Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting, below.
Patriarch of the ROC Kirill said Ukraine “risks blood” by forcing the renaming of the UOC-MP in Ukraine.
- RT Kiev’s push to change name of Ukraine’s canonical Orthodox Church ‘risks blood’ – Patriarch Kirill
On Wednesday, Kirill said.
Patriarch Kirill said the Ukrainian law was “completely insane in terms of modern law” and rules of secular state. In the West in particular, the government has nothing to do with what a church calls itself, he argued.
Actually, what Ukraine did makes perfect sense. Russia is using the ROC as yet another tool in the Russian hybrid warfare toolbox. For the sake of Ukraine national security, clearly identifying which country the USC-MP is affiliated with makes perfect sense.
Kirill also said,
“When the state invents a name for a religious entity, desiring to discriminate and destroy it, it breaks all rights and laws of a civilized society,” the Russian Patriarch said. The government’s “openly blatant interference in church affairs” is unparalleled and leads to a “civilizational catastrophe.”
Yes, it is unparalleled, which makes it ground-breaking and precedent-setting. Russia and its hybrid warfare tools are being recognized for what they have worked so hard to achieve.
“Civilizational catastrophe” is such a harsh term with absolutely no justification given for how the renaming of the UOC-MP might lead to such a state. Perhaps within the mind of Patriarch Kirill, there might be a catastrophe, but nowhere else. This is a huge leap in logic and absolutely lacking in rationale.
“Kiev’s demand that Ukrainian Orthodox Church changes its name will be followed by reprisals and property disputes, according to the spiritual leader. “There’s no doubt that coercive acts to appropriate churches will begin… and it risks sparking bloody conflicts,” he warned.”
It sounds like a normal divorce. Divorces are expensive because they’re worth it.
Patriarch Kirill, please tell us how this might result in a bloody conflict? A blanket statement like that deserves expansion. It appears bereft of a foundational argument.
RT then quoted him,
Kirill, who leads the Orthodox faithful since 2009, lamented the crackdown on the church is “to break down the last connection between our [Ukrainian and Russian] people, which is spiritual one.”
When a spiritual connection is abused and used for political and warlike purposes, that connection may be lost and now is between Russia and Ukraine. Perhaps Russia “gets it” now that they have lost the War of the Churchs.
Patriarch Kirill, Russia itself, and the leadership are flailing about for something, anything, to save face. Unfortunately, it is immediately recognizable and it is not at all pleasing to behold.
Please note that Unian still uses the phrase Ukraine Orthodox Church (UOC) instead of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU). Change takes time, sometimes.
The expected mass defection from the Russian church is gathering momentum.
It would appear the ROC in Russia might be trying to de-self-anathemize by stating its readiness to resume discussion with Constantinople, while its offspring in Ukraine is aiming to challenge the renaming legislation in court.
More on ROC/UOC-MP collaboration with the Russian invasion force in 2014 – that is prima facie evidence of a heresy in Orthodox canon law.
Russian hoaxers target the new head of the OCU.
As much as five parishes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP) joined the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) last weekend alone. Over 20 parishes of the UOC MP based in the Vinnytsia region agreed to place themselves under authority of the OCU, according to Archdeacon Vladyslav Demchenko, a spokesperson for the Vinnytsia diocese of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Censor.NET reports citing Ukrinform. “The transition of parishes from the jurisdiction of the UOC MP to the one of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine is gaining momentum. Now we can confirm that there are already more than twenty such parishes. Some of them have already formalized their plans, the rest are still working on it. But we receive phone calls and give consultations on a daily basis,” Demchenko said. According to him, five parishes joined the OCU last weekend alone. Source: https://censor.net.ua/en/n3104037
In the city of Zhovkva, Lviv Oblast, the parish of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul of the Moscow Patriarchate joined the Local Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine. This was announced by the abbot of the church, Archimandrite Markian (Kayumov), the website of the UOC-KP reports. “Today, on December 22, the parish of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Zhovkva joined the Local Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine. This decision was made at a meeting of the Parish Council headed by the rector of the church,” Father Markian wrote on the social network. Zhovkva residents were congratulated by the Metropolitan of Lviv and Sokal Dimitry on the right choice. On December 21, the parish of the first martyr Archdeacon Stephen, in the village of Minai in Zakarpattia joined the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The parish Archpriest Stepan Belyak addressed Bishop of Uzhgorod and Zakarpattia Varsonofy with a written request for its inclusion in the clergy the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The request was satisfied. Previously, this temple was part of the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, reports the UOC-KP.
Patriarch Filaret, the head of the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate says Ukraine would have never got a tomos, or document of autocephaly from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, if he had decided to submit his candidacy for the post of the leader of a newly created, local Orthodox church in Ukraine. Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epifaniy is to be given the tomos in Istanbul on January 6. Patriarch Filaret, the head of the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate says Ukraine would have never got a tomos, or document of autocephaly from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, if he had decided to submit his candidacy for the post of the leader of a newly created, local Orthodox church in Ukraine. “If I had not given way, we wouldn’t have reached the unification and would have never got the tomos about autocephaly of the Ukrainian church. And a single local Orthodox church in Ukraine rather than my position is important to me, as this will let our state gain a foothold,” Filaret told Radio Liberty’s Ukrainian service.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed the law ordering the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate to change its name to indicate its allegiance to Russia. “People have a constitution right to freely choose a religion. The mentioned amendments create better conditions for exercising this right for those who will decide with which legal jurisdiction to side: either the newly-formed autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine or the church which insists on keeping it affiliation and dependence on the Russian Orthodox Church,” Poroshenko said. He suggested that “it is easier to make a choice when a spade is called a spade.” On 20 December, parliament passed bill No 5309 saying a religious organization whose managing centre is located in the aggressor state must mention it in its name.
Why a split in the world’s largest Orthodox church is a big deal
Montenegrin authorities will seek autocephaly for the local Orthodox Church. This was stated by the president of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic in an interview to RTCG channel. According to him, the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro undermines the independence of the country. “The Serbian Orthodox Church is very persistently undermining Montenegrin independence. I believe that it is necessary to continue the work of restoring the autocephalous Montenegrin Orthodox Church, and the state will do this and bear responsibility for this,” said Djukanovic. Serbian Orthodox Church is dominant in Montenegro. The Montenegrin Orthodox Church proclaimed itself autocephalous in 1993, but does not have recognition. The Montenegrin Orthodox Church ranked 9th in the list of autocephalous Orthodox churches until 1918. At that time, Serbia actually banned the activities of the MOC, and in 1922, it obtained from Constantinople a documentary consent to join the Belgrade Metropolis of the Montenegrin Church. We recall that the Orthodox Church of Ukraine expects to receive Tomos about autocephaly on the eve of Christmas. The charter of the new church has already been approved, Metropolitan Epiphaniy has been elected its head. Earlier the parish of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul of the Moscow Patriarchate joined the Local Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine. This was announced by the abbot of the church, Archimandrite Markian (Kayumov), the website of the UOC-KP reports. “Today, on December 22, the parish of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Zhovkva joined the Local Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine. This decision was made at a meeting of the Parish Council headed by the rector of the church,” Father Markian wrote on the social network. Zhovkva residents were congratulated by the Metropolitan of Lviv and Sokal Dimitry on the right choice. On December 21, the parish of the first martyr Archdeacon Stephen, in the village of Minai in Zakarpattia joined the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The parish Archpriest Stepan Belyak addressed Bishop of Uzhgorod and Zakarpattia Varsonofy with a written request for its inclusion in the clergy the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The request was satisfied. Previously, this temple was part of the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, reports the UOC-KP.
Paul Goble Staunton, December 24 – Only days after the Unification Church Council in Kyiv and after Moscow declared it will no longer be in communion with the Universal Patriarch in Constantinople for its role in offering autocephaly to Ukraine, the ROC MP has taken a step that represents its acknowledgement of its defeat both in Ukraine and in Orthodoxy. Speaking today on the Russia Today channel, Vladimir Legoyda, head of the Russian synod’s Department for Church relations with Society declared that the ROC MP is “ready for dialogue” with Constantinople because of its “concerns” about the situation in Ukraine (credo.press/221689/). The Russian church official, of course, cast this not in terms of an acknowledgement of defeat or a backing away from principle but rather in the name of principle: According to Legoyda, “Christians in general do not have the right to think about any point of no return in the sense that we are always ready for dialogue.” The ROC MP, he continued, shares the same position on Ukrainian autocephaly that Constantinople had until April 2018; and Moscow’s willingness to talk does not mean “a review byuse of our position or any compromise. There is not basis to speak of that.” But the two churches must escape from a situation where they are talking past one another. While Legoyda insisted that “the sword is not on our side” and that Moscow “needs some kind of adequate response,” his words represent a retreat from the isolation with respect to Constantinople and the Orthodox world that the ROC MP had driven itself into by its words and actions recently. Moreover, there is one significant detail that shows how hard this is for Moscow to do and therefore how important it is for the future: Patriarch Kirill had the civilian head of one of the patriarcahte’s offices deliver this message on the Kremlin’s main propaganda channel rather than having a church hierarch do so in a more church-related venue. That in and of itself suggests where the pressure for backing away from the ROC MP’s hard line comes from – and makes it even more likely that Legoyda’s words will be echoed by others in the coming days.
Paul Goble Staunton, December 25 – The Russian Orthodox Church has been caesaro-papist for centuries, but plans for a new Orthodox cathedral for the Russian military epitomize the dangerous fusion not only of church and state but of religious and military ideas to the fundamental detriment of the former. The new church will not only be khaki colored to match the uniforms of the military but will have cupolas shaped to suggest missiles, all but one of its side chapels devoted not to religion but to military campaigns and entry stairs formed from melted down military trophies from World War II (ahilla.ru/stupeni-glavnogo-voennogo-hrama-rf-sobirayutsya-otlit-iz-trofejnoj-tehniki-vermahta/, interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=71655 and znak.com/2018-12-24/trofeynuyu_tehniku_tretego_reyha_pereplavyat_na_stupeni_glavnogo_hrama_vooruzhennyh_sil_rf). The church will include as well training centers for military chaplains, and consequently, many Russians may see these arrangements as entirely natural. Patriarch Kirill clearly does: he has given his blessing to this construction project. But such an interpenetration of religion and militarism comes at a cost at least to the faith. Many of the most fundamental propositions of Christianity stand in open opposition to military actions; and by acting as if this is not the case, those behind this cathedral will simultaneously deracinate their own faith and drive those committed to religious values away from the ROC MP. Indeed, the construction of this church which the Moscow Patriarchate views as a great victory may prove to be a Pyrrhic one, reinforcing the view of many that its hierarchy at least is little more than a branch of the ideological department of the Putin regime, one that has little or nothing to do with what the Founder of the faith had in mind.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP) is not going to change its name as the recently adopted bill would suggest, its law department head Oleksandr Bakhov has said on the church’s website. “The text of bill No 5309, which has already become law, does not mention the Ukrainian Orthodox Church or any specific guidelines what should be called how. This will be decided by a relevant government agency once the law takes effect. To put it mildly, I am surprised by statements made by some politicians and mass media that are now distorting the official name of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [of the Moscow Patriarchate], saying either that it no longer exists or that it has become the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine. This is not so,” he said. He added that the UOC MP understands that the law is directed against it and plans to use all legal means for protection. The UOC MP is initiating an appeal to the Constitutional Court to challenge the bill. According to the charter of the UOC MP, it is affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church and is guided by its decisions since 1990.
The Former Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate plans to go to Ukraine’s Constitutional Court to appeal a law that obliges it to include affiliation with the Russian Orthodox Church in its name.
Head of the Legal Department of the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), Archpriest Oleksandr Bakhov has said the church plans to appeal to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine due to Ukraine’s parliament decision to change the church’s name. Bakhov claims the law on renaming the former UOC-MP violates the right to freedom of religion and discriminates millions of believers in Ukraine on religious grounds. Head of the Legal Department of the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), Archpriest Oleksandr Bakhov has said the church plans to appeal to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine due to Ukraine’s parliament decision to change the church’s name. “We’re going to protect our rights by all legal means. We sent an appeal to the president of Ukraine – to use the veto, but, as we see, he did not use such a right. In addition, since there is a violation of constitutional norms and principles, we initiate an appeal to the Constitutional Court,” Bakhov said. He believes the former UOC-MP “is a big competitor” for the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine. “For example, after the unification of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, the total number of parishes is about 7,000, of which 4,000 are real, not on paper, and the UOC parishes are more than 12,000. I think this is done to weaken the UOC’s positions and force its clergy and believers to join the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. As we can see, religious pluralism, which is actively preached by officials from the Ministry of Culture, is under threat. In fact, this law creates all the prerequisites for religious hatred in the country,” Bakhov said. He claims the law on renaming the former UOC-MP violates the right to freedom of religion and discriminates millions of believers in Ukraine on religious grounds. As UNIAN reported earlier, the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, on December 20 passed a bill to rename the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. If a religious organization subject to this legislation fails to change its official name and does not apply for re-registration within four months after the law takes effect, its statute becomes void.
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate intends to appeal to the Constitutional Court a law obligation the UOC of Moscow Patriarchate to indicate in its title that it belongs to the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). This is stated in the message of the Synodal informational and educational department of the church. ‘We are determined to protect our rights with all possible legal ways. We sent an appeal to the President of Ukraine, to apply the veto, but, as we see, he did not use such a right… Since there is a violation of constitutional norms and principles, we initiate an appeal to the Constitutional Court,’ reads the message. Protoiereus Oleksandr Bakhov claimed that ‘after this law enters into force, the beginning of its implementation in practice will give us a wider understanding of human rights actions.’ As it was reported earlier, on December 22, President Petro Poroshenko signed a law obliging the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate to indicate links with the Russian Orthodox Church in its name. The indicated law, which obliges the church with the center in the aggressor country to designate this in its official name, was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on December 20. The conclusions of the Main Scientific and Expert Administration stated that the law does not comply with the principle of secularism of power in Ukraine and contradicts the norms of the Constitution on equal rights, regardless of the profession of confession. Experts noted that in a democratic state of law there can be no different procedure for exercising the right to freedom of conscience and religion, depending on religious beliefs and other factors. In addition, Ukrainian legislation already provides that the charter of a religious organization should contain information about the place of the religious organization in the structure of the religious association.
Priests who are part of what has until recently been called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate collaborated with the militants of the Russian terrorist leader Igor Girkin (aka Strelkov), that’s according to a volunteer and coordinator of “Myr i Co” Foundation, Myroslav Hai. Posing as pilgrims, the priests would penetrate the territory controlled by Ukraine troops to collect intelligence in the interests of Russia’s proxy forces. Priests who are part of what has until recently been called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate collaborated with the militants of the Russian terrorist leader Igor Girkin (aka Strelkov), that’s according to a volunteer and coordinator of “Myr i Co” Foundation, Myroslav Hai. “I’ll tell you, in Slaviansk, during the events of 2014 [the start of hostilities in eastern Ukraine], the UOC MP helped Girkin’s terrorists, those Russian mercenaries, by conducting reconnaissance. Under the guise of pilgrims, they would penetrate the Ukraine-controlled territory,” he told Pryamyi TV channel. As UNIAN reported earlier, the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, on Dec 20 passed a bill to rename the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP). Ukrainian MP from the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko faction Oleksandr Bryhynets said if “the state is recognized as the aggressor state, the church whose administration is located in the territory of the aggressor state must have in its title the full name of the church to which it is subordinate.” The legislation introduces only one restriction: the church “subordinated to the aggressor state has no right to be represented in military units on the front line.”
Epiphany Dumenko, the head of Ukrainian Orthodox Church, was hoasted into having a conversation with a man he believed to be the EU Parliament lawmaker in charge of foreign affairs David McAllister, as Deutsche Welle reported. Russian pro-Kremlin prankster team published a recording of their conversation. “The duo, who go by Vovan and Leksus online, are well known for targeting high ranking Western politicians and diplomats, including UK’s Boris Johnson earlier this year. Ukraine’s church press officials confirmed Dumenko was targeted,” the news agency reads. According to the recording, Epiphany discussed topics such as the church’s conservative view and Ukraine’s attitude toward the LGBT community. He also pointed out the US’s support for building an independent Ukrainian church. “In general, however, Dumenko remained reserved during the call, as his interlocutor raised sensitive topics,” the message says. The person pretending to be McAllister said: “One day, you will bless the army to free Crimea and Donbass from the occupation and separatists, so I hope this will happen soon”. It is mentioned that he was talking in a heavily Russian-accented English. “I also believe that we will manage to bring reclaim Donbass and Crimea, and the war which is currently raging in Ukraine should end, because God is on our side,” Epiphany said. “So you would like to bless the army?” the man asked again. The leader of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church answered “by pointing to army chaplains and his plans to travel to the conflict zone and support and “bless” the soldiers”. “But how can you get back Crimea to Ukraine?” his interlocutor asked. “If Ukraine becomes a strong state and we manage to unite the Orthodox believers in one local Orthodox Church, I believe that the people would (…) themselves want to return to Ukraine,” Dumenko responded. Then the conversation moved to the LGBT topic. ” Naturally, I am in favor of starting a church reform, so there would not be this conservativism, so we would move away from Russian tradition and the church would be open and serve as a guide to Ukrainian people. This is a bit of a complicated issue, which we should not take up at the beginning of our path. Right now, we need to work on the Ukrainian society understanding it. But it’s a long road and we will work on it, talk and look for answers on these complicated questions,” Epiphany stated.
The head of Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Epiphanius Dumenko, was hoaxed into talking to a man he believed to be David McAllister, the European Union Parliament lawmaker in charge of foreign affairs. On the recording, Dumenko is heard discussing topics such as his church’s conservativism and Ukraine’s standpoint towards the LGBT community.
The head of Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Epiphanius Dumenko, was hoaxed into talking to a man he believed to be David McAllister, the European Union Parliament lawmaker in charge of foreign affairs. A recording of the conversation was published by the Russian pro-Kremlin prankster team Alexei Stolyarov and Vladimir Kuznetsov on Saturday. The duo, who go by Vovan and Leksus online, are well known for targeting high ranking Western politicians and diplomats, including UK’s Boris Johnson earlier this year. Ukraine’s church press officials confirmed Dumenko was targeted. On the recording, Dumenko is heard discussing topics such as his church’s conservativism and Ukraine’s standpoint towards the LGBT community. He also mentions “very noticeable support” from the US in a bid to set up an independent Ukrainian church.
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s president on Saturday signed a bill that orders the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to change its name to reflect its ties to Moscow. The Ukrainian church has been part of the Russian Orthodox Church for centuries, but some Ukrainian orthodox clerics, with government support, have moved to set up a separate independent Orthodox church in Ukraine. The move comes amid Ukraine’s disputes with Moscow after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and its support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Saturday signed the bill ordering the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to explicitly indicate its link to the Moscow Patriarchate in its name. He said that would make it easier for Orthodox believers to choose between the new independent church or an Orthodox church that is still tied to Moscow. “It is easier to make a choice when all things are called by their names,” Poroshenko said. He insisted that the law doesn’t infringe on the religious freedom. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church, however, has strongly protested the bill, denouncing it as an unconstitutional attempt by the government to meddle in the religious sphere.
Paul Goble Staunton, December 24 – Andrey Klimov, the head of the Federation Council’s commission on the defense of state sovereignty, says that Moscow must prevent “the transformation of Father Frost into Santa Claus” as is already happening in Ukraine “under the influence of the West” (interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=71610). It is bad enough that American officials are celebrating moves toward the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the Russian senator says; but it is almost worse that one can see in that country the beginning of the transformation of Father Frost,” the chief Russian symbol of Christmas, “into Santa Claus,” the embodiment of Western values. Klimov delivered his opinion at a Moscow roundtable on “The Role of Cultural Aspects in the Protection of the State Sovereignty of the Russian Federation.” The holding of that session, he said, shows that Russia is ready to take seriously the protection of the spiritual “sovereignty” of the country. Doing so requires something other than just censorship, he continued. That after all is banned by the Constitution. But vigilance is required. Otherwise, Russians will find themselves in a situation like many in Ukraine in which their true and historical symbol is displaced by a Western surrogate with all that can mean. Not surprisingly, Klimov’s words have sparked gleeful comment by some Moscow writers. Sergey Besedin for one imagines what it will mean for Father Frost if Russia loses its spiritual sovereignty as the senator appears to believe it is now threatened with (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C1F299298F64). According to Besedein, “Father Frost now having become Santa Claus will grab a bottle of cola out of the refrigerator, gulp it down, pick up his notebook computer and first order a ticket and then place an add on [an online sales portal]: ‘I will exchange a troika of horses for six reindeer! Right away!”