Moscow vows to protect Orthodox believers in Ukraine

19:50, 12 October 2018
Politics
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REUTERS

The Kremlin vowed to protect the interests of the Orthodox believers in Ukraine “politically and diplomatically,” claiming Moscow does not intend to interfere in the “interchurch dialogue,” that's according to a Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov who commented on the latest decision of the Ecumencial Patriarchate of Constantinople to proceed to granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

Answering a UNIAN correspondent's question on whether the secular authorities of the Russian Federation will take practical decisions on this issue, Peskov said: “The secular authorities in Russia certainly cannot interfere in interchurch dialogue, and have never done that, and will not do this further, but since Orthodoxy is one of the religions present in the Russian Federation, of course, everything that happens in the world of Orthodoxy is a subject of increased attention on the part of the state, but there cannot be any state intervention in these processes.”

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When asked by Russian journalists how the Kremlin will react to seizures of temples now controlled by the Moscow Patriarchate, which the “radical groups” allegedly intend to do, Peskov replied: “If the developments lead to illegal actions, then of course Russia protects the interests of Russians and Russian speakers everywhere, the same way – and Putin has repeatedly said this – Russia protects the interests of the Orthodox believers. This is an absolutely reasonable and understandable position.”

Asked by the UNIAN correspondent to clarify on how the Kremlin will “protect the interests of the Orthodox in Ukraine,” the Kremlin spokesman said: “Exclusively through political and diplomatic means.”

Peskov stressed that the Kremlin is aware of the Russian Orthodox Church's reaction to the decisions of the Synod in Constantinople.

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“We have repeatedly said before that we are extremely concerned that it was planned to take steps capable of driving a split into the Orthodox world. We are very concerned that these decisions have been taken, and in this case we fully share the concern expressed by the ROC,” said Peskov.

As UNIAN reported earlier, on October 11, at the meeting of the Holy Synod in Constantinople, a decision was announced that the Ecumenical Patriarchate proceeds to the granting of autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine.

In addition, the legal binding of the Synod’s letter of 1686 has been revoked, thus bringing the Kyiv Metropolis from under Moscow's canonical jurisdiction, while head of the UOC of the Kyiv Patriarchate Filaret and head of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church Makariy were reinstated in their canonical status.

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