Archbishop Job of Telmessos, Permanent Representative of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to the World Council of Churches (Photo: bbc.com)
If Moscow continues to interfere with the march of Ukraine’s Orthodox to autocephaly, it could lose not only its church in Ukraine – there is no Russian church there now legitimately, a representative of the Universal Patriarchate says – but even have its own autocephaly taken away and watch as Belarus gains autocephaly as well.
In an interview to BBC’s Ukrainian service, Archbishop Job of Telmessos, Permanent Representative of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to the World Council of Churches, says that the Moscow Patriarchate, having lost its position in Ukraine, could easily lose more if it continues to interfere and refuses to accept the decision on autocephaly for Ukraine that only Constantinople is entitled to make.
If it does not stop and does not accept the inevitability of Ukrainian autocephaly, Job continues, Constantinople will have to consider other steps, including even the possibility of stripping Moscow itself of the autocephaly Constantinople gave it in the first place (bbc.com in Ukrainian; nv.ua in Russian; cf. actualcomment.ru).
“We hope that Russia will reflect upon this and return to unity with the Universal throne for the Universal throne does not want to break relations with it. But if this situation will continue for a long time, of course, the Universal throne will be forced to take definite decisions in order to guarantee the unity of the church,” Job says.
Taking autocephaly away from Moscow would be a “nuclear option” and it very unlikely; but Constantinople has the power to take that step. More immediately, Job pointed out, it has the option of granting autocephaly not only to Ukraine but also to Orthodoxy in Belarus, something that would further limit Moscow’s influence especially now that it has lost Ukraine.
Moscow is clearly losing this church battle, something that will have serious consequences for Patriarch Kirill in the first instance – he could even be forced from office – but also for his church and for the Russian state it serves. Constantinople isn’t intimidated, and Moscow religious and secular has to decide just how far it will go given that the stakes against it are becoming so large.
- The next domino – Belarusian Orthodox hope for autocephaly
- Moscow having failed to block Ukrainian autocephaly now attempting to exploit it
- Tomos ante portas: a short guide to Ukrainian church independence
- Constantinople could grant autocephaly to Belarusian Orthodox Church next, Gorbik says
- Constantinople moves to grant autocephaly to Ukrainian Church, outraging Moscow
- Three signs Moscow Patriarch Kirill knows he’s lost on Ukrainian autocephaly
- Ecumenical Patriarch to grant Ukrainian Orthodox autocephaly, Greek Church source says
- Waiting for Constantinople’s historical decision on Church autocephaly in Ukraine
- Implicitly conceding Ukrainian autocephaly, Moscow makes plans to split Orthodoxy and dominate one part of it, analysts say
- Ukrainian autocephaly just as inevitable as restoration of USSR is impossible
- Inside Ukraine’s appeal for Church autocephaly
Tags: autocephaly, autocephaly for Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Belarus, Belarusian Orthodox Church, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, Kirill, Kyiv Patriarchate, Moscow patriarch Kirill, Moscow Patriarchate, Patriarch Kirill, Patriarch of Constantinople, Russian Orthodox Church, Ukraine, Ukrainian Orthodox Church