“Holly War” breaks out between Russian and Greek Orthodox Churches, as the former breaks communion with Ieronymos II

4 November 2019
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Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill on Sunday did not mention Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece among the primates of the local Orthodox churches during the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Sputnik has reported.

The decision to leave out the head of the Greek Orthodox Church during the liturgy, a practise followed by all Orthodox Churches to primates in other countries, came after the Greek Orthodox Synod recognised in October, the autocephaly (independence) of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and sent a letter of congratulations to its self-styled primate Epiphanius.

On Saturday, the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) stopped Eucharistic communion with Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens, but this decision did not apply to the whole Greek Church, according to the Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations (DECR).

On January 6, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople handed over the Tomos of autocephaly to the newly established Ukrainian church. The Russian Orthodox Church, along with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, refused to recognise it.

Last month, the Synod of the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece became the first Orthodox church to recognise Constantinople’s decision to give the non-canonical Ukrainian church the Tomos of autocephaly. Additionally, the Synod granted Archbishop Ieronymos II the right to make decisions regarding the issue of autocephaly, clearing the way for the Greek church to take the next step and officially recognise the Ukrainian church.

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