Vladimir Putin offers fast-track citizenship to residents of occupied southern Ukraine

JThe Russian Orthodox Church let down the Orthodox Christian fathers by supporting Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of some 260 million Orthodox Christians worldwide, said in an interview.

Moscow calls its three-month invasion a “special military operation” to rid Ukraine of fascists, a claim that kyiv and its Western allies are a baseless pretext for unprovoked war.

The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill backed Moscow’s action and his stance has shattered the global Orthodox Church. The World Council of Churches (WCC) has asked Patriarch Kirill to “step in and mediate” to help stop the war.

In an interview broadcast Tuesday evening on Greek public television ERT, Patriarch Bartholomew said he expected Patriarch Kirill to stand up against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine and resign, if necessary, in a notice of opposition.

“It would not be possible for all the churches not to condemn the violence, the war. The Russian church disappointed us. I did not want the Russian church and the brother patriarch Cyril to be this tragic exception. I don’t know not how he can justify himself in his conscience,” he said.

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