Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia Loses the War of the Churches (21)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

An air of desperation seems to continue in the Russian propaganda surrounding the war of the Orthodox churches.  Russian media is claiming the US is manipulation the Ecumenical Orthodox Church. Oh, puh-lease. 

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Media interest is this topic does not appear to be diminishing.

Constantinople refuses to reciprocate and play Russia’s game. The Russians do not appear to be gathering much support in their campaign to divide the church – their repeated toxic public statements are not an effective sales pitch.

They are implementing their campaign of self-anathematization very thoroughly.  The most likely outcome will be a ROC one-third of its claimed (and likely very much inflated) size and completely isolated from the global Orthodox community.

The Russian propaganda pitch has been eagerly adopted by Western media, calling the situation the “Great Schism”, but “Great” presupposes a deep and wide seismic split across the church as a whole, and that has not happened, and unlikely to happen as this is not a matter of fundamental religious doctrine that has always been the cause of major schisms within and between churches.

The campaign to create a schism will test Russia’s influence, and so far, claiming the Serbian church and a gaggle of minor minority churches in former Soviet and Warpac nations is not by any measure a successful effort at sowing division.

SECSTATE declares US support for Ukraine and Constantinople in this matter, widely reported in Ukrainian media.


Constantinople refuses to sever communion with Russian Orthodox Church

Constantinople remains in communion with the Russian Orthodox Church despite the severance of Eucharistic communion between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Constantinople Patriarchate, the exarchate of Russian parishes in Western Europe said in a statement on Friday. “Dear brothers and sisters, we inform you that our bishops and exarchs who are in the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate remain in full communion with the entire Orthodox Church. We also inform you that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has not severed communion with the Moscow Patriarchate and continues to pray for it in accordance with the order established in the diptych,” the exarchate said.

Ecumenical Patriarchate remains in full communion with Russian Orthodox Church

19.10.18 16:12 – Ecumenical Patriarchate remains in full communion with Russian Orthodox Church Patriarchate in Constantinople remains in communion with the Russian Orthodox Church despite the severance of Eucharistic communion between the Russian Orthodox Church and Ecumenical Patriarchate. View news.

Orthodox Christianity split: Moscow may freeze relations with Jerusalem Patriarchate

The split of Orthodox Christianity or the isolation of Russia? Over the past two weeks, Orthodox believers have been anxiously watching the conflict between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. What may the situation lead to? The Patriarchate of Constantinople is the most highly respected authority in the Orthodox world. In turn, the Patriarchate of Moscow is the richest one; it has the most numerous flock of souls which makes for one third of the Orthodox church. However, after the separation of Ukraine, it will be down by a quarter. Moscow has long been at outs with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. After the split, the Russian Orthodox Church forbade its people to participate in divine services in many regions of Turkey and Greece, including Antalya, Rhodes and Crete, which are frequented by Russian tourists. But it is Mount Athos, where Russian politicians and businessmen like to pray, that has become the most focal point. For the last ten years, Russians have donated about $200 mln to Athos monasteries. A few days ago, the Metropolitan of Montenegrin and the Serbian Patriarch called the decision of Constantinople ‘uncanonical’. But they did not break off their relations with Constantinople. Meanwhile, the Moscow Patriarchate is not going to come to terms. “As the Patriarch of Constantinople is engaged in misappropriation and brigandism in the territories of other local churches, he is no longer a believer for half the Orthodox Christians in the world,” Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the department for external church relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, told the BBC. Moreover, the secretary of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission to Jerusalem warned that Moscow was ready to cut off contact with the Jerusalem Patriarchate if they supported Constantinople in its decision to grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. It is the priests of the Jerusalem Orthodox Church who hold the Divine Service in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher on the eve of Easter, during which the Holy Fire appears. It is usually delivered to Moscow by special flight. If the situation reaches its logical but absurd end, the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church will be left without the Holy Fire on Easter.

Patriarch Neofit: Bulgarian Orthodox Church still has no official position on independence of Ukrainian church | The Sofia Globe

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church still has no official position on the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s decision that Ukraine could have its own Orthodox Christian church independent of Moscow, Patriarch Neofit said in Sofia on October 19. On October 11, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartolomeos I approved a request by clerics in Ukraine to move for an Orthodox church in the country independent of the Russian Orthodox patriarchate. The decision by the Ecumenical Patriarch, traditionally regarded in the Orthodox Christian world as “first among equals” among the leaders of Orthodox churches, terminated the right granted in the year 1686 for the Patriarch of Moscow to name the metropolitans of Kyiv. Four days later, the Patriarchate of Moscow and all Russia severed its ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, calling the ruling by Bartolomeos “lawless”.

Will Macedonia’s Orthodox Church Also Break Away

Deep concerns have emerged within the Serbian Orthodox Church over a move by the leadership of Orthodox Christianity toward recognizing the Ukrainian chu

Mount Athos, a Male-Only Holy Retreat, Is Ruffled by Tourists and Russia – The New York Times

The monks on an isolated peninsula in Greece have followed the same way of life for more than 1,000 years, but an Athens vs. Moscow diplomatic spat and a tourism onslaught are unsettling its habits.

Russia’s Patriarch Kirill Blames Istanbul Church For ‘Schism’

The head of Russia’s Orthodox Church has blamed Orthodox leaders in Istanbul for prompting a schism, the worst crisis to face the religion in hundreds of years. The head of Russia’s Orthodox Church has blamed Orthodox leaders in Istanbul for prompting a schism, the worst crisis to face the religion in hundreds of years. Patriarch Kirill on October 19 blasted church authorities — known as the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople — as “schismatic” for a decision earlier this month moving to grant independence to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The move pushed Moscow to break ties with the Constantinople Patriarchate, widely recognized as the spiritual authority of Orthodoxy. “The Constantinople Patriarchate identified itself with schismatics,” Patriarch Kirill told a conference in Moscow. “Uncanonically, violating all rules, it invaded our jurisdiction and forgave schismatics,” he added. Ukraine has three Orthodox churches: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. The Moscow Patriarchate, which has the most believers in Ukraine, remains loyal to the Russian Orthodox Church. The Kyiv Patriarchate declared independence from the Russian church in 1992, but that has never been recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Earlier this month, however, Patriarch Bartholomew, who is considered the “first among equals” leader among Orthodox leaders, endorsed the Kyiv Patriarchate’s request for independence from Moscow.The Kyiv Patriarchate has not yet received the formal, final blessing to be autocephalous, or independent. The move from Bartholomew prompted angry words from not only Russian church leaders, but also government officials. On October 15, the Russian church announced it had decided to end its relationship with the Constantinople Patriarchate. Several Orthodox churches in former Soviet republics, many of which are under the direct jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, also cut ties with the Constantinople Patriarchate. Bartholomew’s move has added to tensions between Kyiv and Moscow, already high since Russia’s 2014 seizure of Crimea and the war in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russia-backed separatists. Reacting to the Russian Orthodox Church’s announcement, the press secretary of the Kyiv Patriarchate said, “Patriarch Kirill has personally been an architect of the schism in the Ukrainian church since 1991″ and that his conduct has “pulled all of Orthodox Christianity into conflict.”

Now the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia has also cut ties to the Constantinople Patriarchate — Meduza

The Bishops’ Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) announced on October 19 that it, too, is suspending Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople because of its plans to grant autocephaly (independence) to a new unified Ukrainian church. The ROCOR says it won’t re-establish ties to Constantinople until it “ceases its lawlessness.”

Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia ceases communion with Constantinople | UNIAN

The Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia has announced the cessation of eucharistic communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople due to the intention of the latter to grant the autocephaly to the Ukrainian church. The church said it would not restore relations with Constantinople until it “ceased its lawlessness.”

Orthodox Christianity faced with a political divide

Bitter political divisions in Ukraine have created a split in Orthodox Christianity.

Lavrov commented on the decision of Constantinople | The Sivertelegram

The situation around the decision of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople on the canonical recognition of the UOC-Kyiv Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church and the reaction of the local churches would be a problem for a long time. He stated this in an interview with French media. “We have already heard the words of indignation from most of the local Orthodox churches. I think that it is not just the reaction of one or two days, and the problem for a long time,” said Lavrov, writes the Correspondent. For him the plan of action of Constantinople is obvious: to make one more step to tear Ukraine not only politically, but also spiritually from Russia.

TASS: Press Review – Press review: US pulling Constantinople’s strings

Top stories in the Russian press on Wednesday

Why It Matters: A Church Split Will Cause Geopolitical Blowback from Eastern Europe to the Middle East | WBEZ

A recent religious decision is expected to have incalculable geopolitical repercussions. On October 11th, 2018, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople (Istanbul), head of the Greek Orthodox Church, and most elevated official in the Orthodox Christian world, announced his intention to re-establish the Orthodox Church in Ukraine under his authority.  This reversed a 1686 decision to place the Ukrainian Church within the territory of Russia’s Moscow Patriarchate. Many see this as a first step to achieving an independent Church in Ukraine, something first proposed in 1917. In retaliation, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow issued an order forbidding Christians aligned with the Russian Orthodox Church from participating in religious services conducted by the Greek Orthodox Church. This matters because Church Jurisdictions, as well as political world leaders, are choosing sides, from Scotland, all the way to Qatar. Some leaders think potential blowback could compromise their own national security. This comes as Ukraine fights a now 4-year-old war in its eastern territories with Russian-backed separatists. Ukraine’s President, Petro Poroshenko, said the religious move marks an “apogee of Ukrainian sovereignty” and “an end to Ukraine’s colonized relationship with Russia.” Many call it the greatest schism in Christianity since 1054, when the Eastern (Orthodox) and Western (Roman Catholic) Churches officially split.  To discuss, we’re joined by Worldview producer Julian Hayda. He’s writing his M.A. Thesis at DePaul on the intersection of political and religious life in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church breaks plans of Putin about Russian World – 112.international

The decision of Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople to provide the tomos to Ukraine means the impossibility of Moscow to pretend to Moldova and Belarus. Russian President Vladimir Putin can raise a new wave of aggression against Ukraine due to the decision of Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople to grant the autocephaly to Ukrainian Orthodox Church as The Jamestown Foundation reported. According to the message, the independent church of Ukraine endangers the plans of Putin to build the Russian World that includes western post-Soviet countries, such as Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova.

Could There Be ‘A Parade Of Autocephalies’ Within The Russian Federation? – OpEd – Eurasia Review

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.

Move Towards Ukrainian Autocephaly | Press Statement, Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State, Washington, DC October 19, 2018

Press Statement Michael R. Pompeo Secretary of State Washington, DC October 19, 2018 The United States reiterates its strong support for religious freedom and the freedom of members of religious groups, including Ukraine’s Orthodox community, to govern their religion according to their beliefs, free of outside interference. We support Ukrainians’ ability to worship as they choose and hope this will be respected by all. Tolerance, restraint, and understanding are key to ensuring that people with different religious affiliations can live and prosper together in peace. We urge Church and government officials to actively promote these values in connection with the move towards the establishment of an autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

USA backs Ecumenical Patriarch over Russia dispute · Greek City Times

The US State Department has backed Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew over his dispute with the Russian Orthodox Church following his decision to grant independence to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. The State Department called Bartholomew “a voice of religious freedom and inter religious dialogue” and referencing the Russian church’s decision to cut ties with the patriarchate in Constantinople, said the US Government supports the safeguarding of the right to religious freedom in Ukraine, as well as the territorial integrity of the country.

U.S. supports right of Ukrainians to pray as they choose – Pompeo – 20.10.2018 11:56 — Ukrinform News

The United States reaffirms its strong support for religious freedom and the freedom of members of religious groups, including Ukraine's Orthodox community, to govern their religion according to their beliefs, free of outside interference.

U.S. Secretary of State supports Ukraine in efforts to create autocephalous church | UNIAN

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has supported Kyiv it its efforts to establish an autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Tolerance, restraint, and understanding are key to ensuring that people with different religious affiliations can live and prosper together in peace, he said.

U.S. urges Ukraine to create autocephaly, – Department of State – 112.international

Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State called the Ukrainian authorities and believers to the creation of the autocephaly, reports the press office of the Department of State. ‘The United States reiterates its strong support for religious freedom and the freedom of members of religious groups, including Ukraine’s Orthodox community, to govern their religion according to their beliefs, free of outside interference,’ reads the message.

Freedom of worship? US encourages Ukraine to create independent Orthodox Church — RT World News

Washington has voiced “strong support” for an autocephalous Orthodox community in Ukraine, while the Russian Orthodox Church has accused the Constantinople Patriarchate of betraying its faith to cater to US political interests.

“No one will stop Ukrainian people and neither we will ask someone’s permission,” – Poroshenko on looming autocephaly

19.10.18 18:00 – “No one will stop Ukrainian people and neither we will ask someone’s permission,” – Poroshenko on looming autocephaly Autocephaly is a part of the public pro-European and pro-Ukrainian policy, which has been consistently implemented in the last 4 years. View news.

Putin’s strategy now suffered a complete fiasco: a big statement from Poroshenko – 24 Channel | The Koz Telegram

The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko believes that the strategy of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin in relation to Ukraine now suffers a complete fiasco, since he has no allies in the world, he was sorry that he had lost the Church, but also has a deep economic crisis. Such a statement he made on air of the TV channel ZIK.

Nine facts about Kyiv church to be used by Ecumenical Patriarch – 18.10.2018 14:15 — Ukrinform News

To His All Holiness Bartholomew from Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has tabled in the Verkhovna Rada a bill that proposes transferring St. Andrew’s Church in Kyiv to permanent use by the Ecumenical Patriarch. If that happens, then it will be a temple, a residence, a stauropegic monastery for the Ecumenical Patriarch, as indicated in the communique of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. What is known about the temple in which Greek worship songs will soon be heard and the hierarchs and clergy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate will hold church services?

  1. The temple was built on the slope of the Old Kyiv plateau, which served as a kind of natural pedestal for the church. According to the chronicle of Nestor of the Chronicler, Saint Andrew the Apostle came to Kyiv in those distant times. He climbed the mountain and predicted that here, on the mountains of Kyiv, “the grace of God will shine, a great city will grow, and God will put up many churches.” And he put up a cross on the mountain to commemorate his words.
  2. Senior court architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli was tasked with designing St. Andrew’s Church. The church is often called a “swan song” of Bartolomeo Rastrelli. It was built in the Baroque style during 1747-1762. It preserved its architectural forms and interior decoration, which is an example of Baroque church interiors. The main shrines of the church are a part of the holy relics of Andrew the Apostle, brought from Italy, and the Gospel in a precious ornament – a gift from Emperor Alexander.
  3. St. Andrew’s Church is 50 meters high.
  4. The world society added St. Andrew’s Church to the catalog “1000 Wonders of the World. Mankind Treasures of Five Continents,” which was published in Germany in 2002. It was also proposed to inscribe it on in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
  5. Since 1949, the stylobate of the temple was home to the Kyiv seminary (closed in 1960), and the temple itself housed the relics of the Holy Great Martyr Varvara. Soon after the closure of the seminary, the church was also closed, under the pretext of an “emergency state” (the Holy Varvara’s relics were transferred to St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral).
  6. The basement of St. Andrew’s Church served as a residence of a famous legendary personality – holy fool Ivan Bosoy (Rastorguev). This is the first holy fool in Kyiv who was engaged in patronage. The alms collected by Ivan Bosoy sufficed for the maintenance of a charity shelter for three hundred people, who were provided with medical aid and received clothes and shoes.
  7. The scene of the marriage of movie characters Pronya Prokopyvna and Svirid Golokhvastov was shot at the steps of St. Andrew’s Church.
  8. Father Mykola (Kapshuchenko), the father of famous artist Raisa Okipna, was the dean of St. Andrew’s Church in the 1950s.
  9. Future Patriarch Mstyslav (Skrypnyk) was ordained a bishop of Pereyaslav at St. Andrew’s Church on May 14, 1942. He also held church services during his stay in Ukraine in 1990-1992. St. Andrew’s Church was supposed to be the church of the royal family. In modern times it was the temple of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC). Therefore, there is symbolism in the fact that now it should be the temple of the first hierarch who will grant autocephaly to Ukraine.

Lana Samokhvalova. Kyiv

 

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