'Russia is desperately trying to prevent the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from finally freeing itself from Moscow, and its tactics aren’t working'. Atlantic Council wrote this, sending the message that Russia is on a tough spot in this situation.
'Constantinople's relations with churches worldwide has long been an irritant for the Russian Orthodox Church which in the 1990s had warned the Ecumenical Patriarchate not to sever Eucharistic Communication amid a row over church issues in the US, Canada, Finland, and Estonia. Perhaps this raised eyebrows in Constantinople, as the Russian Orthodox Church itself never received from the Mother Church a tomos. Today, as the ROC and the UOC MP have moved to sever ties with Constantinople, one thing is obvious: Russia sees the prospects of an independent church of Ukraine as a serious threat to its own regional influence and a blow to its neo-imperial ambitions', reads the article.
The author focused on the relations between Ukraine and Russia in terms of the United Orthodox Church, specifically on the current episode where Constantinople decided to grant Ukraine the tomos.
'In an attempt to overshadow the event in Kyiv (the procession timed to the anniversary of the Christianization of Kyiv Rus, - 112 International), Moscow Patriarch Kirill flew to Constantinople for closed-doors talks with Bartholomew I, although his trip yielded little to no result. Following the Holy Synod on October 11, the Ecumenical Patriarchate granted autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine. In a historic step, Constantinople not only declared that the UOC was not subordinate to the Russian Church, it also lifted Moscow's excommunication orders of the leaders of the UOC-KP and UOAC. Furious, the Russian Orthodox Church severed ties with Constantinople, while the Moscow Patriarchate followed suit several weeks later. Despite Moscow's harsh reaction, the Ecumenical Patriarchate sent two of its envoys to Ukraine, a move Russia branded as illegal interference, to help to prepare for the inaugural meeting of the new independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church', the story went on.
'An overwhelming majority of Ukrainians considers the receiving of autocephaly by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to be a significant step needed to protect unity in the country. One can hardly overestimate the importance of Ukraine’s spiritual independence from Moscow. Some experts even compare it with the restoration of Ukrainian independence in 1991. This may be. In any case, Ukraine’s departure from its Russian colonial past is irreversible', the article concludes.
Read the full story here.