Skip to comments.Ukraine could beat Putin in Church Battle
Posted on 09/03/2018 2:31:55 PM PDT by CondoleezzaProtege
Ukraine cant reclaim territory annexed by Russia or held by its proxies but its increasingly likely to deprive its larger neighbor of something arguably as valuable: Its power over Ukraines Orthodox Christian believers, and with it Moscows claim to a central role in eastern Christianity.
Moscow Patriarch Kirill went to Istanbul late last month to meet with Bartholomew (of Constantinople). A bishop who was present said that while no final decision was made on Ukrainian autocephaly, the process has now gone too far to reverse it. Russian clerics have warned that granting independence to the Ukrainian church could cause a global schism, but Patriarch Bartholomew recently rejected that rhetoric. We neither threaten anyone, nor are we threatened by anyone, he said. We only fear God.
The Moscow Patriarchate has been in charge of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church since the 17th century. When Filaret, the Mitropolitan of Kiev, lost the political struggle for the post of Moscow Patriarch in 1992, he split off part of the Ukrainian church to align with a newly independent Ukraine.
Moscow fought the schism; Filaret was maligned in the Russian media and eventually excommunicated by the Moscow Patriarchate. The Ecumenical Patriarchate initially allied itself with Moscow in not recognizing an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the way it extends recognition, for example, to the Greek, Serbian, Bulgarian and Romanian churches.
In 2013, the year before Russia annexed Crimea, Ukraine accounted for about a third of the Patriarchate's 33,489 churches and 30,430 priests. The biggest and most venerated monastery in Kiev, the Monastery of the Caves, belongs to the Moscow Patriarchate.
Autocephaly is likely to drive many, if not most, Moscow Patriarchate priests to defect.
As for the faithful themselves, two-thirds of Ukrainians who consider themselves Orthodox Christians have deserted the Moscow-led church in droves.
(Excerpt) Read more at kyivpost.com ...
Under Putin, the church has drawn closer to the state than at any time since the Revolution of 1917.
Putin should adhere to Patriarch Kirill’s opposition to abortion.
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