Moscow Patriarch Kirill’s movements cause problems for the Kremlin in the Caucasus – OpEd – Eurasia Review


Patriarch Kirill’s decision to create an Armenia-Yerevan Orthodox Russian Exarchate violates church standards, and his appointment of a clergyman who was involved in the expansion of the Russian Orthodox Church in outside of Russia has only raised the jaws of many in the Caucasus, Dmitry says Gorevoy.

Moscow analyst says it’s clear this was Kirill’s personal and impulsive decision as he rushed to make it and violated his own church’s rules regarding decision-making and canonical territories, failing to totally to consider its impact in Armenia, Georgia and Russia itself (trtrussian.com/mnenie/nedruzhestvennaya-eparhiya-metamorfozy-otnoshenij-rpc-i-armyanskoj-cerkvi-7178511).

Kirill violated MP ROC’s rules by calling a synod meeting just two weeks after holding the regular meeting and doing so only by phone. And he violated statements by the Russian Orthodox Church that make it clear that Armenia is not part of the canonical territory of Russia but rather falls under the jurisdiction of the Georgian Church.

He may have forgotten or chosen to forget that “the Moscow Patriarchate itself gave Armenia to the Georgians. In 1943, when Stalin authorized the functioning of the Orthodox Church in the USSR, the ROC immediately recognized the Georgian Church… and handed over the supervision of the Orthodox parishes in Armenia to the Georgians.

Certainly, continues Gorevoy, “the Armenian Apostolic Church is not Orthodox in the precise sense of the term. It belongs to the group of so-called pre-Calchedonian oriental churches ”, which include not only the Armenian church but also the Coptic, Ethiopian, Syro-Jahovite, Malankar and Eritrean churches.

Orthodox churches, including Russia, recognize the actions of these churches as legitimate and generally respect “canonical authority.” In response, these churches do the same. What Kirill has done is upset that critical balance, and it affects not only Armenia but Georgia as well.

According to the rules of the Georgian Church, its jurisdiction includes Orthodox Christians living in Armenia. And so by acting as he did with regard to Armenia, Kirill aggravated the break with Tbilisi, which has consequences not only for the religious authorities but also for the political authorities of both places.

“In addition to these formal consequences,” says Gorevoy, “there are informal ones. In the language of church protocol, it is not acceptable to establish its structures in other countries where there is already an Orthodox or near-Orthodox church. And despite what Moscow said, Garégin II of Armenia did not ask.

What he proposed was that Moscow open a church embassy in his country so that issues of common interest could be discussed. He did not and will never accept that the ROC deputy has his own exarchate in Armenia, and neither will the political authorities in that country.

And Kirill further aggravated the situation by appointing as the head of the new Armenian exarchate of Yerevan Bishop Leonid who has been actively involved in recent years in promoting the establishment of Russian Orthodox church structures in Africa and the Middle – Orient where they are. de facto and de jure parallel to the national Orthodox and Quasi-Orthodox churches.

Yerevan and Tbilisi, religious and civil, cannot rejoice in all of this; and their discontent creates undesirable problems for the Kremlin, which will now face Armenian and Georgian officials even less willing to cooperate with the Russian Federation, Gorevoy continues.


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