Russian Orthodox Church forbids people to pray in Constantinople-linked temples

The Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) stopped ‘eucharistic communication’ with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The ROC strongly recommends its congregation against praying in the temples within the jurisdiction of the opponent.

After visiting a Constantinopolitan church, ordinary believers must confess the sin, Igor Yakimchuk, Spokesman for the Patriarchate of Moscow and All Russia, said on Tuesday. In the case of the clergy, the punishment is more severe: they may be banned from celebrating Mass, disgowned or even anathematized.

The priest specified which temples might lead a Russian tourist into sin, i.e. all churches in Istanbul and one Turkey’s Antalya, where many Russians spend their holidays. The ROC members are also not allowed to visit a number of temples on Greek, including Crete and Rhodes.

The Russian Orthodox believers will not be welcome to pray in the churches located in the holy peninsula of Athos, an autonomous republic ruled by monks. However, Russians rarely go on holiday there, Yakimchuk stressed. The ban will also target Orthodox Belarusians and part of the ROS faithful from the countries of the former USSR.

As reported earlier, the Ecumenical Patriarchate continues the procedure of granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. On October 11, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate decided to issue a tomos of autocephaly to it.

The church may be given Tomos at the Holy Synod session in mid-late November, the Kyiv Patriarchate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church hopes. The Synod recognized as illegal the annexation of the Metropolitan of Kyiv by Moscow in 1686 by cancelling the corresponding decree on obedience. Moreover, the Ecumenical Patriarchate restored Ukraine’s schismatic Patriarch Filaret (Denisenko) and schismatic Archbishop Makariy (Maletych) to canonical status.

On October 15 in Minsk, the Russian Orthodox Church split from the Patriarchate of Constantinople as a response to their decision on Ukraine’s autocephaly. According to the statement, there was the ‘attempted interference of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the affairs of the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church’.

The Belarusian Orthodox Church supported the decision of the ROC.

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