Constantinople Might Recognize Ukrainian Schisms

MOSCOW, JUNE 26 2001 (Zenit.org).- The two Ukrainian Orthodox churches that split from the Moscow Patriarchate have created a «Unification Commission.» And their representatives have already been received by Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, the Russian agency Ria reported.

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The commission includes the Kiev Patriarchate, which separated from Moscow after Alexy II´s election, and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, which accuses the Moscow Patriarchate of having collaborated with the Soviet regime.

Nikolai Balashov, spokesman of the Moscow Patriarchate, said that if Constantinople recognizes the Ukrainian schismatics, «a profound crisis will be created in Orthodoxy, not only in Ukraine, but throughout the world.»

A few years ago, the Estonian Orthodox Church, subject to the Moscow Patriarchate, suffered a schism and one of the branches was recognized by the Patriarchate of Constantinople. This was an especially deep wound, given that Alexy II is from Estonia. The Russian Church fears an «Estonian scenario» in Ukraine, observers say.

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