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Moscow Patriarchate renews criticism of Ukrainian Catholic Church

February 19, 2016

The Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow has renewed its sharp criticism of the Byzantine-rite Ukrainian Catholic Church, after a brief lull during the "summit meeting" between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill.

Metropolitan Hilarion, who heads the external-relations department of the Moscow patriarchate, objected strongly to the interview in which Ukrainian Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk had voiced his misgivings about the joint statement issued by the Pope and the Patriarch. The Ukrainian prelate's statements were "very negative, very insulting not only to our side, but also to the Pope," the Russian Church spokesman said.

"They have their own politicized agenda," Metropolitan Hilarion said of the Ukrainian Catholics; "and even the Pope is not an authority to them." 

The Moscow Church spokesman stressed that the statement issued by Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill had emphasized reconciliation, but-- he charged-- the Ukrainian Catholic Church persists in rousing conflict. "Their rhetoric is aggressive, hostile, and loose," he said.

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