Russian Orthodox Church

Official website of the Moscow Patriarchate

Русская версияУкраинская версияМолдавская версияГреческая версияАнглийская версия
Patriarchate

Bishop Irinej of Bačka: "The Canonical Church in Ukraine remains to be the largest and predominant"

Bishop Irinej of Bačka: 'The Canonical Church in Ukraine remains to be the largest and predominant'
Version for print
5 January 2022 year 19:27

On December 31, 2021, the Serbian weekly news magazine “Pečat” published an interview with Bishop Irinej of Bačka, in which, among other things, he shared his thoughts about similar historical ways of the Russian and Serbian Orthodox Churches, underlining the importance of maintaining fraternal relations between these two largest Local Orthodox Churches of the Slavic world.

Touching upon the involvement of the Russian Orthodox Church in the beautification work in the church of St. Sava in Belgrade, Bishop Irinej said it was of “no small importance” that the “construction of the church of St. Sava in Vračar has been completed jointly by the Serbian and Russian master craftsmen and artists.” In this context, the bishop said: “The historical unity of the great and fraternal Russian people with our people of the same faith is the guiding light showing us the way to the future. It is important that the small Serbian boat continue to be securely tied to the big and powerful Russian ship.”

Bishop Irinej devoted a large part of his talk to the sameness of the problems encountered by the canonical Churches in Ukraine and Montenegro. “The state of church affairs in Montenegro is just a miniature replica of the situation in Ukraine: the ethnic “engineering” is being employed in both cases,” he pointed out. “They in Montenegro are making desperate attempts to perpetuate the recently formed Montenegrin identity based on the negation of the Serbian roots and the centuries-long Serbian ethnic consciousness of the Montenegrins.”

 Bishop Irinej compared the situation in Montenegro with Ukraine and said: “Rus’ is the ancient historical name of the great Eastern Slavic country, which Peter the Great “Europeanized” and changed it to the literary word ‘Russia.’ Now, we can see the word Rus’ in the title of the Patriarch of Moscow and in the title of the schismatic ‘patriarch of Kiev,’ as well as in the name of people calling themselves Rusyns, or Rusnaks, who live in the Carpathian region and here in Bačka and the Srem district. As far as the word Ukraine is concerned, it was only in the late 19th century that it started to oust by little and little the original name of pre-Petrine Rus’ and the Russians. In the 20th century the Bolsheviks, who proclaimed internationalism in theory, but in practice created the new and often artificial nations rooted in the anti-Russian matrix, granted the official status to the word ‘Ukraine,’ having made it the only permissible name of the country.”

The hierarch underscored that the formation of the schismatic ‘Churches” on the basis of nationalist ideology had been a key tool in the struggle against the canonical Churches in Ukraine and Montenegro. He continued to say: “The designers and founders of new nations in the 20th and the 21st centuries were often atheists or people indifferent to religion who developed an idea to either enslave the existing Church and harness it to their cart, or, if it turns out to be impossible, to establish a new “Church” of their own. They did it using the principle “snatch whatever comes to hand” while neglecting any rules, let alone adhering to the norms of church law. Trying to cover their bases, they resorted to gross distortion of historical facts with the purpose of ascribing the imaginary historical continuity to the pseudo-church or church-like structures that they had established. This is happening both in Ukraine and in Montenegro. What a black humour indeed: Petr Poroshenko, who is a baptized person, but with a dubious confessional belonging, and Milo Ɖukanović, an unbaptized atheist, are deciding which Church is ‘older,’ which one was ‘autocephalous,’ and so on and so forth.” The hierarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church pointed out that people in Ukraine and in Montenegro have shown the anti-church “churchmen” their proper place in a very convincing manner.

Referring to the mass processions with the Cross that were held in Montenegro in 2019-2020 in defense of the Orthodox shrines, the hierarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church drew the attention of the readers of the magazine to the fact that “The canonical Church in Ukraine also organizes mass processions with the Cross on Orthodox feast days bringing together up to 250,000 of its faithful, while the schismatics are unable to “reach out” even to 50,000.” Bishop Irinej underlined that “despite pressure, persecution and insults, the canonical Church in Ukraine remains to be the largest and predominant,” while “the schismatics’ position is still the same as it had been before the uncanonical Constantinople’s interference and “recognition” unrecognized by world Orthodoxy.”

DECR Communication Service/Patriarchia.ru

Version: Russian, Greek

Materials on the theme

Group of armed men break into Banjska Monastery in Kosovo

Delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church visits the fold of the Serbian Orthodox Church

Metropolitan Hilarion of Budapest and Hungary officiates at commemoration of the New Martyrs of Jasenovac

Hierarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church visits the Department for External Church Relations

The Coptic Patriarch expressed sorrow and protest over the prosecution of Metropolitan Jonathan

Resolution of the Bishops Conference (Holy Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, 19 July 2023, the Day of the Synaxis of All Saints of Radonezh) [Documents]

The Synod of the Byelorussian Orthodox Church makes an appeal over the Ukrainian authorities’ actions against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [Documents]

Primate of Coptic Church protests against persecutions of Ukrainian Orthodox Church

Hierarch of the Bulgarian Church regrets decision by Bulgaria’s authorities to expel the dean of the metochion of the Russian Orthodox Church in Sofia

Statement by the Communications Service of the Department for External Church Relations on the Expulsion by the Bulgarian Authorities of the dean of the metochion of the Russian Orthodox Church in Sofia [Documents]

Delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church visits the fold of the Serbian Orthodox Church

Exarch of the Most Holy Sepulchre in Cyprus sends letter of support to Metropolitan Jonathan of Tulchin and Bratslav

Church building belonging to the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church seized in the city of Myronivka in the Kiev region

Church building belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church seized in the Cherkasy region

Schismatics seize church building of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Vyshhorod

The ‘Orthodox сhurch of Ukraine’ seizes church building belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the microregion of Bortnychi in Kiev.