Ecumenical Patriarch rebuffs Russian accusations over Ukrainian autocephaly

Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos has rejected allegations by Russian President Vladimir Putin last week that his main motive for granting independence to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine from the Russian Church is to "start profiting from it."

"Although the Russian Church is accusing me of taking money to grant autocephaly, in reality I didn't take money but lots of candy and chocolates from [Ukrainian President Petro] Poroshenko's factory," he told parents and children who visited him at the Patriarchate in Istanbul on Monday morning to sign Christmas carols.

Vartholomeos's decision on October 11 has upset relations with the Moscow Patriarchate which has severed ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a result.


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