In the largest schism in Orthodox Christianity for over a century, the Russian Orthodox Church has cut all ties with the Constantinople Patriarchate over a “historic” decision to recognize the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as independent.
Metropolitan Hilarion, a bishop in charge of the Russian Orthodox, told journalists that the decision to break relations with the Constantinople Patriarchate was taken by The Holy Synod, the governing body of the Russian Orthodox Church, in Minsk, Belarus on Monday.
In an official declaration, members of the Holy Synod wrote that allowing another church to break away “is tantamount to renouncing its historical roots and commitments” making it “impossible” for the Russian Orthodox Church to continue its union with Constantinople.
The Holy Synod has also urged other Orthodox Churches to properly evaluate a decision taken by Constantinople and to “search for ways out of the gravest crisis that is tearing apart the body of church”.
He also expressed the hope the decision will be reversed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which counts in its fold close to 300 million Orthodox Christians.
On 15 October, the Istanbul-based leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Ecumenical Patriarch I Bartholomew of Constantinople, took the monumental decision to recognise the full independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, after a three-day Synod.