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Source: The National Herald By Theodore Kalmoukos BOSTON – At the recent session of the Synod of the Phanar, which convened on May 17 and 18, the issue of the Semi-Autonomous Church of Crete was briefly addressed. According to a letter dated April 23, 2024, revealed by The National Herald, the Church of Crete communicated to Patriarch Bartholomew that he should refrain from intervening in the affairs of the monasteries on the island. Specifically, the matter was brought up during the reading of correspondence amid other letters on different subjects. Today, we reveal that when the letter from the Church…

Source: Public Orthodoxy by Very Rev. Dr. John Behr Regius Professor of Humanity at the University of Aberdeen In recent days several articles have appeared on this site raising profound, difficult, and unsettling questions. Sr. Vassa bravely asked whether “heresy” is a charge that can be applied to the “Edict” of the XXV “All-World Council of the Russian People,” approved under the chairmanship of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow on March 27, 2024, concluding, rightly, that it does indeed express, in the words of St. Basil about heresy, “a clear difference in the very faith of God” (see also this analysis by Serhii Shumylo).…

Source: Public Orthodoxy by Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis Executive Director of the Huffington Ecumenical Institute at Holy Cross School of Theology In previous years, weeks, and days, I have seen—and, in one instance, supported—a variegated condemnation of the Moscow Patriarch—his preaching and practice alike—as heretical. The “Russian World” ideology has been denounced as unorthodox and heretical. The “Edict” of the World Russian People’s Council has been characterized as distorted doctrine. And the commemoration of Patriarch Kirill has been called in question. All of the above have been justly promoted and justifiably promulgated, among others, by dear friends across the globe. While I am not…

Source: Public Orthodoxy by Sister Vassa Larin Liturgiologist and Founder of Coffee with Sister Vassa I presented the following paper on February 17, 2024 in Wheeling, IL, at a conference entitled “We’re Not Alone.” The conference was organized by laypeople of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), concerned about the church issues arising from Putin’s war against Ukraine. The topic of the paper, “The ROCOR and Western Values: Past and Present,” needs reflection, because Patriarch Kirill and the Putin regime have repeatedly justified the invasion of Ukraine as some kind of effort to save Ukraine from the influence of…

Source: The Atlantic A hard-line Russian bishop backed by the political might of the Kremlin could split the Orthodox Church in two. By Robert F. Worth In late August 2018, Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, flew from Moscow to Istanbul on an urgent mission. He brought with him an entourage—a dozen clerics, diplomats, and bodyguards—that made its way in a convoy to the Phanar, the Orthodox world’s equivalent of the Vatican, housed in a complex of buildings just off the Golden Horn waterway, on Istanbul’s European side. Read the complete article here

Source: UOJ The Ukrainian Orthodox Church remains the most affected religious denomination in Ukraine due to the military actions. The Institute for Religious Freedom has updated data on partially damaged or completely destroyed religious buildings as a result of the Russian-Ukrainian war. According to the IRS, at least 246 Orthodox churches have been affected, with the majority belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, viz. 187. Overall, according to the organization’s data, the number of religious buildings affected or destroyed as a result of military actions amounts to 630 objects to date. “The largest number of churches, prayer houses, synagogues, and mosques have been…

Source: Peter Anderson, Seattle USA There is the very sad news that Patriarch Neophyte died on the evening of March 13 at the age of 78 after a long illness.  https://bg-patriarshia.bg/news/saobshtenie-po-povod-konchinata-na-negovo-sveteyshestvo-balg  He had been patriarch for 11 years.  The funeral service will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 16 at the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia.  https://bg-patriarshia.bg/news/sv-sinod-na-bpts-bp-opredeli-datite-za-poklonenieto-opeloto  Patriarch Neophyte seems to have been highly regarded by everyone, and his condolences have poured in.  On the morning of March 14, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew conducted a Trisagion service for the repose of the soul of Patriarch Neophyte.  https://orthodoxtimes.com/patriarchal-trisagion-for-the-late-patriarch-of-bulgaria-and-bishop-of-efkarpia/  The following are the condolences sent…

Source: Peter Anderson, Seattle USA  On January 12, the Russian news agency Novosti reported that Archpriest Alexey Uminsky failed to appear for the second time before a Moscow diocesan court (Link).  Novosti interviewed Archpriest Vladislav Tsypin, deputy chairman of the diocesan court.  Tsypin stated:  Yesterday we waited for him [Uminsky] for 4-5 hours.  He is being summoned to court due to failure to comply with the instructions of the hierarchy, the Patriarch, to read a prayer for Holy Rus.’  This quotation is the most authoritative information to date that the current proceedings against Uminsky are based on his failure to recite this prayer.  The…

Source: Public Orthodoxy Very Rev. Dr. Andrei Kordochkin Priest at St. Mary Magdalene Russian Orthodox Church (Madrid, Spain) Editor’s Note: The Orthodox Church in Russia is divided, but this division is not canonical nor administrative. Moreover, it is not always visible from the outside. While the official Church has become an integral part of Putin’s political regime, on a deeper level, there is resistance on behalf of small Orthodox communities and individuals who deny accepting the proclamation of violence and the justification of war. These “propaganda sermons” are constantly pronounced from the ambos of the churches nationwide, causing abruption and…

Source: Peter Anderson, Seattle USA On November 17, Ilze Brands Kehris, who is the United Nations’ Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, made a presentation at a session of the Security Council which was discussing the issue of freedom of religion in Ukraine.  The complete text of her presentation can be read in English at (link). Aside from the High Commissioner and the Deputy High Commissioner, Ms. Brands Kehris is the highest official of the United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). (link) In her presentation, Ms Brands Kehris was highly critical of certain actions by Russia against churches in the…

Source: Peter Anderson, Seattle USA On Wednesday, October 11, the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate met at the Danilov Monastery in Moscow.  The meeting had not been previously announced. The minutes of the meeting can be read at (link).  Changes were made in three important positions of the Moscow Patriarchate. The first change is that Metropolitan Lazar of Simferopol and Crimea is retired by the Holy Synod. See Journal entry 92. The retirement of Metropolitan Lazar is not a surprise. He was born in 1939 (thus 84 years old) and has served as the head of the Simferopol and Crimea diocese…

Source: Peter Anderson, Seattle USA There have been several reports in the last few days that enough deputies in the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada) have pledged their support for the passage for Draft Law 8371.  Draft Law 8371 has been pending in the Rada for more than nine months but had not been submitted to the Rada for the first reading because of lack of majority support in the Rada.  However,  Oleg Dunda, a deputy in the Rada, stated on October 6:  “The appeal of the People’s Deputies to ban the UOC-MP has already collected about 240 signatures, and in…

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