A provocative statement by the Patriarch of Moscow Kirill during a TV interview he gave to a central channel of Russia, Россия-1, was made on the day that the Orthodox of Eastern Europe celebrate Christmas.
The Russian Patriarch stated that the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque is a punishment from God against the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople for granting Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
“I do not want to express any criticism to my fellow-citizen from Constantinople, however, unquestionably, everything that happened afterwards in Constantinople proves Divine Punishment,” he said.
“Patriarch Bartholomew put the schismatics of Kiev in the sanctuary of Kiev, in the Sophia of Kiev, and lost the Sophia of Constantinople – it was turned into a mosque”, said Patriarch Cyril.
“You took the Hagia Sophia of Kiev from the Orthodox people, from the Orthodox Church, and you lost your own personal Wisdom. And the consequences came without delay because the sin was too great,” added the head of the Russian Church.
Patriarch of Moscow Kirill described the act of recognizing the Ukrainian Church as a crime and not as a mistake, but hinted that he would pray for the Ecumenical Patriarch as the “crisis” must be overcome “together”.
“We must pray for one another. At least as far as private prayers are concerned, as it is difficult to do so during services, as we do not mention the Patriarch of Constantinople in diptychs,” he continued.
“But we must pray for each other and this in order for this crisis in Orthodoxy, which has been imposed from outside, to pass as soon as possible,” added the Patriarch of Moscow.
However, Patriarch of Moscow Kirill has shown his own schismatic ideas by suggesting that Hagia Sophia is a monument to only the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople rather than Christian Orthodoxy as a whole.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople has not conducted the liturgy nor had any rights over Hagia Sophia, for centuries.