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In what is being called the greatest split in the Orthodox Church of modern history, the Russian Orthodox Church has officially cut ties with the Constantinople Patriarchate and are now in “schism” with each other.

Since the 1990s, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the leadership of now Patriarch Filaret has sought to gain the status of an independent Orthodox church, on the same level as the Moscow Patriarchate. Prompting the split by Moscow was a Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate deciding to finally grant autocephalous status to the Kiev Patriarchate, along with “canonically reinstating” Patriarch Filaret, making them independent of Moscow.

The Holy Synod, governing body of the Russian Orthodox Church, ruled to completely cut ties with Constantinople, according to head of External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion.

“We cannot be in communication with this church. A decision has been made to rupture full communion with the Constantinople Patriarchate.”

Hilarion also said the Moscow Patriarchate will not abide by any decisions of the Constantinople Patriarchate, nor the declaration of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as autocephalous.

“All these decisions are unlawful and canonically void. The Russian Orthodox Church does not recognize these decisions and will not follow them.”

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