Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
The Unian article, Ukraine must be prepared for Russia’s religious provocations, is alarming. Combined with the LB.ua article, SBU uncovers organized network fueling religious bigotry, depending on the expanse of the network, the possibilities are frightening. Russia will do anything to injure Ukraine. This literally means “nothing is sacred to Russia”.
Patriarch Filaret is not seeking the leadership of the new Ukraine Orthodox Church, allowing a (much?) younger leader as his 90th birthday approaches.
Much media speculation on the unification council, who will be standing, and now on an alleged draft Tomos document. Reports mostly appear, are refuted, and found to be fakes. Whether this is being done by the Russians or their proxies, or mischievous locals remains to be determined. Kabakaev warns about Russian covert ops. Update on SBU investigation of covert network operating inside Russian church. Taran elaborates on how Muscovy subverted its own church in Ukraine by overtly using it to promote Russian state agendas.
President Petro Poroshenko says senior figures from Orthodox Christian communities in Ukraine will meet on December 15 in a bid to form a new, unified, independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
A Ukrainian church council will meet on December 15 in order to create an independent Orthodox church and elect its leader, President Petro Poroshenko said on Wednesday.
Ukraine’s Orthodox clerics will gather for a meeting next week that is expected to form a new, independent Ukrainian church, the country’s leader said Wednesday, as the authorities ramped up pressure on priests to support the move.
President Petro Poroshenko has said that the Unification Council on the creation of the independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church will be held in St Sophia’s Cathedral in Kyiv on 15 December 2018. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has sent respective letters with the invitation to take part in this Council to the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev and Moscow Patriarachates and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. “I want to begin my statement with the announcement of an important news that is allegedly far from the topic of local self-government, but it is important for the whole country. And it is long awaited. We are glad to announce the date of the Unification Council proclaiming the creation of the independent Orthodox Church in Ukraine. This Council will approve its charter. This Council will choose the Primate. Consequently, the Council will be held on 15 December 2018 in St. Sophia’s Cathedral, which has been the centre of Ukrainian religious life for centuries,” Poroshenko said at the local self-government forum. “Now, colossal responsibility lies with the hierarchs of the Ukrainian churches – to hold the Council in peace, harmony, in the spirit of Christian love and patriotism, to elect the Primate who will go to Constantinople – Istanbul and receive the Tomos,” he said. Poroshenko compared the Tomos to the Declaration of Ukraine’s Independence: “And this is a completely fair comparison. Getting autocephaly is an issue of state-building, which goes far beyond the church life.”
Patriarch Filaret, who is currently heading the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, will not run for the position of the leader of the Independent Local Ukrainian Orthodox Church, as reported by reported by Andriy Kovalyov, a religious scholar, who previously worked in the UOC-KP’s press service. The move by Filaret, who is turning 90 next year, sends a message to believers that the new, younger top cleric is here to stay. Patriarch Filaret, who is currently heading the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, will not run for the position of the leader of the Independent Local Ukrainian Orthodox Church, as reported by reported by Andriy Kovalyov, a religious scholar, who previously worked in the UOC-KP’s press service. “According to my information, he [Filaret] will not run for the leading post,” he told Hromadske TV. The scholar added that most likely, the Unification Council on Dec 15 is to select as the new church’s top cleric some unknown bishop.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate refutes a claim earlier voiced by religious scholar Andriy Kovalyov that Patriarch Filaret will not run for the top post in the future independent local Orthodox Church. “On Nov 19, Patriarch Filaret publicly stated how he would act, including in the matter of selecting the head of the unified local UOC,” press secretary of the UOC-KP, Archbishop Yevstratiy Zorya wrote on Facebook. He turned to media to “use the original source and not comment on rumors, whose dissemination only hinders the achievement of decisions acceptable to all participants in the process.” Earlier, religious scholar Andrei Kovalyov in the commentary to Hromadske TV stated that, according to his sources, the head of the UOC-KP Filaret will not run for the post of primate of the new local church.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC KP) has called on the public to abstain from comments and speculations on the upcoming election of the primate of the local Orthodox Church in Ukraine pending the Unification Assembly. “I herewith ask you to use the primary source of information and not to listen to comments on rumors whose dissemination has only been preventing the decisions acceptable to all the parties to the process from being made. This, in my opinion, is the goal of spreading such rumors. This is what the Moscow-funded media of mass disinformation have been busy with. There are things in relation to which the best response is to keep silence,” archbishop Eustratius (born Zoria) of the Kyiv Patriarchate wrote on Facebook, responding to comments on the likelihood of the head of the Kyiv Patriarchate Filaret running for primate of the unified local Orthodox Church in Ukraine. Also, archbishop Eustratius (born Zoria) said people should wait “for official documents to arrive from Fener and not tell fortunes in a teacup.” Also, he recalled that Patriarch Filaret made a statement on November 19 about his stance on running for primate of the unified local Orthodox Church in Ukraine. In particular, Patriarch Filaret on November 19 said he will give his reply to a suggestion by the bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate to run for primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church at the Unification Assembly itself. “Self-nomination of candidates for primate in the Church are not allowed for by the canons. I am grateful to the bishops for having confidence in me. I am also grateful for a strong support from the members of the Kyiv Patriarchate and the entire society. What my answer to the above-mentioned suggestion on being elected will be, if it is to be officially announced at the Assembly, I will officially announce at the Assembly itself,” a statement by the head of the UOC KP said. The Unification Assembly to create the local Orthodox Church in Ukraine is scheduled for December 15 to be held at St Sophia’s Cathedral in Kyiv. The primate of the new Church and its statutes are to be approved by the assembly.
Paul Goble Staunton, December 5 – Ukrainian media have obtained a copy of a draft tomos that the Universal Patriarchate has prepared for delivery to a meeting of Ukrainian Orthodox Church now scheduled to take place on December 15. Because it was not officially released, it is likely that the document is still undergoing editing and may be significantly changed. Moreover, as few have pointed out, autocephaly is a process rather than a single action; and anything Constantinople grants is in fact the beginning of that process rather than the end of the game. Nonetheless, many in Ukraine and Russia are suggesting that at this point, Kyiv is getting less than it hoped for and that it will now be very much under Constantinople. The Apostrophe news agency provides a list of the provisions of the document (apostrophe.ua/article/politics/government/2018-12-04/tomos-ukraine-chto-reshil-konstantinopol/22520). They include: · The head of the newly unified and self-standing Ukrainian Orthodox Church will be a metropolitan rather than a patriarch, a relatively lower status than most autocephalous Orthodox church heads have. · The church will be governed by a synod consisting of 12 metropolitans who will rotate every 12 months rather than a more permanent holy synod. And the church’s order will follow the book of order of the Greek churches. · The Constantinople Patriarch will be “the informal head of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine” and the ultimate authority to whom religious there can appeal to resolve conflicts. · The Ukrainian diaspora congregations and dioceses will be directly under Constantinople rather than in the autocephalous church in Kyiv, something that is in marked contrast to the powers of other autocephalous Orthodox churches. · And the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will appeal to Constantinople on questions regarding the naming of new saints. Not surprisingly, Russian Orthodox commentators like Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin are treating this document as the final version – it isn’t – and as the last word about Ukrainian autocephaly – it isn’t that either. And they are saying that it represents a major defeat for Kyiv (actualcomment.ru/ukrainskaya-tserkov-ne-poluchit-nezavisimost-o-kotoroy-mechtala-1812051440.html). To be sure, this draft is not everything the Ukrainian church would like or even expected. But it does give that church what it wants most: it establishes the principle that Ukraine must have its own national church and that that church must on no account be subordinate to the imperial diktat of Moscow.
Coordinator of the Stop Terror project, Semen Kabakaev, says that Russia has already lost the war against Ukraine in terms of the religious aspect. However, it is still worth expecting new provocations in the field coming from the Russian Federation. Moscow might set up provocations against the background of the transition of temples of the Moscow Patriarchate into a new independent local church of Ukraine. Coordinator of the Stop Terror project, Semen Kabakaev, says that Russia has already lost the war against Ukraine in terms of the religious aspect. However, it is still worth expecting new provocations in the field coming from the Russian Federation. “There has been plenty of spins over this time. Russian ‘trolls’ and ‘bots’ are working, while Russia is conducting informational and psychological operations… Russia is trying to sow some sort of panic around the issue, exploiting its resources. We have seen a lot of information over the past six months: first there were claims that there would be no new church, then that the Moscow Patriarchate was considering whether to join the new church… At the same time, both Putin and his entourage, controlling church issues, they realize that they’ve lost. This is a huge strategic loss because Putin has two things on which he his entire policy of the ‘Russian world’ rested, including a nuclear briefcase as a method of speculation and church as an influence on people’s minds and consciousness, as well as one of the main tools that helped supply weapons and special forces,” he told Priamyi TV Channel.
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has found and confiscated brochures fueling religious bigotry during a search of a property belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. “Law enforcers carried out a number of searches in certain administrative offices of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and private buildings owned by representatives of this confession. During the searches, they confiscated a lot of printed publications whose contents carry signs of fueling religious and interconfessional feud,” the SBU said. Over two days, the SBU has confiscated 75 copies of the brochure entitled “Ukrainian Orthodox Church: Relations with the State. Attitude towards the ATO and Church Split. Questions and Answers”, which the SBU came across earlier. There is an expert conclusion that it “contains propaganda of religious bigotry… offends the feeling of citizens… because of their religious beliefs, fuels religious, interconfessional feud and hatred”. Earlier, the SBU searched the house of Kyiv Pechersk Lavra head Petro Lebed (Metropolitan Pavlo).
The Rivne region branch of the SBU State Security Service of Ukraine on December 5 interrogated 12 priests from the Rivne and Sarny (Rivne region) eparchies of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Moscow Patriarchate as witnesses, Interfax Ukraine reports. “Today, 12 priests were invited to be interrogated as witnesses as part of a criminal inquiry opened by the SBU’s Rivne branch,” its press secretary Inna Iliuchok told the Kyiv-based Interfax-Ukraine news agency on December 5. In its turn, the Rivne diocese said on its website that its priests were interrogated as witnesses in criminal cases on high treason and infringement on the equality of citizens depending on their race, nationality, religion, disability, and other signs as per the Criminal Code of Ukraine. “Over ten priests were summoned, so the interrogation took quite a while,” the statement said. Bishop Pimen of the Rivne eparchy believes that the accusations against them and their church are false and offensive. “Our priests did and will serve God and people of Ukraine. And the accusations being thrown at us and our church are false and offensive. All of us, the bishops and priests of the Rivne region, are Ukrainians and patriots of our country, and neither we have done, nor we are doing anything that could divide or harm Ukraine,” Bishop Pimen says.
Recently captured Ukrainian sailors have been sent to Moscow to face charges of illegal border crossing. Ukrainian police and security services raided three Orthodox churches affiliated with the Moscow Patriarchy yesterday. Searches were also carried out in the homes of priests, a spokeswoman for the police in northern Ukraine told AFP. No one was arrested, the spokeswoman said, adding that the raids were part of a probe into possible violations of the law on equality of religious belief. The Moscow-affiliated Orthodox church’s bad relations with Ukrainian congregations that sprang up since the breakup of the Soviet Union became icy when the spiritual head of Orthodoxy, Patriarch Bartholomew, declared Ukrainian Orthodoxy fully autonomous, arousing a furious response from Russian church and political leaders. The Russian Orthodox Church fears Ukraine may try to take control of churches and monasteries that remain faithful to the Moscow Patriarchy, AFP says. More than 20 Moscow-affiliated priests have been summoned for questioning by the SBU security service, the Russian Orthodox Church said Sunday. The head of Kyiv’s prominent Pechersk Monastery is being investigated for “inciting hatred,” The Associated Press reports. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko sought to reassure members of the Moscow Patriarchate churches, saying on Saturday that the state guarantees their constitutional right to freedom of religion.
Ukrainian political analyst Serhiy Taran says Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) most of all had his hand in undermining the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP). The political analyst spoke about Vladimir Putin’s influence on the Russian Orthodox Church, and consequently, on the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine. Ukrainian political analyst Serhiy Taran says Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) most of all had his hand in undermining the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP). “It seems to me that the person who is most associated with the destruction of Orthodoxy in Ukraine was the one who spoke at the recent gathering in Moscow when they celebrated the anniversary of the baptism of Rus. And when the head of the Russian Orthodox Church [Kirill, secular name – Vladimir Mikhailovich] Gundyayev gathered people to celebrate the anniversary, the first to address the participants was Russian President [Vladimir] Putin. He delivered an opening speech at the meeting of the church, which is ‘separated from the state’,” the expert told Priamyi TV Channel Dec 6.
Brexit is direly controversial. Still more so must be the raging maritime conflict between Russia and Ukraine in the Sea of Azov.