The Russian Orthodox Old-believers Church (RPSC) is following the events around Ukrainian Orthodoxy with alarm. In an interview with the National News Service, the metropolitan of Moscow and All Rus, Korniliy, said that the actions of the politicians in using the emotions of religious believers to achieve political goals is unacceptable.
— Bishop, the Patriarchate of Constantinople announced the imminent granting of autocephaly to Ukraine. The Russian Orthodox Church condemned it and protested to Constantinople. In this situation, what position does the Russian Orthodox Old-believers Church adhere to?
— From our point of view, all the disruption in the New-Rite communities, in particular the imminent split between the Moscow and Constantinople Patriarchates, are internal affairs of these churches. We adhere to neutrality and the principle of non-interference. It’s unthinkable for other communities to tell them how to live.
— But, for example, Ukrainian monasteries are “categorically against autocephaly”. In your opinion, what is the reason for such perseverance of the Ukrainian authorities in this matter?
— The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) under the leadership of Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine, Onuphrius (Berezovsky), in reality has autocephaly and is practically an independent local church. This is evident not only within the Moscow Patriarchate, but also to any unbiased outsider who is interested in this topic.
As for monasteries and monasticism, traditionally monasteries are centers of spiritual life and in times of church misconduct throughout Christian history, monasticism was a particular kind of catalyst for public opinion. There is an expression: “and how would monasticism look at this“. In this case, it is regrettable to observe when politicians use the feelings of religious believers as a bargaining chip in order to achieve their goals.
— Many experts call what is happening, a split in Orthodoxy. Do you agree with this statement?
— There are alarming signals from Ukraine about the oppression of believers. But still, I would like to hope that the “degree of a split” and the violent actions that Old-believers have fully experienced themselves, will not come. From the whole Russian Orthodox Old-believers Church and from myself personally, I wish the churches of Ukraine peace, unity and harmony!