The Russian orthodox Church broke with the Patriarchate of Constantinople

Glen Norman
October 19, 2018

In response, on Monday the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church ruled to sever Eucharistic ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

The Synod's decision reads that the Russian Orthodox Church will not perform the decision of Constantinople for cancellation of instrument of transfer of the Kyiv Metropolitanate to the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate in 1686.

Bishop Hilarion stated that this complete break "links the eucharist" also implied that the faithful of the Patriarchate of Moscow could not now receive communion in the churches under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. "We can not be in communication with this church", he said.

"We are hoping common sense will prevail and that the Constantinople Patriarchate will change its relations to existing church reality", he said.

Cemirtan argued that the Ukrainian church's independence means that it can avoid the "schizophrenia, as happens in [Moldova's breakaway region] Transnistria and Donbas [in eastern Ukraine], where the same church blesses different groups that are fighting each other". The patriarch - now Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople - has always been recognized as first among equals, with the authority to organize pan-Orthodox activities like worldwide dialogue with the Catholics.

The stated reason for the suspension is the "anti-canonical actions of the Constantinople Patriarchate, which opened communication channels to schismatics in Ukraine and thereby encroached on the Russian Orthodox Church's canonical territory". The decision has not been recognised by Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's Security Council discussed the issue of the church in Ukraine at a meeting late on October 12, the Kremlin said. Our archbishops and priests will not be able to participate in liturgies together with priests belonging to the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Ukraine never had and will never have an established church. The Russian Orthodox Church's cutting of ties with Constantinople is a direct result of that decision.

However, Russia is determined to defend the rights of its nationals in every circumstance and in every country, Peskov recalled, even in the case of possible confiscation of the properties of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

Weakening Moscow's influence over Ukrainian worshippers has been an integral part of Ukraine's statehood since the ex-Soviet republic became independent in 1991. In Ukraine, Moscow can organize provocations in an attempt to cast blame on the Ukrainians; but Kyiv is prepared for that and has warned the world that this is, in fact, what the Russians are up to.

"It's an issue of Ukrainian statehood", he said.

One of the most sensitive issues is to know what Church will be attached to the lauras, the great orthodox monasteries of which the most symbolic is the lavra of Kiev-Pechersk lavra in the capital and Destinations (west), now both attached to the patriarchate of Moscow.

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