Alexandria Patriarch May Mediate Between Moscow, Istanbul Over Ukraine Church Row - Bishop

Alexandria Patriarch May Mediate Between Moscow, Istanbul Over Ukraine Church Row - Bishop

Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodoros II could mediate the row between Moscow and Istanbul over the issue of independence of Ukrainian Orthodox Church and visit the cities soon, Bishop Panteleimon of Damietta told Sputnik on Saturday.

CAIRO (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 13th October, 2018) Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodoros II could mediate the row between Moscow and Istanbul over the issue of independence of Ukrainian Orthodox Church and visit the cities soon, Bishop Panteleimon of Damietta told Sputnik on Saturday.

On Thursday, the Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate announced that it would proceed to grant independence to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, which is currently split into three major churches the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) of Moscow Patriarchate, the non-canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP), created after the Soviet collapse, and the so-called Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

"We regret attempts to separate the Ukrainian Church from the Moscow Patriarchate... These decisions were not approved by the Alexandria Orthodox Church. Alexandria Patriarch Theodoros II wants to step in to end the conflict and keep the Ukrainian Church within the Moscow Patriarchate," Bishop Panteleimon said.

The bishop said that Patriarch Theodoros II was on a trip to Zimbabwe.

"When he comes back, he may travel to Moscow and Istanbul to meet with patriarchs of Moscow and Constantinople in order to settle the dispute and keep the Ukrainian Church within the Moscow Patriarchate," he added.

The Istanbul-based synod also lifted anathema from the heads of the two non-canonical churches that had been excommunicated by the Russian Orthodox Church for their schism. The Constantinople Patriarchate also revoked its decision to grant Moscow Patriarchate the right to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev, which dates back to 1686.

The synod's decision has been welcomed by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who looks to establish a single independent church in the country.

The Russian Orthodox Church called the synod's decision "legalization of schism," saying it would have catastrophic consequences for millions of Christians in Ukraine and abroad. The Moscow-affiliated Ukrainian Orthodox Church described the synod's decision as a hostile act that interfered with its affairs, and threatened the Constantinople patriarch with anathema.

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