venerdì 19 ottobre 2018

Hilarion at Vatican & more on Ukraine
(a cura Redazione "Il sismografo")
(Peter Anderson) Yesterday, Metropolitan Hilarion, as a “fraternal delegate,” addressed the participants at the Synod of Bishops who are now meeting at the Vatican to discuss the subject of youth. (link)  The full text of his address can be read at here.  The address focused solely on the issue of youth.  I thought that it was a very inspiring address, and he resisted the possible temptation to use this platform to promote, in any way, Moscow’s views relating to Ukraine. 
After the address, he did meet with Cardinal Koch and Father Hyacinthe Destivelle.  At this meeting, Metropolitan Hilarion briefed the Cardinal on the decision made by the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate.  Thursday night, the Metropolitan attended a concert of sacred music at the Basilica of the Twelve Apostles in Rome.  TASS has just reported that Metropolitan Hilarion has informed its Rome correspondent that he will meet with Pope Francis today (Friday) concerning Ukraine. 

It is logical that Pope Francis, who enjoys very good relations with both Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Patriarch Kirill, will maintain a strict neutrality between Constantinople and Moscow in the Ukraine dispute.  With respect to continuing to enjoy good relations with the Moscow Patriarchate in future decades, I have a personal thought with respect to a theoretical situation where the Moscow Patriarchate suffers a great defeat in Ukraine, such as losing the entire UOC-MP.  Metropolitan Hilarion has been the most visible and vocal defender of Moscow’s position in the dispute.  If the Ukrainian dispute turns out very badly for the Moscow Patriarchate, his close association with this defeat may well damage his chances of being the next Patriarch and may well enhance the chances of his most likely challenger, the much more conservative Metropolitan Tikhon (Shevkunov) of Pskov, who has been keeping a low profile (perhaps intentionally so) on the Ukraine dispute.  With respect to Metropolitan Tikhon’s view on ecumenical relations, see

Metropolitan Hilarion’s interview by the BBC has now been posted in English.   I thought that the questions were very knowledgeable and perceptive, and as usual Metropolitan Hilarion gave very articulate answers.  A number of the questions related to Mt. Athos.  The Metropolitan stated that although Mt. Athos is under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch, the faithful of the Moscow Patriarchate can still go there as tourists and pray there.  But the priests will not be able to participate in the divine offices there, and the faithful will not be able to receive communion there.  Metropolitan Hilarion acknowledged that he was aware that Russian benefactors have recently donated over 200 millions dollars to Mt. Athos.  He suggested that such benefactors should now switch their attention to monasteries in Russia.  The Metropolitan emphasized that he did “not want to prompt to Athonite starets what to do,” but he said that history has shown that the Mt. Athos monasteries have shown ways to express their protest before, such as when “Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople met with the Pope of Rome.” 

Bishop Makarios (Griniezakis) of Christoupolis (Ecumenical Patriarchate), who apparently was closely involved with the Fanar’s October 11 decisions, has given a very interesting interview posted yesterday at .   The Google translation tool works very well with this interview.  The interview includes the statement:  The results, as we see, are as follows:  Patriarch Bartholomew and the Synod managed to unite the two schismatic groups, restore them to canonicality without requests from these organizations regarding posts and honors. This is a lot.

However, from comments by the head of the UAOC, it appears that major disagreements still exist between the UAOC and the UOC-KP.   It appears that Filaret, the head of the UOC-KP, perceives that the new unified church will essentially be a continuation of the UOC-KP with the bishops of the UOAC and some bishops from the UOC-MP joining it and with Filaret as patriarch.     Filaret will be 90 years old in January.  I think that it is very likely that Constantinople will desire that the unified church be a new church and not a mere continuation of one of the schismatic churches.  I doubt that Constantinople is enthusiastic about Filaret being the primate of the new church, but rather will desire a younger primate who commands respect from the three Ukrainian Orthodox Churches and the worldwide Local Orthodox Churches generally.  For years, the UOC-KP and the UAOC have not been able to resolve their differences.  For a successful completion of a Ukrainian unification council, I believe that the Ecumenical Patriarchate will need exercise some very strong direction.

A results of a new Ukrainian opinion poll, based on face-to-face interviews of 2,000 persons and conducted September 27 to October 4, 2018, has just be released.  The detailed results can be accessed at .  Among the questions was the following:  How do you feel about the idea of creating a Single Local Church in Ukraine?   The results for all the participants and the results for those participants who were members of the UOC-MP were quite different.  These results are as follows:
All pool participants:  Completely negative – 14%; rather negative – 5%; completely positive – 37%; rather positive – 17%; it does not matter to me – 19%; it is hard to answer – 8%
UOC-MP members:     Completely negative – 40%; rather negative – 13%; completely positive – 15%; rather positive – 13%; it does not matter to me – 10%; it is hard to answer – 9%

In other news, the Ukrainian parliament yesterday approved a bill giving the Ecumenical Patriarchate liturgical use of the Church of St. Andrew in Kyiv.  However, it will remain state property and will still continue to operate as a museum.  Metropolitan Hilarion has previously referred to the fact that Serbian Patriarch Irinej has written two letters to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew concerning Ukraine.  An English translation of one of the letters (dated August 13, 2018) was posted yesterday at .

Peter Anderson, Seattle USA