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Now the Ecumenical Patriarch has published a report accusing Russia of usurping the Ukrainian church. This is considered a breach of canonical law.
The Russian response? Revisionism. Rewrite history to side with the Russian Orthodox Church. My prediction. Argue that’s the way it’s always been.
Oh, Russia. Poor, poor Russia. I guess the age-old question has been answered* in a new way. No, the Russian bear doesn’t defecate in the woods. It does a #2 on the Russian Orthodox Church.
*The age-old rhetorical question, always answered with “yes”. “Does a bear shit in the woods?”
Anonymous comment: “Vulgar but true – all churched subordinated by a state turned to excrement – inherent conflict of interest which is why we have the separation in the West. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
This simply gets better by the day, and in many respects it is a microcosm of Russian misconduct in every other area. The major news is that after repeated harassment by the Russians, the Ecumenical Patriarchate releases a major report compiled from centuries of archival records in Constantinople. Punchline? Constantinople never agreed to Russia usurping the Ukrainian church and regards it to be a breach of canon law, that is the Patriarchal and Synodal Act of 1686 of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Yet another instance of Russian exceptionalism and rejection of a rules based system everybody else follows.
It appears the Belarusian church is now actively seeking autonomy.
ORTHODOXIA.INFO EXCLUSIVE Andreas Loudaros The arguments, the intense dialogues and the disagreements between Constantinople and Moscow bring for the first time exclusively the orthodoxia.info, revealing part of the dialogues that were paid at the meeting of the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Moscow last August at Fanari. Bartholomew and Cyril discussed for a three-hour period the issues that divide the two churches, both for the Ukrainian and for the absence of the Church of Russia from the Holy and Great Synod of Crete, but also for its position on the issue of inter-Christian dialogues.According to the dialogue between the two Prime Ministers, the Ecumenical Patriarchate considers that Ukraine does not belong to the jurisdiction of Moscow, something that the Russian Patriarchate denies in any way. “We have never lost the consciousness of being a country and a people. It is impossible to distinguish Chievo from our country as it is the beginning of our history. The national self-consciousness of Russians and Ukrainians maintains the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church, “said the Patriarch of Moscow, who considers that the source of all the problems in the region is Unia since the time of the Ferrara-Florence session.”If Unia did not exist, the Russians would not ordain Metropolitan Job without Constantinople’s consent, autonomy would not be proclaimed and the jurisdiction of Constantinople in those places would continue until the time,” Patriarch Kirill said, that the idea of the separate Ukrainian nation was developed in the late 19th century by the Unites so that they could expand into the country and cut it off from the Tsar.
What emerges from the two predecessors’ dialogues is the fact that there is an absolute disagreement with the Russian Patriarchate not only to disagree with the award of Autocephalous to the Ukrainian Church but also for its state autonomy. The following dialogue is typical:OIK. PATRIARCH: However, the Ukrainians do not feel comfortable under the authority of Russia and want their full freedom and religiously as they have obtained it politically, so they have addressed their Mother Church, which judges their claim to be fair and will proceed in that direction according to the already adopted decision of the First Session.(…) Apart from President Yanukovych, whom I met a decade ago, everyone went to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and begged for the granting of the Self-Guard. In recent years, not only President Poroshenko and the Prime Minister but also the House have made a formal decision …
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has substantiated the canonical and legal jurisdiction of his church in Ukraine based on historical facts, referring to centuries-old documents on the relationship between the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The Ecumenical Patriarchate responded to the demand of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) to withdraw the exarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate from Ukraine, since according to the UOC-MP their appointment had been a gross interference in the internal affairs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the violation of its canonical territory, according to Orthodoxia.info. In particular, the Ecumenical Patriarchate published archives of church history and specifically the history of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the time of the baptism of Kievan Rus. The publication is the result of research by Greek and Russian scholars who had access to the original texts of the archives of the Patriarch of Constantinople and his correspondence within many centuries. All arguments of the Ecumenical Patriarchate are based on this study, which refutes all Moscow’s accusations against Constantinople of “invading” its canonical dioceses. The Ecumenical Patriarchate considers it appropriate to recall all the historical and canonical truth about the relationship of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, as evidenced by the official documents, which, unfortunately, are either ignored or deliberately concealed for understandable reasons, the study’s preface said. The document provides an opportunity to trace the whole history of the development of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In this regard, it is said that with the help of the study, especially thanks to the original correspondence, which is published for the first time, the Ecumenical Patriarchate confirms its canonical and legal jurisdiction in Ukraine. Moreover, it proves that the Moscow Patriarchate has violated the rules of the Patriarchal and Synodal Act of 1686 of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which the latter had to endure and remain silent, but never forgot and did not forgive.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate has never transferred the Kyiv metropolis, on the basis of which the Ukrainian church emerged, to the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate. This is stated in a 29-page document, which provides data from archives, the Echo of Moscow radio station reported. A historical study conducted with the support of the educational fund of the National Bank of Greece notes that the right of ordination was given to Moscow “for financial reasons,” “from necessity” and “was temporary.” Thus, the Ecumenical Patriarch “has the right and duty to exercise maternal care about the Ukrainian church in every case that it considers necessary,” the document says. On April 19, Ukrainian MPs supported President Petro Poroshenko’s address to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the provision of a tomos (ordinance) of autocephaly. This idea has long been supported by the leadership of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate) and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC). The Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople has already begun the procedure needed to grant autocephaly to the new Ukrainian church. The meeting of the Synod, which will address this issue, is scheduled for October. Recently, as part of preparations for the provision of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate appointed Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon from the United States and Bishop Ilarion of Edmonton from Canada as its exarchs in Kyiv.
Paul Goble Staunton, September 21 – The present church crisis, Ekaterina Kuznetsova says, “is a rare case in Russian history when the Russian state not only cannot help its church but is itself the primary cause of the current split” which has arisen as a result of the decision of the Universal Patriarchate to grant autocephaly to Ukraine’s Orthodox. That action and the inability of either the Russian state or the Russian church to respond effectively highlights something the Moscow Patriarchate can never admit: it is not the partner of the state but rather its victim and will continue to suffer because its own needs and culture preclude the kind of break with the state that would be required to salvage the situation. The co-author of the forthcoming book, The Kremlin Paradox: Strength and Weakness of Russian Rulers, says that the Moscow Patriarchate has not found the strength within itself to recognize that the Russian state is “the source of its current problems,” a reflection of the fact that the current church “cannot exist without the state” (snob.ru/entry/165977). Without the state’s blessing, the Russian Orthodox Church could not conceal its current incomes of perhaps 500 million US dollars a year, would be forced to make public its “commercial empire,” and would lose the support of the financial authorities for the operation of its banks and other institutions. Nor could it count on restoration of property it claims. The Russian state, of course, also is interested in the church, Kuznetsova says. “Above all, the Kremlin needs a church which will support in the population not only faith but also the traditional submission connected with that belief not only in the heavenly authorities but also the earthly ones.” But perhaps most important, “the supreme power needs the church as a unique space for the regular demonstration of national ‘uniqueness,’ of attachment to Russian values and ideals of morality from time immemorial. The public appearance at services is much cheaper than the organization of ‘direct lines,’” the commentator says. “With the intensification of the conflict among the churches, it has become obvious that the toxicity of the Ukrainian crisis is much deeper than had been thought. It has penetrated into the Russian state itself by affecting the power and influence of its chief ally, the church,” Kuznetsov says. The Russian church’s silence about or support for Kremlin policies in Ukraine have not only led to its “loss of authority and trust among part of Ukrainian society” but put the church “unexpectedly” on the front lines of the conflict in Ukraine, leading to the loss of income and influence of the church and thus ultimately of the state itself. The separation of Orthodox Ukraine from the Moscow Patriarchate “has become a powerful shock not only for the Russian Orthodox Church but also for the Kremlin. This destroys not only the idea of ‘the Russian Orthodox world,’ but in a broader sense undermines the idea of a Russian empire embracing all Russian speakers and Orthodox regardless of where they live.” The only way the Russian Orthodox Church could break out of this is to break with the Russian state, something its leaders seem incapable of doing and that the Kremlin would view as “the personal betrayal of the patriarch and of state values.” Thus, it won’t do so, and “this means that the church from ow on is not an ally of the Russian state but its victim.” But this has another consequence, Kuznetsov concludes. It demonstrates, albeit “in the reverse logic of Russian politics” that “the state in Russia is completely separate from the church.”
A Ukrainian Church — that currently doesn’t even exist — is about to change the Orthodox world. A higher authority in Constantinople is considering granting it independence. This move is angering the Russian Orthodox Church, which is threatening to break ties with the other churches.
Paul Goble Staunton, September 27 – Archbishop Svatoslav Login, head of the émigré Belarusian Autocephalous Church, says that his denomination supports autocephaly for Ukrainian Orthodox and hopes to achieve the same recognition for itself in its homeland from the Universal Patriarchate. “If the Ukrainian Church is recognized,” the Belarusian religious leader says, “then the next steps should be with the Belarusian church. This gives us an example and shows that the situation is developing according to canon law. That law, as is well-known, requires for each Orthodox people a separate Church (radiosvoboda.org/a/29492718.html and spzh.news/ru/news/55982-v-belarusi-raskolyniki-zajavili-o-namerenijah-poluchity-avtokefaliju). Specifically, the New York-based archbishop says, “this is the 34th apostolic rule. And canon laws are not subject to discussion but rather must be fulfilled. The fact that Belarus as an Orthodox state does not have its own independent first hierarch is a violation of canon law and a violation of the historical status of our Belarusian Church.” The pursuit of such status, however, requires the expression of a desire for that status by both believers and the authorities, Archbishop Svatoslav says; and under the current authorities, the processes of the legalization of the Belarusian Church in Belarus, its further growth and its receipt of autocephaly are hardly possible.” “The current power there is economically, politically and spiritually subordinate to Moscow,” he continues. (For a detailed but highly tendentious and somewhat distorted discussion of the history of the archbishop’s church and its leadership, see minds.by/news/126#.W63mLPYpDIV.) If Belarusian Orthodox are only dreaming about autocephaly for themselves, some Russian commentators are suggesting that after Ukraine receives the tomos of autocephaly, the situation will change and Belarusian Orthodox will be the next to demand that status, along with the Orthodox in Moldova. In a comment to Echo Moskvy, Russian publicist Aleksandr Nevzorov says that Ukraine is days away from receiving recognition as an autocephalous church and will then be “hierarchically higher” than the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate because it will have a tomos as the ROC MP does not (echo.msk.ru/programs/nevsredy/2284506-echo/). Once that happens, the commentator continues, Orthodox in Belarus and Moldova will follow the same course, gain autocephaly and thus become independent of Moscow in religious terms, steps that will complete their separation from the Moscow-centric reality they have been part only as a result of state actions, not religious ones.
26.09.18 14:55 – “We’re in the home stretch,” – Ukraine’s president on granting autonomy to Ukrainian Orthodox Church President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko is confident that the decision to grant Ukraine a Tomos on the creation of a local Ukrainian Orthodox Church has entered the home stretch. View news.
Granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will strengthen Ukraine’s sovereignty, Yulia Tymoshenko, the leader of the party Batkivschyna, said. “As for our Ukrainian church, I want to say again firmly and clearly that our team and I myself support the decision to grant a tomos to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church with all our heart and all our capabilities in order to make our church independent of the Russian church, so that we can strengthen our sovereignty by receiving true independence of our Orthodox church,” Tymoshenko said at a press conference in Kyiv on Friday.
The United States supports granting the autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The press service of the U.S. Department of State released the respective statement. ‘The United States strongly supports religious freedom, including the freedom of members of groups to govern their religion according to their beliefs and practice their faiths freely without government interference. The United States respects the ability of Ukraine’s Orthodox religious leaders and followers to pursue autocephaly according to their beliefs. We respect the Ecumenical Patriarch as a voice of religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue’, the statement says. Besides, the U.S. authority once again reiterated that the White House still offers the ‘unwavering support for Ukraine and its territorial integrity in the face of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine and the Russian occupation of Crimea’. Earlier, Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch, claimed he would not change his views on this matter. ‘It is Ukraine’s turn now to get the autocephaly. It is going to happen, since it is the church’s right’, he said. The Patriarch added it is the exclusive authority of the Ecumenical Partiarchate to allow the autocephaly to all Orthodox Churches, starting from Russia in the 16th century. Reacting to the Patriarch’s statement, the Synodus of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) asked him not to interfere with the internal affairs of the Church. The authority also asked the exarchs of the Constantinople Patriarchate to leave Ukraine.