Disputes loom as émigré church leader switches loyalty to Moscow
PARIS (RNS) — The fate of 118 parishes scattered across Europe is part of a larger struggle between the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul and the far larger and richer Moscow Patriarchate, whose power is linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Émigré Russian Orthodox inch toward a return to Moscow Patriarchate
PARIS (RNS) — A decision seemed to be made, but as with most émigré politics and disputes among Eastern Orthodox churches, it got complicated.
Russian Orthodox Church drops plan to build a new St. Catherine’s Cathedral
MOSCOW (RNS) — Protesters caused Russian church officials to cancel plans for a new cathedral in Yekaterinburg, the country’s fourth-largest city. Protesters were angered that the cathedral was going to be built on a rare piece of green space.
Russian Orthodox Church issues warning to Orthodoxy’s leader
MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian Orthodox Church warned Friday that it would sever ties with the leader of the worldwide Orthodox community if he grants autonomy to Ukraine’s Orthodox Church.
Putin may benefit from meeting of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill
VATICAN CITY/MOSCOW (Reuters) Diplomats and analysts say Friday’s summit in Havana could not happen without a green light from the Russian president.
Pope Francis and Russian patriarch to meet in Cuba in historic breakthrough
VATICAN CITY (RNS) The chief impetus for the Feb. 12 meeting is the need for a joint response to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. The Russian leader, Patriarch Kirill, needs to reassure his own flock that he won’t be focused on reuniting with Catholicism after a 1,000-year schism.
Russian Orthodox patriarch wants to cut ‘horrifyingly high’ abortion rates
MOSCOW (Reuters) “If we could just cut in half the number of abortions, there would be steady and powerful demographic growth,” Patriarch Kirill said.
Ukrainian crisis may split Russian Orthodox Church
(RNS) The protests that toppled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych also a galvanized a religious awakening and may lead to a seismic shift in church-state relations.
Racy Orthodox Calendar pushes gay rights ahead of Russian Olympics
(RNS) While there have been other collections of religious pin-up men, the Orthodox Calendar aims to make a political point against the Orthodox churches that the creators say are complicit in trying to keep gays and lesbians in the closet.
Pope Francis and Vladimir Putin hold ‘constructive’ talks
VATICAN CITY (RNS) despite what Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, termed a “constructive” and “cordial” meeting, there were no announced follow-up dialogues planned, and “no discussion whatsoever” of a papal visit to Russia.
Expectations are high for summit between Pope Francis and Vladimir Putin
ROME (RNS) Because of the period of reform Francis has ushered in at the Vatican, and a list of priorities that range from Syria to a desire to strengthen ties between one of the world’s largest countries and one of the smallest, the Nov. 25 closed-door encounter will take on a dramatically increased importance.
COMMENTARY: Orthodox bishops chafe at Christian persecution in the Middle East
(RNS) With the civil war in Syria and the civil conflict in Egypt, instances of violent repression against minority Christians have increased. This rise was particularly worrying for Orthodox bishops, who lead the largest body of Christians in the Middle East.