Romanian Patriarchate may back Ukrainian church

Published 23.02.2019 00:28

The Romanian Orthodox Church says it can recognize the independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church that was granted by the Istanbul-based Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew. Yet the Holy Synod also said on Friday, however, that the Ukrainian authorities should ensure the rights and freedoms of Romanian communities, as reported RBC-Ukraine, in reference statements on the website of the Romanian Patriarchate.

The church also insisted on the need for consultation with the Romanian Orthodox in Ukraine, who are interested in preserving ethnic and linguistic identity. Patriarch Bartholomew, the highest Orthodox authority, last month presented a formal decree confirming the creation of an independent Ukrainian church to its leader, finalizing a historic break with the Russian Orthodox Church. Moscow, in response, cut ties with the patriarchate in Istanbul. The decree opened the way for Ukraine's Orthodox Church to be recognized by other branches of orthodoxy and other churches.

Under President Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine has pushed to establish a national church and thereby sever centuries-old ties with the Russian clergy. Kiev authorities say the step is essential for tackling Russian meddling on its soil. The move came amid increasing tensions between Moscow and Kiev. The issue has also played a key role in Ukraine's presidential elections in March, with incumbent President Poroshenko making independence from the Russian Orthodox Church a key issue as he plans a re-election bid.

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