In the Russian Church abroad look forward to a beneficial progress in the “Ukrainian question” as a result of the meeting of Patriarch and Pope
In the Russian Orthodox Church abroad (ROCA) expressed the hope that the meeting of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill with Pope Francis, which will take place this Friday in Havana, will have a positive effect on relations between the Orthodox and Greek Catholics in Ukraine, reported the website of the Russian Church abroad.
“It was known for many years that such a meeting should take place – not because of imaginary “ecumenism”, and because of a natural need to recognize that due to historical circumstances, the Russian Orthodox Church serves in many cases the same territory, which is serviced by Greek Catholics, subordinate to the Pope in Rome,” said Secretary of the Synod of bishops of ROCOR for inter-Orthodox relations
Archpriest Alexander Lebedev, the words quoted “Interfax”.
For this reason, says the priest, “you need a direct personal contact between the two heads of the Christian denominations, caring for his flock in the same area”.
“We pray to Almighty God that the upcoming meeting will help to achieve mutual understanding on many issues of concern to the whole Christian world, and contributes to the establishment of peaceful cooperation with other Christian confessions”, – said the representative of the ROCOR.
The actions of the Greek Catholics (Uniates) in Ukraine has long remained a major obstacle to the meeting of the Moscow Patriarch and the Roman Pope. It is about the defeat of the Uniates, three dioceses of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate in Western Ukraine at the turn of 1980-1990-ies, the transfer of the center of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UKGZ) from Lviv to Kiev, her desire to arrogate to itself the status of a Patriarchate, spreading the mission of the UGCC in traditionally Orthodox lands of Eastern and southern Ukraine, supporting the Uniates, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate.
After the beginning of the Maidan and war in Ukraine to this were added the attacks of the Greek Catholics against Russia and the Russian Church. However, the Vatican never publicly condemned the unfriendly steps of the Uniates, have repeatedly called the Moscow Patriarchate.
In an interview to the portal “Interfax-Religion” in 2014, the head of the Department for external Church relations of Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion accused the UGCC of strong political bias, in the nationalist discourses of its clergy and faithful and by their active participation in the events on Maidan.
As was said, the Moscow Patriarchate had brought concerns about the actions of the Uniates to the Catholic Church, but no real progress in resolving the problems observed.