MOSCOW, September 14. /TASS/. Maintaining the Orthodox world’s unity is Moscow’s preferred option, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, commenting on the possible granting of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
"Maintaining the Orthodox world’s unity is undoubtedly the preferred option for Moscow and the entire Orthodox World itself," he noted.
According to Peskov, the Kremlin has been keeping an eye on Friday’s emergency meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Church. "Alarming reports about decisions that the Ukrainian Church may take definitely cause concern," he said, adding that "at the same time, these issues concern inter-church dialogue, it is a church issue and the state cannot interfere in it."
On September 14, the Holy Synod of the Russian Church is holding an emergency meeting in Moscow. According to Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, the meeting’s agenda includes only one issue, related to the decision to provide autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, made by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Patriarch Kirill pointed out that the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church had strongly protested against the move as it was a blatant violation of the Church’s canon law. He added that the Moscow Patriarchate would take retaliatory steps in the near future.
The Ecumenical Church of Constantinople issued a statement on September 7, appointing two exarchs to Ukraine as a step towards granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The chief of Moscow Patriarchate’s department for relations between the Church and society, Vladimir Legoida, said earlier in an interview with TASS that the Moscow Patriarchate may sever ties with the Constantinople Patriarchate in case it legalized the schism within the church.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church reporting to Moscow Patriarchate at present has more than 12,000 parishes and 200 monasteries within its realm.