Moscow’s expansionism destroys the unity of the Orthodox Church

In this insightful article published in the influential Washington DC-based journal Providence Review, Archon Evagelos Sotiropoulos describes how the actions of the Moscow Patriarchate – including its obsessive ethnophyletism and expansionism – negatively impact the unity of the Orthodox Church. Written before Russia’s unprovoked and unwarranted invasion of Ukraine, the article discusses how autocephalous churches can respond to Moscow, including officially recognizing the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphanius of Kyiv and from all over Ukraine. Archon Sotiropoulos is the editor of “The Ecumenical Patriarchate and Ukrainian Autocephaly: Historical, Canonical and Pastoral Perspectives” published by the Order of St. Andrew, as well as the author of “Witnessing History: The Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church.”

Moscow’s expansionism destroys the unity of the Orthodox Church

By Evagelos Sotiropoulos
February 17, 2022

“Appeasement,” Winston Churchill once said, “is feeding the crocodile, hoping it will eat you last.” It is this approach, that of appeasement and concession, that the Orthodox primates have applied to the ecclesiastical ambitions of the Moscow Patriarchate.

While the 2019 granting of autocephaly, or autonomy status, to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate made intra-Orthodox tensions more public, the The root cause of today’s growing disunity goes back decades. the making.

Moscow’s obsessive ethnophyletism and promotion of its Russkiy Mir program has been quietly acknowledged but mostly ignored in the name of peace. Moscow’s recent aggression, however, demands a broad and decisive response from the Orthodox hierarchs. Failure to address the Moscow Patriarchate’s expansionism will only embolden and encourage even more aggressive behavior in the future.

On December 29, 2021, the ruling Synod of Moscow passed a resolution establishing an exarchate in Africa on what is the undisputed canonical territory of the former Patriarchate of Alexandria – second in order of precedence after Constantinople of the fifteen local Orthodox churches ( Moscow is fifth).

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