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Un début d'année 2019 plein de nouveautés (et de tensions)


ORTHODOXIA.INFO | Andreas Loudaros

Only a few days out from the new metropolitan of Kyiv Epiphanius receiving the tomos of autocephaly for the Ukrainian church, the Moscow Patriarchate has upped the ante by establishing two new Exarchies in Western Europe and South East Asia as well as a metropolis in Spain and Portugal.

With this move, the Russian church is further widening the gap between Moscow and Constantinople despite a high-ranking spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchate (Vladimir Legoyda) having stated in an interview with Russia Today on Christmas Eve that the Russian side is “ready for dialogue” without, of course, this meaning “backing down from our positions.”

The ROC’s tactics have come to confirm what international analysts have been saying for some time, that the goal of the Patriarchate and the Kremlin is to show the rest of the Orthodox world that Moscow is so confident of its power that it has no problem in standing alone in this fight, especially when territories belonging to the Ecumenical Patriarchate are involved.

Moscow has already established a fully functioning parish in Constantinople and metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk has expressed his concern for the Russian faithful living in Crete, the Dodecanese, and other parts of Greece which are under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.


Meanwhile, preparations are well underway in Constantinople for the reception of the new autocephalous church’s first primate, metropolitan Epiphanius. Indeed, the finishing touches are currently being made to the tomos which will be presented to the Ukrainian Primate at the conclusion of the celebrative liturgy in St George’s patriarchal cathedral at the Phanar on January 6.

With the granting of the tomos being the final step in officially establishing the autocephalous church of Ukraine, all eyes are now on the primates of the other local Orthodox churches who will have to decide whether they will accept the ecumenical patriarch’s decision or whether they will give in to pressure from Moscow and challenge Bartholomew’s prerogative to grant autocephaly.

Well-informed sources have informed that the official letter by which metropolitan Epiphanius will formally announce his election to the other primates and request his inclusion in the other churches’ diptychs has already been written.

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