CounterPropaganda · Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia Loses the War of the Churches (58)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

The Ukraine Orthodox Church is preaching peace and unity.  Ukraine has taken the lead and has shown itself to be the polar opposite of Russia. Ukraine is mature, measured, and uniting, everything Russia is not. 

Now we must watch the Russian reaction to see if Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church is desperate, if Russia is seeking an excuse to invade Ukraine, if Russia is desperate enough to invade, or if Russia and the ROC can recognize they are beaten and will seek harmony. 

Is Russia desperate enough to seek a Pyrrhic victory?  

  • Russia is claiming victory in the information war even though it has obviously lost – yet it presses on.
  • Russia is threatening a military invasion although it cannot afford to, either short or long term.
  • Russian oil production is at an all-time high, even though other oil-producing countries have agreed to cut production. Is Russia actively seeking retribution from OPEC?
  • Russia holds Ukraine sailors hostage but refuses to negotiate with Ukraine directly – even though President Poroshenko has made several overtures.
  • Sanctions against Russia are in response to Russian aggression, yet Russia claims victimhood.
  • Russia loses the War of the Churches, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was granted autocephaly. 

The War of the Churches is representative of Russia on the world stage in almost every aspect of society. Russia is desperately clawing at walls only they can see for a modicum of imperialism and dominance in the world, yet it is denied because of Russian disproportionate aggression. 

Russia has miscalculated at every step. Either Russia can misstep yet again or it can accept its place in the world order and behave. 

</end editorial>



The Russian propaganda campaign continues unabated, but does not appear to be getting any traction in Western mass media. A very nice interview with the new leader of the new Ukrainian church. The big question now is the scale and speed of the coming exodus from the Russian church. Coynash expands on the risk of reprisals in Crimea.


Metropolitan Epifaniy Holds First Mass As Head Of Ukraine’s New Church

Ukrainian Orthodox cleric Epifaniy led a Sunday Mass at St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery in Kyiv on December 16. The service was Epifaniy’s first after a December 15 church council selected him as the leader of the new unified Orthodox Church of Ukraine, independent from the Russian Orthodox Church.

Ukraine Church Head: We Need To Build ‘Our Future Together’

The leader of the newly unified Orthodox Church of Ukraine says he believes that all Orthodox clergy in Ukraine “will gradually reach the understanding that there is no other outcome than being part of this united Ukrainian church and building our future together.” Metropolitan Epifaniy spoke to RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service in Kyiv a day after his election as the church leader on December 15. The church is expected to receive a tomos, or decree of independence, from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople on January 6.

Ukraine Church Head: We Need To Build ‘Our Future Together’ – YouTube

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Published on Dec 17, 2018 The leader of the newly unified Orthodox Church of Ukraine says he believes that all Orthodox clergy in Ukraine “will gradually reach the understanding that there is no other outcome than being part of this united Ukrainian church and building our future together.” Originally published at – https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-churc

New Ukrainian Orthodox Leader Gives First Liturgy, Urging Unity

In his first liturgy as leader of the new Ukrainian national Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Epifaniy has urged Ukrainians to unite and pray for peace in the country.

In first liturgy, new Ukrainian Orthodox leader urges priests of Russian church to join him

The Orthodox Church in Ukraine had been a wing of the Russian Orthodox Church since the late 17th century.

New Ukrainian Orthodox leader gives 1st liturgy, urges unity | Fox News

In his first liturgy as head of the freshly christened Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Epiphanius called Sunday for Ukrainians to unite under the new church and pray for peace in Ukraine.

New Ukraine primate pledges ‘peace to all’ | The Tablet

Ukraine’s new independent Orthodox primate has promised the doors of his church will be “open to all”. The Church is working in Ukraine for “peace and national harmony” in the war-torn country. “I am convinced the Orthodox church, united and recognised, will faithfully serve its Ukrainian people, praying and leading it to salvation”, said Metropolitan Epifaniy Dumenko. “We must complete the work of unifying Ukrainian Orthodoxy, valuing our theology and science, and praying for an end to war and the rule of a just peace”. The 39-year-old was speaking on Saturday evening after being elected to the new post of Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine at a long-awaited Unification Council in the capital’s St Sophia cathedral, attended by 192 bishops from Ukraine’s three previously divided Orthodox communities. The breakthrough was welcomed as a “miracle” by President Petro Poroshenko, who praised the “courage and wisdom” of Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch, for authorising the church’s creation and exercising his “unconditional canonical right to heal the wounds inflicted on Ukrainian Orthodoxy by Moscow’s domination”.

Onufriy to automatically lose title of Metropolitan of Kyiv – new Ukraine church leader – 17.12.2018 12:20 — Ukrinform News

Former Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate Onufriy will be called Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine after the creation of the united Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the election of its head. The head of the new church, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epifaniy, said this in an interview with the TSN (Television News Service) program. “The Ecumenical Patriarch addressed a letter personally to Metropolitan Onufriy, who was clearly told that after the unification council and the election of the primate of this united church, Metropolitan of Kyiv, he automatically becomes the canonical metropolitan of Kyiv. From that time, accordingly, there cannot be two Metropolitans of Kyiv. Accordingly, Metropolitan Onufriy will be only the metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine,” the leader of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church said. He added that the parishes of the former Moscow Patriarchate are now “in the bosom of the Russian Orthodox Church, with Ukrainian registration.” The unification council of the united Ukrainian Orthodox Church took place at the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv on December 15. The clergy elected Metropolitan Epifaniy as the head of the autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

Metropolitan Epifaniy explains status of Moscow Patriarchate’s Onufriy after unification council | UNIAN

Newly elected head of the new Ukrainian national Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Epifaniy has said head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) Onufriy will be only the metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine after the unification council of the Ukrainian Orthodox churches took place. Read alsoMoscow Patriarchate’s Onufriy loses title of Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine “The Ecumenical Patriarch has personally sent a letter to Metropolitan Onufriy, in which it was clearly stated that after the unification council, the election of the head of this united church, the Metropolitan of Kyiv, he will automatically become canonical Metropolitan of Kyiv. There cannot be two Metropolitans of Kyiv simultaneously. Accordingly, Metropolitan Onufriy will only be the metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine,” Epifaniy said in an interview to 1+1 TV Channel on December 16. He added the parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate “are inside the fold of the Russian Orthodox Church, having Ukrainian registration.”

Moscow Patriarchate Metropolite Onufriy deprived of status of Kyiv Metropolite – 112.international

Epifaniy, the Metropolite of Kyiv and All Ukraine, the primate of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, said that Onufriy, the Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate, was deprived of the status of Metropolitan of Kyiv. Epifaniy said this in an interview with 1+1 TV channel. “The Ecumenical Patriarch addressed the letter personally to Metropolitan Onufriy and clearly stated that after the Unification Assembly and election of the primate of this united church, he automatically becomes the canonical Metropolite of Kyiv. From this point on, respectively, there cannot be two Metropolites of Kyiv. Accordingly, Metropolite Onufriy will be only the Metropolite of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, “he said. Epifaniy also called on all priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate to join the new Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

Ecumenical Patriarch and Synod confirmed illegality of annexation of Kyiv Metropolis by Moscow, – Poroshenko – 112.international

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate recognized the annexation of the Kyiv metropolis by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1686 as illegal. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko wrote about this on Twitter. “An important decision of the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Synod is confirmation of the illegality of the Moscow annexation of the Kyiv Metropolis. This decision clearly defines our spiritual boundaries. It strongly rejects Moscow’s hallucinatory claims to Ukraine as the supposedly canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church, that is, Russia itself,” the president wrote.

Religious, political worlds react to creation of Ukrainian Orthodox Church | KyivPost

The news that Ukraine had finally created a unified national Orthodox Church on Dec. 15 brought swift reactions from the religious and political worlds — mostly positive, some negative. The Unification Council, held in Kyiv’s Saint Sophia Cathedral, created the new independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church, elected its head, and approved its charter following a day of prayer and deliberations. The new head of the church is the 39-year-old Epiphanius, born Serhii Dumenko. He now holds the title of Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine.

New Ukrainian Church Marks a Victory for President, Setback for Moscow – WSJ

Ukraine on Saturday founded its own national church, endorsed by the foremost leader of global Orthodoxy.

The Latest: Ukraine Orthodox OKs Break with Russian Church | Newsmax.com

Ukrainian Orthodox leaders on Saturday approved the creation of a unified church independent of the Moscow Patriarchate and elected a leader to head that new church — a move that could exponentially raise tensions with neighboring Russia. The vote, held at a closed-door synod in Kiev’s St. Sophia Cathedral, is the latest in a series of confrontations between Ukraine and authorities in Russia, including President Vladimir Putin’s government. Ahead of the vote, the Russian Orthodox Church called on the United Nations, the leaders of Germany and France, the pope and other spiritual leaders to protect Orthodox believers in Ukraine.

Ukraine creates independent Orthodox church | Watch News Videos Online

Watch Ukraine creates independent Orthodox church Video Online, on GlobalNews.ca

Ukraine Moves To Form A Unified Orthodox Church Independent From Russia : NPR

The move comes at a time of heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine, and has already drawn condemnation from Moscow.

Bulgarian nationalist party congratulates Poroshenko on founding of independent Ukranian Orthodox church | The Sofia Globe

The National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria (NFSB), an ultra-nationalist party that is part of the country’s governing coalition, has congratulated Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on the establishment of an autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The NFSB is headed by Valeri Simeonov, until recently a deputy prime minister in Boiko Borissov’s coalition government, now an MP after he resigned his government post amid controversy. Simeonov’s party spoke directly on the issue of the Ukrainian autocephalous church, a matter of considerable irritation to Moscow, while the Bulgarian Orthodox Church continues to consider its position on the question. “We express our sincere hope that this sacred act will bring unity and will strengthen the faith and unity of the Christ-loving people of an independent Ukraine, a decent part of which are the hundreds of thousands of people of Bulgarian ethnic origin whose interests the Ukrainian state and you personally committed to protect yourself,” the NFSB said in an address to Poroshenko.

Ukrainian far-right MP declares ‘hunt’ for Moscow-loyal priests after split — RT World News

A Ukrainian MP called for ‘hunting’ down and ousting all priests loyal to the Russian Orthodox Church, contrary to promises they won’t be persecuted. It came after Kiev proclaimed its own church to be independent from Moscow.

Canonical Ukrainian Church Refuses to Recognise ‘New Church’ Created by Kiev – Sputnik International

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), the only canonical Orthodox church in Ukraine, refuses to recognize the structure created on Saturday in Kiev at the “unification council”, Archpriest Mykolay Danylevych said.

Halya Coynash: Russia may take revenge for independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church on believers in Crimea | KyivPost

Moscow’s rage at the granting of autocephaly or independent status to a united Ukrainian Orthodox Church is likely to find an outlet in occupied Crimea. This is the fear expressed by Archbishop Kliment, Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate in Crimea, which has already come under major pressure since Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea.

If people become kinder to each other, I’m for it, – Ukraine’s Usyk on Tomos – 112.international

In almost every interview, you mention about your family, your relatives. But many people believe that family is an obstacle when building a career. Do you think family is a support in building a career or not? When I have to get prepared for a fight, I leave my family. Then I live with my team. Otherwise, it will embarrass me, the children want to play. I have a special training, rest, nutrition regime. I am hard at work, and it is distracting. But when you finish your work, naturally, you return to your family and live the same life. And the family stimulates. When you have been closed at a training camp for 2.5 months, of course, you often call them. Does your wife come to fight with your children? Only my wife comes. My children stay at home. I think it’s too early for them. If radical people go to seize Kyiv Pechersk Lavra and be violent with the monks, what will you do? I will side with the monks. Related: Usyk comments politics’ reaction on his victory in Moscow What is your attitude to Tomos for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church? If people become kinder to each other and begin to forgive some bitterness, if they begin to love their neighbor as the Most High loves us, then I am for it. What is the hardest thing for you? Many things are difficult for me. Why I will talk about some of my difficulties. It is hard for me what is happening to us at the moment. Are you experiencing this personally or on a state scale? What do you mean “personally?” I am a part of the state. I represent the country in many competitions, and wherever I am, I represent my country as a Ukrainian. I absolutely do not divide people into any religions, creeds, political views. For me, people might be good, or they just need more love. You are a religious person. But, in fact, you starred in the advertising of gambling. Why did you agree to this? I do not promote gambling. I don’t even recommend people to play. And I do not play myself. This is a promotion of sports and other things. This is not an excuse, no. I do not encourage people to play and to win. You can win though.

Branch of Constantinople Church created in Ukraine, – [Pro-Russian] people’s deputy – 112.international

A branch of Constantinople Church was created in Ukraine, as Yuriy Boyko, the representative of “Opposition platform”, Ukraine’s people’s deputy said. “If the clergymen themselves got together and decided to create a unified church, this might have been welcomed. But if a branch of Constantinople Church was created in the country under the pressure of the current President, this is not a unification, this is further division of the people, spreading of religious distemper among people,” Boyko noted.

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