The Russian Orthodox Church has severed– in laymen’s terms– diplomatic relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, which has spiritual authority over the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians.
The shocking move by the Russian arm of Orthodoxy– the largest of the world’s Orthodox Christian Churches– comes amid news that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will grant autocephalous status to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine– a move vehemently opposed by the Russians.
Russian Church spokesman Vladimir Legoida said the the Moscow-based Holy Synod, had decided to suspend participation in all structures and church committees chaired or co-chaired by representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and will cease all joint services.
In a more telling move of the souring of relations, Russian Patriarch Kirill will stop commemorating, or mentioning the name of the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, in his prayers, the Synod’s decision says.
Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Russian Church’s foreign relations department, described it as “a breakdown of relations” and explained, in secular life, as a breakdown in diplomatic ties.
“To take an example from secular life, the decision is roughly equivalent to cutting diplomatic ties,” he was quoted by RIA news agency as saying.
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