Ukraine-Russia tensions spark historic religious rift

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Source: The Guardian

BY

Religion correspondent and agencies

As relations between Russia and Ukraine deteriorate over the seizure of three ships by Moscow, the long-running conflict between the two countries is also playing out in the pews.

The Ukrainian Orthodox church has been granted independence from the Russian church in a historic move that is likely to result in a split in eastern Orthodoxy.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate, led by Bartholomew I of Constantinople, issued a brief communique late on Thursday at the end of its assembly. It said the synod had drafted a constitutional charter for the Ukrainian church after an earlier decision by the patriarch to grant it independence, or autocephaly.

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