Poroshenko accuses Russia of meddling in Ukraine's affairs on church issue

Clay Curtis
October 19, 2018

The US State Department has backed a decision by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople to endorse Ukraine's request for an "autocephalous", or independent, church, while praising Patriarch Vartholomaios as "the voice of religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue".

Ukraine last week secured approval from Constantinople to establish an independent church in what Kiev said was a vital step against Russian meddling in its affairs, but that the Russian Orthodox Church lamented as the biggest split in Christianity for a thousand years.

"We are hoping common sense will prevail and that the Constantinople Patriarchate will change its relations to existing church reality", he said.

Ukraine accuses the Russian Orthodox Church of wielding a pernicious influence on its soil, allowing itself to be used as a tool of the Kremlin to justify Russian expansionism and support of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Orthodox parishes in Tajikistan is administratively subordinated to Dushanbinsky diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church (part of the Central Asian Metropolitan district) with the diocesan office in Dushanbe and there are six churches and prayer houses, which are five priests. "That's why yesterday on the sacred Synod of Russian Orthodox Church in Minsk was broken Eucharistic communion with the Church of Constantinople", said the source.

According to the US government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Press Service, Archbishop Yevstratiy claimed that Orthodox Christians must choose whether to follow the Russian Orthodox "into schism" or "remain in unity with the Ecumenical Patriarch (Bartholomew I of Constantinople) through the Local Ukrainian Church". He also said that the present situation in the inter-Church relations has become an unfortunate result of Kiev's reckless policies.

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Moldova's pro-Russian President, Igor Dodon, has said that he will soon present an initiative to hold a pan-Orthodox Council on the territory of Moldova.

The Orthodox churches in many former Soviet republics are under the direct jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who was the author of the bill, hailed the parliament's decision as bringing the independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church closer.

Ukraine's parliament on Thursday voted to hand over a landmark Kiev church to the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate after it agreed to recognize the independence of Ukraine's Orthodox Church.

Orthodox Christians in Ukraine have recently been divided into three separate groups.

The Orthodox visit the Vatican and the Catholics spend time in Russian Federation, which "helps us to overcome misconceptions, enriches us spiritually and lays the foundation for cooperation between our churches".

"Dushanbinsky the diocese is the canonical subjection of the Russian Orthodox Church".

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