Moscow deepens the schism with the ecumenical patriarchate

The Schism in the Orthodox Church is taking a new turn as some 100 Orthodox priests in Western Europe refuse to recognize the Patriarchate of Constantinople and choose the one in Moscow.

Specifically, the Archdiocese of the Russian Orthodox Church in Western Europe (AROCWE) received the approval of its request for membership in the Moscow Patriarchate on Saturday and Archbishop Ioannis Renetos of Haioupolis, as well as any other branch of the Moscow Patriarchate with full self-governance and autonomy.

AROCWE today comprises about 100,000 faithful in 100 metropolises and is based in Paris. After the Bolshevik Revolution that put pressure on the Russian Orthodox Church, relations broke down and in 1930 a split broke out and it came under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In the 1940s an attempt was made to restore the Archdiocese to the Moscow Patriarchate but was unsuccessful and was thus granted Exarchate status under the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1999.

In the wake of the unrest in Ukraine, the Patriarchate of Constantinople ordered the dissolution of the Archdiocese last November, which was rejected in February as it was made clear that they would only side with another Orthodox Church that would preserved their status quo. So the Patriarchate of Moscow was chosen.

However, that does not mean that there were no reservations, as 90% may have voted in favor of keeping the Archdiocese as an institution, thus rejecting the directive of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, but the restoration of ties with Moscow was not so popular.

In particular, the majority supported the proposal to associate with the Moscow Patriarchate but not with a 2/3 majority. The Patriarchate of Constantinople, for its part, opposes this option and argues that Archbishop Ioannis Reneto was terminated and, in fact, points out that the request to unite the Russian Orthodox Church with Moscow was not valid. but he lacked the institutional strength to impose his point of view.