Orthodox Church in Western Europe Rejects Both Constantinople and Moscow
February 25 – The Archbishopric of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe
by a vote of 119 to 15 rejected the call by the Ecumenical Patriarch in
Constantinople to subordinate themselves to it, but despite the calls of some
and much pressure from Russia, they postponed any decision to join the Moscow
is no question that this is a slap in the face of Constantinople which increasingly
has positioned itself as a kind of Eastern papacy, but the fact that it has not
led the European archbishopric immediately to subordinate itself to Moscow
suggests that any move in that direction is likely to be a long time in coming
and may in fact never happen.
seems more likely is that the Orthodox Church in Western Europe will itself
divide along national lines, something that may ultimately allow Moscow to gain
some support in particular cases but that will work against the possibility of
supra-national “canonical” territories of the kind Moscow talks about.
will likely put paid to Moscow Patriarch Kirill’s efforts to position himself
as an alternative to Constantinople as the center of Orthodoxy and encourage other
Orthodox communities to move in the direction of forming national churches as
Ukraine has done rather that feel they must choose between Moscow and
decision in Paris is thus something that works for the Ukrainian church and for
all the Orthodox churches in the former Soviet space as well as elsewhere and
represents yet another defeat for Kirill, something he can ill afford after the
debacle for Moscow in Ukraine, a debacle that has increased speculation in
Moscow that Putin will replace him.