Published: Fri, October 19, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Russian Federation promises tough response to Ecumenical Patriachate over Ukraine

Russian Federation promises tough response to Ecumenical Patriachate over Ukraine

Arriving in Minsk on Saturday, Patriarch Kirill, who has close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters: "I hope the Orthodox Church will find the strength to overcome stay united". "The only serious competition and appeals not to recognize Constantinople's special status come from Moscow", Chaplin says. But the 2014 annexation of Crimea and Russia's continued support for separatists fighting against Kyiv in the east drove a wedge in relations that led Ukrainian clerics to declare their own autonomous church. It's an issue of Ukrainian national security.

Bartholomew's decision recognized a Ukrainian church that had sought to break from the Moscow Patriarchate since 1991, when Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union. The announcement was made by the Metropolitan of Moscow, Patriarch Hilarion, after the Synod's meeting in Minsk.

Many Ukrainians see the Moscow branch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as a tool of the Kremlin.

However, the Russian Orthodox Church also said it hoped Constantinople would change its mind so that a schism could be avoided.

"Just as Russia opposed itself to the entire world community with its aggressive imperial policy, now the Russian Church is on the path of self-isolation and conflict with the world Orthodoxy", he wrote on his Facebook page. Sometimes they ceremonially bless Russian military jets and space rockets.

"The Finnish Orthodox Church is always ready for constructive dialogue with the Russian Orthodox Church".

There are fears that, with a full-blown dispute between Church authorities, congregations could be shut out of certain churches.

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The authorities shall "ensure that there will be no use of force, but how do they then transfer our churches and local to others?", was concerned with the AFP Ukrainian archbishop Kliment Vetcheria, spokesperson of the Church loyal to Moscow.

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

Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin would defend "the interests of Russians and Russian speakers and the interests of the Orthodox", but only by using "political and diplomatic measures".

Given the longer-term harm it is now clear that the 2014 intervention did to Putin's neo-imperial project, however, any attempt to impinge on Ukraine's religious freedom would be even more misguided - and risky, The Financial Times editorial concludes.

He added that Constantinople's decision effectively creates a religious schism. "If the Russians are missing, that is something like half of the faithful in the Orthodox world, which is very significant".

Constantinople holds sway over 300 million Orthodox Christians globally. In the first half of 2018 alone, Ukraine witnessed 10 new attacks on Russian Orthodox Churches.

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