The Russian Orthodox Church in Amsterdam has announced that it will split from Moscow over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The priests and deacon at the church announced their decision Saturday.
Their statement said that the church was no longer safe under the Russian government. In the past, they have received multiple threats and vandalized a pro-Russian symbol in their church building.
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The Church’s announcement
The Russian Orthodox Church in Amsterdam announces on Saturday that it has split from the Moscow Patriarchate. After a meeting, the clergy unanimously announced that it is no longer possible for them to function within the Moscow Patriarchate and provide a spiritually safe environment for our faithful.
The church’s website describes the decision as “a result of recent threats against the church by Moscow and its administration.” It says that the church will remain in the Russian Orthodox Church, but it will no longer be a part of the Russian Orthodox federation.
The Russian Orthodox Church in Amsterdam is one of the few remaining Russian churches in the Netherlands, and a very popular place for believers from abroad to worship. Its 5-domed Assumption Cathedral features a famous iconostasis, which is made up of 17th-century religious icons. It also houses an impressive collection of medieval wall paintings.
The church’s website
The Russian Orthodox Church in Amsterdam announced on Saturday that they had split from the Moscow Patriarchate. They say they will no longer refer to the Patriarch in their liturgy because of his backing for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
They also said they would not accept any new bishops from the Moscow Patriarchate, and asked Archbishop Elisey of the Russian Orthodox Church in The Hague to sever all ties with them.
It is a very strong statement of a strong Christian faith and a very clear example of how a group of people can make a decision and go with it. The fact that they are able to reach this decision is testament to the great strength of their faith and how it will help them in their spiritual journey.
They will no longer use the name of the Patriarch Kirill in their worship because of the threats they have received from Moscow. They say they want to provide a spiritually safe environment for their followers and will no longer accept any new bishops from the Moscow Priarchate.
The church’s statement
In a statement released on Saturday, the Russian Orthodox church in Amsterdam announced that it has split with Moscow. The church’s four priests and deacons unanimously decided to withdraw their support of Moscow patriarch Kirill.
The decision comes as a reaction to the Moscow Patriarch’s recent position on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It is the first time a church has publicly distanced itself from a Russian head of state.
It also marks the resumption of an old religious dispute, this time over the veneration of divine names (imiaslavie). The issue divides those within the Moscow Patriarchate and non-canonical churches claiming to be the ‘true’ Orthodox, as well as cutting across traditional differences between liberal and conservative currents in the church.
The ecumenical movement does not run counter to the nature and history of the Orthodox Church, but it constitutes another attempt, like those made in the patristic period, to apply the apostolic faith to new historical situations and existential demands. The church is committed to ecumenical unity, but it recognizes that this does not have to lead to an irreconcilable split with the rest of the Christian world.
The church’s press release
In a press release posted to its website, the church says its clergy unanimously announced that it is no longer possible for them to function within the Moscow Patriarchate and provide a spiritually safe environment for their faithful. Their decision came in response to the threats they received over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the church says.
This is a very difficult time for the Russian Orthodox Church in Europe and around the world. The church is still dealing with the fallout from the 2014 invasion of Crimea by Russia and the continuing turmoil in the Ukraine.
The church also has had to deal with a new HIV crisis in Russia which affects mainly intravenous drug users. There is a church-run treatment center in St. Petersburg which blends Orthodox spirituality with self-help therapy to help addicts overcome their addiction.
The church tries to be on the side of those who suffer from drugs and alcohol, and also wants to show that the church is on the right track with respect to human rights. But it also realizes that most of its clients are not likely to convert to Orthodoxy.