Kyiv Patriarchate Priest: Pope’s And Patriarch’s Joint Declaration Caused Total Shock


While commenting to on the joint declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch of Moscow Kirill, a prootpriest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate Syarhey Horbik noticed the wording of the document. “It seems it was a meeting of “two pontiffs” who have the right to speak on behalf of all Catholics and Orthodoxes. But while Pope Francis truly has dogmatic and canonic powers to speak on behalf of the whole Catholic Church, the Patriarch of Moscow has no right to speak on behalf of all Orthodoxes but can represent only his jurisdiction”, – the priest stated.

According to him, however right were the Patriarch’s words on global Christian challenges (abortions, euthanasia etc) – it is purely the Moscow Patriarchate’s opinion. “This fact alone causes global puzzlement caused, first of all, by the position of the Roman Pontiff who signed such a document  though Rome as well isn’t allowed to ignore the canonical structure of the Orthodox community”, – the protopriest mentioned.

He is also surprised by the paragraphs considering Syria and Ukraine, “because the whole civilized world recognizes Russian aggression in these countries”. The priest emphasized that the persecution of Syrian Christians was caused by the war in Middle East and activities of Muslim extremists and authoritarian regimes and that “the Russian intervention on the side of a totalitarian ruler, made without any coordination with the UN and other international institutions only complicates the situation for Syrian Christians who may become an innocent victim of revenge for Russian bombings”. Moreover, the priest added, Syrian Christian also die by Russian bombs.

According to him, it would be logical if Vatican proposed to cease Russian military operation in Syria or asked Patriarch Kirill to turn with this matter to the Russian government. But this didn’t happen and Pope Francis ignored the Patriarch’s flock being involved in this conflict, Syarhey Horbik mentioned.

According to him, the paragraph on the Ukrainian conflict contradicts the position of the civilized world “that has recognized Russian aggression against Ukraine and doesn’t consider this war a “struggle” or a”civil conflict””. “By signing his Russian wording, notwithstanidng his intentions, Pope Francis has virtually taken the aggressor’s side and put himself outside the civilized international community.  By pursuing unknown goals the Roman Pontiff betrayed millions of his parishioners not only in Ukraine but in the EU as well. One couldn’t even imagine a greater impact on the prestige of the Catholic Church in Ukraine”, – the priest supposes.

He also supposes that Paragraph 25 of declaration considering the Ukrainian Greek Catholics “not only surprieses with its contents but also gives way to a wide negative interpretation”. Particularily, the priest notes, the document doesn’t condemn the so-called Council of Lviv of 1946 which liquidated and banned the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in the USSR. According to him, it looks as Vatican validates this Stalin’s act. The words about acknowledging the right of Greek Catholics for existence sounds as if Pope Francis  sided with the Moscow Patriarchate on that matter, the representative of the Kyiv Patriarchate.

While talking about Paragraph 27, the priest claimed that “Pope Francis mingles in Orthodox affairs again on the side of Moscow”. He reminded, that for Vatican the Moscow Patriarchate and the Kyiv Patriarchate are canonically equal. “According the document, if Ukrainian Orthodoxes will unite nit by a Moscow scenario, it will damage “the Christian brotherhood””, – he said, while reiterating the call of Archbishop Eustraty (Zorya), the official Kyiv Patriarchate speaker, to Vatican to ask observers to join the dialog, because “since the time of the Munich deal the princip of “deciding for us without us” smells bad”.

“All in all, while talking about any results of signing this document one can state its illogical character that caused strong negative reaction of a consciouss part of the Ukrainan society. And judging by social networks and blogs, the same reaction exists in Belarusian, Polish, Greek and European Christian community as well. That is why it is hard to tell what consequences will this declaration bring, first of all to the Catholic Church in Europe and the US. As for the Orthodox Christianity, I doubt it very much personally that this declaration will promote not even the unification of the Orthodox Church but the Orthodox-Catholic dialog as well”, – the priest concluded.