Ecumenical patriarch: Russian Church shares blame for ‘crimes’ in Ukraine

Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte and Constantinople Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew meet at the Lithuanian government head office in Vilnius, Lithuania, on March 21, 2023. [Lithuanian Prime Minister's Office/Laima Penek/Handout via Reuters]

The spiritual head of the world's Orthodox Christians said on Wednesday that Russia's powerful Orthodox Church shared responsibility for the conflict in Ukraine but that he stood ready to help in Russia's postwar "spiritual regeneration".

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew's comments are a rebuke for Russian Patriarch Kirill, whose full-throated blessing for Moscow's invasion of Ukraine has splintered the worldwide Orthodox Church.

Bartholomew, who in 2019 infuriated Moscow by recognising the newly established Orthodox Church of Ukraine, said Russian authorities were using the Church as an "instrument for their strategic objectives".

"The church and the state leadership in Russia cooperated in the crime of aggression and shared the responsibility for the resulting crimes, like the shocking abduction of the Ukrainian children," he told a conference held in...

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