Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia Loses the War of the Churches (59)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

There is a distinct flavor between the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) and the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC)/Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP.   

The OCU is peaceful, inclusive, and soothing.  The ROC/UOC-MP are spiteful, mean-spirited, and nasty. 

The new UOC Metropolitan Epifaniy made it quite clear that UOC-MP churches were not to be violated or seized.  

The UOC-MP called the OCU priests “renegade” and expelled them.  Sure, it was purely symbolic, but it’s a symbol of non-inclusiveness. 

ROC/UOC-MP, you’re sending off a bad message.  UOC-MP, are you naturally mean-spirited?  If not, consider ditching the ROC and enjoy some religious freedom and tranquility as a part of the OCU. 

Update: preferred usage according to the OCU bishop who briefed yesterday is Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU)

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Vatican is reported to recognize the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine. US congratulates Metropolitan Epifaniy on his election as head of the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

In Ukraine, Metropolitan Epifaniy forbids the forcible seizure of churches or assets claimed by the UOC-MP/ROC. Speaker of the Ukrainian parliament Parubiy invites Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I to address the Ukrainian parliament.

Yesterday’s UOC-MP/ROC Synod meeting was called to expel bishops who aligned with the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine, and re-iterate the Synod’s non-recognition of the new church. Miscellaneous toxic Russian propaganda.


Holy See recognizes Orthodox Church of Ukraine – Kyiv Patriarchate | UNIAN

Press secretary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP), Archbishop Yevstratiy (Zorya) has said the Holy See has recognized agency of the united local Orthodox Church of Ukraine. “The official Vatican news portal on December 17 reported about the election of Metropolitan Epifaniy as head of the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” he wrote on Facebook on December 18. By doing this, the Holy See demonstrates it has recognized the newly created Ukrainian church’s capacity to act due to canonical recognition by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and its metropolitan, the archbishop said. “[This is] a very painful piece of news for the Moscow Patriarchate. And very weighty one for the Catholic and the whole Christian world,” Yevstratiy said. The archbishop noted that the lack of Eucharistic unity between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church determines that the first one does not officially carry out any ecclesiastical act of recognizing autocephaly, but in fact the dissemination of this official news is a signal to all who still doubt, including local churches: diplomacy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate has defeated Moscow’s attempts. According to Yevstratiy, this means that those Orthodox churches that have not yet decided on the recognition of autocephaly received a weighty argument to do that immediately after a tomos is handed over to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. As UNIAN reported earlier, the unification council of representatives of Ukrainian Orthodox churches on December 15 elected Epifaniy (Serhiy Dumenko) head of the united local Orthodox Church of Ukraine. It will be Epifaniy who will on January 6, 2019, receive from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in Constantinople (Istanbul) a tomos (a decree), granting autocephaly (independence) to the newly created church.

39-year old Metropolitan Epiphanius elected head of Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Vatican News

The first Primate of the new Ukrainian Autocephalous Church is elected at a Council of Unification in Kiev.

Establishment of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine

The United States congratulates Metropolitan Epifaniy on his election as head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The establishment of the Church was a historic moment for Ukraine. The United States maintains unwavering support for Ukraine and respects the freedom to worship unhindered by outside interference. The right to religious freedom extends to all Ukrainians, including those choosing to join – or not to join – the new Orthodox Church.

U.S. Congratulates New Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Amid Russian Anger

The United States has congratulated Ukraine’s new national Orthodox Church on its autonomy from Russia, a move that has incensed Moscow and further heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

U.S. congratulates Ukraine’s Metropolitan Epifaniy on election as head of local Orthodox Church | UNIAN

The United States congratulates Metropolitan Epifaniy on his election as head of the newly created local Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The establishment of the Church was a historic moment for Ukraine.

Metropolitan Epifaniy: No seizure of ex-UOC-MP’s temples by force (Video) | UNIAN

Newly elected head of the new Ukrainian national Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Epifaniy has said there will be no seizure of temples of the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) by force. Epifaniy said the unification of the church should proceed in a peaceful way. Newly elected head of the new Ukrainian national Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Epifaniy has said there will be no seizure of temples of the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) by force. “There will be no seizure of the temples of the Moscow Patriarchate by the united church. Those parishes that want to voluntarily become part of the single Ukrainian Orthodox church – they must be accepted. But without violence, without any actions that will provoke instability in society,” he told a Svoboda Slova [Freedom of Speech] panel show on Ukraine’s ICTV channel. Epifaniy said the unification of the church should proceed peacefully and calmly. “I believe that only love and respect can form the basis for the transfer of those parishes that are now inside the fold of the Russian Orthodox Church,” he stressed. “We know there are many such parishes. And probably there are some believers even in each parish who are already ready to transfer, but unfortunately, there is no perfect mechanism that would allow [them] to do this correctly,” the metropolitan said.

Ukrainian temples of Moscow Patriarchate not to be seized, – Metropolitan Epifaniy – 112.international

There will not be any forcible seizure of the temples of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate, as the newly-elected head of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epifaniy said on air of one of the TV channels, Interfax reported. “No seizures of temples of Moscow Patriarchate from the united church will occur. Those parishes who would like to become the part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church voluntary should be accepted. But without violence, without any actions which would provoke instability,” Epifaniy said. Related: Ukrainian Orthodox leaders seal divorce from Russian church He noted that only love and respect can be a basis for those parishes which want to transfer, but they are now a part of the Russian Orthodox Church. “We are ready to forget everything, we are ready to turn this old page and build a new united church. Because if we recall things which happened in the past, we will never build the future together. If they see that this church supports the interests of the Ukrainian people, relies on and serves for the Ukrainian nation, there will be no need to look at our northern neighbor,” he noted.

New Ukrainian Orthodox Church needs to complete full-fledged unification – Epifaniy – 17.12.2018 18:25 — Ukrinform News

The newly formed autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church needs to complete a full-fledged unification, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine&nbsp;Epifaniy&nbsp;(Epiphanius) has said.

Metropolitan Epifaniy: We must win back occupied Crimea | UNIAN

Newly elected head of the new Ukrainian national Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Epifaniy has said Ukraine should win back the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula. Epifaniy said the new church would be the spiritual foundation and pillar of the Ukrainian state in the difficult times. Newly elected head of the new Ukrainian national Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Epifaniy has said Ukraine should win back the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula. “We have Crimea occupied [by Russia], we have to have it back; we have Donbas occupied partially [by Russia], and we believe that God will send us a long-awaited fair peace through our prayers,” he said in an interview to Radio Liberty.

Speaker Parubiy invites Patriarch Bartholomew I to speak in Ukrainian parliament | UNIAN

Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, Andriy Parubiy has invited Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I to deliver a speech in the Ukrainian parliament. Moscow engages all allies to put pressure on the Ecumenical Patriarch, the head of Ukraine’s parliament said. Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, Andriy Parubiy has invited Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I to deliver a speech in the Ukrainian parliament. “I invite His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I to come to Ukraine and speak in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. I am convinced that we must pay tribute to this outstanding man, the courageous person who is forever inscribed in the history of Ukraine,” the Ukrainian parliament speaker said at a parliament coordination council meeting, an UNIAN correspondent said.

Poroshenko thanks Filaret for efforts to create autocephalous Orthodox Church – 18.12.2018 16:20 — Ukrinform News

He stated this in Ternopil region on Tuesday, according to an Ukrinform correspondent. “This [autocephaly] has become possible thanks to His Holiness, Patriarch Filaret. Where else can you find a more vivid example of sacrifice, when personal ambitions are thrown away for the cause of the church and the state, as demonstrated by His Holiness?” Poroshenko said. The head of state stressed that without the sacrifice, efforts and prayers of Bishop Filaret, autocephaly would not have been granted to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Poroshenko also expressed gratitude for participation in the creation of a new church to Bishop Makariy and the leaders of Orthodox churches in Ukraine who signed an appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarch with the request to provide autocephaly, as well as to priests, laity, the Verkhovna Rada and all Ukrainians. The unification council of the local Orthodox Church of Ukraine took place at Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv on December 15. The clergy elected Metropolitan Epifaniy as the head of the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine. He will receive a tomos (decree) of autocephaly in Istanbul on January 6 after a joint liturgy.

Patriarch Bartholomew confirms to Poroshenko date when tomos of autocephaly to be granted

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew had a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to reaffirm that a tomos of autocephaly (independence) of the newly founded Orthodox Church of Ukraine will be granted on January 6, 2019, Poroshenko said.

Ukraine moves towards separate church, as conflict with Russia leads to major schism – ABC News

Ukraine has taken a major step towards creating its own independent Orthodox church, separating it from Russia’s and deepening a major split.

The UOC-MP convened an extraordinary meeting of the Synod – To Inform is to Influence

A late development in the War of the Churches The UOC MP convened an extraordinary meeting of the Synod Why?  Why a late development?  Is it to: Unite with the UOC-Kyiv Patriarch (doubt it) Unite with the ROC officially and drop the UOC-MP?  (perhaps) Is it to claim “victimhood and oppression” from Kyiv to be…

The UOC MP convened an extraordinary meeting of the Synod | Українська правда

On December 17, an extraordinary meeting of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate began on the territory of the Holy Assumption Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. This is reported by the Information and Educational Department of the UOC-MP. It is noted that the meeting is headed by Metropolitan Onufriy. “The permanent members of the Holy Synod are: Metropolitan of Odessa and Izmail Agafangel, Metropolitan of Simferopol and Crimean Lazarus, Metropolitan Khust and Vinogradov Mark, Metropolitan of Donetsk and Mariupol Hilarion, Metropolitan of Kamenets-Podilskyi and Horodok Theodore,” the statement reads. There are also Metropolitan Vyshgorod and Chornobyl Pavel, Metropolitan of Luhansk and Alchevsk Mitrofan, the secretary of the Holy Synod, the administrator of the affairs of the UOC-MP Metropolitan Borispol and Brovarsky Anthony. It is reported that during the extraordinary meeting of the Synod, questions will be considered “related to the challenges now facing the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.” Earlier, the newly elected head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Epiphanius, said that after the Unity Cathedral, Metropolitan Onuphrius would be the only Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine. On December 15, the Unity Council elected the Metropolitan of Pereyaslavl and Bila Tserkva Epiphanius (Dumenko) as primate of the united Orthodox Church of Ukraine. President Poroshenko presented him as Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine. Also, after the election of a new head of the UOC, the head of the UOC-MP, Onufri, officially lost the title of Metropolitan of Kiev. After the election, Epiphanius urged the bishops and believers to join the newly formed church.

Moscow-run Ukrainian Orthodox Church expels “renegade” priests – LB.ua news portal

The Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP) has dismissed two senior clergymen who took part in the unification congress of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church despite the ban. These are Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyy Metropolitan Oleksandr (Drabynko) and Vinnytsya Metropolitan Symeon (Shostatskyy). Lower-rank clergy who took part in the unification congress were also dismissed from their posts and banned from holding services. The Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyy eparchy will now be headed by Dyonisiy (Pylypchuk) while Borodyanka archbishop Varsonofiy (Stolyar) will head the Vinnytsya eparchy. Earlier, Symeon announced his decision to join the newly-created Ukrainian Orthodox Church. His parish supported him. This is the first transfer from the UOC MP.

Moscow-run Ukrainian Orthodox Church refuses to recognize single church – LB.ua news portal

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP) has refused to recognize the newly-created Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the UOC MP Synod said on 17 December. “This congress is an alliance of dissenters and has nothing to do with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [of the Moscow Patriarchate]. Nothing has in fact changed for our church because dissenters remained dissenters while the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [of the Moscow Patriarchate] remains the true church of Christ in Ukraine,” it said in a statement. It repeated that the Ecumenical Patriarchate “had no moral or canonical rights to intervene in the internal affairs and spiritual life of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [of the Moscow Patriarchate]”. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which united the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and a part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, was created on 15 December. The congress of the three churches elected Bishop Yepifaniy Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine.

Kremlin says new Ukrainian church being used for political ends | Reuters

The Kremlin on Monday accused Ukraine’s politicians of using the creation of a new Ukrainian Orthodox church independent of Moscow for political ends.

Kremlin To ‘Look Into’ Complaints That Jehovah’s Witnesses Are Being Persecuted

The Kremlin says it will look into charges that Jehovah’s Witnesses are being subjected to persecution in Russia.