The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) has cut ties with the Constantinople Patriarchate in Istanbul, the worldwide leadership of Orthodox, in protest over its decision to grant independence to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The current situation can’t but affect the Belarusian Orthodox faithful and the country.
1. Parishioners the Russian Orthodox Church won’t be able to take part in the sacraments in the churches under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. They include praying, confession, baptizing, taking communion etc.
2. In Ukraine, the Orthodox Belarusians will be able to pray only in the churches of Metropolitan Onufry (the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate).
Although the Representative of the Belarusian Orthodox Church explained that Orthodox believers in Belarus will not be affected much. The schism will mostly affect those involved in theological dialogues, church diplomacy, international conferences, excursions, and pilgrimages.
From the political point of view, experts suppose the Orthodox Church Split will bring no advantages for Minsk.
“Belarus won’t be able to maintain a neutral position the way it did with the Donbass-Crimean conflict,” political analyst Artyom Shraibman notes.
“The Belarusian Orthodox Church will have to follow their superiors (the ROC) contrary to the political line of the Belarusian civil authorities.
As long as there is a formal framework of political, military, economic and religious binding to the Russian Federation (the Union State, CSTO, EAEU, and ROC), we will be dragged in that direction, no matter for how long we have been striving to into a neutral zone,” he adds.
BelarusFeed took to social media to collect the reactions to the current situation.
The fact that #Russian #Orthodox church broke ties with Constantinople won’t give the #Belarusian Orthodox church a chance for independence. Moscow will want to keep it even more in its sphere of influence at all costs
— Hanna Liubakova (@HannaLiubakova) October 16, 2018
Russian Orthodox parishes in Belarus host dozens of pro-Russian organizations (see the map), including so-called Cossacks (also known as Orthodox Taliban).
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) September 16, 2018
Photo: Valentyn Ogirenko, Reuters