21:48 GMT +318 December 2018
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    Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia during a solemn liturgy dedicated to the great feast of Nativity at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow

    Russian Orthodox Church Demands Apology From Constantinople Amid Schism

    © Sputnik / Vladimir Astapkovich
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Russian Orthodox Church calls on Constantinople to apologize for the damage that its decision to grant independence to the Ukrainian non-canonical church has inflicted on the orthodoxy of Ukraine and the whole world, the spokesman for Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill said Monday.

    "This path can be abandoned very quickly by dialogue. There is only one factor — Constantinople's realization of the fallaciousness of its actions and decisions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and its Synod, and apologies for those actions that have already caused significant damage to the orthodoxy of the world and the future of the orthodoxy in Ukraine," Alexander Volkov said.

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

    On October 8, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church decided to completely "break the Eucharistic communion" with the Patriarchate of Constantinople after the latter launched preparations for granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

    Earlier in October, the Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate announced that it would proceed to granting independence to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, which is currently split into three major churches — the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) of Moscow Patriarchate, the non-canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP), which was created after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the so-called Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

    The Synod announced that it lifted the anathema from the heads of the two non-canonical churches that had been excommunicated by the Russian Orthodox Church for their schism. The Constantinople Patriarchate also revoked its decision to grant Moscow Patriarchate the right to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev, which dates back to 1686.

    The synod's decision has been welcomed by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who seeks to establish a single independent church in the country.

    The Russian Orthodox Church called the synod's decision the "legalization of schism," saying that it would have catastrophic consequences and would affect millions of Christians in Ukraine and other countries. The Moscow-affiliated Ukrainian Orthodox Church said that the synod’s decision was a hostile act, interfering with the Ukrainian church's affairs, and threatened the Constantinople patriarch with anathema.

    Related:

    Lebanese Orthodox Party Backs Russian Orthodox Church in Constantinople Row
    Russian Orthodox Church Suspends Communion With Constantinople Patriarchate
    Russian Church Vows Tough Response to Constantinople Over Split Ukraine Church
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    apologies, Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate, Russian Orthodox Church, Russia
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