Russian Orthodox Church responds to Constantinople over no-choice statement
Secretary of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Igor Yakimchuk says that the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is not obliged to obey the decisions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
He did not agree with the position of Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I that Constantinople has exclusive rights, the Russian media outlet RBC reported.
"The Orthodox Ecumenical Council foresees no special privileges for the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Except for the privileges of honor, which do not give any authority beyond the limits of this church. Accordingly, neither the ROC nor any other church has any obligation to obey the decisions of Constantinople," Yakimchuk said.
He described the current line of Bartholomew's behavior as "non-Orthodox Catholic," when certain special powers are assigned to one of the primates. "The Russian Church disagrees with such an approach. It violates the purity of the Orthodox faith," he said.
As UNIAN reported earlier, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on October 22 said the Russian side would have to accept the decision of Constantinople on the Ukrainian church issue. "Whether our Russian brothers like it or not, sooner or later they will follow the decisions that the Ecumenical Patriarch has made since they have no other choice," he said.
Following a meeting of the Holy Synod, a decision was announced on October 11, stating that the Ecumenical Patriarchate proceeds to granting autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine. In addition, the legal binding of the Synod's letter of 1686 was abolished, thus taking the Kyiv Metropolis from under Moscow's canonical jurisdiction. Also, head of the UOC of the Kyiv Patriarchate Filaret and head of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church Makariy were reinstated in their canonical status.
The Kremlin vowed to protect the interests of Orthodox Church members in Ukraine "politically and diplomatically," claiming Moscow did not intend to interfere in the "interchurch dialogue."
On October 15, the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church ruled to sever eucharistic communication with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.