Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
The Russian campaign continues, with Russia’s Chief Mufti backing the ROC, and getting “put in place” by a senior Ukrainian mufti. Shtepa explains exactly how the Chekist regime has entangled itself in the Third Rome mythology of the Tsarist era, and why this is so central to the regime’s ideology, concluding it could potentially lead to nuclear war. Multiple reports on debate in Ukraine.
Paul Goble Staunton, October 25 – Since at least 2007, Vladimir Putin has insisted the two chief components of Russian statehood are nuclear weapons and Orthodoxy (pravoslavie.ru/20667.html), a view rooted in the idea of “Moscow as the Third Rome” and one he presents in Manichean terms (facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2073448429384792&id=100001589654713). That would be an interesting example of intellectual history, Vadim Shtepa, a Russian regionalist who lives in Estonia, were it not for two things. That view provides the basis for an aggressive approach to the rest of the world and, now that it has been challenged by Ukrainian autocephaly, an open road toward war (icds.ee/ru/privedet-li-padenie-tretego-rima-k-tr). In an analysis for Tallinn’s International Centre for Defence and Security, Shtepa analyzes both of these factors, demonstrating that the tsarist-era doctrine of Moscow as the third Rome is the real foundation of Muscovite messianism and that the collapse of that notion thanks to the actions of the Universal Patriarchate create a situation the Kremlin finds intolerable. Russians routine ascribe the idea that “Two Romes have fallen” – Rome and Constantinople – “a third” – Moscow – “stands and a fourth there shall not be” to Starets Filofey in the 16th century but recognize that the idea has evolved over the last 400 years as Russia has changed. But one aspect of this notion has remained constant, Shtepa points out, “the indivisible unity of the ‘true’ church and the ‘great empire.’ One is unthinkable without the other.” That was true under the tsars, continued to be true under the Soviets who of course understood the meaning of “church” differently, and remains true today under Putin. “In the post-Soviet era,” he continues, “the Russian Orthodox church has acquired the status of the Russian state church, although this contradicts the constitution’s provision about the secular nature of the state.” And the messianic nature of this idea, although not proclaimed officially, is currently “actively” being used in Kremlin propaganda and policy design. World Orthodoxy, Shtepa notes, “traditionally is a collection of equal regional churches which largely correspond to the borders of this or that state.” Such an arrangement is especially clearly seen in Europe where almost every country has its own autocephalous Orthodox church. Constantinople is “first in honor” but does not have administrative control over others. But the Russian Orthodox Church stands as an exception. Despite its conflict with Catholicism, “it seeks to emulate Rome in terms of global influence.” That is most easily seen in the Moscow Patriarchate’s concept of canonical territory extending from the Baltic to Japan, except for Armenia and Georgia but including China and Japan. (For a map, seefoma.ru/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/MAP-L.jpg). Of course, Shtepa says, Moscow views that as its base and seeks to insert its own churches elsewhere as a form of soft power however much this contradicts this notion of its canonical territory. There is now a ROC MP church in Paris but that can hardly mean that France is part of Russia’s “canonical territory.” Moscow’s idea of its own canonical territory was challenged in 1996 when Estonia’s Orthodox acquired autocephaly from Constantinople, an action that led Moscow to break briefly with the Universal Patriarch before the compromise of two Orthodox churches in Estonia was reached, largely because Patriarch Aleksii was a native of Estonia and didn’t want problems. Now, however, Shtepa continues, Ukraine is set to acquire autocephaly; and that represents a much more serious inroad into what Moscow has long assumed is its canonical space. Not surprisingly, the Moscow Patriarchate has broken with Constantinople and sought to divide Orthodoxy in response. “The decision of the Constantinople Patrairch to offer the Ukrainian Orthodox Church the tomos of autocephaly” has been precisely described by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko as an issue with global geopolitical consequences. “This is the fall of the Third Rome as Moscow’s ancient conceptual claim to world rule” (twitter.com/poroshenko/status/1050420781405130760). Autocephaly for Ukraine is such a serious challenge to Moscow, the Russian regionalist argues, not only because of this claim but also because of the ways in which the messianism of the Russian Orthodox Church informs the messianism of the Russian state. The former having been challenged, the latter feels compelled to strike back. And, thus, it is not surprising that “among present-day state leaders only President Putin talks about the possibility of nuclear war,” either by saying there is no reason for a world in which Russia isn’t present or by suggesting that after such a conflict, Russians will go to heaven as “martyrs” while everyone else will be consigned to hell. Such language, especially given that Russia has so many fewer levers than it once did, suggests that Ukrainian autocephaly could become the occasion for a nuclear war, a development that would not only end Moscow as the third Rome in a definitive sense but destroy much else besides.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew says the issue of granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will be resolved in the best interests of the Ukrainian people. This was stated by the Patriarch at a meeting with the pilgrims from Greece, Censor.NET reports citing Orthodoxia.info via Gordon news outlet. “Ukrainians have the right to autocephaly like all the Balkan nations who were under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for some time but then the time came for them to become independent. Why does everyone else have the right to autocephaly except for 45-50 million Ukrainians? This is unfair,” Bartholomew said. He recalled that the Ukrainian nation’s aspiration for spiritual independence was not something new as it emerged immediately after the creation of the independent Ukrainian state in 1991.
Moscow is looking for a new reason for another “protection,” this time of Orthodox believers in Ukraine. Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, His Holiness Patriarch Filaret said this at a press conference at Ukrinform on Friday. “They say not so much about the issuing of the tomos, but about the seizure of temples. Where does it come from, and why? It comes from Moscow. Moscow is preparing the ground for intervention by military force […] The same was in Donbas, where they had an excuse – ‘protection’ of the Russian-speaking population […] When they intervened, they forgot why they intervened. Now they want to invent a new reason – protection of the Russian Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, ‘protection’ of Orthodox believers. That is why, knowing this, we will not tolerate any violence and we will not give grounds for Moscow to interfere in our Ukrainian affairs, in our Ukrainian ecclesiastical life,” Filaret said.
Russian authorities are looking for a new reason to launch another “protection campaign” this time of Orthodox believers in Ukraine. Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP), His Holiness Patriarch Filaret told a press conference at Ukrinform news agency on Friday, Censor.NET reports. “They say not so much about the issuing of the tomos, but about the seizure of temples. Where does it come from, and why? It comes from Moscow. Moscow is preparing the ground for intervention by military force […] The same was in Donbas, where they had an excuse – ‘protection’ of the Russian-speaking population […] “When they intervened, they forgot why they intervened. Now they want to invent a new reason – protection of the Russian Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, ‘protection’ of Orthodox believers. That is why, knowing this, we will not tolerate any violence and we will not give grounds for Moscow to interfere in our Ukrainian affairs, in our Ukrainian ecclesiastical life,” Filaret said.
Paul Goble Staunton, October 25 – At a time when the Central Muslim Spiritual Directorate (MSD) is marking its 230th anniversary and its mufti, Talgat Tajuddin, his 70th birthday and his 28th year as head of the Central MSD, a Ukrainian mufti has told the Ufa leader that he has no business commenting on the issue of autocephaly for Ukraine’s Orthodox Christians. On Facebook, Said Ismagilov, the mufti of the MSD of Ukraine, said, in response to Tajuddin’s denunciation of autocephaly for Ukraine’s Orthodox that “Muslims must not interfere in the affairs of the Orthodox” especially when they don’t live in the same country (facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1907377519353835&set=a.511400698951531&type=3). According to Mufti Ismagilov, the only Muslims who have a right to give an opinion on such questions are Ukrainian ones and as for himself and his flock, “we welcome autocephaly” for Ukraine’s Orthodox. He was responding to Tajuddin’s assertion, picked by Russia’s TASS news agency, that a grant of autocephaly to Ukraine “contradicts the Divine Plan.” Tajuddin, one of the last muftis installed in Soviet times and the head of an institution that was created by the Russian state to control Muslims despite having no basis in Muslim law, has almost invariably been an enthusiastic supporter of whatever policies the Kremlin is backing at any particular time. Like Moscow Patriarch Kirill, the Ufa Muslim leader still thinks of the entire former Soviet space as properly within his domain, although unlike his Orthodox counterpart, Kirill has never formally articulated the idea of it as his faith’s “canonical territory.” Such a notion has no basis in Islam, but it is certainly supported by the Kremlin at least now. Tajuddin’s declaration clearly was intended to show his loyalty to his political masters by causing as much trouble as possible in Ukraine. But Mufti Ismagilov’s response suggests the Ufa leader isn’t going to have the success in that regard that he and the Kremlin hoped for. Ukraine’s Muslims are and almost certainly will remain overwhelmingly loyal to Kyiv.
Statement by Chief Mufti of Russia, Talgat Tajuddin, that he opposes granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is unacceptable. Said Ismagilov, the chief mufti of Ukraine and chairman of Ukrainian Spiritual Governance for Muslims wrote on social media, Censor.NET reports. “Meanwhile, the chief mufti of the Russian Federation spoke against autocephaly for Ukrainian Orthodox Christians. ‘The decision of the Constantinople Patriarchate to grant autocephaly to Ukraine Church is contrary to the God’s great plan,’ he said at a Muslim conference in Ufa. At first I did not believe that a mufti could say that since this is nothing less than a claim to be aware of the God’s design! But it was later confirmed by the Russian media. Well, firstly, Muslims should not meddle in affairs of Orthodox believers especially by making statements about the God’s plan. Secondly, if any Muslims should give their assessments, it is the Ukrainian ones. I have already voiced my position and the position of our Spiritual Governance – we welcome autocephaly. I have not heard opinions of other muftis. If someone has information about their opinions, please share it with me. However, giving assessments of Ukraine’s internal issues is none of Russian muftis’ business. We are still here and can handle it on our own if our opinion is of any interest to Ukrainian society,” Ismagilov said. Source: https://en.censor.net.ua/n3093271
Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) Filaret says he can not name the date of the convocation of the Unification Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox churches for it depends on the Ecumenical Patriarch. “The holding of the council depends on the Ecumenical Patriarch,” he said at a press conference in Kyiv, adding that the UOC-KP hopes this council will be convened in the near future, Censor,NET reports citing UNIAN. “We cannot announce the date of this council’s convocation as it depends on the Ecumenical Patriarch,” Filaret said.
Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, Patriarch Filaret (Denysenko) can not name the date for the Unification Council of the Orthodox Churches in Ukraine, since this depends on the Ecumenical Patriarch.
Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) Filaret says there is no misunderstanding between the UOC-KP and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC). Filaret is sure disputes between some bishops will be settled at the council.
Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) Filaret says the process of granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is irreversible. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian people deserve their independent church, Filaret said.
Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) Filaret says the convocation of the Unification Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox churches depends on the Ecumenical Patriarch. The UOC-KP hopes the council will be convened in the near future.
Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) Filaret voiced criteria that will be taken into account when electing the head of an independent Orthodox Church that will be created in Ukraine. Speaking on the Ukrainian radio, he said that according to the terms of the Patriarch of Constantinople, the Ukrainian church should be headed by an archbishop who is a metropolitan rather than a patriarch, Censor.NET reports citing UNIAN. In this regard, the head of the UOC-KP received the expanded (the archbishop and metropolitan of Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine) and reduced titles (the patriarch of Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine, for internal use). “It is necessary to have a degree in theological education, know the canon law, have experience in managing a diocese and a church. And if there is no experience, things won’t go well,” Filaret said. He stressed he was not ready to sacrifice personal ambitions in the issue of electing the head of the new church. “No! But not because I consider myself as such. But because Moscow will do everything to destroy the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. And therefore, to preserve the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and bring it to fruition, I have to work to the end,” Filaret said.