Russian Patriarch Kirill welcomed the decision by the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox churches in Western Europe to return to the Moscow Patriarchate.
“We are one church now, there are no reasons to be outside of the ecumenical and people-to-people ties,” Patriarch Kirill said on November 4 before a grand mass to celebrate the unification. “There are no grounds to lose this coveted and sacred unity that we strived for during decades.”
Metropolitan John, the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox churches in Western Europe got a broad autonomy from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in the late 20th century. However, Constantinople changed its mind in late 2018, ordering the church to dissolve. The Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox churches in Western Europe defied the order and opted instead for joining the Moscow Patriarchate. The church was officially formed in the early 1930s by the priests and faithful who fled the Russian Revolution of 1917.
The Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) and the Constantinople Patriarchate broke ties about a year ago over Cosntantinople actions in the so-called Ukraine question.
The Russian Orthodox Church has at least 150 million followers worldwide. Some sources suggest that this could be more than half of all Orthodox Christians. The Constantinople Patriarchate traditionally regarded as the Orthodox faith’s headquarters. Its leadership used this tradition to push own political agenda in attempts to strengthen the crumbling influence. This kind of actions led to the current tensions within the Orthodox World over the situation in Ukraine and relations between Moscow and Constantinople.
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