The Russian patriarch Kiril predicted today the failure of the attempts to divide the Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox churches coinciding with the start in Istanbul of the Ecumenical Synod of Constantinople, which will address the possible autocephaly of the Orthodox Ukrainians.
"Today, when certain political forces torment the Ukraine, when they try to uproot the Ukrainian Church from the Russian, destroy our unity, we know that all this will end in complete failure," Kiril was quoted as saying by local media.
Kiril denounced that "all the forces of evil" are focused on dividing both churches and recalled the times when the Bolsheviks tried the same, arresting Patriarch Tijon and shooting many religious.
"But we must remind all of us that the laws by which God directs the Church are not human laws, and that every time politicians enter the bosom of the Church they will inevitably be defeated," he stressed.
With regard to the Synod of Constantinople, one of the spokesmen of the Patriarchate of Moscow, Legoida, today expressed his confidence that, finally, "common sense and Christian conscience will triumph" and that the Russian church still leaves "the door open" to the dialogue.
The Russian Orthodox Church (IOR) is doing everything possible so that in Constantinople "steps are not taken that can have very serious consequences for millions of people," he added.
Legoida recalled that, for the moment, the IOR has only suspended the joint Masses and mentions in their masses to the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartolomé, symbolic leader of the Orthodox throughout the world, for his intention to grant autonomy to the Ukrainian church .
The Synod of Constatinopla, which will meet until October 11, has not made its agenda public, so it is unknown whether the granting of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox will finally be addressed.
In mid-April the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, proposed to Parliament the creation of an independent Orthodox church of the Patriarchate of Moscow after addressing that issue in Istanbul with Bartolomé.
The tension contributed to the statement during a homily of Bartholomew that Ukraine has the right to an autocephalous church and that only the Patriarchate of Constantinople can grant it, and its decision to appoint two "exarchs" (representatives) in Kiev.
Poroshenko hopes that during the Ecumenical Synod the patriarch of Constantinople will issue a "tomos" (decree) that will allow Ukraine to create its own Church.
Currently in Ukraine there are three Orthodox Churches: a dependent of Moscow, which is majority, another of the Patriarchate of Kiev and a third that became independent from Russia in 1920 and self-proclaimed Orthodox Orthodox Church of Ukraine.