Metropolitan Hilarion, the chairman of Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), highlighted that the Russian Exarchate, dissolved by the Constantinople Patriarchate last November, had to decide about its own future; but that he was ready to support them in case they appealed to the Russian Orthodox Church. He made this statement in the special edition of the show “The Church and the world” on the Russia-24 channel on December 28.
“They must determine their own future. The Constantinople Patriarchate invited them to self-dissolve as a structure, as an archdiocese, so that their parishes could join the local dioceses of the Constantinople Patriarchate. The important question is whether they wish to join the local dioceses of the Constantinople Patriarchate. And they have to answer that question themselves. We do not intend to interfere with them, as they have not contacted us so far. I know that many parishes of this structure wish to return to the Moscow Patriarchate, since it was originally part of the Russian Orthodox Church. It was only in the 1930s that it was temporarily integrated in the Constantinople Patriarchate.
But that’s their decision to make, if they wish to remain in the Constantinople Patriarchate in the form of simple parishes served by Greek priests, with services in Greek, or if they wish to try to preserve the structure that used to exist, and that actually still exists, the structure in which they formed their own traditions, and in which the rules introduced by the local council of Moscow of 1917-1918 are still in force, as they themselves say. Of course, if they turn to us, we will help them!” Metropolitan Hilarion concluded.
Source in Russian (video)