"I wouldn't want the issue of Ukraine to be omitted at the meeting of the Pope and Patriarch Kirill," - the Head of the UGCC

Friday, 14 January 2022, 13:18
It is known that the preparation of a meeting between the Pope and Kirill is ongoing and that the Moscow Patriarch is unlikely to have agreed to this without the consent of Putin. A journalist of Ukrinform asked the head of the UGCC whether the Holy See needs such a meeting if Kirill's movements are only part of Putin's foreign policy maneuvers. What could Kirill hope to gain after this meeting?

In the interview with Ukrinform, Patriarch Sviatoslav replied:

"I think that any meeting is useful, so another meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, it would be good as such, to my mind... A meeting is almost the only tool to avoid confrontation today. Meeting, dialogue, is almost the only alternative for war. If today we really want to move along the path of reconciliation among Christians in the world, reducing our various tensions and confrontations, this cannot be fully understood without talking to each other."

When asked whether the Pope will not cross the red lines in the conversation about Ukraine, the UGCC Patriarch said:

"The Holy Father is very well informed about what is happening in Ukraine, and we have very intensive communication with him personally and with, let's say, the diplomatic entities of the Apostolic capital. And I would not be afraid that someone would instrumentalize this meeting to some narrowly political goal. We don't know what the agenda will be, but I would hope, even like, that the topic of Ukraine should not be missed, because this topic is at the center of attention of the entire international community today. Here in Ukraine, we are ruining such nerves of international law and many other relations that cannot be circumvented. I was concerned that until recently our war in the Donbas was turning into a silent war, newspapers no longer wrote about it, it was no longer news in this journalistic sense of the word. The only one who constantly remembered this was Pope Francis, on various occasions. And I remember, after each such proclamation of prayer for peace in Ukraine, many journalists then searched for me and asked: explain why the Pope remembers this, what is happening there in Ukraine? And this gave us the opportunity to break this silence, which was specially imposed. And on the part of the Apostolic capital, there was constant attention to our pain, our needs, in particular, on humanitarian issues, on the issue of the release of hostages, prisoners of war, political prisoners, that is, these were the topics that were constantly on the agenda. It is obvious that church diplomacy has a slightly different character than secular diplomacy, the goal of church diplomacy is always a peacekeeping mission. Let there be more such meetings. Because when we meet each other, we break down the walls of prejudice, the walls of some kind of division, and I just believe that dialogue is possible and necessary."

As RISU previously reported, last December, Pope Francis announced a possible meeting with the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill. Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, who is responsible for external relations in the Russian Orthodox Church, has confirmed that such a meeting is being prepared. The place and date of the meeting have not yet been specified.

https://risu.ua/en

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