MOSCOW, September 14. /TASS/. The Russian Orthodox Church plans to initiate a pan-Orthodox discussion of the situation around a possible granting of autocephaly to the schismatic ‘Kiev patriarchate’ by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, Metropolitan Hilarion, the chief of Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external Church relations told reporters on Friday.
He said it after an emergency session of the Russian Church Synod.
"We issued a statement to the supreme hierarchs of the local [national] Churches urging them to initiate a pan-Orthodox discussion of the situation in Ukraine," His Eminence Hilarion said.
He believes discussion of the issue by representatives of all the local Churches will rule out an impending new split in Eastern Orthodox Christianity.
"We’re deeply convinced that if the issue is resolved through fraternal communications, not through unilateral actions by the Constantinople Patriarchate, a solution that will calm down and reconcile everyone will be found and it will facilitate the elimination of the split," Metropolitan Hilarion said.
Since 1991, the Ukrainian authorities have been making numerous attempts to create an Orthodox Church that would be independent from Moscow Patriarchate. At the end of April 2018, the Verkhovna Rada national parliament supported President Pyotr Poroshenko’s appeal to Patriarch Bartholomew I to create an autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine.
Two schismatic religious organizations unrecognized by the global Orthodoxy, the so-called Kiev patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, voiced all-out endorsement of the appeal. The canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church reporting to Moscow Patriarchate, a self-governing branch of the Russian Orthodox Church, did not send any such appeal.
On September 7, the Synod of the Ecumenical Church of Constantinople appointed its exarchs, or representatives, in Ukraine, which is a constituent element of the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Synod of the Russian Church expressed a resolute protest and deep indignation over the appointment and said the steps that Constantinople was making in Ukraine made manifest a blatant encroachment on Church canons.