While ramifications from the Russian Orthodox Church’s decision to break ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople reverberate throughout the world, the US State Department has doubled down on its support of Constantinople’s decision.
In a second Tweet in less than two weeks, the official Twitter account of the State Department issued its support for the Ukraine church’s freedom of religion.
.@SecPompeo: The United States reiterates its strong support for #religiousfreedom and the freedom of members of religious groups, including #Ukraine’s Orthodox community, to govern their religion according to their beliefs, free of outside interference. https://t.co/kAhuSxCeMt
— Department of State (@StateDept) October 19, 2018
The State Department first chimed in late September when a similar announcement was released, right around the time Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was about to make the official announcement in support of Ukrainian autocephaly, or independence from the Moscow Patriarchate.
The move was seen as hostile by Moscow as Church officials spoke of political pressure by Washington on Bartholomew, who they claimed was being used as a pawn by the Americans to keep the Ukraine aligned with the West.
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