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Leading Russian Orthodox official says Ukraine’s Eastern Catholics are playing ‘destructive role’

June 04, 2014

Speaking in Belarus, the chairman of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Department of External Church Relations told the European Orthodox-Catholic Forum that “the Greek Catholics have played a very destructive role” in the current Ukrainian crisis.

“Unlike the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has been able during these difficult months to unite people of various political persuasions, including those who have found themselves on both sides of the barricades, the Uniates have ostentatiously associated themselves with only one of the belligerent forces,” said Metropolitan Hilarion, referring to members of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the largest of the Eastern Catholic churches.

“The aggressive words of the Uniates, actions directed at undermining the canonical Orthodox Church, active contacts with schismatics and the striving to divide a single multinational Russian Orthodox Church have caused great damage not only to the Ukraine and her citizens, but also to the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue,” he continued. “All of this has put us back a great distance, reminding us of the times when the Orthodox and Catholics viewed each other not as friends but as rivals.”

Metropolitan Hilarion also denounced the Union of Brest, in which Orthodox bishops around Kiev reconciled with the Holy See:

Today once again it has been all the more obvious what the Orthodox knew – that the Unia was and, unfortunately, remains a special project of the Catholic Church aimed at undermining canonical Orthodoxy. It was here, in the country of Byelorussia, that the notorious ‘the Union of Brest’ of 1596 was concluded and which brought untold suffering to the Orthodox population of these lands.

Allow me to use this platform to appeal to all our partners in the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue to do all that is possible to cool down the ‘hotheads’ among the Uniates, to halt the actions of the Greek Catholics in making the crisis in the Ukraine worse.

Today one part of the Catholic Church is employing all her strength, talents and resources in strengthening Orthodox-Catholic interaction, while another (even though it enjoys autonomous status) is doing everything possible, as in former unfortunate times, to drive the wedge of distrust and enmity between Orthodox and Catholics.


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  • Posted by: normnuke - Jun. 05, 2014 3:27 PM ET USA

    Hilarion's message is wonderfully clear; it's our way or the highway.

  • Posted by: Gregory108 - Jun. 04, 2014 8:10 PM ET USA

    Kiril and friend Putin won't be happy until the Ukrainian Catholic Church is liquidated so "all can return to their rightful Orthodoxy." This is what Stalin and the Orthodox tried to do when they gathered the Ukrainian bishops and forced them to "voluntarily" liquidate the Church. They're still trying! The Ukr. Catholic hierarchy has always supported a free Ukraine, independent of Russia. The Orthodox: mixed loyalties. If patriotism is wrong, may this "error" rule among Ukrainians forever!

  • Posted by: - Jun. 04, 2014 9:04 AM ET USA

    Is it just me, or does anyone else get a chuckle when the Russian Metropolitan uses the phrase "canonical Orthodoxy"?