Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia Loses the War of the Churches (36)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Most of the media traffic is from Ukraine and largely revolves around the events of last week. New are reports the ROC has been making claims their clerics are being discriminated against by the AFU, but this being vehemently denied by the Gen Staff. Earlier Russian comments on Pres Poroshenko’s visit to Finland appear to be more disinformation. A Russian archbishop is banned from Ukraine following advice from a security agency. ROC brags about being named as Ukrainian before Ukraine’s independence declared after the breakup of the USSR. Gais backgrounder on the history of the Orthodox church and the challenges in managing nationalism. The non-canonical TOC aligned with Muscovy files complaint against EOC. Obit for Fr Taft who was an advocate for Catholics in Ukraine.

Some cheeky Ukrainian cartoons on Russia’s heresy and schism.

Some miscellaneous related reports.

UOC (MP) plans to meet with Poroshenko on Nov 13

Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) plan to hold a meeting with President Petro Poroshenko on November 13, Ukrayinska Pravda has reported, citing Metropolitan Oleksandr (Drabynko). Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) plan to hold a meeting with President Petro Poroshenko on November 13, Ukrayinska Pravda has reported, citing Metropolitan Oleksandr (Drabynko). Metropolitan of Pereyaslav-Khmelnytsky and Vyshneve, and now vicar bishop of Kyiv Metropolitan, rector of The Transfiguration Cathedral, Oleksandr Drabynko, was the secretary of the late Metropolitan Vladimir (Sabodan) of Kyiv. The Metropolitan himself refers to the report of the office of the Kyiv Metropolis, according to which (a photocopy was posted by the Ukrayinska Pravda) the meeting should take place in the assembly hall of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra at 14:00 on November 13. “The participation of all diocesan and vicar hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is obligatory,” the announcement says. At the same time, Metropolitan Oleksandr was unable to confirm whether the head of the UOC (MP), Metropolitan Onufriy, would be present at the meeting. The press service of the presidential administration has not yet been able to officially confirm or deny the planned meeting, the Ukrayinska Pravda said. They also refused to comment on the information in the office of the Kyiv Metropolis. Ukrayinska Pravda, citing its sources, reports that the unification council for the creation of a single Ukrainian Orthodox Church may be held on November 21 or November 22, but there is no exact agreement yet. The Russian edition of Kommersant, citing sources in the Patriarchate of Constantinople, says that a unifying council will be held on November 21. The UOC-MP declared that their participation in the unification council was impossible.

Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate plans meeting with Poroshenko on November 13 –

The bishops of Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate plan to hold a meeting with President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko on November 13. The information on the issuing invitations to the meeting at Kyiv Pechersk Lavra appeared at the Ukrainian mass media. Metropolitan Oleksandr (Drabynko) confirmed the information referring to the message of the chancellery of Kyiv Metropolis as Ukrayinska Pravda reported.

UOC-MP: General Staff ordered not to let our chaplains in military units

In the Armed Forces of Ukraine they say that priests of the UOC-MP are not forbidden to serve in units. The UOC of the Moscow Patriarchate argues that the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine forbade their chaplains to be allowed into military units. It is reported by the press service of the UOC-MP . It clarifies that the deputy head of the church’s department for interaction with military formations, Archimandrite Luke, spoke about the directive “for official use” on the prevention of chaplains of the UOC in military units. “Lists were formed with the names of the priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, who are called“ participants in the hybrid war, among them is my name. ” These documents were sent from the General Staff to the field, ”he says. Recall, November 8, 2018 in the UOC-MP declared that they were waiting for “persecution . ”

The UOC-MP accused the General Staff of the ban to let its chaplains in military units. The General Staff called it a lie and a manipulation.

In the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the Moscow Patriarchate stated that allegedly the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the spring of 2018 ordered not to allow their chaplains to military units. The General Staff refuted this information. As the Tsenzor.NET , on the directive of the General Staff Armed Forces of Ukraine to prevent the chaplains of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church for the care of military personnel November 8 said Deputy Chairman of the Department of the UOC for Relations with the Armed Forces and other military formations of Ukraine Archimandrite Luke (Vinarchuk). He told the UOC Information and Education Department that supposedly the directive of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with the “Chipboard” (for official use) stamp not to allow the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) chaplains to be received by all commanders in the spring of 2018. “Lists were formed with the names of the priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, who were called” participants of the hybrid war “, among them is my name. These documents were sent from the General Staff to the field,” said Luca. organizations wrote slander on us. In part, these letters were ignored and always treated us with respect. Ata cannot be chaplain of a military unit in the regiment of the President “”. “Our priests, who are on the list, have been ordered not to be allowed to personnel. You know, the leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Security Service of Ukraine simply cover up their illegal actions against the UOC chaplains for official use.” slander, and at the same time do not give an opportunity to refute it “, – indignant father Luke. He also noted that these actions are illegal because, despite the statements of the leadership of the Ministry of Defense, the opinion of the military is ignored. The General Staff of the Supreme Court of Ukraine, in turn, rejects these accusations. On November 9, the Department for Cooperation with Military Chaplains of the Supreme Soviet of Ukraine called information about directives prohibiting admitting UOC chaplains to military units as “untruthful and manipulative.” This is stated on the official page of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Facebook . Referring to orders of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, the General Staff explained that the decision on which religious organization selected a candidate for the post of military priest was made by the commander of the military unit on the basis of anonymous voting of military personnel. “There are no other administrative documents on the appointment of military priests (bans, preferences to any denominations, etc.) in the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” the department said, adding that the provocative information disseminated by the UOC-MP was used in the interests of aggressor countries. ”

Poroshenko meets with Primate of Finnish Orthodox Church – 08.11.2018 09:34 — Ukrinform News

During the working visit to Finland, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko met with Primate of the Finnish Orthodox Church His Eminence Archbishop Leo, the president&rsquo;s press service reported on Wednesday evening. President Poroshenko thanked Archbishop Leo for the support of the Finnish Orthodox Church for the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. “It is important for us to know that your church supports us in this historically important process,” Poroshenko said. The Primate of the Finnish Orthodox Church said that “Ukrainians have the right to create their own church, as Finns had 100 years ago”. “Ukrainians have the right to a Church independent from Russia, because Russia is an aggressor country today,” Poroshenko said.

Kyiv church to be transferred to Ecumenical Patriarchate on Nov 10 | UNIAN

The transfer of St. Andrew’s Church in Kyiv to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople for permanent use will take place on November 10. The Law on Specific Use of St. Andrew’s Church of the National Sanctuary Complex “Sophia of Kyiv”(No. 2598- VIII) has been officially published in the parliament’s Holos Ukrainy newspaper. The document will come into force tomorrow, November 10. Read more on UNIAN:

Law on transfer of Saint Andrew’s Church to Ecumenical Patriarchate enters into force –

A law on the transfer of the Saint Andrew’s Church to the use of the Ecumenical Patriarchate came into force in Ukraine. The Saint Andrew’s Church will be donated to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for religious services, religious rites, ceremonies and processions under a condition that the Ecumenical Patriarchate will adhere the legislation on the security of the cultural inheritance. The building itself remains the property of the government. Reportedly, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko registered the bill in the Ukrainian Parliament on October 17. The MPs endorsed the President’s initiative on the next day with 237 positive votes. Recently, the Leader of the State has signed the adopted law. Earlier, the press office of the National reserve Kyiv Sofia reported that an agreement on the transfer of the Saint Andrew’s Church to the use of the Ecumenical Patriarchate would be concluded with the representatives Constantinople.

Rector of Moscow Ecclesiastical Academy Archbishop Ambrozy banned from entering Ukraine for three years –

Rector of Moscow Ecclesiastical Academy Archbishop Ambrozy was banned to enter the territory of Ukraine during three years. The press office of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine reported. The border officers stressed that the information of certain media that the Archbishop crossed the Ukrainian border is false. ‘On November 7, Archbishop Ambrozy wasn’t only not allowed to cross the border but also banned from entering the territory of Ukraine for up to three years. This is why he won’t be able to get to Ukraine at least until 2021,’ reads the message. Reportedly, on November 7 it became known that Archbishop Ambrozy wasn’t allowed to Ukraine. The border officers claimed that they fulfilled the instructions of one of the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies that Ambrozy can’t be allowed on the territory of Ukraine.

“The UOC-MP received its name earlier than independent Ukraine”, – the speaker of the Moscow Patriarchate

Archbishop Clement stated that renaming the UOC-MP into the ROC is legally impossible and called the conversations on this topic “clownery”. The representative of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, Archbishop Clement, said that their church was named earlier than Ukraine as an independent state. He said this on the air “Hromadski radio,” reports Tsenzor.NET . “Our church got its name even earlier than the state of Ukraine as an independent institution. Therefore, various statements by Vyatrovich or someone else are absolutely absurd,” said Clement, commenting on statements about the possible renaming of the UOC-MP to the Russian Orthodox Church. “The Ukrainian Orthodox Church was formed back in the times when the then Metropolitan Philaret led it. And it is absolutely legitimate because Philaret received it from the Patriarch of Moscow Alexy. Patriarch Alexy provided the Tomos, which Philaret received, after which the Ukrainian Exarchate was reformed into the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. According to Tomos, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church received all rights to property, all legal aspects related to its activities within the territory of the Ukrainian state. It was in 1991 after the events related to the independence of Ukraine “, – said Clement. He also expressed the opinion that the renaming of their church to the Russian Orthodox is not possible from a legal point of view. “The Charter of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is registered by all the highest authorities, which at that time were responsible for legal entities in Ukraine, especially for religious ones,” Clement said. “And today, all this talk of changing the name looks like clowning. Everyone understands that this is impossible,” says the archbishop.

This is a rude and lawless violation of faith, – the ROC is about the words of Poroshenko that the Russian church in Ukraine “has no purpose”

The Russian Orthodox Church responded to the words of President Petro Poroshenko that the Russian Orthodox Church has nothing to do in Ukraine. According to Tsenzor.NET, the statement of the press service of the Russian Orthodox Church quoted by the newspaper pv. “The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) represents no one but the Ukrainian people, who overwhelmingly support this church and its primate”, In addition, the creation of a single Ukrainian church in the Russian Orthodox Church was called “brutal and lawless violence over the conscience and religious beliefs of the majority of Ukrainians.” As Tsenzor reported. NO. Earlier, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said that the Russian Orthodox Church and the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have nothing to do in Ukraine. According to him, the ROC is an element of the Russian political system.

The UOC-MP must change its name to the ROC, – Evstratiy (Zorya). VIDEO

Ukrainian Orthodox will officially be called the local church, confident in the UOC-KP. The Verkhovna Rada should adopt a law changing the name of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate to the Russian Orthodox Church. This at a press conference, said the head of the Information Department of the Kiev Patriarchate, Archbishop Yevstratii (Zorya), reports Tsenzor.NET with reference to the “Observer” . Video Gromadske TV According to the archbishop, after the granting of Tomos, the local church will officially be called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. This decision, according to Zarya, was discussed and agreed with representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Read on Censor. NO: Sooner or later, subordinates of the MP Laurels will transfer to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and voluntarily, – Filaret. VIDEO According to him, the name change will not mean persecution, harassment or restrictions, but the sign of the UOC should not deceive. “Or are they ashamed to be called Russian? If not ashamed, let them be called the Russian church, if they want to be Ukrainian, then let them be Ukrainian in essence,” Zarya said. According to the archbishop, a bill to rename the UOC-MP has long been submitted to the Verkhovna Rada. “For the second year in the Verkhovna Rada, draft law No. 5309, which obliges religious organizations, the center of which is located in the aggressor country, to display the name of the religious organization of which they are a part, is in its full official name,” he added. Zorya said that Moscow is worried about this law, and therefore last year the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church adopted a resolution on changes in the statute of the Russian church, where it stated that the center of the UOC-MP was in Kiev. At the same time, the statute says that the UOC-MP is a member of the Russian Orthodox Church, the decisions of its councils are obligatory for implementation in Ukraine.


Hannah Gais | Inaccurate Conception: Orthodoxy, Autocephaly, and the Nation-State – and that’s the way it was

It’s time for another guest post! Today we’ve got a piece by freelance writer and Harvard Divinity School student Hannah Gais on the recent schism between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople over the latter’s decision to give Ukrainian church leaders permission to form an autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Hannah argues… As it stands now, the Orthodox Church has no institutional mechanism to deal with the challenges posed by the rise of nation-states. While it was, in fact, the rise of the nation-state that helped liberate much of the Orthodox world from the Ottoman yoke, it also gave birth to one of the most complex ecclesiological challenges facing the church since the age of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. The church’s history throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is an unfortunate reflection of this fact. In the 1800s, a weakening Ottoman Empire gave rise to a number of autocephalous movements in Greece, Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria. Not all were successful. In 1872, the Church of Bulgaria was declared schismatic under the auspices of a heresy that came to be known as “ethnophyletism,” or ecclesial racism. Although Bulgaria’s autocephalous status was finally recognized by Constantinople in the aftermath of World War II, the two churches existed in schism for nearly 80 years. More recent controversies include Moscow’s decision in 1970 to grant autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in America—an entity that traced its roots to late-eighteenth century Russian missionaries in Alaska. Likewise, Russian hierarchs, including Metropolitan Hilarion, the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, have drawn parallels to the current situation with Constantinople’s efforts to “barge in” on Estonia—or, in more historically accurate terms, reactivate the Orthodox Church of Estonia’s own tomos of autocephaly—in 1996. Though the decision resulted in a minor schism, which was set in motion by then-Russian Patriarch Alexei II, the situation was quickly resolved. In all of these cases, the church has been presented by those seeking independence as an entity central to national identity. Ukraine in 2018 is no different. Here, government-funded media has presented Constantinople’s decision as a moment of spiritual independence. Pro-Ukrainian media tends to present the Moscow Patriarchate as a hostile power, albeit a weakening one, with headlines such as “Russian Foreign Church Declared Boycott on Constantinople” (Pravda) and “Russia is in War with Constantinople” (Novaya Gazeta). Western-funded media (VOA, BBC Ukraine) have echoed some of these claims, highlighting voices that are critical of the ROC. As years of appeals from both church and government officials in Ukraine to the Ecumenical Patriarch demonstrate, Constantinople is now seen as a protective force, both of an Orthodoxy independent of meddling from Moscow and a faith that provides—to borrow Batholomew’s words from the 1020th anniversary of the baptism of the Rus’—“national coherence.” In a world where the Russian state has seized upon the church to bolster its own neo-imperial project, an independent Ukrainian church may be a necessity. Still, the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s decision to grant a long-awaited tomos of autocephaly does little to fix the tension between national identity and Christian unity. The notion of churches constructed along national boundaries may tap into Orthodoxy’s tendency toward localization (e.g., the church’s emphasis of the use of the vernacular during services), but it also goes against centuries of practice. For much of Orthodox history, jurisdiction has been mapped along imperial lines. Canons concerned with questions of ecclesial rule, including those that elevated Constantinople to second behind Rome in the fourth and fifth centuries, were not operating with the particularities of the nation-state in mind. But these empires are dead, and the nation-state has risen in their place. That, as Ukraine forcefully demonstrates, has to change. As Fordham’s George Demacopoulos noted in 2015, “[t]hese canons must be reevaluated in light of the political present, with the knowledge that it was always their purpose to align with the political present, not a nostalgic past. Put simply, we need to craft a ecclesial structure that can function without empire.” There is no room for a naively rigid understanding of “tradition” here. Theology may not change, but history is always on the move. Hannah Gais is a freelance writer and graduate student at Harvard Divinity School, where she focuses on Eastern Orthodoxy and nationalism in Russia. You can find her on Twitter at @hannahgais.

Turkey controlled Orthodox Church files complaint against Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew | Ahval

A spokeswoman for Turkey’s Orthodox Church, a small church, filed a legal complaint against Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, for appointing priests to churches of some Aegean islands, which she claimed are under Greek invasion, Sözcü newspaper reported on Saturday. Spokeswoman Sevgi Erenerol said that churches had been built on six islands out of 18, which she claimed were invaded by Greece, and the patriarchate in Istanbul had appointed bishops to those churches. Erenerol also said that as a religious institution operating in Turkey, the patriarchate had committed a crime by those appointments and she asked the Turkish prosecutors to investigate who had been paying the wages of those bishops and the new appointees’ nationalities. The Armenian Apostolic, Greek Orthodox, and Jewish communities in Turkey are required to be Turkish citizens, according to an arrangement dating to Ottoman times. The Turkish government does not recognise the “Ecumenical” status of the Ecumenical Patriarch and Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul and treats the patriarchate as a religious institution which is serving only to Turkey’s Greek Orthodox community. The Turkish Orthodox Church is an unrecognised Orthodox denomination known for its ultra-nationalist views.

The Byzantine Jesuit who stood up to Moscow |

Fr Robert Taft was a rare figure in Rome who spoke up for persecuted Ukrainian Catholics. “To hell with Moscow!” It is manifestly unfair to sum up thus the long and distinguished academic career and ecclesial life of Fr Robert Taft, the American Jesuit of the Byzantine Rite who presided like a colossus at the Pontifical Oriental Institute (PIO) in Rome for 46 years. The greatest contemporary scholar of the Byzantine Rite – author of the six-volume A History of the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom – died on All Souls’ Day in retirement at the Jesuit house in Weston, Massachusetts. He was 86. But unfair does not mean unfitting. The “to hell with Moscow” remark was from a 2004 interview granted to John Allen, then of the National Catholic Reporter. That year the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was preparing to move its headquarters from Lviv to Kiev in Ukraine, and to assert its historical right to a patriarch. The Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow was vehemently opposed to this assertion of Catholic identity in Ukraine, which it regards as its “canonical territory”. “So the Catholic Church is never going to persuade the Orthodox to accept the patriarchate?” Allen asked. “No, and I don’t think we should even try. To hell with Moscow,” Taft replied. Fr Taft’s blunt and deprecating remarks caused an uproar in Russia and the Vatican, and he regretted them. He was a blunt man whose caustic comments could be startling. Yet regarding the Russian Orthodox, he was the rare figure in Rome who would speak the truth, and the persecuted Ukrainian Catholics – the largest of the Eastern Churches in full communion with Rome – took great encouragement from his words.

The expulsion of Putin from paradise, the eloquent abbreviation of the Russian Orthodox Church, the poltorak rake. Fresh photoshopping from “Tsenzor.NET”« Фоторепортаж | Цензор.НЕТ

Exile of baldie from paradise / you failure, your church is not registered in heaven!

Made in Russia [Ed: note the NKVD officer’s cap worn]

They do not complain about schismatics here / Mount Athos | entrance to ROC sectarians is prohibited!

Martyr  / we are victims, we are martyrs | we all go to heaven, and they all croak

Suspected Orthodox Church Arsonist Detained in Moscow

A 35-year-old suspect has been detained for allegedly setting fire to an Orthodox church in Moscow in the third such incident since August. Authorities opened a criminal investigation into damage of property after the wooden St. John the Apostle Church burned down in northwestern Moscow late on Tuesday. A local activist who had opposed the construction of the church was reportedly questioned by police immediately after the incident. He was cited by media as saying that he was “absolutely not involved.”

Israel planning to nationalize Greek Orthodox land in Jerusalem | News |

Israeli justice minister Ayelet Shaked is planning to propose a law aimed at nationalizing land belonging to the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem to prevent the eviction of residents living on these lands by developers, Israeli newspaper Globes reported on Thursday. Israeli justice minister Ayelet Shaked is planning to propose a law aimed at nationalizing land belonging to the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem to prevent the eviction of residents living on these lands by developers, Israeli newspaper Globes reported on Thursday. According to the article, the bill seeks to nationalize the land that the Greek Orthodox Church leased to the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in the 1950s. The land was then sub-leased for 99 years to the residents. Globes said the Greek Orthodox Church sold the land to Israeli developers who plan to evict the residents from their homes. The bill was first proposed last year but was put on hold while talks between developers and the residents continued. It came back to the fore after these talks broke down, the paper said. With the bill, the Israeli state would gain ownership of the land in exchange for compensation for the contractors.

TASS: Society & Culture – Blood-stained shirt of assassinated Czar Alexander II returned to Russia

The blood-stained shirt of Czar Alexander II was brought to France after his death by his morganatic wife Princess Yurievskaya Catherine Dolgorukov