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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: How do you abandon at the mercy of bombardment the faithful who you claim to be under your omophorion?

“Man from the very beginning of his existence is part of nature and therefore whatever happens to him affects his own life.”

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who is currently visiting Ilia in Greece, says the above in an interview with the newspaper “Patris”, noting that humanity today is experiencing the results of the negligence, disrespect, and arrogance of human beings towards God’s creation.

Regarding what is happening with the war in Ukraine and the stance of the Patriarchate of Moscow, he expressed his sadness that the Patriarchate did not condemn the unjustified, as he said, and illegal in every sense of the law, invasion of Russia on the territory of an independent country.

“We are saddened by the attitude of the Patriarch of Moscow. How is it possible to claim to be a brother to another people and bless the war waged against them by your state? How is it possible for you to abandon at the mercy of Russian bombardment those Orthodox believers whom you staunchly claim to be spiritually subordinate to your omophorion? Do you tolerate their homes and churches being destroyed by Russian missiles? Not to do everything possible to stop the absurdity of war?

And the Ecumenical Patriarch continued: “The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a disgrace. Yes, a great shame for those who inspired it and for those who continue, directly or indirectly, to justify and support it. It is also a disgrace for those who remain silent, who tolerate it, who pretend not to see it. Innocent people lose their lives every day. Civilians are being bombed.

Towns and villages are being razed to the ground. Sacred places are desecrated, as happened recently with the Transfiguration Cathedral in Odessa, which was badly damaged by a Russian missile attack.

This war, like all wars, is unholy, evil, and destructive. No, it is not “holy”. It is destructive for everyone, first of all for Ukraine, but also for the aggressor Russia, for our European continent, for the world community, for peace, and for our civilization. The war must stop now. Several mothers and wives are mourning their children and husbands in Ukraine, but also in Russia.

We hope that the leadership of the Russian Church will listen to the suffering of people on both sides and join in the struggle to end the war and establish peace. Unless they hope, which we do not want to believe, that the war unleashed by their State will settle their ecclesiastical claims. If they hope so, their efforts will be futile!”

Bartholomew spoke about the closed doors of the theological school in Halki described this as an injustice, and stressed that it is a matter of vital importance for the Patriarchate, which no longer has its own theological training school, where candidates “will be taught and instructed and experience the way and tradition of the Great Church,” he said.

He said that he has a sincere relationship of communication and cooperation with Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and the Church of Greece and expressed his gratitude for the initiative to grant the historic Holy Church of St. Nicholas Orphanos to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

“These are relations of fraternal cooperation and collaboration to strengthen the witness of Orthodoxy in the modern world. The ties of the Holy Church of Christ the Great with the Holy Church of Greece are strong and unbreakable.

They are bone and flesh of the Mother Church of Constantinople, a relationship which it has always honored, recognized, and respected, despite the occasional differences of approach on certain individual issues.

On a personal level, we maintain a sincere relationship of communication and cooperation with His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece.”