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Orthodox Church calls for an end to religous row

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Orthodox Church calls for an end to religous row


The two most powerful figures in the Orthodox Church have celebrated mass together in Kiev, amid deep divisions within the Church. Orthodox Patriarch Bortholomew I has seen a growing religious dispute between the Russian church and Ukraine which wants its own independent branch.

The Russian Patriarch Alexiy II dismisses that as causing a schism within the church, and Moscow has accused Ukrainian leaders of interfering in religious affairs. But President Viktor Yushchenko is an ardent believer, and sees the creation of a Ukrainian Orthodox church as vital to the building of a national identity.

Bartholomew has called for unity but, unlike the Pope, he has little but moral authority and cannot impose his will on national churches.

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