09 October 2008, 13:55
The Russian Church reminds it hasn't recognized the Constantinople church structure in Estonia
Moscow, October 9, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate states again that it hasn't recognized a canonical status of the so-called Estonian Autonomous Orthodox Church (EAOC).
The statement came out as Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople contrary to Alexy II's wish invited the EAOC head Metropolitan Stefanos to the All-Orthodox meeting in Istanbul.
"It is not important for us if any particular hierarch of the Constantinople Patriarchate attends the meeting or not as the EAOC belongs to it. What is important is that the Russian Orthodox Church cannot agree with recognition of Metropolitan Stefanos as the head of the autonomous local Church," Inter-Orthodox secretary of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Nikolay Balashov told Interfax-Religion on Thursday.
Primates of Orthodox Churches are to meet in Istanbul on October 10-12 and is timed for the Year of St. Paul.
Fr. Nikolay confirmed Patriarch Alexy intended to take part in final part of the meeting and in the joint Sunday liturgy in St. George patriarchal cathedral in Phanar (Istanbul district where the Constantinople Patriarch's residence is located - IF).
The interviewee of the agency reminded that participation of the Russian Church in the event was discussed more than once. Alexy II in his response letter to Barthlomew I of June 3 stated the Russian Church hadn't recognized church organization of the Constantinople Patriarchate in Estonia as an autonomous local Church.
Bartholomew I met with Alexy II in the Kiev Laura of the Caves in July and again invited the Russian Orthodox Primate to the All-Orthodox meeting in Istanbul.
"We proceed from joint understanding that heads of autocephalous Churches will participate in the All-Orthodox meeting and only they or their official representatives will sign the final document," Fr. Nikolay said.
He pointed out that Alexy II's delegation includes three primates of the self-governed Churches under the Moscow Patriarchate: Metropolitan Kornily of Tallinn and All Estonia, Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All Ukraine and Metropolitan Vladimir of Kishinev and All Moldova.
The so-called Estonian Autonomous Orthodox Church was established by the Constantinople Patriarchate in 1996 in the canonical territory of the Russian Church and has not been recognized in the Orthodox world.
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