[QODLink]
Talk to Al Jazeera

Metropolitan Hilarion: Unholy conflict

The Russian Orthodox Church's head of external relations warns of rising religious tensions caused by Ukraine crisis.

Last updated: 16 May 2014 15:02
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Orthodox priests picking their way through the battlements in Ukraine is a symbol of how this church is caught in the middle of an unholy conflict.

This is what is most important for us: The church is not to divide people but to unite people.

- Metropolitan Hilarion, head of relations for the Russian Orthodox church

The majority of people on both sides of the Ukraine conflict are Christian, and most but not all are members of the Russian Orthodox Church.

But the crisis is beginning to create a possibly serious conflict within the Russian Orthodox Church, and between the Church and the Vatican.

This has come after some church leaders in Ukraine - especially Catholic leaders - decided to push back against Russian influence, even asking US authorities to intervene.

That's according to Metropolitan Hilarion, the man responsible for foreign relations at the Russian Orthodox Church.

For many years, top officials from his church and the Vatican have been trying to set up a meeting between their two leaders, the Patriarch Kirill and the Pope.

But now, according to Hilarion, this will not happen in the near future due to actions taken by some Catholic leaders in Ukraine.

"The problem with the Kiev Patriarchate - as well as, unfortunately, the Greek Catholics - is that they do not want to stand together. On the contrary, they take one position in the political battle, they support only one side of this battle, and this is not the way the Church is supposed to do," said Hilarion. 

So what is next for the church? Could a conciliatory dialogue be possible? What repercussions will this conflict have within the Christian community? And is the church currently in a battle with liberalism?

We explore all this as Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of external relations for the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, joins Sue Turton on Talk to Al Jazeera.

Watch more  Talk to Al Jazeera

355

Source:
Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.
join our mailing list