Russian bishop in Britain joins rival orthodoxy
- Russian bishop in Britain joins rival orthodoxy
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
(Filed: 10/06/2006)The troubled Russian Orthodox Church in Britain split in two yesterday when its former head and half of its clergy switched their allegiance to another strand of orthodoxy.Bishop Basil of Sergievo was forcibly retired last month by his superior, the Patriarch of Moscow, Alexis II, after a bruising power struggle caused by a clash of values between Moscow and its more liberal British satellite.But yesterday the bishop announced that he and many of his supporters would be joining a parallel European diocese under the auspices of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholemew of Constantinople.The ecumenical patriarch, based in Istanbul, is the first among equals of the 14 self-governing orthodox churches worldwide, but his relations with Moscow have been strained for decades.Bishop Basil initially appealed to Moscow in April to be released from his mother church because of growing tensions at the London cathedral between the original congregation and the recent Russian emigres who were dismayed by the relatively relaxed style of worship. However, Moscow forced the bishop to retire instead.Bishop Basil, 68, said last night that he was deeply saddened by the situation but relieved by the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to accept him.The status of the Cathedral of the Dormition and All Saints in Knightsbridge, which is run by a charitable trust, is now being investigated by the Charity Commission.
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