Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia Losing the War of the Churches (3)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Yes, this is about victory over Russia for Ukraine and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. What else could it be? 

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A digest of recent media on this fascinating topic. As several analysts have observed, this is effectively the death knell for the much promoted “Russkiy Mir” nonsense – the de facto replacement for the bizarre 19th century pan-Slavism doctrine so heavily used by the Soviets.


Autocephaly is not just religious issue, it is about victory over Russia – 112.international

The Universal Patriarch in Constantinople is moving to grant the Ukrainian Orthodox Church autocephaly, that is, the status of a Church with its own canonical territory and able to choose its own hierarchs. The Universal Patriarch in Constantinople is moving to grant the Ukrainian Orthodox Church autocephaly, that is, the status of a Church with its own canonical territory and able to choose its own hierarchs. This has been a slow-moving process until recent weeks, when Constantinople Patriarch Bartholemew I named two exarchs from North America to oversee this effort in Ukraine itself. As a result, most attention has heretofore been devoted to the religious consequences of this move. But now that Ukrainian autocephaly appears imminent, it is becoming increasingly clear that the conferring of this status is about far more than religion. Moreover, it will not be a single event but rather a longer string of developments that have far-reaching social, political and even security consequences for all involved. For Ukraine, achieving autocephaly is a great victory—both religious and political (Dsnews.ua, September 10). Having an internationally recognized national Orthodox Church co-terminus with the borders of the country will not only underscore Ukraine’s exit from Moscow’s orbit but promote national integration. Over time, autocephaly will likely mean that most of the congregations and bishoprics now subordinated to the Moscow Patriarchate will pass over to Ukrainian administration. Of course, this process will take years and is likely to be slowed by Russian interference and even by Russian-inspired violence because, once it is completed, the autocephalous Ukrainian Church will displace the Russian one as the largest Orthodox Church in the world (see EDM, July 26). This is something Moscow religious and political leaders almost certainly will not tolerate (Rusk.ru, September 12). But if autocephaly is a victory for Ukraine, it is also fraught with a risk perhaps even greater than the near inevitability of Russian interference. The diversity of Orthodox administrations in Ukraine (the Moscow Patriarchate, the Kyiv Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, to name just the three largest ones) has both reflected and helped to promote pluralism in that country. Whereas, the formation of a single national Orthodox Church carries with it the risk of the emergence in Ukraine of the caesaro-papist approach of Orthodoxy in many countries. Although Kyiv might initially be glad to exploit such a consequence, it could ultimately lead to the imposition of a kind of ideological straightjacket like the one the Moscow Patriarchate has sought to impose on Russia. Indeed, some are already warning of this danger (Facebook.com/vladislavl.inozemtsev, September 10). For Russia, autocephaly for Ukraine is a major defeat—again, for both political and religious reasons. In the Kremlin’s view, it represents the end of President Vladimir Putin’s dream of a “Russian World” (Russkiy mir) combining, at a minimum, the three Eastern Slavic nations—Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians—which he continues to view as one people. And more immediately, it deprives Moscow of one of its major levers within Ukraine, making it more likely that Kyiv will be able to continue its course away from Russia toward the West. In the case of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, the defeat is more total. Not only has the Universal Patriarchate already rejected Moscow’s claim of a canonical territory including Ukraine, but it has declared that Moscow, because of its illegal interference in Ukraine, can have no voice in what happens there with regard to autocephaly (Facebook.com/ecumenicalpatriarchate, September 7;Windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com, September 8). Moscow Patriarch Kirill is an especially big loser. With autocephaly, he will lose about half of his Church’s parishes, nearly half of its bishoprics (many of which are headed by churchmen he appointed), and a great deal of his Church’s income. He has already been shown to be ineffective in promoting Moscow’s wishes, with Constantinople having turned him down flat. And he has responded in a way that signals his defeat, talking about splitting the Orthodox world and creating “an Orthodox Vatican” in Russia with himself as an Orthodox “pope”—threats few (see EDM, December 12, 2017) in the Orthodox world outside of Moscow are likely to support for long (Ruskline.ru, Politsovet.ru, BBC News—Russian service, September 6, 2018). The loss of the Ukrainian bishoprics will tilt the balance within the Russian Church away from Kirill’s more moderate positions to conservatives like Pskov Metropolitan Tikhon Shevkunov, a former spiritual advisor to Putin and now the odds-on favorite to succeed Kirill. Indeed, there is evidence that the Kremlin may hasten this process by bringing criminal charges against some of Kirill’s subordinates (Credo.press, September 11). Moreover, some Russians are already talking about cutting Moscow’s losses in the case of the Ukrainian Church and focusing inward, exactly the opposite of what Putin—and even more Kirill—want (Snob.ru, September 3; Credo.press, September 12).

Russian scholar: Ukrainian Church has right to independence | UNIAN

Russian religious expert and journalist Sergei Chapnin explains why the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople has every reason to grant the status of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In an op-ed published by Vedomosti, Chapnin noted that the issue of Ukrainian autocephaly dates back to the early 20th century, while those associated with the status of the Kyiv church goes back to the late 17th century. “But if the Patriarch of Constantinople preserves the continuity of his institutions for almost 1500 years, the Moscow Patriarchate, after the total destruction of all church institutions in 1917 and the re-emergence of some of them in the mid-1940s, cannot even think in terms of centuries. In the end, when it was necessary to investigate and determine the status of the Kyiv church at the end of the 17th century, Moscow failed to figure out the content of historical documents, but this did not stop them from suggesting that Constantinople in 1686 gave them Ukraine in its entirety,” Chapnin writes.

Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine says will not recognize local Ukrainian Orthodox Church, warns of “conflicts” | UNIAN

Metropolitan Antoniy (Pakanych), the Chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, says that his church will not recognize the local Ukrainian Orthodox Church after it is granted a “tomos” on autocephaly by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. The UOC-MP Chancellor warned of “disputes” and “conflicts,” claiming that “temples will be seized.” Metropolitan Antoniy (Pakanych), the Chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, says that his church will not recognize the local Ukrainian Orthodox Church after it is granted a “tomos” on autocephaly by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Speaking with the Greek news agency Romthea, Antoniy said: “Our Church will not recognize this move and will not cooperate with the new ‘church.” The church is a large spiritual family, which means that the majority of our believers and parishes will remain in the bosom of the canonical Church, they will not betray their pastors whom they love and follow. Some will leave, but not many – those will mainly be people with issues. The disputes will once again arise in the families of Ukrainians, our temples will once again be seized, brothers will stand against brothers, there will be conflicts…We already witnessed such events in the early 1990s, when the split happened,” the cleric said, according to the UCO-MP press service. The press service of the Moscow-controlled church added that it is politicians who intend to rename UOC-MP into the Russian Church in Ukraine and make it “alien.” As UNIAN reported earlier, any statements about the possible “seizure of temples” after the provision of Tomos on autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are an example of disinformation, head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, Patriarch Filaret, said earlier. “According to the Ukrainian laws, all temples and property belong to the communities – on the basis of ownership or rights of use or rent. [I say] communities, meaning parishes, monasteries, religious educational institutions,” Filaret said. He also stressed that the calls to “seize the Lavra” are a “provocation that plays in favor of the Kremlin.” At the same time, according to Dmytro Tymchuk, coordinator of Ukraine-based Information Resistance OSINT community, it is the infamous “religious war” that is one of the most prominent “boogeyman stories” used by Ukrainian MP Vadym Novinsky, a vivid supporter of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, as well as various pro-Kremlin “experts,” to intimidate the Ukrainian public and international community when they forecast what will happen once independence is granted to the Ukraine church.

Putin Wants God (or at Least the Church) on His Side – To Inform is to Influence

One of the best overviews of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine vs. Russian Orthodox Church vs. the Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church. The two winners of this battle will be the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Russian Orthodox Church has already threatened to leave the Eastern Orthodox Church, which will hurt themselves the most. The Russian Orthodox Church’s self-excommunication would make the Russian Orthodox Church beholden to the Russian State and could be viewed as just another Russian tool. </end editorial>

Christopher Stroop | Putin Wants God (or at Least the Church) on His Side – Foreign Policy

A contest over the future of Christianity in Ukraine goes to the heart of Moscow’s ambitions.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Orthodoxy Recognizes Only Autocephalous Status Confirmed by Constantinople, Canon Law Expert Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 10 – Moscow’s claims notwithstanding, Diodor Larionov, a specialist in canon law says, Orthodoxy has recognized only those churches as self-standing which have had that autocephalous status confirmed by the Universal Patriarchate in Constantinople. The Russian Orthodox Church has a history of ignoring that history, he continues; but every time it has done so, it has been ignored by all the rest of the Orthodox world (credo.press/monitogring-smi-avtokefaliya-i-kanonicheskoe-pravo-i-v-istorii-pravoslaviya-priznavalis-tolko-te-avtokefalii-kotorye-byli-utverzhdeny-konstantinopolem-i/). In 1970, the ROC MP offered autocephaly to the American Orthodox Church, Larionov points out, but “not one” of the other Orthodox churches recognized this action. Moscow’s effort to offer autocephaly to Orthodoxy in Japan also failed, and the Japanese Orthodox Church has remained autonomous but within the Moscow Patriarchate. The case of the Czech Orthodox Church is particularly interesting and instructive, the Kazan-born, Greek-trained canon law specialist says. In 1948, the ROC MP gave it autocephaly but “not one” of the other Orthodox Churches recognized that action. The Czech church became autocephalous only in 1998 when Constantinople acted. Then, all other churches followed. In 2011, the Czech Church planned to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its autocephaly, but Constantinople explained to Prague that there could not be any such anniversary because only the ROC MP had offered it in 1951. And the Czechs backed down, recognizing that the ROC MP offer was in fact “a fiction.” One can add, Larionov continues, that “the overwhelming part of all autocephalies (besides the four ancient patriarchates and exceptions like the Georgian and Cypriot churches) – specially, the Russian, Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Greek, Albanian, Polish and Czech – were granted by the Constantinople Patriarchate” and then recognized by everyone. “The Cypriot and Greek Churches have a separate meaning because they were given in the era of the Universal Assemblies: [they] were along with the Jerusalem Patriarchate divided out from the Antioch Patriarchate to which they had belonged.” Antioch could not make that decision, and so the assembly did. The Orthodox world consists of four ancient Patriarchates, “confirmed by the Universal Assemblies, and three autocephalies which were confirmed in the same way … then we have eight autocephalies which were offered by the Constantinople Patriarchate which the entire Orthodox world recognizes.” “We also have one autocephaly which the Moscow Patriarchate recognizes but that the rest of the Orthodox World – except for three churches at one time under the influence of the Moscow Patriarchate (Georgian, Czech and Polish) – does not,” Larionov says. Thus, in the absence of any possibility of convening a universal assembly today, only Constantinople has the power to gran autocephaly to any church. There is simply “no other way.” The reasons for this go back to the original assemblies which recognized first Rome and Constantinople and – after the split of 1054 – only Constantinople as having that right. This history has two important consequences in current circumstances. On the one hand, it means that Constantinople has the right to grant autocephaly to Ukraine and there is every reason to believe that all Orthodox Churches except the Russian will accept it as entirely legitimate. And on the other hand, it means that Russian claims about its right to have a voice in this matter “have no relationship to Orthodox canon law” and can be rejected out of hand, just as Patriarch Bartholemew has done.

Russian Orthodox Church Threatens Constantinople If Autocephaly Granted to Ukraine Orthodox Church – To Inform is to Influence

In a mind-boggling display of arrogance, the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) wants to effectively cut themselves off from the global Orthodox Church. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) outnumbers the ROC, and with the ROC threatening to excommunicate themselves, the ROC will be, de facto, ineffective in relative terms. This is childish behavior, it serves no purpose other than to expose themselves as petty. TASS’s article, The ROC threatened Constantinople with a break in relations if he approved the Ukrainian split, puts the blame on the UOC. The Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk says the UOC didn’t ask for autocephaly, so it shouldn’t be granted.

Russian Orthodox Church vows breakup with Constantinople if autocephaly granted to Ukraine church | UNIAN

The Russian Orthodox Church threatened to break off relations with Orthodox Christianity’s leading body – the Patriarchate of Constantinople – if it endorses the new self-governing, or autocephalous, Ukrainian Church. Once communication is broken off, Constantinople will not have any rights to claim leadership in the Orthodox world, according to a Russian cleric.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Many Ukrainians ‘Will Never Attend a Moscow Patriarchate Church,’ Russian Orthodox Commentator Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 9 – Many in Moscow are reacting hysterically to Constantinople’s moves to grant autocephaly to the Kyiv Patriarchate, but instead of getting angry and making all kinds of threats, Pavel Tikhomirov says, Russians should be soberly assessing the situation and recognizing what they can and cannot hope to do. The reality is, the assistant to the editor of the Russkaya narodnaya liniya portal says, is that “a large part of the Ukrainians will never go to a Moscow Patriarchate church. This I bad and offensive to all of us who believe in the reality of the realization of the ideals of the Russian world, but this is the case” (ruskline.ru/news_rl/2018/09/08/teper_poezd_uzhe_ushyol/). “For a political Ukrainian – and the number of such people is constantly growing – the Russian world is simply ‘neo-Sovietism’ masked by new names,” Tikhomirov says. Many Ukrainians aren’t committed to Western liberalism or market ideas, but the social state they want would be one very different from that which existed in Soviet times. According to the commentator, “we Russian patriots feel shy about speaking on this subject. We somehow conflate the Russian world with the USSR and now we are receiving the fruits of this conflation. Everything here is completely logical.” The Moscow Patriarchate had a change to escape from this, but it didn’t take it. “A quarter of a century ago,” Tikhomirov says, “Russian Orthodoxy could have been viewed as the bearer of the idea of pre-revolutionary Russia. This didn’t please everyone, but this was an alternative both for Ukrainian nationalists and communists. But now Russian Orthodoxy is viewed entirely differently.” For many Ukrainians now, his contacts among the Orthodox in Ukraine say, “the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is a purely ‘KGB’ structure.” Tikhomirov says that they should recognize that Kyiv has used church structures too, but regardless of that fact, “now the situation has changed” in Ukraine against the ROC MP. “And so, very many of our straying ex-brothers will never come to our churches,” the commentator continues. It is impossible to heal the split – [at least] with our forces.” In this situation, Tikhomirov says, the Universal Patriarchate has begun to create a structure “in which various Ukrainians splits will join … a kind of analogue to the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church which will exist in parallel to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.” (For an introduction to the complex history of Orthodox churches in Estonia in the 20th and 21st century, see the article at estonica.org/en/Eastern_orthodoxy_in_Estonia_%E2%80%94_a_brief_overview_of_religious_controversy/History_of_the_controversy/ and the sources cited therein.) Moscow could have sent its own exarchs to Ukraine and won over many Ukrainians but certainly not the majority. But the Russian church and government weren’t willing to get only part of a loaf; they wanted it all, Tikhomirov says. And now they are left with a situation in which they will not get much at all. In Ukraine, “the train has already left” the station; and Moscow has been left behind. In response, Russians should consider the situation in a sober fashion. On the one hand, Russian Orthodox can only be glad that some Ukrainian faithful will go to church and gain access to the mysteries, even if it is not a Russian church and even if the Russian church has misplayed the situation. And on the other, Tikhomirov concludes, “the time has come for our brothers from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate to draw conclusions and make a choice.” They also should approach this with sobriety rather than in an emotional and alarmist way.

Russian Orthodox Church Threatens Retaliation Against Istanbul-Based Patriarch

The Russian Orthodox Church has threatened to retaliate against its Istanbul-based rival if it allows Ukraine to cut its spiritual ties with Moscow and thereby end Russian religious rule in the cou…

Greece denies visa to Russian Orthodox Church official | UNIAN

The Chancellor of Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Varsonofy of St. Petersburg and Ladoga has been refused a Greek visa ahead of his planned pilgrimage to Athos. This is not the first report on Russian clerics’ visa issues with Greece. The Chancellor of Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Varsonofy of St. Petersburg and Ladoga has been refused a Greek visa ahead of his planned pilgrimage to Athos. “For many years the archbishop has been going on a pilgrimage to Athos. This year, he was denied a Schengen visa,” the Chancellery told TASS. As UNIAN reported earlier, the priests of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) had been facing problems obtaining Schengen visas through the Greek consulate amid the conflict between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Patriarchate of Constantinople over the issue of granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC).

Russian Church Synod: Actions of Constantinople in Ukraine threaten world Orthodoxy – 112.international

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church said that the communiqué of the General Secretariat of the Constantinople Patriarchate Holy Synod, published on September 7, 2018, informing the appointment of two hierarchs of this church, Archbishop Daniel of Pamphylia (USA) and Bishop Hilarion of Canada (Canada), “exarchs” of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Kyiv, threaten the unity of world Orthodoxy. The corresponding statement was published by the press service of the synod of the ROC. “These actions lead to a stalemate between the Russian and Constantinople churches, create a real threat to the unity of the whole world Orthodoxy. The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church declares that all responsibility for these anticanonical acts falls personally on Patriarch Bartholomew and those persons in the Church of Constantinople who support him,” said in a statement of the synod of the ROC. At the same time, the Moscow Patriarchate stated that “retaliatory actions” will take place in the near future. Earlier, the UOC stated that the appointment of Constantinople exarchs in the person of Archbishop Daniel of Pamphil from the United States of America and Bishop Edmond of Illarion from Canada to Kyiv is a gross violation of the canonical territory of the UOC, and also contradicts the second rule of the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople. Reportedly, the Bishops’ Council of the Constantinople Church began on September 1 and will last till September 3. The main topic of the Council is the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox church. It is expected that after negotiations with the bishops from all over the world, the Patriarchate of Constantinople can make a final decision concerning the terms of Tomos provision.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Constantinople Moves to Grant Autocephaly to Ukrainian Church, Outraging Moscow

Paul Goble Staunton, September 8 – Yesterday, the Ecumenical Patriarchate announced that it has appointed as its exacts an archbishop from the US and a bishop from Canada “both of whom are serving the Ukrainian Orthodox faithful in their respective countries under the Ecumenical Patriarchate … [as part of] preparations for granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine (facebook.com/ecumenicalpatriarchate/posts/10156674751109158). This is the clearest public statement yet that Patriarch Bartholemew in his role as the senior and universal patriarch has decided to grant autocephaly and has rejected Moscow’s insistence that Ukraine is part of the Russian church’s “canonical territory” and thus must be subject to Moscow’s diktat. Not surprisingly, the Moscow Patriarchate was outraged. Vladimir Legoyda, who heads the Synod’s department fore relations with society and the media said that Constantinople’s action “without the agreement of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Blessed Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine is an unprecedented crude intervention into the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate” (patriarchia.ru/db/text/5264135.html). Such actions, Legoyda said, “cannot remain without an answer,” although he did not specify just what that “answer” might look like.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: By Serving Kremlin rather than Christ, Moscow Patriarchate Now a Small National Church, St. Petersburg Believer Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 7 – Ilya Zabezhinsky, an Orthodox commentator from the Northern capital, says that the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate by its promotion of the Kremlin’s agenda of “a Russian world” has failed in its Christian mission to the peoples of the former USSR and been reduced to a small national church of the Russian Federation. Under Patriarch Kirill and President Vladimir Putin, the writer says, the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate has become “the ideological department of the powers that be of the Russian Federation and essentially ceased to be the Russian Orthodox Church. Instead, it is becoming the Church of the Russian Federation” (facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2068798353179455&id=100001479301887). Instead of reaching out to the faithful in Russia and in the former Soviet republics, Zabezhinsky says, Kirill and his subordinates have “kissed only one president … blessed only one army … prayed for only one Olympic team” and in general shown indifference to all the others. Moreover, he continues, the Moscow Patriarchate has cursed liberals and the West as sources of evil and threats to Russian values, but what forces of evil are these? “In America, there are six million practicing Orthodox Christians, but among us there are no more than three or four million.” No one in the Moscow Patriarchate should be surprised that all are running away from it, the Christian churches in the former Soviet space, the Russian believers who put Christ ahead of Putin, and all those who care about the rights and freedoms they should have as citizens of a modern country. Our church, he says, has spent the last 20 years promoting things that have nothing to do with Christianity and not promoting the things that are at the core of the faith. Its members should not be surprised that others are running away from us, as the Ukrainian Orthodox now are, and that unless we change, others will do the same. Today, Zabezhinsky says, “we are small little local church with a small flock, something that is not bad in principle.” Perhaps, he continues, it will lead us to give up our “earthly ambitions and remember Christ.” Our size puts us at a level with the Roman Catholics of Austria. That is something we must accept because it is the result of what we have done. “We will be the Church of the Russian Federation. The rest do not want us. We ourselves are guilty that they don’t. Let’s leave the rest in peace. Let’s give up our protection from the government. Let’s sell our mitres …Let’s reduce the taxes on the bishoprics … Let’s make the texts of divine service more accessible.” That is a worthy program for “the next candidate for Patriarch” in a church of our size and status, he concludes.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Three Signs Russian Patriarch Kirill Knows He’s Lost on Ukrainian Autocephaly

Paul Goble Staunton, September 6 – The Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church continues to assert that it will be able to block Ukraine’s drive for autocephaly, but three developments which surfaced today suggest that Patriarch Kirill knows that he and his organization have lost and that the Ukrainian church will become autocephalous soon. First, and most obviously, spokesmen for the Russian Church are now attacking the Universal Patriarch in ever sharper tones, an indication that talks are effectively over and that Moscow has lost. The words of Father Sergii Karmyshev of the Rybinsk bishopric are typical (ruskline.ru/news_rl/2018/09/06/izza_figury_patriarha_varfolomeya_vyglyadyvayut_ushi_vatikana/). According to the Orthodox publicist, “the Constantinople Patriarch is a puppet in the hands of more serious political forces, in the first instance, the Vatican, and in the second, the US.” Thus, the ROC MP has not lost to a churchman with few bishops, priests, and followers but to the usual powerful underground anti-Russian forces. Second, Patriarch Kirill told a visiting delegation of church leaders from Finland that he and his church are “today free as no one has ever been free in the history of the Russian Church … completely free from any political influence in the country and in an equal dialogue with the authorities” (politsovet.ru/60163-patriarh-kirill-obyavil-sebya-nezavisimym-ot-vlasti.html). “This is a first for all its history,” the patriarch continued, thus making a claim that is undercut by an enormous amount of evidence including Kirill’s own statements in the past in support of Vladimir Putin but that effectively separates the Kremlin leader from the Russian Church’s looming defeat in Constantinople. And third, in the best traditions of Russian institutions suffering defeat, the ROC MP has announced plans for a dramatic show of bravado — in this case, redesigning the center of Sergiyev Posad, its headquarters, in order to make it a true “Orthodox Vatican.” Even more, the church says that “Vladimir Putin has already agreed to this” (bbc.com/russian/news-45371422). While the Kremlin leader has given his blessing for the project, those involved say that no final decisions will be made until at least November and that the entire project will only go forward if enough money is found. “If there will be funds, we will do this; if not, perhaps we will do only one street a year over the course of a century,” one involved official says.

Closer to autocephaly: Ecumenical Patriarchate appoints its Exarchs in Kyiv | UNIAN

The Ecumenical Patriarchate has appointed two Exarchs in Kyiv as part of preparations for granting autocephaly to Ukraine’s Orthodox church. These will be the Archbishop from the United States and the Bishop from Canada.

Ukrainian Orthodox Church consider appointment of Exarchs by Constantinople as blatant violation – Ukrainian Orthodox Church consider appointment of Exarchs by Constantinople as blatant violation – 112.international

Ukrainian Orthodox Church consider appointment of Exarchs by Constantinople as blatant violation

Tomos for Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Tomos for Ukrainian Orthodox Church: Why, how and what happens next – 112.international

A little bit of history: The confrontation between the two largest Orthodox churches in Ukraine: of Moscow and Kyiv Patriarchates has been going on for more than a quarter of a century. In 1990, the Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow granted the status of self-governing status to the Ukrainian church, but nevertheless it remained a part of the Russian Orthodox Church. Two years later, at the Bishops’ Council, the head of Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolite Filaret was deprived of his rank for “blackmail and perjury.” According to some bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, he urged the Ukrainian metropolites to support the proclamation of independence of the Ukrainian Church in 1991. Filaret refused to admit his guilt, and a year later, with the support of secular authorities, proclaimed the creation of a separate from Moscow Kyiv Patriarchate. In 1995, he became a patriarch of the Kyivan Church, and two years later he was anathematized by the Russian Orthodox Church. Kyiv Patriarchate considers Moscow Patriarchate to be “Kremlin Church” and opponents of Ukraine’s independence and blames it for the sympathies for separatists. While Moscow Patriarchate do not see the opponents as the church at all calling them renegades who indulge politicians.

 

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