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Ukrainian metropolitan bans contacts with Ecumenical Church exarchs

On Friday, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church ruled to stop mentioning the Ecumenical Patriarch during liturgies

MOSCOW, September 14. /TASS/. Metropolitan Jonathan of Tulchin, the administrator of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s dioceses in the Vinnitsa region has prohibited contacts with the representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, says an encyclical letter the office of the Metropolitan issued on Friday.

Earlier on the same day, the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill I informed a session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow on the arrival in Ukraine of the two exarchs, whom the Ecumenical Patriarchate had appointed to Ukraine as part of preparations for granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the guidance of the so-called Kiev patriarchate.

"Since the sojourn in Ukraine of the two exarchs [representatives] of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew or their activity here was not coordinated either with Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, or the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Onuphry, any contacts between the exarchs and the diocesan clerics or faithful laity will not be blessed in order to prevent temptations and the risks of tumults or conflicts," says the letter.

At present, Ukraine is part of the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church, and the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which enjoys recognition by the global community of Eastern Orthodox Christian Churches, reports to Moscow Patriarchate. It is a self-governing religious organization with broad administrative powers.

The canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church has more than 12,000 parishes and about 200 monasteries within its realm.

Simultaneously, Ukraine has another two organizations referring to themselves as Orthodox Churches - the Ukrainian Orthodox Church reporting to the so-called Kiev patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church that draws on the ideology and practices of a religious movement, which reformist nationalistic Ukrainian priest set up in the first half of the 20th century.

The schismatic ‘Churches’ give all-out support to the striving of the Ukrainian political milieus to procure a Tomos - an edict of the Ecumenical Patriarch on granting autocephaly to a united Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

On Friday, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church ruled to stop mentioning the Ecumenical Patriarch during liturgies, as well as to stop co-officiating in the parishes that belong to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Church officials said along with it the decision did not mean a full break-off of relations between the Russian Church and the Church of Constantinople. The also said the disciples of the Russian Church could continue taking communion in the churches of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.