Wednesday, July 27, 2022

EP-backed Ukrainian Church pushes for dethroning Pat. Kirill

( The OCU Synod appealed to the Ecumenical Patriarch regarding bringing Patriarch Kirill to canonical responsibility and depriving him of the patriarchal throne


 The letter was approved at the meeting of the Holy Synod

of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine on July 27, 2022

His Holiness Bartholomew

Archbishop of Constantinople - New Rome,

Ecumenical Patriarch

Copy: To the Heads of Local Orthodox Churches

Your Holiness!

In accordance with the decision of the Synod of Bishops dated May 24 of this year, I am asking you to initiate at the pan-Orthodox level a review and condemnation of the activities of the Moscow Patriarch Kirila Gundyaev and the ethnophyletic and racist doctrine of the "Russian peace" that he preaches.

On February 24, 2022, the Russian Federation insidiously, without a formal declaration of war, launched a full-scale military aggression against Ukraine. The war, unleashed by Russia in the center of Europe back in February 2014, is being waged with the aim of destroying Ukrainian statehood and is striking with exceptional brutality. A true genocide of the Ukrainian people is taking place before the eyes of the whole world. The aggressor is destroying peaceful Ukrainian cities, shelling hospitals and schools, raping and torturing women and minors, killing and maiming children. Among those killed by Russian troops are clerics of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, religious teachers of other faiths. Almost 200 religious buildings, mainly Orthodox churches, were completely or partially destroyed as a result of Russian shelling.

Russia is a country that for centuries linked its identity with Orthodoxy. And yet, over the past decades, the Christian faith in Russia has been subject to paganization — it has been insidiously replaced by a civil religion that is apparently based on the Orthodox tradition, but alien to the spirit of the Gospel and the content of the Orthodox faith of the Holy Fathers. Many soldiers of the Russian Federation who invaded our country identify themselves with Orthodoxy. However, the actions taken by the occupiers testify to them as criminals who have lost a living connection with Christ and His Church.

Each murdered child, each raped woman, each destroyed residential building and temple is not only a war crime, but also an act of renouncing Christ, as a result of which the criminal finds himself outside the blessed fence of the Church. However, the moral responsibility for the committed crimes rests not only on the direct perpetrators, but also on their ideological inspirers - the Moscow Patriarch Kirill and his like-minded hierarchs, who for decades propagated the ethnophyletic and racist doctrine of the "Russian peace" and are now blessing the attack on Ukraine.

Many associated certain hopes for the revival of church life with the election of Metropolitan Kirill (2009) to the patriarchal chair. However, today, when twelve and a half years have passed since Cyril took the Moscow chair, it is quite obvious that the announced reforms did not take place, and the only real achievements of the 16th Patriarch of Moscow were the concentration of power in the hands of one person with the complete degradation of real church collegiality and complete dependence of the Church on the Russian state.

Metropolitan and later Patriarch Kirill was never a standard of the confession of the Orthodox faith. Some theological statements of Bishop Kirill - for example, the identification of the Third Hypostasis of the Holy Trinity with "Divine energy that eternally originates from God the Father" - even caused controversy and temptation among clerics of the Russian Church. His almost complete indifference to theological issues prevented Cyril from completely falling into the space of heresy. The situation changed when the hierarch, whose attention had long been focused on geopolitical issues, decided to join the creation of the doctrine of the "Russian peace" — a nationalist ethnophyletic theory about the special role of the Russian nation and state in the world and in the Church.

On March 15 of this year, on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the Declaration on the "Russian Peace" was published, under which more than 340 Orthodox theologians from different countries of the world initially put their signatures, the number of which has now grown to a thousand. As stated in this Declaration, "Russian measure" is a non-Orthodox, heretical doctrine, close to the doctrine of ethnophiletism, which was condemned at the Council of Constantinople in 1872. "We reject the heresy of the "Russian peace" and the shameful actions of the Russian authorities regarding the war against Ukraine, which is caused by this despicable doctrine, which has no justification - for the connivance of the Russian Orthodox Church, as deeply non-Orthodox, non-Christian actions" - note the Orthodox theologians who signed the Declaration. Similar assessments were expressed in another public document - the Open Address to the Heads of the Orthodox Churches.

Sharing most of the statements contained in the mentioned Addresses, we also want to draw Your Holiness' attention to another heretical aspect of the doctrine of the "Russian world", which significantly distorts Orthodox anthropology. It is about denying the rights of peoples to historical self-determination or historical fatalism, which is inherent in the doctrine of the "Russian world" in the interpretation of Patriarch Kirill. According to the mythological historical concept of the latter, Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians allegedly belong to the common civilization of the "Russian world" and as such have no moral right to further historical self-determination. The choice made in the past allegedly obliges them to be a part of the "Russian world" or the Russian state for life.

The denial of the freedom of entire peoples is combined in the worldview of Patriarch Kirill and his associates with a racist theory in its spirit, according to which Russia and the "Russian world" are something fundamentally better and higher than other nations, and Russia's historical neighbors - Ukrainians and Belarusians - have the right to existence and future exclusively as a part of Russian reality. The principled denial of the right of the people of Ukraine to full canonical church independence (autocephaly) and their own state existence looks quite logical within the framework of this racist concept, which divides peoples and states into "real" and "artificial".

At the same time, it is important to understand that the ideology of the modern ROC contains a threat not only for Ukraine, but also for the entire Orthodox world. "Just as Russia invaded Ukraine, so the Moscow Patriarchate, headed by Patriarch Kirill, became an invader in the Orthodox Church, for example, in Africa, causing schism and strife" - Orthodox theologians note in the already quoted Declaration [5]. It is important to be aware of the connection between the doctrine of the "Russian world" and specific church decisions initiated by Patriarch Kirill in recent years — from the severance of Eucharistic communication with the Ecumenical Patriarchate (15.10.2018) to the creation of the "Patriarchal Exarchate of Africa" ​​(29.12.2021) and active support armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine (2022). Starting at least from October 2018, all actions of Patriarch Kirill are subordinated to a specific political goal.

In the current situation, it is extremely important that the Catholic Church properly reacts to the challenges coming from the paganized Russian Orthodoxy. As the Gospel testifies, "every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit" (Mt. 7:18). Acting according to this principle bequeathed by our Savior, the Church should unanimously recognize that the tree that bears the "fruits of war" today is poisonous, that is, condemn the doctrine of the "Russian peace" as heretical.

We call on Your Holiness and the Heads of the Local Orthodox Churches to also consider as soon as possible the activities of Patriarch Kirill, related to his opposition to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and many Local Orthodox Churches, and, if this activity is recognized as containing signs of schism, to bring Moscow patriarch to canonical responsibility.

In view of the above, we ask Your Holiness and the Blessed Heads of Local Orthodox Churches to canonically qualify several decisions of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, adopted during 2018-2021, which, in our opinion, do not correspond to the principles of Orthodox ecclesiology and threaten Pan-Orthodox unity:

  • the decision to break (unilaterally) Eucharistic communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the Church of Cyprus and the Church of Greece; 

  • the decision to create — contrary to canonical tradition and the sixth rule of the First Ecumenical Council — church structures of the Moscow Patriarchate on the canonical territory of the ancient Patriarchate of Alexandria.

On behalf of the bishops of our Church and the numerous victims of Russia's war against Ukraine, which the Patriarch of Moscow openly and unequivocally publicly approves and supports, we appeal to Your Holiness and the Heads of Local Orthodox Churches with a request:

  • condemn the doctrine of "Russian peace" and recognize it as heretical; 

  • classify the actions of Patriarch Kirill in the canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Alexandria as schismatic; 

  • to deprive Kyril Gundyaev of the right to occupy the Moscow Patriarchate.

With sincere brotherly love in Christ, we ask Your Holiness and the Blessed Heads of the Local Orthodox Churches to continue to offer their prayers for the suffering people of Ukraine and to grant the request expressed in this letter - objectively, in accordance with the creed and sacred canons of the Holy Orthodox Church, consider the activities of the current head of the Russian Church.

On behalf of and on behalf of the Council of Bishops

of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine -


Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine

Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine


  1. Well! I'm sort of surprised at how well I agree with much of this.
    But I'm not sure that even Patriarch Bartholomew believes that he has the authority to dethrone the patriarch of another autocephalous church. Maybe I'm wrong?
    Small point: In "Russian peace" aren't they mistranslating "Mir", which can mean both "peace" and "world"?
    Whatever the outcome of this monstrous war, I think the MP will come out of it much impaired in status and membership.

    1. Perhaps that's why the EP's illegitimate "jurisdiction" in Ukraine is calling for a pan-Orthodox council to do it, rather than just appealing to Constantinople. In truth a proper council would be a grand thing, provided it has the authority to address both the behavior of Moscow in the war and the issue of Patriarchs installing bishops on the territory of other churches (in Ukraine most recently, along with the issue of "reconciling" unrepentant schismatics, but also in Qatar, and for that matter in North America, which was also under Moscow when the EP set up the Greek Archdiocese in the same territory).

      Of course, we don't have an Emperor to call one any more.

  2. It would be interesting, and not just in a "I'll bring the popcorn" sort of way, if the EP were to really try to put together a pan-Orthodox synaxis (would they call it a "Great and Holy Council"?) on this or for any other reason in the next 30 years. Unam Sanctam & diverse theological anthropological questions (homosexualism/tranhumanism and de facto ethnophylistic ecclesiology being two) are the heresies of the day.

    Thing is this EPatriarchate does not have the *authority*, either practical or spiritual, to call a real council...

  3. If only it worked that way! Alas, the man who put him there is likely the only one who can remove him...

  4. The schismatics are calling for an uncanonical action that would result in even more schism...I'm shocked. Thankfully no one was bothered by the overthrow of the democratically elected government in 2014 by America, or the thousands of ethnic Russians killed by the Neo Nazis in Ukraine for the last 8 years. But sure, lets base our theology on government politics and see how that goes.