Let the readers of Orthodoxy in Dialogue be perfectly clear in their minds: history will judge the diabolical schism “greater than 1054” to be entirely of Moscow’s own making from beginning to end. Moscow, and Moscow alone, has broken and continues to break communion with one autocephalous Church after another which refuses to bend to its will.
Name of Patriarch of Alexandria Was Removed from Diptychs of Moscow Patriarchate
During the meeting of the Holy Synod, chaired by Patriarch Kirill, the Moscow Patriarchate decided to sever full communion with the Patriarchate of Alexandria by removing the name of the Patriarch of Alexandria from its Diptychs. The main reasons were the recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and the commemoration of Metropolitan Epiphanius by Patriarch Theodoros.
According to Moscow Patriarchate’s spokesman, Vladimir Legoida, the Moscow Patriarchate severed full communion with the Head of the Church of Alexandria but it remains in full communion with the Metropolitans of Alexandria who did not agree with Patriarch Theodoros and did not recognise the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. He added that the Moscow Patriarchate had not severed full communion with the Archbishop of Athens and the Metropolitans of the Church of Greece either.
Vladimir Legoida said that the actions taken by the Patriarch of Alexandria were not canonical because he recognised the Church of Ukraine even though the Hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Alexandria had never voted for such a decision.
He also argued, “The decision of the Patriarch of Alexandria to recognise the schismatic Church of Ukraine runs counter to his previous statements according to which he would recognise the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church under Metropolitan Onufrius of Kyiv and all Ukraine. In addition, such a statement was made by the Patriarch of Alexandria when he visited the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from September 27 to October 1, 2018, three weeks after the intrusion of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine through the appointment of an Exarch in Kyiv.”
During the meeting, the Moscow Patriarchate also decided to abolish the Exarchate [metochion] of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in Moscow and convert the Exarchate [metochion] of the Moscow Patriarchate in Alexandria into a Russian church. In addition, the Moscow Patriarchate decided to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Alexandria the parishes of the Russian Church located on the African continent and to make them stavropegial monasteries [i.e., under the personal jurisdiction of Patriarch Kirill].