By Kostas Onisenko
Speaking on the show “Church and World” last Saturday, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk referred to the attack of a clergyman with acid against hierarchs of the Church of Greece.
In the beginning, Metropolitan Hilarion described the incident itself, saying: “The reason is that the man had lost his priestly status. He appealed, this appeal was rejected, and then he took such extreme measures. This can be interpreted as a gesture of despair, but on the other hand, it proves that man has ceased to be a priest rightly. For such a man, a man capable of such acts, could not bear the cassock.”
The Metropolitan of Volokolamsk then referred to the respective problems faced by the Churches and to the measures taken to protect them.
“Unfortunately, in every local Church, the hierarchy is faced with such cases when someone who holds a priestly title proves unworthy of it.
I think it is impossible to completely rule out such incidents. We are now doing everything possible to minimize the risks.
Candidates’ CVs are examined very carefully. It is carefully examined what they did before making the decision to become priests. But again, to exclude the cases of random people, and unworthy people entering the clergy and even the hierarchs, is completely impossible”.
Finally, Hilarion wished that this incident would not be repeated. “That is why there are disciplinary mechanisms in the Church. For the exclusion of such individuals from both the clergy and the hierarchy.
Such people may be barred from operating, they may have their cassock removed. But this specific, extreme incident that happened in Greece, I would like to believe that it will never be repeated in the history of the Church”.