MOSCOW, September 25. /TASS/. The Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia [ROCOR] has endorsed a decision to stop concelebration at services with the hierarchs of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople in the wake of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s decision to appoint exarchs to Ukraine as part of the procedure of granting autocephaly to the would-be unified Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
"After discussing events connected with the sending of his exarchs to the canonical territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church by the Patriarch of Constantinople, the Synod of Bishops decreed: ‘Following the decision of the Hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church, to cease concelebration on the hierarchical level with the Orthodox Church of Constantinople, and suspend the participation of the Russian Church Abroad in the work of all episcopal assemblies, for which to issue a corresponding ukase [edict]’," the Synod said in a report.
The Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate passed a decision on appointing the exarchs on September 7. The Synod of the of the Russian Orthodox Church, which the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a self-governing branch of, voiced a resolute protest over the decision, calling it ‘a blunt encroachment on the canons of the Church’.
It also promised a response to the Constantinople Patriarchate’s decision.
Metropolitan Onuphrius of Kiev and all Ukraine said at a session of the Synod of the Russian Church on September 14 he had not had any meetings with the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s appointees and was not going to meet with them.
He said they had come to Ukraine without blessing from the canonical Church.
It was also on September 14 that the Synod decided to stop mentioning Patriarch Bartholomew I during the liturgies throughout the Russian Church and to suspend co-officiating with Constantinople hierarchs.
Metropolitan Hilarion, the chief of Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external Church relations said the decision was an equivalent of the suspension of diplomatic relations but did not mean their full break-off and members of laity of the Russian Church could continue taking communion, the main sacrament in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, in the parishes of the Church of Constantinople.