Great Schism in Orthodoxy Imminent, if Ukraine Obtains Autocephaly, Says Russian Church Spokesman

Metropolitan Hilarion says he forsees a schism in Orthodoxy, comparable to the Great Schism between the Orthodox and Catholics, if Ukrainian Schismatics Obtain Autocephaly.

Appeared on: Pravmir

Metropolitan Hilarion — Head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations —  believes that if Ukrainian schismatics obtain their desired autocephaly, the resulting schism in global Orthodoxy will be comparable to the Great Schism of 1054.

“It is terrifying even to imagine what can happen if the scenario of granting autocephaly to Ukrainian schismatics will be realized in practice. . . . The schism in global Orthodoxy that will be the inevitable consequence of this wrong step, can be compared only to the split between East and West in 1054. If it happens, Orthodox unity will be buried,” the metropolitan said, answering the questions of Greek Romfea church news agency.

The hierarch prays and hopes that “unilateral position of Local Orthodox Churches that was more than once expressed in the past will save Ecumenical Orthodoxy from the schism”, and “this unilateral position will sooner or later bring schismatics back to the Church.”

The metropolitan noted that the project of the so-called one local church in Ukraine is initiated by acting authorities, schismatic groups and Greek Catholics.

“Politicians see in it a happy opportunity to start electoral campaign at the backstage of deteriorating economic situation in the country. Schismatics supported by authorities continue seizing churches of canonical Church in Ukraine, they need legalization and support of any canonical Church of the Orthodox world,” he said.

According to Metropolitan Hilarion, uniates consider union with the schism, and obtaining an official status for it in Orthodox world as a project aimed at subordinating Orthodoxy to Rome.

The metropolitan believes that true state of spiritual life in the canonical Ukrainian Church and in Ukrainian schism can be seen if we compare the number of monks.

“Today there are about 5000 monks in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The so-called Kiev Patriarchate has 200 people residing in monasteries, while the so-called Autocephalous Church has 15 people for 12 monasteries. The mass media often refer to the data, for which certain sponsors of sociological polls have paid. However, the data they cite cannot be compared to the things we see with our own eyes that can be easily checked,” he said.

According to him, millions of Orthodox believers stand behind the canonical Church in Ukraine and “it is proved by large-scaled processions with cross organized by canonical Church in Ukraine which attract hundreds of thousands believers.”

“Why are our brothers in Constantinople not interested in the opinion of these millions of believers? Granting authocephaly to a schism, despite the will of the canonical Church from which it has split, does not have any future. It will not lead to the Orthodox unity, but to deepening of existing divisions and further destabilization of Ukrainian society,” the hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church believes.

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