To His Holiness Bartholomew
Archbishop of Constantinople – the New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
To their Holinesses and Beatitudes the Primates of Holy Churches of God
To archpastors, pastors, monastics and laity who have assembled on the Island of Crete
Your Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew,
Your Holinesses and Beatitudes,
The Most Reverend Fellow-Archpastors,
The Honorable Representatives of Local Orthodox Churches:
I cordially greet you on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church and on behalf of the Orthodox faithful in Russia, Ukraine, Belorussia, Moldova and other countries, who comprise the vast flock of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Brothers, we all are the one Body of Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 12:27). We have received the priceless gift of unity from the Lord and our Saviour Jesus Christ Himself. To preserve this gift is one of our principal tasks; it is a direct commandment of our Saviour’ (Jn. 17:21).
Let us not be confused by the fact that the opinions of Sister-Churches about the convocation of the Holy and Great Council have been divided. According to St. Paul, there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized (1 Cor. 11:19). In the days of preparations for the Council, such differences have become fully revealed, but we must not allow them to weaken the God-commanded unity, to grow into an inter-church conflict, to bring division and trouble into our ranks. We remain one Orthodox family and together we all bear responsibility for the fate of Holy Orthodoxy.
It is my profound conviction that the Churches, both those who have decided to go to Crete and those who have refrained from it, made their decisions in good conscience, and for this reason we must respect the position of each of them.
The Russian Orthodox Church has always proceeded from the conviction that the voice of any Local Church, be it large or small, old or new, should not be neglected. The absence of the Church of Antioch’s consent to convene the Council means that we have not reached pan-Orthodox consensus. We cannot ignore the voices of the Georgian, Serbian and Bulgarian Churches either, who have spoken for a postponement of the Council to a later date.
I trust that if there is a good will, the meeting in Crete can become an important step towards overcoming the present differences. It can make its own contribution to the preparation of that Holy and Great Council which will unite all the Local Autocephalous Churches without exception and become a visible reflection of the unity of the Holy Orthodox Church of Christ, for which our predecessors, who blissfully passed away, prayed and which they expected.
We assure you that our prayers will be with you in the days of the work ahead of you.
With great love in Christ,
PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA
I don’t normally post articles regarding church politics, but I think this council has been on the minds of many of the faithful all throughout the world. I felt his Holiness Kirill’s statement was a good reminder that we’re all in this together.
2 thoughts on “Message of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill to Those Who Have Assembled in Crete”
We’re all together? Seriously? I think we Orthodox play with words like “One” and pretend it is so when the facts demonstrate just the opposite. Antioch will not commune with Jerusalem but they are “one”? How can two brothers who refuse to speak with one another one? Certainly not in love or they would resolve their differences. And that is just these two Churches. Then we have the outright refusal of the EP to recognize the OCA and why? Word games… politics… egos… all play into this sad division and disunity. And of course the world watches and scratches its head at our love and unity. Did you watch the last few minutes of the press briefing for Friday? The interaction between the moderator and the journalist from Russia and the rather snotty response from Bishop Job was indicative of some very serious problems within the Orthodox Church. I’m sure our Lord and Savior is very displeased with the proud, peacock-like nature of much of His Bride. .
I try not to make judgements about the Lord’s disposition regarding any particular topic unless the Holy Fathers have clearly and unanimously spoken about it. The divisions and little fights happening in the Church today are nothing compared to what She has endured in the past. These things happen because our Mother Church is made up of many broken people, myself being one of them.
The politics of the church causes much scandal and creates a diversion away from the interior work that each of us will be held accountable for. I found His Holiness’ letter to be edifying in his approach of avoiding extremes, hence I posted it here.