Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia Losing the War of the Churches (4)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Another update. Possibly most interesting are reports the Belarusian church wants to split from the Muscovian church – evidently the relationship has been strained for some time, and the recent conviction of a Russian Orthodox priest on charges of pimping and human trafficking did not help.

Excellent analysis by Goble.

Belarusian church mulling to obtain autocephaly following Ukraine | UNIAN

The Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church supports the provision of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) and aims to officially obtain the status of autocephaly. Granting autocephaly to the UOC would also effect the BAOC since the Belarusian church should be the next after the recognition of the Ukrainian one.

Ecumenical Patriarchate sustains mass cyber attacks, – Foreign Minister –

The Ecumenical Patriarchate and exarchs sustained mass cyber attacks, as Pavlo Klimkin, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, said after meeting with the exarchs, Radio Liberty reports. “I would like to say something right now. Lately, mass cyber attacks are being conducted at Fener, the Ecumenical Patriarchate and at the exarchs. Indeed, those who are behind this, have nothing sacred,” Klimkin noted.

Row Between Moscow, Constantinople Patriarchate Ongoing for Centuries – Hilarion – Sputnik International

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The feud between the orthodox patriarchates of Moscow and Constantinople has been ongoing for 100 years, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, said on Friday. “The war of the Patriarchate of Constantinople against the Moscow one continues for almost a hundred years… Today history repeats itself. Again, as in the time of Patriarch Tikhon, they send their exarchs to us, supposedly to heal the split, but in fact to legitimize it, with a view for the subsequent split of the Ukrainian Church from the Moscow Patriarchate. The same logic is traced: the use of a difficult situation not for the brotherly support, but for weakening the Russian Church by detaching certain parts from it,” Metropolitan Hilarion wrote on Facebook.

TASS: Society & Culture – Ecumenical Church exarch says granting of autocephaly to Ukraine begins

On September 7, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople appointed its exarchs to Kiev as a step in preparations for granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church

Moscow Patriarchate warns about inevitable split of society after Ukrainian church granted autocephaly | UNIAN

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) has said granting a Tomos of autocephaly to the Ukrainian church and the beginning of the creation of a local church in Ukraine may lead to a large-scale “split in Ukrainian society.” The UOC-MP does not recognize the local Ukrainian church, since several other local churches do not recognize it.

Moscow trying to decide fate of UOC without asking Kyiv – experts | UNIAN

Yesterday, an extraordinary meeting of the Synod of the ROC took place in Moscow, the result of which, as the experts had previously assumed, was a “partial” cessation of the Eucharistic communication between the Moscow and Ecumenical Patriarchates. As explained in the Moscow Patriarchate, this partial dissolution of communication is manifested in the fact that from today the Divine Liturgy will not be commemorated by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in the temples of the Moscow Patriarchate, and the clergymen of the ROC will not perform joint worship services with the representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, according to the Ukraine-based Information Resistance OSINT community. Also, the ROC will not participate in joint events with the representatives of Constantinople. It is talking about the episcopal assemblies and other joint events. However, the Moscow Patriarchate allows to its followers to commune and participate in divine services conducted by the Greeks. This decision was quite predictable, as recently the chairman of the DECR, Metropolitan Illarion (Alfeev), informed about such possible steps of the Moscow Patriarchate. Therefore, this decision, in principle, does not cause much surprise.

Almost 3 times more Ukrainians identify themselves as Kyiv Patriarchate than Moscow Patriarchate parishioners – poll

Nearly two-thirds of Ukrainians identify themselves as Orthodox believers and nearly half as parishioners of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, as is seen from a public opinion poll conducted jointly by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS), the Razumkov Center, and the Socis Center for Social and Marketing Research.

We came to work on the fait accompli – meeting of the President with the Exarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Ukraine — Official website of the President of Ukraine

President Petro Poroshenko had a meeting with the Exarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Ukraine – Bishop Ilarion of Edmonton and the Western Eparchy of the UOC in Canada and Archbishop Daniel of Pamphylia and the Western Eparchy of the UOC in the United States of America. The Head of State emphasized that the beginning of the mission of the Exarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Ukraine, Archbishop Daniel and Bishop Ilarion, is an extremely important event for all Orthodox people in Ukraine. “It is also extremely important that I can speak to you in Ukrainian. This is a huge pleasure and understanding that Ukraine has a big part in your heart,” the President added.

Poroshenko meets with Orthodox envoys dispatched for independent church preparations (Video) | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has met with two envoys, Exarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Ukraine Bishop Ilarion of Edmonton and the Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) in Canada and Archbishop Daniel of Pamphylia and the Western Eparchy of the UOC in the United States of America dispatched to prepare for establishing a Ukrainian church that is ecclesiastically independent from the Russian Orthodox Church. The Exarchs are ready for cooperation with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, as well as for dialogue with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, with the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

Paul Goble | Autocephaly for Ukraine About More Than Religion – Jamestown

Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 15 Issue: 128 By: Paul Goble September 13, 2018 10:27 PM Age: 5 days 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 (, 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 (, 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 (, 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 (, September 7;, 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 (,, 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 (, 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 (, September 3;, September 12). But the looming Ukrainian autocephaly may soon be compounded by other Russian losses as well. Already, there is some talk that the Orthodox in Belarus may seek autocephaly, given that the Constantinople-approved basis for Ukraine’s claim—that its territory was never part of Moscow’s canonical territory—applies to them equally (, September 10;, September 11). And Moscow’s retreat may not end there: There are continuing problems having to do with Church subordination in the Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia; and earlier this month, Moscow was forced to give a kind of bribe—$1 million—to the Orthodox eparchate in Tajikistan in an effort to counter the opening of parishes there loyal to Constantinople (, September 11). Finally, for other countries, the prospect of Ukrainian autocephaly has become part of the broader conflict with Russia and its aggressive policies in Ukraine and elsewhere. The United States, for example, has just signaled that it will do what it can to help Ukraine achieve autocephaly, yet another way in which that change in the status of the Ukrainian Church has moved far beyond the religious realm to the political and security ones (, September 12). By dramatically pouring fuel on the fire of the Ukrainian Church’s autocephaly question, the Russian military intervention in Ukraine four and a half years ago continues to generate far-reaching consequences the Kremlin apparently did not imagine.

Attempt To Grant Autocephaly To Ukraines Church Attack On Orthodoxy – Metropolitan – UrduPoint

The Ecumenical Patriarchates attempt to grant autocephaly to the church in Ukraine represents a political attack against Orthodoxy, the First Hierarch of Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) told Sputnik.It is a political attack from the enemy of our salvat ..

RUSSIA – UKRAINE Onufrij of Kiev: we do not need Ukrainian autocephaly

Moscow suspends relations with Constantinople. Rejects “incursions” of Phanar representatives in Moscow territory. Onufrij distances himself from any political interpretation.