The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople led by Bartholomew I is slowly, but inevitably loosing its influence across the Orthodox World because of its destructive actions against the canonic Orthodox Church. This became especially apparent after the Ukraine case, when actions of Constantinople found no support to its actions among local churches and de-facto contributed to the creation of a rift within the Orthodox World.
This situation reached the level when key clerics and prayer congregations are changing their jurisdiction. For example, on September 14, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church announced that it had approved a request of Archbishop Johann (Jean Renneteau) of the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox churches in Western Europe to join the Russian Orthodox Church.
Therefore, Constantinople is in a constant need of ‘new supporters’ of its efforts.
On September 16, Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) Sviatoslav Shevchuk met with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in the Vatican, the UGCC reported.
The UGCC press release reads:
During his conversation with His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew, His Beatitude Sviatoslav expressed his hopes and wishes that “with the granting of autocephaly, the ecumenical dialogue with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine will be raised to a qualitatively higher level. It is from this historic moment that in the ecumenical dialogue for the UGCC, the main interlocutor is no longer the Russian Orthodox Church, but the local Orthodox Church in Ukraine.”
His Beatitude Sviatoslav, summing up the Meeting of Eastern Catholic Hierarchs of Europe, held in Rome on September 12-14, emphasized: “The Eastern Catholic Churches make their theological contribution to the tradition of the Catholic Church, helping it to express its global dimension. The Church cannot be limited only to its Latin tradition.”
Concerning the ecumenical dialogue with the Orthodox Church, “the Eastern Catholic Churches offer new elements in understanding the primacy of the Bishop of Rome and synodality.” “At the same time, the Eastern Catholic Churches,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav “are offering to the Roman Catholic Church new forms of Peter’s ministry.”
The Head of the UGCC also suggested that Patriarch Bartholomew set up a mixed commission of the Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches to “give a new impetus to the ecumenical dialogue.”
The UGCC has always been a provider of Polish and Vatican influence in Ukraine. Recently, Sviatoslav Shevchuk even claimed that Ukrainians are not ‘foreigners’ for Poland and that Ukrainian migrants in Poland contribute to interests of the Polish government.
In 2018-2019, the entity backed up the creation of the so-called ‘independent’ Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which was set up with help from Constantinople, the US and then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. One of the main goals of the ‘independent church’ was to combat the influence of the canoninc Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) and seize as much church property in the country as it’s possible Despite the failure of most of these efforts, the sides involved in this ‘project’ continue their attempts to exploit the religious question to achieve their political and financial goals.
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