"The current situation in Ukraine is very serious indeed and involves the whole Orthodox Church".

Interview with Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia about Ukraine
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Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia (Patriarchate of Constantinople) was interviewed by the Ukrainian TV channel “Inter”. You can watch the video in English or read our transcription:


The situation in Ukraine, in my opinion, is very serious indeed, and it does not simply involve the Orthodox Christians in Ukraine, it is a situation that involves the whole Orthodox Church.  At present as we know, there is a schism between the patriarchate of Constantinople and the patriarchate of Moscow. They are not in communion. The patriarchate of Constantinople has created what he claims to be an autocephalous Church of Ukraine, but this is not recognized by Moscow, nor by any of the other Orthodox Churches. None of the other Orthodox Churches have supported the patriarchate of Constantinople.
Now, the patriarchate of Moscow has broken communion with Constantinople. We, on the side of Constantinople, have not broken communion with anybody, but nonetheless the situation remains very serious.
Now, my own opinion is not that of my patriarch. I have to admit with all respect for Patriarch Bartholomew, that I disagree with the decision that he has taken. To me, it is quite clear that for more than 300 years, Ukraine has been part of the Church of Russia. This is a fact of history and we cannot change the past. Therefore, I do not think it was right of the Patriarch of Constantinople to have intervened in what is part of the territory of the Russian Church.
I am deeply disturbed by the use of force, and I think we shall not achieve a solution  by violence and force. To me, it would be a disaster and a great scandal, for example if the monks in the monastery of the Caves of Kyiv, or the monks in the monastery of Pochayiv were to be expelled by force. I hope and pray this will not happen.

What is the way forward? I’m not at all sure, because the two sides, Constantinople and Moscow have taken up positions that are directly opposed, and how can we find a compromise? I’m not clear what is the best way forward, but certainly a solution cannot be found through the use of force, it must come through mutual discussion. So I hope that there could be us a discussion of the problems in Ukraine, by a Pan-Orthodox meeting of the primates of the Orthodox Church, all the heads of the Orthodox Church. Even we might convene again the Synod, the Holy and Great Council that was held in Crete in 2016, and at which fortunately the Russian Church was not represented. But we could reconvene this Council, and I hope by God’s grace, the Church of Russia would be there as well.
So the way forward must be through discussion. We call the Orthodox Church a conciliar Church, a soborny Church, and sobornost means respect for the other and listening to the other. So let’s speak to one another, with honesty and truth, but in the love of Christ.

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