Metropolitan Hilarion of amendments, the Church of Hagia Sophia and the split in the Orthodox world

the Supreme court of Turkey has allowed President Erdogan to change the status of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Turkish authorities are going to turn one of the most famous Orthodox churches in the current mosque. How does the Russian Orthodox Church? About the same time, Metropolitan Hilarion said in an interview with TV channel “Russia 24”.

this week ended with the vote of amendments to the Constitution. In their introduction in favor 78 percent of voters. It must be said, even more than predicted by opinion polls. I know you voted too. How do the priests showed themselves in these elections, whether the ROC data on the attendance of priests?

– We have not specifically collected data on the attendance of the clergy, but we know that the majority of bishops and clergy participated in the vote. And the highest result that was achieved is primarily due to the fact that people studied these amendments — they were published in a timely manner and was various. And I think that many of those who voted, paid attention to some specific amendments. For example, for believers a very special significance lies in the fact that the Constitution now mentions faith in God. And this is the point of the Constitution that integrates all traditional confessions of the Russian Federation. When corrections was formed, under the chairmanship of his Holiness Patriarch Kirill gathered the Interreligious Council of Russia, which includes representatives of Orthodoxy, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism, and inter-Christian consultative Committee, which includes representatives of the Christian denominations of our country. It was a joint meeting and at that meeting, both organizations have jointly decided that it is necessary to request the inclusion of this amendment in the Constitution. And also, of course, were discussed there, too, and it was unanimously decided that it is necessary to make a constitutional point about marriage as a Union between menOh and a woman. Now, if even only two of those amendments were still all believers of our country voted for them would be. This, of course, the vast majority of our population. But there were many other amendments, including those that guarantee the indexation of pensions, and this is a very important amendment, because they received such wide support.

– Bishop, the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan on 15 July is going to make its first in nearly 100 years of prayer in the Church of Hagia Sophia. And this week, passed a vote, where I had to reverse the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of 1934 for recognition of the historical monument of architecture of the Museum. In other words, if the “Yes” vote is now a mosque, and there really can be prayer. As stated on the ballot, the decision will be announced within two weeks. Do you have any information, maybe, their sources, how likely is this decision? And do I need to wait for a United response from the Orthodox churches of the world on this?

– Judging by the propaganda, which was conducted in Turkey, we are talking about the decision to turn the Hagia Sophia into a mosque. If such decision is finally taken, of course, this will cause great sorrow in Orthodox Christians around the world. Because the Hagia Sophia is a Shrine, we cannot, of course, to review what happened in the past, when Constantinople fell under the onslaught of the Turkish troops and became Istanbul, and Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque. It is a fact of the past. But we must not forget that for nearly a thousand years before that it was a Christian Orthodox Cathedral, it was built as such by the Emperor Justinian. It was the main temple of the Byzantine Empire, the same temple where ambassadors of Prince Vladimir participated in worship, and then came back and said that didn’t know where he was – on earth or in heaven, that such beauty does not happen anywhere else. This temple, which, of course, after it was converted into a mosque, with xthe Christian point of view, was desecrated. In particular, was hit by a mosaic with sacred images, and those mosaics that are now in the temple are preserved by a miracle, because it was smeared with plaster – they are revealed only in the recent times. Tkacova will be the fate of these mosaics how to operate this building if it is again converted into a mosque? And why the Turkish leadership is disrespectful refers to the feelings of millions of Christians, millions of Orthodox Christians? All these questions now we can’t not ask. And I think that the decision that was made by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1934, was intended to reconcile to the building functioned as a Museum open to everyone. So it was with great regret and with great sorrow perceive, if such decision is finally made, if the Church will be converted into a mosque.

– Obviously, this is such a slap to the heirs of the Byzantine Empire by the secular Turkish authorities. What will be the reaction of the Russian Orthodox Church, prepared the ROC response?

– We have already voiced our position, and she will not give up. It is impossible now to go back to Medieval times. We live in a multipolar world, in a multicultural world and need to respect the feelings of believers. It is clear that Turkey is currently a country with a predominantly Muslim population. But I know very well Istanbul, and there is no shortage of mosques. Right next to the Hagia Sophia is the Blue mosque, which is the current, it is possible to visit. And what is the need right now to turn the Hagia Sophia into a mosque, we do not understand. That is, we understand that this is due to the political situation in Turkey that the Turkish President in this case takes the side of those calling for the transformation of the Church into a mosque. But we believe that this act in the present conditions, is an unacceptable violation of religious freedom, and it’s not just an internal affair of Turkey, as they say many Turkish officials. It is a monument to Christian values, global values, a world monument of culture, and it is with great sorrow perceive what is happening around the Christian Church.

And Montenegro is an internal affair of what is happening around the Serbian Orthodox Church? There are ongoing rallies, and you have repeatedly talked about this, even asked one of our programs personally to Djukanovic? Why the Montenegrin authorities do not react to what is happening around the canonical Church?

– the Montenegrin government decided to create his own pocket a Church. The Church, which is located within the boundaries of the Montenegrin state and that its existence would reinforce the independence of Montenegro. With this same concept made by a former Ukrainian President Poroshenko, who somehow believed that an independent state should have an independent Church. Although, for example, there is the Roman Catholic Church, the head of which resides in the Vatican, and the Church has its dioceses and structures around the world. Why-that nobody says that it is necessary to separate the Church from Rome. Even China is now a compromise between the Vatican and the authorities that the election of bishops will be approved in Rome. And nobody says that it is interference in internal Affairs. Thus, the very formulation of the problem in Montenegro is false, erroneous and dangerous. She has blasted the Montenegrin society, and those processions that occur throughout the spring, and now summer, even despite the introduction of measures associated with the quarantine, show that Montenegrin society is dissatisfied with this decision. And the decision from the beginning was discriminatory, because the law on de facto nationalization of Church property and this Church property after the nationalization, the government can pass any structure, including non-canonical Montenegrin Church, which is extremely small, has no authority, but which, apparently, the Montenegrin authorities are trying to establish a national Church. Attempts of dialogue between the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro and the Montenegrin leadership is not successful. The Montenegrin leadership doesn’t want to hear the arguments of believers, and this explosive situation is not good neither the Montenegrin state nor the Montenegrin nation. So we are very hopeful that the President of Montenegro will abandon this harmful tactics that will not repeat the mistake made by the former President of Ukraine Poroshenko, and that it will enable the canonical Montenegrin Orthodox Church, which is part of the Serbian Orthodox Church, normally function and develop.

– your Eminence, since we’re talking about the Ukrainian schismatics. The breakaway Ukrainian Church and its self-proclaimed Patriarch Filaret now from Constantinople call for new Tomos. Last year, we have a lot of programs devoted to what is happening in Ukraine, and to the Tomos, which was supposed to depend on the life of this new structure, and now it turns out that, in General, that Thomas does not depend on anything. Because he admits Filaret, Tomos, received in the past year, really does the Ukrainian Church independent, and subjects her to Constantinople. If they have a chance to get some new Tomos? And what happens if not eliminates this Tomos itself? Well, they get another one, second, third, what will change in the life of this Church?

– All this suggests that the Ukrainian schismatics was confused in the adventure, which was done by the then President of Ukraine Poroshenko, who succeeded Patriarch Bartholomew Thomas. Tomos but this really creates a kind of flawed poloitical to the Church and creates it on the basis of Raskolnikov, does not have canonical ordination. Accordingly, all that is happening in this community right now is eata significant consequence of what happened. The non-canonical schismatic communities everywhere have a tendency to split. First, there may be one group, then they will become two, then they will be three and so on. Here Filaret for more than a century policewere fought for the so-called Autocephalous Church, and when it came to the granting of the Tomos, its just pushed to the side. Him something they promised, allegedly orally, then it is not fulfilled, the head of this structure was another man, Filaret was offended and proclaimed their old existing structure. That is, there is already a schism in the schism. But we know in history many situations when you created the splits and then began to share. Once in Greece was one old split and there are now 8 or 9 groups of dissenters. Therefore there is nothing surprising. I think that the Patriarchate of Constantinople, this story is closed, but for the Orthodox Church around the world — no. Because under the pressure of Constantinople this schismatic structure recognized some hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Alexandria and the Greek Orthodox Church and other Orthodox churches do not recognize this structure. That is, the split that has appeared in Ukraine for purely political reasons, because of the actions of Patriarch Bartholomew is now becoming pan-Orthodox schism. And this is a problem that we all have to deal until then, until it is resolved. The unity of world Orthodoxy today disrupted due anticanonically actions of Patriarch Bartholomew. And we pray and hope that this split will Obrucheva.