“The whole world is against Russia.” This is what the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said – among other things – in an interview with a Turkish television network, speaking about the Russian attack on Ukraine.
Speaking to CNN Turk, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew expressed his regret at the war being waged.
“The whole world is against Russia. We are entering a new period of the Cold War. The distance between Russia and the Western world is getting wider,” the Ecumenical Patriarch said.
As the Ecumenical Patriarch stressed, “the one who thinks and acts rationally, does not want this situation, this new period of Cold War.”
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew referred to his relationship with Ukrainian President Zelensky, stressing that “we have very good relations with President Zelensky. He has come twice to the Patriarchate, and invited me to Ukraine, at the celebrations that took place last August for the 30 years of independence of Ukraine. I accepted his invitation and went, it was very nice”.
The Ecumenical Patriarch said that during his visit to Ukraine in the summer, he saw “a nation that is extremely pleased and proud of its independence. The fact that they were able to break away from the Soviet Union and found their own independent country is an honor for them. We gave an independent country an independent Church.”
The Ecumenical Patriarch went on to say that “under the current circumstances, we see that our Patriarchate acted very early and we did a very good job. We upset our Russian brothers, but that had to happen. Ukraine deserved it.”
In his interview, the Ecumenical Patriarch also stated that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has the right to grant autocephaly, and did so with Ukraine.
“We now see that some Ukrainian clergymen do not want to commemorate Patriarch Kirill of Moscow. They see him as the religious leader of the enemy country. They are gradually moving away from this Church and joining the new, Autocephalous Church.
We are not very happy about this, because it is the result of war. We would like the Russian Church not to show such hostility towards me and to accept our canonical decision.”
Unfortunately, however, they did not accept it, the Ecumenical Patriarch stressed, stating that “the (Ecumenical) Patriarchate and I personally became their target.”
Finally, the Ecumenical Patriarch concluded by saying that as a religious institution, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has always been in favor of peace and unity, and continues to do so.