The Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios insists that he will not bow to Russian pressure and retract the independence granted to Ukraine’s Orthodox Church from the Patriarchate in Moscow.
He said the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s authority stems from decisions taken at ecumenical synods of the Church.
“Our Slav brothers do not tolerate the precedence of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and our genos within Orthodoxy... whether they like it or not, sooner or later our Russian brothers will follow the solution given by the Ecumenical Patriarchate as they have no other choice,” he said on Sunday, adding he was aware of the “well-paid articles” and the “black propaganda” of the Russian side directed against the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The Moscow Patriarchate’s spokesman Alexander Volkov accused the Ecumenical Patriarchate on Monday of supporting a civil confrontation in Ukraine and of justifying the seizure of churches by extremists.
He also said Vartholomaios must apologize for sowing discord in the Orthodox Church.