Russia’s Orthodox Church freezes ties with Constantinople over Ukraine spat

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Source: Reuters

BY Tom BalmforthGabrielle Tétrault-Farber

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s Orthodox Church said on Friday it would no longer participate in structures chaired by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, deepening a row in Orthodox Christianity over the Ukrainian Church’s bid to break away from Moscow’s orbit.

FILE PHOTO: Clergymen of Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate take part in a ceremony marking the 1030th anniversary of the Christianisation of the country, which was then known as Kievan Rus’, in Kiev, Ukraine July 28, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/File Photo

The Russian Orthodox Church’s Holy Synod ruling body convened on Friday to consider how to respond as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has courted Constantinople to formally make it a self-governing body independent of Moscow.

Ukraine’s pro-Western political leaders have sought step by step to take the former Soviet republic out of Moscow’s orbit after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and a Moscow-backed insurgency broke out in eastern Ukraine.

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