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Ukraine: Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Metropolitan Hilarion (Moscow), a “council of the wicked” that “will be erased from historical memory like the chaff that the wind blows away”

“A council of the wicked” which “will be erased from historical memory like the chaff that the wind blows away”. This is how Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, called the “Unification Council” at St Sophia’s Cathedral in Kyiv last Saturday for the establishment of the new Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine and the election its first Primate. He wrote this in a harsh “reflection” on the issue, published on the website of the Moscow Patriarchate. Russia’s Metropolitan stressed the inconsistency of the Council. He began with some figures: “88 out of the 90 hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church abstained from participation in the ‘Unification Council’ aimed at destroying the canonical Church and at creating a new Church structure strongly dependent on the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Only two bishops attended this ‘council of the wicked’”. Metropolitan Hilarion recalled that the Church in Ukraine was reunited with the Russian Church in 1686, and “since then, it has had a patriarchal status recognised by all”.
Metropolitan Hilarion in his statement also lamented the fact that the Metropolitans who attended the Council did not respect the dress code required on similar occasions “as if it were not a Council – the Russian Metropolitan explained – but a sort of secret meeting” and “their extravagant clothes speak volumes about the clear unlawful nature of this meeting”. Metropolitan Hilarion went on to stress that “no local Church sent a message” of good wishes to the members of the Ukrainian Council and “nobody supported Patriarch Bartholomew’s actions in the preparatory period”. Furthermore, he concluded: “No matter the outcome of the ‘Council’ or who will be elected at the helm of the structure, it is clear that Patriarch Bartholomew’s plan” has “failed” and participants in the Council “will be erased from the historical memory” of the Church, “like ‘the chaff that the wind blows away’. By contrast, the canonical Church exists and will continue to exist, despite pressures, despite the removal of its hierarchs, the summoning of its priests to the Ukrainian security service, the seizing of its churches, and the threat of confiscation of property belonging to the Church and its most important monasteries”.

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