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Moscow Patriarch says Russian Orthodox will never accept independent Orthodox Church in Ukraine

November 22, 2016

The leader of the Russian Orthodox Chuch has vowed that the Moscow patriarchate will never accept the independence of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

“We will never agree to a change of the holy canonical borders of our Church because Kiev is the spiritual cradle of Holy Russia, like Mtskheta for Georgia or Kosovo for Serbia,” said Patriarch Kirill of Moscow during a November 21 celebration of his 70th birthday. Other Russian Orthodox officials applauded vigorously as Patriarch Kirill spoke of the “painful ulcer of Ukrainian division” and insisted that the Orthodox Church in Ukraine would remain under Moscow’s canonical control.

In practice the Orthodox Church in Ukraine has been split since the country achieved its independence, when prelate who was recognized by the Russian Orthodox hierarchy as the leader of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church broke with Moscow to establish the independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church- Kiev Patriarchate. While many parishes still adhere to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church- Moscow Patriarchate, there has been pressure for recognition of a united, autocephalous Orthodox community in Ukraine.

 
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