A great schism. The response of the Russian Orthodox Church for autocephaly of Ukraine

Великий раскол. Ответ РПЦ на автокефалию Украины

The Russian Orthodox Church broke off relations with the Patriarchate of Constantinople because of the decision to grant autocephaly to Ukraine.

All of this was going. The decision of the Ecumenical Patriarch to grant the Ukrainian Orthodox Church autocephaly, the Russian Orthodox Church responded by breaking off relations with Constantinople.

Say, such a gap could be the biggest since the Great schism of 1054.

Correspondent.net has gathered the reaction to this decision.

The decision of the Russian Orthodox Church

The decision on rupture of relations with Constantinople were accepted at the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church in Minsk.

Now the bishops and priests of the Moscow and Constantinople Patriarchates will not be able to serve together. The congregation don’t take communion and participate in other ordinances. Patriarch Kirill will commemorate Patriarch Bartholomew during liturgies.

It is the highest degree of alienation between the churches. Parishioners of the Russian Orthodox Church will not be able to pray and take communion in the churches on mount Athos in Greece.

According to the head of the Department for external Church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion, it was a “forced decision”, but otherwise the Sacred Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church could not accept because “this led the whole logic of the recent actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople”.

From the point of view of the Russian Orthodox Church, they are “lawless and canonically void,” said Hilarion.

“ROC doesn’t accept those decisions will not follow them. The split remains a schism, the schism leaders remain leaders of division. And that Church, which, recognizing Raskolnikov, he joined with them in fellowship, thus excluded from the canonical field,” said Hilarion.

In the ROC I hope that Constantinople will change his mind on Ukraine.

Controversial issues

The Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarch abolished the Synodal letter in 1686, which gave the right of the Patriarch to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev. And resumed Stavropolyu Ecumenical Patriarch in Kiev.

In the ROC’s decision not to recognize and claim the gift of the Moscow ecclesiastical authorities in Ukraine not to be withdrawn. There continue to consider Ukraine as its canonical territory.

Also the Ecumenical Patriarch canceled anathema, which put the ROC on the head of the Kyivan Patriarch Filaret and the head of the UAOC Macarius. Moscow did not recognize these decisions, the anathema imposed on the ROC, but she can also cancel the emphasize in the Russian Church.

Not the first gap

The Eucharistic communion of the Russian Orthodox Church with the Ecumenical Patriarchate has been interrupted due to the events in Estonia. In 1996, Patriarch Bartholomew accepted the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church under his canonical jurisdiction. Then the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, chaired by Patriarch Alexy decided to suspend the canonical and Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Until 2001, the Patriarchates held several rounds of negotiations, they managed to normalize relations and communication was restored.

The Reaction Of Kiev

The Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church reiterates the policy of the Kremlin and is on the path of self-isolation in response to the legitimate decisions of the international community, said the representative of the Kyiv Patriarchate yevstratii Zoria.

“The Patriarch since 1991, personally, is the architect of separation of the Ukrainian Church. Therefore, it is difficult to admit guilt for 27 years about activities that delayed the fullness of Orthodoxy in the conflict,” he said.

In his opinion, the situation “will sooner or later be fixed and the Russian Orthodox Church will return to the fellowship.”

“Now before all belonging to the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine, the question arises: to go along with the ROC in division or remain in unity with universal Orthodoxy through Local Ukrainian Church?”, – summed up the dawn.

What will happen next

Russia is afraid of Ukraine wars for the parishes and churches, but also a serious division of society. On 13 October, Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed with the permanent members of the security Council of Russia, the situation around the process of granting autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church.

Press Secretary of Russian President Dmitry Peskov said that in case of persecution against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate Russia will protect the interests of the Orthodox, “both protects the interests of Russian-speaking”.

In Ukraine promise that after the decision on autocephaly “there will be no pressure” on believers who decide to stay in a Church structure that will preserve the unity of the Orthodox Church. But the interior Ministry stepped up security of churches and temples.

In the Western press believe that the question has long moved from the purely ecclesiastical to the political plane. The loss of Ukraine – a serious blow not only for RPTS, but for the Kremlin after years of trying to keep control of this country gave the opposite effect, writes the Financial Times.

The publication quotes Russian expert Andrei Desnitsky, who believes that this conflict is a symptom of the loss of Russian world influence after the invasion of the Crimea. “Russia is moving away from the global community towards voluntary isolationism, he believes. – We risk the same thing in Church life: a real Orthodox – that we and those who agree with us, and the rest are heretics and traitors, God is with us and only us”.

The statement of the Russian Orthodox Church about the split with Constantinople led to the emergence of “two warring Orthodox worlds,” quotes RBC words of the employee of the Center for the study of problems of religion and society Institute of Europe RAS Roman Lunkin.

The expert believes that the current breakup is not similar to the one that temporarily occurred in 1996 for Estonia. “Now the political circumstances, and impact Church are completely different. Then relatively quickly came to a compromise, this is now continued in Estonia structure of Moscow and the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Then the ROC, it turns out, made concessions, after all, did not put a condition of care of the Patriarchate of Constantinople from this country, but then there was the problem of dissenters. Currently, the political heat is much higher, this is evident in Poroshenko’s statements, and the discussion in the Russian media,” said Lunkin.

Moscow urges to collect all 14 Orthodox Patriarchates in order to discuss the situation. Maybe this will help, or Orthodox world is completely divided into two warring camps.