Friday, February 28, 2020

Preparations for Amman Meeting Underline Moscow Church’s Isolation within World Orthodoxy

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 23 – Patriarch Kirill’s campaign to convene a meeting in Amman of the leaders of the Orthodox churches of the world has already collapsed, with only four of the 15 Orthodox churches now likely to attend including his own and three – the Serbian, the Jerusalem, and the Czech – not being among the more important.

            In short, as a report in Novyye izvestiya puts it, Kirill has lost four votes to 11 in his effort to get other Orthodox patriarchs to back his opposition to the Ecumenical Patriarch and to autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (

            Kirill assumed that he could count not only on the Serbs but on the smaller patriarchal churches that Moscow has made significant financial contributions to. But even they have turned him down often saying that they do not want to take part in a meeting which will only exacerbate differences among the Orthodox.

            This development regardless of what occurs in Amman later this month has two major consequences, one inside Russia and the other in the former Soviet space. On the one hand, this outcome highlights how far the ROC MP has fallen under Kirill, makes his project to create an Orthodox Vatican in Moscow unthinkable, and may even lead to his forced retirement.

            But on the other hand, Kirill’s failure will almost certainly open the way for more patriarchal churches to recognize the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as canonical thus solidifying its position and making it more likely that Orthodox congregations in the post-Soviet states will pursue autocephaly even more vigorously.  

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