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Finnish Orthodox Church hopes to maintain ties with Moscow Patriarchate

On October 15, the Russian Orthodox Church severed contacts with the Constantinople Patriarchate amid the decision of the latter to "proceed with granting autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine"
Main cathedral of the Finnish Orthodox Church, Uspenski Cathedral
Main cathedral of the Finnish Orthodox Church, Uspenski Cathedral

HELSINKI, October 16. /TASS/. The Finnish Orthodox Church expects to maintain contacts with the Russian Orthodox Church after the latter’s decision on severing ties with the Constantinople Patriarchate.

"First of all, we want to say that the rupture of ties [of the Russian Orthodox Church] with the Constantinople Patriarchate won’t affect the church life of our Russian worshippers in Finland. The Finnish Orthodox Church also hopes that all worshippers will continue taking part in sacraments regardless of their cultural background and language," the Finnish Orthodox Church said in a statement signed by its head Archbishop Leo, Metropolitan Elia and Bishop Arseny of Joensuu.

The Russian Orthodox Church’s decision will only indirectly affect the life of the Finnish Orthodox Church, which an autonomous Eastern Orthodox archdiocese of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, since the two churches have traditionally maintained active contacts, it said.

"The Finnish Orthodox Church is always ready for constructive dialogue with the Russian Orthodox Church. Despite the rupture of its ties with Constantinople, we hope that in particular, cultural cooperation and work with the Russian Orthodox Church, which are not directly linked to liturgies, may continue," the statement said.

Finland calls the Russian Orthodox Church’s decision a unilateral and a sad move. The Finnish Orthodox Church also voiced hope that Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople "will be able to settle the dispute during the talks and relations will normalize as soon as possible."

On October 11, a Synod meeting of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople decided to "proceed with granting 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 an anathema from the heads of two non-canonical churches in Ukraine - Filaret of the Kiev Patriarchate, and Makary of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church.

In response, on Monday the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church ruled to sever Eucharistic ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Russian Orthodox Church said it was impossible to participate in liturgy together with the Patriarchate of Constantinople.