VIDEO: [Vesti] Russian commentator provides background leading to a breakdown in cooperation between Patriarchs Kirill of Moscow and Bartholomew of Constantinople [English subtitles]
The church also announced at a meeting of top priests that it would not even remember Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in its prayers.
The meeting was called in order to respond to the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s decision last week to allow the Orthodox Church in Ukraine to be autocephalous – ecclesiastically independent. The Russian church, the world’s largest Orthodox communion, fiercely opposes the decision.
Church spokesman Metropolitan Ilarion insisted that Friday’s response by the leaders of Russian orthodoxy “do not mean a complete break of the Eucharistic communion.”
However, it is a significant show of resistance to the authority of Bartholomew, who is considered the “first among equals” among Orthodox leaders.
According to the Interfax news agency, Ilarion warned of a split in the church if efforts to move the Ukrainian church beyond Russian authority continue.
“We will be forced to completely break the Eucharistic communion and this will mean Constantinople patriarch, who often positions himself as the head of the planet’s 300 million Orthodox, will no longer be its head,” he said.
The church in Ukraine has been tied to the Moscow Patriarchate for hundreds of years, although many parishes have split off over the past two decades to form a schismatic church.
This article continues at [UK Daily Mail] Russian church rebuffs Orthodoxy’s leader after Ukraine move