MOSCOW, October 15./TASS/. The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has ruled that further Eucharistic ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople are impossible, Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk said after a session of the Holy Synod in Minsk,Belarus, on Monday.
"The decision was taken at a session of the Holy Synod to fully break contacts with the Patriarchate of Constantinople," he said.
"The Russian Orthodox Church does not accept these decisions and won’t abide by them," he said. "Schism is schism, and leaders of schism remain leaders of schism. While the church that has started relations with the dissenters after recognizing them, has thus expelled itself from the canonical field of the Orthodox Church," he said.
"This is the main reason why we have to stop contacts with the Patriarchate of Constantinople that has filly identified itself with schism," he stressed.
On October 11, a Synod meeting of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople decided to "proceed to the granting of Autocephaly (self-governance) to the Church of Ukraine." The Synod revoked a legally binding status of the 1686 letter, which empowered the Patriarch of Moscow to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev. In addition, the Synod decided to re-establish the office of the Stavropegion of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Kiev, which means its head would be subordinate directly to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Moreover, the Synod lifted anathema from the heads of two non-canonical churches in Ukraine - Filaret of the Kiev Patriarchate, and Makary of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church.
The Russian Orthodox Church and other local Orthodox Churches view these decisions as hostile and illegitimate and warn they might trigger a split within the Eastern Orthodox Church.