Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon described as “deadly” the neutral stance taken by the Russian Church in the face of what is happening in Ukraine.
“I would say that the silence of the Patriarch of Moscow is outrageous. I believe that he sees reality, but he may not be free to speak and say what he thinks and that any reasonable person could express an opinion about,” he said, among other things, in the interview he gave to the television station of Thessaly, TRT.
Emmanuel also pointed out that the architect and “the one who saw how topical it was to move on to the issue of the autocephaly of the Church of Ukraine was the Patriarch himself. I was just a deacon who followed orders I received, it was not my own initiative.”
He added that before the granting of the Autocephaly, there were various stages of communication and preparation, and the unification council was convened on December 15, 2018, in which the Bishops who were under the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine were invited to participate. The Ecumenical Patriarchate sent out invitations to everyone.
“The Ecumenical Patriarchate did not exclude Moscow, they wanted me to stay out of it. Not everyone, however, there were some who wanted to, others who prevented them at the last minute, finally there were two Metropolitans who were in the united council. The Russian Church and the Moscow Patriarchate wanted to turn a blind eye. But seeing a church that had already advanced, we could not have 45 million believers who were asking for their autocephaly from the Moscow Patriarchate and ignore it.”
Metropolitan Elder Chalcedon also noted that the Ecumenical Patriarchate did not do anything non-canonical, it was within its jurisdiction, because the Mother Church grants the autocephaly, from this Mother Church they took the autocephaly and the Patriarchate of Moscow and the Patriarchate of Serbia and the Patriarchates of Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, and all the autocephalous churches. “The Patriarchate cut off its territory from time to time to make autocephalous churches,” he said characteristically.
Regarding the interruption of the commemoration of the Ecumenical Patriarch by the Patriarchate of Moscow, Metropolitan Emmanuel said that “the Patriarch doesn’t lose nothing, they are the ones who lose by being cut off from the body of the church. The Orthodox Church is not a system of federal churches, they are connected by the Ecumenical Patriarch. When you cut the commemoration of the Ecumenical Patriarch, how do you connect with the other churches? How do you communicate with the other churches? This is an issue they may not even have understood themselves. It is very easy to say “we are cutting the commemoration because there is a schism”, we never considered that we have a schism with Moscow, we do not have a real issue for which to create a schism”.
He is optimistic that there are still possibilities to get things into a dialogue. “We have always invited them and we are willing as an Ecumenical Patriarchate to accept everyone to sit around the same table and find a peaceful solution.”
Referring to the war Russia has waged against Ukraine, Metropolitan Emmanuel stressed that “many see a contribution of the Russian Church to this war with deadly neutrality, he has not mumbled a word about what is going on.
“I would say that the silence of the Patriarch of Moscow is outrageous. I believe that he sees reality, but perhaps he is not free to speak and say what he thinks and that any reasonable person would say.”
For Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, he stressed that “he is a man who showed great maturity and respect for the mother church, that is what I can say.”