“The signing of the Tomos or note of Autocephaly for the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine is not a church but a political act which may have catastrophic consequences for Ukraine.”
So said the head of the Russian Federation Council’s international affairs committee, Konstantin Kosachev, on Saturday January 6, the day the document was issued.
This is a new move towards destroying the unity of Orthodoxy, the consequences of which will be catastrophic, first of all for Ukraine itself and its people.
One of the worst crises in the history of Christianity was the split between the Church centred in Rome and the Church centred in Constantinople, between the west and east regions of the old Roman Empire, that took place in the year 1054. Today, the NATO military alliance and its vassals in the Kiev regime in Ukraine have forced a further split within the Eastern or Orthodox Church by setting up a separate Orthodox church in Ukraine that rejects the age-old authority of the Moscow Patriarchate with authority over the churches in Ukraine and purports to set up a separate Orthodox Church in Kiev.
This is not just a side issue in the Christian world or world politics. It is a key element of the NATO plan to use all forms of warfare in all realms of life to further their ambition of crushing the power of Russia. It is designed to engender hostility among the Slavic peoples, to reduce Russia’s prestige and Moscow’s reputation as the third Rome, to further divide the Ukrainian people against themselves and harden the artificial division between the Ukrainian and Russian peoples. But to understand the new division we have to review some history.
The split or schism within the Christian church had many complex causes which neither I, nor the reader, have the patience to enter into. Some of the causes were theological, some cultural, others political. To avoid boring you I will provide only what is essential from the past to understand the present.
For centuries the emperors in control of the eastern Roman Empire, based in Constantinople, favoured Rome’s supremacy in Church matters because they wanted to safeguard the universality of the Empire and their claims to Italy. The separation of the churches in the two parts of the Empire evolved gradually over the centuries and reflected the long rivalry between Latins and Greeks, between Rome and Constantinople. But the Roman popes steadily expanded their control across Europe along with their spiritual and temporal power that the authorities in the second city of the Empire resented and feared. The eastern Romans, who considered their emperor as an equal of the apostles, and who believed that matters of church doctrine could be resolved only through the Holy Ghost speaking through the Ecumenical Councils, were shocked by the pope in Rome, who to them was just first among equals among all the church patriarchs, yet claimed he could formulate dogma and had spiritual and temporal supremacy over all the other churches and patriarchs. For in the early Church and for a long period, spiritual authority was deemed to be held equally between the patriarchs of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, and Aleppo.
The major split took place in 1054 when the Normans attacked some cities in southern Italy, defeated the army sent to stop them, and detained the Roman pope who was furious that the emperor in Constantinople had not come to his rescue. The patriarch and the Emperor in Constantinople tried to smooth things over, but tempers and insults flared and the papal legates visiting Constantinople for the purpose of resolving the dispute only inflamed matters and ended their mission by excommunicating the eastern patriarch who in turn anathematised them.
This sequence of events resulted in the lasting separation of the eastern and western churches. The split need never have occurred. More goodwill, less bigotry, cooler tempers could have resolved all the issues but, as is the case now, ill will prevailed. Though the split of 1054 was not complete, for there were attempts in the 13th and 15th centuries to cement the two churches back together and an another attempt in 1965 at the Ecumenical Council. The injury could not be healed, has long festered and now has begun to bleed once again, but this time within the eastern church itself and within the context of a threatened general war.
When the Turks took Constantinople in 1453 they permitted the Orthodox Christians to remain and it was Mehmet the Conqueror, acting as a Roman emperor, who designated a new Patriarch for the city. Today the Istanbul patriarch claims authority over the scattered Greek Orthodox churches in Western Europe, the Americas and Australia and the eastern orthodox churches in Russia, the Balkans, Greece, Asia and Africa, though he has very few adherents in modern Istanbul.
As Christianity spread further east, first Kiev then Moscow became the important centres of the Orthodox Church and set up their own patriarchates or divisions of the Church. But, partly as a result of the Mongol invasions and other complicated events Moscow assumed a more authoritative and primary role, resulting in the Patriarchate in Constantinople assigning the Moscow patriarchate with authority over the eastern churches, including Ukraine, in 1686. This has been the situation more or less up to the present.
But on October 15, 2018 the Russian Orthodox Church announced that it would break off all relations with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, the claimed leader of Eastern Orthodoxy, after he agreed on October 11, 2018, to the April request of Kiev leader Poroshenko, and his minions in the church in Kiev, to grant autocephaly, or self-governance, to what they are calling the Orthodox Church of Ukraine — not to be confused with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that does not recognize this action — the sole objective of which is to attempt to divide Ukrainians from the historical influence of the Russian Orthodox Church and Russia.
Poroshenko who, along with NATO, backed this action, stated that this step
“finally dispelled the imperial illusions and chauvinistic fantasies of Moscow.”
Ukraine currently has three Orthodox denominations, the largest of which is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. That branch remained subordinate to Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union and contains more than 12,000 parishes. This is a third of all parishes under the Russian Orthodox Church, and Ukraine contains some of the most symbolic ones, such as the monastery Kiev-Pechersk Lavra and its catacombs. The other two denominations are the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate, with 4,800 parishes, and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, with 1,000 parishes, which adds to the confusion when trying to grasp what is going on here.
But Russia has long been unhappy with Constantinople’s first-among-equals status and has sought to challenge and erode its role since the Moscow patriarchate sees itself as the dominant bastion of Eastern Orthodoxy. The Russian Orthodox Church alone has more than 150 million followers, half of the world wide adherents and the two patriarchates also differ on some points of doctrine, with Constantinople seeking closer alignment with the Pope in Rome, while the number of Christians in Istanbul can no longer support the claim of that city’s Christian leader to be head of the eastern church.
After Patriarch Bartholomew’s decision, which he probably had no authority to make, Patriarch Filaret in Kiev stated that he would call a council of the leaders of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to choose a leader for this newly created church of Ukraine. The move marked the beginning of the establishment of an independent church in Ukraine, outside the control of Moscow and its patriarch, Kirill. It is also a self-serving decision because it serves to weaken the Russian Orthodox Church and strengthen the almost irrelevant Church in Constantinople that has long been under the sway of the NATO powers and serves their interests. It also is designed to destroy the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and force people to join this new church.
This has wider dimensions since Russian allies, Serbia and Belarus, already have backed the Moscow Patriarchate and condemned the granting of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
The split in the church may have other and more violent consequences arising from disputes over holy sites as several of Ukraine’s most holy sites and churches will be claimed by both the Russian and established Ukrainian churches and this upstart church. The Kiev Patriarchate has already laid claim to the famous 11th century Kiev Monastery of the Caves and the Holy Dormition Monastery in Pochayiv. Both sites are now controlled by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and could face protests and vandalism.
Poroshenko has said,
“If you see people who call for seizing Lavra or a monastery or church by force, you should know that they are Moscow’s agents. The Kremlin’s goal is to ignite a religious war in Ukraine.”
Vadym Novinskyi, an opposition bloc member of parliament, predicted a “civil war and clashes over property “in every village and every town.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has stated,
“If the developments spiral into abusive practices, of course, Russia will protect Orthodox Christians’ interests, just like Russia protects the interests of ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking population everywhere.”
There have already been reports of problems over the Christmas period.
It was reported in Tass that,
with deep indignation and disbelief that we have to inform the public that on December 9, 2018, the Ukrainian authorities prevented the incumbent head of the Donetsk and Marioupol Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Hilarion from crossing the disengagement line through the Novotroitskoye checkpoint to attend a scheduled prayer meeting.
On December 26th Patriarch Kiril of Moscow and All Russia stated that
the creation of a new autocephalous church in Ukraine and the persecution of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) could have dangerous consequences for the whole world.
I believe the developments in Ukraine will undoubtedly have very dangerous effects in the lives of many countries. What is happening in Ukraine can be used as a precedent. That means that everything which ensured inter-religious peace, religious freedom and human rights will, in all likelihood, cease to be untouchable, particularly, if these values stand in the way of solving certain political problems.
Already priests in Ukraine face persecution arising out of this development. Over the past few weeks, Ukraine’s Security Service, the SBU, has conducted searches in the Ovruch diocese in Ukraine’s Zhitomir Region. This resulted in 20 clerics of the UOC’s Rovno and Sarny dioceses being summoned for questioning. Searches were also conducted in the apartment of Metropolitan Paul, Abbot of Kiev Pechersk Lavra. According to the SBU, these police actions were part of a criminal case on inciting inter-confessional strife opened against him, but no doubt are meant to harass and intimidate. Some already face criminal charges.
The tensions being stoked within the Church and the broader society by Poroshenko and the NATO intelligence services will no doubt be used as fuel for the fire as Kiev ratchets up its military actions against the peoples of east Ukraine in the Donbass republics and can lead not only to arrests and detentions of religious leaders and their supporters but also assassinations of those opposing their maneuvers, for on top of all the other problems faced by Ukrainians has been placed the bloody thorn of religious persecution, a Christmas gift from NATO.
First published byNEO
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel “Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”
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In general, the article is not bad, the main points are correctly marked, however, there are some controversial points. Thus, setting forth the essence of the issue, the author does not mention several very important, fundamental points. However, the author himself indicates that the article does not pretend to a comprehensive detailed analysis. So…
What I’d like to add (the important things that the author did not mention):
(1) Not all countries in the world have a country’s constitution, but those countries that have are committed to exist according to this law. At least it is assumed so. Ukraine is a country that has a constitution. According to the Constitution of Ukraine (Article 35), the church is separated from the state. This means that any interference by the authorities (including the president, of course) in the affairs of the church is illegal, illegitimate and, in fact, a violation of the fundamental law of the country, which is the constitution. But over the past few months Poroshenko has been actively demonstrating precisely this – a violation of the constitution of his own country. I will not go into details, it would take too much space/time. Those who are interested simply need to look at the dynamics of the news about the process of Ukraine receiving tomos of Autocephaly. The role of Poroshenko (and not only him) in this process is obvious.
By the way, the name of Poroshenko is written in this very tomos of Autocephaly, which Ukraine received on January 6. This is a flagrant violation of all church canons. Once again – the name of the president of the country, according to the constitution of which the church is separated from the state, is written in a church document of paramount importance.
As they say, no comments.
(2) The author of the article does not indicate the important fact that the only true canonical church in Ukraine is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. Only this church in Ukraine is internationally recognized.
In other words, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is the only real, legitimate church in Ukraine. All other quasi-legitimate church formations in Ukraine are a fake, a bunch of schismatics.
(3) The desire to get Autocephaly is a legitimate desire of the church (not only Ukrainian), it has the right to do so. In the case of Ukraine, in order to have a real, recognized, legal autocephalous church, it was necessary for the legal Ukrainian church to ask for Autocephaly — that is, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. But the fact is that the only canonical Ukrainian church did not ask for Autocephaly.
A petition for Autocephaly by Ukrainian schismatics automatically nullifies any “canonicity” and “legitimacy” of the new autocephalous church.
Imagine that the world famous firm Adidas has a branch in a certain city. This branch is the only legitimate representative of Adidas in the city, selling Adidas products and providing related services. But suddenly there are several other companies in the city – one called Abibas, the other Adibas. Being impostors, they claim the “legitimacy” of their sales of Adidas products in the city. We see something similar in the church question in Ukraine.
The newly-born autocephalous church in Ukraine is nothing more than such an impostor Abibas, who wants to “legitimize” the sale of his pirated products in Ukraine. Of course, such an impostor will never receive indulgences for legal activities directly from the Adidas company itself, but having enticed (threats or bribery) several employees from the legal Adidas office to work for him, this impostor begins to consider himself “legitimate”. And by the way, some in the city are quite happy to buy Abibas products…
(4) The author of the article considers the artificially created split in the Ukrainian church as an instrument of the Western elites (first of all, the American ones) in the war against Russia. Yes, undoubtedly it is. But it is worth mentioning the personal interest of Bartholomew, who fell into papal heresy. The fact is that this person is trying, in fact, to become an Orthodox pope.
Just to remind that in Orthodoxy there is no title of the pope – i.e. a head of the Orthodox Church. This is peculiar only to the Catholic Church. This is one of the fundamental differences between the Orthodox and the Catholic churches – the Catholic Church has a head/”boss” – the Catholic Pope in the Vatican; the Orthodox Church has no head/”boss”, suggesting equality as the basis of relations. But Bartholomew wants to become an Orthodox Pope, arrogating to himself the right of higher authority over other Orthodox patriarchs and churches. This desire caused, in particular, his actions to lift the anathema from the self-styled patriarch Filaret. Bartholomew had no right to such actions, since it is not he, but the Russian patriarch imposed an anathema on Filaret (in 1997). Only those who impose an anathema have the right to lift it. Bartholomew violated the age-old canons, thereby entering the path of heresy.
Giving Ukraine a tomos of Autocephaly is also a direct violation by Bartholomew of the age-old church canons. The Patriarch of Constantinople cannot but know that (as mentioned above) only the petition by the caconic church of Autocephaly is legal. Only one church in Ukraine is canonical – the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, which did not request Autocephaly. Bartholomew is well aware that he provides tomos to schismatics. Thus, Bartholomew himself becomes a schismatic.
Everything that Bartholomew did was conscious, and was due, among other things, to his personal ambitions.
Now a few comments about the statements of the author of the article.
A wording ‘age-old authority of the Moscow Patriarchate’ is very conditional. The fact is that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate – the only true and canonical Orthodox church in Ukraine – is essentially completely autonomous and independent. Just to understand – this is not some branch of some “Moscow church”. The addition ‘ of Moscow Patriarchate’ does not mean that this is some branch subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (of Moscow Patriarchate) is a self-governing organization, its religious center is not in Russia, but in Ukraine. It should be recalled that the UOC-MP was already largely independent, plus in November 2017, the Russian Orthodox Church officially recognized the independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – this means that the headquarters of the UOC-MP is officially located in Kiev (not in Moscow).
Here is what the representative of the UOC-MP said in an interview in 2017 (regarding the independence of the UOC), and this is very important:
“Since 1991, the UOC has no legal connection with the Russian Orthodox Church. Ukrainian Orthodox Church is completely independent in her administration and in her subordination. The election of the head of the UOC is not affected by the Moscow Patriarch, none of the other of the ROC. The administrative structure of the UOC, financial and economic activities are not affected by anyone except the head of the UOC and the Council of its bishops. At the same time, the UOC has a spiritual connection with the Moscow Patriarchate. That is, we have prayer fellowship, we work together to resolve spiritual issues related to the challenges that religion faces in the world today: understanding church canons, spreading Christian doctrine”.
The link – https://112.ua/interview/upc-nezavisima-ot-rpc-nastolko-naskolko-ukraina-nezavisima-ot-rossii-392316.html
It should also be noted that despite the return of the Crimea to Russia, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (of Moscow Patriarchate) has all the former full power there. Nobody forbids and does not “close” the UOC in the Crimea. In the above-mentioned interview, the UOC-MP representative says, in particular: “In the Crimea, the UOC retained all its parishes, and there were no conflicts there. The Moscow Patriarch clearly understands this, and there have never been any attempts to change the status of [the UOC’s] parishes in Crimea”.
I don’t quite understand the wording “including Ukraine”. Until the beginning of the 20th century, Ukraine did not exist as a separate independent country. Only from the beginning of the 20th century, as a result of well-known events, this region of Russia (former Russian Empire, earlier – the Moscow Kingdom) became known as Ukraine and gained some kind of independence.
Here the author of the article grossly mistaken. In the aforementioned interview with a representative of the UOC, it was clearly stated that the UOC was essentially independent of the Russian Orthodox Church since 1991 (when Ukraine became an independent country).
Hmm, something went wrong. Please fix it. In the last part of my commentary, only this – “But Russia has long been unhappy with Constantinople’s first-among-equals status and has sought to challenge and erode its role since the Moscow patriarchate sees itself as the dominant bastion of Eastern Orthodoxy” – should be a quote. Thanks.
Incidentally, none of the comments here so far seem to have hailed the excellent Christopher Black’s excellent unpicking of the schismatic mess that successive church luminaries have deposited in the grand mausoleums of their purely earthly fiefdoms. Good editorial choice. Black’s precision insider exposés of the blatant political abuse of “war crimes tribunals” by their American hegemon owners are also worth a long look.
Who could possibly gain from further fracturing of ‘Christianity’ as a ‘inclusive’ religion which arose as a corrective to ‘exclusive’ implacable exceptionality?
They play with fire and if/when the divided Christians realise why they are fighting each other … there will be Hell to pay.
It is my understanding that the bulk of the Galician congregations, in western Ukraine, practise Uniate rites. Did these not originate an earlier (C15th) attempt to split the Orthodox in the interests of the West (Rome)?
Most of the support for fascists in Ukraine seems to come from the west, in both senses; just as in Yugoslavia the ustashe drew their support from Catholic oriented Croats.
The Galician congregations were under the rule of Catholic Poland as part of the joint Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth (though in reality the Lithuanians, being late Christian converts, were the junior partners and the Lithuanian royal family that originally formed the union eventually died out) when the Uniate Church formed, so your understanding may well be right.
“…the papal legates visiting Constantinople for the purpose of resolving the dispute only inflamed matters and ended their mission by excommunicating the eastern patriarch who in turn anathematised them.”
Fucking bizarre, totally fucking bizarre.
NATO and the Nazi regime in Ukraine introducing yet more unrest with a divisive religious strategy. A policy of intolerance and persecution towards a so called enemy within. History once again repeats itself. Fascism is alive and well in Ukraine.
And supported by Israel, by all accounts!
Cui bono? It is worth asking.
But Russia has long been unhappy with Constantinople’s first-among-equals status and has sought to challenge and erode its role since the Moscow patriarchate sees itself as the dominant bastion of Eastern Orthodoxy.
İstanbul was the common name for the city in normal speech in Turkish even before the conquest of 1453: we are now in 2019 and Istanbul is solidly under a new sultan called Erdogan.
Can’t blame religious Russians, Serbs etc. for catching up to reality. If some Ukrainians see this as another opportunity for revolt I have to think CIA / Mi6 from the fake Christian Atlantic cabal.
Remember that the Black sea is far away from the Atlantic shores and potentially controlled by the Islamist sultan.
I believe that the one, true Catholic Church which is the Living Body of Christ, is the assembly of all people who follow the injunction of the Written Christ and go out, Over the Whole World and among All Sorts and Conditions of Men, to build The Kingdom upon Earth as it is in Heaven.
“The rest is commentary”. — Rabbi Hillel of Babylon.
“The Letter of the Law killeth but the Spirit giveth Life”. — St.Paul
Jesus didn’t write down any rules or hierarchy, he just lived by tolerant and non-violent example. Mohammed ages later gave the opposite example without being able to write anything down.
In both cases Establishments jumped on those ideas to grab power; the Holy books written decades later were pliable tools for them to monopolize “God”. Islam turned out to be the fastest vehicle for conquest as it weaponized the male sex drive (72 virgins after there, more than 1 down here).
Spirit gone, Spin all over: imperialisms justified.
You know nothing of Mohammed, and you won’t learn more by regaling the internet with your slanders.
Please enlighten us on the qualities of Mohammed, brother bevin!
You’re doing a good job enlightening us on your own qualities … or the lack thereof.
Well, your mental niqab even covers your eyes, which explains a lot about the naive Western female dhimmi mind.
Talk about falling into a trap!
Antzy’ you jest no?
You miss the bit about the Crusaders?
What about the papal wars and destruction of Carcassone? And all the Christian factions and their self created Martyrs?
How about Galileo?
‘investigated by the Roman Inquisition in 1615, which concluded that heliocentrism was “foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture.” Galileo later defended his views in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (1632), which appeared to attack Pope Urban VIII and thus alienated him and the Jesuits, who had both supported Galileo up until this point. He was tried by the Inquisition, found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, and forced to recant. He spent the rest of his life under house arrest.’ From wikipedia.
We’d still be trying to add-up using roman numerals, have no Al-gebra, and a lot of knowledge curated by the Islamic scientists.
Oh and Mazzer was supposed to be a virgin too – i’ve never understood how inexperience was supposed to be sexy!
“In both cases Establishments jumped on those ideas to grab power”
I dunno, I don’t understand the lure of “power”, it’s always sounded like a lot of hassle to me.
None of the Popes in my lifetime have struck me as egomaniacs. Perhaps you know better Antonym.
I still identify as a Catholic, but I’m a little out of practise.
‘“In both cases Establishments jumped on those ideas to grab power”
Of course they did. “Organised” religion is all about organisation–i.e. politics and power–and fa about the metaphysical insights that comprised its misappropriated wellsprings. Try to find the party hats and the golden robes that Jesus wore. Try to find the Vatican vaults in the Galilee. They ain’t there and never were.
“I believe that the one, true Catholic Church which is the Living Body of Christ, is the assembly of all people who follow the injunction of the Written Christ and go out, Over the Whole World and among All Sorts and Conditions of Men, to build The Kingdom upon Earth as it is in Heaven.”
Rob, re your Link, I would have liked to reply but the title bar that flashed onto my browser was so repulsive that I stopped right there. It read “Christopher Hitchens” — about whom I know only that he admired TB.Liar.
“Be very careful what you take into yourself”. — Karl Jaspers, The Way to Wisdom.
He was addressing a woman who identified herself as Jewish, but said that a Jew can be an atheist and did not believe that being Jewish means being religious.
I got bored after that. Perhaps Mr Hitchens did also.
BIo of CHitchens: deceased atheist messiah, famous for upsetting feminists.
His brother Peter is a Church of England Christian journalist and former Trot.
Sorry darling, I had forgotten (so soon!) the devastation that the Twitter Syndrome has wreaked on deferred gratification, consequent brilliant punchlines, not to mention extended argument, due consideration, well-reasoned theses, etc. Here’s the no mo thn 128 vdo frm vrsn 4 ya lol:
Firstly, let me provide some context to your cryptic quote from Rabbi Hillel:
I can’t comment on your Jaspers quote, as it appears in neither copy (print nor download) of the Yale/Manheim translation that I have to hand, as nor does the wording of any reasonable alternative translation. Though it does sound sanctimoniously vacous enough. When attributing as direct quotes, precise citations are seldom amiss.
I may be wrong but, as I recall, you are the person who, when I made a passing reference to Nietzsche, informed us that he had a second rate mind that then went mad (by implication, at least partly due to harbouring second rate thought). It’s amazing how thinly-spread an application of Reader’s Digest is needed to make light of sliding first rate thought into the constraints of second rate judgementality.
Talking of judgementality, at least in its “pre” manifestation, here’s another speechy video for you to exercise the old brain in-holes::