Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev: “What you call 'alternative Orthodoxy' we call a schism

The head of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Ilarion (Alfeiev) of Volokolamsk, in an interview to the Russian magazine Portal-Credo commented on the situation connected with the future inter-Orthodox Council to be held with the participation of all the autocephalous Orthodox Churches of the world.

In answer to the question whether “such churches as the Kyivan Patriarchate, Greek Old Style, True Orthodox Church” will be invited to the All-Orthodox (Ecumenical) Council, the metropolitan said: “What you call 'alternative Orthodoxy' we call a schism. There were no precedents of invitations of representatives of schismatic organizations to inter-Orthodox meetings so far and I think there will be no such things in the future.”

According to the bishop, schismatics are imposters, that is people who assume a dignity which is not theirs according to the canonical order of the church. “Just imagine that a group of people appears today one of whom proclaims himself President of Ukraine, another one the Premier and call their structure the government of government in exile. Would they be invited to international meetings? I think no. Exactly the same is with representatives of schismatic structures and so-called alternative churches,” said the hierarch.

According to the portal Religion in Ukraine, the vivid example by which the bishop wanted to illustrate imposture is applicable to the activity of Protopriest Dymytrii Sydor (Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate) of the Transcarpathian city of Uzhhorod who is the leader of the Sub-Carpathian Seim of Rusyns and who formed his own government headed by “Premier” Petro Hetsko. Neither Fr. Sydor nor Petro Hetsko consider themselves imposters and represent their organization at international conferences. For example, in autumn, 2010, Protopriest Dymytrii Sydor received from Patriarch Kirill of Moscow a blessing and participated in the European Russian Forum where he made a report on “facts of discrimination, ethnocide with clear manifestations of genocide of the Rusyn nation in Ukraine.”

In the interview to Portal-Credo, Metropolitan Ilarion also stated that during his meetings with the heads of the Eastern Patriarchates, the situation in Ukraine “was not discussed in detail even though it was touched upon at some meetings.”

The metropolitan is certain that the way of overcoming the schism is through repentance and return to the Church communion. At the same time the hierarch does not exclude the possibility that the problems of the schism “may be discussed also at the inter-Orthodox level.”



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