Orthodox Christianity split: Moscow may freeze relations with Jerusalem Patriarchate

Андріївську церкву передано в користування Константинополю. Парламент ухвалив законопроект

Moreover, the secretary of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission to Jerusalem warned that Moscow was ready to cut off contact with the Jerusalem Patriarchate if they supported Constantinople in its decision to grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Archbishop Yevstratiy, chief spokesman for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate and whose rehabilitation by Constantinople contributed to the current break with Moscow, called the Russian synod's decision a move toward "self-isolation".

On October 11, the Synod lifted the anathema from Filaret, the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate, and Makariy, the Primate of Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. In retaliation, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow issued an order forbidding Christians aligned with the Russian Orthodox Church from participating in religious services conducted by the Greek Orthodox Church.

Amfilohije's reaction reflects also a fear that Constantinople might now acknowledge another breakaway church, the Montenegrin Orthodox Church.

Speaking to the synod October 18 as one of the "fraternal delegates" or ecumenical observers at the gathering, Metropolitan Hilarion said that, since the fall of communism, young people have been returning to the Orthodox Church in Russian Federation. 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.

According to the USA government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Press Service, Archbishop Yevstratiy claimed that Orthodox Christians must choose whether to follow the Russian Orthodox "into schism" or "remain in unity with the Ecumenical Patriarch (Bartholomew I of Constantinople) through the Local Ukrainian Church". From now on it will also boycott joint Orthodox Church ceremonies.

At the same time he said that the recognition by Constantinople of an independent church in Ukraine was "a move that leads to schism" and opens up the possibility of new splits within other Orthodox churches.

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Writing in a Facebook post, he said, "Sooner or later this will be fixed and the Russian Orthodox Church will return to communion".

The Orthodox Church in Ukraine has been under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church since the late 1600s.

Ukraine's parliament on Thursday voted to hand over a landmark Kiev church to the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate after it agreed to recognize the independence of Ukraine's Orthodox Church.

The rupture on Monday came after the Istanbul-based clerics agreed to launch the process of recognising the independence of the Ukrainian Church, a move Russian Federation has long campaigned against.

"We have deep concerns about the situation in Ukraine", he added, referring to the attacks and forceful seizure of Orthodox churches belonging to the Moscow Patriarchate.

Orthodox Christians in Ukraine have recently been divided into three separate groups.

Firm in their faith in Jesus and working together, Orthodox and Catholic young people can resist forces trying to remove all traces of faith from society and even could reverse that trend, Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk told the Synod of Bishops.

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