Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew, the leading authority in Orthodox Christianity based in Istanbul, claimed he had become a target of Russia after recognizing independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church four years ago.
“Our patriarchy and I have become a target,” said Bartholomew, whose authority is considered ecumenical by Orthodox churches. private CNN Türk broadcaster late Wednesday.
For more more than 300 years, the Ukrainian Church was divided into three, with one Church overseen by the patriarch of Moscow.
The subsidiary under Russian control of the orthodox church in Ukraine refused to participate in establishing a unified church and broke off ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate based in Istanbul of Constantinople, or the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Fener as accepted by the Turkish authorities.
That of the patriarch decision recognizing the independence of the Ukrainian Church from Russia was a blow to the spiritual authority of Moscow in the orthodox world.
“Today we see how we had to do it… We would do it likehowever, that the Russian State and Church do not show us so much animosity, towards me and towards the patriarchy, and that they accept that decision“, said Barthelemy.
“But they don’t,” he said.
Patriarch visited Kyiv consulate in Istanbul in a show of solidarity and spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“He asked us pray and we will with fun,” Barthélemy said.
“He sets such an example to son people. They don’t want surrender and they are right. Why give up their freedom to the occupier?