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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on CNN TÜRK: We are entering the new cold war era

Russia’s attacks in Ukraine continue on the 7th day. After the television tower in Kiev was hit by Russia last night, a great destruction occurred in the area where the civilian settlement is located.

In an interview with CNN TÜRK’s Serdar Korucu, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, evaluated Russia’s war on Ukraine and said, “Nobody who thinks right and acts right does not want this situation, this is a new cold war era.”

Highlights from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s interview are as follows:

Conversation with President Zelensky

First of all, I don’t do live interviews, but since this is a very important issue and one that concerns the whole world and humanity, I accepted your request. We have a very good relationship with President Zelensky. His Excellency came to our Patriarchate twice and invited me to Ukraine. It was during the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence last August. Zelensky wanted to invite me to these celebrations. I accepted his invitation, I went. He was very nice. In addition to the state authorities, the head of the church and his assistants, hosted me and those in my delegation very well.

I met with the state prime minister, the prime minister, and foreign minister of Ukraine. I saw that the Ukraine is extremely pleased and proud of its independence. Being able to break away from the Soviet Union and establish their own independent country is an honor and privilege for them, and they celebrated this wholeheartedly last August. President Zelensky hosted a dinner in my honor on the first evening I arrived, and explained the situation in his homeland. He expressed his gratitude towards our Ecumenical Patriarchate. We have given the independent country of Ukraine an independent church.

How much has this act of our Patriarchate was appreciated? Under today’s conditions, we see that our Patriarchate acted very early and we did a very good job. We upset our Russian brothers, but this had to happen. Orthodox people in all Balkan countries were attached to our Patriarchate for a long period of time. But there came a point in time when all those churches received their independence from our Ecumenical Patriarchate. Ukraine well deserved it.

‘WHOLE WORLD IS AGAINST RUSSIA’

Giving the status of our Patriarchate, which is a right, it is our Patriarchate’s responsibility and authority. We used this in the Ukraine issue. Now we see that some Ukrainian clergy do not want to mention the name of the Russian patriarch, Kyril, in their services. They see him as the religious leader of the enemy country. They gradually break away from that church and move on to the new autocephalous church. We are happy about it or not. Because this is the result of war. One would wish that the Russian church would not show such hostility towards our Patriarchate and towards me, and accept our canonical action.

Unfortunately, the Russian Patriarchate did not accept our decision. Our Patriarchate and I personally became their target. The whole world is against Russia. We are entering a new era of cold war. The distance between Russia and not only Ukraine but the whole Western world, Russia and the Western world is getting bigger. It means that we are entering a new cold war period. Anyone who thinks right and acts right does not want this situation, this new cold war period. As a religious institution, our Patriarchate, has always been in favor of peace and unity, and we continue to do so. We have especially strengthened our prayers these days.

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