The Christmas interview of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, in which he said that the Christian minorities were not annihilated in Ottoman Turkey, caused serious discontent in the public and political circles.
In particular, the specified interview has been criticized by representatives of ARF Dashnaktsutyun Party, Heritage Party, as well as various NGOs, however, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin has given no response yet. Vahram Melikyan, a representative of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, said that they have received the Russian Orthodox Church's clarification, which says that the stand of the Russian Orthodox Church on the matter of the Armenian Genocide remains unchanged.
The clarification says, "The Russian Orthodox Church's stand on the matter of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 remains unchanged. We have always publicly asserted and will keep asserting this stand on international, inter-Christian and inter-religious platforms. In an interview with Rossiya TV channel, Patriarch Kirill spoke of the dreadful and unprecedented condition of the Christians in Syria and Iraq over the past few years. In this context, the Patriarch specified the history of the Ottoman Empire, where in certain periods the order ensured conventional security and stability in the life of religious minorities. The lack of such order both in the Ottoman Empire 100 years ago and in present-day Iraq, Syria and Libya results in tragic developments. This is why we qualify the ongoing events as genocide. Our church's stand on the issue of the Armenian Genocide has repeatedly been expressed in numerous official statements and addresses of the Patriarch. The vivid evidence of our stand is the Russian Orthodox Church's participation in the important events of the Armenian Apostolic Church at the highest level - the Patriarch's participation in the consecration of the Armenian cathedral in Moscow, the visit of the Russian Church's delegation to Yerevan and participation in the Armenian Genocide Centenary events last year".
Earlier, in his Christmas interview on the developments in the Middle East and Syria, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said, "The relations between the Christians and Muslims were not cloudless in the history. We know there were cases of forced conversion into their own faith, seizure of Christian Byzantium's territories, but if we put aside the military actions that resulted in losses on both sides, we can say that the Islamic world has never seen what is going on today". Patriarch Kirill qualified the events in the Middle East in late XXc. and early XXIc. as genocide, opposing them to the past, and pointed out the example of Ottoman Turkey. "Yes, there were Christian minorities in Ottoman Turley, but no one annihilated them," he said.