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Constantinople lost the right to be called the heart of Orthodox faith, says Russian Church

Constantinople lost the right to be called the heart of Orthodox faith, says Russian Church
By recognizing the independence of Ukrainian Orthodox сhurches from the Moscow Patriarchate, Constantinople lost the right to be called the heart of Orthodox faith, says the Russian Church's public relations chief.

Speaking on Russian TV, Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church's External Relations Department, said the Constantinople Patriarchate's recognition of breakaway Ukrainian churches and the subsequent schism with Moscow has created “a new church reality.”

We don't have a single coordinating center for the Orthodox Church anymore, we must be very clearly aware of that. The Constantinople Patriarchate has self-destroyed as such a center.

Before now, Moscow and other Orthodox patriarchates would send representatives to gatherings organized by Constantinople, including the decades-long preparations for the monumental 2016 Pan-Orthodox Council, Hilarion said.

“But by invading the canonical domain of another autocephalous church, by legitimizing a schism, the Constantinople Patriarchate lost the right to be named a coordinating center for the Orthodox Church,” he said.

No such center exists anymore, he concluded.

READ MORE: Biggest split in modern Orthodox history: Russian Orthodox Church breaks ties with Constantinople

The Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church broke off all ties with the Constantinople Patriarchate after deciding to grant recognition to two previously unrecognized Ukrainian Orthodox Church branches, and lift the Moscow-imposed anathema from Ukrainian Patriarch Filaret. Moscow refused to recognize the decisions and blamed Constantinople for initiating what could become the biggest church schism since the 11th century, when Orthodoxy and Catholicism split apart.

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