A sickness which long afflicted the Ukrainian church had become chronic. That is probably the best way to describe the background to the Ecumenical Patriarch’s historic decision to take responsibility for spiritual affairs in Ukraine.
Millions of faithful have remained outside the Eucharistic communion with the world Orthodoxy and in a state of schism for decades. We are not talking about one lost sheep but an entire flock.
I have had many opportunities for personal contact with the people who have been described as schismatic, because they belong to the unrecognised Kyiv Patriarchate. They are good Christians who pray with fervour and attend church with zeal. I have not observed among them any fanaticism or ethnic prejudice. At any rate, these qualities are no more evident among them than they are among any other historically Orthodox people. Yes, they love their homeland, but they have an even greater love for the Holy Church. Which has left them in isolation for decades.