The Long History Of Russo-Ukrainian Religious Conflict

While Vladimir Putin has seen condemnation in political circles, Patriarch Kirill has come under heavy criticism among his Orthodox brethren abroad, even within his own Russian Orthodox Church. According to Ukrainian Catholic University research fellow Anatolii Babynski (via Pillar Catholic), the Russian war in Ukraine may be a step too far for the clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow, who view the conflict as needless internecine killing between fellow Christians.

In response to Patriarch Kirill’s apparent support for the invasion, UOC-Moscow priests have dropped Kirill’s name from the liturgical prayers wherein the congregation prays for him. The Moscow patriarch has in turn accused these priests of schism, but interestingly has not punished them. Prof. Serhiy Bortnik, however, of the UOC-Moscow’s Kyiv Seminary, noted that the dropping of Kirill’s name is a permissible practice dating back to the 1990s.

Meanwhile, Kirill may soon face a revolt among ROC faithful abroad. According to Religion News, at least one parish in Amsterdam has split off from Moscow to join Constantinople, while many others have condemned the patriarch’s support of the Ukraine conflict. For now, it seems unlikely that the ROC will fracture, but Kirill will find himself isolated from certain parts of his flock, which could lead to future rifts if the Ukraine problem is not resolved.

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