Patriarch Bartholomew’s recent visit to Ukraine was “sinful and inexplicable,” His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow said in his homily on the feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos on Saturday.
The primate of Constantinople visited Ukraine on August 20-24 to participate in the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Ukrainian independence. During his stay, he met with a number of politicians and concelebrated several times with the unordained schismatics of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”
According to Orthodox canon law, hierarchs may visit other dioceses only with the blessing of the ruling bishop of that diocese. However, Pat. Bartholomew traveled to Ukraine at the invitation not of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, but of President Vladimir Zelensky.
The Orthodox faithful prayerfully protested leading up to and during his visit, denouncing his interference in the life of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church which has resulted in physical and legal violence against the Church.
The Patriarch preached at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow on Saturday:
May the Most Holy Theotokos help preserve the unity of the Orthodox Churches, which is being torn apart by the forces of evil today. And we know what is happening today in world Orthodoxy, how these forces, using the difficult situation that has developed in Ukraine, are trying to break the unity of the Orthodox Church. And in some ways they are succeeding: An example of this is the sinful and inexplicable visit of the Patriarch of Constantinople to Kiev and his concelebration with schismatics.
However, Orthodox Christians always preserve hope in the Lord:
This event once again testifies to us about the most difficult path that the Church of Christ follows. But we believe that, despite the divisions and schisms, by the grace of God, the Church will be preserved and will bring its faithful children to the end of history. And in this hope in the unshakable power of grace that lives in the Church, our hope is rooted in the ability to overcome sin and unrighteousness in our personal lives and strive for salvation granted to us in Christ Jesus, Who came into the world through His Most Pure Mother, the Virgin Theotokos, whose glorious Dormition we solemnly glorify. Amen.
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