02:36 GMT29 January 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church Irinej called the Constantinople Patriarchate’s decision to grant independence to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as a catastrophic move.

    Last week, the Constantinople Synod decided to grant independence to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and lift anathema from the leaders of two non-canonical churches, excommunicated by the Russian Orthodox Church for their “schism.” It also reversed a 1686 decision that transferred the Kiev Metropolis to the Moscow Patriarchate.

    “Today our church is facing a great temptation. Our first hierarch, ecumenical patriarch [Bartholomew I], fell into the temptation to make a decision that may become catastrophic for the church, to make something he has no right for, to recognize the schismatic church and even give an autocephaly to it,” Irinej told the Serbian Orthodox Church’s broadcaster on Monday.

    READ MORE: Lebanese Orthodox Party Backs Russian Orthodox Church in Constantinople Row

    The Serbian patriarch pointed out that the move was unprecedented for the Orthodox Church.

    “I believe that all the [Orthodox] churches will point out that the decision is catastrophic in order to avoid the catastrophic religious split. Hopefully, the Lord will save us from this temptation,” Irinej added.

    On Monday, the Russian Holy Synod decided to completely break the Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The synod also called the latter’s move to revoke the 1686 act on transfer of the Kiev Metropolis under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate as canonically void. At the same time Constantinople’s move was welcomed by the Ukrainian authorities.


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