This may be highly politically charged right now, however can anyone please explain what previously intercommuning churches will be directly impacted by the severing of ties between the Eucumenical Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church (other than the obvious schism between Constantiople and Russia)?

Moscow breaks communion with Constantinople

Will other churches lose communion with Russia? With Constantinople?

Are there other effects that we can expect to see?

  • It would be informative to see a brief explanation of why the separation occurred, either in an edit to the question or included in an answer.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 13:49

2 Answers 2


For those not familiar with the situation, on October 15, 2018, a Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church ceased communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople. The Synod's resolution read:

Henceforth and until the Constantinople Patriarchate renounces its accepted anti-canonical decisions, for all clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church it is not possible to serve with the clergy of the Constantinople Church; and for the laity, it is not possible to participate in the sacraments served in its churches.

The "anti-canonical decisions" that the resolution refers to are those undertaken by the Ecumenical Patriarch to, according to the Russian Orthodox Church*:

  • "lift the anathema from Philaret Denisenko, the self-proclaimed 'Patriarch” of the “Kiev Patriarchate”', which was placed on him by the Moscow Patriarchate for his oath breaking and unrepentant schism from the canonical Church, leading others into that schism'


  • revoking "the document it signed 300 years ago transferring the Kiev Metropolia to the Moscow Patriarchate"

Although several autocephalous Orthodox Churches have expressed support for the Russian Orthodox Church in this matter, no other Orthodox Church has as yet broken communion with Constantinople. The Orthodox Church in America, which itself was granted autocephaly by the Moscow Patriarchate in 1970, has made the decision that its members may continue to commune in parishes of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in America (which falls under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch). Furthermore, I don't think that the Ecumenical Patriarch has reciprocated the Russian decision, forbidding clergy and laity from participating in services within a Russian Orthodox Church. My reading of the Synod's resolution would also not bar lay Orthodox who previously attended a church under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch from participating in Russian Orthodox services, but it would bar clergy from the Patriarchate from serving in a Russian Orthodox Church.

It should be noted, I think, that many of the recent decisions undertaken by the Ecumenical Patriarch have been controversial and have faced criticism, even within the Constantinople Patriarchate itself (e.g. Mt. Athos). A pan-Orthodox council held in 2016 was boycotted by the Russian, Antiochian, Georgian and Bulgarian Patriarchates for various reasons.

* Holy Synod Resolution: Moscow Patriarchate Ceases Communion for Clergy and Laity with the Constantinople Patriarchate, October 15, 2018


What are some of the ramifications of the severing of ties between the Ecumenical Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church?

Personally, the best way to answer this question would be to wait at least six months, in order to let all the smoke and debris settle. There is still some uncertainty as to what is all involved.

For the Patriarchal Synod of Moscow, it is a "forced decision" after the recognition of the "schismatics" (ie Filaret of Kiev, of the independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church). Also Putin and his Security Council worried about the tensions between Orthodox of Russian obedience and of Kiev in Ukraine.

The Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate declares that it is impossible to maintain Eucharistic communion with the Orthodox Church of Constantinople. This was announced by the patriarchal synod gathered yesterday in plenary session in Minsk in Belarus. Also present at the Synod was Metropolitan Onufrij of Kiev, head of the Ukrainian Orthodox jurisdiction loyal to Moscow.

According to Metropolitan Ilarion (Alfeev), the Russian bishops consider the decision to break communion with Constantinople “a forced” one, the result of "the recent actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople". The decision means that the priests of the patriarchate of Moscow will no longer be able to celebrate the liturgy together with the representatives of the ecumenical patriarchate, including the churches of the monasteries of Mount Athos, where monks of the two Churches now in conflict are often present in the same community.

"The Church that recognized schismatics [ie Filaret of Kiev - ed], and has restored relations with them, has excluded itself from the canonical scope of the Orthodox Church," concluded Ilarion.

At the same time Russian President Vladimir Putin gathered the Security Council in Moscow, to evaluate the announced recognition of Ukrainian autocephaly. According to statements by the spokesman Dmitri Peskov, "we talked about the situation of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the other Churches considered schismatic do not interest us".

Responding to journalists' questions about the possible measures of the Russian government to resolve the issue, Peskov noted that "obviously the civil authorities in Russia cannot meddle in inter-church dialogue, they never have and never will, but since Orthodoxy is one of the religions confessed in the Russian Federation, everything that happens in the Orthodox world is subjected to special attention by the State".

However, Russia is determined to defend the rights of its nationals in every circumstance and in every country, Peskov recalled, even in the case of possible confiscation of the properties of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine. - Moscow breaks communion with Constantinople

But some media sources state that the Russian Patriarch Kirill will no longer pray for the health of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. Well, I guess that is his prerogative. But it is not something Our Lord would do to say the least.

Another thing that is not yet clear is if this a genuine schism. I my mind that entails a separation of the Eucharistic celebration and I am not sure that has happened.

There is a lot of politics involved here and only time will tell the true outcome.

This article claims that Eucharistic communion has not been severed: Holy Divorce: Russian Orthodox Church quits Constantinople - led structures.

Again I say, it is too early to truly know that genuine ramifications, so give me more time to add more information down the line.

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