Russian Orthodox Church breaks ties with Orthodoxy's leader

Kiev Pechersk Lavra

Russian Church Vows Tough Response to Constantinople Over Split Ukraine ChurchCC BY-SA 3.0 Falin Kiev Pechersk Lavra

As UNIAN reported earlier, on October 11, following the meeting of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, a decision was announced that the Ecumenical Patriarchate proceeds to granting autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine.

The rift between the two Orthodox churches is expected to affect all patriarchates and churches, which will be called, in due time, to clarify their own positions on the issue.

The split means that Russian Orthodox Church clergy will no longer be able to worship or perform ceremonies together with the the hierarchs and clerics of the Constantinople Patriarchate.

The Russian-subordinated Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate (UOCMP) is the only one that is canonically recognized in-country.

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

Ecumenical Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill conduct Sunday service in the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George at the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul, Turkey July 5, 2009.

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The Russian church voiced concern that the Istanbul-based patriarchate's action would deepen the religious rift in Ukraine and could spur the schismatic branches to try to take over church buildings.

The Orthodox Church in Ukraine has been under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church since the late 1600s. The practical implications were still being worked out by ecclesiastical experts on Tuesday, but Russian church officials suggested the most immediate effect would be that its faithful should no longer attend services at churches under the authority of Constantinople.

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

Many monks of the Russian Orthodox Church live and work in important monasteries under Constantinople, notably on Mount Athos in Greece, and many Orthodox sites in Greece and Cyprus are important pilgrimage centers for Russian Orthodox believers. "We hope that common sense prevails and that the Constantinople Patriarchate changes its mind". Ukraine today is more unified, more nationalist, more oriented toward Europe and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the West than it has even been true before, and that's a direct result of Russia's intervention in Ukraine and killing of Ukrainians, ' he said as quoted by EUObserver.

The Russian Orthodox Church expects Poroshenko to make good on his pledge that the Ukrainian government would ensure respect for the choices of those who want to retain unity with the Russian church. "It's an issue of Ukrainian statehood".

He said that up to a 10 Moscow Patriarchate parishes in Ukraine have switched over to the Kyiv Patriarchate since 2014 when Moscow invaded the easternmost regions of Luhansk and Donetsk after taking over the Crimea in a war that has killed more than 10,400 people and displace an additional 1.6 million.

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