Catholic Culture Overview
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Orthodox prelate hints at recognition for independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church

September 03, 2018

A leading Orthodox official has indicated that the Patriarch of Constantinople is leaning toward recognition of a self-governing Ukrainian Orthodox Church, despite the adamant opposition of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Following an August 31 summit meeting between Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, neither patriarchate offered an official statement on the primary topic of the conversation: the bid for an autocephalous (self-governing) Ukrainian Orthodox Church. But Orthodox Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, who attended the meeting, said that “the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is reached.” He added that there is “no going backwards” on the independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox.

The Patriarch of Constantinople—who is acknowledged as the “first among equals” of the Orthodox world, and traditionally decides the claims of Orthodox churches for autonomy—has been weighing a request to grant autocephalous status to the Ukrainian Church. That request has met stern opposition from Moscow, where Russian Orthodox leaders insist that Ukraine remains part of their “canonical territory.”


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