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ROC breaks relations with Constantinople
The Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) has decided to cut all ties with Constantinople Patriarchate in response to its actions, TASS reports. Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew announced his intention to give autocephaly to the schismatic church in Ukraine.
The ROC Hierarchs explained that Ukraine is the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate. Attempts to create a new church here is nothing more than a crude invasion of its borders. Constantinople declared that it launched the granting of autocephaly (independence) to the church of Ukraine, canceled the decision of 1686 to transfer the Kiev Metropolis to the Moscow Patriarchate and lifted the anathema from the heads of two non-canonical churches in Ukraine – Filaret, the Patriarch of the Kiev, and Makariy, the Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church.
There are more than 12 thousand churches and 2 hundred monasteries of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) of the Moscow Patriarchate currently located in Ukrainian territory.
The decision to stop full communion makes joint divine services impossible until the Constantinople revises its statements. Worshippers of the Russian Orthodox Church will not be able to pray and receive eucharist in the temples on Mount Athos since it is the canonical territory of the Constantinople Patriarchate.
The decision of the Synod is the only possible in the current situation as the ROC did everything to avoid situation aggravation, Spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchate Vladimir Legoida says. According to him, ROC "has absolutely nothing to be blamed for." He stressed that the ROC did not provoke such actions led, as members of the Synod stated now, to the withdrawal of the Constantinople Patriarchate from the canonical church. The priest expressed the hope that the Patriarchate of Constantinople would reconsider its decisions.