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Windemere

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Reply with quote  #1 
Ever since Ukraine gained its independence in the early 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, there have been 3 seperate Eastern Orthodox Churches there. The largest of these is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) which is headed by Archbishop Onufriy of Kyiv, who is subordinate to Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow Kirill I.  Up until now, this was the sole canonical Eastern Orthodox Church of the Ukraine. This Church is autonomous (self-governing, but not independent). Next was the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate) headed by Patriarch Filaret of Kyiv. This Church broke away from the Moscow Patriarchate after Ukraine became independent, and declared its own autocephaly (independence). It hasn't been recognised as canonical by the rest of Eastern Orthodoxy, although it claimed the loyalty of a significant proportion of the Ukrainian population. The third Church, smaller than the preceding two, was the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, headed by Patriarch Makariy. This Church is a revival of an older independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church which had originated after the collapse of the Russian Empire in the early 1900s. Eastern Orthodoxy hasn't recognised it as canonical. 

Last September 2018, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate) and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church announced that they would merge. The merger was praised by Ukrainian President Poroshenko, who very likely had a hand in arranging it. Ecumenical Eastern Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople ( primus inter pares, first among equals of the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs) announced that he would recognise the newly proclaimed Church as autocephalous and canonical. This announcement infuriated the Russian Orthodox Moscow Patriarchate, which claims jurisdiction over the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. (It's held this jurisdiction since 1686.) Then, in October, the Moscow Patriarchate broke communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Moscow Patriarchate advised its subordinate Ukrainian Orthodox Church to stand firm, and resist any attempt to convince its parishes to join with the newly-created  national Orthodox Church of the Ukraine. President Putin of Russia has also condemned the creation of the new Ukrainian national Orthodox church.

Last week on Jan.6, 2019, in a ceremony at St. George's Cathedral in Istanbul, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew formally granted a tomos (decree of autocephaly) to the new Church. The new church will be known as the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Present at the ceremony was the newly-installed Eparch (Primus) of the new church, Archbishop Epifaniy of Kyiv. President Poroshenko of Ukraine was also present.

Patriarch Filaret (whose title of Patriarch was never recognised by the Ecumenical Patriarch) back in Ukraine has stated that he is still Patriarch of the Ukraine, and that it is a lifetime title. That is evidently why the new Primus, Archbishop Epifaniy ( who's a close protege of Filaret) has only taken the title of Eparch, and not that of Patriarch. And so Filaret, now about 90 years old, will apparently remain as a sort of 'honorary' Patriarch. President Poroshenko and the Ukrainian Rada (legislature) have promulgated a new law ordering the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) to oficially change its name to indicate that it is a subsidiary of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) has protested and appealled this law (fearing that it will be used as a pretext to deprive it of its churches and property, in order to turn them over to the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine. 

In Eastern Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople upholds the concept of Romaiosyne, which sees the Patriarch of Constantinople as the 'first among equals' of all the Orthodox Patriarchs, and Constantinople as the 'Mother Church' of Eastern Orthodoxy.  It claims jurisdiction over all the Eastern Orthodox faithful outside of the national Eastern Orthodox nations, and it claims the prerogative of granting autocephaly to new national Orthodox churches. Opposed to Romiosyne is the Russian Orthodox Church's concept of Russkiy Mir, which asserts that all the peoples of Holy Rus, in the original Baptism of Vladimir, must be bound together in unity under the Patriarch of Moscow, and that only itself may grant autonomy or autocephaly to such Greater Russian churches. 

The present civil war in Ukraine, and the partial control of Ukraine's two easternmost oblasts (Lugansk and Donetsk) by rebel forces supported by Russia, as well as Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, is surely exacerbationg the hostile relationship between the churches of Russia and of Ukraine. (Ironically, the Russian Orthodox Church presently still recognises the jurisdiction of its subsidiary  Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) over the parishes in the Crimea.) The Ukraine itself is still badly divided among those who wish for closer relations with the European Union and Nato, and those who wish for closer ties with Russia. 

And so, at present, the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchates of Constantinople and Moscow are apparently no longer in communion with each other. Most other national Eastern Orthodox Churches haven't said much about this sad and regrettable situation. We can only hope that in time they will be able to find a way to mend relations. 




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Dis Aliter Visum "Beware of martyrs and those who would die for their beliefs; for they frequently make many others die with them, often before them, sometimes instead of them."
DavidV

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Posts: 4,978
Reply with quote  #2 
There are competing canonical Orthodox jurisdictions in Estonia and Moldova as well, which reflect the political and ethnic divides in those countries.

Non-canonical Orthodoxy falls into the following categories:

- the nationalist schisms such as Ukraine (until 2018), Montenegro and Macedonia, separating from canonical Russian and Serbian jurisdictions.

- the traditionalist schisms such as the various Genuine Orthodox (Old Calendarist) churches in Greece, and until 2007 ROCOR in Russia. Not all Russian "True Orthodox" accepted reconciliation with Moscow, thus producing more schismatic churches. The Russian schisms fall somewhere between the politically-based and traditionalist categories.
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