Russian Orthodox Church breaks ties with Orthodoxy’s leader
The Russian Orthodox Church says it’s severing ties with the leader of the worldwide Orthodox community after his decision to grant Ukrainian clerics independence from the Moscow Patriarchate.
Metropolitan Hilarion said the church’s Holy Synod decided to “”break the Eucharistic communion” with the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The move comes after the Istanbul-based patriarchate, whose head Bartholomew I is considered the “first among equals” of Orthodox church leaders, removed its condemnation of leaders of schismatic Orthodox churches in Ukraine. Last week’s decision marked a step toward establishing an ecclesiastically independent — or autocephalous — church in Ukraine.
The church in Ukraine has been under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church since the late 1600s, but calls for independence have increased since Moscow’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.