While much attention has been rightly given to the numerous scandals coming out of the Vatican that have been copiously documented by many Catholics of good will, the Orthodox world right now is going through a more silent in terms of publicity but equally and potentially far more serious ecclesiastical crisis over the formation of the Ukrainian Patriarchate.
The act, which is serious enough to be considered a second Great Schism, has effectively reduced the size of the Russian Orthodox Church and her claims from potentially at least a third up to (and possibly higher) than 50%. Given the historical inseparability of the orthodox churches from their particular racial affiliations and the accompanying governments, combined with the public support of the Ukrainians by the Greek Orthodox and the ancient Patriarchs of Constantinople and now Alexandria, and how the Russians have placed travel bans on going to major orthodox holy sites such as Mt. Athos and the general silence of most of the rest of the Orthodox world, Russia and her state church are finding themselves more isolated than ever before. Geopolitics considered or not, what is happening today along with the continual rise of secularism in Eastern Europe and the Balkans is a major crisis that is not receiving the attention it needs.
Following the announcement by the Patriarch of Alexandria that he would support the Patriarch of Constantinople, the representative for Alexandria has now closed the only one of her churches in Moscow.
he faithful of the “Egyptian” church in the capital are desperate: in recent days the closing of the representation of the Orthodox patriarchate of Alexandria in Moscow was announced.
The Alexandrian delegation is located at the Russian Church of All Saints in Kulishki, in the center. The ancient building (XIV century), is easily recognizable by the leaning tower. The parish priest is the same Metropolitan Afanasios (Kikkotis) of Cyrene (see photo), exarch of Libya, in Moscow for more than 20 years and much loved by Russian parishioners.
The representation of Alexandria and “all of Africa” has fallen under the ax due to the recognition of the new autocephalous Church of Kiev by Theodore II in recent weeks. This has caused the “Eucharistic relations” to break with the Russians. (source)
One can say this was done for any number of reasons. However, the symbolism of this act is tremendous.
The Orthodox world, it appears, is “shutting” Russia out from the rest of them.
This is not just happening with Greece, Constantinople, or Alexandria. In the tiny country of Georgia, the invitation of a Russian Orthodox parliamentarian, Sergey Gavrilov, to speak at an Orthodox conference in June 2019 caused national protests and a flood of outrage against him. The reason for this is that as the Orthodox Churches cannot be separated from their particular nations, Georgia knew based on her experience under Russian occupation or influence from the early 19th century that the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church may lead to the subjugation of the Georgian Orthodox Church.
The Serbian Orthodox originally pledged to support Russia, but given the recent accusations of Russian spying against Serbia made by her President and her history of changing alliances, one cannot be sure of her position. The Romanian Orthodox, the third largest bloc (and arguably in terms of practice, likely the second largest overall as many Russian Orthodox do not believe), have kept silent and maintained friendship with both the Russian and Ukrainian sides, and there has been general silence from the other churches.
The church which has been making the largest noise about the matter is Russia, and the Russian are either being met, for the most part, with opposition or silence.
The Patriarchate of Alexandria is very small and as the story notes, is largely irrelevant in terms of her mass influence. However, she is one of the five apostolic seats in the ancient world, and now that she has sided with another of the ancient seats (Constantinople) and has closed her church in Moscow, this is just another sign of the increased isolation of the Russian Orthodox Church from the rest of her own Orthodox world, let alone the world at large.
When Russia comes under attack or prepares to attack, she tends to withdraw into herself and take a very independent, autarchal approach to foreign relations. But given her increasing isolation, massive social problems, economic problems, and her general inability to care for her own needs, how long can she survive in isolation?