Romanian church urges unity for Orthodox churches

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, center left, and Patriarch Filaret, head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate and clerics during their meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. The Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate says it will move forward with its decision to grant Ukrainian clerics independence from the Russian Orthodox Church. (Mikhail Palinchak, Presidential Press Service Pool Photo via AP)

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania’s Orthodox Church has called for unity among Orthodox churches after a meeting to discuss a rupture between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

On Oct. 15, the Russian Orthodox Church announced it was severing links to the Constantinople patriarchy after the Istanbul-based patriarch Bartholomew I, considered the “first among equals” of Orthodox church leaders, said he was removing its condemnation of leaders of schismatic Orthodox churches in Ukraine.

That was considered a major step toward granting full recognition to a Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has been formally under the Russian Orthodox Church since the 1600s.

In a statement Friday, Romania’s Orthodox Church urged the Patriarchies of Moscow and Constantinople to promote “a unity of faith” that would also allow churches pastoral and administrative freedom.

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