07 December 2018, 12:13
IOPS to open division in Istanbul despite patriarch Bartholomew's opinion
Moscow, December 7, Interfax - The Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS) is going to fund its division in Istanbul despite the refusal of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to bless this project, IOPS head Sergey Stepashin said.
"IOPS will also continue operations in Constantinople," Stepashin said at a meeting of the Russian Interreligious Council in Moscow.
Stepashin said he had met with the Constantinople patriarch in fall 2017 and he initially blessed the creation of an IOPS division in Istanbul. "You know what amazed me the most? It took me half an hour to explain to him why a division of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society is needed in Istanbul. Like he didn't understand that there is a common culture, common values, including pilgrimage. In April, we received a letter saying they don't need us in Istanbul," Stepashin said.
In April, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko asked patriarch Bartholomew to grant Ukraine a tomos on autocephaly that would allow the creation of a church independent of the Moscow Patriarchate.
In the meantime, Constantinople's refusal to bless the creation of an IOPS division in Istanbul did not influence the plans to carry out that idea. "We intend to create our presence there. Thirty thousand Russians who need Russian presence live in Constantinople," Stepashin said.
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