Moscow Patriarchate confirms Alexy II is to visit the 1020th anniversary of Russia's Baptism in Kiev
04 July 2008, 16:49
Moscow Patriarchate confirms Alexy II is to visit the 1020th
anniversary of Russia's Baptism in Kiev
Moscow, July 4, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church doesn't doubt
the intention of Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia to chair
the Ukrainian celebrations of the 1020th anniversary of Russia's Baptism.
The Ukrainian presidential secretariat deputy head Yury Bogutsky said
at a briefing the day before that Patriarch Alexy had not give a
final response whether he would arrive in Kiev and the Synod was to
decide if Alexy II or "a representative delegation" would come to the
Ukrainian capital. Meanwhile, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople
has already confirmed his intention to visit Kiev, according to
Bogutsky, on invitation of Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko and
Patriarch Alexy II.
The Moscow Patriarchate "is surprised" with such a statement. "Since
February, when Viktor Yushchenko invited Patriarch Alexy II to visit
Ukraine and participate in the 1020th anniversary of Russia's
Baptism, the Russian Orthodox primate has confirmed his intention to
see Ukrainian flock more than once," a secretary for inter-Orthodox
relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church
Relations Archpriest Nikolay Balashov told the Interfax-Religion on Friday.
He reminded that Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All Ukraine
addressed the same request to the patriarch.
Besides, according to Fr. Nikolay, "Alexy II confirmed his intention
to visit Kiev in July (and it wasn't even questioned by either party)
during his conversation with Yury Bogutsky as the Patriarch met with
him on Yushchenko's personal request."
"The possibility of inviting personally Patriarch of Constantinople
to Kiev was also discussed at the meeting, so Bogutsky knows pretty
well that the Russian Church primate didn't invite Bartholomew I to
Kiev," the interviewee of the agency noted.
He also didn't confirm the information Bogutsky voiced earlier that
the patriarchs of Alexandria and Jerusalem were to visit Kiev.
According to Fr. Nikolay, primates of the Alexandrian and Jerusalem
Churches informed that their representatives would come to Kiev on
Alexy II's invitation.
Besides, the Moscow Patriarchate representative is concerned with
Bogutsky's statement that Yushchenko intends to initiate discussions
on establishing the Ukrainian Local Orthodox Church.
Fr. Nikolay agrees with the Ukrainian state's representative that
steps to church unity should keep "within the rules of canonical
Orthodoxy." At the same time the priest doubts if it is canonically
valid that a secular state "establishes the one Orthodox Church," and
the opinion of the Ukrainian presidential secretariat deputy head as
the latter believes that the process "should be approved by
hierarchs" of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, "the Kiev Patriarchate"
and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.
"However, in compliance with canonical requirements, it's impossible
to compare canonical and recognized as such by the entire Orthodox
world the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to non-canonical Ukrainian
Autocephalous Church and moreover to "the Kiev Patriarchate," headed
by the person alienated from the Orthodox Church," the interviewee of
the agency noted.