2018-10-16 19:08:00

Russian Orthodox Church planning to address issue of pastoral direction for Russians on territory of Constantinople Patriarchate (updated)

Moscow, October 16, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church is planning to address the problem of pastoral direction for Russians living on the Constantinople Patriarchate's canonical territory.

"Naturally, the break with Constantinople is a problem that may affect our compatriots living far away from their home country," Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations secretary, told Interfax on Tuesday.

Today, we are only beginning to think of the problem of how their pastoral direction will be ensured on the canonical territory of the Church of Constantinople, the one that has virtually become schismatic, the priest said. "Now that only 24 hours have passed since the Minsk meeting of the Synod, we clearly cannot solve it [the problem], but we will address it," he said.

The decision to break up with Constantinople was necessary but difficult to make and "will obviously cause inconveniences to many Russian people abroad", particularly to someone who relocates to Turkey or to Greek Islands and becomes a permanent resident or a spouse of a local resident, or simply happen to visit those places as a tourist, he said.

"As it remains unclear how pastoral direction will proceed there, if necessary, you should try to find access to a priest of the Moscow Patriarchate," the priest advised.

The breakup with Constantinople will hardly affect those dreaming of getting married on a beautiful Greek island, as it is not as easy for them to undergo the ceremony of church wedding "due to the fact that in Greece the Church performs some functions of a civil registry office and to get access to church wedding, one must comply with certain procedure and present appropriate documents," Father Igor said.