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2018 Moscow–Constantinople schism

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The Moscow–Constantinople schism,[a] also known as the Orthodox Church schism of 2018,[b][1] is a schism which began on 15 October 2018 when the Russian Orthodox Church unilaterally severed full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.[2] This was done in response to a decision of the synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 11 October 2018 which confirmed the intention of moving towards granting autocephaly (independence) to the orthodox Church of Ukraine, to reestablish a stauropegion[3] of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Kiev, to revoke the legal binding of the letter of 1686[4] which led to the Russian Orthodox Church establishing jurisdiction over the Ukrainian Church and to lift the excommunications which affected clergy and faithful of two unrecognized Orthodox churches in Ukraine.[5][6] Those two churches, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP) were competing with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) (UOC-MP) and were, and still are, considered schismatics by the Patriarchate of Moscow.[7]

In their synod on 14 September 2018, the Moscow Patriarchate had broken off participation in any episcopal assemblies, theological discussions, multilateral commissions, and any other structures that are chaired or co-chaired by representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[8] In the statement of 15 October, the Russian Orthodox Church barred all members of the Moscow Patriarchate from taking part in communion, baptism, and marriage at any church controlled by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[2]

On 15 December, the UAOC, the UOC-KP, and two bishops of the UOC-MP united into one single church: the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), whose elected primate is Metropolitan Epiphanius, previously Metropolitan of Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky and Bila Tserkva. The primate is to visit Constantinople on 6 January 2019, with Ukrainian President Poroshenko, to receive the tomos (formal decree of autocephaly) for the OCU from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.

The schism forms part of a wider political conflict involving Russia's 2014 annexation of the Crimea and its military intervention in Ukraine, as well as Ukraine's desire to join the European Union and NATO.[9][10] On 28 November 2018, Ukrainian President Poroshenko declared the 2018 Kerch Strait incident was provoked by Russia in order to force Ukraine to declare martial law and therefore to prevent Ukraine from receiving its tomos of autocephaly.[11][12]

This schism is reminicent of the Moscow–Constantinople schism of 1996 over canonical jurisdiction over Estonia, which was however ended after less than three months.[13]

Contents

BackgroundEdit

After the baptism of Rus', its lands were under the control of the Metropolitan of Kiev. Among the 24 metropolitans who held the throne before the Mongol invasion, only two were of local origin and the rest were Greek. Usually, they were appointed by Constantinople and were not chosen by the bishops of their dioceses, as it should be done according to the Canon.[14] After the Mongol invasion, the southern part of Rus' was heavily devastated and the disintegration of Kievan Rus' accelerated. Metropolitan Kirill III, who occupied the throne for 30 years, spent almost all of his time in the lands of Vladimir-Suzdal Rus' and visited Kiev only twice, although earlier he had come from Galicia and had been nominated for the post of Metropolitan by the prince Daniel of Galicia.[15] After the new Mongol raid in 1299, Metropolitan Maksim finally moved to Vladimir in the north, and did not even leave a bishop behind. In 1303 a new cathedra was created for south-west Rus' in Galicia and the new Metropolitan was consecrated by Constantinople,[16] but its existence ended in 1355 after the Galicia–Volhynia Wars. In 1325, Metropolitan Peter moved to Moscow, thus greatly contributing to the rise of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, which gradually conquered other Russian principalities in the northeast of the former Kievan Rus'. Another part of Kievan Rus' gradually came under the rule of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland, which entered into rivalry with Moscow. In particular, the Grand Dukes of Lithuania sought from Constantinople a separate Metropolitan for the Orthodox who lived in their lands. Although the Metropolitan in Moscow continued to retain the title of "Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus'", he could not rule the Orthodox outside the borders of the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Constantinople twice agreed to create a separate Metropolitan for Lithuania, but these decisions were not permanent, Constantinople being inclined to maintain a single church government on the lands of the former Kievan Rus'.[17][18]

In 1439, Constantinople entered into union with the Roman Catholic Church. In Moscow, this decision was rejected outright, and Metropolitan Isidor, consecrated by Constantinople, was accused in heresy, imprisoned, and later expelled.[19] In 1448, the council of north-eastern Russian clergy in Moscow, at the behest of prince Vasily II of Moscow, elected Jonah the Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus' without the consent of the Patriarch of Constantinople. In 1469 Patriarch Dionysius I stated that Constantinople would not recognize any metropolitan ordained without its blessing.[20] Meanwhile, the metropolis of Kiev (de facto in Novogrudok) stayed under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, and in 1458, bishop Gregory became the Uniate Metropolitan in Kiev with the title of the "Metropolitan of Kiev, Galich and All Rus'". Moscow's de facto independence from Constantinople remained unrecognized until 1589 when Patriarch of Constantinople Jeremiah II approved the creation of a new, fifth Orthodox Patriarchate in Moscow. This decision was finally confirmed by the four older Patriarchs in 1593.[21]

The Patriarch of Moscow became the head of "all Russia and Northern countries",[22][23] and Chernihiv (now in Ukraine) was one of his dioceses.[24] However, he had no power among the Orthodox bishops of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, who remained under the rule of Constantinople. At the same time, the Orthodox hierarchs of those lands were inclined to the Union with Rome, despite the resistance of their parishes, who formed the Orthodox brotherhoods (or fraternities) to keep their identity. On the way from Moscow, Jeremiah II visited the lands of present-day Ukraine and committed an unprecedented act, granting Stauropegia (direct subordination to Patriarch) to many Orthodox brotherhoods. This provoked the anger of the local bishops and soon the Union of Brest was proclaimed, which was supported by the majority of the Orthodox bishops of the Commonwealth, including Metropolitan Michail Rogoza. Officially, the Orthodox (but not the Uniate) Metropolis of Kiev in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was eliminated and re-established only in 1620, in subsequent co-existence with Uniate Metropolis. That led to sharp conflict and numerous revolts culminating in the Khmelnytsky Uprising.

In 1654, Russia entered the war with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; it quickly occupied, for a while, the lands of present Belarus, and gained some power over the Hetmanate pursuant to the Pereyaslav Agreement (1654). The official title of Patriarch Nikon of Moscow was "Patriarch of Moscow and all Great, Lesser, and White Russia". However, the Metropolitan of Kiev Sylvester Kossov had managed to defend his independence from the Moscow Patriarchate. The Moscow government, which needed the support of the Orthodox clergy, postponed the resolution of this issue.

In 1686, Ecumenical Patriarch Dionysius IV approved the new Metropolitan of Kiev, Gedeon Chetvertinsky, who would be ordained by the Moscow Patriarchate and thus transferred, albeit with certain qualifications, a part of the Kiev ecclesiastical province to the jurisdiction of Patriarchate of Moscow (the Russian Orthodox Church).[25]

Russkiy Mir vs RomiosyneEdit

The historical rivalry between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church intensified after the Cold War. Indeed, after the Cold War, Moscow and Istanbul both emerged as "two centers of Orthodox power".[26] Those two Orthodox churches, with two different ideologies, are trying to get back the preeminence they had in the past.

Russkiy MirEdit

Russkiy Mir (litteraly "Russian world") is an ideology promoted by many in the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church. "This ideology, concocted as a reaction to the loss of Russian control over Ukraine and Belarus after the fall of the Soviet Union, seeks to assert a spiritual and cultural unity of the peoples descended from the Kievan Rus, presumably under Russian leadership."[27][28][29][30] Patriarch Kiril of Moscow also shares this Ideology; for the Russian Orthodox Church, Russkiy Mir is also "a spiritual concept, a reminder that through the baptism of Rus, God consecrated these people to the task of building a Holy Rus."[31]

RomiosyneEdit

The dominant ideology of the Patriarchate of Constantinople is the ideology of Romiosyne ("greekness" including Christian Orthodoxy[32]). Romiosyne is a "culturally and ecclesiastically irredentist ideology [which] seeks to regain the preeminence in the Orthodox world that the Greeks of Constantinople enjoyed under the Ottomans, just as the Russkiy Mir attempts to regain the preeminence that Russia held under the Soviets."[27][33]

1996 schism over EstoniaEdit

The Moscow–Constantinople schism of 1996 began on 23 February 1996, when the Russian Orthodox Church severed full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople,[34] and ended on 16 May 1996 when the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate reached an agreement establishing parallel jurisdictions.[35][36] The excommunication was in response to the Ecumenical Patriarchate's decision on 20 February 1996 to reestablish an autonomous Orthodox church in Estonia under the Ecumenical Patriarchate's canonical jurisdiction.[37][38][39] The 1996 schism has similarities with the schism of October 2018. Both schisms were caused by a dispute between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate concerning the canonical jurisdiction over a territory in Eastern Europe upon which the Russian Orthodox Church claimed to have the exclusive canonical jurisdiction, territory which after the collapse of the Soviet Union had become an independent state (Ukraine, Estonia). The break of communion in 1996 was made by Moscow unilaterally, as in 2018.[13]

Deterioration of Moscow–Constantinople relationsEdit

The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople claims to be the foremost leader and international representative of the Eastern Orthodox Church.[40] The church is geographically divided into several largely independent local churches, each with its own leader (Patriarch, Archbishop, or Metropolitan).

Shortly after Ukraine gained its independence, some of its presidents have tried to ask the Ecumenical Patriarchate to give Ukraine a church distinct from the Moscow Patriarchate.[41]

Three Orthodox churches in UkraineEdit

Since the end of the 20th century, three Orthodox jurisdictions have existed in Ukraine.

The UAOC and the UOC-KP were not recognized by other Orthodox churches and were considered schismatic. ROC officials stated, that the anathematization of Filaret was "recognized by all the Local Orthodox Churches including the Church of Constantinople"[50][51][44][45] On 11 October 2018, the excommunications of the UAOC and the UOC-KP were lifted,[52] however the Ecumenical Patriarchate did not recognize neither the UAOC nor the UOC-KP as legitimate and their leaders were not recognized as primates of their respective churches.[53][54] As of 2018, all three churches - the UAOC, the UOC-KP and the UOC-MP - are still active in the country; the UOC-MP has 12,064 active parishes, the UOC-KP — 4,807, and UAOC — 1,048.[55]

Ecumenical Patriarchate and the ecclesiastical situation in UkraineEdit

In April 2014, the Ecumenical Patriarch talked about the ecclesiastical problems in Ukraine during his Palm Sunday sermon and said "[t]he Ecumenical Patriarchate recognizes the difficult challenges facing the blessed Ukrainian people today".[56][57][58] In February 2015, the Primate of the Canadian Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Yuri (Kalishchuk), during a round table in the Ukrinform agency,[59] declared that "[t]he Patriarchy [of Constantinople] is watching the situation in Ukraine and considers the ideal solution to get the unified Orthodoxy" and "will work on uniting Orthodoxy in Ukraine". He added that the "Constantinople Patriarchate is waiting for the request and guidance from the Ukrainian Orthodox jurisdictions here, but first of all it is waiting for astep from the President of Ukraine".[60][61]

On 6 June 2015, the UAOC requested to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to receive "[the] Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church to the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a metropoliswith [sic, should be "a metropolis with"] the rights of self-governance".[62] On 24 June, "the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), held on 24 June in Kyiv [Kiev]" issued a statement about the presence "of two bishops of the Constantinople Patriarchate in Ukraine [Bishop Daniel of Pamphilon and Bishop Ilarion] and their meeting with Ukrainian clergy". "Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) "expressed concern" about [Bishop Daniel of Pamphilon and Bishop Ilarion's] activities in the "canonical territory" of the UOC (MP) without consent of the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)."[63] On 27 June, the UOC-KP, after its Holy Synod the same day, decided to plan to ask the Ecumenical Patriarch to recognize its autocephalous status.[64]

On 2 February 2016, the Patriarch of Moscow officially declared that "it is important that there is already a common understanding of the need for consensus among all the Churches, excluding any unilateral actions in granting autocephaly."[65] The same day he warned that "the unilateral recognition of the schism [in Ukraine] will unavoidably have [catastrophic consequences] for the unity of the Orthodox Church[.]"; on this occasion, the Ecumenical Patriarch declared: "We all recognize that Metropolitan Onufry is the only canonical head of Orthodoxy in Ukraine."[66]

In June 2016, the 2016 Pan-Orthodox Council was held in Crete. However, a few days before it began, the Russian Orthodox Church refused to participate. Previously the Orthodox churches of Georgia, Bulgaria, and Antioch had also refused to participate. One of the issues cited was the method of proclaiming the autonomy of the Orthodox churches. On 16 June, Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, asked Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople for autocephaly for the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and thus independence from the Russian Orthodox Church. On 11 June, before the adoption of the resolution by the Rada, the Moscow Patriarchate sharply criticized the appeal of the deputies.[67] However, the council in Crete did not consider and did not officially comment on the Ukrainian question.[68][69]

On 15 December 2017, Filaret in Kiev met with personal representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople: Bishop Daniel (UOC of USA) and Bishop Hilarion (UOC of Canada) and discussed with them issues "of mutual interest".[70][71]

Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in UkraineEdit

June 2016 request of autocephalyEdit

On 16 June 2016, the Ukrainian parliament successfully voted a resolution to appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarch to: "to recognize invalid the act in 1686 as the one adopted in violation of the sacred canons of the Orthodox Church", "to take an active part in overcoming  the church schism by convening Ukrainian unification council under the auspices of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which would solve all controversial issues and unite the Ukrainian Orthodox Church", and to grant autocephaly to the Orthodox church in Ukraine.[72][73][74][75][76] On the same day, the Russian Orthodox Church protested fiercely against this resolution.[77] On 19 July, the Ecumenical Patriarchate said it would create a synodal commission to "examine" the Ukrainian parliament's request to grant autocephaly to Ukraine.[78][79] On 1 August 2016, Arbishob Job of the Ecumenical Patriarchate declared in an interview given to the Religion Information Service of Ukraine that "Constantinople has always believed that the territory of Ukraine is the canonical territory of the Church of Constantinople."[80]

April 2018 request of autocephalyEdit

 
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Philaret, 16 April 2018

On 9 April 2018, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had a meeting in Istanbul with the Ecumenical Patriarch during which Poroshenko "noted the importance of the introduction of a Single Local Orthodox Church in Ukraine aspired by the Ukrainian people."[81] At that time, an article published on the pro-Moscow anonymous website Union of Orthodox Journalists[82] declared that no relevant progress concerning the question of a local Orthodox church for Ukraine had been made.[83]

On 17 April, Ukrainian President Poroshenko met in Turkey with the Ecumenical Patriarch and made an appeal supported by various Ukrainian MPs[84][85][86] to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to grant autocephaly to Ukraine,[87][88][89] both parties reached an agreement after a 7-hours long negotiation;[90] said appeal was later published on the official website of the president of Ukraine.[84] The UOC-KP and the UAOC also sent a similar appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in what Poroshenko described as "a rare united move of the two churches [the UOC-KP and the UAOC]".[90][91] On 18 April, the draft resolution on the support of Poroshenko's appeal was submitted to the Ukrainian parliament, and on 19 April it was adopted.[92][93] The text of the appeal of the Ukrainian parliament was longer and contained more arguments in favor of Ukraine's autocephaly compared Poroshenko's appeal.[94] On 20 April, the official request to issue a Tomos of Autocephaly was delivered to Ecumenical Patriarchate.[95] On the same day, 20 April, the synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate "voted to proceed with taking the necessary steps for granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Christians of Ukraine."[96] On 22 April, the Ecumenical Patriarchate issued an official communiqué declaring that the synod had "examined matters pertaining to the ecclesiastical situation in Ukraine, as done in previous synodal sessions, and having received from ecclesiastical and civil authorities [...] a petition that requests the bestowal of autocephaly, decided to closely communicate and coordinate with its sister Orthodox Churches concerning this matter."[97][98] The same day, President Poroshenko declard on his official Facebook page that "the Ecumenical Patriarchate had commenced the procedures necessary for granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church."[99][100]

On 23 June 2018, a delegation of the UOC-MP held talks with Patriarch Bartholomew and other Greek hierarchs.[101][102] The negotiations ended up with neither signed documents nor a joint statement.[103] The goal of these talks were, according to the UOC-MP, "for the purpose of obtaining reliable information from Patriarch Bartholomew himself regarding initiatives for the possible granting of a Tomos for Autocephaly, as well as for the purpose of communicating the position of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on this issue. The hierarchs also informed the patriarch about the current situation of church life in Ukraine."[104]

On 25 June, the UOC-MP declared it had "heard" the message of Metropolitan Onufry and the permanent members of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on the meeting that took place on June 23 in Istanbul between the delegation of the UOC-MP and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and members of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Therefore the hierarchs of the UOC-MP adopted a joint statement in which they "expressed their vision for the further development of the mission of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Ukrainian society."[105] The statement concludes that "[t]he current canonical status is quite sufficient for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to fruitfully carry out its mission among the people of Ukraine"[106][107][108]

On 31 August 2018, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew met with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow to discuss Ukrainian autocephaly, informing him that they "are implementing already this decision" to grant autocephaly.[109]

On 1 September, in Istanbul, a Synaxis of Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne began. Patriarch Bartholomew delivered the keynote address to over 100 Hierarchs of the Throne, stating, among other things: "the origin of difficulties and reactions in Ukraine are neither a recent phenomenon nor something created by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Already from the early 14th century, when the See of the Kievan Metropolis was moved without the canonical permission of the Mother Church to Moscow, there have been tireless efforts on the part of our Kievan brothers for independence from ecclesiastical control by the Moscow center. [...] The Tome proclaiming Moscow as a Patriarchate does not include the region of today’s Metropolis of Kiev in the jurisdiction of Moscow. Moreover, [...] the canonical dependence of Kiev to the Mother Church of Constantinople remained constant and uninterrupted. [...] [S]ince Russia, as the one responsible for the current painful situation in Ukraine, is unable to solve the problem, the Ecumenical Patriarchate assumed the initiative of resolving the problem in accordance with the authority afforded to it by the Sacred Canons and the jurisdictional responsibility over the eparchy of Kiev, receiving a request to this end by the honorable Ukrainian Government, as well as recurring requests by “Patriarch” Philaret of Kiev appealing for our adjudication of his case."[110][111]

Ecumenical Patriarch's legates in Ukraine and reactions of the Russian Orthodox ChurchEdit

On 7 September, the Patriarch of Constantinople announced, on the official websites of the Ecumenical Patriarch Permanent Delegation to the World Council of Churches as well as on the official website of the Ecumentical Patriarchate, that he had appointed Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon and Bishop Ilarion as his exarchs and legates in Ukraine.[112][113] Those appointments were, according to the official announcement on the official website of the Ecumentical Patriarchate, "[w]ithin the framework of the preparations for the granting of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine"[113] Daniel of Palphlion and Ilarion had already been sent by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Ukraine in 2015 which at the time led to an official protest by the UOC-MP.[63]

The same day, the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion, gave an interview to Russia 24 TV channel about the appointment of the two exarchs.[114] In this interview, Hilarion issued his warning that the Russian Orthodox Church will "have no other choice but to break the communion" with the Ecumenical Patriarch if autocephaly is granted to Ukraine. This interview was entirely published on the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations's official website in English the same day.[115]

On 8 September, the synod of the Russian Orthodox Church expressed its "resolute protest against and deep indignation at" the report published a day prior on the appointment of the two hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate as exarchs of the Patriarchate for Kiev.[116] The same day, on a social network, Vladimir Legoyda, head of the Synodal Department for Church, Society and Media Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, commented on the topic and stated that "[t]he appointment by the Patriarch of Constantinople of his episcopal representatives in Ukraine, without agreement with the Patriarch of Moscow [...] and His Beatitude [the] Metropolitan of Kiev [...], is [...] an unprecedentedly gross incursion into the Moscow Patriarchate's canonical territory[.] [...] These actions cannot be left unanswered".[117][118] The same day, the OUC-MP published an official declaration on its website which states: "[T]he appointment of the two Exarchs is a gross violation of the canonical territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The decision made by the Constantinopolitan Patriarchate contradicts the 2nd Canon of the Second Ecumenical Council (Constantinople), namely that, without being invited, “Bishops must not leave their own diocese and go over to churches beyond its boundaries”."[119]

September 2018: Russian Orthodox synod's "retaliatory measures" and the aftermathEdit

On 14 September 2018, in response to the appointment of those two exarchs, the Russian Orthodox Church decided to hold "an extraordinary session" to take "retaliatory measures after the appointment by the Patriarchate of Constantinople of its “exarchs” to Kiev following up the decision of this Church’s Synod “to grant autocephalous status to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.”" The synod of the Russian Orthodox Church decided:[120][121]

1. To suspend the liturgical prayerful commemoration of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

2. To suspend concelebration with hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

3. To suspend the participation of the Russian Orthodox Church in all Episcopal Assemblies, theological dialogues, multilateral commissions and other structures chaired or co-chaired by representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

4. To adopt a statement of the Holy Synod concerning the uncanonical actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine.

A statement was released the same day explaining the situation and the sanctions taken to protest against the Ecumenical Patriarch's behavior.[8][122] On the same day, Metropolitan Hilarion clarified the situation in an interview published on the official website of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations. In the interview, Hilarion stated:[123]

"[S]uspended will be the [...] participation in all the structures chaired or co-chaired by representatives of Constantinople. [...] The suspension includes bishop’s assemblies in the countries of the so-called diaspora and the theological dialogue[.] [...] The decision of the Holy Synod to suspend the liturgical mention of the Patriarch of Constantinople’s name during the liturgy and the fact that we suspend con-celebration with hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople does not imply a full breaking-off of the Eucharistic communion. The lay people who come to Mount Athos or find themselves in churches of the Patriarchate of Constantinople can take communion in them. But we refuse to concelebrate with hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople since every time they mention the name of their Patriarch during the liturgy while we have suspended it. [...] We do not think, of course, that all this will finally shut the door for dialogue, but our today’s decision is a signal to the Patriarchate of Constantinople that if the actions of this kind continue, we will have to break the Eucharistic communion entirely. [...] [A]fter the breaking-off of the Eucharistic communion, at least a half of this 300-million-strong population will no longer recognize him as even the first among equals."

On 23 September 2018 Patriarch Bartholomew, during a mass he was celebrating in the Saint Fokas Orthodox Church "proclaimed that he had sent a message that Ukraine would receive autocephaly as soon as possible, since it is entitled to it"[124][125]

On 30 September 2018, in an interview to Izvestia daily published on the official website of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion commented: "The Russian Church does not need to fear isolation. If Constantinople continues its anti-canonical actions, it will place itself outside the canonical space, outside the understanding of church order that distinguishes the Orthodox Church."[126]

On 2 October, Patriarch Kirill of the ROC sent a letter to all the autocephalous Orthodox churches to ask them to hold a "Pan-Orthodox discussion" concerning the question of Ukraine's autocephaly.[127][128][129][130]

On 5 October, the Metropolitan Pavel, head of the Belarusian Orthodox Church (exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church), announced the meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church on 15 October in Minsk. He said that "The situation with the Orthodox Church in Ukraine will be on the agenda of the meeting".[131] This meeting had been announced previously on 7 January 2018 and was at the time "most likely to take place in mid October."[132]

On 9 October, Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church warned that "if the project for Ukrainian autocephaly is carried through, it will mean a tragic and possibly irretrievable schism of the whole Orthodoxy." He added that "ignoring sacred canons shakes up the whole system of the church organism. Schismatics in other Local Churches are well aware that if autocephaly is given to the Ukrainian schismatics, it will be possible to repeat the same scenario anywhere. That is why we state that autocephaly in Ukraine will not be ‘the healing of the schism’ but its legalization and encouragement."[133]

11 October 2018 communiqué of the synod of the Ecumenical PatriarchateEdit

On 11 October 2018, after a regular synod, the Patriarchate of Constantinople renewed an earlier decision to move towards granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.[134][135][55] The synod also withdrew Constantinople's 332-years-old qualified acceptance of the Russian Orthodox Church's canonical jurisdiction over the Ukrainian Church contained in a letter of 1686.[135][55] The synod also lifted the excommunication of Patriarch Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP) and Metropolitan Makariy of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC), and both bishops were "canonically reinstated to their hierarchical or priestly rank, and their faithful [...] restored to communion with the Church."[6][52][136]

On the evening of 11 October, the day of the declaration of the Patriarch of Constantinople, Ukraine's president, Poroshenko, enthusiastically welcomed Constantinople's move,[137] which Poroshenko, prematurely and therefore erroneously, described as the granting of a Tomos of autocephaly (a formal decree of church independence) to the Ukrainian Church.[55] He presented Ukrainian Church independence as part of Ukraine's wider conflict with Russia that involves Russia's 2014 annexation of the Crimea, Russia's military intervention in Ukraine, and Ukraine's desire to integrate with the West by joining the European Union and NATO (which is a perception broadly shared by both sides in the dispute).[138][9][10]

On 12 October 2018, the day after the Ecumenical Patriarch's decision, according to the Kremlin website, Russian President Vladimir Putin "held an operational meeting with the permanent members of the Security Council" (the Security Council of Russia) that "discussed issues of the domestic Russian socio-economic agenda and international issues".[139] Ukraine's Euromaidan Press described this as Putin convening "an extraordinary meeting of the National Security and Defense Council, where the “situation of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine” was "discussed", and it added that "This is a revealing slip of the tongue, since to assuage Ukrainians, the UOC MP has been insisting it is independent of Moscow and in no way the “Russian Church in Ukraine.”"[55] Similar accounts were given by Russia's Sputnik News and by the Religious Information Service of Ukraine, quoting Interfax-religion, Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov, and the Kremlin website.[140][141]

On 12 October 2018, the UOC-KP declared in a communiqué that this decision from the Ecumenical Patriarchate had restored the canonical recognition of the episcopate and clergy of the Kiev Patriarchate.[142][143] However, it was later clarified that Filaret was considered by the Ecumenical Patriarchate only as "the former metropolitan of Kiev",[144] and Makariy as "the former Archbishop of Lviv"[145][146] and, on 2 November, that the Ecumenical Patriarchate did not recognize neither the UAOC nor the UOC-KP as legitimate and that their respective leaders were not recognized as primates of their churches.[53][54] The Ecumenical Patriarchate declared that it recognized the sacraments performed by the UOC-KP and the UAOC as valid.[147] The synod was viewed as a key step towards those two organizations merging into a single church independent from Moscow.[136] The Russian Orthodox Church is linked to 12,000 parishes in Ukraine while the Kiev Patriarchate and UAOC control about 6,000; however, it is believed that many of the Russian-controlled Ukrainian parishes may defect to the Kiev organizations.[148][149]

In an interview given to the BBC on 2 November 2018, Archbishop Job, hierarch of the Church of Constantinople, explained that since the Ecumenical Patriarchate abolished the decision of the 1686 letter on 11 October 2018, the UOC-MP canonically ceased to exist in Ukraine on 11 October 2018.[150][54] He added that canonically there could be only one church on the territory of Ukraine and that therefore an exharcate of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine was "simply uncanonical" and that in Ukraine "there can be no repetition of Estonia’s scenario".[151][53][54] He also explained that the Ecumenical Patriarchate's decision was urged by the reactions of Ukrainian Orthodox faithfuls after the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the war in the Donbass who wanted to stay Orthodox but did not want to be part of the UOC-MP.[152][53]

29 November 2018 communiqué of the synod of the Ecumenical PatriarchateEdit

The regular November session of the synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate started on 27 November and ended on 29 November, lasting three days.[153][154][155]

On 27 November the Ecumenical Patriarchate decided unanimously to dissolve its exarchate of the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox churches in Western Europe (AROCWE).[156][157]

The communiqué says the Ecumenical Patriarchate "decided to revoke the patriarchal tomos of 1999 by which it granted pastoral care and administration of orthodox parishes of Russian tradition in Western Europe to His Archbishop-Exarch. [...] Today’s decision aims to further strengthen the link of Russian tradition parishes with the mother church of the patriarchate of Constantinople. [...] It is by pastoral concern that the ecumenical patriarchate has decided to integrate and connect parishes to the various holy Metropolises of the ecumenical patriarchate in the countries where they are located. Our Mother Church will continue to ensure and guarantee the preservation of their liturgical and spiritual tradition."[158][159]

On 29 November, the synod ended.[160] Some like the Religious Information Service of Ukraine had expected the Ecumenical Patriarchate to give the date of the unification council of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.[161] However, no date was given.

After the end of its synod, the Ecumenical Patriarchate later released, on its official website, an official communiqué. In said communiqué, the Ecumenical Patriarchate announced: 1) that the synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate had decided to dissolve the AROCWE, "thereby entrusting its faithful to the Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne in Europe", 2) that, in anticipation of the granting of the Tomos of autocephaly to the Orthodox church of Ukraine, the synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate had "drafted the Ukrainian Church’s Constitutional Charter."[155] On the same day, President Poroshenko said in an official speech to the Ukrainian nation that the date for the unification council for the Ukrainian church would be announced "soon" by the Ecumenical Patriarch.[162][163][164]

Formation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and election of Metropolitan EpiphanyEdit

 
His Beatitude Epiphany, Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine
 
Metropolitan Epiphany and Ukrainian President Poroshenko shaking hands after the unification council

Metropolitan Epiphany of the UOC-KP, who had been chosen on 13 December by the UOC-KP as its only candidate for the unification council between the UOC-KP, the UAOC and the UOC-MP, and was considered as Filaret's right arm,[165] was elected Metropolitan of Ukraine by the unification council on 15 December 2018 after the second round of voting.[166][167] In his speech to the faithfuls after the election, Metropolitan Epiphany thanked President Poroshenko as well as Filaret, and said Filaret was "the spiritual father of all Ukrainians" and "will continue to be an active life-long [mentor], helping us to jointly build our united local Ukrainian Orthodox church".[168][165] Epiphany also said no weighty decision would be taken by his church as long as he had not received the church's tomos.[169] The Ecumenical Patriarch congratulated and blessed the newly elected Metropolitan on the day of his election and said the newly elected primate was invited to come to Istanbul to concelebrate a mass with the Ecumenical Patriarch and receive the Orthodox Church of Ukraine's tomos on 6 January 2019.[170][171][172]

Poroshenko also made a speech in which he said the autocephalous church would be "without Putin, without Kirill", but "with God and with Ukraine".[165] Poroshenko also confirmed his plan to go to Istanbul with the now elected primate of the autocephalous Ukrainian church, on 6 January, to be present when said primate will receive the church's tomos.[173]

Break of communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate by the Russian Orthodox ChurchEdit

On 15 October 2018, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, meeting in Minsk, decided to cut all ties with the Constantinople Patriarchate. This decision forbade joint participation in all sacraments, including communion, baptism, and marriage, at any church worldwide controlled by Constantinople.[2] At the time of the schism, the Russian Orthodox Church had over 150 million followers, more than half of all Eastern Orthodox Christians.[148] The same day, after the synod, a briefing for journalists was given by Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, in which he declared that "[t]he decision on complete cessation of the Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople was taken today."[174]

Declarations by the Russian Orthodox ChurchEdit

The next day, Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, explained on Russian television that the decisions of the Patriarch of Constantinople "run contrary to the canonical Tradition of the Orthodox Church".[175] Moreover, an official communicate from the External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church published the same day quoted Hilarion saying: "we no longer have a single coordinating center in the Orthodox Church, and we should very clearly realize that the Patriarchate of Constantinople has self-destructed as such [because] having invaded the canonical boundaries of another Local Church, by legitimatizing a schism it [the Ecumenical Patriarchate] has lost the right to be called the coordinating center for the Orthodox Church[.]"[176]

On 17 October, Metropolitan Hilarion was interviewed by the BBC Russian Service; this interview was published on the official website of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church the very same day. Hilarion declared that "the fact that the Patriarchate of Constantinople has recognized a schismatic structure means for us that Constantinople itself is now in schism. It has identified itself with a schism. Accordingly, we cannot have the full Eucharistic communion with it." Hilarion added that when members of the Russian Orthodox of Moscow Patriarchate pay visits to the monasteries on Mount Athos, they cannot participate in the sacraments (for example, receive communion), and promised punishment to any priests who participate in the divine services together with the local clergy. It is known that Russia makes large donations to the monasteries on Athos (the sum of $200 million was announced), and the highest Russian officials and oligarchs run charitable foundations and make pilgrimages to Athos. Hilarion hinted that "[h]istory shows that when Athos is concerned over something, the monasteries on the Holy Mountain do find ways to inform the Patriarch of Constantinople about it" and called on Russian businessmen to switch donations to Russian sacred places.[177][178][179]

On 19 October, during a meeting with Pope Francis, Hilarion announces him that "because of the actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople the Russian Orthodox Church had to suspend its participation in the work of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church".[180] Hilarion explained on November that is was due to the fact that the synod of the Russian Orthodox Church had previously, on 14 September, decided "to break off the participation of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Episcopal Assemblies and in the theological dialogues, multilateral commissions and any other structures chaired or co-chaired by representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople."[8][181]

On 22 October, Hilarion published a declaration on the same official website which stipulates that according to the Russian Orthodox Church, Filaret "was and remains a schismatic" despite the recognition of Filaret by the Patriarch of Constantinople. In the declaration, Hilarion also expressed his fears that, since on the 20 October 2018 the UOC-KP had decided to give the title of archimandrite of the Kiev Pechersk and Pochayiv Lavras to Filaret,[182][183][184] Filaret could be planning to seize "the main holy sites of the canonical Ukrainian Church [i.e. the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)]".[185] On 30 October Filaret declared that after the unification council "there would be no violence against the canonical UOC, including in resolving property issues."[186]

On 23 October, Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, from the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations secretary for far abroad,[187] told Interfax that "[g]iven that the Byzantine Empire long ago ceased to exist and that Istanbul is not even the capital of Turkey now, there are no more canonical foundations even for the symbolic primacy of the Constantinople Patriarchate in the Orthodox world", and that the ROC would not comply to the Ecumenical Patriarch's decision.[188]

On 28 October, the Patriarch of Moscow Kirill stated in a speech, which was two days later published on the official website of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, that there was "no conflict whatsoever between Constantinople and Moscow! There is Moscow’s defense of the inviolable canonical norms [...] If one of the Churches supports the schismatics, if one of the Churches violates canons, then she ceases to be an Orthodox Church. Therefore, the position of the Russian Orthodox Church today, which has stopped the liturgical mention of the Patriarch of Constantinople, has to do not only with the relationships between the two Patriarchs – the point is the very nature of the Orthodox Churc[h]."[189]

In an interview given to Orthodoxia.info published on 6 November 2018, Metropolitan Onufriy’s spokesman, Archbishop Kliment (Vecheria), declared that the Ecumenical Patriarch should have remembered that "Byzantium ended 500 years ago" and added that the Church "lives according to the gospel and not based on 'prerogatives' rooted in a nonexistent empire"[190]

On November, the Moscow Patriarchate established a parish in Constantinople, a territory under the canonical jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[191]

During the month of November, Metropolitan Hilarion gave some interviews to news agencies from different countries which were published on the official website of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church. He declared that "the mechanisms of inter-Orthodox dialogue and cooperation, which were developing for a long while, have been destroyed. [...] [T]he Patriarchate of Constantinople, first in honour, acted as coordinator of the inter-Orthodox activities. Yet, now, when over a half of all the Orthodox Christians in the world are not in communion with it, Constantinople has lost this role".[181][192] In another interview he said that the Ecumenical Patriarch "claims the power over history itself by revoking decisions made over three centuries ago", that "[t]he danger of destruction of ages-old traditions has been more and more clearly realized now by Primates and hierarchs of Local Orthodox Churches, who speak out in faviour of a pan-Orthodox discussion on the Ukrainian problem. In the new situation, which has shaped now, we have to search for new forms of communication of Churches adequate to it", and that the Ecumenical Patriarch could not chair a Pan-Orthodox Council since "[t]he coordinating role that the Throne of Constantinople played, though not without difficulties, in the Orthodox world in the second part of the 20th century, cannot be played by it now" because "[t]he Patriarchate of Constantinople has self-destructed as the coordinating center for Orthodox Churches."[193] In his last interview he declared that the Ecumenical Patriarch's actions "allegedly aimed to heal the Ukrainian schism [...] [a]ctually lead to the deepening of the schism in Ukraine and to creating for the Orthodox Church an unprecedented situation when the whole body of the world Orthodoxy may find itself split into pieces."[194]

On 22 November, Metropolitan Hilarion said on the channel Russia-TV 24 that Ukraine would never get its autocephaly.[195]

On 26 November, Metropolitan Hilarion declared that the ROC would send a priest in South Korea and declared the plans "to create a full-fledged parish", because until the 1950s in Korea was a Russian Spiritual Mission whose faithfuls were in the 1950s transferred to the Ecumenical Patriarchate's jurisdiction. The priest is scheduled to be sent by the end of the year.[196]

On 28 November, the ROC officials reacted at the announce of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's decision (taken on 27 November 2018) to dissolve the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe. The ROC officials reminded that during the spring of 2003, Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow proposed to all bishops and Orthodox parishes of Russian tradition in Western Europe to unite as part of the self-governing metropolitan district of the Russian Orthodox Church.[197]

On 4 December, in an interview given to Orthodoxie.com, Metropolitan Hilarion declared that the fact the Patriarch of Constantinople had fallen in schism "was not without precedents in the history of the Constantinople Patriarchate" and gave the example of Nestorius and the Patriarchs of Constantinople who accepted the union with the Catholic Church after the Council of Florence.[198] He also said the Ecumenical Patriarchate's actions in Ukraine were a "revenge" on Patriarch Kirill of Moscow because, according to Hilarion, the Ecumenical Patriarch believes that it is the Russian Orthodox Church who incited some Orthodox churches not to participate in the Pan-Orthodox Council of Crete.[199]

On 14 December, Patriarch of Moscow Kirill sent messages to the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches, to Pope Francis, to Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, head of the Anglican Communion, to Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, to António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, and to Thomas Greminger, Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. He also sent messages to Emmanuel Macron, President of France, and to Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, as they were both heads of the Normandy format. Patriarch Kirill wanted to draw their attention to what he perceived as "the large-scale violations of the rights and freedom of hierarchs, clergy and laity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church."[200][201][202][203]

On 15 December, after the election of Epiphany at the unification council, archpriest Nikolay Balashov, deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, told Interfax that this election "means nothing" for the ROC.[204]

Declarations by the Ecumenical PatriarchateEdit

On 13 December 2018, in his homily, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew declared the decision by the ROC to break communion was "extreme", and "unacceptable" as a lever of pressure.[205]

On 14 December, the Ecumenical Patriarchate published on its official website a comment by Metropolitan Sotirios of Pisidia regarding the celebration of a mass at Belek by a priest of the ROC with the support of the Russian consulate in Antalya. In said commentary, the Metropolitan said this region was part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's jurisdiction and that the priest of the ROC had asked the Ecumenical Patriarchate to conduct his mass in this territory. Therefore, according to the Metropolitan, the priest had transgressed some canons, and such a behavior could create a schism among the faithfuls of the region of Belek.[206]

Events in UkraineEdit

Transfer of St Andrew's churchEdit

On 18 October 2018, the Ukrainian parliament gave approval to give permanent use of the St Andrew's Church in Kiev to the Patriarch of Constantinople for him to hold "worships, religious ceremonies and processions"[207] in the said church, provided that St Andrew's church is also used as a museum and still belongs to the Ukrainian state.[208][209][210][211] St Andrew's church will also serve, according to an official, as the Ecumenical Patriarchate's embassy in Ukraine.[212] St Andrew's church previous owner was the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church which accepted the transfer.[213] The parliament had to vote on this decision because the church is part of a national heritage site owned by the state.[214][215] The goal of this vote was, according to the KyivPost, to "speed up the receipt of a tomos (ordinance) – [the] recognition of a local Orthodox church in Ukraine by the global Orthodoxy"[209] Iryna Lutsenko, the representative of the Ukrainian president in parliament, declared the goal of this action was to make a "sign of solidarity with this process [of Ukraine receiving a tomos]" as well as "a symbolic gesture of unity with the Mother-Church [Constantinople]".[207] However, on the same day the Opposition Bloc introduced a motion to repeal the transfer, which meant that the Ukrainian President would not be able to sign the motion to transfer the St Andrew's church until the motion of repeal is reviewed by the Ukrainian parliament.[216] Finally, President Proshenko signed the law of transfer on 7 November 2018[217][208][218][219][220] and the law took effect on 10 November 2018.[217][208][221][222] On 28 November 2018, in conformity with the law on religious organizations, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved the transfer of the St Andrew's church to the Ecumenical Patriarchate's permanent use.[223]

On the morning of November 15, four unknown persons threw Molotov cocktails at the St Andrew's church (but they didn't explode) and attacked the priest with a spray.[224][225][226] On 27 November one of the suspects was arrested.[227] The first liturgy presided by the members of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in this church took place on 13 December 2018.[228][229] This liturgy chaired by hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was condemned by the UOC-MP.[230][231]

Cancellation of the transfer of the Pochayiv LavraEdit

On 16 November 2018 Ukrinform reported that the Ukrainian Culture Ministry had challenged the legality of the transfer of the Pochayiv Lavra, located in the Ternopil Oblast, to the UOC-MP. The Pochayiv Lavra is a historic site of Ukraine.[232] It is only in 2018 that a local deputy of Pochayevsky city council found out that Yanukovych’s 2003 order on the transfer of the Lavra until 2052 to the UOC-MP (№ 438)[233] was carried out in an unknown way. The police of the Ternopil region opened proceedings in this case.[234] Should the illegality of the transfer be established, the transfer would be cancelled.[235] On 23 November 2018, the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice cancelled the transfer of the Pochayiv Lavra to the UOC-MP.[236][237][238] On the next day, the UOC-MP monks of the Pochayiv Lavra clarified that "the commission of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, in response to the complaint from the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, has cancelled the registration of the contract for the right to use the Assumption Cathedral, the Trinity Cathedral, monastic cells, the bell tower, the bishop's house and the Holy Gates."[239][240] On 28 November, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved the return of the Pochayiv Lavra to the Kremenets-Pochaev State Historical and Architectural Reserve by cancelling the 2003 transfer law which gave the use of the lavra to the UOC-MP and excluded the lavra from the Pochayiv Lavra to the Kremenets-Pochaev State Historical and Architectural Reserve.[241][242][243][244]

Kerch Strait incidentEdit

On 27 November, parliament speaker Andriy Parubiy announced that the martial law declared in some regions of Ukraine would not delay the receiving of the tomos of autocephaly (independence) and that, if anything, the martial law was going to speed up the process of Ukraine receiving its tomos.[245][246][247][248] On 28 November 2018, Ukrainian President Poroshenko declared the 2018 Kerch Strait incident was provoked by Russia in order to force Ukraine to declare martial law and therefore to prevent Ukraine from receiving its tomos of autocephaly.[11][12]

ReactionsEdit

International communityEdit

  •   Russia: On 12 October 2018, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, "held an operational meeting with the permanent members of the Security Council" (the Security Council of Russia) that discussed "a wide range of domestic and foreign policy issues, including the situation around the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine", according to Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov.[139][141]
  •   Ukraine: Ukraine's president, Petro Poroshenko, enthusiastically welcomed Constantinople's October decision,[137][55] and presented the Ukrainian Church's independence as part of Ukraine's wider conflict with Russia, and Ukraine's desire to integrate with the West by joining the European Union and NATO.[138][9][10] Later, during various official speeches, Poroshenko stressed the importance of Ukraine receiving its tomos of autocephaly which Ukraine "deserved",[249] is the equivalent of "a charter of [Ukraine's] spiritual independence"[164] and was comparable to a referendum on Ukraine's independence[250] and would be "another pillar of Ukrainian independence".[251] On the 27th anniversary of the referendum on independence of Ukraine, Poroshenko declared the tomos of autocephaly was the equivalent of Ukraine saying ""Away from Moscow!" - "Europe now!""[250] After the election of Epiphany as primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine on 15 December, Poroshenko declared: "This day will go into history as a sacred day... the day of the final independence from Russia"[252]
  •   United States: The Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, urged all sides to respect the independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, reiterating the United States' "strong support for religious freedom and the freedom of members of religious groups".[253] On 15 December, the U.S. embassy in Kiev congratulated, via Twitter, Ukraine for having elected the primate of the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine.[254]
  •   Belarus: the President of Belarus, the country in which the synod of the Russian Orthodox Church took place, met members of the synod of the Russian Orthodox Church on 15 October 2018 after the ROC's decision to sever communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[255][256]

Responses from other autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churchesEdit

Church of CyprusEdit

On 26 September, the head of the Church of Cyprus, Archbishop Chrysostomos II, had a meeting with the Ukrainian ambassador in Cyprus, Borys Humeniuk; during this meeting, the question of the ecclesiastical problems in Ukraine was discussed. During the meeting, Chrysostomos II "expressed his worry and concern about the latest events in the Ukrainian Church and the possibility of the creation of a schism that would harm the unity of all Orthodoxy" and declared that the Church of Cyprus was ready to be a "bridge for the normalization of the unstable situation" between the Patriarchets of Moscow and Constantinople concerning the question of the Orthodoxy in Ukraine. Those declarations were published on the official website of the Church of Cyprus.[257][258]

Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria and the Polish Orthodox ChurchEdit

On 14 October 2018, the Polish Orthodox Church declared that "[c]onsent of all the Local Churches is needed in order to grant the autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church, and a hasty decision can deepen the schism ... autocephaly is granted by the Mother Church after reaching agreement with the Primates of all the Local Churches[.]"[259]

On 22 October 2018, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and the Polish Orthodox Church issued a joint statement in which they "call upon all those on whom it depends to eliminate church misunderstandings associated with the bestowal of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church; to please do whatever is within their might to avoid conflict over this issue in order to establish church order on Ukrainian territory."[260][261][262][263][264][265]

On 16 November 2018, the Polish Orthodox Church issued an official communiqué after the meeting of its synod on 15 November 2018.[266] The Polish Orthodox Church declared in this communiqué that it did not recognize the rehabilitation of the UAOC and the UOC-KP and that the synod "forbids the priests of the Polish Orthodox Church from having liturgical and prayerful contact with the ‘clergy’ of the so-called Kiev Patriarchate and the so-called ‘Autocephalous Orthodox Church,’ which have committed much evil in the past". The communiqué also stated that "[o]nly the observance of the dogmatic and canonical norms of the Church and the preservation of the centuries-old tradition will protect Orthodoxy from severe ecclesiastical consequences on an international scale."[267][268]

Serbian Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Church of AntiochEdit

Not so long before the schism, head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Irinej, considered the presumable schism between Moscow and Constantinople would be the hardest of all those that have ever been, even greater quantitatively than the schism of 1054. He stated that the Serbian Church does not accept the existence of two Orthodox Christianities - "Fanariotic" (i.e. Constantinople's) and "Moscow’s". He added his church did not stand for Moscow nor was against Constantinople, but supported the established order and opposed any decisions that would certainly lead to dire consequences. He also declared that if non-canonical churches were recognized, a similar phenomenon would happen "in Macedonia, but also in Montenegro, Abkhazia, and wherever the contracting authorities and perpetrators have imagined, even, perhaps, in Greece."[269]

On 6 October, the synod of the Greek Patriarchate of Antioch announced its support for a pan-Orthodox synaxis on the question.[270]

After the schism, Patriarch Irinej gave an interview in which he condemned the 11 October decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In his opinion, this decision increases the risks of new divisions in the Local Churches, while the Ecumenical Patriarch had no right to recognize the schismatic church and grant it an autocephaly.[271][272][273][274][275] Some Serbian Church officials also expressed concerns that this decision would be followed by recognition of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, which had previously split from the Serbian Orthodox Church.[276]

On 20 October, the Serbian and Antiochian patriarchs made a common declaration in which they "appeal to their brother, His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch, to restore the fraternal dialogue with the Orthodox Church of Russia in order to, with the fraternal assistance and participation of all the other primates of the Local Orthodox Autocephalous Churches, resolve the conflict between the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Moscow and to restore back the bond of peace in the Orthodox Church".[277][278]

On 12 November 2018, the synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church published a communiqué in which they declared they considered the reinstatement of Filaret and Makariy as "non-binding for the Serbian Orthodox Church" and that they would therefore not communiate with them or their supporters. Synod also requested convocation of a Pan-Orthodox Synod over the issue.[279][280][281]

Georgian Orthodox ChurchEdit

On 30 September, the Georgian Orthodox Church published a statement on its website in which it encouraged the Patriarchates of Moscow and Constantinople to work together on the dispute over Ukraine.[282]

Although Ukrainian parliament chairman Andriy Parubiy stated after an October 5 visit to Tbilisi that the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) was in support of Kiev, Georgian Patriarch Ilia II later denied this, and church spokesman Mikhail Botkoveli said: "We need more time to discuss the arguments of the Russian Orthodox Church, after which the Georgian Orthodox Church will announce its position". It is reported that there are sharp divisions within the Georgian Orthodox Church, which analysts see as "the most pro-Russian institution in an anti-Russian country". A major factor in the dispute within the GOC is the role of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church (AOC) which itself broke from the GOC, the Russian Orthodox Church has offered to mediate the dispute between the GOC and the AOC. Some clerics see this as a reason to maintain the goodwill of the Russian Orthodox Church and others viewed the Abkhazian church as already "under the control of Moscow"; some accused Moscow of hypocrisy, with one theologian arguing publicly that "The (Moscow) patriarchate is betraying the biblical principle of ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you'".[283][284]

Romanian Orthodox ChurchEdit

The Romanian Orthodox Church on 26 October called for Constantinople to co-operate with Moscow in resolving the issue, and stated that "unity is preserved through co-responsibility and cooperation between the Local Orthodox Churches, by cultivating dialogue and synodality at the pan-Orthodox level, this being a permanent necessity in the life of the Church."[285]

On 23 November 2018, the Ecumenical Patriarch arrived in Romania to lead the consecration of the Romanian People's Salvation Cathedral which was planned on Sunday 25 November; the Ecumenical Patriarch was officially welcomed by Patriarch Daniel of Romania.[286][287] On Sunday 25 November, the Ecumenical Patriarch and Patriarch Daniel of Romania consecrated together the Romanian People's Salvation Cathedral.[288][289][290] The Ecumenical Patriarch chaired the first mass of the Romanian People's Salvation Cathedral.[291][292][293][294] Both the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Patriarch Daniel of Romania led the church service this day; it was the very first church service in the cathedral.[295][294][296][297][298] The presence of Bartholomew and the absence of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow at the cathedral inauguration "appears to suggest that Romania is siding with Constantinople in the dispute."[299][300]

To the questions: "Will Patriarch Kiril in Romania come to the sanctification of the painting?" and "How will the presence of His Holiness Bartholomew I affect the relationship between the ROC and the ROC?", the Patriarchate spokesman answered: "I am absolutely convinced that Patriarch Kiril will return to Romania on the occasion of the sanctification of the painting and will not withdraw because the ROC had the wisdom to plead for a dialogue to heal the wound of this separation between the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Patriarchate of Moscow and All Russia. [...] We hope that this relationship, currently interrupted, will be resumed. The Romanian Patriarchate has a natural relationship with the Moscow Patriarchate and there are no tensions at the moment".[301]

Albanian Orthodox ChurchEdit

On 10 October, Archbishop Anastasios, head of the autocephalous Albanian Orthodox Church, sent a letter to the Moscow Patriarch. Extracts of this letter have been published on 22 November on the official website of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church. In those extracts, the head of the Albanian Church declared that granting autocephaly to Ukraine was a "dangerous undertaking" and that "instead of the unity of Orthodox Christians in Ukraine, there has appeared a danger of schism in the unity of the universal Orthodoxy". He also said they should do everything to hold a pan-Orthodox Council.[302]

The next day, the official website of the Albanian Orthodox Church published the full text of the letter of October 10, as well as the second letter, dated November 7,[303] through the hosting service DocDroid, in English[304][305] and in Greek.[306][307] In his first letter, Archbishop Anastasios declared the 14 September decision of Moscow had "dangerously complicated the whole matter" concerning Ukraine[304] - this passage had not been released among the extracts on the official website of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church. In his second letter, Archbishop Anastasios disagreed with the decisions of the Moscow Patriarchate to break communion with the Church of Constantinople, stating: "It is unthinkable that the Divine Eucharist [...] could be used as a weapon against another Church. [...] We proclaim it is impossible for us to agree to such decisions." He also added that recent developments have made the convocation of a Pan-Orthodox synaxis "extremely difficult" but that the Albanian Orthodox Church was willing to participate in it, if the Pan-Orthodox synaxis was convoked canonically.[305][308] The second letter was not published by Moscow.[303][309]

Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and SlovakiaEdit

On 10 November, the head of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia (OCCLS), Archbishop Rastislav of Prešov (cs), met with the head of the UOC-MP, Metropolitan Onufry. On this occasion, Archbishop Rastislav of Prešov declared his concern about the situation in Ukraine and condemned the Ecumenical Patriarchate's actions, stating that "it is impossible to create even a temporary good on the violation of the sacred canons of the Orthodox Church".[310]

On 24 November, Archbishop of Prague of the OCCLS, Michael, met with Metropolitan Agafangel of Odessa of the UOC-MP. Said Archbishop of Prague declared to the UOC-MP members: "We have arrived to show our unity with you, as representatives of an autocephalous Church".[311][312][313][314]

Bulgarian Orthodox ChurchEdit

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church (BOC) first said it could not comment.[315][316] On 15 December, Bishop Daniil of the BOC, in an interview published on the official website of the BOC, declared the Ukrainian unification council was uncanonical and that the project to create an autocephalous church in Ukraine was only political.[317][318][319]

Unrecognized or partially recognized Orthodox churchesEdit

The uncanonical Macedonian and Montenegrin Orthodox churches have stated that they cannot yet comment.[315]

The Macedonian Orthodox Church has asked to be canonically recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarch but was met with a harsh refusal, "Constantinople insisted on drawing a distinction between the situation with the Ukrainian Church and the Macedonian church[:] Constantinople had never given up its own jurisdiction over Ukraine in favour of Moscow, whereas it did so with the Macedonian eparchies in favour of the Serbian Church in 1922, when a Macedonian state did not exist."[320]

On 22 October 2018, the unrecognized Abkhazian Orthodox Church declared in an official statement: "We raise a prayer voice, because the actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which are aimed at taking the Orthodox Church all over the world, violate church canons. Such an initiative of Patriarch Bartholomew will lead to a catastrophe for the Slavic peoples and the entire Orthodox world."[321]

On 26 October, Metropolitan Tikhon, head of the Orthodox Church in America issued an archpastoral letter in which he supported the idea of a pan-Orthodox synaxis on the question of Ukraine.[322]

Responses from churches under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox ChurchEdit

Belarusian Orthodox ChurchEdit

On 11 September 2018, the synod of the Belarusian Orthodox Church (the Exharcate of the Russian Orthodox Church in Belarus) issued a statement proclaiming their "unanimous support" for the position of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, protesting the actions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[323]

On 5 October, the Metropolitan Pavel of the Belarusian Orthodox Church "urge[d] the Patriarch Bartholomew [of Constantinople] and the synod of the Church of Constantinople to review their decisions and do everything possible to either disavow the previous decision or withdraw it, stopping this process, which [...] is taking absolutely distinct forms of church schism throughout Eastern Orthodoxy[.]"[324]

After the schism the Belarusian Orthodox Church has not released an official statement about the break of communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Since it is the exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, it obeys the decisions of the Holy Synod of the ROC.[284][325]

Russian Orthodox Church Outside RussiaEdit

On 25 September 2018, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (an autonomous church of the Moscow Patriarchate) (ROCOR) "suspended concelebration with the bishops of the Constantinople Patriarchate and participation in the work of the Episcopal Assemblies with their membership".[326][126]

On 10 October 2018, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia has "express[ed] [its] profound indignation at the blatant violation of the Holy Canons by the Orthodox Church of Constantinople. The decision of its hierarchy to send its ‘exarchs’ into the canonical territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, without the agreement and permission of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine, is a gross and unprecedented incursion by one Local Church into a distant canonical territory[.]"[327]

On 18 October 2018, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia has expressed "complete support of the position taken by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow, following its meeting of 15th October 2018" and severed Eucharistic communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[328]

On 8 December 2018, the ROCOR released a communiqué in which it states that if fully supports Onufriy and considers the Ecumenical Patriarchate's actions in Ukraine as illegal.[329][330][331]

After a meeting on the 29 November 2018 between the Diocese of Berlin and Germany of the MP and the German diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia [de; ru; no; pl], both decided to follow the decision of the ROC to sever eucharistic communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[332][333][334]

As a result of the decision to sever communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate taken by the Russian Orthodox Church on October 15, 2018, Archbishop Mark announced that the ROC would resign from participation in the Orthodox Bishops' Conference in Germany [de] (OBKD).[335], Thus, the former Secretary General, Ipodiakon Nikolaus Thon [de], until further notice. For the first time, on December 5, the OBKD held its autumn plenary assembly in Bonn without the members of the two Russian Orthodox dioceses. The present bishops of the Greek, Romanian [de] and Serbian Orthodox dioceses regretted the absence of Russian bishops and expressed the hope of overcoming intra-Orthodox tensions, as the communiqué shows.[336]

Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)Edit

On 13 September, secretary for Inter-Orthodox Affairs of the Department for External Church Relations of the ROC, Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, urged the UOC-MP believers to unite around Metropolitan Onufriy.[337] The eparchies who pledged support to Onufriy were (in chronological order): Rivne,[338] Odessa,[339][340] Zaporizhia,[341][342] Poltava,[343][344] Sievierodonetsk,[345][346] Kamianske,[347][348] Kharkiv,[349][350] Luhansk,[351][352] Oleksandriya,[353][354] Mukachevo,[355][356] Zhytomyr,[357][358] Kropyvnytsky,[359][360] Chernihiv,[361][362] Crimea,[363][364][365] Izium,[366][367] Nova Kakhovka,[368][369] Mykolaiv,[370][371] and Nizhyn.[372][373] The three dioceses of Sumy, Konotop, and Romny, also declared their support for Onufriy.[374][375]

On 13 November, the synod of the UOC-MP (an autonomous church of the Moscow Patriarchate[376]) officially declared in a resolution that they considered the 11 October declaration of the Ecumenical Patriarchate "invalid" and canonically "null and void", and that the communion between the UOC-MP and the Ecumenical Patriarchate "is deemed impossible at present and thereby ceases"[377][378] Two bishops of the UOC-MP did not sign the resolution, one of them being Metropolitan Simeon of Vinnytsia and Bar.[379]

In an interview given on 14 November to the Vinnytsia Press Club, Metropolitan Simeon of Vinnytsia and Bar of the UOC-MP said he did not sign the UOC-MP resolution as he disagreed with some statements in the resolution and considered this resolution as "bad".[380] He also said he would participate in the unification council.[381][382] On 15 November, most of the clergy of Vinnytsia of the UOC-MP met in emergency, spontaneously and without the prior consent of its hierarchy. Most of the clergy of Vinnytsia publicly expressed its support to the 13 November resolution of the UOC-MP, and made an appeal to Metropolitan Simeon to ask him to hold a general meeting of the Vinnytsia eparchy.[383] On 17 November, in a semon, Metropolitan Simeon clarified that his refusal was his own decision, because, he stated, "not a single bishop represented the opinion of his eparchy or people at the Council, everyone spoke for themselves".[384] On 20 November, an official monthly general meeting of the Vinnytsia eparchy chaired by Metropolitan Simeon was held; the Eparchial Council "categorically condemned the unauthorized assemblies held in the Vinnytsia eparchy" and "stated that the Resolution of the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, taken on November 13, 2018, is a document binding on all bishops, clergy and laity of the UOC and confirmed its readiness to comply with the Resolution by the entire Vinnytsia eparchy."[385][386][387]

On 16 November 2018 Metropolitan Sophroniy (Dmitruk) of Cherkasy and Kaniv in his interview to BBC expressed his support for the creation of an autocephalous Church in Ukraine. He also said that he was going to participate in the unification council, and perhaps he would join the new autocephalous Church.[388][389]

On 20 November 2018, chancellor of the UOC-MP, Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary, declared in an interview that "[s]anctions will be applied to the members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [of the Moscow Patriarchate] who participate in the 'Unification Council'".[390][391]

On 7 December, the UOC-MP synod declared the unification council conveyed by the Ecumenical Pariarchate as unlawful.[392][393][394][395][396]

Archdiocese of ChersonesusEdit

The Archdiocese of Chersonesus (fr) is an archidiocese under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. The Archdiocese of Chersonesus takes charge of the Orthodox communities of the Moscow Patriarchate in France, Swiss, Portugal and Spain.[397] On 22 November 2018, during its annual session, the Archdiocese of Chersonesus unanimously declared its support of the decision made by the ROC on 15 October 2018 to break communion with Constantinople. On the next day, this decision was announced throught an official communiqué on the archbishopric's official website in which they stated that the action of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Ukraine was "anti-canonical".[398][399]

Responses from churches under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical PatriarchateEdit

Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western EuropeEdit

The Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe (AROCWE) was an exarchate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,[400][401] its primate at the time the archidiocese's dissolution was announced was Archbishop John of Charioupolis (ru).[402][403][404] On 18 October 2018, in reaction to the 15 October decision of the Russian Orthodox Chruch to sever communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the AROCWE released a communiqué. In this communiqué, the AROCWE declared that the AROCWE, "Archdiocese-Exarchate under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate", was "in full communion with the whole Orthodox Church. Indeed, the Ecumenical Patriarchate did not break communion with the Patriarchate of Moscow and continues to commemorate it according to the order of the diptychs. All the Orthodox faithful can therefore participate fully in the liturgical and sacramental life of our parishes." The communiqué concluded by asking all the priests, deacons, monks, nuns and faithful of the AROCWE to pray for the unity of the Church.[405][406][407]

On 21 November, the rector of the Russian Church of the Transfiguration in Stockholm expelled 16 faithfuls from the parish because they had publicly "ceased to recognize the legitimacy and spiritual authority of [...] Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and [...] Archbishop John of Chariopoulis" after the 15 October.[408]

Defection of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Nativity of ChristEdit

On Sunday 28 October 2018, the Archpriest George Blatinsky of the AROCWE, rector of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Nativity of Christ and Saint Nicholas the Thaumaturge (fr) in Florence,[409][410] ceased commemorating during the liturgy the canonical authorities to whom he is responsible, the Ecumenical Patriarch and the archbishop of the AROCWE John of Charioupolis. At the end of the celebration, Blatinsky told the faithful present that from that Sunday onward the parish had been placed under the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) of the Patriarchate of Moscow. He justified this change of jurisdiction by saying that the Ecumenical Patriarchate had fallen into "schism" as a result of its intervention in Ukraine. According to the AROCWE's information, this decision, which was taken unilaterally by George Blatinsky, was thereafter been presented as being the result of a unanimous vote of a "general assembly of the parish", which was contrary to ecclesiastical norms and the civil statutes of the parish since no assembly had been convened for that day in accordance with the rules.[411][412][413] Metropolitan Hilarion of the ROCOR assured archpriest George Blatinsky by telephone that he did not need any letter of canonical release from the AROCWE in order to be received into the ROCOR's jurisdiction since, according to Met. Hilarion, "all those who depend on Constantinople are schismatics".[411]

Archbishop John imposed the sanctions of a ban a divinis (suspension of priestly functions), which took effect on 1 November 2018, upon Archpriest George Blatinsky and Priest Oleg Turcan, the second priest of the parish; on 1 November, a commmuniqué announcing their suspension was published on the AROCWE's official websites.[414][415] Archbishop John also sent a letter of protestation to Metropolitan Hilarion of the ROCOR, in New York, on 5 November 2018. On 22 November, the AROCWE released a commmuniqué explaining the situation;[411] in said communiqué, the AROCWE also published the letter Archbishop John had sent to Metropolitan Hilarion of the ROCOR, in French,[416] Russian[417] and English,[418] and said the AROCWE had not yet received an answer from Metropolitan Hilarion of the ROCOR.

Dissolution of the archdioceseEdit

On 27 November the Ecumenical Patriarchate decided unanimously to dissolve its exarchate of the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox churches in Western Europe (AROCWE).[156][157][419]

On 28 November, a communiqué concerning the Ecumenical Patriarchate's decision to dissolve its exarchate of the AROCWE was published in French on the Phanarion blog[420] and on the official Facebook page of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[421] The communiqué says the Ecumenical Patriarchate "decided to revoke the patriarchal tomos of 1999 by which it granted pastoral care and administration of orthodox parishes of Russian tradition in Western Europe to His Archbishop-Exarch. [...] [T]he ecumenical patriarchate has decided to integrate and connect parishes to the various holy Metropolises of the ecumenical patriarchate in the countries where they are located."[158][159] On the same day, a communiqué on the website of the AROCWE exarchate was published. In the AROCWE communiqué, it is stated: that the AROCWE had "in no way" requested the Ecumenical Patriarchate's decision, that the AROCWE primate, Archbishop John of Charioupolis,[402][403][404] had not been consulted prior to this decision being taken, and that said primate had learned about the decision during a private conversation with the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul. The communiqué also asked the faithfuls of the AROCWE to maintain their calm.[422]

On 28 November, the St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute, which is was under the ajurisdiction of the AROCWE, published a communiqué in which it declared it "renews today its faithful attachment to the person and action of His All-Holiness Bartholomew I and reaffirms its attentive following in the spirit of unity called by the Holy and Great Council of Crete."[423][424]

On 29 November, after the synod had ended, the same communiqué which had been released one day prior concerning the Ecumenical Patriarchate's decision to dissolve the AROCWE was released, in French, on the official website of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[425]

On 30 November, the council of the AROCWE declared in a communiqué that this decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was "unforeseen". The communiqué added that since the AROCWE had not requested this decision, two things should be done before the AROCWE would comply to this decision: Arbishop John of Charioupolis, as the head of the AROCWE, will have to "invite the priests of the Archdiocese to a pastoral assembly, on December 15, 2018, to discuss with those who carry with him the spiritual responsibility of the parishes and faithful of the Archdiocese" and the AROCWE council will have to "convene a general assembly of the Archdiocese, in which all the clergy and lay delegates elected by the parishes and communities, which are the adherent associations of the Diocesan Union, will take part." The communiqué concluded that since John of Charioupolis had not requested this decision, he still remained fully in pastoral charge of the Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe.[426][427]

On 10 December, the AROCWE published a communiqué saying the 15 December Pastoral Assembly of the 15 December was not a "a statutory decision-making body regarding the future of the Archdiocese [...] The legitimate collegial bodies to which our statutes [...] entrust the administrative responsibility for any decisions are the General Assembly [...] and, between two assemblies, the Archdiocesan Council."[428][429] After the 15 December Pastoral Assembly, the AROCWE released a communiqué in which it states that it decided to call an extraordinary General Assembly, scheduled for 23 February 2019. This General Assembly will discuss the November 2018 desision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to dissolve the AROCWE.[430]

American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox DioceseEdit

2 priests of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese left the Ecumenical Patriarchate to join the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in response to the Ecumenical Patriarchate's decision concerning Ukraine.[431][432]

Greek Orthodox Metropolis of GermanyEdit

On October 16, the head of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Germany [de; ru; el; fr] published a statement on the Metropilis' website saying: "With disappointment and grief I have noted yesterday's decision of the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate to sever the eucharistic communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, whose metropolitan in Germany I am. [...] As was the case then, this time too applies: particularly affected are the parishes in the so-called diaspora, where there is a coexistence between the two patriarchates, in other words also in Germany. [...] As far as Ukraine is concerned, it is the common concern of all Orthodox Christians how to succeed in solving ecclesiastical cleavages ecclesiastically, not politically; it has to be non-violent and effective. This is the determined and irrevocable intention of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, which, as a mother church, has the right to do so and, I believe, is obliged to have the daughter Ukraine grown up into self-employment. That the older daughter Moscow does not recognize it is regrettable."[433]

Canonical issuesEdit

The schism has its root in a dispute over who between the Patriarchate of Moscow and the Patriarchate of Constantinople has canonical jurisdiction over the See of Kyiv (Kiev) and, therefore, which patriarchate has canonical jurisdiction over the territory of Ukraine. "[T]he principal argument proposed [concerning the granting of the ecclesiastical status of autocephaly to Ukraine by the Ecumenical Patriarchate] is that Ukraine "constitutes the canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Moscow” and that, consequently, such an act on the part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate would comprise an "intervention" into a foreign ecclesiastical jurisdiction."[434] The Patriarchate of Moscow's claim of canonical jurisdiction is based mostly on two documents: the Patriarchal and Synodal “Act” or “Letter of Issue” of 1686, and a 1686 Patriarchal Letter to the Kings of Russia. Both those documents are reproduced in the "Appendix" section of a study published by the Ecumenical Patriarch called The Ecumenical Throne and the Ukrainian Church - The Documents Speak.[434] The Church of Constantinople claims the Church of Constantinople has canonical jurisdiction over the See of Kyiv and that the documents upon which the Russian Orthodox Church bases its claim of jurisdiction over said See of Kyiv do not support the ROC's claim.

On 1 July 2018, the Ecumenical Patriarch said that Constantinople was the Mother Church of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and declared that "Constantinople never ceded the territory of Ukraine to anyone by means of some ecclesiastical Act, but only granted to the Patriarch of Moscow the right of ordination or transfer of the Metropolitan of Kiev on the condition that the Metropolitan of Kiev should be elected by a Clergy-Laity Congress and commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch. [It is written] in the Tome of autocephaly, which was granted by the Mother Church [Constantinople] to the Church of Poland: “[...] original separation from our Throne of the Metropolis of Kiev and of the two Orthodox churches of Lithuania and Poland, which depend on it, and their annexation to the Holy Church of Moscow, in no way occurred according to the binding canonical regulations, nor was the agreement respected concerning the full ecclesial independence of the Metropolitan of Kiev, who bears the title of Exarch of the Ecumenical Throne...”"[435]

Ecumenical Patriarchate's claimsEdit

The Ecumenical Patriarchate issued a document authored by various clerics and theologians called The Ecumenical Throne and the Ukrainian Church - The Documents Speak.[434] This document analyzes canonical historic documents (namely the Patriarchal and Synodal "Act" or "Letter of Issue" of 1686 and the 1686 Patriarchal Letter to the Kings of Russia) to see if the claim over the See of Kyiv by the Patriarch of Moscow is canonical or not. The date of publication of this document is unknown, but the earliest online version can be found on 28 September 2018 on the website of the Greek Orthodox Archidiocese of America[436] in PDF in English[437] as well as in Greek.[438] In September 2018, the Holy Orthodox Archdiocese of Italy and Malta issued a translation[439][440] which was on 17 October published on the official Italian website of the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe.[441] The Ecumenical Throne and the Ukrainian Church was translated in Ukrainian as of 6 October 2018.[442]

The Ecumenical Throne and the Ukrainian Church concludes that:

"[T]hrough the autocratic abolition of the commemoration of the Ecumenical Patriarch by each Metropolitan of Kyiv, the de jure dependence of the Metropolis of Kyiv (and the Church of Ukraine) on the Ecumenical Patriarchate was arbitrarily rendered an annexation and amalgamation of Ukraine to the Patriarchate of Moscow. [...] All these events took place in a period when the Ecumenical Throne was in deep turmoil and incapable “on account of the circumstances of the time to raise its voice against such capricious actions[.]” [...] The Church of Ukraine never ceased to constitute de jure canonical territory of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. [...] The Ecumenical Patriarchate was always aware of this despite the fact that, “on account of the circumstances of the time”, it tolerated the arbitrary actions by the Patriarchate of Moscow. [...] [T]he Ecumenical Patriarchate is entitled and obliged to assume the appropriate maternal care for the Church of Ukraine in every situation where this is deemed necessary."

Constantin Vetochnikov, two PhD in theology, PhD in history and member of the Collège de France,[443] who participated in Augustus 2016 to the 23rd International Congress of Byzantine Studies in Belgrade where he made a report on the subject of the transfer of the See of Kyiv,[444] and who helped the Ecumenical Patriarchate on The Ecumenical Throne and the Ukrainian Church,[445] declared on 27 December 2016 that the transfer of the See of Kyiv from the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church "never took place"[446]

Later, Vetoshnikov made an analysis of the arguments of the Russian Orthodox Church. He pointed out that, according to the strict dogmatic approach (akribeia, ἀκρίβεια), the whole territory of Russia was originally subjected to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. After the Muscovy had gone into the schism in the XV century, it received autocephaly according to a more flexible approach (oikonomia, οἰκονομία) to heal this schism. The Metropolitan of Kiev at the same time remained within the jurisdiction of Constantinople. Then, also according to the oikonomia approach, the right to ordain Metropolitans of Kiev was transferred to the Patriarch of Moscow. This was not a change in the boundaries of the Moscow Patriarchate eparchy, as it was issued by a document of a lower level (ekdosis, ἐκδόσεως), which was used for various temporary solutions. For pastoral reasons, the Ecumenical Patriarchate subsequently did not assert its rights to this territory. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union there was a split among the Orthodox of Ukraine and the Russian Church for 30 years failed to overcome this split. And now, also for pastoral reasons, the Ecumenical Patriarchate was forced to act in accordance with the principle of akribeia, and so it decided to abolish the right to ordain Metropolitans of Kiev which had been earlier transferred to the Moscow Patriarchate in accordance with oikonomia.[447][448]

Arguments against the Ecumenical Patriarchate's claimsEdit

On 20 August 2018, the pro-Moscow anonymous site Union of Orthodox Journalists[82] analysed the Ecumenical Patriarchate's claim of jurisdiction over Ukraine and concluded the See of Kyiv had been transfered to the Patriarchate of Moscow. They added that even if the Ecumenical Patriarchate decided to abrogate the 1686 transfer, the territory covered in 1686 by the See of Kyiv's territory was "a far cry from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of today" and covered less than half of Ukraine's current territory.[449]

In its 15 October 2018 official statement, the Russian Orthodox Church gave counterarguments to the Ecumenical Patriarch's arguments.[2]

Metropilitan Hilarion, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, declared in an interview that Constantinople's plan to "grant Autocephaly to a part of the Russian Orthodox Church [...] that once was subordinate to Constantinople [...] runs counter to historic truth". His argumument is that the entire territory of Ukraine has not been under Constantinople’s jurisdiction for 300 because the Kiev metropolis that was incorporated into the Moscow Patriarchate in 1686 was much smaller (it did not include Donbass, Odessa and some other regions) and therefore does not coincide with the present-day territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.[450] A smiliar argument was given on 13 November in a live phone interview to Radio Liberty by the Head of the Information and Education Department of the UOC-MP, Archbishop Clement.[451][452]

Archbishop Clement of the UOC-MP considers that "to revoke the letter on the transfer of the Kiev Metropolis in 1686 is the same as to cancel the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils of the 4th or 7th centuries."[453][454]

On 8 November the pro-Moscow anonymous website Union of Orthodox Journalists[82] analyzed the same documents as The Ecumenical Throne and the Ukrainian Church (the Patriarchal and Synodal "Act" or "Letter of Issue" of 1686 and the 1686 Patriarchal Letter to the Kings of Russia) and concluded that the See of Kyiv had been "completely transferred to the jurisdiction of the Russian Church in 1686".[455]

Possibility of a pan-Orthodox synaxis on the question of UkraineEdit

The possibility of a pan-Orthodox synaxis has been raised before and after the official break of communion.

On 29 September 2018, the Reverend Alexander Volkov, the press secretary of the Patriarch of Moscow, declared the "[l]ocal [national [- TASS]] Orthodox Churches may initiate a pan-Orthodox Synaxis - consultative assembly or conference - on the problem of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s decision to grant autocephaly to the Church in Ukraine", however the problem was that conveneing such a synaxis is "a prerogative of the First among the Equals, that is, the Ecumenical Patriarch". Volkov noted there was "[o]thers forms [of pan-Orthodox synaxis]. There are the elders of the Church who can take this task upon themselves. [...] If you look at the Diptychs [the table specifying the order of commemorating the Primates of Orthodox Churches - TASS], the next in line [after the Ecumenical Patriarch - TASS] is the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria. Or else, there is the so-called synaxis of the eldest Patriarchs - of Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch[.]"[456]

Thus far, Patriarch John X of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch,[457][277] Patriarch Irinej of the Serbian Orthodox Church,[277] Archbishop Chrysostomos II of the Church of Cyprus,[458] the Polish Orthodox Church primate Metropolitan Sawa (Hrycuniak),[459] the Orthodox Church in America primate Metropolitan Tikhon,[c][322] Archbishop Anastasios, primate of the Albanian Orthodox Church,[304][305][306][307] and three hierarchs of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (Metropolitans Gabriel of Lovech, John of Varna and Veliki Preslav, and Daniel of Vedin)[460] have expressed their desire for a pan-Orthodox synaxis or pan-Orthodox council over the question of Ukraine in various statements. On 12 November 2018, the synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church published a communiqué in which they requested the convocation of a Pan-Orthodox Synod.[279][461]

On 7 November, answering the question "Who could, for instance, convene a Pan-Orthodox Council and chair it?", Metropolitan Hilarion declared in an interview, which was published on the official website of the ROC Department for External Church Relations, that it was "obvious" that the Ecumenical Patriarch could not chair a Pan-Orthodox Council since "the most important problems in the Orthodox world are linked with precisely his [Ecumenical Patriarch] anti-canonical activity"[193]

On 4 December, in an interview, when asked about the fact that convoking a pan-Orthodox council was "according to the canons" a prerogative of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Metropolitan Hilarion replied: "which canons ? [...] I believe those canons do not exist, the Ecumenical councils were not convoked by the Ecumenical Patriarch, they were convoked by the emperor. The fact the Patriarch of Constantinople has been given the right to convey councils in the 20th century is the result of a consensus reached by all the local churches. It is not at a personnal initiative that the council is convoked, but only with the consent of all the local churches. We had, until recently, the first among equals, that is the Patriarch of Constantinople, who convoked the councils [...] in the name of the local Orthodox churches. Now, the unifiying element is no more the Patriarchate of Constantinople which, so to speak, autodestroyed itself. It is its decision. [...] We have to think about the future: who will convoke the councils, will it be the Patriarch of Alexandria, or another Patriarch, or else we will generally not have a council? Whatever. The Patriarch of Constantinople, as long as he stays in schism, even if he convokes a council the Russian Orthodox Church will not take part in it."[462]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Russian: Раскол между РПЦ и Константинопольским; Ukrainian: Розкол між РПЦ і Константинопольським, lit.ROC–Constantinople split
  2. ^ Russian: Раскол Православной церкви; Ukrainian: Розкол Православної церкви, lit. split of the Orthodox Church
  3. ^ Autocephaly for the Orthodox Church in America was granted by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1970 and is not yet fully recognized by all the other Orthodox Churches (including the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople).

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Moscow weighs up the consequences of Orthodox Church schism". The Independent. 16 October 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  2. ^ a b c d "Statement by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church concerning the encroachment of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the canonical territory of the Russian Church | The Russian Orthodox Church". mospat.ru. 15 October 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-26. see also: MacFarquhar, Neil (15 October 2018). "Russia Takes Further Step Toward Major Schism in Orthodox Church". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  3. ^ Zhukovsky, Arkadii. "Stauropegion". Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine. Retrieved 2018-12-01.
  4. ^ "Patriarchal Letter to the Kings of Russia", THE ECUMENICAL THRONE AND THE CHURCH OF UKRAINE - The Documents Speak (September 2018), pp. 35–39 (English translation based on the text published in: Собрание государственных грамот и договоров, хранящихся в государственной коллегии иностранных дел [Collection of state documents and treaties kept in the Collegium of Foreign Affairs], Part Four, Moscow, 1826, 514–517).
  5. ^ "Statement by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church concerning the encroachment of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the canonical territory of the Russian Church | The Russian Orthodox Church". mospat.ru. 15 October 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-26. "the report of the Patriarchate of Constantinople published on October 11, 2018, about the following decisions of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople: confirming the intention ‘to grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church; opening a ‘stauropegion’ of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Kiev; ‘restoring in the rank of bishop or priest’ the leaders of the Ukrainian schism and their followers and ‘returning their faithful to church communion’; ‘recalling the 1686 patent of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the transfer of the Metropolis of Kiev to the Moscow Patriarchate as its part."
  6. ^ a b "Announcement (11/10/2018). - Announcements - The Ecumenical Patriarchate". www.patriarchate.org. 11 October 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-30.
  7. ^ "Statement by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church concerning the encroachment of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the canonical territory of the Russian Church | The Russian Orthodox Church". mospat.ru. Retrieved 2018-10-31. To admit into communion schismatics and a person anathematized in other Local Church [Filared, head of the UOC-KP] with all the ‘bishops’ and ‘clergy’ consecrated by him, the encroachment on somebody else’s canonical regions, the attempt to abandon its own historical decisions and commitments – all this leads the Patriarchate of Constantinople beyond the canonical space and, to our great grief, makes it impossible for us to continue the Eucharistic community with its hierarch, clergy and laity. From now on until the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s rejection of its anti-canonical decisions, it is impossible for all the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church to concelebrate with the clergy of the Church of Constantinople and for the laity to participate in sacraments administered in its churches. See also: "The Ecumenical Patriarchate recognises the independence of the Orthodox metropolis of Kiev". OSW. 2018-10-12. Retrieved 2018-10-31. The recognition of the canonical legitimacy of the two church structures (the KP UOC and the UAOC), which had hitherto been regarded as schismatic, may be assumed to be just a temporary step, aimed at facilitating the reunification of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church into a single organisation."Metropolitan Hilarion: Filaret Denisenko was and remains a schismatic | The Russian Orthodox Church". mospat.ru. Retrieved 2018-10-29., "Russian Orthodox Church Breaks Ties With Constantinople Patriarchate". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  8. ^ a b c "Statement of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church concerning the uncanonical intervention of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church | The Russian Orthodox Church". mospat.ru. 14 September 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-20.
  9. ^ a b c Max Seddon; Roman Olearchyk (14 October 2018). "Putin suffers Crimea blowback with Orthodox Church schism". Financial Times. Retrieved 20 October 2018. But both sides acknowledge the canonical dispute is a proxy for a wider battle over Kiev's independence from Moscow. ... Speaking in front of Kiev’s oldest church on Sunday, Mr Poroshenko cast "autocephaly", or autonomy for the Ukrainian church, as part of Kiev's broader push for integration with the west through EU and Nato membership while withdrawing from agreements with Russia
  10. ^ a b c Volodomyr Shuvayev (19 October 2018). "How Geopolitics Are Driving the Biggest Eastern Orthodox Schism in a Millennium". Stratfor. AFP. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Poroshenko explains timing of Russia's attack on Ukrainian ships near Kerch Strait". UNIAN. 28 November 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  12. ^ a b "Порошенко сказав, чому Путін напав в Керченській протоці саме зараз". espreso.tv. 28 November 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  13. ^ a b ERR, Jason Van Boom, PhD candidate, University of Tartu | (2018-10-21). "Moscow-Constantinople split highlighting Estonia's role in Orthodox church". ERR. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  14. ^ Shubin 2004, p. 39-41.
  15. ^ Shubin 2004, p. 87-88.
  16. ^ Shubin 2004, p. 94.
  17. ^ Rowell, S. C. (1994). Lithuania Ascending: A Pagan Empire Within East-Central Europe, 1295–1345. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought: Fourth Series. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-45011-9.
  18. ^ Hosking 1991, p. 4-5.
  19. ^ Shubin 2004, p. 124-129.
  20. ^ Shubin 2004, p. 130-132.
  21. ^ Shubin 2005, p. 17,35.
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  23. ^ In Russian translation Патриарх Московский и всея России и северных стран
  24. ^ Shubin 2005, p. 26.
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  29. ^ Payne, Daniel P. (October 2015). "Spiritual Security, the Russkiy Mir, and the Russian Orthodox Church: The Influence of the Russian Orthodox Church on Russia's Foreign Policy regarding Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and Armenia". In Hug, Adam. Traditional religion and political power: Examining the role of the church in Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine and Moldova (PDF). The Foreign Policy Center. pp. 65–70.
  30. ^ Bekus, Nelly; Wawrzonek, Michał; Korzenewska-Wisznewska, Mirella (2016-09-01). Orthodoxy Versus Post-Communism? Belarus, Serbia, Ukraine and the Russkiy Mir. ResearchGate: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  31. ^ Petro, Nicolai N. (23 March 2015). "Russia's Orthodox Soft Power". www.carnegiecouncil.org. Retrieved 2018-12-06.
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  33. ^ Loudaros, Andreas (22 October 2018). "Russia paying big money for articles, black propaganda in light of Ukraine developments: Patriarch Bartholomew". Orthodoxia.info. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  34. ^ "Statement of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church 8 November 2000 : Russian Orthodox Church". mospat.ru. Retrieved 2018-11-01. Patriarch Bartholomew issued an ‘Act’ on 20 February 1996 on the renewal of the 1923 Tomos of Patriarch Meletius IV and on the establishment of the ‘Autonomous Orthodox Estonian Metropolia’ on the territory of Estonia. Temporal administration was entrusted to Archbishop John of Karelia and All Finland. A schismatic group headed by the suspended clergymen was accepted into canonical communion. Thus the schism in Estonia became a reality.
    On 23 February 1996, in response to the one-sided and illegal actions of Patriarch Bartholomew the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church resolved to recognize them ‘as schismatic and compelling our Church to suspend canonical and Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople… and to omit the name of the Patriarch of Constantinople in the diptych of the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches’.
  35. ^ "Statement of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church 8 November 2000 : Russian Orthodox Church". mospat.ru. Retrieved 2018-10-28. The text of the memorandum was agreed upon and included into the decisions taken by the Synods of the Orthodox Churches of Constantinople and Moscow on 16 May 1996. The document restored the interrupted communion between the two Patriarchates.
  36. ^ "CNEWA - The Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church". www.cnewa.org. Retrieved 2018-11-01. On May 16 both Holy Synods formally adopted the recommendations made at the Zurich meeting. The agreement provided for parallel jurisdictions in Estonia, and allowed individual parishes and clergy to join either the Estonian autonomous church under Constantinople or the diocese that would remain dependent on Moscow. For its part, Constantinople agreed to a four-month suspension of its February 20th decision to re-establish the Estonian autonomous church. Moscow agreed to lift the penalties that had been imposed on clergy who had joined the autonomous church. Both Patriarchates agreed to work together with the Estonian government, so that all Estonian Orthodox might enjoy the same rights, including rights to property. As a result of this agreement, full communion was restored between Moscow and Constantinople, and the name of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was again included in the diptychs in Moscow.
  37. ^ "Statement of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church 8 November 2000 : Russian Orthodox Church". mospat.ru. Retrieved 2018-10-28.
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  47. ^ a b "To the anniversary of Kharkov Council, or a few words about how M.A. Denisenko was "expelled" from Church". spzh.news. 25 May 2017. Retrieved 2018-11-21.
  48. ^ Losiev, Ihor (8 November 2012). "Filaret: A Statehood-oriented Patriarch". ukrainianweek.com. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  49. ^ The Russian Orthodox Church. "Statement by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church concerning the encroachment of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the canonical territory of the Russian Church". mospat.ru. Retrieved 2018-10-31. By the decision of the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which took place on May 27, 1992, in Kharkov, Metropolitan Philaret (Denisenko), for his failure to fulfil the promises he gave on oath at the cross and the Gospel during the previous Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, was removed from the see of Kiev and suspended.
    The Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, by its Resolution of June 11, 1992, confirmed the decision of the Council of Kharkov and deposed Philaret Denisenko depriving him of all ranks of ministry according to the following accusations: ‘Cruel and arrogant attitude to the clergy under his jurisdiction, diktat and blackmail (Tit. 1: 7-8; Apostolic Canon 27; bringing temptation to the community of the faithful by his behaviour and private life (Mt. 18:7; the First Ecumenical Council Canon 3, the Sixth Ecumenical Council Canon 5); perjury (Apostolic Canon 25); public slander and blasphemy against a Bishops’ Council (Second Ecumenical Council Canon 6); exercising divine offices including ordinations in the state of suspension (Apostolic Canon 28); causing a schism in the Church (Double Council Canon 15). All the ordinations administered by Philaret in the state of suspension since May 27, 1992, and the suspensions imposed by him were recognized as invalid.
    In spite of repeated calls to repentance, Philaret Denisenko after his deposition continued his schismatic activity, also within other Local Churches. By the decision of the 1997 Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, he was anathematized.
  50. ^ "Statement by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church concerning the encroachment of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the canonical territory of the Russian Church | The Russian Orthodox Church". mospat.ru. Retrieved 2018-10-31. In spite of repeated calls to repentance, Philaret Denisenko after his deposition continued his schismatic activity, also within other Local Churches. By the decision of the 1997 Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, he was anathematized. These decisions were recognized by all the Local Orthodox Churches including the Church of Constantinople.
  51. ^ "Metropolitan Hilarion: Filaret Denisenko was and remains a schismatic | The Russian Orthodox Church". mospat.ru. Retrieved 2018-10-30. For us Filaret was and remains a schismatic. [...] [T]he decision of his excommunication in 1997 was correct in every respect. It was recognized by all Local Churches without any exception, the Patriarchate of Constantinople including.
  52. ^ a b "Announcement (11/10/2018). - Announcements - The Ecumenical Patriarchate". www.patriarchate.org. Retrieved 2018-10-27. 3) To accept and review the petitions of appeal of Filaret Denisenko, Makariy Maletych and their followers, who found themselves in schism not for dogmatic reasons, in accordance with the canonical prerogatives of the Patriarch of Constantinople to receive such petitions by hierarchs and other clergy from all of the Autocephalous Churches. Thus, the above-mentioned have been canonically reinstated to their hierarchical or priestly rank, and their faithful have been restored to communion with the Church.
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    1) To renew the decision already made that the Ecumenical Patriarchate proceed to the granting of Autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine. [...]
    4) To revoke the legal binding of the Synodal Letter of the year 1686 [...]
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  184. ^ "Is the Ecumenical Patriarchate Fine with St. Andrew's Church in Kyiv? - Modern Diplomacy". moderndiplomacy.eu. 2018-10-26. Retrieved 2018-10-27. On October 20, the UOC KP Synod changed the title of its head [Filaret]. Now the Church’s Primate will also be called the Archimandrite of Kyiv-Pechersk and Pochaiv Lavras, which seemingly reflects Filaret’s desire to get them at his disposal. At the moment both Lavras belong to the UOC MP [the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)], so it looks like the “Archimandrite” doesn’t want to comply with the fifth point of the Constantinople Synod decree in which the Patriarchate appeals to all sides involved that they avoid appropriation of Churches, Monasteries and other properties.
  185. ^ "Metropolitan Hilarion: Filaret Denisenko was and remains a schismatic | The Russian Orthodox Church". mospat.ru. Retrieved 2018-10-27. Filaret’s appropriation of the title of archimandrite of the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras falls in line with his many times announced claims to these monasteries sacred for the millions of Orthodox Ukrainians. When Constantinople took decision on reinstating him (though it is not clear in which rank – patriarch? metropolitan?) it called upon “all involved parties to avoid the appropriation of churches, monasteries and other property, and any other acts of violence and retaliation.” And Ukrainian President Poroshenko has assured that no property redistribution would occur. However, can one believe these calls and assurances when the chief leader of the schism, now justified by Constantinople, does not hide his plans of seizing the main holy sites of the canonical Ukrainian Church, while the nationalistic groups are ready to commit the seizure with his ‘blessing’? It seems that only the absence of tomos of autocephaly still deters from violent actions those willing to do away with the canonical Church as quickly as possible.
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    The priest was commenting on Patriarch Bartholomew's remark on Monday that his privileges are based on Ecumenical Council canons, that everyone in the Orthodox world has to respect them, and that the Russian Orthodox Church will therefore follow Constantinople's decisions on Ukraine sooner or later.
    The priest argued that the canons mentioned by Patriarch Bartholomew ranked the bishop of Constantinople second, following the bishop of Rome, on a list of Churches existing when the canons were drawn up, on the grounds that Constantinople was the seat of the czar and the Senate.
    "Given that the Byzantine Empire long ago ceased to exist and that Istanbul is not even the capital of Turkey now, there are no more canonical foundations even for the symbolic primacy of the Constantinople Patriarchate in the Orthodox world," he said.
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    "I replied that I personally agreed, but I will gather the bishops, because it’s not solely I who makes decisions,” explained the "metropolitan". "We give it away, but you have to give us something in return.<...> There is a church of St. Cyril, there is a reserve, there is a church of the Savior on Berestov – here we go. And in the ZIK program, the president said he’d promised to make it up for both Filaret and Makariy, but it will be one church to get by. So, one has to be consistent. I can be deceived once, twice, but it will not work anymore."
    "Moscow (temples – Ed.) won’t be transferred, whereas the only cathedral of the UAOC can be. Such justice we have, complained Makariy. " Filaret also has monasteries, churches, serves in Little Sofia. So the president is not acting in good faith, even though I praised him."
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    [...]
    He also noted that the Serbian Orthodox Church does not accept the existence of two different and bickering Orthodox Christianities, one "Phanariotic", and the other of "Moscow" - but instead believes in one, holy, communal and apostolic Church of Christ.
    "In short: we are not for Moscow, but for the full respect of the centuries-old canonical order, and we are not against Constantinople, but against any initiative that, even independently of good intentions, would certainly cause even more severe shocks and divisions than we already have," he said.
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