'May Become Catastrophic': Serbian Patriarch on Constantinople Ukraine Decision

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Last month the Russian Orthodox Church announced it would no longer participate in structures chaired by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, deepening the row over the Ukrainian Church's bid to break away from Moscow's orbit.

Ilarion told journalists that the synod - the Russian Orthodox Church's decision-making body - was left with no choice but to sever ties with the patriarchate based in Istanbul.

"The adoption of the dissenters and the person anathematized in another Local Church with all the bishops and clergy, the encroachment on other people's canonical inheritances, the attempt to renounce their own historical decisions and commitments makes it impossible for us to continue Eucharistic communion with its hierarchs, clergy and laity, "the statement said".

The Russian Orthodox Church has traditionally seen parishes in Ukraine as under its jurisdiction.

At the gathering, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, known as the "first among equals" among his peers, said that his predecessor in 1686 - Patriarch Dionysios IV - under "great political pressure" was forced to give Moscow permission to ordain the metropolitan of Kyiv, thus annexing Ukraine's Orthodox jurisdiction.

On September 25, the UOC-MP declared that it was demanding that the Patriarchate of Constantinople withdraw its exarchs from Ukraine.

The Russian Orthodox Church has won support from the Belarusian Orthodox Church and the Moscow-dependent Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Metropolitan Hilarion, who heads the Russian Orthodox Church's foreign relations department, said after the Holy Synod's meeting in Minsk, Belarus on Monday that rupturing ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate was a response to its "lawless and canonically void moves". Ukraine today is more unified, more nationalist, more oriented toward Europe and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the West than it has even been true before, and that's a direct result of Russia's intervention in Ukraine and killing of Ukrainians, ' he said as quoted by EUObserver.

Ilarion said that Constantinople's decision to back what the Russian Orthodox Church considers a schismatic church is "illegal and canonically worthless", and effectively drives it into a schism.

And Russian President Vladimir Putin last week convened the country's security council to discuss the issue. "It's an issue of Ukrainian statehood". After the Maidan Revolution in 2014 and the war in eastern Ukraine, officials in Kyiv started talking more actively about the creation of a new canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church that would be autocephalous (independent). 9 jointly by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, the Razumkov Center and the SOCIS Center for Social and Marketing Research; 17 percent said they identify with the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine. Meanwhile, it did not hesitate to seize Moscow Patriarchate's churches by force.

But the mood has been different on social media, where many have no sympathy for the Russian Orthodox Church.

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