Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew made a resounding condemnation of the war in Ukraine in his speech at the opening of the International Conference “World Policy Conference – For a Reasonably Open World”, which was being held in Abu Dhabi the previous days, Bartholomew underlined that the ongoing war has led to the death of thousands of people, Ukrainians and Russians, while the destruction of infrastructure on the territory of Ukraine is incalculable.
The Ecumenical Patriarch, in his extensive speech, before representatives from all over the world, referred to the historical spiritual ties of the Kievan Rus with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, from which they received baptism into Christianity, in the 10th century, and the Russian attempts to undermine the Orthodox Church of Constantinople and its role in the Orthodox world, after the Fall of Constantinople, and especially from the 19th century, when in combination with the doctrine of pan-Slavism, Moscow instrumentalized the religious sentiment to achieve political and military purposes alien to it.
This attitude, which aimed at the removal of the Slavonic believers from their Mother Church and the promotion of Moscow as the “Third Rome”, led the Ecumenical Patriarchate to condemn it, in 1872, as a heresy, the heresy of ethno-phyletism, which comes in flagrant contradiction with the universalism of the Gospel message, aw well as but also to the ancient tradition of organization and administration of our Church.
This heresy of ethno-phyletism, with its vehicle of Pan-Slavism and the division of the Patriarchate’s flock, was useful for Moscow’s goals and the cause of the hatred among the Orthodox Christians of the Balkans, manifested during the Balkan wars and the atrocities that occurred in the early 20th century.
In his speech, the Ecumenical Patriarch referred to the marginalization of religion during the period of the Soviet Union, and its re-instrumentalization in the years that followed its fall. As he said, the Russian Orthodox Church has sided with Vladimir Putin, especially after the election of Patriarch Kiril, in 2009.
“He is actively involved in promoting the ideology of Rousskii Mir, the Russian World, according to which language and religion make it possible to define a coherent whole that will include Russia, Ukraine, Belarus as well as the other territories of the former Soviet Union and the diaspora.
Moscow (both political and religious power) would be the center of this world, whose mission would be to combat the decadent values of the West. This ideology is an instrument of legitimization of Russian expansionism and the basis of its Eurasian strategy.
The connection with the past of ethno-plyletism and the present of the Russian World is obvious. Faith thus becomes the backbone of the ideology of the Putin regime.”