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Source: Public Orthodoxy by George Demacopoulos In 1095, Pope Urban II told a large gathering of knights in Southern France that it was their responsibility to avenge the Islamic conquest of the Holy Land (he did not mention that the conquest had occurred nearly 500 years earlier). Urban’s sermon led to the First Crusade, and it forever changed the dynamics between Western Europe, Eastern Christianity, and the Islamic world. From a Christian theological perspective, Urban introduced an entirely novel—some might say heretical—way of thinking about the relationship between Christian piety and violence. Near the end of his sermon, Urban declared, “Set out on…

Source: Public Orthodoxy by Emil Saggau This spring, the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) sealed significant and important deals, which has solidified and strengthened the SOC’s position. The first “deal” in May turned the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC), formally the Ohrid Archbishopric, into a canonical church, which ended around 50 years of estrangement between the SOC and MOC. The second one in July was between the SOC and the Montenegrin government, which granted the SOC privileges in Montenegro and closed almost twenty years of uncertainty between the two parties. These deals are not just a sign of the new diplomatic strength of…

Source: Orthodox Times Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew once again expressed his condemnation of the war that began with the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Speaking at a press conference on the conference of Orthodox youths in Turkey organized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in early September, the Patriarch said that “I have expressed the position of the Ecumenical Patriarchate since the beginning of this painful war. I said that it is unjustified and unacceptable.” He continued: “His Beatitude the Patriarch of Moscow said that it was a holy war and tried to justify it and explain it in spiritual and religious terms.…

Source: Public Orthodoxy by Andrew Louth The Christian world as a whole—and the Orthodox world, in particular—has been horrified by the invasion of Ukraine by the armed forces of Russia. It seems to be a distressingly indiscriminate campaign, in which thousands have been killed—young soldiers, men, women, and children—as well as hospitals, schools, homes, monasteries, churches destroyed, with millions of refugees fleeing from their homes and livelihoods. From the beginning, his Holiness, Patriarch Kirill, has spoken out in support of the military operation in Ukraine, using the same mealy-mouthed expression as President Putin to obscure the truth that a sovereign…

Source: National Catholic Register The Russian Orthodox Church will send a delegation to the congress, but Kirill will not go. CNA Staff  Vatican  August 25, 2022 Patriarch Kirill of Moscow will not attend an interreligious summit in Kazakhstan in September, where it was hoped he would meet with Pope Francis to discuss a peaceful resolution to the six-month-long war in Ukraine. The Pope will travel to the Central Asian nation for the VII Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in the city of Nur-Sultan on Sept. 13-15. The Russian Orthodox Church will send a delegation to the congress,…

Source: Religion News Service Why those removed from the world should refrain from declarations on marriage and family. By John Chryssavgis (RNS) — In the Orthodox Christian world, few places are better known or more lovingly venerated than Mount Athos, the 10th-century Greek monastery legendarily dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Composed of 20 citadels scattered over a peninsula of exceptional beauty in northern Greece, boasting magnificent manuscripts and icons, Athos is home to some 2,000 monks. Among them, as in every society, there are saints and sinners, sane and strange. I have visited countless times and have been blessed to engage…

Source: Religion News Service While the Orthodox Church of Ukraine’s letter is addressed to the Ecumenical Patriarch, the letter speaks to concerns for the entire global Orthodox Christian community. By Marika Proctor (RNS) — Metropolitan Epiphanius, the head of the independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine, has issued a letter to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, “first among equals” of Orthodox Christian leaders, asking Bartholomew to call Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, a teacher of heresy for his theological backing of the Ukraine war and deprive Kirill of his right to lead the Russian church. The letter was approved at a meeting of…

Source: Christian Network Europe (CNE) News The Orthodox Church of Ukraine has called on patriarch Bartholomew to condemn Moscow patriarch Kirill for supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine. With the approval of the synod of his bishops, Metropolitan Epiphanius wrote a letter to the head of world orthodoxy, the patriarch of Constantinople, to condemn Kirill for heresy and schism. The letter, available to the Catholic German daily Die Tagespost, reads that the patriarch should “review and condemn at a pan-Orthodox level the activities of the Moscow Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev and the ethnophyletic and racist doctrine of the Russian world”. Epiphanius accuses…

Source: Spirit of Abilene By PHILIP LeMASTERS The centrality of peace to the worship and spiritual vision of Eastern Orthodox Christianity magnifies the tragedy of the invasion of Ukraine.  Petitions for peace abound in Orthodox services, including for deliverance from “the sword, foreign invasion, and civil war.” The Church prays regularly for “the peace of the whole world,” as well as for the liberation of captives and for people “in exile, in harsh labor, and…in every kind of affliction, necessity, or distress.”  Every Sunday service includes a petition for God to grant peace “to all civil authorities, to our armed…

Source: Christianity Today Possible manufacture of holy oil a signal of declaration of independence from Moscow patriarchate, while still opposing rival breakaway church. by JAYSON CASPER After 93 days of war, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) has definitively broken with Russia—maybe. In a council decision taken May 27, the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC)–affiliated body declared its “full self-sufficiency and independence,” condemning the three-month conflict as “a violation of God’s commandment: Thou shalt not kill!” Such a condemnation was not new. The day the invasion began, UOC-MP Metropolitan Onufriy called it a “repetition of the sin of Cain.” But in dry ecclesial language,…

Source: The New York Times Patriarch Kirill I has provided spiritual cover for the invasion of Ukraine, reaping vast resources for his church in return. Now, in an extraordinary step, the E.U. is threatening him with sanctions. By Jason Horowitz As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine unfolded, Patriarch Kirill I, the leader of the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church, had an awkward Zoom meeting with Pope Francis. The two religious leaders had previously worked together to bridge a 1,000-year-old schism between the Christian churches of the East and West. But the meeting, in March, found them on opposing sides of a chasm. Kirill…

Source: Eurasia Review By Paul Goble Despite its efforts to position itself as a Ukrainian church rather than a church of the country that is invading Ukraine, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is now showing its true colors by dismissing from pastoral service priests that have denounced the invasion and cooperated with the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The number of such cases is still small and is being handled not by the Russian metropolitanate of Kyiv but by other UOC MP bishoprics, something that keeps this development out of the public eye and likely reflects the individual…

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