Published: Tue, October 16, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Russian Orthodox Church Breaks Ties With Constantinople Patriarchate

Russian Orthodox Church Breaks Ties With Constantinople Patriarchate

The Holy Synod was called by Moscow Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, after the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who is considered the leader of the worldwide Orthodox community, on October 11 agreed to recognize the independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The ROC indicates that "from now on, until the Constantinople Patriarchate refused the anticanonical decisions it made for all clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church, it is impossible to serve with the clergy of the Constantinople church, and for the laity - to participate in the sacraments performed in its churches".

Moscow canonically and politically has balked at providing Ukraine self-governed church rule ever since Filaret (Mykhailo Denysenko) broke from the Russian Orthodox Church in 1992 to head the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kyiv Patriarchate.

Most of the Orthodox parishes in Ukraine have historically been under the umbrella of the Moscow Patriarchate, and many of these may eventually switch to the new independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church, despite Moscow's warnings.

Patriarch Bartholomew affirmed that Moscow doesn't have jurisdiction over "today's Metropolis of Kyiv" and that the "canonical dependence of Kyiv to the Mother Church of Constantinople remained constant and uninterrupted".

Moscow has expressed concern over the past months that a decision to grant Ukrainian Orthodox Church independence would lead to physical confrontations in Ukraine over some of its most iconic Orthodox landmarks, such as the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra monastery which is used by the Moscow Patriarchate.

The Belarusian Orthodox Church, which is by far the biggest religious denomination in the nation of almost 10 million, is under the direct jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Ukraine now has three Orthodox communities - one answering to the Russian Orthodox Church and two schismatic churches.

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And Russian President Vladimir Putin last week convened the country's security council to discuss the issue. 9 jointly by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, the Razumkov Center and the SOCIS Center for Social and Marketing Research; 17 percent said they identify with the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine.

How has Ukraine reacted to Constantinople's move?

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On Sunday, Poroshenko said that "there would be no pressure" and any believer would "choose his own path to God", but stressed that an independent Ukrainian church goes hand in hand with its political sovereignty. "It's an issue of Ukrainian statehood", he said.

A talk show on the Rossiya1 warned that "radicals" may start seizing churches as soon as Moscow's control weakened.

Moscow rejects the independence of the Ukrainian Church.

Ukraine became independent of Russian Federation in 1991, but Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the fighting in eastern Ukraine have poisoned relations.

This isn't the first time the Russian Orthodox Church has suspended relations with the Constantinople Patriarchate.

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