Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk expressed in an interview with RIA Novosti the hope that the forthcoming meeting in Amman would be the starting point of such meetings between the Orthodox Churches.
Speaking to the Russian media outlet, Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations (DECR) and Patriarch Kyrill’s right-hand man, stressed that the meeting of the Heads of Churches, which will take place next week at the initiative of Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem, was actually a fraternal meeting and not a pan-Orthodox conference.
Metropolitan Hilarion pointed out that the purpose of the meeting was the matter of preserving unity, as there was a danger of serious divisions within the Orthodox Church. “Only through honest and fraternal dialogue and joint efforts of all officially recognised autocephalous churches we will be able to overcome any divisions. We hope that the forthcoming meeting will be an important step in this direction,” he said. “The Russian Church has neither taken the initiative nor did organise this event. That is why we do not have precise figures on the number of the participants nor of the composition of the meeting in general,” he added.
Finally, he said that there was blatant political interference in the establishment of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and that the subsequent recognition of the so-called “schismatics” by the Churches of Greece and Alexandria was the result of the intervention of foreign forces.
“We know that pressure has been put on priests concerning the meeting in Amman. The refusal of the Archbishop of Athens to participate in the meeting cannot be interpreted in a different way, as he made statements to reporters about his decision shortly after his meeting with the Ambassador of the United States,” Metropolitan Hilarion concluded.
However, it should be reminded that Archbishop of Greece came out of the meeting with the US Ambassador to Athens, Goeffrey Pyatt, and made the statement because he was asked by a journalist about the initiative of Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem to propose a convocation of the Orthodox Church’s Primates in Amman, Jordan.
Archbishop Ieronymos had said: “I cannot answer clearly because I do not know the criteria and where they come from. We do not know if this is the position of the Patriarch (i.e. of Jerusalem), or whether the Ecumenical Patriarch is aware of it or not. Not everyone can call a panorthodox meeting. It is the prerogative of the Ecumenical Patriarch. If the Ecumenical Patriarch calls us we will not say no, but if anyone else who is in charge of any Church calls us I will say no.”