Over the past few weeks, the degree of tension between Constantinople and the Moscow Patriarchate has significantly grown. The meeting of the two patriarchs, not expected to be fruitful, took place on August 31 and on September 7, the Ecumenical Patriarchate announced the appointment of its exarchs (plenipotentiaries) in Ukraine.
The struggle for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has become the main theme of the world Orthodoxy during the last six months. Many are inclined to see this as a confrontation between the two capitals of the Orthodox world – Constantinople and Moscow, the “second” and “third” Rome. Both Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia claim their canonical rights to the Ukrainian lands. For both, the battle for Kiev is of utmost importance: the winner will consolidate the title of the head of the Orthodox believers and severely undermine the opponent’s authority.
However, the triumph of one of them will be ruinous for the Orthodoxy as a whole – a painful Ukrainian question will likely cause another historical schism in Orthodox Christianity. Patriarch Kirill is already threatening to cut ties with Constantinople in case the latter provides the Tomos of autocephaly. It is not necessary to explain what consequences implies the withdrawal of more than 100 million of believers from the omophorion of the Ecumenical Patriarch. The Christian world would become truly multipolar: alongside with Catholic Rome we’ll witness two more – “Constantinople Rome” and “Moscow Rome” – all struggling to expand their influence.
Why is Constantinople against Moscow?
In the current situation, the “Doomsday Clock” of Orthodoxy is closer than ever to midnight. The meeting of the two patriarchs on the last day of summer was designed to defuse the situation, but, apparently, provoked Bartholomew to an even tougher anti-Moscow rhetoric than before. He once again designated the rights of Constantinople to Ukraine, declaring the illegitimacy of the letters on the transfer of the Kyiv Patriarchate to Moscow in the 17th century. In his speech (for some reason published not on the official portal of the Ecumenical Patriarchate but on the website of the UOC in the US), he also showed truly ecumenical ambitions, identifying the Patriarchate of Constantinople with the “leaven”, that is, with the quintessence of the Orthodox faith, and accused those who “do not respect the decisions of Fanar”, of disrespect to the Orthodoxy in general.
Nevertheless, on the eve of the meeting of the two patriarchs, the anti-Moscow sentiments in the Ecumenical Patriarchate were triggered from outside. So, on August 27, the Associated Press published an article in which Russian intelligence agents were accused of hacking the e-mail accounts of the Ecumenical Patriarchate hierarchs. In May, the Order of St. Andrew that represents the interests of the Fanar in the United States blamed Moscow for disseminating information about the ties between Constantinople and the Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. One can also recall the events of 2016, when the ROC and several Orthodox Autocephalous Churches ignored the Council of Crete convened by Bartholomew. According to sources close to Bartholomew, he considered this a personal insult from Patriarch Kirill. Besides, the Patriarch of Constantinople intends to show Kirill once and for all who is the “boss” in the Orthodox world.
A possibility to avoid the split
But should the head of the Ecumenical Patriarchate be guided by personal motives in dealing with such complex issues as granting autocephaly to the Church in a country that is drawn into the war in its eastern regions, an economic crisis and internal disputes? According to the aforementioned sources, many of Fanar hierarchs clearly understand the consequences of the autocephaly, but this issue is supervised by Bartholomew personally and he is not ready to make concessions.
Unfortunately, in this situation, there is only one option that will more or less suit both sides and, most likely, will not lead to a split. This is an Exarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine. Bartholomew will receive his share of influence in this predominantly Orthodox country, and Kirill will preserve some of his positions. In the current situation, granting the Tomos to the pro-government Church will by default lead to a sharp increase in pressure on the part of believers and clergymen, who have at least some ties with Moscow. Given the number of believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (according to the most biased estimates – at least 20%) and their prevalence throughout the country, this can lead to a large-scale interfaith clashes. It is extremely important not to allow this to happen and create a single Autocephalous Church in Ukraine only after the conflict is resolved. At the same time, despite any objections from Moscow, this process should be implemented by Constantinople, and not by the ROC, whose image has been highly demonized by Kiev.
It would be great this is understood at the Fanar, and Archbishops Daniel of Pamphylia and Hilarion of Edmonton, appointed on September 7, would engage in “healing the schism”, that is organizing a “peacemaking exarchate” and setting up the process of reunion of the divided believers.
Another factor that complicates the autocephaly bestowal is the issue of choosing the new Church’s head. The Primate of the UOC of the Kyivan Patriarchate Filaret is considered to be the main contender for this post, but a great number of complexities are associated with his name. In 1997, for attempting to achieve independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the Moscow Patriarchate anathematized Filaret, which was de facto recognized by all local Orthodox Churches. The “Kyivan Patriarchate”, created by Filaret, did not receive recognition in the Orthodox world and is still considered “uncanonical”. Alongside with the fact that Filaret himself carried out a rather aggressive policy outside of Ukraine, seizing parishes on the territories of other local Churches and supporting various non-canonical communities around the world, he earned an unsavory reputation in Orthodoxy.
The world of Orthodox Christianity is quiet and very conservative. Despite the changing political situation in Ukraine, no one has rehabilitated Filaret so far (therefore, even in the speech of Bartholomew his title “patriarch” stands in inverted commas), and the UOC-KP created by him remains unrecognized. Sudden abolition of the anathema and recognition of the head of the Kyiv Patriarchate is a troublesome task and will hardly have a positive impact on the reputation of the Fanar, especially considering that the Patriarch of Constantinople has recognized this anathema for 30 years, avoiding meetings and joint services with the “Kyivan Patriarch”. In addition, Bartholomew hardly forgot how Filaret denied Constantinople the autonomy of the UOC-KP and the UAOC as parts of the Ecumenical Patriarchate back in 2008. Now, the Fanar is rumored to avoid appointing Filaret Primate of the new Church, which makes him seek options to fortify his position.
However, whoever becomes the leader of the new Ukrainian Church, one thing is obvious: its creation at this point of time will have devastating consequences for the entire Christian world. Now everything depends on Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. He is already compared by many with the notorious Patriarch Melety IV, who managed to rule three local Churches, introduced the Gregorian calendar, incorporated into the Constantinople Patriarchate the Finnish and Estonian Archdioceses, which had belonged to the Russians, advocated unification with the Anglican Church, was a member of the Masonic Grand Lodge of Greece and even tried to implement the second marriage for the clergy, which is as unthinkable for the Orthodox Christians as the second marriage of laymen for the Roman Catholics.
By the way, incumbent Patriarch Bartholomew has already managed to “authorize” the second marriage for clergymen at a recent meeting of the Synod of the Constantinople Church. Now he faces a historic choice: to be remembered in the Christian chronicles as a peacemaker, a progressive fighter for the environment and equality, or as the initiator of the bloodiest religious division in Europe in the 21st century.
The question is whether he will take a decision that will move the “Doomsday Clock” to midnight, or whether the “judgment day” of Orthodoxy will be postponed.
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]
What role, if any, did the Vatican play in the genocide committed in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), a Roman Catholic state sponsored by the Vatican? This has been a controversial topic regarding World War II historiography. Renewed debate was stirred in 1999 with the publication of Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII (New York: Viking, 1999) by John Cornwell.
The nature of the Ustasha NDH regime was well-known by the Vatican and by the US government as early as 1941. It was no secret that the Ustasha government sought to exterminate the entire Serbian, Jewish, and ...
Historically and intuitively, Russia has fought for the survival of humanity. Of course, things are not always pronounced or defined in such terms. However, already on several occasions, this enormous country has stood up against the most mighty and evil forces that have threatened the very survival of our Planet.During the Second World War, the Soviet people, mainly Russians, sacrificed at least 25 million men, women and children, in the end defeating Nazism. No other country in modern history has undergone more.Right after that victory, Russia, alongside China and later Cuba, embarked on the most awesome and noble project of ...
Throughout its long history, the Catholic Church has been rocked by scandals ranging from the dissolution of the Knights Templar to Galileo’s trial to Mother Theresa’s questionable donors. Over the course of the 20th century, many more scandals have come to light—no matter how much the Church would like to keep them secret.
10. The Duplessis Orphans
In the 1930s and 1940s, a conservative revolution ushered in an era in Quebec now known as “The Great Darkness.” Led by Premier Maurice Duplessis, the period was characterized by unprecedented corruption and repression, much of which involved the Catholic Church. After Duplessis received the ...
Dr. Steven Leonard Jacobs holds the Aaron Aronov Endowed Chair of Judaic Studies and is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa. An ordained rabbi, Professor Jacobs is a specialist on the Holocaust and Genocide, Biblical Studies, Jewish-Jewish Christian Relations, and is one of the foremost authorities on Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959), who coined the term “genocide” and devoted his life to the enactment of an international law on the punishment and prevention of genocide.Among his numerous publications, Prof. Jacobs is the author of the chapter entitled, “Lemkin on Three Genocides: Comparing His Writings on the Armenian, Assyrian, ...
Save... and many more pictures!Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
The struggle for peace and the struggle for full respect of universal human rights, as defined by UN Declaration on protection of human rights, are interdependent and non-separable. Violations of sovereignty and territorial integrity, military interventions, aggressions and occupations go hand in hand with massive violations of the basic human rights.It is clear that there are no humanitarian military interventions.NATO military aggression against Yugoslavia ( Serbia ) which started March 24rth, 1999 was launched to allegedly protect human rights of Kosovo Albanians. It was carried out in blatant violation of the basic principals of International Law and without approval of ...
May 19, 1919 has different and even opposing meanings in Turkey and Greece, just as May 15, 1948, marks both the establishment of Israel and, for Palestinians, the start of the Nakba (“catastrophe”).In Turkey, this date marks the first step that led to the establishment of the Turkish Republic, while for descendants of Ottoman Greeks and Greece it marks the end of the centuries-long Pontic Greek presence on the shores of the Black Sea. Whereas Turks celebrate May 19, Greeks mourn it. Researcher Tamer Çilingir summarised the issue in a 2016 interview with the Turkish-Armenian daily Agos:“The Pontic Genocide is the ...
The Serb holocaust during the WWII in the Independent State of Croatia is not a misnomer, an accusation, and even less a speculation. It is an historical fact. Rabid nationalism and religious dogmatism were its two main ingredients. During the existence of Croatia as an independent Catholic State, over 700,000 men, women and children perished. Many were executed, tortured, died of starvation, buried alive, or were burned to death. Hundreds were forced to become Catholic. Catholic padres ran concentration camps; Catholic priests were officers of the military corps which committed such atrocities. 700,000 in a total population of a few ...
Milo Djukanovic’s thirty-year-old authoritarian kleptocracy is killing Podgorica's Democratic efforts.Largely unnoticed in the wake of events in the Middle-East and the impeachment drama, another crisis is brewing in the Balkans. In Montenegro, thousands of people have been protesting a new law passed by the Montenegrin parliament and signed into effect by the country’s longtime strongman, Milo Djukanovic, which gives the government authority over properties that religious organizations in the country have been using for at least a century. Evidence of the problems the controversial new law creates can be seen in the widespread condemnation it has received from individuals such ...
A massive destruction of the Ottoman (Orthodox Christian) Armenian population in 1915−1916 is probably the greatest atrocity committed during the WWI and for sure a first 20th century case of the genocide as up to 1.500.000 ethnic Armenians were executed by the Ottoman authorities and their collaborators (the Kurds). As a consequence, the survivors are scattered across the globe. Today it is already a century old event, but the issue of the 1915−1916 Armenian Genocide is undoubtedly still alive and divisive political issue firstly between the Armenians and the Turks but also and among the western “liberal democracies” on the ...
The propaganda by the Christian churches in regard to their role during WWII in Fascist Italy, Yugoslavia, and Nazi Germany has so conditioned their believers that most of them believe that Christianity played an honorable role at best, and only a silent role at worst. Yet there seems little recognition that the very framework of the beliefs owned by the Fascists and Nazis came from their Christian upbringing from church, school, and Christian traditions. The entire anti-Jewish and racial sentiments came not from some new philosophy or unique ideology, but rather from centuries of Christian preaching against the Jews, gypsies, ...
The origins of Megali IdeaEleftherios Venizelos and a Greater Greece (1910)Greece became the independent state (from the Ottoman Empire) in 1829−1833 with the crucial diplomatic, political, financial and military assistance by the UK and Russia. It was a very fact that the Kingdom of Greece incorporated at that time only around 25% of the Greeks who were living at the Balkans and Asia Minor (the Near East). Such situation created tensions between Greece and the Ottoman Empire as the Greeks wanted their total national unification what was possible only under the conditions of the destruction of the Ottoman Empire. Therefore, ...
The current Greek population in Turkey is estimated at fewer than 2,000. But this population decline was not due to natural causes; the Greek community has become nearly extinct due to many state-sponsored attacks and pressure.
The largest attacks took place during the last years of the Ottoman Empire with pogroms and discrimination continuing until the present day.
In 2007, the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) announced that “the Ottoman campaign against Christian minorities of the Empire between 1914 and 1923 constituted a genocide against Armenians, Assyrians, and Pontian and Anatolian Greeks.”
The destruction of Greek heritage and institutions, including schools, continued ...
Arrest and detention of three days for Joanikije, Bishop of Budimlye and Niksic, and eight priests of the Orthodox Cathedral of St. Basil of Ostrog in Nikšić has sparked tensions in Montenegro again. Namely, after the prayer procession that had been held in Nikšić on May 12th, on the feast-day of St. Basil of Ostrog, a 72-hour detention was ordered for Bishop Jonikije, Fr. Slobodan Jokic, Fr. Danilo Zirojevic, Fr. Zeljko Rojevic, Fr. Ostoja Knezevic, Fr. Mirko Vukotic, Fr. Vasilije Brboric, Fr. Dragan Krusic and Fr. Nikola Marojevic.Protests in support of those arrested have taken place in several cities across ...
The following article was written before the recent referendum in Venice and Lombardy. It remains relevant as far as, everything happening in Europe those days is becoming, more a more, a manifestation of extreme social “egotism”, of generalized destruction of any form of solidarity and adherence to more general projects. This is especially true after the strategic defeat and capitulation of the European Left on the Greek question. “Everybody for himself” seems to dominate the continent. It is the historic triumph of the neoliberal Europe, but it reminds somehow the triumphs of the cancer on living organisms. Europe will hardly ...
I will not dwell either on the prehistory nor early history of the region of Kosovo-Metochia (KosMet) in this article.The Montenegrins and medieval SerbiaIt used to pass from one state to the other, until Stephan Nemanja (1166−1196), a nobleman from Zeta (present-day Montenegro), founded the state of Serbia, whose center very soon later became exactly in today’s KosMet. First a Byzantine vassal dukedom, Serbia became soon an independent state, to become an empire under the rule of Stephan Dušan (1331−1355), the first Emperor of Serbia.Serbia’s Nemanjić’s dynasty ended with Dušan’s son, Uroš, disintegrating into many feudal possessions. In the epic ...
The Battle and the Nation The consciousness of a distinct Serbian ethnic identity had been present among the Serbs since the times of the founder of an independent medieval Serbian state, veliki župan (Grand Duke) Stefan Nemanja (1166−1196). These consciousnesses were further strengthened by both when Serbia became a kingdom in 1217 and with the establishment of an autocephalous archbishopric in 1219 as a national independent (Christian Orthodox) church. However, the Battle of Kosovo (on the morning of June 28th, 1389) which the Serbs de facto lost to the Ottoman Turks and the death of a Serbian ruler, Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović ...
In his recent replies to Archbishop of Albania Anastasios and Archbishop of Antioch John X, Patriarch Bartholomew demonstrated once again that Constantinople envies Rome’s reputation and influence in Catholic Church. The Phanar refuses to take notice of the opinions of other Churches (even on the issues influencing the whole Orthodox world!) presuming itself as the one and only decision-maker and its verdict indisputable.However, justifying its decisions, the Phanar turns to arguments that aren’t really relevant – for example, comparing the recent situation in Ukraine to the Meletian schism in his letter to Anastasios, Bartholomew for some reason didn’t mention that ...
On April 6th 1941, Nazi Germany invaded Yugoslavia. By April 10th, Croatian fascists led by Ante Pavelic were allowed by Hitler and his ally Mussolini to set up an “independent” puppet state of Croatia. Hitler granted “Aryan” status to Croatia as his fascist allies carved up Yugoslavia. Pavelic had been awaiting these developments whilst under the auspices of Mussolini in Italy who had granted them the use of remote training camps on a Aeolian island and access to a propaganda station Radio Bari for broadcasts across the Adriatic. As soon as the new fascist state of Croatia was born, a ...
On January 17, Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (parliament) passed the bill No. 4128 on new amendments regarding the subordination (denomination) of religious organizations and the procedure of state registration of religious organizations with the status of legal entities. The relevant law No. 2673-VIII was signed by President Poroshenko on January 28 and came into force on January 31, 2019.Though the bill was designed to simplify the process of changing the religious subordination of a religious community, it actually introduces a new, more complicated scheme of registration and reregistration for religious organizations of all confessions including Protestants.So, reregistration becomes not just a ...
The Vatican Role in the Ustasha Genocide in the “Independent State of Croatia” (1941-1945)
Why the West can Never Defeat or “Forgive” Russia
Top 10 Dirty Secrets of Vatican
An Interview with Dr. Jacobs on Genocide in the Ottoman Empire
NATO’s Protected EuroKosovo (Photos not seen at CNN)
Violation of Human Rights of Serbs in the Province of Kosovo and Metohija
100th Anniversary of the Pontic Genocide
Documentary Movie: “God and Croats” (English Subtitle)
Montenegro’s Corrupt Party of Socialists is Killing the Country
The 1915−1916 Armenian Genocide: An Ideology, Course and Consequences
Christianity in Europe During the WWII
“Megali Idea” and Greek Irredentism in the Wars for a Greater Greece, 1912−1923
Greeks in Turkey on the Verge of Extinction
Milo Djukanovic and Montenegrin Serbs
Venice and Lombardy: Why is the Request for Independence Growing?
Kosovo: A Short History – A Contribution Which Noel Malcolm Will Never Tell You
Implicit Meanings in Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Tomes
The Role of the Catholic Church in Yugoslavia’s Holocaust
Serious Drawbacks in Ukraine’s Adopted ‘Church’ Bill