Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios said on Friday that dialogue is the way to resolve problems after a reportedly fruitless meeting in Istanbul with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill.
“We believe in the power of dialogue. At a time when political leaders use dialogue to solve the problems of their countries, we, the religious leaders, must use the religious path of dialogue to resolve our issues. Dialogue is also the path specified by God,” Vartholomaios said.
In remarks after the meeting, the Metropolitan bishop Emmanuel of France said that “the Ecumenical Patriarchate does not threaten and will not be threatened.”
The two patriarchs are at odds over the fate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is seeking independence from Moscow.
The issue has been a source of friction between the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate – the first-ranking church in Eastern Orthodoxy and the sole authority that can grant a church autocephaly – and the Moscow Patriarchate, which has warned in the past that the issue could lead to a schism.
“We do not wish to create schisms [the breaking off of communion between two churches]. The door is always open for dialogue. We cannot however, constantly postpone the issue,” Emmanuel said.