Orthodox patriarch slams Russian invasion of Ukraine

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
2 min read

The leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians met Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw on Tuesday, offering them his support and denouncing Russia’s “horrible” military action in their homeland.

“It beggars the imagination the amount of havoc this horrible invasion has caused in Ukraine and all over the world,” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I said at Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

The 82-year-old had also denounced the war as “unjust” and “groundless” after meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Monday, adding that “a war between Orthodox Christians is absolutely unacceptable.”

Ukraine is home to millions of believers in the Orthodox Church, but their loyalties are divided between the Kyiv and Moscow patriarchates.

Moscow controlled part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church for more than 300 years, but in 2018 Bartholomew I recognized an independent unified Ukrainian church.

He took the decision after Kyiv sought to break religious ties with Russia following the conflict in the country’s east.

The move dealt a huge blow to Moscow’s spiritual authority in the Orthodox world, prompting it to cut all ties with the Constantinople Patriarchate in protest.

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, is a key pillar of President Vladimir Putin’s ruling apparatus and has buttressed the Kremlin’s authoritarian tendencies by denouncing opposition protests and blessing Russia’s conflicts abroad.

Shortly after the start of Russia’s operation last month in Ukraine, Patriarch Kirill called Moscow’s opponents in Ukraine “evil forces.”

Read more: Pope Francis evokes specter of nuclear war wiping out humanity

Top Content Trending