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Russian church denounces Istanbul’s attempt to ‘destroy’ the foundations of Orthodoxy.12 October 2018
Although the Russian church is the largest and most influential member of the Orthodox community, the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the church’s ancient home, Istanbul, is regarded as the first among equals when it comes to church affairs.
“The unprecedented anti-canonical act of the Patriarchate of Constantinople is connected with an attempt to destroy the very foundations of the canonical structure of the Orthodox Church,” Russian Orthodox spokesman Vladimir Legoida fumed after the Holy Synod in Istanbul’s announcement yesterday, according to the Religious Information Service of Ukraine (RISU).
Another spokesman said in televised remarks that “the Patriarchate of Constantinople has crossed a red line," AFP reports.
Two Ukrainian Orthodox churches broke away from the Moscow Patriarchy after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko lobbied hard for Istanbul to recognize the largest of the pair, the Kyiv Patriarchy, as independent.
"This is a victory of good over evil, light over darkness," Poroshenko said yesterday, adding that Ukraine has been waiting for this "historic event" for more than 330 years.
It is also a major personal victory, coming as Poroshenko’s re-election campaign gears up for presidential elections in March.
Russian Patriarch Kirill went to Istanbul in early September in a last-ditch effort to forestall the Holy Synod’s granting autonomy to the Kyiv church. Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople’s sympathies for the Kyiv church are no secret. Last month he said recognition of Kyiv would be only just, since Russia is responsible for “the current painful situation in Ukraine” and is “unable to solve the problem.”
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