Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk found an occasion to once again speak out against the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
Bringing to the fore the issue of the conversion of Hagia Sophia and the Chora Church into mosques by the Turkish government, speaking to the Greek TV channel OPENTV, the Metropolitan of the Moscow Patriarchate expressed his regret “because the division caused by the failed Ukrainian autocephaly undermines the joint action of all the Orthodox Churches against Turkey.”
Similar statements were made by the Metropolitan of Volokolamsk shortly after the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque: “Currently, some media outlets dealing with the Church in Ukraine and Russia express the thought that God has punished Patriarch Bartholomew for the division of world Orthodoxy through this decision of the Turkish authorities. I can in no way agree with this, for a slap was struck not against Patriarch Bartholomew’s face and the Church of Constantinople but against Orthodoxy worldwide and entire Christianity.”
With more or less sharp words, several priests of the Russian Church found an occasion to attack the Ecumenical Patriarchate on an issue that has nothing to do with Hagia Sophia and Erdogan’s decision. “I took this photo in the church of Hagia Sophia in August 2018. […] A meeting of two Patriarchs was imminent, a discussion about Ukraine. Patriarch Bartholomew, unfortunately, did not want to hear the voice of the Russian Orthodox Church. I cannot stop sensing the connection between what happened on that last day of August 2018 with the decision for the re-conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque,” Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, deputy president of the DECR, said in a Facebook post.
In his statements to OPENTV today, Metropolitan Hilarion stressed, among other things, that “some amazing mosaics of the 13th and 14th century have been preserved in the matroneum of Hagia Sophia and in other places, which are now all covered by curtains.”