Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia Loses the War of the Churches (20)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Disturbing reports made public by Kyiv MP Tymchuk, usually extremely accurate, are that Russia will be sending GRU Spetsnaz SOF into Ukraine to ‘ensure the security of our metropolitans [clergy]’ at currently ROC controlled monasteries inside Ukraine, and that  “General Staff of the Armed Forces [of the Russian Federation] had already worked out plans for direct entry of mobile battle groups into the territory of Ukraine (under wraps) to defend the Kyiv-Pechersk and Sviatohirsk lavras”. As Blank points out, this is of course the traditional Russian casus belli invoked repeatedly since the 1500s as an excuse to invade a neighbour or start a war.

The UOC-KP in Kyiv briefed media on the monasteries, pointing out they are state owned assets on loan to the ROC, and should be under the control of the new Ukrainian church, once it is formed, and that this should be addressed in upcoming legislation.

ROC bans on Russians attending churches associated with Constantinople reported widely in media, including the Mount Athos complex in Greece.

Goble surveys reports on divisions inside the ROC and the prospects of ‘a Parade of Autocephalies’ fragmenting the ROC inside Russia.

The ROC continues to rally its proxies against Constantinople, these being mostly the tiny minority churches in former Soviet republics. Constantinople tells the Macedonian church it does not have a case for autonomy.

Some apt observations by Mattingly on how the Western media misrepresent the schism, and its circumstances, which of course should not be surprising as so many of them still misrepresent the invasion of Ukraine as a “civil war”, and Russian mercenaries as “rebels”. Never let facts get in the ways of an appealing storyline.

Russia mulling to use religious factor to destabilize situation in Ukraine – analyst | UNIAN

Dmytro Tymchuk, coordinator of Ukraine-based Information Resistance (IR) OSINT community, has said Russia is mulling to use the religious factor to destabilize the situation in Ukraine. In addition, Russian military leadership said special forces groups have already being trained on the ground, namely on the basis of the New Athos Monastery in Abkhazia, for the implementation of these plans. Dmytro Tymchuk, coordinator of Ukraine-based Information Resistance (IR) OSINT community, has said Russia is mulling to use the religious factor to destabilize the situation in Ukraine. “According to IR, at a meeting of the Security Council of the Russian Federation on October 12, during the discussion of further prospects for the functioning of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine (following the decision of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church), Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the leadership of the security agencies of the Russian Federation to ‘ensure the security of our metropolitans’ by sending special forces groups of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (GRU) under wraps in the most important monasteries of the so-called ‘Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate’ (‘UOC-MP’),” Tymchuk wrote on Facebook on October 19. “In turn, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov said the General Staff of the Armed Forces had already worked out plans for direct entry of mobile battle groups into the territory of Ukraine (under wraps) to defend the Kyiv-Pechersk and Sviatohirsk lavras. According to them, these religious objects are the first to ‘come under attacks’ by ‘radical and armed militant nationalists,’ which ‘will threaten the lives of bishops and leaders’ of the so-called ‘UOC-MP,'” he said. In addition, Russian military leadership said special forces groups have already being trained on the ground, namely on the basis of the New Athos Monastery in Abkhazia, for the implementation of these plans. “Thus, the operation to destabilize the situation in Ukraine with the use of the religious factor has actually been developed at the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation,” Tymchuk added.

Kyiv Patriarchate says Ukrainian Orthodox lavras should belong to Ukrainian church | UNIAN

Press secretary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP), Archbishop Yevstratiy (Zorya) says the Ukrainian Orthodox monasteries, namely the Kyiv-Pechersk, Pochayiv and Sviatohirsk lavras, should belong to the Ukrainian church. According to the archbishop, all issues regarding the Ukrainian lavras should be resolved only within the Ukrainian legislation. Press secretary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP), Archbishop Yevstratiy (Zorya) says the Ukrainian Orthodox monasteries, namely the Kyiv-Pechersk, Pochayiv and Sviatohirsk lavras, should belong to the Ukrainian church.”As for the lavras, they are in state ownership and are only handed over to the monasteries of the Moscow Patriarchate for use. Our principled position is that these Ukrainian shrines will belong to the Ukrainian church through history, like the shrines in Russia, Romania, etc.,” he told the Ukrainian news outlet Glavred on October 19. However, according to the archbishop, it is still premature to make predictions on property belonging of the lavras. “It’s too early to predict how it will happen. Most likely, by voluntary decision of the majority of monks of these monasteries. But one thing can be argued now with accuracy and full responsibility: this process will be without violence and won’t lead to any negative consequences for the church and Ukraine. Perhaps this will happen in a year, three, five or 10 years. In fact, it’s not so important. The main thing is that everyone is aware of the inevitability of this move completion and the need to respect non-violence principles,” he said.

Lavras belong to state, their handover to pass off without violence, Kyiv Patriarchate spokesperson says

Archbishop Yevstratii (Zoria), the press secretary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP), says the Ukrainian Orthodox monasteries, namely the Kyiv-Pechersk, Pochaiv and Sviatohirsk lavras, should belong to the Ukrainian church. “As for the lavras, they are in state ownership and are only handed over to the monasteries of the Moscow Patriarchate for use. Our principled position is that these Ukrainian shrines will belong to the Ukrainian church through history, like the shrines in Russia, Romania, etc.,” he told the Ukrainian news outlet Glavred on Oct. 19, Censor.NET reports citing UNIAN. However, according to the archbishop, it is still premature to make predictions on property belonging of the lavras. “It’s too early to predict how it will happen. Most likely, by voluntary decision of the majority of monks of these monasteries. But one thing can be argued now with accuracy and full responsibility: this process will be without violence and won’t lead to any negative consequences for the church and Ukraine. “Perhaps this will happen in a year, three, five or 10 years. In fact, it’s not so important. The point is that everyone is aware of the inevitability of this move completion and the need to respect non-violence principles,” he said.

Kiev Pechersk Lavra – Wikipedia

Pochayiv Lavra – Wikipedia

Sviatohirsk Lavra – Wikipedia

Ukrainian parliament allows Ecumenical Patriarchate to use St. Andrew’s Church in Kyiv

The Verkhovna Rada has adopted at first reading and as a whole the presidential bill No. 9208 on the peculiarities of the use of St. Andrew’s Church of the Sophia of Kyiv National Conservation Area.

Ukraine parliament approves transfer of landmark Kiev church to Constantinople – Daily Sabah

Ukraine’s parliament on Thursday voted to hand over a landmark Kiev church to the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate after it agreed to recognize the…

Putin May Try to Launch New Offensive in Ukraine and Absorb Belarus to Stop Autocephaly – To Inform is to Influence

Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 15 Issue: 146 By: Paul Goble October 16, 2018 05:55 PM Age: 2 days The decision of Universal Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I to move toward granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (see EDM, September 13) is an existential threat to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his conception of a Russian World”…

Orthodox Christianity bordering on a ‘Great Schism,’ but crisis can be resolved – Russian Church — RT World News

The current situation within Orthodox Christianity resembles the Great Schism that divided Catholics and Orthodox Christians, a spokesman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Holy Synod said, noting that the rift can still be healed.

The new Great Schism? What’s next for the world of Orthodox Christianity — RT World News

The Russian Orthodox Church has broken all ties with the See of Constantinople, seen as the center of Orthodox faith, but whether the church’s members will continue to view it as their faith’s ‘capital’ is up for debate.

Rift Grows: Church of Russia Prohibits Pilgrimage to Mount Athos after Schism | GreekReporter.com

The Church of Russia decided to ban Russian pilgrims to visit Mount Athos in Greece after the interruption of relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate

Russian Orthodox Church Splits From Constantinople After Patriarchate Grants Ukrainian Church Independence From Moscow, FM Lavrov Blasts Patriarch Bartholomew Of Constantinople For Conniving With Washington | MEMRI

Although drafted in ecclesiastical jargon, the decision by the Patriarchate of Constantinople to recognize the independence of the Ukrainian Church from the Russian Orthodox was a win for Kyiv and a stinging blow to the Putin regime, which relies on the church for legitimacy and projecting Russian power abroad. What Happened On October 15, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church broke ties with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. On October 11, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, under the leadership of Patriarch Bartholomew, decided to grant canonical status to the Kyiv Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, and recognized them to be part of the Constantinople church. (See APPENDIX I) Before this decision, the Kyiv Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church were not recognized by the 14 official Orthodox churches. Only the bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine were recognized. The decision of the Patriarchate of Constantinople involved: Lifting the “anathema” (excommunication) on the Philaret (i.e. the patriarch of the Kyiv Patriarchate) and on Makariy (i.e. the metropolitan of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church). Revoking the effect of its tomos issued around 300 years ago, in the year 1686, which entitled the Patriarch of Moscow to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev. Approving the authority of the Constantinople Patriarchate in Ukraine. Creating a stauropegion in Kyiv (i.e. an entity constituted of churches/monasteries, subordinated to the patriarch, and not to local bishops) Planning the creation of an autocephalous Ukrainian church. In the beginning of September, in his speech during the Synaxis (i.e. assembly) of the Constantinople bishops, Patriarch Bartholomew already ruled that the Moscow Patriarchate did not have a canonical right to meddle in Ukraine’s church affairs, unlike the Patriarchate of Constantinople, since the latter enjoys the status of Mother Church. (See APPENDIX II).

Moscow-Affiliated Churches In Ex-Soviet Republics Fall In Line Over Ukraine Rift

Several Orthodox churches in former Soviet republics have followed the steps of the Russian Orthodox Church and cut their ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Orthodox Church & Ukraine: Political Clash over Ukraine Shakes Unity | National Review

Constantinople recognizes the independence of Christians who have broken from Moscow. Russian Orthodox cry foul.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Could There Be ‘a Parade of Autocephalies’ within the Russian Federation?

Paul Goble Staunton, October 18 – The Kremlin and the Moscow Patriarchate are doing all they can to block the Orthodox of Ukraine from gaining autocephalous status within that branch of Christianity, and both are fearful that Orthodox churches including those in Belarus and Moldova, may follow Ukraine’s lead and break with Moscow. But the civil and religious leaders in Moscow could may face another challenge, one that would be even more subversive of their ideas about the nature of Russia and the Russian church: the demand for greater autonomy or autocephaly by one or more of the bishoprics within the ROC MP, who may use the threat of pursuing autocephaly to get their way. Given the powers of the secular authorities and of the Moscow Patriarchate, such a development and even more its success are highly unlikely. But both regional challenges within the ROC MP in the past decade, the history of autocephalous groups within Russia, and anger among believers about Moscow’s new restrictions on them make it far from impossible. The most important regional frond within the ROC MP was led by Bishop Diomid a decade ago (windowoneurasia.blogspot.com/2008/07/window-on-eurasia-orthodox-schism.htmlwindowoneurasia.blogspot.com/2008/08/window-on-eurasia-diomid-tapping-into.htmlwindowoneurasia.blogspot.com/2008/07/window-on-eurasia-bishop-diomid-raises.htmlwindowoneurasia.blogspot.com/2008/06/window-on-eurasia-diomid-case.html and windowoneurasia.blogspot.com/2008/07/window-on-eurasia-how-much-support-does.html). It did not succeed, but it called attention to dissent within the church and anger about the hyper-centralist approach that Patriarch Kirill has adopted. (On this dissent, seewindowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2012/01/window-on-eurasia-priestly-dissent-on.htmlwindowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2015/07/russian-orthodox-activists-increasingly.html, and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/09/russia-doesnt-face-orange-revolution.html). In the current environment when Patriarch Kirill’s leadership is clearly in question and when many are talking about autocephaly elsewhere, it is at least possible that some priests and even hierarchs may be thinking about autocephaly as a way out from under the yoke of the Moscow Patriarchate. If so, that could lead to a parade of autocephalies in Russia in the future. There is even a precedent for an autocephalous Orthodox church in a Russian region. In an important article for Radio Svoboda’s IdelReal portal, Ramazan Alpaut points to the existence of one in Chuvashia in the early years of Soviet power and argues that this shows that “the preconditions” for something similar now exist (idelreal.org/a/29546780.html). The Chuvash Autocephalous National Orthodox Church was registered by the Soviets on August 7, 1924. It was made up of Chuvash national congregations and was extremely conservative. But “by the end of the 1930s,” he continues, this church ceased to exist. Now, however, it is attracting new attention from journalists and historians, although most of those discussing it say that there are no serious demands for autocephaly now. But they do suggest that “the rebirth of the Chuvash Autocephalous Church could help the development of the Chuvash people” given that the ROC MP has pursued a Russianizing policy. If priests or bishops should demand a change in the current climate, they might be able to play on ethnic or regional communities and that too could contribute to the possibility that demands for autocephaly might spread even if Moscow were at least for the time being able to block their realization. But it is the third factor, rising anger among Russian Orthodox faithful that the response of the Moscow Patriarchate to the possibility that Ukraine will receive autocephaly, that may be provide the most powerful impulse in this direction. That response includes restricting the ability of Russian Orthodox to visit Holy Sites abroad or have relics come from there to Russia. Many Russian Orthodox are furious with the Moscow Patriarchate about that and are now petitioning Kirill to annual his decision about breaking relations with the Universal Patriarchate in Constantinople (change.org/p/патриарху-московскому-и-всея-руси-кириллу-и-членам-священного-синода-отменить-решение-синода-рпц-о-разрыве-евхаристического-общения-с-кон).That ongoing effort is discussed at znak.com/2018-10-18/veruyuchie_obratilis_k_patriarhu_kirillu_s_prosboy_otmenit_reshenie_o_razryve_s_konstantinopolem. At the very least, this shows that Patriarch Kirill’s position is not supported by everyone in the ROC; and potentially, this may lead to a situation in which some Russian Orthodox may decide that seeking autocephaly is preferable to remaining under Moscow, a drive the Universal Patriarch under certain circumstances would welcome and even support.

Will Macedonia’s Orthodox Church Also Break Away?

When the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians took steps toward recognizing the Ukrainian church’s independence from Moscow, the move raised the attention of Orthodox Christian believers on both…

Ecumenical Patriarch Rebuffs Macedonian Church’s Plea for Recognition :: Balkan Insight

The head of global Orthodoxy has reportedly dismissed the unrecognised Macedonian Orthodox Church’s request for recognition, saying the situations in Macedonia and Ukraine are very different.

Steve Rosenberg on Twitter: “As the Russian Orthodox Church breaks with Constantinople over Ukraine, one Russian paper slams the Russian authorities: “Their desire to keep Ukraine in Russia’s sphere of influence at all costs has led to a new Cold War & dangerous confrontation with global civilization.”… https://t.co/fxbIOK0VE9”

NYT: Serious rift in church could have big consequences in Ukraine, Russia and Greece | UNIAN

Russia’s effort to keep Ukraine under its thumb prompted a revolution in 2014 and a war that has claimed more than 10,000 lives. The Church of Greece could also be shaken, as a number of Greek clergymen may support Moscow against Bartholomew.

Opinion | The Orthodox Schism and the Spiritual Limits of Politics – The New York Times

A serious rift in the church could have big consequences in Ukraine, Russia and Greece.

What Does the Russia-Constantinople Split Mean to Average Orthodox Christians? – The Pappas Post

It’s a major inter-religious split between the oldest and most prestigious Orthodox Patriarchate, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which is considered the

Schism looms over world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians – CNN Video

The Russian Orthodox Church has severed ties with Bartholomew I after he endorsed an independent Orthodox church in Ukraine. Robert Brinkey, Chairman of the Ukraine Forum, Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House, speaks with News Stream.

Ukraine’s Orthodox Church moves closer to autonomy – In the time of schism | Economist

VLADIMIR PUTIN often repeats the claim that Russia and Ukraine are “one people”. Yet by annexing Crimea and waging war in eastern Ukraine, he has pushed his neighbours ever farther away.

The Russian-Constantinople schism in the Eastern Orthodox Church over Ukraine, explained – Vox

This could be the biggest crisis for the church in centuries.

Political stakes high in Russia-Ukraine church split – Axios

The biggest schism in centuries isn’t just about religion

Russian Orthodox Church splits from Constantinople, in major break over Ukraine, – YouTube

catholicnewsagency Published on Oct 18, 2018 The Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow has cut ties with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, claiming his recognition of an independent Orthodox Church in Ukraine departed from Orthodox Christian norms. Metropolitan Hilarion, who heads foreign relations for the Russian Orthodox Church, said Russian Orthodox leaders decided to “break the Eucharistic communion” in response to actions it called “lawless and canonically void.” “The Russian Orthodox Church doesn’t recognize those decisions and won’t fulfill them,” Hilarion said in Belarus after a meeting of the synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. “The church that acknowledged the schismatics has excluded itself from the canonical field of Orthodoxy.” “We are hoping common sense will prevail and that the Constantinople Patriarchate will change its relations to existing church reality,” Metropolitan Hilarion said. The break comes in response to the decision of Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and the “first among equals” leader of the global Orthodox Church, to issue a statement Oct. 11 confirming plans for an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church and restoring ties with the previously schismatic Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate.

Terry Mattingly | Bitter news with roots 1,000 years old: Russian Orthodox Church cuts Istanbul ties — GetReligion

Anyone who has studied the history of Orthodox Christianity knows the details of this story, as well as the arguments about its signifigance. As the first Christian millennium was drawing to a close, something big happened among the East Slavic and Finnic tribes of Europe. As always, the change involved economics, culture, military might and, last but not least, religion. Here is a typical short take on this complicated subject: The chronicles report that the Great Prince of Kiev sent embassies around the world to find the faith that best suited his nation and people. Travelling from nation to nation they visited Muslims and Jews at worship observing their forms of worship and pondering the way of life that each religion taught. The emissaries judged neither of these worthy religions suitable for Russ. Finally, they visited the city of Constantinople and attended Divine Liturgy in the great cathedral of Hagia Sophia. … They breathlessly reported back to Kiev that in Hagia Sophia they were unable to tell if they were on earth or in heaven. Thus, Prince Vladimir was baptized In 988 and commanded his whole nation to follow his conversion to Orthodoxy. Just in case you missed it, one of the key words in this account is “Kiev.” In the past week or so, I have received all kinds of contacts asking for my take on mainstream news coverage of the split that has taken place between the giant Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarch based — with a tiny, persecuted flock — in Istanbul. To be blunt, this topic is so complex that most of the Orthodox folks that I know think it would be next to impossible for journalists to handle it in a few inches of type or sound bites. Many of the Orthodox are reading the transcripts of statements by Orthodox leaders and that’s that. However, I would like to note a few key issues that news consumers should watch for, when reading about this important story.

Ukraine on Verge of Orthodox Jihad | theTrumpet.com

Civil war in Ukraine may now involve opposing Eastern Orthodox Churches in open conflict.

 

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