by Petros Vassiliadis*
Andrey Shishkov commented in Telegraph Kardinal Kurt Koch, head of the Papal Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who called Patriarch Kirill’s support for the war heresy, as follows:
“This is not the first attempt to qualify Patriarch Kirill as a heretic. However, I still believe that this is a false and dead-end way to distract from the essence of the problem.
First, traditionally heresy in Christianity is understood as a systematic theological delusion. But where there is no theology and in the memory, there can be no theological delusions.
Secondly, the concept of heresy is a power tool from the clerical arsenal designed to suppress any dissent. In Orthodoxy, it is also a tool of imperial power. You cannot fight clericalism and imperialism by their own means.
Thirdly, qualifying Patriarch Kirill’s position as heresy will allow him to easily escape responsibility. The Secular Court cannot deal with such a case, and in the Christian and Orthodox context, the concept of heresy has long been irrelevant, only among fundamentalists and ultra-conservative people.
*Petros Vassiliadis is an Emeritus Professor of the Department of Theology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, President in Honour of the Center for Ecumenical, Missiological and Environmental Studies “Metropolitan Panteleimon Papageorgiou” (CEMES) and of the World Conference of Associated Theological Institutions (WOCATI)