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Moscow Orthodox patriarchate breaks ties with Constantinople

September 17, 2018

The Russian Orthodox Church has announced a suspension of ties with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, in response to the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s decision to recognize an autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

In a lengthy statement tracing its history, the Moscow Patriarchate insisted that the Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox communities have “constituted a whole for centuries.” Therefore, the statement continues, the action by the Constantinople patriarchate is a “flagrant violation of the ecclesiastical law and an intervention of one local Church in the territory of the other.”

The statement from Moscow, issued by the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, rejects the claim of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to authority over other Orthodox churches. The statement charges that Constantinople has frequently interfered with the Orthodox communities of eastern Europe, to the detriment of the Moscow patriarchate.

As a result of the latest decision by Constantinople, the statement from the Russian Orthodox Church says, “the Moscow patriarchate has been forced to suspend the liturgical prayerful commemoration of the Patriarch of Constantinople and with profound regret to suspend the concelebration with hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.” The statement also indicates that the Russian Orthodox Church will withdraw from theological commissions and other pan-Orthodox bodies that are chaired by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.


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  • Posted by: jan02 - Sep. 19, 2018 1:35 AM ET USA

    Moscow is interested in power and is a political ally of Putin. I'm grateful for what the Patriarchate of Constantinople is recognizing an autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The Patriarchate of Constantinople also wishes to bring the three orthodox churches in the Ukraine together, and unity is a sign of Christ. I also understand that the Ukraine was the first area to be Christianized and that only later Russia was Christianized and it came under the Ukrainian church.

  • Posted by: WNS3234 - Sep. 18, 2018 5:19 PM ET USA

    Maybe it's just me, but this does sound much like the 4th-6th-century tactics, with us, in the Roman Camp, wondering how this is not a schismatic event yet is an ecclesial break in full-communion. With whom will Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem side? Then again we have "Uncle Ted," Abp. Vigano, +Francis, & posse flitting about. Maranatha...please...soon...ok?

  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Sep. 17, 2018 10:04 PM ET USA

    I read that the Ukraine was the first area to be Christianized and that only later Russia was Christianized and it came under the Ukrainian church.