Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia Loses the War of the Churches (52)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Russia continues digging the hole it is in deeper.  Whoever is advising Putin and the leadership of Russia should take their riches and quit. Everything related to the “War of the Churches” is going wrong for Russia. 

The Kerch Straits incident allowed Ukraine to outmaneuver Russia with a very simple strategy. Russia was almost predictable when it used the 24 captured sailors as chess pieces. The Russian chess pieces have changed, however, as the Russian Orthodox Church self-excommunicated themselves from the Ecumenical church. The ROC was played and as a result, it appears the ROC is no longer “equals” with Russia. 

President Poroshenko has masterfully backed Russia into a no-win situation with a very simple request through the UOC-MP to Russia. A most devastating move. Check. Perhaps Checkmate.

</end editorial>



Update on the Tomos document. More on Pres Poroshenko’s request to the Muscovian church to secure the release of the hostage sailors in Russia, great commentary by Harding. A not so strong analysis by TT, surprising as the background reading is public. More on Russia’s descent into the Soviet abyss.


Key 9 points of Ukrainian church statute, approved in Constantinople – 112.international

Here are the crucial points of the document, which Constantinople elaborated for the new Orthodox Church (according to the sources of Vesti outlet):

  1. The Ukrainian church is “inextricably linked” with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and with all other churches through it (there is no different from the current position of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is connected with the Orthodox world through the Russian Orthodox Church).
  2. The fact that the throne of Constantinople gives autocephaly is especially underlined (it turns out that the one who gave the status can take it away, as in the case of the abolition of the “Russian Exarchate” in Western Europe, adopted at the Synod of Constantinople.)
  3. Ukraine’s Orthodox can only be headed by the metropolitan, not by the patriarch (that is, the head of one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world will be lower in status than, for example, Patriarch Kirill.)
  4. The Bishops’ Council of the Church is obliged to communicate with the Ecumenical Patriarch on all global issues, and the latter, in response to the appeal, will inform the Council on the “necessary” issues (The highest church authority must be coordinated with Fener and wait for its instructions.) Also, according to our data, there is a clause that Constantinople is not obliged to explain its decisions.
  5. The Ecumenical Patriarchate takes a question of approving the statutes of church units. (It turns out that Ukraine would not be able to approve the statutes of the monasteries without the consent of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It is possible that Fener prescribed this point to get control of a number of monasteries, making them Stavropegion, that is, having received direct control.)
  6. The Ukrainian church will receive myrrh only from Constantinople.
  7. The church will not be able to independently canonize its saints but will submit them to Constantinople for approval.
  8. In case of problems with the election of the Metropolitan of Kyiv, which “might affect the unity of the church,” the Ecumenical Patriarch would be informed about this, and it must “take steps to resolve the situation” (It is important that this is prescribed in the statute).
  9. The Ecumenical Patriarchatebecomes the highest appellate structure. The statute states that the bishop, who is not allowed to pastor, who is under the sanctions, has the right to appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarchate (Ukrainian church will not have independence even in the matter of internal disciplinary decisions).

Theologian Oleksiy Smirnov in his commentary to Vesti draws attention to such formal points of independence of the church as peacekeeping and the right of appeal. “Those churches that practice world culture independently are truly independent. For Fener, it is important to be recognized as the center of Orthodoxy. Constantinople makes it imperative that all the created churches receive this substance from it,” Smirnov explained. “Fener also seeks the status of “higher court.” “I would pay particular attention to the time of the approval of the statutes of church units. Constantinople clearly wants to have some number of monasteries in Ukraine with its own Stavropegion, different figures are voiced (from 1 to 20 monasteries). It is a question of income, property, the creation of representative offices as new points of presence in Ukraine,” political scientist Oleksiy Yakubin explained to Vesti.The Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate has prepared a preliminary draft of the statute of the future Ukrainian church. After the document is approved, the Ukrainian clergy should gather at the Unification Council and select their primate.

Putin, Russia, The UOC-MP, And The ROC In Lose-Lose Situation With Ukraine Hostage Sailors – To Inform is to Influence

The President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, asked the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) Metropolitan Onufriy, to contact Moscow and help negotiate the release of the 24 sailors being held hostage after their capture on 25 November. Putin, Russia, the UOC-MP, and the Russian Orthodox Church will be on the losing end of this little skirmish. Here’s why. Putin Putin is not responding to repeated attempts to talk by Poroshenko. Putin’s refusal to talk or negotiate only paints him as non-cooperative and juvenile. Russia Russia is clearly in violation of several international agreements and international laws, and holding the sailors makes Russia appear to be holding them hostage, along with other Ukrainians held as “political prisoners”. Russia is not making any attempts to appear civil, despite many international calls for the release of the hostages. Russia is very publicly twisting international law to form a farcical fabricated story, another loss of face. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), Metropolitan Onufriy No matter the outcome, Metropolitan Onufriy is now subordinated to Patriarch Kirill and the ROC, who are no longer even a part of the Ecumenical Orthodox Church in Constantinople. The ROC and its offspring, the UOC-MP see themselves as the canonical church and rightful church, but have self-anathemised by trashing Constantinople. If the Ukrainian sailor hostages are not released, their first effort will establish a precedent of ineffectiveness. If the hostages are released, clearly Metropolitan Onufriy is subordinated to Patriarch Kirill who is now subordinated to President Putin and Russia. Metropolitan Onufriy is way down in the hierarchy. Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) The ROC’s Patriarch Kirill will most likely be the point of contact for Metropolitan Onufriy. If Patriarch Kirill, Patriarch of the ROC, does not cooperate, he and the ROC should be painted as uncooperative and juvenile, especially in light of their recent thrashing at the hands of the Ecumenical Church in Constantinople. If the ROC and Patriarch Kirill cooperate but cannot secure the release of the Russian hostage sailors, the ROC and Patriarch Kirill will be seen to have lost some of their standing within Russia as a result of the Ecumenical Church’s decision to grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. If the ROC and Patriarch Kirill cooperate and do secure or help secure the release of the Russian sailors being held hostage by Russia, they will assume a subordinate position in Russia, subordinate to the State of Russia and no longer an ‘equal’. The Fourth Possibility – UOC-MP and ROC do nothing There is also the possibility that Metropolitan Onufriy and Patriarch Kirill will do nothing. In this case their first public mission as a newly heretical and self-excommunicated church of the Ecumenical church will be an absolute abject failure precisely because they chose not to act. Above all, they will be seen acting, or rather not acting, on their own behalf and certainly not on the behalf of the victims of the Kerch Strait incident. They might also be seen as acting on behalf of the Russian state, making them yet another tool for Russia, definitely not spiritual. They would also be seen not acting upon the request of the President of Ukraine. No matter what Russia does or doesn’t do, it will lose. </end editorial> 

Poroshenko asks Metropolitan Onufriy to help rescue Ukrainian sailors – 10.12.2018 10:31 — Ukrinform News

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said he is taking all possible measures to free Ukrainian sailors captured by Russia and he even appealed to Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) Metropolitan Onufriy to assist in this issue.

Ukraine’s president asked UOC MP Head Onufriy to facilitate release of seamen captured by Russian

10.12.18 11:13 – President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko stresses that he had used and would continue to use all possible means to free Ukrainian sailors captured by Russia. As reported by Censor.NET citing the presidential press office, the head of state says that he even appealed to the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP). “Yesterday and the day before, I had a conversation with Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate Onufriy. I asked him to contact Moscow immediately in order to take appropriate church measures to return (our sailors – ed.). I will not waste any chance to return our soldiers. We will pray and hope that this will happen as soon as possible,” Poroshenko said in an interview to the Lviv region-based Pershyi Zakhidnyi TV channel. The president also said that immediately after receiving information on the shelling of Ukrainian ships, he had requested a talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin “in order to get an explanation of the actions of the Russian Armed Forces.” “You know that Putin avoids talking,” Poroshenko said. He noted that after such a reaction of Russia, he had contacted a number of world leaders and leaders of international organizations. In particular, talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and many other leaders of the world and international organizations have been held. The head of state reiterated that no Russian court has any jurisdiction over Ukrainian seamen, since they are prisoners of war in accordance with the Geneva Convention. “They must be released immediately. Otherwise, Russia will be brought to justice,” he said. The president stressed that Ukraine demanded the immediate release of Ukrainian ships, opening of the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov, as well as termination of partial occupation of the Sea of Azov.

Poroshenko asks church to mediate in release of Ukrainian sailors captured by Russia | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has asked head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate Onufriy to get into contact with Moscow and mediate in the release of 24 Ukrainian sailors captured by Russia near the Kerch Strait on November 25. Poroshenko had conversations with head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate Onufriy. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has asked head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate Onufriy to get into contact with Moscow and mediate in the release of 24 Ukrainian sailors captured by Russia near the Kerch Strait on November 25. “Yesterday and the day before yesterday I had a conversation with the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, His Beatitude Onufriy. I asked him to immediately contact Moscow to involve the church in measures to return [the captive Ukrainian sailors]. I will use every opportunity to get our soldiers back. We will pray and hope that this will happen as soon as possible,” the presidential press service quoted Poroshenko as saying in an interview to the First Eastern television channel. The president said that immediately after receiving information about an attack on the three Ukrainian vessels near the Kerch Strait, he requested a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin “in order to get an explanation of the actions of the Russian Armed Forces.” “As you know, Putin shuns the conversation,” Poroshenko said. Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/politics/10369398-poroshenko-asks-church-to-mediate-in-release-of-ukrainian-sailors-captured-by-russia.html

UkrInform: Poroshenko asks Metropolitan Onufriy to help rescue Ukrainian sailors | KyivPost

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said he is taking all possible measures to free Ukrainian sailors captured by Russia and he even appealed to Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) Metropolitan Onufriy to assist in this issue.

Ukrainian [Russian] Orthodox Church Synod says its episcopate, parishioners pressured, prosecuted | KyivPost

The Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) said its bishops, other clerics and parishioners were being pressured following the Bishops’ Assembly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on Nov. 13. “Following the Bishops’ Assembly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which took place on Nov. 13, 2018, pressure has been put on and groundless criminal prosecution has been conducted against the episcopate, clerics and parishioners of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In particular, hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church have been summoned for ‘conversations’ to the Ukrainian Security Service, and obstacles have been put to their crossing of Ukraine’s borders,” the Synod said in its bulletin following a meeting chaired by the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Onufriy of Kyiv and All Ukraine. Among other factors, the Synod mentioned the cancellation of the decision on registering the church’s right to use the complex of buildings comprising the Holy Dormition Pochayiv Lavra (a monastery in the Ternopil region), an inspection by a Culture Ministry commission of the cultural valuables of the Kyiv-

TASS: Society & Culture – Ukrainian [Russian] Orthodox Church fumes at Kiev ban on top cleric from crossing disengagement line

According to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the situation also proves that Kiev continues to pursue its policy of blatant meddling in the affairs of the church. DONETSK, November 10. /TASS/. The Donetsk Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is infuriated at Kiev’s move to prohibit Metropolitan Hilarion of Donetsk and Mariupol from crossing the Donbass disengagement line, the Eparchy said in a statement published on its website. “It is with deep indignation and disbelief that we have to inform the public that on December 9, 2018, the Ukrainian authorities prevented the incumbent head of the Donetsk and Marioupol Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Hilarion from crossing the disengagement line through the Novotroitskoye checkpoint,” the statement reads. According to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion was headed from Donetsk to the Holy Dormition Monastery in the Nikolskoye settlement located in the Volnovakhsky District of the Donetsk Region to participate in a joint prayer. This is a tradition has carried on for 20 years, with the participation of other bishops and numerous pilgrims on December 10, marking the day of the Icon of Our Lady of the Sign. “Without any objective reason, Metropolitan Hilarion was deprived of the right to cross the disengagement line,” the statement adds. “According to a Ukrainian Security Service official, the only ‘reason’ behind the situation was plain and mockingly unjustified, as he cited ‘special instructions from Kiev’,” the Eparchy said. “Such actions show that some forces are not interested in establishing peace because of the current standoff, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is the only link respected on both sides of the disengagement line,” the document noted. According to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the situation also proves that Ukraine’s authorities continue to pursue their policy of blatant meddling in the affairs of the church and overt persecution of its bishops and priests. “We would like to hope that this gross violation of rights and freedoms won’t fall on deaf ears and in the future the church will be able to perform its service as enshrined in Ukraine’s constitution and laws,” the statement concluded.

Ukraine vs Russia: Inside the the biggest schism in Orthodox Christianity in 350 years | The Telegraph

Monks have been secluding themselves from the world for more than a millennium in the caves of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, where 120 mummified brothers lie in glass-covered coffins along the low, sloping corridors.

Diplomatic triumph of Ukraine – Washington and Constantinople support Poroshenko, – expert – 112.international

This week, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko received two major victories in the international arena – US support in the matter of imposing martial law and support of Constantinople in connection with the creation of the Ukrainian autocephalous church, writes Ukrainski Novyny citing the opinion of expert Olexander Golobutsky, which he wrote on his Facebook page. “This week, US State Department spokesman Kurt Volker said the United States supports the decision of President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko to impose martial law in response to Russia’s aggression in the Kerch Strait. Apparently, this reaction in Washington is due to the fact that American intelligence was aware of the impending invasion of the Russian troops on our territory, “the expert writes. According to him, the president’s quick reaction to provocations in the Sea of Azov and drawing attention of the entire world community to the incident destroyed Putin’s plans and made it clear that the United States and the European Union were still on the side of Ukraine. “The second victory is the support from Constantinople. Yesterday the letter of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew about the deprivation of the UOC MP head Onufriy of the title of Metropolitan of Kyiv was published. For the first time in 350 years, Ukraine has come close to creating its own autocephalous church,” the blogger said. Olexander Golobutsky claims that for many years the priests of the Moscow Patriarchate were engaged in Ukraine in “brainwashing” and “banal espionage in favor of Russia”. “The historic event for our state – the creation of our own church – has almost taken place, and this is due to the systemic work of the president in this direction. Ukraine throws off the last shackles with which they tried to pull us back to Moscow. And this is an absolute victory,” the expert concluded.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Regime’s Policy toward Religious Minorities a Continuation of Soviet One, Soldatov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, December 8 – The policy of the Putin regime toward religious minorities is “a continuation of Soviet religious policy,” albeit sometimes in a “lite” version, according to Aleksandr Soldatov, editor of the Credo portal, who adds that “unfortunately very few talk about the persecution of religious minorities” nowadays. Soldatov’s comments came at a session of the Forum of Free Russia now meeting in Vilnius, a meeting of Russian opposition figures and experts who deserve high marks for taking up the issue of religious minorities even though the group has devoted relatively little attention to the situation of Russia’s ethnic minorities (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C0B809C59C46). Other participants in the panel gave evidence in support of Soldatov’s conclusions. Pavel Devushkin, a Lutheran pastor, denounced the Russian government’s persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses and almost all forms of missionary activity. The moderator Daniil Konstantinov said that Buddhists were being deprived of contact with the Dalai Lama. And Ruslan Kambiyev, a human rights inspector for the North Caucasus, said that the situation of Russia’s Muslims has deteriorated because many equate Islam with terrorism. As a result, they are prepared to accept the mistreatment of Muslims in society and in prisons and to restrict their religious rights. When the communists ruled Russia, human rights activists within the country and Western governments and experts paid a great deal of attention to the ways in which religious believers were treated. But with Putin portraying himself as a religious person, ever fewer are doing so. The forum is to be praised for calling attention to this issue, but it is one that deserves far more attention because for all but those in the four traditional faiths who are prepared to go along with Kremlin policy and its restrictions on the life of faith, the situation of believers now is about as bad as it was under the communist regime. That must be exposed and stopped.