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Official recognition for Ukrainian church roils Orthodox world

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, center left, attends a closed-door synod of three Ukrainian Orthodox churches to approve the charter for a unified church and to elect leadership in the St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine, on Dec. 15, 2018. Poroshenko has told the crowd "the creation of our church is another declaration of Ukraine's independence, and you are the main participants of this historic event." (Mikhail Palinchak, Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Pool Photo via AP)

ATHENS, Greece (RNS) – In a few days, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew, the foremost leader in the Eastern Christian church, is scheduled to recognize the newly founded Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Bartholomew plans to give the tomos, or the formal decree of autocephaly, to primate Metropolitan Epiphanius in an elaborate ceremony in Istanbul that coincides with one of the most important celebrations for Orthodoxy, the Epiphany.

But not everyone in the Orthodox world will be celebrating with them.

Bartholomew’s decision to create an independent Orthodox church in Ukraine has created a rift between Moscow and Istanbul. Now other churches are lining up on the divide, with clerics issuing anathemas and excommunications while other opponents beat priests, hurl Molotov cocktails and conduct cyberattacks.

“Its traditional allies have already sided with Moscow,” said Ilias Kouskouvelis, a professor of international relations at the University of Macedonia in northern Greece. “Allies like Serbia, Bulgaria and, naturally, the Patriarchate of Antioch, due to its proximity with Syria and Russia’s relationship with the Assad regime. Those who haven’t spoken up, like the Greek church, are siding with the Ecumenical Patriarch.”

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, center, leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, stands at the patriarchate in Istanbul as Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko leaves after their meeting on Nov. 3, 2018. Poroshenko and Bartholomew signed an agreement between Ukraine and the patriarchate for their cooperation in granting the Ukrainian Orthodox Church its autocephaly. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Bulgarian Metropolitan Daniil, the church’s spokesman, questioned why Bartholomew hadn’t recognized the Ukrainian church earlier.

“He suddenly states that Kiev was never given the full jurisdiction to the Moscow Patriarchate,” said Daniil in an interview published on the church’s official website.

Ukraine has had three different Orthodox churches: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kiev Patriarchate.

But only the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate was widely recognized in the Orthodox world. The two others were considered schismatic.

The Polish Orthodox Synod also published a communiqué stating that it was irrational to recognize Metropolitan Epiphanius. Until recently, the synod argued, Bartholomew and other Orthodox leaders considered the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kiev Patriarchate as schismatic, claiming it illegally broke away from the Moscow church.

“Persons deprived of episcopal ordinations and priests cannot be leaders in introducing peace in the Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” read the communiqué. “Their actions cause even more confusion and scandal.”

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, left; the new head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Epiphanius, center; and Metropolitan Emmanuel attend a closed-door synod of three Ukrainian Orthodox churches to approve the charter for a unified church and to elect leadership in the St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine, on Dec. 15, 2018. (Mikhail Palinchak, Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Pool Photo via AP)

In December, Ukraine’s government voted to require the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that has ties to Moscow to change its name to the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

Members of other churches that have provoked schisms, like the Macedonian and the Montenegrin churches, which broke off from the Serbian church, are hopeful Bartholomew might also recognize them, too.

The Serbian Orthodox Church opposes the Istanbul-based leader’s move.

“The Patriarchate of Constantinople made a canonically unfounded decision to rehabilitate and recognize as bishops two leaders of schismatic groups in Ukraine,” the Serbian church wrote in an announcement on its website.

The Moscow Patriarchate has been in charge of Ukraine’s Christians for more than 330 years since Constantinople’s Ecumenical Patriarch Dionysius IV transferred part of the Kiev-based Ukrainian church’s jurisdiction to Moscow, then capital of imperial Russia.

But Dionysius made the transfer with a synodal letter and not a tomos, which would fully transfer it to Moscow, leaving the Ukrainian church doctrinal wiggle room for independence.

“Russia today, but also during its czarist and communist periods, used religion as an instrument to expand and increase its influence,” Kouskouvelis said.

An independent Ukrainian church undercuts Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans to expand his country’s power, including boosting Moscow as a so-called Third Rome that would become a center of the Orthodox faith.

With 150 million followers, the Russian Orthodox Church is the largest of the Orthodox. Bartholomew’s recognition of a church in Ukraine would remove some 30 million people from the Russian church.

The disagreement between Istanbul and Moscow is part of the ongoing political conflict in the region after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. Tensions are still high.

On Nov. 25, in the Kerch Strait near the peninsula, the Russian coast guard fired upon and captured three Ukrainian naval vessels attempting to pass from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko speaks to the media in Kiev, Ukraine, on Dec. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Since Crimea’s annexation, Ukrainian politicians have been pushing harder for independence from Moscow. President Petro Poroshenko has met multiple times with Bartholomew to talk about an independent Ukrainian church and will be accompanying Metropolitan Epiphanius in Istanbul in January.

When Bartholomew, also known among Orthodox patriarchs as “first among equals,” announced in October that all three Orthodox churches in Ukraine should unite into a new, single institution that would be independent and therefore not schismatic, Moscow cut ties with Istanbul.

Moscow also retaliated by calling its members to stop their pilgrimages and donations to Mount Athos monasteries in Greece, one of the most important centers of Eastern Orthodox monasticism. Pious Russian men flock there and have helped renovate the peninsula’s stunning ancient monasteries.

Bartholomew has been trying to cool tensions.

“It’s humane, and it’s democratic” to have different opinions, he said recently during a homily at the Russian-speaking Orthodox Church of St. Andrew in Istanbul. “But to cut the holy communion as a form of pressure and coercion in order to make others agree with one’s opinions is unacceptable. I’m certain that soon our sister Church of Russia will repent for this extreme decision.”

But Putin criticized Bartholomew at his annual news conference in December.

“Look how it (the new Ukrainian church) is becoming dependent on Turkey, the Turkish patriarchate,” Putin said to a group of 1,700 reporters. “I think Bartholomew’s main incentive and motive is to subdue this territory and then start profiting from it.”

Moscow and Bartholomew have locked horns before.

When the patriarch re-established the Orthodox Church of Estonia in 1996, after the country’s independence from the Soviet Union, the Russian Orthodox Church severed full communion with Istanbul for three months.

Experts said tensions would last much longer this time.

“I believe this is just the beginning of this conflict,” Kouskouvelis said. “But I don’t believe this is as serious yet to be considered a schism in the Orthodox world.”

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Nikolia Apostolou

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  • How many schisms would have been beneficial in the past before this cabal elected and re-elected Putin?

  • The article is on a controversy about the recognition of the Ukranian Orthodox Church, not a political cabal.

  • Yes. Ukrainian autocephaly is primarily a project of the US State Department, in collaboration with Ukrainian far right nationalists.

  • “The disagreement between Istanbul and Moscow is part of the ongoing political conflict in the region after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. Tensions are still high.”
    And there you have it, in a nutshell. Power, money, and dominion. again.

  • “An independent Ukrainian church” – MADE IN U.S.A. is what this is. Here are the proofs:

    (1) “With an apparent nod from the U.S. … Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, …on Oct. 11 stripped away the canonical authority of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church—Moscow Patriarchate (MP), sparking a crisis with Russia … even further … after the U.S.-backed 2014 coup in Kiev that overthrew an elected president who tilted towards Moscow…. In the past year [2018], discussions were held by U.S. officials with [the anti-Russian president Petro] Poroshenko and [the self-styled leader of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kiev Patriarchate, Mikhail] Denisenko. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, and Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell met with Denisenko in September. Then on Oct. 17, a press release in the name of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for religion in Ukraine to be ‘without outside interference.'”

    (2) “The United States reiterates its strong support for religious freedom and the freedom of members of religious groups, including Ukraine’s Orthodox community, to govern their religion according to their beliefs, free of outside interference. … We urge Church and government officials to actively promote these values in connection with the move towards the establishment of an autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church.”

    Source: (1) “Ukraine-Russia Tensions Rise in Church Row”, Consortium News, November 7, 2018. (2) U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, Press Statement, October 19, 2018.

  • Pompeo’s hypocrisy calling for no “outside interference” – when this whole Ukrainian autocephaly initiative is itself “outside interference” in the internal affairs of the Orthodox Church by the State Department – is absolutely stunning.

  • This ongoing Ukrainian Civil War has led to a “TOTAL 10,500 killed [from] 6 April 2014 – 3 June 2018” – and Mike Pompeo & the U.S. State Department couldn’t care less.

    You are being heard, my brother Rick Brant. KEEP IT UP.

  • “Now other churches are lining up on the divide, with clerics issuing anathemas and excommunications while other opponents beat priests, hurl Molotov cocktails and conduct cyberattacks.“

    Yep, morality has to come from religion all right.

  • Oh look, The House of Ashiests & Eggnog-sticks is divided against itself! You may wanna set that House of yours in order 1st, because:

    “None of the prominent [New Atheists] are genuine religious scholars, historians of religion, or cultural anthropologists”! And “they typically conflate atheism with stereotypical liberal or radical left-wing politics when there’s no inherent relationship whatsoever”! And “they come across as narrow-minded and ill-informed bigots whose only purpose is to antagonize religious people.”
    – Fellow atheist Noam Chomsky (Attack the System: Pan-Anarchism Against the State, Pan-Secessionism Against the Empire, March 11, 2012).

  • Interesting how you both side with the Putin backed Russian Orthodox Church and apparently approve of the annexation of Crimea.

  • No mention of Molotov cocktails, suicide bombings, ethnic cleansing, and other artocities that often accompany religious conflicts.

  • So it looks like the Russian Orthodox Church and its allies are going to have to decide whether they are part of a worldwide church, or just an adjunct of Putin’s Russia. I’m afraid it’s probably going to be the latter, Russians that seriously cross Putin tend to come down with a serious case of dead.

  • CRUDDIE, dude! By “Russian … annexation of Crimea”, don’t you SURELY NOT mean “[American] annexation of [Ukraine]” so as to up the ante on the Second U.S. Cold War over Oil and Gas?!

  • Thank you RT news spokesperson.

    I guess with Trump in Putin’s pocket it’s tough to tell the difference between the US and Russia for some people. 🤨

  • THESE ATHEISTS HAVE YOU IN MIND:

    (1) According to the Atheist CJ Werleman, Atheists have “become a pro-white supremacy movement … peddl[ing] fear, suspicion, and hate … [never] see[ing] Palestinians beyond their Muslimness … [because] the road to broader public acceptance … [must] travel through the persecution of another minority”!

    (2) According to the Atheist Sikivu Hutchinson, the endgame of Atheist “critiques of organized religion … preserves and reproduces the status quo of white supremacy in its arrogant insularity. In this universe, oppressed minorities are more imperiled by their own investment in organized religion than [by] white supremacy. Liberation is not a matter of fighting against white racism … and classism but of throwing off the shackles of superstition”!

  • Majority of Ukrainian worshippers are still allied with Moscow Church.
    Whether you like Putin or not.

  • I think the important question is whether THEY like Putin or not. Now that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is officially recognized, we’ll see how many Ukrainians continue to prefer the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine instead.

  • I’ve seen polls from my countryside – still majority have chosen what they consider canonical Moscow Church.
    Despite you like it or not. And Putin for them is not the question. It seems to be a devil only on your mind 😉

  • We’ll see if that support continues as Putin continues to move against Ukraine.

    And oddly enough, your assertion that Jack Devine was awarded anything by Filaret doesn’t appear in a single news story, at least none in English.

  • That’s a copy from an article in English (Google) – translation from Ukrainian newspaper (strana.ua) whose general editor had to run from Ukraine to Switzerland despite being pro-Maidan, anti-Russian (like you) etc.

    It seems like your world is totally consumed by hatred of Putin. Like he has done something bad to you personally. Has he?
    I am originally from Mariupol and most people there are not concerned about Putin as much as you are.
    The real trouble to them is the current government that is totally Russophobe.
    Check surprise from CNN journalist who visited Mariupol and did not get the narrative from workers there that he and you got from Western MSM. This video I’ve seen month ago already is not showing up on Western youtube channels – here is a copy:
    https://youtu.be/VEeo_amV6tQ?t=8

  • As I understand all Orthodox Churches are in communion with one another or at least supposed to be in communion and have the same basic theology; this is an administrative and power issue between the Russian Church and Ukraine. Since the Church is much old than any of the nations involved except Greece, It should adopt a rule that each Church follow the political boundaries of a nation state as the nation state changes jurisdiction would change.

  • With regard to the Ukraine, I side with the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church- MP, and AGAINST our State Department’s interference in the internal affairs of a Christian Church.

  • That’s a pretty dishonest response which avoids the main issue. Being the effects of Russia’s aggressive annexation of the territory of Ukraine and the use of a church to legitimize the action.

    You are siding essentially with an invading force against those being occupied/conquered.

  • Other than the conquest of the Crimea by Russia and the attempt to use the Orthodox Church to legitimize it.

  • ‘YO CRUDDIE – being a veteran janitor at NBC News, didn’t you get this resignation letter from William Arkin, a veteran reporter for that MSM presstitute? He emailed it January 2, 2019 with this Subject: “My goodbye letter to NBC” – then posted it at this URL – https://pastebin.com/HGfyzzJ9. Here are his 2 reasons for leaving NBC News, and they’re worth comparing to your sorry excuse for a human being:

    (1) “I find myself completely out of synch with the [NBC] network, being neither a day-to-day reporter nor interested in the Trump circus. … I find it disheartening that we do not report the failures of the generals and national security leaders … [and] shocking that we essentially condone continued American bumbling in the Middle East and now Africa through our ho-hum reporting.”

    (2) “The intellectual challenge [has been] how to report our new kind of wars when there were no real fronts and no actual measures of success. … There is also a larger problem: though they produce nothing that resembles actual safety and security, the national security leaders and generals we have are allowed to do their thing unmolested. Despite being at ‘war,’ no great wartime leaders or visionaries are emerging. There is not a soul in Washington who can say that they have won or stopped any conflict. And … we’ve had more than a generation of national security leaders who sadly and fraudulently have done little of consequence. … NBC and much of the rest of the news media somehow [have] become a defender of Washington and the system … emulating the national security state itself – busy and profitable. No wars won but the ball is kept in play. … NBC has become somewhat lost in its own verve, proxies of boring moderation and conventional wisdom, defender of the government against Trump, cheerleader for open and subtle threat mongering, in love with procedure and protocol over all else (including results). … How quick NBC is … to be in favor of policies that just spell more conflict and more war. Really? We shouldn’t get out Syria? We shouldn’t go for the bold move of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula? Even on Russia, though we should be concerned about the brittleness of our democracy that it is so vulnerable to manipulation, do we really yearn for the Cold War? And don’t even get me started with the FBI: What? We now lionize this historically destructive institution?”

  • What part of this here, your hero Pompeo’s press release, can’t you fathom at all, CRUDDIE? – “We urge Church and government officials to actively promote … the move towards the establishment of an autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church.”

    Get your pocket dictionary out, then, and look up:

    (1) urge
    (2) promote
    (3) move
    (4) establishment
    (5) autocephalous

    Source: U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, Press Statement, October 19, 2018. URL: Figure it out yourself, Grandpa Cruddie! Alta Vista may still be around to help you.

  • The dishonesty is all yours. The only invading of ecclesiastical territory going on is being done on the territory of the canonical UOC-MP by Constantinople, the Poroshenko government, and the US State Department. US neocon foreign policy gone amok (once again), and interfering with the internal affairs of a Church – allegedly in the name of “religious freedom”. Disgusting hypocrisy.

  • Hate Putin? More like recognize him for what he is. I really don’t see what your link has to do with the recognition of a Ukrainian Orthodox Church not dominated by Putin.

  • So now it’s avoidance and deflection. What prompted the change? The invasion of the Ukraine and seizure of its richest territory by Russia.

    The Russian Orthodox Church is entangled with the Putin government and has a history of religious persecution. Something American evangelicals don’t mind. All because Russia is sympatico with them on ideas like imprisoning and execution LGBT people.

    You are full of it. Going full on Russian trollbot here

  • “With an apparent nod from the U.S. … Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, ..”

    Desperate attempt at trying to tie non connected sentences together. This has nothing to do with countries politics.

  • What part of this sentence in Pompeo’s press release, don’t you get? – “We urge Church and government officials to actively promote … the move towards the establishment of an autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church.”

    Look up these words in any English dictionary:

    (1) urge
    (2) promote
    (3) move
    (4) establishment
    (5) autocephalous

    Source: U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, Press Statement, October 19, 2018.

  • You asking for it: give’em all here right now – either proof that “Ukrainian Orthodox Church not dominated by Putin” or proof you know nothing!

    A lot is riding on the latter bet!

    Only takeaway here is you saying, “I really don’t see”. No you don’t boy!

  • Oh yeah, big change! The canonical UOC-MP remains as it was, except now the two noncanonical schismatic groups are now affiliated with each other under another foreign Patriarch.

    The big question now is whether the other Orthodox Churches will tolerate Bartholomew’s unilateral actions, and in so doing accept a de facto Eastern Pope.

  • Really trying to bury the lede here.

    You would think invasion and seizure of vital territories of a country may cause some problems with state affiliated church and that of the invader.

    You seem hell bent on legitimizing one of the most brazen acts of military aggression in Europe since the Balkan wars .

  • @BenInOakland

    Yes, Orthodox ecclesiology has had and continue to have a messy history. None the less, there is a deep theological rationale in favor of this particular act.

    Essentially, from the broad sweep of history, I suggest one can distinguish three types/classes/categories of patriarchs: (1) The original five Patriarchs of the PENTARCHY system (Rome, Constantinople/Istanbul, Antioch, and Jerusalem; (2) the diverse NATIONAL PATRIARCHS derived from the original Constantinople Patriarchate, leaving the Patriarch of Constantinople the “first among equals” in that sub-system, and (3) the abnormal CATHOLIC PATRIARCH created by the Catholic Church whenever a segment of an Orthodox Church united itself with Rome.

    The first system was the recognition by the early Church that Christianity was growing in four major directions, and designated a leader, a patriarch to guide that multi-directional growth ([a) the Bishop of Rome became Patriarch of the West, with supervision over growth in Western Europe; (b) the Bishop of Constantinople became Patriarch of the growth of Christianity from Constantinople into the Balkans and Eastern Europe; (c) Patriarch of Antioch who supervised growth East across the middle east and into India, and (d) Patriarch of Alexandria who oversaw grown into Africa. The fifth Patriarch of Jerusalem was recognized as honorific.

    Subsequently, the Patriarchy of Antioch and of Alexandra were reduced to rumps in terms of the spread of Christianity as their domains (East to India, and Africa were overrun by Islam in the early middle ages.

    The second system is the crucial one for understanding the creation of the Patriarchy of Ukraine. With the subjection of Constantinople to Islam, the territory governed from there was subdivided, with the full approval of Constantinople into national patriarchies, The Moscow Patriarch and Serbian Patriarch being the most obvious. Within this logic of each nation having its own Patriarch, the emergence of the Patriarch of Ukraine is perfectly natural.

    The Russian Patriarch’s refusal to accept this natural development is exactly as describe in this story–the refusal of Putin an that Patriarch’s refusal to accept Ukraine is a East-Slavic national state, and not an appendage of Russia.

    The third system, the Catholic system, is relevant her only in as much as the Ukraine Catholic Church (effectively an segment of the Ukrainian orthodox church that chose in the 17th century to unite itself to Rome) is a significant player in the complex ecclesial picture in Ukraine. Although this “uniate” church is the larges uniate group that recognized by Rome, Rome has steadfastly refused to recognize this entity as a Patriarch church, despite strong pressure from within that church for such recognition.

    The implicit reason is a very good one. The creation of Catholic patriarchies in the early modern era was a terrible mistake. The purpose was understood at that time that these patriarchies would proselytize the Orthodox, conveting them to Catholicism. Have now abandoned that notion as a very bad idea, the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Ukrainian has been refuse patriarchal status. Effectively, this is an respectful recognition and acceptance by Rome of the send type of Patriarchs, the national Patriarchs.

    From all angles, therefore, understood from the broad sweep the eastern church history, this decision by the Patriarch of Constantinople to create the Patriarchy of Ukraine, an authority that is his as first among equals among the national patriarch derived from the original Pentarchy.

    So, yeah, Putin is mad a hell because he wants to reassert Russian hegemony over the former republics of the USSR, especially Ukraine and Belarus.

  • Thanks for the lengthy explanation of the history and the politics of it. It’s pretty much what I said, but with detail.😜

    But if it pisses off uncle Vladimir, it can’t be all bad.

  • You seem hell bent on legitimizing one of the most brazen acts of ecclesiastical violation of canonical norms in Orthodox Church history.

    Other Churches are starting to speak out in condemnation of the EP’s actions. Just today (January 7), in his Christmas Encyclical, the Patriarch of Serbia spoke of “…our very close and brotherly Ukraine, where the passion filled chauvinist Russophobes, led by corrupt politicians with the assistance of Uniates and, unfortunately, with the uncanonical cooperation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, deepened and spread the existing schism and seriously jeopardized the unity of Orthodoxy in general.”

    One thousand years ago the Orthodox rejected the Pope on the Tiber. They are not likely to welcome a Pope on the Bosporus now.

    The main RELIGIOUS lede here (and this here is RELIGIOUS New Service) is about the brazen attempt by the Phanar to establish its own form of papalism in the Orthodox Church -under the guidance of the US State Department/CIA and the Poroshenko regime. Your myopic political viewpoint results in your missing the wider RELIGIOUS significance of this controversy.

  • LOL! Your deflection is getting amusing at this point. Keep ignoring the reason for the change being prompted by Russian military aggression. Keep pretending there is some other issue in play here.

    You are really going all in for supporting Putin here. Its ridiculously obvious.

  • Your version of the controversy ignores the recent aberrations of EP ecclesiology, typified by its change from seeing the EP as no longer “primus inter pares” but rather as “primus SINE pares”. Its recent actions in the Ukraine are the fruit of this serious change in eccesiology.

    The other Orthodox Churches are not likely to be on board with this innovation, and are unlikely to view it as, in your words, “appropriate”. After all, if the EP can interfere in the internal affairs of one autocephalous Church, what is to stop it from doing so in other autocephalous Churches? The EP is alotting itself near Papal powers. The Orthodox rejected the Latin Pope on the Tiber; they are not likely to welcome a Greek Pope on the Bosporus.

    Just today, January 7, the Patriarch of Serbia said in his Christmas Encyclical: “…our very close and brotherly Ukraine, where the passion filled chauvinist Russophobes, led by corrupt politicians with the assistance of Uniates and, unfortunately, with the uncanonical assistance of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, deepened and spread the existing schism, and jeopardized the unity of Orthodox in general.”

    I suspect this unprecedented power grab and novel eccelesiology of the EP will not be received with open arms in much of the Orthodox world. Putin is hardly on their radar as a threat – unlike the self-aggrandizing power grab of Bartholomew.

  • Wow. Your obsession with Putin blinds you to the serious ecclesiological issue involved.

    All you can see is: Putin, Putin, Putin, Russia, Russia, Russia. All you can see is politics.

    I’ll bet you can’t even see how the US engineered the whole crisis in the Ukraine, from Maidan to the present day, and is now behind this religious crisis in Ukraine. All part of our dangerous and war-mongering Neocon/Globalist foreign policy.

    Let you and your kids fight and die in those conflicts; my family and I want no part of it.

  • @Rich Brant

    To be sure there is more that one version of this controversy. I have a couple of questions, Rich, which will perhaps highlight more specifically where we disagree.

    (1) Do we per chance agree on the distinction between the original pentarchy system of patriarchs which includes the Bishop of Rome as one of the five, prior to the schism of 1054, the the second layer of national patriarchs within the geographic area originally evangelized from Constantinople? To the best of my knowledge, all those national patriachies came into existence and entirely owe their legitimacy to the favor of the Patriarch of the New Rome? And if this is a fair summary of the historical evolution of Orthodox jurisdiction, then can we not say the the underlying principle that guided the formation of new national patriachs is that each independent nation state is entitled to its own patriarch.

    (2) It is not at all clear to me what you mean by “the recent aberrations of EP ecclesiology.” Is this your turn of phrase to express your disagreement with the right of the EP to create new national patriachs as was done in the past? Or are you perhaps referring to something else associated with the recent refusal of Russia to join the call of the EP’s convocation of a pan-orthodox synod?

  • You mean my need to point out the glaringly obvious factual point you have been trying to deflect from, avoid or obscure.

    “All you can see is: Putin, Putin, Putin, Russia, Russia, Russia. All you can see is politics.”

    It helps when we are talking about Russia INVADING a country and using its state affiliated church to legitimize its control.

  • In ancient times, the Church of Cyprus was given autocephaly by the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (431), and the Church of Jerusalem was given Patriarchal status by the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon (451). Neither owed their autocephaly to a unilateral decision of the Patriarch of Constantinople.

    The idea that the later Patriarchates “came into existence and entirely owe their legitimacy to the favor of the Patriarch of the New Rome” is the standard Phanoriot pablum. In actuality, their autocephaly came into practical existence through their own efforts, often in the face of fierce opposition from C-ple. The Bulgarian Church, for example, established its independance in 1872, but was only recognized by C-ple in 1945. The rest of the Orthodox world went on its happy way, not caring much that C-ple was crossing its eyes, holding its breath, and turning blue over the Bulgarian Church until C-ple caved.

    And Constantinople is not the only Church to grant autocephaly. The Patriarchate of Moscow, for example, granted autocephaly to the the Church of the Czech lands of Slovakia in 1951, and the Church of Georgia in 1943. On a related topic, Moscow also granted autonomy to the Church of Japan in 1970, and to the Church of in 1990. So C-ple also does not have exclusive rights to the granting of autonomy either.

    As for the recent aberrations of EP ecclesiology, I am referring to new teachings such as the idea that the EP is not “first among equals” but rather “first without equals”, the idea that the EP is the source and gold standard of Orthodoxy (try selling that to Mark of Ephesus!), and similar concepts being bandied about in C-ple circles. They really believe that Orthodoxy is dependent on their decrepit little Potemkin village Patriarchate.

  • The UOC-MP has continued as it was before, and has hardly been making statements of “legitimize” the Russian control of Crimea. It is an autonomous Church, and the Russian Orthodox Church has no control over its day to day affairs; it only approves the local election of its primate. Research “autonomous Orthodox Churches”.

  • Riiight nothing to do with the relationship between Russia and Ukraine at all. You are completely in Russian trollbot mode right now.

    ‘https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/15/ukrainian-priests-rile-moscow-with-moves-to-set-up-independent-orthodox-church

    “The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has been beholden to Moscow for hundreds of years, and Ukraine’s leaders see its independence as vital to tackling Russian meddling.”

    “Kiev says Moscow-backed churches on its soil are a Kremlin tool to spread propaganda and support fighters in the Donbass region in a conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people.”

  • Something something Putin, something Russia! something something Moscow something, something US neocon blah blah blah.

    You are deep in the neocon darkness. Maybe you could get a job with our State Department, Mike Pompeio, or some other part of our deep state neocon elite establishment – or maybe Soros – if you don’t work for them already!

    A pox on them all.

  • OK, you don’t want to discuss the subject like an honest adult and facts are becoming inconvenient to you. So you just throw a tantrum. Kind of funny there.

  • The Church is also much older than the nation of Greece, which dates to the early nineteenth century.

  • Spuddie has no religious pretensions, knowledge, or significant thoughts.

    Spuddie is simply a pipeline for left Democratic Party, AFL-CIO, and

    Socialist Party USA propaganda.

    I blocked her some time ago. As you can see reading these comments her silliness quickly overwhelms the entire conversation if you play along.

  • “Within this logic of each nation having its own Patriarch, the emergence of the Patriarch of Ukraine is perfectly natural.”

    What logic of each nation having its own Patriarch?

    It is NOT a political division.

    “The implicit reason is a very good one. The creation of Catholic patriarchies in the early modern era was a terrible mistake. The purpose, it was understood at that time, was for these Catholic patriarchies to proselytize the the corresponding Orthodox group, converting them to Catholicism.”

    The implicit reason is that the Catholic Church seeks rapprochement with the Orthodox Communion.

    The uniate churches have become lightning rods for resentment, on one side because they attempted to proselytize Orthodox, on the other side because under the Communists the uniates were forcibly united with the Orthodox and their churches taken.

    In addition the Romanization of the uniates leaves the distinct impression that the patrimony of the East will be subjugated in any union with Rome. This patronizing and dismissive attitude led members of the Ruthenian Catholic Church in the United States to associate with the Russian Orthodox Church in the late 19th century:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexis_Toth

    What seems unclear is the canonical basis for a “decision by the Patriarch of Constantinople to create the Patriarchy of Ukraine”, since Orthodoxy operates under canons that were adopted later than the original Pentarchy.

  • I have been discussing the subject of the religious canonical issues of autocephaly.

    You seem utterly incapable of grasping them, so all you do is talk politics. I already hear enough war-mongering neocon politics being spoon fed to all of us by our State Department, our Generals, and our mass media. Sad.

  • You are dancing around underlying issues and essentially taking the stance of the invaders and occupiers of the Crimea. It’s just that simple.

  • Is that you, Mike Pompeio? LOL.

    Not buying your neocon claptrap. Enough with the endless wars already.

    When you want to discuss the religious issues concerning autocephaly, I will be happy to do that.

    If you want to spout neocon talking points, you’ll have to do that on your own.

  • Your deflection and avoidance is getting funny.

    So why would the US even want to aid in the Ukrainian government’s efforts to split its nationally recognized church from the one associated with the one of the invading country?

    Oh right, because the Russian Orthodox Church has been entangled with the Russian state’s political policies for years.

    You are trying to pretend this is a strictly Church heirarchy/management issue. All this does is demonstrate your level of mendacity and some weird desire to be a propaganda organ for Russia’s government.

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