CWN - The Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow has stepped up its complaints against Ukrainian Catholic Church, demanding that the next worldwide meeting of Orthodox leaders should discuss the status of Eastern churches that are in communion with Rome.

At the same time, however, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople has issued a statement of friendship for the Ukrainian Catholic Church, welcoming its support for the recent Orthodox council in Crete.

The Moscow patriarchate, which has complained for years about the “uniate” Catholic Church in Ukraine, has redoubled those complaints, charging that Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk has inflamed hostility toward the Ukrianian Orthodox Church that is allied with Moscow. The Catholic prelate, the Moscow patriarchate charged, has used rhetoric “unprecedented in its aggressiveness toward the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Moscow patriarchate.”

The statement from Moscow alluded to a statement from Archbishop Shevchuk charging that “the Moscow patriarchate has often been used as a tool in the hands of the aggressor.” The archbishop referred to the Moscow patriarchate’s support for Russia’s involvement in Ukraine. (The Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow patriarchate has been notably less aggressive in its statements on the conflict in Ukraine.)

The Moscow patriarchate went on to say that the hostile attitude of the Ukrainian Catholic Church has created an “emergency” which should be addressed at the next meeting of Orthodox leaders. Referring to the “uniate” churches as “a bleeding wound,” Moscow called for the resumption of a discussion of their status. The statement from Moscow blamed the same Ukrainian Catholic Church for having caused a disruption of earlier discussions on that topic.

Meanwhile, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople sent a message of thanks to Archbishop Shevchuk for his support of the Pan-Orthodox Council held in Crete. Significantly, the statement from Constantinople was addressed to “Patriarch” Shevchuk—giving the Ukrainian Catholic leader a title that Moscow rejects and even the Vatican does not acknowledge. In his message Patriarch Bartholomew promised his prayers for “peace and stability in Ukraine.” He also strongly suggested that Moscow’s hostility toward the Ukrainian Catholic Church was not shared by other Orthodox bodies. The Ecumenical Patriarch said:

We can assure Your Eminence that our commitment to dialogue with our Sister Church was overwhelmingly supported in the conciliar sessions and officially recorded in the final document. This, in our opinion, is certainly crucial for reliable and unified witness to the Gospel in our troubled world and time.

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Teachings of Christ

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 ESV)

Seventh Ecumenical Council

O Christ our God, You are most glorious, * for You established our Fathers as lights upon the earth * and through them led us to the true faith. * O greatly Compassionate One, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 8)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

The Son Who shone forth ineffably from the Father * was born two-fold in nature. * Beholding Him, we do not refuse the image of his form, * but piously depicting it, we honor it faithfully. * Therefore the Church, holding fast to the true faith, * kisses the icon of the incarnation of Christ. (Kontakion, Tone 6)

(Troparia of the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council)

Random Proverb

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom." (Proverbs 11:2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, "You are mad; you are not like us."