On Jan. 5, some 150,000 people lined up in front of the St. Sophia Cathedral in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev. They came to see a single document called a tomos, issued a few days before by the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew. There, on a piece of parchment, written in ornate Greek, English and Ukrainian, were words that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church had dreamed about for centuries: The document made the Ukrainian Church autocephalous, meaning it is now fully independent from Moscow.
This declaration of independence came about despite months of behind-the-scenes attempts by the Kremlin and Russian Orthodox Church officials to dissuade Patriarch Bartholomew from issuing a tomos.… Seguir leyendo »
On Oct. 11, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople — the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide — started a process to grant independence to a Ukrainian Orthodox Church seated in Kiev, freeing it from the control of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. The decision has touched off an intense political storm, and threatens to open a new — and possibly violent — front in the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Here’s why.
A brief primer on the Orthodox Church
Unlike Catholicism, Orthodoxy does not have a centralized hierarchy with a pope-like authority figure. Rather, it’s composed of 14 autonomous churches, each of whose authority generally coincides with the national borders of countries with large Orthodox populations.… Seguir leyendo »