Patriarch Kirill warns for schism in Ukrainian Orthodox Church


Eastern Europe


Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill leads a religious service. Photo AFP, Sergey Vlasov

Some dioceses of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are on the way to a schism, the Russian Patriarch Kirill said at the Bishops' Conference on Thursday.

Clergy do not have the right to comply with "lawless demands" and refuse to commemorate the Patriarch, Kirill argued during the meeting of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. He referred a number of parishes from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which officially belongs to the Moscow Patriarchate. Because of the support of Patriarch Kirill for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, however, some of these parishes attempted to break away from the Moscow Patriarchate and stopped commemorating the Patriarch during their church services. Now, Kirill calls this refusal to do so "an open door to sliding into schism", Tass reports.

According to the Patriarch, no clergy have the right to choose to comply "with lawless demands" from the Ukrainian government, which pressures the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to distance itself from the Moscow Patriarchate. "The laity rightfully expects their clergy to make such a commemoration and preserve the unity of the church", Kirill said. The latter is "commanded by the Lord", he emphasised.

Patriarch Kirill strongly condemned the Ukrainian authorities who "are trying to push the clergy and laity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to split". That is reported by SPHZ. He stated that the authorities "are persecuting the guardians of church unity", and force the clergy and laity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to renounce God's truth and push them into schism."


In his speech, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church also elaborated whether the sacraments in the dioceses that do not commemorate him are still valid. "If it is possible to go to services in a church where the clergy remain faithful to the canonical order of the commemoration of the primate of the Church, one should go there", he advised. However, if that is not possible, the sacraments in churches that have turned away from the Moscow Patriarchate remain valid as well, Kirill added, "until the church has passed a conciliar judgment on the falling away of certain bishops and clergy into schism."

However, it is not wrong for believers to reject any statements of their clergy that reject the Russian Orthodox Church, according to the Patriarch.


On the other hand, there are also dioceses who remain faithful to the Russian Orthodox Church. According to DF news about 12 bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church went to Moscow to participate in the Bishops' Conference. They also attended a service of Patriarch Kirill, where militaristic prayers were read for the Russian army. According to DF news, none of these bishops has been disposed of by the church leadership of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.



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