Russian Orthodox Church breaks "Eucharistic communion" with Patriarcate of Constantinople

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Constantinople, led by Patriarch Bartholomeus I, last week dropped its rejection of Ukraine's efforts to split from the Russian Orthodox Church and began recognition proceedings for a Ukrainian Orthodox church independent of Moscow, likely to be led by Kiev Patriarch Filaret.

He decided last week to recognize an orthodox Church independent in Ukraine, putting an end to 332 years of tutelage religious Russian, which raises the question of the future of millions of believers in this country.

The split between the Constantinople and Moscow Churches - the highest-status and largest Orthodox Churches respectively - followed on from the two greatest upheavals in Christian Church history, it wrote.

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church said in a statement on Monday that these moves "make it impossible for us to continue the Eucharistic communion with its (Constantinople's) hierarchy, clergy and laity.".

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"We hope that the communion could be restored", he told RT.

Russia sees Kiev as the historic cradle of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church now fears losing many of its 12,000 parishes in Ukraine.

This was done in response to Constantinople's decision on granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. 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.

The Russian Orthodox Church, which claims traditional and canonical authority over the Orthodox community in Ukraine, has denied taking political sides in the conflict and said it has worked for peace in eastern Ukraine.

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In practical terms, the concern now is over what happens to the thousands of sites in Ukraine where services by the Moscow Patriarchate are held. He announced the Russian Orthodox Church was severing ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

The Kremlin has said that Russian Federation would protect "the interests of Orthodox believers" in the event of any clashes as the Ukrainian Church moves towards independence. But the Moscow Patriarchate argues that it has legal authority over the Ukrainian Church, dating back to 1686, and that Kiev was the birthplace of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Father Roberson, who has written and updated "The Eastern Christian Churches: A Brief Survey", referred to a similar dispute in 1996 over the Orthodox in Estonia, a former Soviet Republic. But today, they have far fewer levers than many seem to think either against Constantinople or Ukraine. A matter of our national security. Moscow insists that the leaders of those Churches are schismatic.

Another pro-government paper, Izvestiya, spoke of "one of the darkest days in the history of Orthodoxy". The ecumenical patriarch reconstituted a church there over the wishes of the Russian Orthodox Church.

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