By Kostas Onisenko
Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, makes provocative statements against the Ecumenical Patriarchate and other Churches almost every week at his program “Church and World” on the Russian state-run channel.
There the presenter asks “journalistic” questions and Metropolitan Hilarion, through his answers, presents the positions of the Russian Orthodox Church on various issues.
In the recent show, which aired on September 11, Metropolitan Hilarion attacked Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the United States with insulting words, saying he was “carrying out a US order” regarding the Ukrainian autocephaly issue.
The statement would not be of particular interest, as Metropolitan Hilarion is accustomed to make similar statements that—now—are not those of a hierarch.
However, Metropolitan Hilarion expressed a rather interesting position, saying that “the Russian Orthodox Church plays a unifying role throughout the post-Soviet region. In fact, in the event of conflicts among the states, the Church continues to unite the people. That is why it is a nuisance to those politicians who use the ‘divide and rule’ principle.”
It is essentially acknowledged that the Russian Orthodox Church is interfering with the internal affairs of other countries and other Churches.
In this statement, as in others, the Metropolitan forgot to mention important facts, such as the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church works closely with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other Russian authorities, so one can easily assume that this “unifying role” that wants to play in other countries serves the interests of the Kremlin and not the faithful in the other countries to which it refers.
In fact, given the situation in Ukraine and Georgia, the “unifying role” of the Russian Orthodox Church has supported and continues to support Russia’s expansionist policy in these countries.
At the same time, referring to the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the Metropolitan of Volokolamsk stated that “Patriarch Bartholomew promised to heal the schism, but instead of healing the schism, it was deepened.”
However, it is a fact that before the granting of the Autocephaly Tomos, the “schism” in Ukraine was much deeper than it is today and would continue to grow, as the majority of the Ukrainian people do not want to have relations with the Russian Orthodox Church because of Russo-Ukrainian War.
Moreover, the Moscow Patriarchate itself is the one that prevents the complete healing of the division in Ukraine, refusing to follow the church’s canons.