The Russian Orthodox Church Patriarchal Service is reporting that on October 28, 2018, during a meal following the Divine Liturgy at the church of Our Lady the Joy to All the Afflicted (the Transfiguration of the Lord) in Bolshaya Ordynka, Moscow, His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia gave a speech. Here are some excerpts:
“I had very warm and good remembrances of my visit to Bielorussia and of conducting the Holy Synod in Minsk, I came back elated. Indeed, we [Patriarch Kirill and Patriarch Bartholomew] are united spiritually and canonically and the episcopate, clergy and faithful of the Bielorussian Orthodox Church are fostered in this idea of this canonical unity.”
Commenting on the influence of external forces, he added:
“Too great geopolitical and financial forces have been put in motion in Ukraine today in order to tear to pieces the historical space of Holy Rus’.
And for this reason I am especially grateful to the episcopate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, who have remained faithful, cherishing unity and preaching that which corresponds to the historical truth.
Properly speaking, the Church in Ukraine continues doing what we all did in the Soviet time. The whole ideology worked against us but we kept proclaiming the truth of Christ. We did so not to provoke the powerful authorities but we did speak out.”
He highlighted the following:
“We all are heirs of the Russes, as the Byzantines used to call our ancestors, whatever they may say today, whatever absurd historiographical ideas may be thrown today into the public awareness.
We are really a one people, and I am never afraid of speaking about it. We have different dialects, different cultural peculiarities but we are one people originating from the Kyiv baptismal font. And may God grant that the Moscow Patriarchate, which unites us not on the political level, not on the economic, but the spiritual level, might be preserved to take pastoral care of all the ethnic groups united in the great historical Rus’.
As far as the recent actions of Constantinople are concerned, I would like to underscore: there is no conflict whatsoever between Constantinople and Moscow! Moscow is defending the inviolable canonical norms.
If one of the Churches supports the schismatics, if one of the Churches violates canons, then she ceases to be an Orthodox Church. Therefore, the position of the Russian Orthodox Church today, which has stopped the liturgical mention of the Patriarch of Constantinople, has to do not only with the relationships between the two Patriarchs – the point is the very nature of the Orthodox Church.
In due course, I discussed the issue of the primacy of Constantinople with Father Alexander Schmemann, a famous Russian and American theologian. And he said the wise words: ‘If we need a Pope so much, then we should turn to the one who has the greatest experience’, in the sense that it is not the Patriarch of Constantinople. But we do not need a Pope! It is our deep conviction that the conciliar governance of the Church is the only right way. And if somebody is interfering now in the jurisdiction of other Churches, then he violates all the canons, and the only response to these shameless violations is our calm answer: we will no longer share communion with you because you have violated canons; you have departed from Orthodoxy. Let God be your judge – and God will be the judge.
We are experiencing a historic moment that can be compared to the time of the union of Ferrara-Florence. At that time, Metropolitan Isidore of Kiev, Moscow and All Rus’, having betrayed Orthodoxy, imagined that he was at the top of his power and the one who would subject everybody to the See of Rome. But he was banished by the great prince, clergy and people.”
“This resistance of our people, our clergy, our episcopate, to every mean trick, to every heresy, to every schism is a guarantee of the preservation of Orthodoxy on the world scale, a guarantee of the preservation of our unity.”
“I am glad that the latest decisions of the Hierarchy have been met with absolute understanding of our believing people, episcopate and clergy. Of course, the Patriarch is going through a hard time. But the whole of our Russian Orthodox Church, the whole world Orthodoxy is going through a hard time, indeed. For this reason, I ask you to preserve the unity and pray for the Russian Church and for the whole Orthodoxy.”