Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Russian Orthodox Church cuts ties with Constantinople

Russian President Vladimir Putin Russian President Vladimir Putin
Ellis Copeland | 16 October, 2018, 21:57

Traditionally, Orthodox churches in Ukraine have fallen under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Moscow.

The report said that the corresponding decision of the Synod was made at a meeting of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church in Minsk "in connection with the encroachment of the Constantinople Patriarchate on the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church".

The row is being described as the greatest Orthodox split since the schism with Catholicism in 1054.

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.

The decision in Istanbul was "illegal and canonically worthless", and means that "we will not be able to hold religious services together with the Constantinople Patriarchate. and worshippers will not be able to take communion in Constantinople Patriarchate's churches", Hilarion said.

Under the leadership of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the patriarchate last week removed its condemnation of leaders of schismatic Orthodox churches in Ukraine.

Officials from the Russian Orthodox Church have announced that the church is severing relations with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, in what is being seen as one of the biggest schisms in Orthodox Christianity in nearly a thousand years.

The long-running dispute has worsened since 2014 when Russian Federation annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and gave support to pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine.

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Veiled statements by the Russian Orthodox Church that were consistent with previous ones came on October 15 on its website following a Synod, or gathering of church hierarchy, in Minsk, Belarus.

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

The Russian Orthodox Church has drafted a list for tourists of all the churches where they can no longer pray.

The first solid impetus Ukraine received for Orthodox church autocephaly, or independence, came in early September when a Synaxis, or consultative meeting of hierarchs, of more than 100 metropolitans and archbishops representing 250-300 million faithful assembled in Istanbul.

The Serbian patriarch pointed out that the move was unprecedented for the Orthodox Church. "It's an issue of Ukrainian statehood". "We hope that common sense prevails and that the Constantinople Patriarchate changes its mind".

The split marks a historic turning point for the global Orthodox community, but it is the result of the collapse in relations between Russian Federation and Ukraine of the past four years that followed Moscow's seizure of Crimea in 2014 and the subsequent separatist war in eastern Ukraine, which is ongoing.

The Russian Orthodox Church says Mount Athos is also now closed to Russian Orthodox Christians from Russia.

The Russian Orthodox Church has won support from the Belarusian Orthodox Church and the Moscow-dependent Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

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