Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia Lost the War of the Churches (75)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

</end editorial>



The exodus from the ROC to the OCU continues, and the first parish in the South of Ukraine jumped off the sinking ship, with the total tally now in excess of 100 parishes transferred. New legislation mandates the UOC-MP/ROC rename itelf or lose its legal status as a church. More OCU events in early February. Epiphany celebrations. Russians continue causing mayhem.

The latest polling in Russia confirms earlier polls – the church is much less important to Russians than other Orthodox nations. What the actual size of the ROC is, given public indifference, is an interesting question. More on Russian fakery.


If UOC (MP) refuses to rename itself, it will lose its legal status, – Filaret

21.01.19 11:38 – If UOC (MP) refuses to rename itself, it will lose its legal status, – Filaret Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) Honorary Patriarch Filaret believes that “God will create conditions” for the shrines to belong to Ukrainian, not Russian church. View news.

Filaret names terms of transfer of Kyiv Pechersk Lavra to Ukrainian Orthodox Church – 112.international

Patriarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Filaret told that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate might be deprived of Kyiv Pechersk Lavra and Holy Dormition Pochayiv Lavra if it does not change its name officially, as he said in an interview for TSN. Filaret noted that violence should be avoided, and legal methods should be applied. Related: First religious community in Odesa region moved under jurisdiction of Orthodox Church of Ukraine “We reject violence right away. Only legal methods. Rada adopted a scheme how the organization can switch to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Using this law, they have to gather… If they have to register in the Russian Orthodox Church, which they will not do, then they will not have a legal entity. And without a right of a legal entity, they will lose a lot… Including it (Lavra, – ed.),” Filaret said. Earlier, the members of the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate signed the Tomos on providing autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Prior to that, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew passed the Tomos of autocephaly and bishops’ crosier to the head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Epifaniy. The event happened during the festive service at St. George’s Cathedral in Istanbul, marking a significant day in the history of Orthodoxy in Ukraine; the country re-claimed its own independent church after more than 300 years of Russian domination in religious life in Ukraine.

“Violence off table”: Moscow’s Patriarchate temples to be handed to OCU according to law, Filaret says | UNIAN

Filaret, who is an Honorary Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, has explained how the state is to take back the Pochayiv and Kyiv-Pechersk lavras from the Moscow Patriarchate. The Verkhovna Rada has earlier approved a mechanism for the transition of parishes. Filaret, who is an Honorary Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, has explained how the state is to take back the Pochayiv and Kyiv-Pechersk lavras from the Moscow Patriarchate. “First of all, violence is off the table. This should be done exclusively within legal framework. [The Verkhovna] Rada passed a mechanism for how parishes could transfer to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. If they [Moscow Patriarchate] have to re-register as the Russian Orthodox Church, and they fail to do so, they will have no rights of a legal entity. And if they don’t, they’ll lose a lot of things, including, the lavras,” Filaret said in an interview with TSN news service. “It is a Ukrainian shrine and must belong to the Ukrainian church, not the Russian one,” Filaret believes.

Unlike KGB, SBU doesn’t tell church what to do – Filaret | UNIAN

Filaret, who is an Honorary Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, says the SBU Security Service of Ukraine does not meddle in the affairs of the Ukrainian church. There is a huge difference between the Soviet security agency and that of an independent Ukraine, the prominent Ukrainian cleric said. Filaret, who is an Honorary Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, says the SBU Security Service of Ukraine does not meddle in the affairs of the Ukrainian church. “All bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate had contacts with the KGB. There was no bishop who would not be in contact with the KGB, because the system itself was designed in such a way that it was impossible to manage the church otherwise. Even to appoint a bishop, his nomination had to be agreed with the KGB,” he said in an interview with TSN news service. Some 100 parishes of former UOC-MP join new Orthodox Church of Ukraine – media However, according to Filaret, “since Ukraine has become an independent state, there has been no interference on the part the SBU.” Answering the question on whether representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, and now the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, communicate with security operatives, he said: “Yes, but we do not agree anything with them.” “There is a huge difference between the KGB and the SBU. At that time, we could not do anything without the approval of security services, and now we can do whatever we find necessary even if the SBU doesn’t like it,” Filaret said.

Some 100 parishes of former UOC-MP join new Orthodox Church of Ukraine – media | UNIAN

In total, 100 parishes of the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) have become part of the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) since the unification council and the creation of the local OCU, independent from Russia’s Orthodox Church. The communities of the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate in Vinnytsia region were most active in joining the OCU. In total, 100 parishes of the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) have become part of the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) since the unification council and the creation of the local OCU, independent from Russia’s Orthodox Church. Read alsoPoroshenko says Moscow pursues provocations against autocephaly of Ukrainian church The UOC-MP communities were most active in joining the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine in Vinnytsia region, as well as in the west and in the center of the country. Their activity is significantly lower in the eastern, southern and northern regions of Ukraine, as reported by the Ukrainian TSN news service. In particular, on January 19, the religious community in the western city of Khmelnytsky (parish in honor of St. John the Divine), as well as those in the villages of Stufchyntsi and Holovchyntsi located in Khmelnytsky region joint the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine. As was earlier reported, a total of 70 UOC-MP communities became part of the new church as of January 15.

Two more parishes in Vinnytsia region join Orthodox Church of Ukraine

On January 20, two more parishes of the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate in Vinnytsia region joined the Orthodox Church of Ukraine – in Penkivka, Litynskyi district and Zhuravlivka, Tulchynskyi district. — Ukrinform.

First religious community in Odesa region moved under jurisdiction of Orthodox Church of Ukraine – 112.international

The religious community of Puzhaikove village (Odesa region) became the first community to move from the jurisdiction of Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine to that of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Radio Liberty reported. According to Father Theodor Orobets, the Press Secretary of Odesa-Baltic eparchy, over 300 worshippers of the community of St. Dmytro Solunsky upheld the transfer. He added it’s the first such case when Odesa region-based religious community completed the procedure of transfer to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. ‘The respective protocol has been composed and signed; it was passed to the local regional state administration. I served at a local village’s church as the priest of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine’, he said. Earlier, the members of the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate signed the Tomos on providing autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Prior to that, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew passed the Tomos of autocephaly and bishops’ crosier to the head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Epifaniy. The event happened during the festive service at St. George’s Cathedral in Istanbul, marking a significant day in the history of Orthodoxy in Ukraine; the country re-claimed its own independent church after more than 300 years of Russian domination in religious life in Ukraine.

First synod of new Ukrainian church to be held after enthronement of its head – Epifaniy | UNIAN

Leader of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epifaniy has said the first synod of the new Ukrainian church will be held after the enthronement of its head. An enthronement will take place at St. Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv on February 3.

Enthronement of Primate of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church to be held at St. Sophia Cathedral

The enthronement ceremony of Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Epiphanius will be held at the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv on February 3, 2019. — Ukrinform.

Orthodox Church of Ukraine leader to be enthroned on 3 Feb – LB.ua news portal

The leader of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epifaniy has said that he will be enthroned on 3 February. He said this at the presentation of a book written by the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Svyatoslav Shevchuk, according to Ukrinform. “Today I would like to officially announce that the enthronement will take place on 3 February,” Epifaniy said. He invited Svyatoslav Shevchuk to attend it, adding that the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church should further develop their cooperation. The press service of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine confirmed the date.

Epiphanius denies OCU’s subordination to Istanbul

18.01.19 16:21 – Epiphanius denies OCU’s subordination to Istanbul Orthodox Church in Ukraine (OCU) Metropolitan Epiphanius stressed that the Ukrainian church is not subordinated to Istanbul. View news.

Poroshenko says Moscow pursues provocations against autocephaly of Ukrainian church | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said Moscow continues provocations aimed against the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine: the enemy seeks to incite conflicts on religious grounds. “I would like to emphasize there have been provocations on the part of Moscow regarding the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church and, unfortunately, they are continuing now. The enemy goal is to incite conflicts around the transition, make communities stand up against each another, and test our unity, again,” he said during a ceremony opening the monument to Metropolitan Vasyl Lypkivskiy in Cherkasy, an UNIAN correspondent reports.

Poroshenko welcomes religious communities conversion law: “No more questions about patriarchy”

17.01.19 16:11 – Poroshenko welcomes religious communities conversion law: “No more questions about patriarchy” Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko has welcomed the religious communities conversion law adopted by the Verkhovna Rada today. View news.

Poroshenko promises to preserve religious peace in Ukraine

18.01.19 17:04 – Poroshenko promises to preserve religious peace in Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko says he will preserve religious peace in the country. View news.

Poroshenko unveils monument to Lypkivsky in Cherkasy

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has taken part in the opening of a monument to the founder of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC), Metropolitan Vasyl Lypkivsky, in Cherkasy, an Ukrinform correspondent said. — Ukrinform.

Ukraine celebrates Epiphany with bathing in icy-holes – 112.international

Every year Ukrainian Orthodox and Greek Catholic Christians celebrate Epiphany. One of the most famous traditions during the feast is bathing in ice-holes. Churchgoers believe that the water this day is sacred, and that after diving three times in an icy-hole like Jesus, people will feel better and healthier for the next year. Despite of the fact that this tradition is hundred years old, many people still do not know, how to bathe in icy waters properly. How to bathe in icy-holes? No restrict rules to bathe in icy waters exist, although novices should start preparing themselves to Epiphany bathing from summer in order to accustom their organisms to cold water. If you decide to bathe in icy-holes, then you should remember several rules: 1.You should prepare your organism to cold temperatures during two weeks before the bathing, for example, you can wipe with wet cold towel and take contrast shower. It is useful to be outside for some time wearing minimum cloth. Not all weather is good for bathing in icy waters. The perfect temperature for a novice is from 2 to 5 degrees below zero. You can try to bathe in frosty weather, but 10 degrees below zero could be very dangerous for a first time. You should bathe only in special equipped holes near the riverside, even better near rescue stations. Eat one hour before bathing, and do not drink alcohol. Before bathing it is necessary to warm up your body, for example, you can do a workout or go for a run. Wear shoes, which you can easily put off, or woolen socks. The special rubber flip-floppers would do as well. Women should not wear open swimsuits, it is better to use close shirts. Bathing – is diving in icy water for three times. While bathing a Christian crosses himself and says: “in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!” It is strictly forbidden to dive head-first. Better not to jump and not to submerge in the water, because the temperature gets lower and a person can get shocked due to cold. It is better to dive neck-dip, in order to avoid reflex narrowing of the brain vessels. In order to avoid hypothermia do not stay in the water longer than 10 seconds. When you get out of the hole, do not hold on to handrails, instead of this it is better to use a dry towel. After bathing you should rub yourself with a dry towel and put on some warm cloth. Remember, too hard rubbing can cause damage to your skin. After that it is useful to drink hot tea of berries or fruits.

Blast in Sumy Cathedral: Police apprehended suspects – 112.international

The police and the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) established those involved in the airsoft explosion in Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral in the city of Sumy. It was reported by the press service of the National Police of Sumy region. Both suspects are young people, local residents. At the moment, investigative actions are being carried out in their regard. “Law enforcers seized a pyrotechnic device from one of the young people during a personal search. The device is similar to the one that was used yesterday in the cathedral on Soborna Street,” police said. As it was reported earlier, some unknown young people tried to seize a church of Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Olenivka village, Borznyansky district of Chernihiv region. On January 15, the meeting of the community took place and about 25 unknown people joined it. They demanded to put the issue of the transition of the local religious community from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) to the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) to a vote. Earlier the activists of “Svoboda” far-right party along with head of the council of Vorsivka village, Malyn District of Zhytomyr region forcefully hindered the believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) to hold the divine service event on the territory of the church. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew passed over the Tomos of autocephaly and bishops’ crosier to primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Epifaniy. The event happened during the festive service in St. George’s Cathedral.

Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s [ROC} temple transited to Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church [OCU] – Unknown try seize church of Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Chernihiv region – 112.international

Unknown young people try to seize a church of Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Olenivka village, Borznyansky district of Chernihiv region, as 112.uareported citing protoiereus Ioan and lawyer Viktor Makoviy. On January 15, the meeting of the community took place and about 25 unknown people joined it as Viktor Makoviy said. They demanded to put the issue of the transition of the local religious community from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) to the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) to a vote. Related: Orthodox Church of Ukraine ‘exclusively political, secular project’, – Putin “Head of a village put the issue on the voting. Only two locals supported it and 24 unknowns gave their votes. Moreover, another 11 votes were added to the final report; thus, there were 37 votes “for” the transition in the end. Local citizens were outraged as the Orthodox community stated earlier that it is not going to join the UAOC. Nevertheless, the present Head of Borznyansky Regional State Administration signed the report of the voting and it is unacceptable as it is the interference of the authority in the religious issues,” Makoviy said. “Today in the morning, the outraged local parish gathered near the church but those 25 unknown people, who called themselves to be the patriots, were waiting for them there. The quarrel occurred. The local parish went home in the end as the unknowns threatened to use force,” protoiereus Ioan said. Related: Ecumenical Patriarchate publishes text of Tomos on autocephaly of Orthodox Church of Ukraine According to Viktor Makoviy, unknown brought their own priest to the church, broke the locks and illegally entered the building. The parties of 112.ua found difficulty to reply what happens in the church now. On January 16, the authority of Chernihiv region reported to the mass media that the first parish of the region transited to the UAOC. Olexy Stepanenko, the Head of Nationality and Religion Department of Culture, Tourism, Nationality and Religion Department of Chernihiv Regional State Administration, reported that “yesterday the general meeting of the citizens of Olenivka village along with the representatives of the religious community, the parish of local Saint Ascension parish took place and people voted for the transition to the UAOC during it.”

Yaroslav Konoshchuk | Raiders vs. parishes or Ukraine’s law on transition to newly created orthodox church – 112.international

Bill # 4128 On changing the rules of transition of religious communities was registered in the parliament back in 2016. It had to prescribe the mechanism of the parishes’ transition, which should be adopted by the majority of the religious community members. The document proposed an extremely vague definition of the religious community members. In accordance with it, membership in a religious community is determined by self-identification of the parishioners. According to 112.ua sources in the coalition factions, the bill was opposed by the opposition and some MPs from the parliamentary majority. There were rumors that the Ecumenical Patriarchate was also dissatisfied with this version of the draft law, hinting at the risks of raidership. That is why the draft document has been excluded from the agenda for a long time. However, at the end of last year, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine was established, recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church said this would cause the desire of the newly-formed structure and its supporters to put pressure on their parishioners so that they could be transferred to Ukraine’s Local Church. And such cases have already begun. Using some supposedly collected signatures of the parishioners, the raiders tried to transfer some parishes into the newly created church. A similar incident occurred in Balta, Odesa region. Local nationalists came to the UOC church and presented a list of 300 signatures to parishioners in favor of the decision to transfer the church to the administration of Ukraine’s Local Church. The same scheme was worked out in Olenivka, Chernihiv region, where, under the guise of the local residents, unknown people voted for the transfer. At the same time, local authorities were in a hurry to announce that the parishes would voluntarily transfer to the new church. Currently, Ukraine has no legally fixed legal procedure for the transfer of communities from one jurisdiction to another. So the MPs decided to address this issue. Parliamentary speaker Andriy Parubiy expressed the hope that the MPs would consider the bill #4128, the adoption of which, in his opinion, would ensure the “democratic nature of the transition of religious communities.” On Wednesday evening. Verkhovna Rada Committee on Culture and Spirituality approved the updated version of the document. Unlike the original version, the MPs have changed the formula for the religious communities transition. According to it, the decision to make the transition and make the appropriate changes to the statute of a religious community should be made by at least 2/3 of the number of community members. Thus, if there are 60 people in a community, for example, 31 people are needed for a quorum, then 20 members are enough to change the subordination of the community. The list of community members is determined in accordance with its charter. In addition, it is assumed that members of the community who refuse to move can form a new community — they might continue to hold services in one temple with those who joined the other church. However, this option did not suit everyone. Because it does not completely exclude church raiding. For example, some 20-30 people might orderly come to a village, call themselves members of a local religious community and vote for the transition. The parliamentary coalition is assured that the law would protect not only those communities that decide to join Ukraine’s Local Church, but also those that decide to remain as part of the UOC because now the transition process would be transparent. * * * Thursday (January 17) was another “religious day” in Ukraine’s parliament. The MPs proceeded to the consideration of the bill announced by the speaker. The attempts of the Opposition Bloc faction to demand a break did not have any success. “Do not provoke a conflict,” said the head of the parliament. The Opposition Bloc members, in turn, decided not to interfere with the consideration of the issue. There were no rallies under the parliament. The bill was supported by 229 votes (at the second attempt). Not all the MPs from the ruling coalition supported the initiative. In particular, MPs from the Udar group, which is part of the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko (BPP) faction, refused to vote. According to 112.ua sources in the pro-presidential faction, the reason was that the majority ignored the group’s amendment to the draft law on “social services.” Part of the parliamentarians simply did not show up in the session hall. Our sources in the coalition factions noted that the President’s Administration needs to get the maximum rating effect from Poroshenko’s so-called “Tomos tour,” that is why the church transition issue was imposed on the parliamentary agenda. Their “opponents” adhere to a different opinion. MP Yuriy Boyko promised to cancel the “church laws” adopted by the parliament. However, most likely, the status quo would be preserved until February. Deputies from the “Opposition bloc” have submitted a draft resolution on canceling the results of voting for the church bill, which would not allow parliamentary speaker Andriy Parubiy to sign it.

Orthodoxy at the Brink, With Constantinople and Moscow Divided Over Ukrainian Church

Schism is threatened, but the Catholic-Orthodox ecumenical dialogue may nevertheless find new avenues following the formation of the self-governing Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

Greeks bridle at historic deal to split Orthodox church from state – Religion News Service

ATHENS, Greece (RNS) — The government of Greece and the Orthodox Church may be headed for breakup next month under a historic deal negotiated in secret between Archbishop Ieronymos and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Next month, the country’s parliament is expected to vote on an agreement to make the Greek state neutral toward religion, ending the primacy of Greek Orthodoxy in the country’s constitution. The state would become co-owner of church property, giving it the right to lease unused properties. Proceeds from those leases would be divided between the church and government. Most importantly, the agreement would strip the country’s 8,000 clergy of their status as civil servants. Many Orthodox Christian clergy are not happy about it.

Bulgarian Orthodox Church Patriarch: ‘Macedonia’ church issue to await settlement on name | The Sofia Globe

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church will address the question of the autocephaly of the “Macedonian Orthodox Church” after the process of the new name of the former Yugoslav republic has been completed, Patriarch Neofit told reporters on January 21. “Work is still being done on the name of the state Macedonia. When the details have been clarified, the church question will certainly follow,” the head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church said. Parliament in Skopje has voted its approval of the constitutional changes that will open the way for the country to be renamed “Republic of North Macedonia”, in terms of the Prespa Agreement, and the legislature in Athens is also to debate and vote on the matter. This latter process is to get underway this week. At the end of 2017, the “Macedonian Orthodox Church” made overtures to have the Bulgarian Orthodox Church recognised as its mother church. In 2018, the Bulgarian church formed a commission to examine the issue, which is a highly divisive one in the world of Orthodox Christianity.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Russian Doesn’t Mean Orthodox,’ Levada Center Poll Reports

Paul Goble Staunton, January 17 – Only nine percent of Russians connect their national identity with Orthodoxy, according to a new Levada Center poll; and even among those who identify as active measure of the Russian Orthodox Church, only 19 percent do so, figures that are dwarfed by the 53 percent who say their identity is based on the country’s history. These figures help to explain, the polling service says, why most Russians have been far less agitated by the Ukrainian church gaining autocephaly than have the political and religious establishment. Indeed, as recently as December, only 27 percent of Russians said they’d hear about Ukrainian autocephaly and 36 percent more said they were completely indifferent about it (ng.ru/faith/2019-01-17/100_ortodox170119.html). And that in turn means, although it is a point that Nezavisimaya gazeta journalist Andrey Melnikov does not make in reporting these figures today, that President Putin and Patriarch Kirill will not get the boost they seem to hope for by pushing Ukraine into a state of religious war. That simply isn’t an issue most Russians will even focus on. Melnikov does acknowledge, however, that “even the representatives of the Russian Orthodox church admit that real participation in religious life is characteristic of only an extremely small share of the citizens of Russia. Russians today overwhelmingly don’t participate in church life, don’t know about the faith, and don’t see it as part of their identity.

Fake: Majority of Orthodox World Refuses to Recognize new Ukrainian Orthodox Church

he Russian Orthodox Church has declared that world Orthodoxy does not recognize Ukraine’s Tomos of Autocephaly (decree of independence) and the new Orthodox Church in Ukraine. Hennadiy Shkil, a Moscow Patriarchate orthodox priest from the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, declared the same and used his Facebook page to present dubious statistics to support his claim.

Orthodox Believers Swim In Icy Waters On Epiphany

Russian President Vladimir Putin and an estimated 270,000 other Muscovites followed an Orthodox Church tradition and jumped into icy waters to celebrate Epiphany.