Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov


© Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS

MILAN, December 6. /TASS/. Kiev’s gross interference in the affairs of the church hinders a settlement in Ukraine, splitting the society, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday, addressing the 25th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE Ministerial Council).

“Efforts aimed at resolving the Ukraine crisis continue to face new obstacles, including gross interference of the government in the affairs of the church, which only aggravates the already-tense domestic political situation, splitting the society,” the top diplomat stressed.

Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko previously said that the so-called unification council designed to create an autocephalous local church in Ukraine is scheduled to meet on December 15.

On October 11, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople decided to proceed with granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church. It revoked the 1686 decision on transferring the Kiev Metropolitanate under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate and reinstated the heads of two non-canonical churches in Ukraine, Filaret of the Kiev Patriarchate and Makariy of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church, to their hierarchical and priestly ranks. In addition, it announced plans to bring back the Kiev Metropolitanate under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

On October 15, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church said in response to that move that full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople was no longer possible.

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