Metropolitan Hilarion called on local churches to maintain the unity of Orthodoxy

© RIA Novosti / Gennady Malnicherra Hilarion of Volokolamsk, archival photoMetropolitan Hilarion called on local churches to maintain the unity of Orthodoxy© RIA Novosti / Gennady Melnik

The Chairman of the Department for external Church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, on a visit to Belgrade, urged local churches to follow the example of the Serbian Church and to preserve the unity of Orthodoxy.

The representative of the Serbian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Bishop Irenaeus (Bulovic) previously stated in the letter that the unilateral granting of autocephaly by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine will destroy the unity of the Orthodox world, while the claims of Constantinople to absolute preeminence in all Orthodox world «is accomplished not stand up to scrutiny».

His statement, Metropolitan Hilarion made after presenting him with an honorary doctorate of science from the University in Belgrade on Wednesday.

«We believe that Serbia’s position is very correct, and I hope very much hope that other churches will take the same position. The legitimization of a split in Ukraine, and this is what, unfortunately, currently Patriarch Bartholomew will not be able to unite the Ukrainian believers, on the contrary, it will create new splits. And she would split not only the Orthodox believers of Ukraine, but also all the body of world Orthodoxy, which is already happening,» — said Metropolitan Hilarion asked by reporters about the attitude of the Moscow Patriarchate to the position of the Serbian Church.

«We hope that this will not happen and that, as before, the solidarity attitude of the local Orthodox churches will prevent such a development that we will manage joint efforts to preserve the unity of Holy Orthodoxy», he said.

The President of Ukraine is trying to achieve recognition of non-canonical religious structures and of establishing a local Autocephalous Church in Ukraine. Earlier, the Patriarchate of Constantinople «in preparation for the granting of autocephaly» was appointed its Exarch in Kyiv. In addition, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has stated that it intends to provide Ukraine Autocephalous. In the UOC called such actions by invading the canonical territory of other local churches and called on Patriarch Bartholomew to stop meddling and «exarchs» of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to leave Kiev.

The Russian Orthodox Church, in turn, went to the actual «break diplomatic relations» with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Synod of the Russian Church announced a cease commemoration of Patriarch Bartholomew during the Patriarch’s divine services. In addition, a decision was made to exit from the structures, which is chaired by the representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church with Constantinople was in this crisis only once in all its more than thousand-year history.

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Synod of bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church abroad, the Holy Synod of the UOC has suspended the service with the bishops of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.