A danger for Orthodox Christians after a row between Moscow and Constantinople demands unity and prayers from the faithful, Greek Orthodox Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East said on Wednesday while visiting Serbia, TASS reported.
"At the time when Christians in Syria and the East are suffering, we need unity. The danger looming for Orthodox Christianity is impersonated in the row of Constantinople and Moscow and must push all Orthodox Christians to intensify prayers," His Beatitude John X was quoted by the Serbian Orthodox Church as saying.
"People and the world today are expecting from us evidence about Christ, not divisions and conflicts," he said.
Earlier, the leader of the Antioch Orthodox Church had said that the Eastern Orthodox Church needs unity instead of discussions on autocephaly. According to him, all Orthodox Christians should get united, while problems of the Eastern Orthodox Church should be considered at a council which all heads of local churches should attend.
On October 11, a Synod meeting of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople decided to "proceed with granting autocephaly (self-governance) to the Church of Ukraine. The Synod revoked a legally binding status of the 1686 letter, which empowered the Patriarch of Moscow to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev. In addition, the Synod decided to re-establish the office of the Stavropegion of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Kiev, which means its head would be subordinate directly to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Moreover, the Synod lifted an anathema from the heads of two non-canonical churches in Ukraine - Filaret of the Kiev Patriarchate, and Makary of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church.
In response, on Monday the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church said it had been left with no choice but to sever Eucharistic ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.