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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

estia row spurs church schism

The Russian Orthodox Church on Friday suspended relations with its mother church in Turkey as the result of a long-simmering conflict, blaming it for a "tragic division of Orthodoxy.''

The Orthodox Church of Constantinople, which gave birth to the Russian Orthodoxy 1,008 years ago, has angered Moscow church officials for several years by supporting the Estonian Orthodox Church.

The Estonian church had broken away from the Russian Orthodox Church, a move Russian officials said was designed to force out ethnic Russians.

On Thursday, Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomaios I made the support formal by taking a part of the Estonian Orthodox Church under his jurisdiction.

The Russian church, in a statement issued Friday, said that step "shattered the ages-long Orthodox unity, which has become a tragedy for millions of Orthodox believers.''