Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia Loses the War of the Churches (26)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

To me, the most interesting article is from the Pittsburgh, Post-Gazette. I attended the University of Pittsburgh, and while there I experienced the Eastern Orthodox Church. Little enclaves of Eastern Europe were nestled in the hills south of Pittsburgh, it was an amazing experience.

It is a sin and a shame what happened on Saturday in Pittsburgh, however, a discussion of those events does not belong here.

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A number of reports on the globally disruptive impacts of Russia’s self-anathemization. More interesting is the analysis by Khazanov-Pashkovsky, drawing comparisons between the Cheka’s “Operation Trust” and the current subversion of the ROC. Earlier reports are re-emerging in syndication.

Paul Goble | Chekist Operation Trust — model for Putin’s approach to Russian Church and Russian nationalism, Khazanov-Pashkovsky says – Euromaidan Press |

Chekist Operation Trust — model for Putin’s approach to Russian Church and Russian nationalism, Khazanov-Pashkovsky says 2018/10/27 – 13:52 • International, More The Trust, as a Chekist operation directed at and designed to disorder the anti-Bolshevik White emigration at the dawn of Soviet power, is today the model and prototype for Vladimir Putin’s approach to the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian nationalism at home and abroad, Sergey Khazanov-Pashkovsky says. On the Riga-based Harbin portal, the émigré historian argues that in order to understand Putin’s strategy and tactics one must recognize that he isn’t doing anything new but rather reviving the well-forgotten old, in this case, the methods Felix Dzherzhinsky used to penetrate and then use opponents of the Soviet regime. Following the Machiavellian principle that if you can’t defeat an opponent by a frontal attack, you should seek to confuse him by appearing in a guise that looks like part of his side, the Cheka launched the Trust which purposed to be an organization of “the anti-Bolshevik Monarchist Union of Central Russia” but in fact was run by the Soviet secret police. This operation had two goals, the historian says. It was intended to smoke out genuine monarchists inside the country; and it was designed to “control and restrain the activity of émigré militant groups.” The Trust lasted only five years in the 1920s; but the approach it embodied is used by the Putin regime against those who might otherwise be its opponents. The main example of the application of the principles of the Trust operation now is the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC MP), an institution “which was legalized on the basis of the personal order of Stalin” and which for many years was even directed by the Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church entirely staffed by Soviet KGB officers. Under Putin, as is widely recognized, nominally “former” KGB officers have taken under their control “the levers of power in the state apparatus of the Russian Federation” and over academic institutions, the media, banking, major business concerns, and institutions like the Russian Orthodox Church. Their role in the ROC MP is both especially noxious and especially obvious, Khazanov-Pashkovsky continues. “Two of the largest organizations closely connected with the church’s activity, the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society and the Foundation of Andrey the First Called, are now controlled by the FSB and the SVR. The first, which has existed more than a century, is an example of the FSB’s proclivity to raid and take over institutions and run them for its own purposes, just as some still suspect the Cheka did by using some real monarchists as a cover for its creation of the cover story for the Trust in the 1920s. Both institutions engage in espionage and as agents of influence abroad, confusing their targets about what is really going on. What is less widely recognized is that the Putin regime runs Trust-like operations against its own people, especially those who identify as nationalists and/or monarchists, Khazanov-Pashkovsky says. One of these is the Two-Headed Eagle Society, which claims to be monarchist but in fact is simply pro-Putin in all regards. The Society is well-funded by oligarchs close to the Kremlin, and its leaders are people with backgrounds in the security services who purport on some occasions to be otherwise but who in fact on all occasions are working for the Russian security services as materials on their website demonstrate. Unfortunately, the émigré historian says, the ROC MP and groups like the Two-Headed Eagle Society are able to deceive the ignorant and the gullible just as the Trust did almost a century ago. Exposing the Chekist roots of institutions in both periods is thus an important task if Russia and Russians are to escape from control by the organs.

‘Tensions’ caused by the Orthodox Christianity split are felt from Moscow to McKees Rocks | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Schism in the church!” That sounds like something out of a world history textbook, not a 2018 news headline. But it’s actually one of this month’s biggest international stories. The Russian Orthodox Church has cut off all ties with the leader of the Christian Orthodox mother church in Istanbul, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, who holds the title of archbishop of Constantinople. The rift is tearing into the global Orthodox Church, and the divide is stirring up anxiety among Orthodox believers around the world, including in the United States. Archbishop Bartholomew is the highest authority in the global Christian Orthodox Church, which has about 300 million members worldwide. About half of that 300 million belong to the Russian Orthodox Church. The flashpoint of this dispute is in Ukraine. And, perhaps there’s little surprise — a lot of it has more to do with politics than with religion. Vladimir Putin sent Russian troops into eastern Ukraine in 2014, stoking bitter divisions there. Since then, the question of what becomes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has intensified. Ukrainian nationalists want their church to be free of Russian control, which dates back to the year 1686, when the Constantinople patriarch signed an agreement to give religious leaders in Moscow authority over the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. This month, Archbishop Bartholomew overturned that centuries-old agreement and opened the door for an independent Ukrainian Church. It was essentially a green light for churches in Ukraine to break away from Moscow.

The Orthodox schism | Neos Kosmos

The Orthodox Church in Australia is an icon of multiculturalism; now this is put at risk, after the rift between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Moscow Patriarchate over the Ukrainian issue. I have a friend who is a descendant of a historically important Byzantine family, members of which have achieved sainthood in the Orthodox church. He also happens to be a priest who conducts missionary work among English-speaking Australians hitherto unexposed to Orthodoxy. His mission is under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church. A week ago, should I have wanted to do so, I could have attended his parish to take communion. There I would have found a group of parishioners from diverse ethnic and social backgrounds reveling in the one common thing that unites them: a belief in a common set of principles. If I was in need of a sacrament or spiritual succour, I could seek his assistance. Now, that privilege is questionable, for the church he serves, is apparently no longer the one I belong to. His church falls under the auspices of the Russian Patriarchate of Moscow. My church falls under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Russian church has declared that it is in schism with what is considered to be the spiritual head of all Orthodox churches globally.

Moscow move threatens to split Orthodoxy

By Brian Fraga. Russian Church breaks communion with Ecumenical Patriarchate after recognition of Ukrainian Church

Birth of Ukrainian church stokes tensions | The Columbian

KIEV, Ukraine — The rough-looking young men brought clubs and brass knuckles to the Pechersk Monastery in Kiev, one of Orthodox Christianity’s most important pilgrimage sites, apparently seeking to di

TASS: Society & Culture – St. Panteleimon Russian Monastery on Mount Athos not planning to close its Moscow mission

MOUNT ATHOS /Greece/, October 29. /TASS/. The Russian Orthodox Monastery of St. Panteleimon, or Rossikon, on Mount Athos is not planning to close its mission in Moscow, Hierodeacon Filosof, the monastery’s deputy father superior, told TASS on Monday.

Romanian church urges unity for Orthodox churches

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania’s Orthodox Church has called for unity among Orthodox churches after a meeting to discuss a rupture between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. On Oct. 15, the Russian Orthodox Church announced it was severing links to the Constantinople patriarchy after the Istanbul-based patriarch Bartholomew I, considered the “first among equals” of Orthodox church leaders, said he was removing its condemnation of leaders of schismatic Orthodox churches in Ukraine.

Ukrainian mufti puts a Russian one in his place over Orthodox autocephalyEuromaidan Press |

At a time when Russia’s 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. 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.

Terry Mattingly | 1,000 years of history shape Moscow-Istanbul clash: Terry Mattingly

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I has taken the first step to establish an independent, or “autocephalous,” Orthodox church in Ukraine.

Terry Mattingly | On Religion: 1,000 years of history shape Moscow-Istanbul clash – The Ukiah Daily Journal

The great prince Vladimir had a problem in the year 986, while striving to build unity in the Kievan Rus, his network of Eastern Slavic and Finnic tribes. The old pagan gods and goddesses were not enough. So the prince dispatched ambassadors to investigate Islam, Judaism, Catholicism and the Orthodox faith of the Christian East. When they returned to Kiev, their reports included this passage about Byzantium: “We went into the Greek lands, and we were led into a place where they serve their God, and we did not know where we were, in heaven or on Earth. … All we know is that God lives there with people and their service is better than in any other country. … We cannot remain any more in paganism.” So Vladimir surrendered his concubines and was baptized in 988, while commanding his people to convert. Orthodoxy came to the lands of the Rus. This early chronicle was, according to church tradition, written by St. Nestor of the great Kiev-Pechersk Monastery, founded in 1051. Pilgrims continue to flock to the Monastery of the Kiev Caves to see its beautiful churches, soaring bell tower, labyrinthine underground tunnels and the incorrupt bodies of many saints. Note the importance of the word “Kiev” in that spiritual and national narrative. “Just as the original Church in Jerusalem is the mother of all Orthodox Churches around the world, including the Patriarchate of Constantinople some 300 years later, so the venerable see of Kiev in Kievan Rus in the tenth century is the mother of the Churches in all the East Slavic Orthodox lands – including the current nation-states of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and Byelorussia,” explained the Very Rev. Alexander Webster, dean of Holy Trinity Seminary in upstate New York. This seminary is part of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.

Alexander Titov | Ukraine rift triggers biggest split in Orthodox Church in 1,000 years | Asia Times

Ukrainian nationalism – and a president on the rocks – has sparked a religious crisis.

Alexander Titov | Orthodox Church: biggest split in a thousand years triggered over Ukraine

Ukrainian nationalism – and a president on the rocks – has sparked a religious crisis.