The Primate of the Russian Church Abroad Notes That Constantinople Has No Right to Lift an Anathema from Ukrainian Churches
The Constantinople Patriarchate does not have the right or authority to lift anathemas from the heads of Ukrainian churches, because that contradicts the canons of Orthodox Christianity. This is the opinion expressed by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, to a correspondent of TASS.
“That lies with the privileges of the church which originally laid the anathema,” stressed Vladyka Hilarion, “and not the Patriarch of Constantinople--this is utterly wrong.”
“The fact is that all the bishops of the Orthodox Church are equal amongst themselves,” he pointed out, “because there are only honorary members: for instance, His Holiness the Patriarch of Constantinople, for the reason that at one time it (Constantinople) was the capital of the Byzantine Empire. But he is equal to all hierarchs, and cannot act in the way of the Roman Catholic Church, where the Pope alone decides such matters… The Patriarch of Constantinople cannot assume the privileges of the Pope, because we are all equal,” noted the Primate of the Russian Church Abroad. “All things must be decided--and all things must be acted upon--in concord with the canons.”
According to him, the contradictory situation around the Church in Ukraine, which evoked division within the world of the Church, became possible because Constantinople fell under the influence of politics. “The Patriarch of Constantinople became too dependent upon outsiders, political players, upon other governments who seek that the division between Ukraine and Russia be deepened, who wish in every way to weaken the power of the Russian state, the influence of the nation,” said Metropolitan Hilarion.
Press Service of the Department of External Church Relations