ROC commented on the decision of Constantinople to the Exarchate of Russian parishes in Europe

© RIA Novosti / Alexander Nitroscanate in fotomonster Chairman of the Department for external Church relations of the Russian Orthodox Church Archpriest Nikolai Balashov. Archival photoROC commented on the decision of Constantinople to the Exarchate of Russian parishes in Europe© RIA Novosti / Alexander Nitroscanate the image Bank

The Moscow Patriarchate is not surprised by the decision of Constantinople on the dissolution of the Western European Exarchate of Russian parishes, said the Deputy Chairman of Department for external Church relations (DECR) of the Moscow Patriarchate Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, commenting on the relevant decision of the Synod of Constantinople.

Earlier in mass media appeared information about the fact that the Patriarchate of Constantinople adopted a decision to dissolve the Western European Exarchate of Russian parishes. This decision was taken at the meeting of the Synod of the Church of Constantinople, held in Istanbul from 27 to 29 November. The decision is annulled by the Patriarchal Tomos of 1999. Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox churches in Western Europe in response issued a communiqué in which it stated that it had not yet received official notification of the decision.

«It would, of course, to wait for a very clear and official information… however, after the «abolition» of the decisions of the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Synod, adopted over 300 years ago, see little reason to be surprised by the cancellation of Thomas, who is only 18 years old. Archbishop John Mariupolskiy, head of the Exarchate, remains in doubt, as is evident from its management of the communiqué. He didn’t ask to Exarchate «dissolved» or eliminated. Believers also did not ask, nobody ever asked. This is also evident from the message,» said Balashov, RIA Novosti.

However, he noted that «because of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church not asked if they want autocephaly, whether wants to return to the condition in which it was 350 years ago.»

«Parishioners and priests now, apparently, have to make a choice: to join the Greek diocese or to return to the Russian Church, in which almost all of these parishes were founded and existed until 1930, when «temporarily» been taken to the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the plight of the Church in Soviet Russia,» — said Balashov.

He recalled that the arrival in Florence, formerly part of the Western European Exarchate, «did not wait for the «dissolution», and have already made their choice» by going to the jurisdiction of the Russian Church abroad (a self-governing Church of the Moscow Patriarchate).

Because of the decision of Constantinople to begin providing non-canonical autocephaly churches in Ukraine, which the Russian Orthodox Church is called the schism, the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church on 15 October announced the severance of communication with the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the canonical territory of the ROC, including Ukraine and Belarus.

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has called canonically void, and saw politics in the abolition of Constantinople by the act of 1686 on the transfer of the Kyiv Metropolitanate to the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. Metropolitan Hilarion said that Constantinople lost its right to be called the coordinating centre of Orthodoxy. In the Russian Orthodox Church hope that Constantinople will change the decision to give the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church, and before that he will be in schism.

ROC commented on the decision of Constantinople to the Exarchate of Russian parishes in Europe© RIA Novosti, Integratiebeleid in fotobanka in the Orthodox world: to be or not to be

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