Information operations

Russia Loses the War of the Churches (53)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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While the Russians continue with their disruptive propaganda campaign, the SBU releases a public brief, comprising two pamphlets that detail Russia’s use of the UOC-MP / ROC /  “Russian Church” as a covert network to support propaganda, covert operations, and recruitment inside Ukraine. A very nice summary by Harding.

To put this in context for Western observers who find this kind of activity inconceivable for a church, the case study we have seen before are the numerous radical Islamo-fascist “clerics” who have proselytised, promoted, recruited for, and directly aided the Jihadist / Al Qaeda / ISIS terrorist movement. Whether we find this incongruent with our Western thinking or not, the sad truth is that the Russian state is using Russia’s church much in the say way the radical Islamo-fascist  terrorist communities have exploited radical Islamo-fascist “clerics”  to aid and promote their cause.

This is exactly why the Metropolitan of Pisidia, Sotirios, in Southern Turkey, warned the ROC in early November, thus: More specifically, on the matter of ethnophyletism, the Great Orthodox Council of 1872, grounded in the canon law and the tradition of the Church, condemned ethnophyletism unequivocally, seeing that it is a heresy that undercuts the ecclesiological foundation of Christian faith. The Great Council of 1872 proclaimed that the criterion of “ethnicity” (note #1) goes against Church structure because, both by dogma and by governance, it harms the unity of the local Church. Given that the local Church is determined by geographical criteria—not racial or ethnic criteria—using ethnicity becomes a source of schism, the very opposite of the ecclesiastical fact manifested in the members’ sharing the sacrament of Holy Communion united under the person of the one Bishop of each diocese (note #2). [See the records of the Great Synod (#1) Mansi, Vol. 45 Columns 423 and (#2) 430]. … These synodal decisions were accepted by the Orthodox faithful throughout the world and all who serve the Church should know, and recognize, and practice them, so as not to fall into the heresy of ethnophyletism, which destroys the unity of the Holy Church of Christ.”

What is most curious here is that Western media have always been prepared to expose and criticise terrorism promoting  Islamo-fascist “clerics”, but have never touched the UOC-MP / ROC /  “Russian Church”, despite its sins having been repeatedly exposed in Ukrainian and Russian non-government media.

Updates on the Ukrainian unification council process, and some samples of Russian propaganda and hubris.

The instigation by Russian special services of inter-confessional conflicts in Ukraine in combination with provocations of direct terrorist action can be the reason for an open military invasion of Russian Armed Forces into our country – Hrytsak says :: Security Service of Ukraine

17:04, 10-12-2018 SBU presents a series of special informational booklets about the forms and methods of Russian aggression. The first two issues are devoted to the terrorist activities of Russian special services in Ukraine and Kremlin’s use of the religious structures of the Moscow Patriarchate in the hybrid war. The booklets are published in Ukrainian and English, contain special QR-codes that provide direct access to summary information on relevant facts of Russian criminal activity uncovered by the SBU or collected by public activists. The topic of the first issues is not accidental. As SBU Head Vasyl Hrytsak noted: “The targeted instigation by Russian special services of inter-confessional conflicts in Ukraine in combination with provocations of direct terrorist action can be the reason for an open military invasion of Russian Armed Forces into our country.”

Ukraine’s SBU Warns Of Russian Provocations Towards Inciting War Using Religion – To Inform is to Influence

Ukraine’s SBU has issued two pamphlets warning how Russia is planning to use the ROC, the UOC-MP, and the UOC situation as a cover to stage provocations in Ukraine to justify a Russian invasion. The pamphlets also directly accuse the UOC-MP of supporting the Russian invasions of Ukraine, supporting terrorists, and issuing anti-Ukraine propaganda. This is the first time I have seen the SBU issue a warning in this format of probable warlike Russian actions. This is also very confrontational to the UOC-MP. Statements from Russian FM Lavrov and the Presidential Spokesman Peskov are included. The statement by Peskov say that Putin has declared that protecting “Orthodox Church” members is a priority, precisely the same logic he used to invade Crimea – protecting Russians and the Russian language. The pamphlet also includes a warning that “Russia is trying to create a new cause for an open military invasion of Ukraine.” It is notable the pamphlets “contain special QR-codes that provide direct access to summary information on relevant facts of Russian criminal activity uncovered by the SBU or collected by public activists.” This is a fairly high-tech way of passing information, enabled by the widespread use of smart phones. The two pamphlets are pure information, some might even call it propaganda, but it is an effort to clearly show Russia as the aggressor and showing that Russia has no scruples, no principles, no morals, and will do or say anything, supported by the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate and by extension the Russian Orthodox Church within Ukraine. The UOC – MP and the ROC are directly accused by the SBU of three actions in support of Russia:

SBU warns Russia may use religious feuds combined with terror acts as pretext for open invasion | UNIAN

The SBU Security Service of Ukraine warns that inciting feuds between branches of the Orthodox church in Ukraine in combination with provoking acts of terrorism may be used by Russia as a pretext for open invasion. The SBU has issued first two brochures to raise awareness on Russian aggression.

Kyiv Patriarchate has proposals as for procedure of Orthodox churches’ unification council | UNIAN

The Kyiv Patriarchate has its own proposals regarding the procedure of the Unification Council of the Orthodox churches and the election of the head of a new, united and independent local Orthodox church, and it will coordinate them with the Ecumenical Patriarchate. “The fact that the Kyiv Patriarchate has proposals as for the procedure of the Council or the election of the church’s head does not mean that a common vision will not be agreed in the end,” press secretary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP), Archbishop Yevstratiy Zorya wrote on Facebook on December 10.

Moscow Patriarchate cleric denied crossing contact line in Donbas | UNIAN

Speaker of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine Oleh Slobodyan says Metropolitan of Donetsk and Mariupol of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) Hilarion has been denied crossing the contact line in Donetsk region in Donbas. The SBU Security Service of Ukraine made the relevant decision, the border guards’ spokesman said.

Metropolite of Moscow Patriarchate Orthodox Church of Ukraine denied access to Donetsk region –

Metropolite Ilarion, the bishop of Donetsk and Mariupol Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate not allowed to cross the delimitation line through ‘Novotroitske’ checkpoint. Speaker of the Border Guard Service Oleh Slobodyan said that according to Interfax-Ukraine agency. “I can confirm this fact,” Slobodyan said. He also noted that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) knew the circumstances and reasons for the ban. According to the website of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate, the Metropolite Ilarion was heading from Donetsk to Svyato-Uspensky Mykolo-Vasylivsky Monastery located in Mykilske village for a traditional prayer on the icon of Our Lady of the Sign on December 10. The message states that the right of the Metropolitan to cross the delimitation line was canceled unreasonably. As the press service claims with the reference to the SBU officer, the electronic permit was nullified on December 7. However, on December 8, the Metropolitan Ilarion returned from the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra to Donetsk and had no problems with the crossing the line.

TASS: Society & Culture – Flash mob for the faithful: Ukrainian priests fight SBU persecution of canonical church

The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople decided at its meeting held on October 9-11 to proceed with granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church

UOC plays a front role in all negotiations on prisoners leads Medvedchuk – Komarov | The Siver Post

According to political analyst Yulia Komarova, the Orthodox Church plays facade and a supporting role in the negotiations for the release of prisoners. In fact, the key negotiators in the exchange of prisoners is opposition politician Viktor Medvedchuk. So the analyst commented on the news that President Poroshenko appealed for assistance in the negotiations for the prisoner exchange to the Primate of the UOC Metropolitan Onufry. About this Komarov said on air of channel “112 Ukraine”. “However, the Church has a facade, a supporting role. While it publicly at all venues that the principal negotiators are the Church hierarchy, in fact, behind these hierarchs travels (in Moscow – Ed.) and we already know who is this negotiator is Medvedchuk”, – said the managing partner of Concept GR.

Russian Priest Investigated After Flaunting ‘Gucci’ Lifestyle on Instagram

Russia’s Orthodox Church is investigating one of its priests over a series of Instagram photographs in which he is seen flaunting luxury clothing brands, a church spokesman has said. Vyacheslav Baskakov, a priest in the Tver region near Moscow, sparked controversy late last week with a series of photographs featuring expensive clothes including a Louis Vuitton signature handbag and Gucci shoes. The Instagram account that hosted the pictures has since been taken down, but not before social media users widely distributed the images.

‘Gucci’ priest reprimanded by Russian church for flaunting designer goods on Instagram

The Russian Orthodox Church is pursuing disciplinary action against a priest in the city of Tver for a series of immodest Instagram posts in which he flaunts Gucci shoes and Louis Vuitton handbags, a church spokesman has said.

‘Gucci priest’ to be probed over Instagram pics – Newspaper – DAWN.COM

MOSCOW: A Russian priest who flaunted luxury items including Louis Vuitton bags and Gucci shoes on his Instagram account will face a disciplinary committee, an Orthodox Church spokesman said on Monday. Vyacheslav Baskakov deleted the images of himself posing in his frock with the designer goods after they were picked up by Russian media and shared online last week. “Such actions are not acceptable. The Church requires modesty and temperance of its representatives,” said Alexander Volkov, spokesman for Patriarch Kirill of Moscow. Volkov said the priest would face a disciplinary committee in the Tver region where he is based, north of the capital. Baskakov is not the first Church representative to find himself in hot water over luxury goods. Patriarch Kirill caused a stir when he wore what was identified as a Breguet watch that costs around 30,000 euros during a trip to Ukraine in 2009. Bloggers also found the patriarch was the owner of a luxury Moscow flat. Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2018