Orthodox Christianity split: Moscow may freeze relations with Jerusalem Patriarchate

Eastern Orthodox Breach: Russian Orthodox Church Splits From Constantinople

The Russian Orthodox Church said on Monday (15 October) it had made a decision to sever all relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in protest over its endorsement of Ukraine's request for an "autocephalous", or independent, church.

The US State Department has backed Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew over his dispute with the Russian Orthodox Church following his decision to grant independence to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

The split is seen as a show of force by Moscow after a Ukrainian church was granted independence.

The territory of Tajikistan is part of the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church, therefore Orthodox churches in the country is represented by only she is.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko meanwhile said the Russian Orthodox Church was following the Kremlin down a path of self-imposed isolation. A danger for Orthodox Christians after a row between Moscow and Constantinople demands unity and prayers from the faithful, Greek Orthodox Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East said on Wednesday while visiting Serbia.

"I see the latest announcement of the Holy Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate as a move leading to schism, and.it directly and unequivocally opens up the possibility - nearly emphasizes - new breakthroughs for other churches", the Serbian Patriarch told Vecernje Novosti daily. From now on it will also boycott joint Orthodox Church ceremonies.

Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, who heads foreign relations for the Russian Orthodox Church, said Russian Orthodox leaders chose to "break the Eucharistic communion" in response to actions it called "lawless and canonically void".

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And, he said, "the upbringing of youth in the Christian spirit is a project that we, the Orthodox, are willing to implement together with the Catholics".

Moldova's pro-Russian President, Igor Dodon, has said that he will soon present an initiative to hold a pan-Orthodox Council on the territory of Moldova.

The Russian Orthodox Church condemned the move and on Monday announced it is breaking ties with the Constantinople Patriarchate in protest.

The Russian church voiced concern that the Istanbul-based patriarchate's action would deepen the religious rift in Ukraine and could spur the schismatic branches to try to take over church buildings. Ukraine's President, Petro Poroshenko, said the religious move marks an "apogee of Ukrainian sovereignty" and "an end to Ukraine's colonized relationship with Russian Federation".

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is under the authority of the Russian Church and has been the officially recognized Orthodox Church in the country. In the first half of 2018 alone, Ukraine witnessed 10 new attacks on Russian Orthodox Churches.

The Moscow Patriarchate says its worshippers should no longer attend any services conducted by clergy loyal to Constantinople.

The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, refounded in 1990, is similarly seen as a breakaway group.

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