Constantinople is Threatening Schism in the Church, Says Russian Orthodox Church Leaders

According to the Russian Orthodox Church, the Patriarch of Constantinople is guilty of interference in the affairs of another local church, and these actions are leading to a stalemate between the Russian and Constantinopolitan churches, creating a real threat to the unity of the whole world of Orthodoxy.

Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople is threatening the unity of the entire Orthodox world, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church said in a statement.

As reported by ria.ru, they said the Moscow Patriarchate would reply very soon, regarding Constantinople's appointment of its representatives to Ukraine.

According to a statement issued on the Russian Orthodox Church's website:

"In justification of his interference in the affairs of another local church, the Patriarch of Constantinople gives false interpretations of historical facts and refers to the allegedly 'exclusive' powers that he possesses, which he really does not possess and never possessed. These actions lead to a stalemate between the Russian and Constantinopolitan churches, creating a real threat to the unity of the whole world of Orthodoxy."

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church also warned that "all responsibility for these anticanonical acts falls personally on Patriarch Bartholomew and those persons in the Constantinopolitan Church who support them."

"The response of the Moscow Patriarchate will follow very soon," the Synod said.

On Friday, September 7, the Patriarchate of Constantinople had reported that "in preparation for granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine," Archbishop Daniel of Pamphylia of the United States and Bishop Hilarion of Canada were appointed as exarchs in Kiev.

Petro Poroshenko — the President of Ukraine —  is trying to achieve recognition of religious structures not historically approved by leaders of the Orthodox Church. And on this basis, he is trying to create a single local autocephalous (independent) church in Ukraine, outside the framework of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Earlier, he had said that the government would not interfere in internal church affairs, but at the same time he repeated the alleged "need" for autocephaly (independence) of the church in Ukraine.

The Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church replied, stating that external forces are attempting to turn the church into an integral part of geopolitics, ideology and state security, although this contradicts the vocation of the church. The UOC is convinced that the church should not be an instrument in the hands of the state or political ideology, no matter where it comes from. Bishops believe that attempts to change the status of the church in Ukraine will deepen the schism in Orthodoxy and society and lead to a restriction of her rights and freedoms.

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