“We don’t want to fight anyone. Russia has never attacked anyone. It’s amazing that a big and strong country has never attacked anyone, but only defended its borders.” The amazing statement comes from none other than the head of the Russian Because of such statements, the Patriarch of Moscow, considered one of Vladimir Putin’s staunchest supporters, has just been listed along with the “Executioner of Buch” and fifty other personalities as part of the sanctions package that the EU is against Russia.
And that Kirill, who considers Putin a “defender of freedom”, systematically refuses to condemn Russian aggression against Ukraine and is the only great world leader who not only did not ask for an end to the war, but also prayed for the success of Russian troops in the position that brought him to a clash with Pope Francis, and the cancellation of a meeting that was supposed to be historic in Jerusalem after a failed videoconference meeting.
“I don’t understand any of this”
“I talked with Kirill for 40 minutes on Zoom. During the first 20 minutes, he read from a piece of paper in his hand all the reasons that justify the Russian invasion. I listened to him, and then answered: “I don’t understand anything about this,” Bergoglio explained in an interview with Il Corriere della Sera, to which both the Kremlin and the Moscow Patriarchate responded harshly. In an interview, Francis asked Cyril “to find a way to peace, we must stop hostilities.” “The patriarch cannot stoop to becoming a servant of Putin,” the Pope condemned.
The Patriarchate sharply condemned some of the statements, calling it “regrettable that after a conversation with Patriarch Kirill, Pope Francis chose an inappropriate tone to convey the content of this conversation.”
“These statements are unlikely to contribute to a constructive dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, which is especially necessary at the present time,” the Patriarchate added, emphasizing what the patriarch “really” said to Bergoglio in his March conversation. sixteen.
And what did Putin say, in the opinion of the Patriarchate? Among other things, that “the Western media did not talk” about the events that took place on the Maidan and in Odessa in 2014, and that this justifies, in his opinion, the pro-Russian riots and the “special operation” that began on February 24th. .
Similarly, Kirill stressed to the Pope that “Russia cannot allow” Ukraine to be admitted to NATO because of the risk that “the flight time of its missiles to Moscow will be several minutes.”
Defend the Motherland and the Orthodox Faith
Just this week, Kirill prayed “for the Russian state, for our country, that our sacred borders be impregnable, that we always have the wisdom, strength and honor to defend them, if necessary.”
“So that love for the Motherland never dries up, especially in the minds and hearts of the younger generation that will come after us,” the Russian Patriarch emphasized, adding that “as long as faith is preserved, it will be kept with this love for the Motherland and the ability to protect one’s people and own country”.
“May the Lord protect the Russian land from civil strife and invasion of foreigners, may it strengthen the Orthodox faith, the only spiritual force that can really unite our people. And we believe that the Lord will not leave us with His mercy and grace even in this difficult moment,” Kirill concluded, while assuring that the situation was “great pain”: “My flock is on both sides of the confrontation.”
And the fact is that, at least shortly before the war, the Patriarch of Moscow was also the leader of Ukrainian Orthodoxy within the framework of the idea of “Great Russia”. Like Athens for the Greeks or Rome for the Empire, the “Russian nation” was born in Kyiv, and this is because it was there, more than a millennium ago, that the “Russian people” converted to Christianity.
However, after Ukraine gained independence, Orthodox believers began to turn to Constantinople in search of guardianship of the Jerusalem Patriarch Bartholomew. In December 2018, the members of the existing Ukrainian Orthodox Churches voted for unification into the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on the basis of full canonical independence. They elected their primate, the current Metropolitan Epiphanius, who in the early days of the current Russian invasion was subjected to three attempts to attack.
Epiphanius asked – and achieved – the recognition of the Patriarch of Constantinople. So, in January 2019, Bartholomew granted volumes (a kind of Charter of the new church) of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church, which had finally separated from the Moscow domain. Patriarch Kirill never accepted this maneuver and gave himself into the hands of Putin and his idea of Great Russia, which, as he himself points out, “includes Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and other tribes and peoples.”
It is that the closeness between Kirill and Putin has been constant since his accession to the throne in 2009. The Patriarch of Moscow is a kind of Orthodox Pope, the head of this denomination, along with Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who sharply condemned the Russian invasion. As early as 2012, Kirill called Putin’s rise to power a “miracle,” and in the past decade, he has not hesitated to justify police crackdowns on opposition demonstrations or bless Moscow’s weapons and wars abroad. Last year, the patriarch blessed Putin during the opening of the Russian Armed Forces Cathedral, and many of his clerics sprinkled hyssop on weapons that, two and a half months later, continue to crack down on the Ukrainian population.
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