(Catholic Culture) - Russian patriarch criticizes Ukrainian Catholics; Eastern patriarch says ‘real’ Ukrainians are Orthodox
In a meeting with the head of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow criticized the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church as well as Orthodox churches in Ukraine that are not in communion with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.
“Our Church, unlike the Greek Catholic Church and schismatic groups, does not support any of the conflict parties” in Ukraine today, Patriarch Kirill said during their meeting in Moscow. “We believe our mission is that of reconciliation.”
“I know the real Ukrainian people: they firmly adhere to Orthodoxy and stay faithful to their Mother – the Russian Orthodox Church,” Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria said in response, according to the Moscow Patriarchate. The Greek-born Patriarch Theodore had served in Ukraine during the 1980s.
Both Patriarch Kirill and Patriarch Theodore emphasized the missionary nature of their churches.
“It is necessary to enlighten peoples on the vast Eurasian continent who have not yet become Christian,” said Patriarch Kirill, who also spoke of the “need to carry out today a new mission among people who are traditionally Orthodox but who still remain uninitiated to the church and sometimes even unbaptized.”