country and in the diaspora.

I take this opportunity to send greetings to all the Serbian people, on the occasion of this wonderful and great jubilee, which every Serbian should experience as a festivity.

One of the most serious challenges facing our State and the Serbian Orthodox Church, is the issue of Kosovo and Metohija. At the beginning of November, the Serbian Orthodox Church holy assembly of bishops reiterated its position: no matter the cost, one cannot challenge the full sovereignty and integrity of Serbia in Kosovo and Metohija. Since then, problems have arisen with the introduction of a 100% tax on Serbian products [sold in Kosovo, NT], and on the removal of the border between Albania, Kosovo, and Metohija. What do you think about these recent signs of pressure on our people and our State, as they multiply?

The increase of these external signs of pressure should lead to a stronger unity of the people and the State, in defending sovereign rights and State integrity. This unity should not be destroyed by internal conflicts. Social issues and discontent, that exist in certain strata of our society, should not tear the national soul apart, especially taking into account the simultaneous creation of an Albanian army, and the impediments created to prevent supply from reaching Serbian institutions, hospitals, schools and the like in Kosovo and Metohija.

I followed with great concern the recent demonstrations in the streets of Banja Luka. Those who do not wish the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and the Serbian people well, were happy with these demonstrations. I don’t see how inciting such protests in Belgrade and throughout Serbia can be useful for the people. Whether you accept to see it or not, all these happenings are connected. The State and the State bodies, especially those who should be a model for all through their high level of education and knowledge, have an obligation to commit themselves in the creation of a democratic atmosphere, in peace and cooperation, in order to solve problems at all levels of our society.

Just as the Serbian Republic of Bosnia was established with guarantees from the world powers, I pray to God and hope that the time will come, when the leaders of these States will accept the fact that the Serbian people will never give up on Kosovo and on Metohija, their own country. And that along with Russia, our ally and protector, the leaders of our State and the representatives of the Albanians will agree on a solution that will allow both peoples to continue living in peace.

What reports do you get from Kosovo and Metohija, from our clergy and our monks, from the Raška-Prizren diocese? What does their daily life look like? And what about their struggle to preserve our holy places?

Whenever I can, I stay in Kosovo and Metohija, as the seat of the Orthodox Church is in the Patriarchate of Peć, and this monastery is stavropegic, that is, under the direct jurisdiction of the patriarch. Wjen I’m there, I hear and see what is happening to our people, north and south of the Ibar River. The majority of our people in other parts of Serbia, or anywhere in the world where they live freely, have a hard time understanding that the people and clergy in Kosovo constantly experience worry for the next day, for the safety of their children, of their houses and holy places…

The people who live there have unfortunately become accustomed to all this, since this has been the situation in Kosovo and Metohija since slavery, at the time of the Ottoman domination. The Ottomans used to hire hill tribes to murder enslaved Christians. Tyranny went on during the two world wars. Problems were concealed during the half-century rule of the Yugoslav communists, as we can see in the major book written by Patriarch Paul of blessed memory. It’s entitled “Reports from crucified Kosovo and Metochia”, and it chronicles the continuous violence and persecution of Serbians in the time of Tito’s Yugoslavia.

But the responsibility is ours, we the Serbian. We strayed from God, from the Church, from serbness. We strayed from ourselves. This was the case for all of us, and it still is today. Everything was more important to us than serbness and Orthodoxy. But God always gives us the opportunity and calls us in different ways to repent and correct our behavior, and to be unique in defending our people and our holy places in Kosovo and Metohija. The most important thing is that we are not faint-hearted, that we do not give up in advance. The Lord God is ultimately the master of History. Let us be faithful to God and to the Church, to Saint Sava, to the holy Tsar Lazar. And God will not forget us, neither us, nor our Kosovo, nor our Metohija!

The recent granting of the tomos of autocephaly, signed by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, to the newly-formed Orthodox Church in Ukraine is a great ordeal for the Orthodox world. The Serbian Orthodox Church has repeatedly stated that decisions made [by Constantinople] about “the Ukrainian question” constitute a violation of the canonical order. How real is the danger that the question of non-canonical and unrecognized ecclesial structures, primarily in Macedonia and perhaps also in Montenegro, could be resolved in the same way? And what is the position of the Serbian Orthodox Church with regard to these structures in the two neighboring States?

You are right when you say our Church reacted in good time, and mentioned the violation of the holy canons. I feel obliged to repeat here that we are neither against the Greeks nor against the Russians, neither for the Greeks nor for the Russians. The Serbian Church speaks exclusively for the respect of the holy canons and of the century-old order established by them.

Which simply means we are for both sides. It is obvious we are for the Russians and the Russian Orthodox Church, our brothers and sisters by blood, who have been helping us for centuries under difficult circumstances. And likewise, we are for our Mother Church, the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which gave us independence eight centuries ago. Since then, like the other autocephalous Churches, including that of Constantinople, we are equal in rights. The patriarch of our Mother Church is the first among equals. The Serbian Church, and I think the other Orthodox Churches as well, will not accept some sort of Orthodox pope. If they did, they would cease to be Orthodox. The Serbian Church does not nor will accept the legalization of the schism in Ukraine as a legal situation. And we will not accept it on our canonical territory, especially if such ambitions manifest themselves here.

What Constantinople did in Kyiv, the mother of Russian cities, is a null act. Ukraine has its canonical Church with a legal primate, Metropolitan Onufriy. We know and will know no other. The Phanar knows that the autonomous Church of the Archdiocese of Ohrid is under the auspices of the Serbian Orthodox Church and is led by Archbishop Jovan. From the point of view of the canons, of the possibility of salvation for the faithful, of the fulfillment of the holy mysteries, there is no problem for anyone. Whether you consider yourself Serbian, Macedonian, North Macedonian, Bulgarian, Roma, Greek, it is the same thing. All can approach the chalice of salvation.

So I don’t see any excuse for the intrusion on the canonical territory of the Serbian Church. It would be a sort of pseudo-spiritual version of the “Merciful Angel” NATO operation [Noble Anvil/Merciful Angel was the operative name given by NATO to its bombing of Serbia – TN]. In Montenegro everything is clear. This is another State, which is not a problem for us. But all the Orthodox faithful in this country belong to the Serbian Orthodox Church, and with the exception of some Russians who develop business in Montenegro and thus promote the State, almost all of them are Serbian. Who would have anything to ask there?

What about the relations with other Christian Churches, especially the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican? To what extent can ecclesiastical diplomacy help raise awareness among European States of the importance of Kosovo and Metohija for our Church and for our people?

Relations with the Roman Catholic Church take place at different levels. At the level of parishes, towns and villages, I am particularly thinking of the region of Bačka and Banat, where our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters are more numerous. We are careful they don’t miss anything, in ecclesiastical and social life, they feel no discomfort whatsoever, so that they can perceive Serbia as their own country. That’s the position of our bishops in these dioceses, of our priests, and that’s the position of our State. We are striving to correct whatever we didn’t succeed in doing and whatever made our Roman Catholics fellow citizens not feel comfortable.

Personally, I would be very happy if the Roman Catholic leadership adopted the same attitude in Croatia, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are encouraging signs in Croatia, where there are new currents, and the situation is improving. Our people are sometimes discouraged, when they experience pro-Ustasha agitations, falsification of History, for instance regarding the suffering in Jasenovac and other places, and similar events on the premises of the Roman Catholic Church in Zagreb and elsewhere.

But our Church in the Republic of Croatia, with its young bishops and priests, prays and works for the good of all, and for everything to improve for all. I pray to God that their prayers and work, as well as the prayers of our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters, may bring good to all in this State. The relations between the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Vatican and the Holy See have been strengthened through the dialogue that is taking place on many levels; through meetings, discussions; through sharing of opinion between synodal bodies, State secretaries, and Vatican officials; through the participation of representatives of the Serbian Church in the joint commission for dialogue between both Churches; in academics, through the cooperation between the Faculty of Theology and the Lateran University; through scholarly research and cooperation between the patriarchal library and the Vatican archives. In general, there are things we agree on, but others we don’t. Personally, I think highly of Pope Francis’s decision to reject Uniatism, and particularly of his approach concerning the issue of Cardinal Stepinac’s role. And I am personally very grateful to him for that. We must also appreciate the position of the Vatican, which has not recognized the pseudo-state of Kosovo.

How do you see the place and role of the Serbian Orthodox Church in today’s Serbian society? In which areas did it make a significant contribution to society, and in what other areas could it strengthen its role?

This is such an important and complex question, the answer could be extended to all our discussion today. I will try to answer with a few brief examples. So, from the point of view of the Serbian Patriarch, what should be the role of the Church in society? It is with this idea in mind that I began our discussion today, when I said that “Politika”, with its baptized contributors, is part of Saint Sava’s spiritual and cultural heritage, which means, part of the Church.
Another example: some time ago, a sincere Roman Catholic journalist from Zagreb, and I would say an honest man, asked me, “why do institutions and companies celebrate the ‘slava’ [a family or an institution feast day celebration – TN], is this not an abuse?”. I answered that the human being is one person. You are not a Christian merely at church and at home, but you are a person who lives and acts always and everywhere as a Christian.

And the Serbians, even when they did not learn catechism, celebrated their ‘slava’, and thus implanted the essence of faith in their hearts, namely, that Christ is always among us and with us. That’s why they celebrate their patron saint, at home, at work, in the army and at school. Thus Christ is always with us, the Orthodox Serbians. That’s why we survived, because Christ is with us and we are with Him.

We are used to what is being said in the media: the Serbian Orthodox Church and its followers, and we think the Church means bishops, monks and priests, while the faithful are something else. This is wrong, all of us, we are the Orthodox Church. Bishops, priests, and the people, we are all the Church. And when we mention, as today, that personal interests or those of minority groups should not be placed before the interests of the State or of Kosovo and Metohija, we are talking to our faithful flock. Likewise, when we ask officials to prevent the people from being poisoned by rubbish and pornography in the media, we tell the faithful of our Church, because we think they should be concerned about it as responsible people, Christians, and parents. And other similar things…
It means that together, we are the Church of Christ, we who today pray, work, love, educate, save, together with our ancestors, since Saint Sava the Nemanjić, and even before him. And we are always part of the Church, not only in the worship building, but also at work, in the street, at school, even in cafés. We must always act as Christians, as Saint Sava’s faithful children.

And in his name, I wish everyone a happy holiday, praying that in this jubilee year, we may all be instructed by the work of the first Serbian archbishop.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5378540.html
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His Holiness Patriarch Kirill chairs the first in 2019 session of the Holy Synod



26 February 2019 - 17:52






On 26 February 2019, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church began its regular session in conference hall of the Holy Synod at the Patriarchal and Synodal residence in Danilov Monastery in Moscow.







The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church opened the session and addressed those gathered, saying: “I would like to cordially greet all permanent and temporary members of the Holy Synod. Our session today is very important as we have to solve many current problems, including personnel affairs. Life moves forward, a lot has changed, and alterations are a response to the needs and challenges which the Church is facing. Our agenda with many important items will not be long.”



















His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine; Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna; Metropolitan Vladimir of Kishinev and All Moldova; Metropolitan Alexander of Astana and Kazakhstan, head of the metropolitan area in the Republic of Kazakhstan; Metropolitan Vikenty of Tashkent and Uzbekistan, head of the metropolitan area in Central Asia; Metropolitan Varsonofy of St. Petersburg and Ladoga, chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate; Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Zaslavl, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus; and Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations are permanent members of the Holy Synod.






















Invited to the winter session (September-February) were Metropolitan Luka of Zaporozhje and Melitopol, Metropolitan Sergy of Barnaul and Altai, Bishop Lazar of Narva and Prichudje, Bishop Veniamin of Rybinsk and Danilov, and Bishop Nikolai of Nakhodka and Preobrazhenka.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5381960.html






Solemn celebrations held in Sofia on commemoration day of St. Seraphim the Archbishop of Boguchar



27 February 2019 - 13:20







On February 25, 2019, His Holiness Neophyte, Patriarch of Bulgaria, met with Metropolitan Tikhon of Vladimir and Suzdal, who came to Bulgaria for the celebrations on the commemoration day of St. Seraphim (Sobolev), Archbishop of Boguchar.

Metropolitan Tikhon conveyed to the Primate of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church messages of greeting from His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, and Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations, as well as Patriarchate Kirill’s words of gratitude to Patriarch Neophyte for his congratulations on the 10th anniversary of Patriarch Kirill’s enthronement and sending a delegation of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church for the festivities in Moscow.

Metropolitan Tikhon thanked Patriarch Neophyte for the invitation to visit Bulgaria for the celebrations devoted to the commemoration day of St. Seraphim. ‘Thanks to the invitation of Your Holiness and the blessing of Patriarch Kirill, I have an opportunity to visit Sofia, the old Bulgarian capital city of Veliko Tarnavo, and Pleven. I was glad to celebrate the Divine Liturgy together with Metropolitan Gregory at the cathedral in Veliko Tarnovo, to have a fraternal talk with Metropolitan Ignatius in Pleven, to be given a warm welcome by the father superior of the monastery, Bishop Sionius, and to honour the memory of the Russian soldiers and Bulgarian volunteer corps, who fought together for the liberation of Bulgaria from the Turkish yoke’, he said.

Patriarch Neophyte warmly welcomed the hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church and those who accompanied him and, as a token of Patriarchal blessing, presented Metropolitan Tikhon with an Icon of the Good Shepard – Our Lord Jesus Christ. Metropolitan Tikhon presented His Holiness with an icon of St. Simon, the first Bishop of Vladimir and Suzdal, and the Holy Prince George of Vladimir.

Later that day, the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church visited the Rila Patriarchal Monastery, the largest one in Bulgaria, in which they venerated the relics of the founder of the monastery, St. John of Rila, and other monastery’s shrines. Metropolitan Tikhon was welcomed by the abbot of the Rila Monastery, Bishop Eulogius of Andrianople.

In the evening, Russian Ambassador to Bulgaria A. Makarov gave a dinner in honour of the delegation at his residence. It was also attended by Bishop Gerasim of Melnish, Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, and Hieromonk Meletius, assistant rector of Sofia Theological Academy.

On the commemoration day of St. Serahim, February 26, Metropolitan Tikhon celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the St. Nicholas church of the Sofia Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church. He was assisted by a great assembly of the Bulgarian clergy. There were numerous parishioners. Present at the service were also Ambassador A. Makarov and V. Gusev, a counsellor of the Russian embassy.

The Gospel was read in the Bulgarian language. During the Prayer of Fervent Supplication, petitions were lifted up for the unity of the Orthodox Church and safeguarding it from divisions and schisms.

After the service, Archimandrite Vassian (Zmeyev), rector of the ROC representation, addressed the congregation. He asked to convey words of cordial gratitude to Patriarch Neophyte for giving his blessing upon the Bulgarian hierarch and clergy to concelebrate on that festive day, and presented the celebrants with icons of St. Seraphim. ‘Many Years of Life’ was sung to the Bulgarian and Russian peoples and all the present in the church.

After that, Metropolitan Tikhon led the faithful in a thanksgiving at the relics of St. Seraphim in the crypt of the St. Nicholas church. The anointing with the holy oil from the relics of St. Seraphim lasted in the crypt for the whole day.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5381967.html






Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk meets with the head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland



28 February 2019 - 10:46







On 27 February 2019, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), met with Archbishop Tapio Luoma, head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF). The meeting took place at the DECR premises.

Archbishop Luoma arrived in Russia on official visit after his election as head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland The delegation accompanying him consists of Dr. Seppo Häkinen, Bishop of the Diocese of Mikkeli; Rev. Jari Huokuna, the ELCF chancellor; Rev. Tomi Karttunen, secretary of the ELCF Department for International Relations; Rev. Dr. Juha Meriläinen, secretary of the Archbishop; Rev. Timo Rosqvist, secretary of the Diocese of Mikkeli; and Rev. Vladimir Dorotniy, Church of Ingria. Also attending the meeting at the DECR were H.E. Mikko Hautala, Ambassador of the Republic of Finland to the Russian Federation; Archimandrite Philaret (Bulekov), DECR vice-chairman; Archpriest Viktor Lioutik, rector of the Patriarchal parishes in Finland; Mr. Toivo Martikainen, second secretary of the Embassy of Finland in Moscow; Rev. Alexei Dikarev, Ms. Yelena Speranskaya and Mr. Ruslan Akhmatkhanov, staff members of the DECR secretariat for inter-Christian relations.

Discussed were topics pertaining to the development of bilateral relations, including academic contacts and diakonia. Metropolitan Hilarion underscored urgency of the situation of Christians in the Middle East and called on the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland to render joint assistance to Christians in the region.

Talks over, the sides exchanged memorable gifts.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5381971.html






Serbian Orthodox Church formulates its official position on ecclesiastical situation in Ukraine



28 February 2019 - 13:03







The Press and Mass Information Bureau of the Serbian Orthodox Church spread a statement emphasizing, in particular, that the only Church known to and recognized by the Serbian Patriarchate in Ukraine is the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church led by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine. The document characterizes the encroachment of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the territory of the Russian Church as uncanonical and calls the “unification council” convened with the participation of Constantinople a disuniting and dividing false-council that “deepened a ditch of alienation and societal disintegration in the unhappy country of Ukraine.” The Serbian hierarchs and clergymen are recommended to refrain from liturgical and canonical communion not only with the “primate” of the newly-created OCU and “others of that ilk,” but also with those bishops and clerics who con-celebrate and enter into communion with them. The Serbian Orthodox Church also asks the Patriarch of Constantinople to reconsider his decisions in order to restore the “blessed peace and unity of the Local holy Churches of God.”

The text of the document is given below.

Last November the Serbian Orthodox Church was the first among the autocephalous Orthodox Churches to officially react at the highest level (Bishops’ Council) to intentions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople arbitrarily and autocratically, as “the first without equals” (primus sine paribus), and not as “the first among equals” (primus inter pares), to “rule” and “resolve” ecclesiastical problems in the Ukrainian land, and asked not to do so, but to really help resolve the crisis in the fraternal dialogue with the Russian Orthodox Church and in consultation with the rest of the Churches.

Regrettably, the voice of the Serbian Church was “the voice of one crying in the wilderness:” no response came from Constantinople – only deathly silence. Later the Holy Synod of the Serbian Church appealed to Constantinople, asking it again not to hasten, but to act in the spirit of conciliarity, brotherly love and responsibility not only for the Church in Ukraine, but also for the unity of the Orthodoxy as a whole. The reaction was the same – deathly silence. Then in Thessaloniki His Holiness the Patriarch of Serbia personally implored the Patriarch of Constantinople to do so – regrettably, the result was the same. It should be noted that each time the Serbian Church informed all the local sister Churches about its position and steps.

After everything that the Patriarchate of Constantinople has done in Kiev – and Kiev, as is widely known, is the “Mother of the Russian cities” – the Serbian Orthodox Church takes the following position, of which all the Local Orthodox Churches were also officially informed.

1. The Serbian Orthodox Church does not recognize the uncanonical “encroachment” of His Holiness the Patriarch of Constantinople on the canonical territory of the Most Holy Russian Church, since the Metropolia of Kiev by no means can be identified with today’s “Ukraine,” which includes dozens of other ecclesiastical dioceses. It was transferred to the Moscow Patriarchate in 1686, as can be concluded on the basis of the documents of Patriarch Dionysius IV of Constantinople, of the decisions of his successors, of the “Taktika,” “Syntagmatia,” “Diptychs,” ‘Calendars” and ‘Annuals” that have been issued since then not only by the other Churches, but also by the Patriarchate of Constantinople itself, as well as even on the basis of personal statements and utterances of the current Patriarch of Constantinople made right up to last April.

2. Concurrently, the Serbian Orthodox Church does not recognize as the “Autocephalous Church of Ukraine” the proclaimed, but non-existent from the canonical point of view, imposed by force and artificial “confederation” of the Ukrainian schismatic groups which are again fiercely fighting with each other and uncontrollably moving towards division. The schismatics have remained schismatics. Once a schismatic, always a schismatic, unless there is sincere conversion and deep repentance. The only Church that the Serbian Church knows and recognizes is the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church led by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine.

3. The Serbian Church also does not recognize the Kiev “council,” wrongly called “unifying,” in which none of the hierarchs of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church took part (since the day before His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew had accepted into his Church Alexander Drabinko and Metropolitan Simeon of Vinnitsa without the canonical letter of release from their Church). The scenes, the setting and the backstage of this strange gathering, to say the least, are known to almost everyone. In fact, it is an anti-unifying, disuniting and dividing false-council that deepened a ditch of alienation and societal disintegration in the unhappy country of Ukraine. For all these reasons the Serbian Church regards its decisions as anti-canonical, void and therefore by no means binding.

4. The Serbian Church does not recognize the schismatic episcopate as Orthodox episcopate and the schismatic clergy as Orthodox clergy, inasmuch as those belonging to Denisenko’s wing received “existence” from a defrocked, excommunicated and anathematized hierarch (the fact that Patriarch Bartholomew himself officially recognized at some point), and those belonging to Maletich’s group have neither apostolic succession nor priesthood in general. No document, no, as they say, stroke of a pen can make undone what was done, can turn things non-existent into things existent. Therefore, the Serbian Church does not recognize that Mr. or citizen Dumenko (Yepifany) is even a hierarch, let alone the primate of an autocephalous Church (even his “spiritual father,” Mr. or citizen Denisenko, “actual primate” and “patriarch” for life, does not recognize him in his latter office).

5. Finally, the Serbian Church expectedly has to recommend its eminent hierarchs and honourable clerics to refrain from liturgical and canonical communion not only with the aforementioned Mr. Yepifany (Dumenko) and others of that ilk, but also with those bishops and clerics who con-celebrate and enter into communion with them, in accordance with the principle of the sacred canons that persons who enter into communion with the excommunicated ones shall be excommunicated themselves.



***

The Serbian Orthodox Church asks and implores His Holiness the Patriarch of Constantinople to reconsider his decisions taken up to this day and to restore the blessed peace and unity of the Local holy Churches of God, because nothing is as necessary and precious as love, peace and like-mindedness among brothers.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5383499.html






Primate of the Syriac Orthodox Church has great concerns about large-scale of violence against believers of the canonical Church in Ukraine



28 February 2019 - 13:54







In his letter to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the Primate of the Syrian Orthodox Church His Holiness Mar Ignatius Aphrem II expressed great concerns about ‘the magnitude of hardships endured by and coercion exerted on the Orthodox faithful in Ukraine.’

We recall ‘dark episodes of the church history where believers had to pay a heavy price for upholding true faith and safeguarding the holy Traditions and the discipline in the Church. Building on our current experience in Syria, we can testify that politics under the disguise of religion have destroyed the national fabric in Syria and will, unfortunately, have the same impact in Ukraine.”

Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church wrote: ‘We stand in solidarity with all the parishioners subjected to harassment and persecution because of their faith and loyalty to their Church.

‘We will keep Your Holiness, our fellow clergy and all the beloved sons and daughters of Christ in Ukraine in our thoughts and prayers.

‘We believe that God will not forsaken His Church and we are confident in the intercession of the Mother of God to bring a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Ukraine.’




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5381975.html






Representative of Ukrainian Orthodox Church to European international organizations holds meetings at Council of Europe



28 February 2019 - 21:03







From February 27 to 28, 2019, Bishop Victor of Baryshevka, representative of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to European international organizations, was on a working visit to Strasbourg. He began his visit with a prayer at the Divine Liturgy on the commemoration day of St. Cyril Equal-to-the-Apostles the Enlightener of the Slavs, at the new church of All Saints in Strasbourg. During the service, an ardent prayer was lifted up for the suffering Orthodox faithful in Ukraine.

On February 27, Bishop Victor had meetings with Mr. Christos Giakoumopoulos, Director General for Human Rights and Rule of Law, Mr. Christophe Poirel, Director of the Human Rights Directorate, and Mr. Regis Brillat, Special Advisor of the Council of Europe Secretary General for Ukraine.

On February 28, Bishop Victor met with Ms. Dunja Mijatović. Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights and her staff. During his meeting the Ukrainian hierarch was accompanied by Hegumen Philip (Riabyjkh), Russian Orthodox Church representative to the Council of Europe.

Bishop Victor informed the high-ranking European officials about the situation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church at the present time and the difficulties encountered by the clergy and laity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in liturgical celebrations and confession of the faith in Ukraine. The sides discussed possible ways of preventing and banning violations of the rights of the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and ways out of the present church crisis in Ukraine. His Eminence conveyed materials recording the violations and his appeal to international officials to help defend legitimacy and rights of the faithful.

Hegumen Philip, on his part, informed the Council of Europe representatives about the monitoring of violations of the rights of Orthodox Christians in Europe. The sides agreed to continue contacts concerning human rights problems, the website of the Strasbourg representation of the Russian Orthodox Church reports.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5383511.html






Patriarch Kirill meets with head of Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland



28 February 2019 - 23:40






On February 28, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met with the head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, Archbishop Luoma of Turku and Finland, at the Patriarchal and Synodal Residence in the St. Daniel Monastery in Moscow.







Participating in the meeting from the Russian Orthodox Church were Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations (DECR); Archbishop Amvrosy of Vereya, rector of Moscow theological schools; Archimandrite Philaret (Bulekov), DECR vice-chairman; Archpriest Sergiy Zvonarev, DECR secretary for the far abroad; Archpriest Victor Lyutik, rector of the Patriarchal Parishes in Finland; and R. Akhmatkhanov, DECR secretariat for inter-Christian relations.

From the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland there were Bishop Seppo Häkkinen of Mikkeli; Rev. Jari Huokuna, ELCF chancellor; Rev. Tomi Karttunen, secretary of the ELCF Department for International Relations; Rev. Dr. Juha Meriläinen, secretary of the Archbishop; Rev. Timo Rosqvist, secretary of the Diocese of Mikkeli; and Rev. Vladimir Dorotniy, Church of Ingria.

Also attending the meeting was H.E. Mikko Hautala, Ambassador of the Republic of Finland to the Russian Federation.

Welcoming the head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, Patriarch Kirill said that he was glad to meet with the high guest in Moscow. His Holiness also mentioned the previous meeting, which took place in autumn 2019 in St. Petersburg.







‘We are living at a difficult time from the perspective of the political situation in the world, His Holiness said in particular, ‘But political storms is one thing and relation between Christians, between Churches is another. I remember the hard time during the ‘Cold War’, when East and West were in a state close to an armed conflict. I remember how active Christian contacts were at that time. It was really a bloom of inter-Christian relations because the awareness of our common responsibility for the world, for cooperation between countries, between people was a great impetus for developing these relations’.

As Patriarch Kirill noted, there is a different situation in the world today, ‘but Christians, Christian Churches and organizations can do much to make the world a better place’.

‘The Russian Orthodox Church, as you know, lives her own life. We are fully aware of responsibility for the spiritual state of our people and give especially close attention to the youth. Today’s challenges have formed our agenda and our priorities. It is our deep conviction that the witness of the Orthodox Church borne within a secular society is very important because it humanizes the society or, at least, is called to humanize it’, His Holiness stated.







‘There are also external challenges that need a response. Of course, I cannot help sharing your concern for the situation which has developed in Ukraine. I will not discuss the actions of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, with which I disagree. I simply want to say that Patriarch Bartholomew had no right to interfere in the internal affairs of the Ukrainian Church. There are no laws on the basis of which he could do what he has done’, Patriarch Kirill said.

The Primate of the Russian Church pointed to the violation of religious rights and freedoms taking place in Ukraine today: ‘A ‘united church’ has been artificially made of two schismatic groups. This ‘united church’ is not recognized by any Orthodox Church except for Constantinople, but it is supported by the government, by the state. Everyone who does not wish to join this ‘church’ is subjected to discrimination. I will not be afraid of using such a strong word as persecution that is carried out by the authorities against the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. It is exactly what is happening now’.

His Holiness also noted with regret that neither the public, nor human rights organizations have given a proper response to the problem of discrimination against the Orthodox faithful in Ukraine. According to Patriarch Kirill, much lesser cases of violation of human rights and freedom of faith used to cause appropriate response from the Christian public in Western Europe and the USA and from human rights organizations.







‘I appealed in a letter to some leaders of European countries, stressing that at stake are violations of human rights. I was struck by one of the replies I received from my addressee who did not pay attention to the violation of human rights; he simply said that it was about internal problems of two religious groups. For this reason, they cannot interfere in it. But the fact of a direct violation of rights and people’s real suffering is ignored’, His Holiness stated,

Among the topics of the talk were also bilateral relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. Patriarch Kirill reminded his guests that in 2017, a working group for bilateral dialogue was set up to put on the agenda the pressing problem of the theology of peace.

‘Today, the theology of peace is not free form ideological and political influences either; this topic requires courage and ability to pronounce prophetic words, for today many speak of peace but there is no peace on the globe. In the 20th century, we used to develop this theme in our dialogues with Western Christian partners. At that time, the theme of the freedom of theology from ideology and politics was in the focus of our attention. And it was understandable because at least the Russian Church was in a country in which there was an ideological control over the spiritual life of society. But something similar is taking place today too. Very often theology and theological approaches are also determined by ideological preferences. The theme of the Church’s prophetic ministry, the problem of religious freedom in the broad sense of this word, are very relevant today as well’, he stressed.







Patriarch Kirill also said that international conflicts should not remain outside the field of vision in inter-Christian dialogue, noting that Churches ‘should not have either political and, the less so, ideological assessment of these conflicts’.

‘However, we cannot ignore these conflicts because they cause suffering to thousands and thousands of people’, he said, ‘In this connection, I would like to mention certainly the suffering of the Syrian people. Hundreds of thousands of Christians have left that country because of the military actions. At the height of this conflict, our Church very loudly stated the need to stop all kinds of military actions and lead people out the situation in which certain groups could have been be subjected to genocide. I point out with satisfaction to the common stand taken on this problem, which was revealed during my meetings with Pope Francis and many other religious leaders’.

His Holiness also reminded his guests that the year 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of the dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and expressed hope for the resumption of the theological dialogue between representatives of the two Churches.

‘I believe it would be worthwhile for us to think over students’ exchange as well. There are difficulties of course, connected with the languages – both Russian and Finnish are difficult languages. But I think it should not be a dividing wall for us to develop the student’s exchange together’, His Holiness said.







‘Important for us is also the subject of diakonia, the social service of the Church, which is actively developing in our Patriarchate. I know that you support the volunteer movement. It coincides with my position too. I support volunteer movements in every way and initiate them because volunteer activity helps us, among other things, to develop our youth work as well.

‘We have to develop our work with full responsibility before God and before all the people of our pastoral concern’, His Holiness said in conclusion.

In his response, the head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland thanked Patriarch Kirill for the invitation to visit Moscow and, on behalf of the Finnish delegation, congratulated him on the 10thanniversary of his enthronement.

‘We appreciate the possibility to meet with you and continue the dialogue both on personal and inter-church level’, Archbishop Tapio Luoma said.

‘In you statement, you mentioned the situation in Ukraine. We are aware that church events in Ukraine have caused concern and anxiety, that it is very painful, especially in the Orthodox world. We, Finnish Christians, are praying that the conflict may be resolved and that God may show the way of reconciliation and solution of the problems’ the archbishop stated.

He also expressed deep concern over the grave situation of Christians in the Middle East, who, being subjected to persecution by extremists, are forced to leave their homeland.

During the talk, the high guest underscored the need for active cooperation aimed to strengthen the influence of the religious factor in public and international life, saying, ‘Despite the changes in the world, both the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and the Russian Orthodox Church feel responsible for their countries, for their people and for their future’.

He also pointed to the need for further development of theological discussions: ‘The theological conversations, which took place between our Churches, have shown that mutual exchange and talks in the Christian spirit help us to seek together the will of God in our time and the ways in which the Lord wishes to lead us into the future’.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5383460.html
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His Holiness Patriarch Kirill chairs the first in 2019 session of the Supreme Church Council



1 March 2019 - 13:31







On 1 March 2019, the first in 2019 session of the Supreme Church Council of the Russian Orthodox Church took place in the Supreme Church Council’s Hall of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour under chairmanship of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.







Prior to the meeting, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, congratulated His Holiness on the 10th anniversary of his enthronement and on behalf of all members of the Supreme Church Council presented him with the five-volume antiquarian ‘Geographic-Statistical Dictionary of the Russian Empire’ compiled by Pyotr Semyonov-Tyan-Shansky and issued in St.Petersburg in 1863-85.






Metropolitan Hilarion addressed Patriarch Kirill, saying: ‘Your Holiness! I tender heartfelt congratulations on the 10th anniversary of Your enthronement on behalf of all members of the Supreme Church Council and state that the system of church administration has become more mobile and effective after reorganization and optimization carried out on Your initiative and under Your guidance.













“The establishment of the Supreme Church Council was one of the initiatives. It was not an invention or novation, but a resort to the legacy of the Local Council of 1917-18 and at the same time a reinterpretation of the Council’s intentions. The new Supreme Church Council was not established on the old model; its purpose was to correspond with the needs of our time and – first and foremost – to coordinate the work of the Synodal departments. Now we can be ‘on the same page,’ as we have an opportunity to take part in one another’s work. This is a valuable experience. Any time we gather for the Council’s session, we learn something new and gain experience.













‘We would like to wish You, Your Holiness, to lead the Russian Orthodox Church during many years. Heartfelt congratulations and many and good years to You!’

Patriarch Kirill thanked Metropolitan Hilarion and addressed those gathered with opening remarks.






The agenda includes the following items: the enforcement of decisions of the Supreme Church Council and the Bishops’ Council and of other decisions of the supreme church bodies taken in the period before the Bishops’ Council; the report on the work of the Moscow city diocese with children and young people and on the prospects of such work at the church-wide level; and approval of the topics of Christmas Readings-2020.













The Supreme Church Council consists of:

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations;

Metropolitan Savva of Tver and Kashin, chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate;

Metropolitan Clement of Kaluga and Borovsk, chairman of the ROC Publishing Council;

Metropolitan Arseny of Istra, first Patriarchal vicar for Moscow;

Metropolitan Ioann of Belgorod and Stary Oskol, chairman of the Synodal Department for Mission;

Metropolitan Merkury of Rostov and Novocherkassk, chairman of the Synodal Department for Education and Catechization;

Metropolitan Sergy of Singapore and Southeast Asia, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Administrative Secretariat;

Metropolitan Kirill of Stavropol and Nevinnomyssk, chairman of the Synodal Department for Relations with the Cossacks;

Metropolitan Ignaty of Vologda and Kirillov, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Finance and Economic Administration;

Metropolitan Tikhon of Pskov and Porkhov, chairman of the Patriarchal Council for Culture;

Archbishop Feognost of Kashira, chairman of the Synodal Department for Monasteries and Monasticism;

Archbishop Antony of Vienna and Budapest, head of the Administration of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Institutions Abroad;

Bishop Irinarkh of Krasnogorsk, head of the Synodal Department for Prison Ministry;

Bishop Panteleimon of Orekhovo-Zuevo, chairman of the Synodal Department for Church Charity and Social Ministry;

Bishop Mitrofan of Murmansk and Monchegorsk, chairman of the Patriarchal Commission for Physical Culture and Sport;

Archpriest Maxim Kozlov, chairman of the Holy Synod’s Education Committee;

Archpriest Sergei Privalov, chairman of the Synodal Department for Cooperation with the Armed Forces and Law Enforcement Agencies;

Archpriest Dimitry Smirnov, chairman of the Patriarchal Commission for Family and Protection of Motherhood and Childhood;

Archpriest Kirill Sladkov, acting chairman of the Synodal Department for Youth Affairs;

Mr. Vladimir Legoida, chairman of the Synodal Department for Church’s Relations with Society and Mass Media.













Invited to attend the session were Bishop Nikolai of Balashikha, head and editor-in-chief of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Publishing House; Bishop Dionisy of Voskresensk, first deputy chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate; Archimandrite Savva (Tutunov), deputy chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate; Rev. Alexander Volkov, head of the Patriarchal Press Service; Hieromonk Onisim (Bamblevsky), chairman of the Department for Religious Education of the Moscow city diocese; and Mr. A.Schipkov, first deputy chairman of the Synodal Department for Church’s Relations with Society and Mass Media.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5386451.html






Approximately three thousand Orthodox Christians gather for prayerful vigil in Lutsk



1 March 2019 - 18:39







On 28 February 2019, some three thousand faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church gathered for prayerful vigil at the Volyn Regional State Administration in Lutsk in order to defend their right to freedom of religion, the UOC Information and Education Department reports.

The faithful were led by Metropolitan Vladimir of Vladimir-Volynsky and Kovel and Bishop Nafanail of Volyn and Lutsk.

For several hours the Orthodox Christians were reading akathists to the Most Holy Theotokos and lifting up prayers for peace and welfare of Ukraine, as well as for the Ukrainian people, authorities and the armed forces.

Regrettably, the chairperson of the Volyn Regional State Administration did not show up. As those gathered were informed, he was not in his office. During the meeting, an official appeal of the UOC Volyn and Vladimir-Volynsky dioceses to chairpersons of the Volyn Regional State Administration and the regional council was read out. Representatives of the regional department for culture promised to hand over the document to the addressees.

Beings citizens of Ukraine, the residents of the Volyn region appealed to the officials, demanding to take measures in response to the critical situation that had arisen in some parishes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the region.

“To our great regret, in the territory of the districts that make up the diocese of Vladimir-Volynsky and especially the diocese of Volyn of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, during seizures of our church building there were established outrageous facts of kindling religious enmity and hatred and insulting the feelings of citizens on religious grounds, as well as of attacks on clergymen and laypeople, of presenting false information about us, and of criminal inactivity of law enforcement agencies,” the appeal says, in particular.

Local officials are grossly violating the adopted bill No. 4128-d, which must regulate the process of changing parishes’ jurisdictions. “Moreover, representatives of local councils are actively involved in “transfers,” setting village council seals to the “minutes of parishioners’ meetings,” while ignoring the results of lawful assemblies of religious communities. In some of the most impressive incidents local officials personally attack the UOC church buildings and cut off locks, often in the presence of law enforcement officers,” the appeal continues.

Having expressed their indignation over these facts, the community of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the Volyn region – episcopate, clerics, monastics and laypeople – put forward a number of demands:

“To stop lawless actions, to restore citizens’ respect for the legislation of Ukraine in religious sphere; to bring to justice the officials of the regional state administration and heads of local government bodies who grossly interfere in religious affairs, deceive people and are personally involved in seizures of the UOC church buildings; to stop acts of aggression against the UOC monasteries and churches in the region; that law enforcement officers fulfill their direct duties and put an end to criminal inactivity in the cases when attackers openly beat people, taking advantage of their helplessness and often weakness and advanced age; to resolve inter-confessional issues by lawful means; to stop tendentious closures of the UOC parishes that legitimately functioned in the territories of state and municipal institutions; to restore the UOC communities’ access to their church buildings which are still blocked and seized.”

The appeal concludes that disregard for these demands will be considered as a violation of human rights and an aggravation of the critical situation surrounding the inter-confessional relations in the region.

However, that day did not go by without provocations. Covering this event, some of the mass media reported that “the UOC opponents gathered at the Volyn council.” Ignoring the prayerful vigil in which thousands of people took part, some journalists traditionally covered this event from perspective, advantageous to them. The mass media’s attention was drawn by less than ten “activists,” the OCU supporters, who were holding banners kindling enmity and insulting believers’ feelings. At the same time, the mass media showed no interest in the gathering of thousands of the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the Volyn region who came to defend their lawful right to the freedom of religion.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5386447.html






Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk meets with Mr. Franklin Graham, President of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association



4 March 2019 - 10:05







On 3 March 2019, at the residence of the Church of ‘Joy of All Who Sorrow’ Icon of the Mother of God in Bolshaya Ordynka Street, Moscow, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, met with Mr. Franklin Graham, President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, who had arrived in Moscow on a visit.

The participants in the meeting discussed various issues pertaining to the promotion of cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in the humanitarian sphere and in defending traditional moral values. For instance, the DECR chairman and the President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association noted the success of the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians held in Washington, D.C., in 2017. The idea to organize the Summit emerged during Mr. Graham’s previous visit to Moscow in autumn 2015, at his meeting with Metropolitan Hilarion.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5383519.html






Bishop Victor of Baryshevka meets with Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem



4 March 2019 - 17:57







On March 4, 2019, with the blessing of His Beatitude Onufry, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine, Bishop Victor of Baryshevka, vicar of the Metropolis of Kiev, met with Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem, the UOC information-education department reports.

Taking part in the meeting were Archbishop Theophylactos of Jordan and Archpriest Nikolay Denilevich, deputy head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church department for external church relations.

Bishop Victor told the Primate of the Church of Jerusalem about the current church situation in Ukraine and the challenges faced by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church today.

Patriarch Theophilos noted that the Ukrainian church crisis was a challenge to the whole Orthodoxy and expressed a firm hope that universal Orthodoxy would find strength and resources for overcoming these temptations and preserve the unity of the Church.

His Beatitude assured his guests of his prayers for Ukraine and for the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed by His Beatitude Onyfry, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine.

In conclusion the sides exchanges tokens of the meeting.

The UOC representatives came to Israel as members of a delegation of the All-Ukraine Council of Churches and religious organizations, which is making a working visit to that country.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5386475.html






Billy Graham’s book ‘Happiness of Living in Christ’ presented in CMI



5 March 2019 - 10:12







On March 4, 2019, Billy Graham’s book Happiness of Living in Christ. Billy Graham’s Sermons was presented at the Ss Cyril and Methodius Institute of Post-Graduate Studies (CMI). The book was prepared by the Poznanie Publishers as part of a joint project of the CMI and the Billy Graham Evangelical Association.

The book was presented by the CMI rector and the chairman of the Department for External Church Relations (DECR), Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, and the president of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association, Rev. Franklin Graham, the son of the famous preacher.

Opening the presentation, Metropolitan Hilarion said, ‘Billy Graham was not just an outstanding preacher of the 20th century, but also a legendary man’ whose sermons brought together whole stadiums of people.

‘Billy Graham loved Russia and was not shy of this love’, His Eminence stressed, ‘In spite of the confrontation between the USSR and the USA, Billy Graham did not just use to come to our country but also addressed large audiences, including in America, speaking about our country.

The metropolitan pointed out to Billy Graham’s Christ-centered sermons. ‘He was a Protestant preacher but the spirit of his preaching was Orthodox. Trough vivid images he managed to bring the Gospel’s message home to people and even convince non-believers’.

The son of the preacher and continuer of his cause, Franklin Graham, too, spoke about his father’s love of Russia and the Russian Church: ‘My father’s heart was very much disposed to the people of Russia; he prayed for them, He came not for the sake of politics and for speaking about Christ Who assumed our sins’, the leader of the Evangelical Association recalled.

In spite of the fact that Billy Graham ‘did not want to be spoken about himself but wished that all the glory should go only to God, he was delighted at the publication of this book’, the preacher’s son recalled. Metropolitan Hilarion and Franklin Graham also recalled with warmth the only meeting His Eminence had with Billy Graham, which was a great joy for the both.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5386463.html






Metropolitan Hilarion and Franklin Graham speak at round-table conference on Peacemaking Role of Christians in situation of Global and Regional Conflicts Today



5 March 2019 - 11:52







On March 4, 2019, a round-table conference took place at the Ss Cyril and Methodius Institute of Post-Graduate Studies (CMI) on Peace-making Role of Christians in the Global and Regions Conflicts Today, organized by the CMI and the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations (DECR).

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, DECR chairman and CMI rector, in his remarks, underscored the importance of peace-making service, ‘This mission is especially relevant in our days since the surrounding world is full of enmity and divisions’. Speaking about the work of Billy Graham, he described him as ‘as a striking example of cooperation between Christians in the Western world in the cause of peace-making and attempts to establish constructive relations with the USSR’. He also noted that ‘the advocacy of the Gospel’s ideals of peace brings forth its good fruits today too’.

Speaking about today’s joint activity of Christians, His Eminence pointed to the projects for aid to persecuted Christians in the Middle East and Syrian children who suffered as a result of armed actions. ‘It is quite evident that today no country can on its own help restore Syria and resolve the situation in the Middle East’, he said speaking on the cooperation with, among others, the Billy Graham Evangelical Association. Therefore, the Moscow Patriarchate calls upon the world community and Christian confessions to unite their efforts for this work’.

Among other important projects is the support for Ukrainian refugees rendered together with the Association and the Samaritan’s Purse charity. His Eminence reported about the humanitarian, psychological and spiritual aid which has been given through common efforts to dozens of thousands of victims.

Rev. Franklin Graham, too, pointed to the importance of common peace-making work, saying that ‘we should pray that God may soften the hearts of the leaders of our countries. The world is very small and the key accent of peace is the Church. We should call upon people to reconcile with God’. In his opinion, the cooperation between Christian Churches, resulted, among other things, in the publication of the presented book and the realization of joint projects open up great opportunities for future initiatives.

‘We can attract attention to persecuted Christians’, Rev. Franklin Graham said. He expressed hope for further cooperation and pointed to the need to carry out a new conference that could help shed light on the problem of persecution.

The round-table conference was attended by representatives of various Christian confessions and state bodies. They pointed to its importance as a weighty contribution to the development of cooperation between Christians throughout the world. In particular, Metropolitan Niphon of Philippople, representative of the Orthodox Church of Antioch to the Moscow Patriarchate, thanked Rev. Franklin Graham for his remarks and recalled his meeting with Rev. Billy Graham in 1984.

After the round table the head of the DECR secretariat for inter-Christian relations, Hieromonk Stephan (Igumnov), stressed the importance of interaction between fraternal Churches and related the planned continuation of joint peace-making projects for the Middle East.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5386467.html






DECR chairman meets with new Ethiopian ambassador to Russia



5 March 2019 - 14:07







On March 5, 2019, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations (DECR), met with the newly appointed ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the Russian Federation, H. E. Alemayehu Tegenu Aargau, at the DECR.

Taking part in the talk were Mr. Kassa Gebreyohannes Ghebremichael, deputy head of the Mission, and Counsellor Aklilu Alemayehu Woldearagay, from the embassy’s side; and Hieromonk Stephan (Igumnov), DECR secretary for inter-Christian relations, and Deacon Andrey Titushkin, office for the far abroad, from the DECR side.

Metropolitan Hilarion warmly welcomed the new head of the Ethiopian diplomatic mission in Moscow to the oldest synodal department, which is the church analogue of ministry of foreign affairs.

On his part, the ambassador thanked the metropolitan for the possibility to meet and discuss the cooperation.

The head of the Ethiopian diplomatic mission pointed out to a considerable activation of relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ethiopian Church that have taken place in recent times, which helps revive the historical closeness of the two nations. He also underscored the importance of the official visit made by His Holiness Patriarch-Catholicos of Ethiopia Abuna Mathias to Moscow last May.

During the meeting, Metropolitan Hilarion shared with the guests the impressions of his trip to Ethiopia in 2011 and his meeting with the previous Primate of the Ethiopian Church Abuna Paulos and his visit to old Christian holy places in Ethiopia.

In conclusion of the talk, His Eminence presented the high-ranking diplomat with a token of the meeting.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5386481.html
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His Holiness Patriarch Kirill meets with President of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Mr. Franklin Graham



5 March 2019 - 19:57






On 5 March 2019, at the Patriarchal and Synodal residence in St. Daniel’s Monastery in Moscow, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met with Mr. Franklin Graham, President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.







Taking part in the meeting were also Mr. Viktor Hamm, vice president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations; and Archimandrite Philaret (Bulekov), DECR vice-chairman.

As His Holiness Patriarch Kirill noted, Mr. Graham’s father, Billy Graham – founder of the Evangelistic Association – visited Russia in the Soviet times, a difficult period in the relationships between the USSR and the USA. “Dr. Billy Graham was a friend of the Russian Orthodox Church. We have very good memories of him. Once again we express to you our condolences over his death,” His Holiness said to Mr. Franklin Graham.







“Yesterday you visited our Theological Institute of Postgraduate Studies, where a round-table conference took place, dedicated to the peace-making role of Christians in the global and regional conflicts today,” Patriarch Kirill continued, emphasizing that the more complicated a political context is the greater responsibility believers ought to shoulder, taking an active position, engaging in the life of society and achieving improvements.

The Primate of the Russian Church also raised a problem of religious and moral values in present-day society that cannot but concern Christians. “The commitment to the Christian understanding of marriage, family, sacredness of human life from the moment of conception – such principled and firm position shared by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and by you personally receives support from the Russian Orthodox Church,” His Holiness said.







As Patriarch Kirill pointed out with regret, one of the major problems facing the Russian society and tackled by the Russian Orthodox Church is the problem of abortions.

“In 2016 we initiated a signature gathering campaign, demanding to exclude abortions from the mandatory medical insurance system. It turns out that pro-lifers, which are great many, help paying for these procedures by their taxes. This petition was signed by over a million people in our country,” Patriarch Kirill said.







According to His Holiness, the Russian Orthodox Church is actively endorsing all the measures aimed at reducing a number of abortions in the country. “Representatives of our Church act as consultants in the institutions, to which women apply for having abortions. When it is possible, our consultants (mostly women) meet with the women who want to have an abortion before they take the final decision,” the Primate of the Russian Church added.

Patriarch Kirill mentioned with gratitude the joint work of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association aimed at rendering humanitarian aid to refugees from Ukraine, saying, “In 2015 we carried out a joint project, delivering humanitarian aid to the people affected by the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine. A large number of humanitarian kits were received, and we distributed them among the needy.”







The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church thanked Mr. Franklin Graham for organizing the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians in Washington in 2017. “Like my meeting with Pope Francis in February 2016, the Summit drew the world community’s attention to the problem of persecution of Christians,” His Holiness emphasized.

Patriarch Kirill also raised an issue of rendering humanitarian aid to the people of Syria. “In April 2017, with my blessing, an Interreligious Working Group for Rendering Humanitarian Aid to the Population of Syria under the Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations of the President of the Russian Federation was established. It consists of both Christians and Muslims. The aid is distributed at churches and mosques by the Christians and Muslims of Syria and Russia.”







According to Patriarch Kirill, the Russian Orthodox Church has accumulated the unique resource of trust-based relations with representatives of the Syrian authorities and the Russian servicemen in Syria, which allows it to carry out most efficiently the targeted humanitarian activities. His Holiness expressed his conviction that the Russian Orthodox Church and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association that has a vast experience in rendering aid to Christians in various regions could in future combine their efforts and implement some joint projects in the Middle East.

Mr. Franklin Graham thanked His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia for the meeting and congratulated him on the 10th anniversary of enthronement.

Mr. Graham expressed his support for the pro-life position of the Russian Orthodox Church and called abortions one of the major sins of today’s world.







Speaking about various spheres of inter-Christian cooperation, Mr. Franklin Graham mentioned the necessity of concerted efforts in rendering aid to refugees from Syria. “Yesterday we had a discussion with His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion. We discussed how we can cooperate, we discussed Syria, what programs we can work out together to help the children affected by the war in Syria. We have experience in this and different areas. We know what to do,” Mr. Graham said.

The President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association also put forward a proposal to hold the next Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians in Moscow. As Mr. Graham noted, although the Summit that took place in Washington was very successful, the problem of persecution of Christians is still on the agenda.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5386489.html






DECR chairman meets with head of Moscow Mission of the League of Arab States



5 March 2019 - 20:10







On 5 March 2019, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR) met with Ambassador Jaber Habib Jaber, head of Moscow Mission of the League of the Arab States.

They were joined in the meeting, which took place at the DECR premises, by Archpriest Sergy Zvonarev, DECR secretary for far abroad countries, and Deacon Ilya Kashitsyn, a staff member of the DECR Secretariat for Inter-religious relations.

Metropolitan Hilarion greeted the guest on his first visit to the Synodal department in charge for international activity of the Russian Church.

The participants in the meeting discussed a number of topics of mutual interest, including the situation of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa, interreligious relations and the role of religion in international affairs today.

DECR chairman and head of Moscow Mission of the League of the Arab States agreed to promote cooperation.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5386506.html






His Holiness Patriarch Kirill meets with H.E. Margus Laidre, Estonia’s Ambassador to Russia



5 March 2019 - 21:44






On 5 March 2019, at the Patriarchal and Synodal residence in St. Daniel’s Monastery in Moscow, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met with H.E. Mr. Margus Laidre, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Estonia to the Russian Federation.







They were joined in the meeting by Archimandrite Philaret (Bulekov), vice-chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, and Ms. Piret Reintamm Benno, Minister-Counsellor of the Estonian Embassy.







Greeting the high guest, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church thanked him for taking part in the celebrations that marked the 10th anniversary of his Patriarchal ministry.







“When speaking about Estonia, I recall my childhood. My parents would often spend summer in Estonia, either in Kuremäe or in Pärnu,” His Holiness said, “For the first time I visited the Pühtitsa Convent with my mother in 1955. Back then Estonia was quite different, everything was different. The convent was in a difficult situation. Right in front of the entrance to the abode there was a hospital; its head physician was a radical atheist who set himself the task of closing the convent. I remember that once, when I came there for Easter season, I was very upset, because he had hanged huge loudspeakers, directing them towards the convent, and would turn on march music, making it difficult for people to pray. That was how we lived.”










Patriarch Kirill added that his later visits to the convent left very warm and good impressions. These were home lands for Patriarch Alexy II of blessed memory. “We came there together, therefore, it is an important part of my biography,” His Holiness concluded.







In response H.E. Margus Laidre said, in particular, “I have not been to Moscow for 12 years. I am very surprised in a good way, but not so much at the city, as at the churches. My spouse and I had a tradition: every Sunday we went to some small church. We were very impressed by the beauty of the Russian people, by their spirituality. These traditions did not die away.”




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5386510.html






Prime Minister of Russian Federation meets with Patriarch Neophyte of Bulgaria



6 March 2019 - 10:47







On 5 March 2019, while on a visit to Bulgaria, Mr. Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, met with His Holiness Patriarch Neophyte of Bulgaria at the residence of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

Taking part in the meeting were also Metropolitan Kipriyan of Stara Zagora; Metropolitan Grigorij of Vratsa; Metropolitan Daniel of Vidin; Bishop Gerasim of Melnik, chief secretary of the Holy Synod; and Archimandrite Vassian (Zmeyev), representative of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to the Patriarch of Bulgaria.

Mr. Medvedev noted the importance of historical spiritual and cultural ties between Russia and Bulgaria.

After the meeting the Russian Prime Minister, accompanied by Bishop Gerasim of Melnik, visited the Cathedral of the Holy Right-Believing Prince Alexander Nevsky in Sofia, built in commemoration of the Russian soldiers who had liberated Bulgaria in the course of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5386522.html






Metropolitan Sergiy of Singapore visits Thailand



7 March 2019 - 12:09







On March 2, 2019, Metropolitan Sergiy of Singapore and South-East Asia, Patriarchal Exarch for South-East Asia, acting administrator of the diocese of Thailand, began his visit to the Kingdom of Thailand.

At the Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok, he was met by Archimandrite Oleg (Cherepanin), secretary of the diocese of Thailand; Archpriest Daniel Vanna, chairman of the Orthodox Church Foundation in Thailand; Rev. Ioann Moroz, head of the Thailand diocesan administration; representatives of the Russian embassy in Thailand; and Hierodeacon Juvenaly (Lapshin) and Sub-deacon Nikolay Sokolov, who had come to Thailand the previous day to organize His Eminence’s visit and to accompany him during it.

That day, Metropolitan Sergiy held a conference with the staff of the Thailand diocesan administration, during which he outlined plans for the organizational structure of the diocese of Thailand and defined details of his visit to the country. In the evening, the Patriarchal Exarch met with the Russian ambassador to Thailand, Yevgeny Tomikhin, who gave a reception at his residence in honour of the high guest.

On March 3, Metropolitan Sergiy, assisted by the clergy of the diocese of Thailand, celebrated the Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Bangkok. Before the service, he ordained Paul (Grita) Srisumoro, a Thai citizen and student of Phuket theological school, as reader and, after that, as sub-deacon. During the Eucharist canon, the Patriarchal Exarch ordained him as deacon.

After the liturgy, Metropolitan Sergiy addressed the congregation. Archimandrite Oleg (Cherepanin), speaking on behalf of the clergy and laity of the diocese of Thailand, thanked the archpastor for his concern for the good arrangement of the new diocese. In his response, Metropolitan Sergiy conveyed to the congregation a blessing from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and presented the cathedral an icon of the Mother of God and gave Father Oleg a decorated cross. During the common meal, the faithful could have an informal talk with His Eminence. He also gave an interview to representatives of the TASS and RIA Novosti news agencies.

On March 4, Metropolitan Sergiy visited the Monastery of the Dormition in Petchburi to celebrate the Divine Liturgy there. He administered the cheirothesia to Thai citizen Ratchanont Teikoksung with the Orthodox name of Victor as reader and sub-deacon and after that elevated him to the rank of deacon for service in Orthodox churches in Thailand.

After the common meal, Metropolitan Sergiy held an assembly of the clergy of the diocese of Thailand, during which he reported plans for a speedy arrangement of diocesan life of the exarchate.

Archimandrite Oleg introduced the exarch to the monastery compound with its cells and facilities. At the monastery cemetery, His Eminence said a prayer for all those who are buries there.

On March 5, Metropolitan Sergiy visited Phuket in southern Thailand. Upon his arrival, he proceeded to the church of the Trinity for a thanksgiving. He delivered a pre-Lent homily there, thanked the faithful for the warm welcome and expressed deep satisfaction with the state of affairs in the diocese of Thailand. On behalf of the clergy, Father Oleg presented the metropolitan with a pectoral icon made to mark the foundation of the diocese of Thailand and to commemorate the first ever archpastoral visit to the diocese of Thailand.

After the thanksgiving, His Eminence proceeded to the theological school, where he was welcomed by its rector Hieromonk Paisius (Ipate) and the students. In the school chapel, he venerated the shrines and sang a praise to St. Innocent of Moscow to whom the chapel is dedicated. Then he inspected classes, saw the students’ living conditions and expressed high appreciation of the material support of the educational process.

In the evening of that day, the visit of the Patriarchal Exarch for South-East Asia to Thailand was concluded and he flew out to Seoul, patrirchia.ru reports with reference to the website of the church of the Trinity at Ostankino, Moscow.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5386526.html






Old monuments of literature from Moscow Theological Academy library restored in Cyprus



10 March 2019 - 12:19







On March 7, 2019, an old manuscript and a book published in the early 18th century in Russia from the library of Moscow Theological Academy, which have been restored in Cyprus by specialists of the Kykkos monastery specialists, were handed over in a ceremony to the Russian side in the presence of His Beatitude Chrysostomos, Archbishop of Cyprus, and the Russian ambassador to Cyprus S. Osadchiy.

The project for restoration of literary monuments, with the oldest one dated back to the 17th century, began in September 2018 with the support of the Russian embassy and the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo) representation in Cyprus and initiated a fundamentally new format for strengthening Russia-Cyprus cooperation. Notably, this initiative has exceeded the framework of exclusively inter-church cooperation to become supported by representatives of the public, state structures and business community.

The Primate of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus expressed gratitude to the Russian embassy and the Rossotrudnichestvo representation for continued effective assistance and thanked the leader of the group of restorers from the Kykkos monastery, Stavros Andreou, for the work, expressing the intention to deepen the cooperation. According to Archbishop Chrysostom, interaction in the restoration of books and manuscripts is a truly significant and important endeavour for both Cyprus and Russia.

Hegumen Dionisy (Shlenov), director of the MTA library noted, who represented the Russian Orthodox Church at the ceremony, said that ‘the cooperation between Moscow Theological Academy and the Kykkos Monastery is an example of how unity can be effectively manifested at a time when many unshakable traditions are eroding. It is gratifying that the restoration work was carried out all together as it found active support among very diverse people in the societies in Cyprus and Russia’.

The restored monuments of literature are a book and a manuscript in Slavonic and Greek respectively from the book depository of the academic library in the St. Sergius Laura of the Trinity. The copies had been chosen for restoration by Hegumen Dionisy (Shlenov).




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5388416.html






Schismatics capture more churches of Ukrainian Orthodox Church in dioceses of Vinnitsa, Volyn, Chernigov and Chernovtsy



12 March 2019 - 15:54







On March 9 and 10, 2019, supporters of the schismatic ‘Orthodox Church of Ukraine’ captured churches in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s dioceses of Vinnitsa, Volyn, Chernigov and Chernovtsy-Bukovina, the portal patriarchia.ru reports with reference to pravlife.org.

The church of St. John the Theologian in the village of Bokhoniki, Vinnitsa district, Vinnitsa region, was captured by schismatics on March 9. They cut off and replaced the locks of the entrance door. The rector of the church, Archpriest Oleg Melnik, lodged a complaint with the police. In spite of the aggressive behaviour of the church raiders, the priest managed to take the Holy Gifts and the corporal from the church. In the evening of the same day, Archbishop Varsonofy of Vinnitsa and Bar with some clergy came to Bokhoniki, but the OCU supporters did not let him enter the village by blocking the road, Eparhia.vinnica.ua reports.

The St. Elias church at the village of Klepachev, Kievertsy district, Volyn region, was seized after the statute of the religious community of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was re-registered with the regional authority. The locks of the entrance door were replaced and it was declared that the parish now had a new rector, Roman Moisey of ‘the Kiev patriarchate’. On March 10, the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Klepachev worshipped at the liturgy in the church of the Protecting Veil in the village of Ozertso – the only church of the canonical Church in the territory of the Zhidychin territorial community, which has not been captured yet by schismatics. The community plans to arrange a temporary facility for divine services, Volyn.church.ua. reports.

The St. Nicholas church at the village of Skobelka, Gorokhov district, Volyn region, was captured too after the statute of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church community was re-registered with the regional authority. The locks of all the doors were replaced; schismatics took possession of all the property that belongs to others. The community of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, led by the rector, Father Nazary Filippovich, is going to challenge the unlawful re-registration in court, Volyn.church.ua reports.

The church of the Protecting Veil at the village of Kovpyta, Chernigov district, Chernigov region, was captured by representatives of ‘The Right Sector’ (this organization is banned in Russia as extremist), guided by Yevgeny Orda of ‘the Kiev patriarchate’. In the presence of a deputy of the District Council, Vasily Parkhomenko, the raiders broke the lock, got into the church and made ‘an inventory list of the property in accordance with the village council decision of February 22 on the severance of the lease with the MP in Ukraine and transfer of the church facility’. The community of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church lodged a complaint with the police over the illegal penetration and break of the locks by burglars. In spite of this, law-enforcement officers refused to seal up the building. On March 10, the OCU community held ‘a divine service’ of their own at the church of the Protecting Veil. The faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church had to worship outside the church. After the service, parishioners related repeated threats coming to them and their families, Orthodox.com.ua reports.

The church of the Archangel Michael at the village of Berezhnitsa, Vizhnitsa district, Chernovtsy region, became the victim of a raid carried out on March 10, the Forgiveness Sunday. The church had been under a threat of capture since February 17. To defend their church, the community held a continuous prayer vigil. On March 7, schismatics attempted to get in the church. As a result of the 19-hours’ standoff, an agreement was reached that the community of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church would celebrate in their church until the dispute was resolved in court. However, in the morning of March 10, ‘an initiative group’ for the move to ‘the PCU’ ‘changed their mind’ and prevented the rector of the church, Father Constantine, to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the church. Under the control of the police and the chairman of the Banilov village council, Vasily Solomko, the raiders sawed off the locks and took possession of the building, the press service of the diocese of Chernovtsy-Bukovina reports.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5390959.html
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Metropolitan Hilarion meets with chairman of Spiritual Assembly of Muslims of Russia



12 March 2019 - 18:13






On 12 March 2019, at the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, DECR chairman, met with Mufti Albir Krganov, chairman of the Spiritual Assembly of Muslims of Russia.

Taking part in the meeting were also Mr. Denis Mustafin, head of the Administration for the city of Moscow of the Spiritual Assembly of Muslims and of the Moscow Muftiyat Central Religious Organization; Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), DECR secretary for inter-Christian relations; Rev. Dimitry Safonov, DECR secretary for interreligious relations; and Deacon Ilya Kashitsyn, staff member of the DECR Secretariat for Interreligious Relations.

The participants in the meeting discussed various issues of cooperation between the two organizations, in particular, interfaith and international initiatives and humanitarian activities in Syria, noting a high level of interaction between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Spiritual Assembly of Muslims of Russia.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5390808.html






Metropolitan Hilarion meets with Chairman of Slovenia-Russia Friendship Association



13 March 2019 - 17:15







On March 13, 2019, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations (DECR), met with Chairman of Slovenia-Russia Friendship Association and the first ambassador of Slovenia to the Russian Federation Saša Geržina. The Slovenian guest was accompanied by Mr. Branko Rakovec, Slovenia’s Ambassador to Russia, and Mr. Urban Ocvirk, and assistant to chairman of the Slovenia-Russian Association. The meeting took place at the Ss Cyril and Methodius Institute of Post-Graduate Studies (CMI).

Taking part in the meeting were also Archpriest Sergiy Zvonarev, DECR secretary for the far abroad, and Hieromonk Kirill (Peregudin), DECR secretariat for the far abroad.

Metropolitan Hilarion warmly welcomed the guests to the CMI. He noted the fruitful cooperation between the Slovenian Embassy in Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church, which has actively developed in recent years, and wished success to the recently appointed ambassador in his new place of service.

During the talk, which was held in a friendly atmosphere, they discussed the development of interaction between the Moscow Patriarchate and Slovenia in the religious and cultural spheres and prospects for inter-Christian relations with the Catholic Church of Slovenia. Special attention was given to the preparation of an annual memorial ceremony to take place on the Vrsic Pass in the end of July, which will be timed to the 103d anniversary of the foundation of the Chapel of the Holy Prince Vladimir Equal-to-the-Apostles built in memory of the Russian soldiers who died there during World War I.

Mr. Geržina conveyed an official invitation to representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church to come for the commemoration.

In conclusion of the meeting, Metropolitan Hilarion presented the guests with copies of his book Patriarch Kirill published in the Lives of Remarkable People book series.


***


The Russian chapel on the Vrsic Pass is a memorial dedicated to the Russian soldiers who died there during World War I. Nearby the city of Kranska Gora, a camp for Russian war prisoners was organized for building a road through the pass. In the period from 1915 to 1917, some 10 thousand men died in that camp from hard work and hunger. In the memory of their dead companions, Russian war prisoners built a small wooden chapel nearby their barracks in memory of their dead companions.

In the 1920s, the road through the pass was reconstructed, and the remains of the war prisoners were Reburied in a common grave near the chapel. In 2005, the territory adjacent to the chapel was transformed into a memorial park. In 2016, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk attended the commemoration events devoted to the centenary of the Russian chapel. The centenary was also attended by President Vladimir Putin and President Borut Pahor.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5395986.html






Aggravation of the situation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church ascertained in the UN



14 March 2019 - 10:45







The situation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has considerably worsened with the granting of ‘autocephaly’ to ‘the Orthodox Church in Ukraine’, states the report on Civic Space and Fundamental Freedoms Ahead of the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Elections in Ukraine in 2019-2020, published by UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The reports covers the period from January 1, 2018, to January 15, 2019, the patrairchia.ru portal reports.

In the section on freedom of religion and beliefs, it is noted that ‘although tensions between Orthodox communities in Ukraine existed prior to the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, they have been significantly exacerbated by the ongoing autocephaly process.’

Throughout the reporting period, OHCHR documented 10 incidents of threats and acts of intimidation against clergy and parishioners mainly affecting the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

OHCHR is concerned that the current political environment further contributes to tensions negatively impacting the freedom of religion or belief, with possible negative consequences for other human rights on the eve of the election.

In November 2018, following the refusal of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to join the newly established Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) launched a series of criminal investigations into allegations of incitement to religious hatred, with the additional charge of high treason in at least one case. SBU searched the property of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the homes of the clergy hierarchy. SBU also interrogated clergymen in different regions of Ukraine. Individuals interviewed by OHCHR, reported that such actions put them under pressure and said that despite the absence of direct threats or coercion, they considered these as attempts to influence their position on autocephaly.

On 20 December 2018, the Parliament voted to begin the mandatory renaming of the religious organizations affiliated with religious centres in the Russian Federation, primarily targeting the communities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The Parliament also adopted restrictions on the access of clergymen of such organizations to the premises of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the basis of national security considerations. This contravenes article 18(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as national security is not a permissible ground for a restriction of freedom of religion or belief.

OHCHR recommends to the Ukrainian government to promptly improve the protection of fundamental freedoms of citizens. In particular, it is recommended ‘to uphold Ukraine’s international human rights obligations, i.e. not only to ensure the right to manifest one’s religion or belief in worship, either individually or in community with others, observance, practice and teaching, but also to take effective measure to ensure that no one shall be subject to discrimination by any State institution, group of persons, or person on grounds of religion or belief’.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5395992.html






Delegation of Greek Orthodox Church visits Moscow



14 March 2019 - 13:26







In connection with the 26th annual Travel and Tourism Exhibition, MITT-2019, a delegation from Greece led by Archimandrite Spyridon (Katramados), secretary of the Synodal Office of the Greek Orthodox Church, visited Moscow.

In the evening of March 13, Wednesday of the first week of Lent, the guests prayed at the Novospassky Patriarchal Monastery during the Great Compline and the Reading of the Great Cannon of St. Andrew of Crete, which was led by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

Archimandrite Spyridon conveyed to His Holiness best regards from the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church, His Beatitude Ieronymos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, and expressed gratitude for the opportunity to visit the Russian capital city.

Addressing words of greeting to the pilgrims from Greece, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church stressed, ‘We are brothers – brothers in faith. We belong to One Orthodox Church. And may the Lord preserve the Orthodox Church in unity and our peoples in the faith and devotion’.

Taking part in the meeting were also Christos Petreas, staff member for pilgrimage, Synodal department of the Greek Orthodox Church; Polykarpos Efstathiou, head of Russia Tourism Office in Moscow; and Hierodeacon Gregory (Sokolov), DECR secretariat for inter-Orthodox relations.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5395996.html






In Ukrainian Polesye one more church building of the canonical Church is seized with assistance of local officials



15 March 2019 - 10:35







On March 13, 2019, in Selets village, Dubrovitsa district, Rovno region, Ukraine, the OCU supporters cut locks off the doors of the Church of St. Nicholas of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Although the religious community has all the documents confirming its property right to the building and the land, people were turned out of the church. The vandals, who by their actions desecrated the church, immediately fastened their own locks, not letting the parishioners in and intimidating the rector, Archpriest Nikolai Ivanichko.

As the Information and Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church reports, citing the Press Service of the diocese, these are not the first unlawful actions committed against the property of the canonical Church’s parishes, in which the local officials are involved.

On March 12, clergymen and laypeople of the Dubrovitsa deanery, Polesye diocese, Ukrainian Orthodox Church, gathered for a prayerful vigil at the district state administration of the city of Dubrovitsa, Rovno region, and expressed their protest against the violation of their constitutional right to the freedom of religion. An unprecedented pressure is being exerted on them to give effect to the forced “transfer” of parishes to the newly-created schismatic structure called “the Orthodox church of Ukraine.” Despite the pressure, the Orthodox Christians in the Polesye region remain faithful to their Church and its Primate. So, there was nothing left do for the authorities but to illegally take away their places of worship. For instance, through personal efforts of the head of the local district state administration, N.M. Petrushko, three churches in Dubrovitsa deanery were closed.

As spokespersons of the diocese note, the local authorities “incite religious enmity in the region and turn a deaf ear to all the appeals of the Orthodox faithful.”




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5396000.html
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Old March 27th, 2019 #20
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On the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the liturgy at the Church of Christ the Saviour



17 March 2019 - 19:48






On March 17, 2019, the First Sunday of Lent, the Triumph of Orthodoxy, and the commemoration day of the Holy Prince Daniel of Moscow, His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, celebrated the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great and the Service of the Triumph of Orthodoxy at the Cathedral Church of Christ the Saviour in Moscow.







His Holiness was assisted by numerous metropolitans, archbishops and bishops, high church officials, abbots and Moscow clergy. Among his concelebrants were representatives of Local Orthodox Churches to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia from the Orthodox Churches of Alexandria, Antioch, Serbia, Bulgaria, Czech Lands and Slovakia and from the Orthodox Church of America, as well as Moscow clergy.




























Present at the service were high-ranking state officials, State Duma deputies, representatives of federal agencies and business community. Traditionally, there were ambassadors and diplomats from Abkhazia, Serbia, Macedonia, South Ossetia, Greece, Moldova, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Belarus, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Romania.




























The service was broadcast live by the Soyuz TV channel.




























During the Lesser Entrance, Patriarch Kirill elevated several clergy to higher ranks and granted two clerics the right to wear Doctor’s crosses according to the decision of the All-Church Doctor’s Dissertation Board.




























During the Prayer of Fervent Supplication, prayers were lifted up for the unity of the Orthodox Church and for safeguarding the Church from divisions and schisms. After that, Patriarch Kirill lifted up a prayer for peace in Ukraine.




























After the Service of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, Patriarch Kirill delivered a primatial homily and presented church awards to several hierarchs.






In conclusion of the service, His Holiness said, ‘Once again I greet all of you on the occasion of the feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy. May the Lord give us strength to preserve the joy of sharing in the life of the Church till our last breath. May the Lord help us go through Great Lent beneficially and celebrate the bright Resurrection of Christ in a dignified way’.

























After the service, His Holiness, in the Throne Hall, awarded Serbian Ambassador Slavenko Terzic the Order of St. Seraphim of Sarov in recognition of his contribution to the development of relations between the Russian and Serbian Orthodox Churches and on the occasion of his 70th birthday.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5396013.html






Serbia’s ambassador awarded an order of the Russian Orthodox Church



17 March 2019 - 21:26







On March 17, 2019, the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia presented Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Serbia to Russia Slavenko Terzic with the Order of St. Seraphim of Sarov (III degree) in recognition of his contribution to the development of relations between the Russian and Serbian Orthodox Churches.

The awarding ceremony took place at the Throne Hall of the Cathedral Church of Christ the Saviour. It was attended by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations (DECR); Bishop Anthony of Moravici, representative of the Patriarch of Serbia to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, DECR vice-chairman; and Archpriest Igor Ykimchuk, DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations.

During the festive common meal, which took place on that day, H. E. Slavenko Terzic addressed His Holiness Kirill, saying, ‘Your Holiness, on behalf of all the ambassadors present here, I would like to thank you and, in your person, the Russian Orthodox Church for the help she has given through centuries to all the Local Orthodox Churches’. In particular, the diplomat said that in each old Orthodox church in the Balkans, including those in villages, one can see Russian vestments, vessels, and liturgical books.

The Serbian ambassador stressed that the Russian Church ‘to this day, continues to remain a support for the whole Orthodox world’. Mr. Terzic also thanked His Holiness for the efforts to protect and support the much-suffering land of Kosovo and Metohija.

Speaking about the Serbian-Russian relations, he cited St. Nicholas of Serbia (Velimirovic, 1880-1956), who wrote, ‘Our conscience makes us cry when the Russians cry and rejoice when the Russians rejoice’. ‘Our spiritual, cultural, political relations gathered strength through centuries and continue to strengthen today’, the Serbian ambassador said and wished Patriarch Kirill sound heath and spiritual strength for many years.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5396025.html






Representative of World Russian People’s Council speaks at UN Human Rights Council on violation of religious freedom in Ukraine



19 March 2019 - 11:13







During the debates in the United Nations Human Rights Council, Archpriest Mikhail Gundayev, representative of the World Russian People’s Council (WRPC) in Geneva, spoke on the violation of believers’ rights and religious freedom in Ukraine.

As Fr. Mikhail emphasized, the WRPC expresses its deep concern over the gross interference of the Ukrainian state authorities in the internal life of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The speaker noted that the so-called “Orthodox church of Ukraine” was artificially created in December 2018 by merging the religious organizations, unrecognized in the Orthodox world. Later, on December 21, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, acting in the OCU interests, adopted the discriminatory bill No. 5309, aimed at depriving the historical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of its legal name because its governing bodies are allegedly located in Russia.

As Archpriest Mikhail Gundayev pointed out, the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a fully independent institution, united with the Moscow Patriarchate by the historical and spiritual ties only. It is the Church of the Ukrainian people, registered in accordance with the legislation of Ukraine, and its centre is located in Kiev.

Although the bill No. 5309 adopted by the Verkhovna Rada does not mention the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture, which is in charge of relationships with the local religious associations, already publically stated an intention to apply this law to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The WRPC representative emphasized that this law violates the right to the freedom of religion and discriminates against millions of citizens of Ukraine belonging to the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Besides, it runs counter to the constitution of the country, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the WRPC website reports.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5396530.html
__________________
Where should they dig the Very Deep Pit?
Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.
(c) Alan Alexander Miln
 
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