Russian Orthodox Church facing a test of strength, experts say

The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is facing a “test of endurance” given the war in Ukraine. That is the opinion of the Swiss theologian and university lecturer Barbara Hallensleben.

According to the Eastern Church expert, it is “intolerable” that the Moscow Patriarch Kirill does not condemn the “despicable” war in the strongest possible terms, Austrian broadcaster ORF writes based on an article in Kathpress.

Not only is the Western world appalled, but the Orthodox faithful of the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine and all over the world are beginning to distance themselves, Hallensleben said. The Russian Orthodox Church in Amsterdam, for example, already announced its separation from the Moscow Patriarchate, as reported earlier.

As the head of a Church whose congregations live on both sides of the front “and whose faithful are now forced to fire on each other as soldiers”, the theologian recalled, the eyes of the world are on Patriarch Kirill. The ROC, she said, is “on the verge of losing the very thing the Patriarch is about: ecclesial communion with the origin of the Christianisation of Russia in 988 through the baptism of Prince Vladimir of Kyiv.”

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