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    Split in Ukraine's Orthodox Church Community Linked to Politics - Kremlin

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The divisive activity in Ukraine's Orthodox community, as Kiev is striving for an independent Orthodox church, is intertwined with politics, which is hardly acceptable by church rules, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.

    "We can see that these processes, this schismatic activity in Ukraine is closely intertwined with politics, which of course could hardly be acceptable by church rules. But on the other hand, we know that schismatics do not really follow the canon laws of the church," Peskov told reporters.

    READ MORE: Canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church Says Not Taking Part in Autocephaly

    The presidential spokesman stressed that the Kremlin never got involved in internal church affairs, unlike Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

    "The attitude of the Russian Orthodox Church is well known, and you know that this is about the relations among churches. In this case, we do not believe we can interfere in these processes," Peskov told reporters.

    When asked what he meant by the politics in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the presidential spokesman pointed to "the direct participation of the Ukrainian president in this matter."

    READ MORE: Ukrainian Churches File Suits to Contest MP's Decision to Support Autocephaly

    At the same time, Metropolitan Antony Pakanich said after the extraordinary session of the UOC-MP Synod that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) will remain the only canonical church in the country despite Kiev's intention to create a unified autocephalous church.

    "At the [so-called unifying council] two non-canonical structures were unified. It was a unification of two divisive movements and the decision has no significance for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. There is only one canonical church in Ukraine and that is Ukrainian Orthodox Church," the metropolitan said.

    The split took place on December 15, after a so-called unifying council was held in Kiev, where "metropolitan" of the non-canonical church structure, Epiphany Dumenko was elected the head of the "new church." According to Ukrainian media, only two bishops of the canonical UOC-MP participated in the council. The UOC-MP believes that the importance of the council within the church canon law is next to nothing, while the recognition of Epiphany by the Orthodox community will be a nearly impossible task.

    The Ukrainian authorities are expecting to receive an official decree on an independent church from Constantinople in January.

    The step was taken after in April, Poroshenko has asked Constantinople to resolve the issue with an independent church in Ukraine, while Poroshenko's aide went to Istanbul to meet the Patriarch of Constantinople on autocephaly.

    Reacting to this move, the Russian Orthodox Church called Constantinople's decision a schism, with the church's Holy Synod announcing that it broke Eucharistic communion with Constantinople.

    Related:

    Canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church Says Not Taking Part in Autocephaly
    Russian Church Vows Tough Response to Constantinople Over Split Ukraine Church
    Tags:
    Orthodox Church in Ukraine, Dmitry Peskov, Ukraine, Russia
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