Previously, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople announced that he would soon grant autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, triggering a harsh response from the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia has ruled to "suspend the service at the hierarchical level with the Orthodox Church of Constantinople and the participation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia in the work of the Episcopal Assemblies."
Later in the day, Ukrainian Orthodox Church also announced its decision to suspend joint services with Constantinople patriarchate's hierarchs after a Synod meeting in the Kiev Pechersk Lavra.
Relations between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople deteriorated due to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew's decision to appoint his episcopal representatives in Kiev within the framework of preparations for granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.
The Russian Orthodox Church, in turn, considers the move to be an invasion of the canonical territory of another local church, motivated purely by political reasons, and which threatens to split Orthodoxy. According to Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Russian Orthodox Church would break off Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople if it grants autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church.
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