The Ukrainian president has called on an Orthodox Christian leader to recognize the independence of his country’s splinter church.
CHR Comment: The article refers to the divide in the Ukraine, which centers around Russian presence and involvement in the former Soviet Republic of Ukraine. The church divide dates to 1997.
Source: Ukraine’s president calls for recognition of splinter church – The Washington Post
An historic gathering of Orthodox Churches opens on the Greek island of Crete, despite the absence of four denominations including the Russians.
CHR Comment: The article names two key players in the developments: Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and Russian Patriarch Kirill, whose church is not attending.
Source: Orthodox Churches council opens on Crete despite Russia’s absence – BBC News
A majority of the Orthodox Churches desire to “walk together” towards unity, while a minority desire ethnic isolation. The Pan-Orthodox Council must not and will not be postponed due to this minority. Nor will the nonparticipation of a minority invalidate the proceedings of the Council.
CHR Comment: The dividing issue that has caused some Orthodox Churches to withdraw from the council, which was fifty years in development, is the issue of consensus—how voting will take place. The article repeatedly speaks of a vast majority of Orthodox Churches participating in the council. However, this seems misleading since the Russian Orthodox Church is the largest body representing the most people. Their withdrawal is significant.
Source: The Pan-Orthodox Council Must and Will Proceed | Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis and Paul L. Gavrilyuk | First Things
The article describes how Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the registration process for religions has led to suppression of groups that are not Russian Orthodox. The end of the article includes a link to an historical article about the conflict in the Ukraine.
Europe’s ‘Unlikely Bible Belt’ Officially Disappears | Gleanings | ChristianityToday.com.