In an interview with the Cypriot newspaper “O Phileleftheros”, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said, “The Ecumenical Patriarchate is aware of its Pan-Orthodox responsibility and knows how the rules are applied.”
He said that the visit of Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus to the Ecumenical Patriarchate confirmed “the historic and brotherly ties between the Church of Cyprus and the Church of Constantinople.” He also pointed out that there was a convergence between him and Archbishop Chrysostomos “on the issue of promoting inter-Christian relations and interfaith dialogue.” “He has (Archbishop Chrysostomos) a vision and a healthy dose of realism,” he added.
The Ecumenical Patriarch answered many questions on the matter of the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. He also spoke of the role of the Moscow Patriarchate because of which relations between Churches had been fractured affecting Pan-Orthodox unity. In addition, Patriarch Bartholomew stated that the Ecumenical Patriarchate had tried many times to conduct a dialogue with the Moscow Patriarchate on the church issue in Ukraine. However, Moscow had been systematically hampering the progress and was the stumbling block to the positive outcome of any dialogue between them.
“The autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine is now a fait accompli within our Church. It is paradoxical in historical terms and it does not make sense that the Moscow Patriarchate and other Churches that agree with it undermine the foundations of their own autocephalous regime, which they received in a similar manner from the Mother Church of Constantinople, as they fall under its canonical jurisdiction, just like the Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” he added.
The Ecumenical Patriarch emphasised that the only solution would be the recognition of the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine by all Orthodox Hierarchs. Referring to the recent “brotherly gathering” in Amman, the Ecumenical Patriarch pointed out that it has been a further blow to the structure of the Orthodox Church and to inter-Orthodox relations. The Ecumenical Patriarch finally spoke of his 28-year tenure, the youth and pilgrimage to East Thrace, Asia Minor, and Imbros, which is his birthplace.