Archimandrite Hovorun discusses ways Orthodox churches might hold Russian Patriarch Kirill to account
Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Kirill (Gundyaev) supported Russia's invasion of Ukraine (Photo:REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina)
Archimandrite Cyril Hovorun, a professor of philosophy at Stockholm University College, said during an interview with Radio NV on March 25 that Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill (Gundyaev) might face judgement from other Orthodox churches for his support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“There have been several initiatives to convene certain judicial institutions that exist in the traditional Orthodox Church,” Hovorun said.
“For example, the Pentarchy Institute. These are the five ancient churches, five ancient patriarchates that existed in the days of Christian antiquity. Now there are four of them left, once there were five – Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Now there are four left, because we parted ways with the Roman Church in the Middle Ages. (...) There was talk of possibly restoring this institution. And it is through this institution that the perpetrators of this war could be condemned.”
However, he added, it is difficult to do “politically and technically”, because the Antiochian Church, which is part of the Pentarchy, is under the influence of Russia through the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
“And therefore, it is unlikely that we can talk about the real possibility of any universal condemnation of the ideology of the ‘Russian world’ and those who promote this ideology within the Church,” said Hovorun.
Currently, the focus is more on creating a viewpoint that condemns the Russian ideology that supports the war, which would dominate the Orthodox world, the archimandrite said.
“It could be the voice of theologians, church leaders, hierarchs, etc. It is a collective voice that must be loud enough to make a very clear statement that this ideology is incompatible with Christianity.”
Condemnation of the Russian church’s support from the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine is rising: The spiritual leader of Orthodoxy, Ecumenical Patriarch Archbishop Bartholomew, on March 22 stated that the Russian Orthodox Church shares responsibility for the conflict in Ukraine.
In particular, Bartholomew criticized Russian Patriarch Kirill for his blessing of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which led to a schism in the worldwide Orthodox Church.
Bartholomew also stated that the Russian government uses the church as a “tool to achieve its strategic goals.”
Earlier, in May 2022, Bartholomew stated that the Russian Orthodox Church had disappointed Orthodox Christians by supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“It is impossible for churches not to condemn violence and war. The ROC has disappointed us. I did not want the Russian Church and Patriarch Kirill to become this tragic exception. I don’t know how he can justify himself before his conscience,” Bartholomew said.
At that time, priests from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate collected 430 signatures for an international church tribunal against the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Kirill.
In late July 2022, the OCU urged the Ecumenical Patriarchate to remove Kirill from his position as Patriarch.
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