The Eastern Orthodox church has over 250 million members around the world, with its spiritual leader based in Istanbul.

But for followers in Ukraine, there's a new found independence.

Churches there have officially cut ties with the Russian branch of the church - accusing it of what they call 'pro-Moscow propaganda'.

But the decision has angered Russian leaders, with Moscow warning of serious consequences for what it calls political manoeuvring. 

Presenter: Elizabeth Puranam

Guests:

Valentin Yakushik - professor of political science at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

Marat Shterin - professor of sociology of religion and department head of theology and religious studies at King's College London

Alexander Bratersky - senior foreign policy writer at Gazeta.ru newspaper

Source: Al Jazeera News