Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew stressed the responsible attitude of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the church dispute that broke out with the Moscow Patriarchate, the Greek national news agency ANA-MPA reports.
Although the Russian Patriarchate stopped honoring the name of the Ecumenical Patriarch for granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian church, Bartholomew clarified that the Patriarchate of Constantinople continues to honor the name of Moscow Patriarch Kirill and advised the Ukrainian Church leader to do the same.
He described the Moscow Patriarchate’s attitude toward Bartholomew as “ingratitude.” We are the mother church because we have given them Christianity. We gave them the light. We gave them the Cyrillic alphabet, through which we wanted to help them cultivate their civilization. And they, as we say in church language, began to “kick” against their benefactor. They were angry with us for making the Ukrainian church autocephalous, “Bartholomew said during an event in New York, the last stop of his trip to the United States.
According to church tradition, the granting of autocephaly is a privilege unique to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Over the centuries, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has repeatedly granted autonomy to local churches, starting with the Russian Church itself in the 16th century.
“Why not do it, as we did with Russia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Poland, Romania, Albania? And the exclusive privilege of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is to grant autocephaly. All these churches I have listed have become self-governing by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which it empties itself because it gives territories under its jurisdiction to become self-governing independent churches, ”the Ecumenical Patriarch explained.
In this light, after the crisis between Ukraine and Russia, Patriarch Bartholomew responded to the request of the people of Ukraine, giving self-determination. In response, the Moscow Patriarchate decided to stop mentioning the name of the Ecumenical Patriarch. The Church of Constantinople, which remained faithful to the church order and with a sense of responsibility for history, did not react to this move and continued to regularly mention Patriarch Cyril.
“So why not do the same with Ukraine with its 40-50 million inhabitants? Our Ukrainian brothers wanted not only now, but much earlier and now even more intensively to have their own church and not belong to Moscow, not to depend on Moscow, not to be oppressed by Moscow.
We did it with a sense of responsibility to history and to Ukraine and its people. (The Russian Church) was angry and cut off communication with the Ecumenical Patriarchate. They took my name out of the diptychs and they don’t mention me. I don’t care (that they don’t mention me), “said Bartholomew.
Referring to the recognition shown to him by his American hosts, he noted that they reflect the high prestige enjoyed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which is unfortunately much larger internationally than Turkey, its historic seat. As for President Biden, he mentioned the personal friendship that unites them, but also the handwritten note that the US president added in the last letter he sent him, which said, “Be well, because we need your leadership. “.
The United States is one of the largest and most important provinces on the Ecumenical Throne. Referring to their importance, the patriarch praised Archbishop Elpidophore, saying that in a short time he had managed to find solutions to the three main problems of the Archdiocese, which relate to the completion of St. Nicholas Church, Boston Theological Seminary and the Boston Pension Fund. the clergy.
“After 12 years (since my last visit to the United States), I have God’s blessing and the pleasure of being close to the Greek community in America. This time I have found a new archbishop, young at the beginning of his term. We in the Patriarchate have full confidence in the face of Cyrus Elpidophores, and for this reason we chose him unanimously and sent him to lead for as many years as God allowed him, we chose him because in the present circumstances we could not find a better and more suitable one for this position. that you embraced him with the same love with which he came to you. And the mutual love, trust and vision you have are the best guarantee for the success of his archbishopric. “