The Orthodox Church Dushanbe broke the connection with Constantinople

The Russian Orthodox Church severed ties with church leaders in Constantinople over a dispute with Ukraine

The Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow has cut ties with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, claiming his recognition of an independent Orthodox Church in Ukraine departed from Orthodox Christian norms.

The US State Department has backed Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew over his dispute with the Russian Orthodox Church following his decision to grant independence to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

Ukraine's parliament voted 237 votes to 30 to allow the Ecumenical Patriarchate to use Kiev's landmark Saint Andrew's Church "for worship, religious rites (and) ceremonies".

"Just as Russia opposed itself to the entire world community with its aggressive imperial policy, now the Russian Church is on the path of self-isolation and conflict with the world Orthodoxy", he wrote on his Facebook page.

If the situation reaches its logical but absurd end, the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church will be left without the Holy Fire on Easter. A danger for Orthodox Christians after a row between Moscow and Constantinople demands unity and prayers from the faithful, Greek Orthodox Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East said on Wednesday while visiting Serbia.

He is close to Patriarch Kirill, the Russian Church's leader, and has gone on pilgrimages to Mount Athos and other famous Orthodox sites.

The Orthodox Church in Macedonia unilaterally proclaimed autocephaly from the Serbian Church in 1967 and remains unrecognised. It was previously rented by one of the branches of Ukraine's split Orthodox Church.

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Firm in their faith in Jesus and working together, Orthodox and Catholic young people can resist forces trying to remove all traces of faith from society and even could reverse that trend, Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk told the Synod of Bishops.

While the recent push for an independent, autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine emerged as a serious movement in the 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union, it gained further momentum following the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, and Russian backing of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine in response to the unseating of Ukraine's pro-Russia former president Viktor Yanukovych.

Among the backers of Constantinople's move are Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who is running for re-election in March 2019.

While the conflict grew out of the turbulent relations between Ukraine and Russian Federation, a complete breach between the churches in Moscow and Turkey could threaten the integrity of the Orthodox Church as a whole, which has some 250 million believers around the world.

The Patriarchate of Constantinople is the most highly respected authority in the Orthodox world.

Moscow has always been at outs with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

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