Orthodox World Splits Over ‘Ukraine Question’

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Epiphanius (or Yepifaniy), the head of the independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church, is pictured during his enthronement ceremony at the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv on Feb. 3, 2019. Photo: AFP

On October 12, the Extraordinary Council of Bishops of the Church of Greece held an extraordinary meeting and decided to recognize the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (OCU), the church news website Romfea.gr reported.

The Greek archbishop reportedly presented a report entitled “Information on the autocephalous church of Ukraine.” His proposal on the church of Ukraine was recognized and accepted by a majority of bishops. The Greek Orthodox Church explained the decision by the right of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople to grant an autocephaly.

Following the decision by the synod, which is comprised of Greece’s 80 bishops, Greece’s Archbishop Ieronymos will henceforth mention the OCU head Epifanios during religious services along with other regional Orthodox leaders.

The move came after Ieronymos decided to extend a session of the Holy Synod that began on October 8. It was Ieronymos himself, who was pushing the idea to recognize the OCU.

The decision of the Greek Orthodox Church to recognize the OCU became a first success of Constantinople in its wide-scale effort to push forward the OCU project created with help of the United States and former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

The OCU was created as a political tool needed for its backers to expand their influence and financial wealth. In this situation, has been divided against itself because of a cosntant struggle for influence and control over money flows. Agressive actions of the OCU undrmine the concept of the Orthodox Church as a traditional religious system. In this situation, there has been no surprise in the fact that no Local Churches recognize the OCU.

Constantinople is fiercely working to change this in order to secure own crubmling influnece in the Orthodox World. It appears that the Greek Orthodox Church has fall under the pressure from Constantinople. In the future, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople will likely focus on pressuring other Local Churches to force them to recognize the OCU. These agressive actions will apparently lead to a further split among the Orthodox Church.

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