Schism in Orthodox Church may pose extra problems for Russian compatriots, says diplomat

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MOSCOW, November 2. /TASS/. The ongoing schism in the Orthodox Church may tell adversely on Russian-speakers living in territories that fall under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, a high-ranking Russian foreign ministry official said on Friday.

“The situation of Russian compatriots depends more on the policy of the authorities of these or those countries rather than on the schism as such,” Oleg Malginov, director of the ministry department for relations with compatriots abroad. “Is the schism going to be yet another problem for our compatriots? Obviously, it will be a problem. Russian believers are waiting for the Patriarch’s words. We will help resolve problems if they arise.”

The Russian diplomat cited his conversation with Alexander Trubetskoy, a descendant of the Princes Trubetskoy and Golitsyn families and director of the Franco-Russian Dialogue Foundation, who said that a rather big parish in France that used to be under spiritual guidance of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople had opted to transfer to the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church.

“Descendants from noble Russian families understand the importance of the diaspora’s unity, the unity of Russians, the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church,” Malginov stressed. “Most of them are against the solution that is being pushed through by the Ecumenical Patriarch.”

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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