Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia Loses the War of the Churches (47)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Once again, I must remind gentle readers that the Russian War of the Churches is part of a Russian Information and Hybrid war strategy against Ukraine. Russia has used the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and now also the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) against Ukraine and, as reports allege, may be using these churches inside Ukraine as part of an influence and possibly a low-level guerrilla war against the government of Ukraine. 

As ironic as it sounds, almost nothing is sacred to Russia. It is a total war, even using the ROC and UOC’s loyal to Russia as tools and weapons against Ukraine.

</end editorial>



The raid and searches of properties of the ROC Abbott of the Kyiv Pechersk Monastery by the SBU has resulted in further police raids across Zhytomyr, suggesting the SBU found material supporting the case of inciting religious hatred. Pres Poroshenko’s statement on religious freedom propagates widely in Western media. Updates on the ROC.


Ukrainian Police Search Russian Orthodox Churches, Homes Of Priests

Ukrainian police have searched several Russian Orthodox churches and the homes of Russian Orthodox priests in several cities, amid growing tensions over the fate of Ukraine’s competing Orthodox fai…

Police conduct searches in several eparchies in Zhytomyr region, central Ukraine – To Inform is to Influence

This area in this report is one hour west of Kyiv. There were some suspicions shared with me that this is a continuation of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery search by the SBU. I have suspicions that a covert influence network is being run from inside parts of the ROC / UOC Moscovy Patriarch in Ukraine. The reports are saying the SBU is searching for evidence of “violation of the equality of citizens depending on their racial, nationality, religious beliefs, disability, and other grounds”. </end editorial>

Police conduct searches in several eparchies in Zhytomyr region, central Ukraine – 112.international

Police in Zhytomyr region conduct searches in eight buildings of several eparchies of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), Police in Zhytomyr region reports on December 3. “Some eight searches are being conducted within the framework of the investigation of criminal proceedings under Article 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine,” police press service reported. Police added that the local office of Ukraine’s Security Service also participated. “Searches are conducted within the framework of the investigation of criminal proceedings under Article 161 (violation of equality of citizens depending on their racial, nationality, religious beliefs, disability and other grounds) of Ukraine’s Criminal Code in Zhytomyr, Korosten, Ovruch and Kyiv,” the police said. The searches are being conducted within the framework of an investigation involving Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra archpriest Pavlo.

Ukrainian police search homes of Russian Orthodox priests | CTV News

Ukrainian police are stepping up pressure on Russian Orthodox priests and churches in several cities as Kyiv pushes for the creation of an independent Ukrainian church. KIEV, Ukraine — Ukrainian police searched the homes of Russian Orthodox priests and Russian Orthodox churches in several cities Monday, stepping up pressure as Kyiv pushes for the creation of an independent Ukrainian church. The eight searches in Ukraine’s capital and the nearby Zhytomyr region were part of a criminal investigation into inciting hatred and violence, according to a police statement. The Russian Orthodox Church said Sunday that more than 20 Orthodox priests had been summoned for questioning by Ukraine’s SBU security service. One priest who has drawn particular attention is the head of Kyiv’s Pechersk Monastery.

Ukraine raids Orthodox churches with Russia ties

Ukrainian authorities on Monday raided three Orthodox churches aligned to Russia as political and religious tensions between the two countries grow. Police and security services also searched the homes of priests who have declared their allegiance to the Russian branch of the Orthodox church, regional

SBU summoned for questioning the priests of the [Russian] canonical UOC

MOSCOW, December 1 – RIA News. The Security Service of Ukraine summoned the priests of the Sarnensky Diocese of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church for interrogation, the UOC information and education department said. Митрополит Запорожский и Мелитопольский Лука © Photo: Zaporizhia Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Official site “Passions run high.” An expert on the pressure of the Ukrainian authorities on the church As follows from the message, the clergy-deans received the agenda of the call for interrogation to the deputy head of the investigative department of the Security Service of Ukraine in the Rivne region on November 30. The documents state that they will be interrogated as witnesses, but what exactly they will have to testify is not explained. In particular, on December 5, Archimandrite Hilarion should appear in the SBU. About 20 priests of the Rivne diocese also reported about the calls. Earlier, the head of the legal department of the UOC archpriest Alexander Bakhov said that the SBU invites some bishops to his “talks”. РИА Новости https://ria.ru/religion/20181201/1536951236.html

A storm brews over the formation of a new church in Ukraine – Erasmus

PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW I (pictured), the “first among equals” in the stormy world of Orthodox Christianity, seemed like a model of composure as he prepared this week for what promises to be one of the most turbulent months in the recent history of the eastern church.

Ukraine: Leader pledges church choice for Orthodox faithful

Ukraine’s president has promised the country’s Orthodox Christian faithful they will be free to remain part of the Russian Orthodox Church after the creation of an independent Ukrainian church.

Ukraine: Leader pledges church choice for Orthodox faithful – The Washington Post

Ukraine’s president has promised the country’s Orthodox Christian faithful they will be free to remain part of the Russian Orthodox Church after the creation of an independent Ukrainian church

Ukraine: Leader Pledges Church Choice for Orthodox Faithful

Assurance by Petro Poroshenko comes as Ukraine establishes own church, independent from Moscow Patriarchate

Ukraine: Leader Pledges Church Choice for Orthodox Faithful | World News | US News

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s president has promised Orthodox parishioners that they will be free to choose their affiliation after the creation of the new autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Ukraine’s leader: Orthodox faithful to get religious freedom | World | lancasteronline.com

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s president has promised Orthodox parishioners that they will be free to choose their affiliation after the creation of the new autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Ukraine: Leader pledges church choice for Orthodox faithful – seattlepi.com

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s president has promised Orthodox parishioners that they will be free to choose their affiliation after the creation of the new autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

ROCOR Supports Canonical Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine – Sputnik International

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) supports the canonical church in Ukraine, which is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan told Sputnik on Monday.

Russian Priest Blesses Soyuz MS-11 Spacecraft

A Russian Orthodox Church priest blessed the Soyuz MS-11 rocket at the Russian-rented Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan on December 2. The spacecraft is set to carry a Russian-U.S.-Canadian crew to the International Space Station on December 3. The previous launch on October 11 was marred by a booster failure soon after liftoff.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Only Orthodox Church Can Save Kryashens as a Nation, Activist Says

Paul Goble Staunton, December 2 – The issue of whether the Kryashens are a separate nationality or simply Volga Tatars who have converted to Russian Orthodoxy is a longstanding one. Many who identify as Kryashens insist that they are a nation because their culture is distinct from the Tatars, while many Tatars say they aren’t but rather a religious subgroup of their own nation. In the last two decades, the Tatars have had a particular reason to insist on that view: Some in Moscow have sought to promote the existence of the Kryashens as a separate nation in order to reduce the size of the Tatars, the second largest nation within the current borders of the Russian Federation. And many Tatars have pointed to the fact that in many cases, those who insist that the Kryashens are a distinct nationality work closely with Russian ethnographers and Russian national activists rather than participating in more independent non-Russian organizations and activities. In the 1926 Soviet census, the most open enumeration in the history of the country but one in which many groups not subsequently counted as nationalities were, 100,000 people identified as Kryashen. In the 2010 Russian census, 35,000 did so, although some ethnographers in Moscow and some Kryashens in the Middle Volga insist there are more than 200,000 in all. Because the Kryashens exist at the intersection of ethnicity, religion and politics, this debate isn’t likely to disappear anytime soon, leaving open whether the Kryashens will ultimately gain official sanction as a nation or whether they will view themselves as part of the Tatar nation instead. Now, a Kryashen leader, Arkady Fokin, the president of the Council of Veterans of the Kryashen Movement, has weighed into the debate but in a manner that will likely intensify the debate rather than resolve it. Indeed, while he insists the Kryashen are a separate nation, Fokin gives Tatars more reasons to say they are not (idelreal.org/a/29605049.html). At the end of last month, the Kryashen activist spoke at the Society of Russian Culture of the Republic of Tatarstan, a group that is committed to promoting the Russian language, Orthodox religion, and Russian identity there rather than one noted for its tolerance and support of ethnic diversity at least among those who are Orthodox. In his speech, Fokin repeated many of the arguments that Kryashens and their supporters have made in the past: the censuses don’t fully count the Kryashens because of the machinations of the Tatars, the Tatars are engaged in the Tatarization of the Kryashens, and the Kryashen language is more different from Tatar than Tatar is from Bashkir. Moreover, he says that “the Nagaybaks are a Cossack stratum of the Kryashens. They do not deny that,” he says; “they call themselves Kryashens. But now it turns out that [in the view of the Tatars] that the [roughly 8,000] Kryashen-Nagaybaks are a people but the Kryashens are not.” In fact, that is a matter of dispute among Cossacks, Russians and Tatars. But the most interesting concession Fokin made, one that might have pleased his Russian Orthodox audience but that provides support for the Tatar view about Kryashens, is the following. He says that the issue of getting Kryashens to join Orthodox parishes is more difficult for them than for Russians because there are only six churches using the Kryashen language. Fokin says that Kryashen activists like himself “consider that the chief condition for the survival of the Kryashens as a people must be their inclusion in parish life. If we Kryashens are cut off from the church and from Orthodoxy … this Orthodox people will cease to exist 20 to 30 tears from now” because it will be absorbed either by the Tatars or the Russians.

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