Metropolitan Leonid: Developments in Ukraine have a negative effect on humanitarian mission in Africa - Exarchate of Africa
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Metropolitan Leonid: Developments in Ukraine have a negative effect on humanitarian mission in Africa

Developments in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia have a negative effect on the humanitarian mission of the Russian Orthodox Church in Africa, Metropolitan Leonid of Klin, Patriarchal Exarch of Africa, said in an interview to TASS news agency on 19th December 2022.

“This is what His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and Russian President Vladimir Putin are constantly saying. We are fully prepared to support the countries that are in dire need, and these are, first of all, African countries,” the hierarch noted.

“We are talking about shipping 150 thousand tons of grain and fertilisers we now have in the European ports. And the so-called “civilised” Europeans do not let Russia take these fertilisers and donate them to Africa,” Metropolitan Leonid added.

“The same is true of the grain deal. While we had made every concession, the countries in need of food cannot receive grain from us. Of course, it is the Russian political leaders who are dealing with it, but the Church is also engaged in the dialogue, sending small consignments of humanitarian aid. We use the money donated by our parishioners to purchase grain and seed fund and, thanks to that, to provide humanitarian aid to thousands of people in the poorest African countries,” the Patriarchal Exarch said.

“Ukraine is a very sore point. It is better to address this question to representatives of the Department for External Church Relations. I can only say on my own behalf that now the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is the only Church there that has canonical rights, inasmuch as “the Orthodox Church of Ukraine” is a schismatic formation,” Metropolitan Leonid pointed out, “The OCU – a factitious group of people who received the tomos from Patriarch Bartholomew – is an institution devoid of grace, and its members have no canonical ordinations.”

“Regretfully, what we now hear from the leadership of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church causes no joy. For instance, they are ceasing to commemorate His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and unilaterally refusing to abide by the Letter granted to them by Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia. It is up to the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church to give a comprehensive assessment of the situation. Yet, we realise of course that people in Ukraine are subjected to the most severe psychological and physical pressure by their country’s authorities,” the Exarch stated.

“Each Local Church is independent in its self-determination and self-governing, with its own Synod to ensure agreement on various complicated issues of international agenda,” the archpastor noted.

“Now as never before we need to take all decisions together. The structure of the Universal Orthodoxy does not imply supremacy of one Local Church over another. Should any global issue arise, which requires changes to made to the international agenda, there are inter-Orthodox conferences, consultations and councils to deal with it. All the decisions affecting the entire Universal Orthodoxy must be adopted by the majority of the Local Orthodox Churches, “ the Patriarchal Exarch emphasised.

“None of the Patriarchs has the right to act on his own in resolving the matters pertaining to the organisation of Orthodoxy on the universal level. Nor has he the right to present it afterwards to all the rest as a fait accompli,” Metropolitan Leonid said in conclusion, “It leads to schisms, to the tragic developments we are witnessing now.”

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