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Anne Applebaum’s — and the Pentagon’s take on Europe

Europe is a peninsula of Eurasia, and it is at last awaking up to the fact that its trans-Atlantic bonds are what threaten its future

Alex Christoforou




(New Eastern Outlook) – I remember during how during World War II Americans anxiously tuned in to their radios to hear the news from the US’s two fronts: invariably, there were figures on how many miles our troops had advanced in the latest battles. Journalists, which later came to be referred to as ‘embedded’ with the fighting forces, competed to publish the figures first.

Nowadays, American journalists simply state that in 2014 Russia ‘invaded’ Ukraine, without reporting how many kilometers its troops covered on any given day. (Obviously, Western journalists were not ‘embedded’ with the invading Russian force, however three years later, we still do not have the faintest idea how the invasion they still refer to went down. The mighty Russian army that ‘threatens’ Europe never arrived in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, a mere 236 miles from the Russian border. In fact, its presence on Ukrainian territory is limited to supporting two Russian-inhabited rebel provinces.

And yet, serious writers like Anne Applebaum, (wife of former Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski and a scholar with a host of credentials), in a recent issue of the New York Review of Books, no differently than tv journalists, claims that ‘Russia invaded Ukraine’.

Applebaum’s marriage to a high-level Polish official (whose Wiki includes more details about his accomplishments than that of any international leader you can think of ), and her acquisition of Polish citizenship, (although dual nationality is officially frowned upon by the State Department), together with her professional focus on Eastern Europe, suggests the likelihood that she would write from a Polish perspective, which is tainted by centuries’ long enmity toward Russia.

Even allowing for that bias, Applebaum’s article, built around a review of six books on Europe, paints a dire picture, yet fails to mention the role US force-feeding of neo-liberal economic policies played in the EU’s downfall from worker paradise to a pariah ripe for Russian ‘taking’.

Applebaum’s list of problems includes the migrant crisis (which can be traced to US wars of aggression) terrorism (ditto) international corruption (which affects the entire world), the single currency, high youth unemployment and ‘Russian revan-chism’. Youth unemployment too can be laid at neo-liberalism’s door, as seen when France’s new president, a former banker and neo-liberal poster child, made it easier for companies to fire people, supposedly in order to boost employment: the breadth and violence of the reaction surpasses anything demo-prone France has seen since the 1968 Paris Spring.

While Applebaum laments the absence of a common foreign and defense policy between the EU’s member states, she knows that the US is probably lobbying to prevent this from happening. Quoting the author of ‘The Great Regression, Heinrich Geiselberger: “All the risks of globalization that were discerned (in the 90’s) actually became reality.” And “Many hoped (the EU and NATO) would also help integrate Russia and North Africa into Europe.’ (Note the hubris of that idea, as opposed to more cooperation between equals when it comes to Russia and the fact that much of Europe is viscerally opposed to welcoming ‘dark people’ especially if they are Muslims).

Applebaum goes on to muddy the waters by claiming that ‘the US and Great Britain, who see the EU as a ‘left-leaning’ institution, will be surprised to learn that many contributors to [Geiselberger’s] book see the EU as part of the same neo-liberal problem.” Applebaum practices here the neo-liberal sleight-of-hand that blames the victim for the problem. If the EU is part of the ‘neo-liberal problem’ it’s because its leaders are incapable of resisting the pressure of US-led globalization.

As for ‘Russian revanchism’, this claim is developed in detail in an article for the Department of Defense’s Center for Complex Operations, by John Herbst, the Director of the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center and a retired U.S. Ambassador toUkraine and Uzbekistan. In “PRISM Volume 6, Number 2 | July 18, 2016”, Herbst claims that:

For instance, Ossetia didn’t shell Georgia, it was invaded and a handful of Russian peacekeepers paid with their lives to buy Ossetians some time before “the cavalry” came. From the very first days of the post-Soviet world, Moscows security services developed the frozen conflict” tactic to limit the sovereignty of its neighbors. They supported Armenian separatists in the Azerbaijan region of Nagorno-Karabakh in order to exert pressure on Azeris, South Ossetians, and Ajarians; the Abkhaz in Georgia to pressure Tbilisi; and the Slavs in Transnistria in order to keep Chisinau, the Moldovan capital, in check. For those who mistakenly blame current tensions with Moscow on NATO enlargement, it is worth noting that Moscow had its frozen conflicts policy in place before talk of the first expansion of NATO.”

Herbst fails to admit that harking back to a basic socialist tradition, one of Russia’s core principles is the defense of national sovereignty, while the US has systematically organized ‘color revolutions’ in the nations on Russia’s border in order to draw them into its orbit with the goal of eventually rendering Russia vulnerable to a takeover, complete with its trove of precious minerals and other resources.

According to Herbst:

“ After the Rose Revolution in Georgia in the fall of 2003, which drove President Eduard Shevardnadze from power, the Kremlin instituted a trade embargo and undertook various military provocations. In late July 2008, Russias South Ossetian proxies began to shell Georgian positions. A sharp Georgian response gave Moscow the pretext to send in troops in August, which promptly defeated the Georgians.”

The official Russian version of the ‘Georgian War’ is that Georgian soldiers stormed into the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali, causing Russia to send in troops to restore South Ossetian sovereignty. Yet Herbst continues:

Led by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Western mediators established a diplomatic process that led to a ceasefire. The United States sent humanitarian assistance to Georgia and, as a caution to Moscow not to send its troops further into Georgia beyond South Ossetia, delivered it via the U.S. military. Moscow did not take the war beyond South Ossetia.”

This account is a bit silly, as if by delivering aid ‘via the US military’ — whatever that means — was sufficient to deter Russia from further action. Why would Russia want to ‘take action’ against Georgia, anyway?

That’s just part of the usual obfuscation: there was actually a series of color revolutions, starting with the 2003 Rose Revolution in Georgia, the 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine and the 2005 Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan. An American, Gene Sharp, is credited with providing the blueprint for the ‘color revolutions’ with his writings on non-violent change, and the US-educated and installed Sakashvili ruined Georgia all on his own, then sought refuge in Ukraine, where he was first given citizenship, then asked to leave. But Ukraine is another story.

Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution pitted a pro-Russian candidate against a nationalist, and was won by the nationalist. In the following election in that country, in 2010, the outcome was reversed, followed by EU efforts to woo Ukraine away from Russia by offering membership. American analysts never mention the reason why Russia opposed that membership: Russia has an economic treaty with Ukraine, that would not only result in EU and Ukrainian goods reciprocally circulating freely: EU goods would be able to enter Russia as well, with no reciprocity.

According to Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland in a speech to the Washington Press Club in December, 2013, the US spent five billion dollars encouraging Ukrainian demands for EU membership. That speech was uploaded to the internet the following February, when it became clear that violence in Kiev’s Maidan Square would culminate in a US-engineered coup against the elected pro-Russian President, Viktor Yanukovich. He fled on February, 22, 2014, after Neo-Nazi militiamen threatened an accord that had just been reached to end the clashes.

One of the militia leaders, Dmitri Yaros, who subsequently became Minister of the Interior, gave an expansive interview that Timepublished in its February 5, 2014 issue, and which was subsequently scrubbed from the internet. That interview, which can be accessed via the name of the interviewer, Simon Shuster is the most valuable document we have to prove that references to Neo-Nazis in Ukraine are vastly understated.

Yaros candidly traces the history of his movement from World War II, when Ukrainian nationalist Stepan Bandera organized militias to kill Russians, Poles and Jews alongside Hitler’s SS, hoping the Reich would reward them with independence when it defeated the Soviet Union. (Ukraine only existed as an indepen-dent territorial entity for two years after World War I, and since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.) Today, the Ukrainian government is still supported by the Neo-Nazi militias that provided the muscle on the Maidan.

Back to Herbst’s version of history:

Putin has escalated his intervention [into Ukraine] several times. It began in April 2015 with Russian leadership, arms, and money” (almost a year after the formation of the Peoples’ Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk…). When Ukraine launched its counter-offensive under newly elected President Petro Poroshenko in June 2015, the Kremlin sent in increasingly sophisticated weapons, more fighters (including the Vostok Battalion of Chechens), and finally, the regular Russian army itself in August.

According to Herbst:

Only the use of regular Russian forces stopped the Ukrainian counteroffensive. Throughout this period, the West was slow and weak in confronting the Kremlin. For instance, the G7 leaders had warned Putin in early June that if he did not cease his intervention in Ukraine by the end of the month, Russia would face sectoral sanctions. Yet by the end of June, despite the introduction of major Russian weapons systems into Ukraine, there was no more talk of sectoral sanctions. Only the July shooting-down of the Malaysian passenger jet, along with the invasion (sic) by Russian troops, persuaded the Europeans to put those sanctions in place.” (Once again, this is a doctored version of Russian history: MH17 was not shot down by “top of the line” Russian weapons, but is widely believed to have been brought down by a Buk, an old Soviet weapon no longer in use by the Russian military, but still used by Ukrainians at the time. Also, according to this paragraph, the so-called Russian ‘invasion’ took place more than a year after the Kiev coup and the Eastern provinces declarations of autonomy!)

After regular Russian forces defeated the Ukrainian army in early September 2015, Germany and France helped negotiate the Minsk I ceasefire, which Russia repeatedly violated by introducing more equipment and military supplies into Ukraine and taking an additional 500 square kilometers of Ukrainian territory. This escalated aggression, however, did not lead to any additional sanctions last year.”

Where are these 500 square kilometers of Ukrainian territory that have supposedly been ‘taken’ by Russia? Again, deliberate obfuscation reigns. The reference is to ‘regular Russian forces’ as in an invading army, when in reality Russian volunteers were aiding the citizen armies of the Russian-speaking Peoples Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, while President Putin discouraging their hopes for integration into Russia.

The case of Crimea is different: unlike Eastern Ukraine, it had always been part of Russia since Catherine the Great seized it from Turkey, and it hosts Russia’s only warm water fleet, per a long-term treaty with Kiev. Given the strong presence of fascists in the post-2014 government, Russia could not risk having its naval base confiscated. The ‘little green men’ so popular with journalists were part of the contingent regularly stationed in Sebastopol.

However, according to Herbst:

“Putin’s second vulnerability concerns the use of his army in Ukraine. While his media have conducted an extensive smear campaign against Ukraine and its leadership, they have not been able to persuade the Russian people that Russian troops should be used there. Since the summer of 2015, numerous polls by Moscow’s Levada Center have shown that a large majority of the Russian people oppose using troops in Ukraine. Because of this, Putin has denied the presence of Russian troops there, despite strong evidence to the contrary. For example, thousands of regular Russian troops were used in August and September of 2014 to stop Ukraines counter-offensive.” (We have heard nothing of these supposed military to military battles. Where were the journalists?)

In January 2015, Western intelligence estimates reported that there were anywhere between 250 to 1,000 Russian officers in Ukraine, while Ukrainian intelligence claimed that there were as many as 9,000 or 10,000 Russian troops. Even Putin finally acknowledged in December 2015 that there were “some” Russian military in the Donbass.”

Broadening his analysis, Herbst seemingly lets his imagina-tion run wild: in reality this is a shop-worn effort to present the US attitude toward Russia as being more than willing to engage in joint efforts:

The United States might also enhance cooperation with all interested Central Asian states to offset the potential destabilizing impact of its withdrawal from Afghanistan. While this may seem counterintuitive, this last initiative need not exclude the Kremlin. Indeed, NATO and the EU can also help strengthen some nations on Russias periphery by projects that include the Kremlin. This would also demonstrate that NATO and EU policies are designed not just to discourage Kremlin aggression, but also to resuscitate cooperation on matters of mutual interest.”

But then – inevitably:

Policy in the grey zone should also focus on state weaknesses that Moscow exploits to ensure its control. As discussed above, the Kremlin uses its intelligence services to recruit agents in the power ministries of the post-Soviet states. It also uses its firms to acquire key sectors of these countries’ economies and to buy political influence.

With interested countries, the United States and NATO should offer programs to help vet (sic) the security services and militaries to make clear that (or to ensure that?) they both are under the full control of the political leaders in these states. At the same time, the United States and the EU should expand programs to uncover corruption in the financial and other sectors of these countries’ economies.

It’s hard to decide whether this breezy program qualifies as mere hutzpa or beyond the pale delusion: to imagine that ‘the Stans’ that ring Russia’s southern border, where Muslims live peaceful and increasingly comfortable lives, would be interested in US hucksterism, is almost beyond belief. Clearly, the Pentagon’s imagination is running wild:

Two years after Russia began to tear Ukraine apart,(!) and seven years after it did the same in Georgia, (!!) the West is finally waking up to the danger of Kremlin revanchism.”

What do the Pentagon’s ‘experts’ know about the intricacies of South Ossetian, Abkhazian or Azerbaijani politics — much less these three small nations’ relations with Russia? (Do any of them even speak these countries’ languages?) We seem to have ended up a long way from Applebaum’s Europe, but only to the extent that we buy into her view of it as a superior ‘civilization’ which the countries that make up the major part of the Eurasian continent — as well as Africa —should emulate. Europe is a peninsula of Eurasia, and it is at last awaking up to the fact that its trans-Atlantic bonds are what threaten its future.

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Massacre in Crimea kills dozens, many in critical condition

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

The Duran



“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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Russian Orthodox Church officially breaks ties with Constantinople

Biggest separation in almost 1,000 years as world’s largest Orthodox Church cuts communion with Constantinople over legitimizing schismatics.

Seraphim Hanisch



The schism between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate became official today, October 15, 2018, as the Russian Holy Synod reviewed the recent granting of communion to two schismatic groups in Ukraine, pursuant to Constantinople’s intent to grant autocephaly (full self-rule, or independence) to the agglomeration of these groups.

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RT reported that the Synod ruled that any further clerical relations with Constantinople are impossible, given the current conditions. Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev told journalists today about the breach in relations:

“A decision about the full break of relations with the Constantinople Patriarchate has been taken at a Synod meeting” that is currently been held in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, Hilarion said, as cited by TASS.

The move comes days after the Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate decided to eventually grant the so-called autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, thus making the clerical organization, which earlier enjoyed a broad autonomy within the Moscow Patriarchate, fully independent.

The Moscow Patriarchate also said that it would not abide by any decisions taken by Constantinople and related to the status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. “All these decisions are unlawful and canonically void,” Hilarion said, adding that “the Russian Orthodox Church does not recognize these decisions and will not follow them.”

At the same time, the Russian Church expressed its hope that “a common sense will prevail” and Constantinople will change its decision. However, it still accused the Ecumenical Patriarch of initiating the “schism.”

The marks the most significant split in the Orthodox Church since the Great Schism of 1054, in which Rome excommunicated Constantinople, a breach between the Roman Catholics and Orthodox which has persisted ever since then, becoming hardened and embittered after the Roman Catholic armies sacked Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in 1204.

Many other local Orthodox Churches expressed support for the Moscow Patriarchate’s position prior to today’s announcement, but the break in relations between these two churches does not have any known affect on local churches who hold communion with both Moscow and the Ecumenical Patriarchate at this time.

The website ran the entire statement of the Holy Synod regarding this situation. We offer a brief summary of statements here, taken from that source and, adding emphasis.

With deepest pain, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church received the message of the Patriarchate of Constantinople published on October 11, 2018 about the decisions adopted by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople: on the confirmation of the intention to “grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church”; on the opening of the “stavropegion” of the Patriarch of Constantinople in Kiev; on the “restoration in the hierarchal or priestly rank” of the leaders of the Ukrainian schism and their followers and the “return of their faithful to Church communion”; and on the “cancellation of the action” of the conciliar charter of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1686 concerning the transfer of the Kiev Metropolia to the Moscow Patriarchate

The Synod of the Church of Constantinople made these decisions unilaterally, ignoring the calls of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the entirety of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as the fraternal Local Orthodox Churches, and their primates and bishops for pan-Orthodox discussion of the issue.

Entering into communion with those who have departed into schism, let alone those who have been excommunicated from the Church, is tantamount to departing into schism and is severely condemned by the canons of the holy Church: “If any one of the bishops, presbyters, or deacons, or any of the clergy shall be found communicating with excommunicated persons, let him also be excommunicated, as one who brings confusion on the order of the Church” (Canon 2 of the Council of Antioch; Canon 10, 11 of the Holy Apostles).

The decision of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the “restoration” of the canonical status and the reception into communion of the former Metropolitan Philaret Denisenko, excommunicated from the Church, ignores a number of successive decisions of the Bishops’ Councils of the Russian Orthodox Church, the legitimacy of which are beyond doubt.

By the decision of the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Kharkov of May 27, 1992, Metropolitan Philaret (Denisenko) was removed from the Kiev Cathedra and was banned from the clergy for not fulfilling the oath made by him before the cross and the Gospel at the previous Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church.

By its ruling of June 11,1992, the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, confirmed the decision of the Kharkov Council and expelled Philaret Denisenko from his rank, depriving him of every degree of the priesthood on the following charges: “Cruel and arrogant attitude to the subordinate clergy, dictatorialness, and intimidation (Tit. 1:7-8; Canon 27 of the Holy Apostles); introducing temptation among the faithful by his behavior and personal life (Matthew 18:7; Canon 3 of the First Ecumenical Council, Canon 5 of the Sixth Ecumenical Council); oath-breaking (Canon 25 of the Holy Apostles); public slander and blasphemy against the Bishops’ Council (Canon 6 of the Second Ecumenical Council); the celebration of clerical functions, including ordinations, in a state of suspension (Canon 28 of the Holy Apostles); the perpetration of a schism in the Church (Canon 15 of the First-Second Council).” All ordinations performed by Philaret in a suspended state since May 27, 1992, and the punishments imposed by him, were declared invalid.

Despite repeated calls for repentance, after the deprivation of his hierarchal rank Philaret Denisenko continued his schismatic activity, including within the bounds of other Local Churches. By the ruling of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church of 1997, he was given over to anathema.

The aforesaid decisions were recognized by all the Local Orthodox Churches, including the Church of Constantinople.

… Now, after more than two decades, the Patriarchate of Constantinople has changed its position for political reasons.

… St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain, in his Pedalion, which is an authoritative source of ecclesiastical-canonical law of the Church of Constantinople, interprets Canon 9 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, rejecting the false opinion on the right of Constantinople to consider appeals from other Churches: “The Primate of Constantinople does not have the right to act in the dioceses and provinces of other Patriarchs, and this rule did not give him the right to take appeals on any matter in the Ecumenical Church… “ Listing a whole range of arguments in favor of this interpretation, referring to the practice of the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils, St. Nikodemos concludes: “At present … the Primate of Constantinople is the first, the only, and the last judge over the metropolitans subordinate to him—but not over those who are subject to the rest of the Patriarchs. For, as we said, the last and universal judge of all the Patriarchs is the Ecumenical Council and no one else.” It follows from the above that the Synod of the Church of Constantinople does not have canonical rights to withdraw judicial decisions rendered by the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church.

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Patriarch Bartholomew lifts anathemas on schismatics in Ukraine (VIDEO)

Most of the Orthodox world is in strong opposition to this move by Patriarch Bartholomew, whose motivations seem not to be of Christ.

Seraphim Hanisch



The biggest news in the Eastern Orthodox world in recent times occurred on Thursday, October 11, 2018. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, lifted the anathemas against two schismatic Ukrainian Churches and their leaders, paving the way to the creation of a fully independent Ukrainian national Orthodox Church.

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This announcement was given in English and is shown here in video with the textual transcript following:

“Presided by His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Holy and Sacred Synod convened for its regular session from October 9 to 11, 2018 in order to examine and discuss items on its agenda. The Holy Synod discussed in particular and at length, the ecclesiastical mater of Ukraine in the presence of His Excellency Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon and His Grace Bishp Ilarion of Edmonon, Patriarchal Exarchs to Ukraine, and following extensive deliberations decreed (emphasis added):

First, to renew the decision already made, that the Ecumenical Patriarchate proceed to the granting of autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine;

Second, to re-establish at this moment the stavropegion of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Kiev—one of its many starvorpegion in Ukraine that existed there always;

Third, to accept and review the petitions of appeal of Philaret Denisenko and Makary Maletich and their followers who found themselves in schism not for dogmatic reasons, in accordance with the canonical prerogatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to receive such petitions by hierarchs and other clergy of all the autocephalous Churches. Thus, the above mentioned have been canonically reinstated to their hierarchical or priestly rank, and their faithful have been restored to communion with the Church;

Fourth, to revoke the legal binding of the Synodal letter of the year 1686, issued for the circumstances of that time, which granted the right through economia to the Patriarch of Moscow to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev elected by the clergy-laity assembly of his eparchy, who would commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch as the first hierarch at any celebration, proclaiming and affirming his canonical dependence to the Mother Church of Constantinople;

Fifth, to appeal to all sides involved that they avoid appropriation of churches, monasteries, and other properties as well as every other act of violence and retaliation so that he peace and love of Christ may prevail.”

There are a few things that must be said about what this declaration is not before we get to the matter of what the points of actually are. The point of reference is the strict letter of the text above itself.

  • This is not a granting of autocephaly (full independent self-rule status) like the fourteen universally canonical Orthodox jurisdictions in the world. However, it is a huge step towards this status.
  • As far as Constantinople is concerned, Filaret Denisenko, the leader and “Patriarch” of the “Kyiv Patriarchate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church” and Makary, the “Metropolitan” of the “Ukrainian Orthodox Autocephalous Church”, and all their faithful are now restored to communion. The statement says that this applies to “The Church” which may be trying to state that these two men (and all the faithful that they lead), are now in communion with the entirety of canonical Orthodoxy, but more likely, this may be a carefully worded statement to say they now are in communion with Constantinople alone.
  • There is an official call for the cessation of the violence directed against the Moscow Patriarchate parishes and communities, who are the only canonically recognized Orthodox Church in Ukraine, and who are also the largest by far in that country. The Kyiv Patriarchate and Uniate (Roman oriented) Greek Catholics in Ukraine have gone on record for seizing MP church properties, often by force, with neo-Nazi sympathizers and other radical Ukrainian nationalists. So this official call to cease the violence is now a matter of public record.

However, the reaction has been far less civil than the clergy wished for.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko: “Expressing his view of the Moscow Patriarchate, Poroshenko added, “This is a great victory of the God-loving Ukrainian people over the Moscow demons, the victory of Good over Evil, the victory of Light over Darkness.”’

Perhaps this is the reason Metropolitan Onuphry of Ukraine (exarch under the Moscow Patriarchate) has been labeled an enemy of Ukraine and is now receiving death threats. Very civil.

Poroshenko’s statement is all the more bizarre, considering that it has been Ukrainian ultra-nationalists that have been violently attacking Moscow – related parishes in Ukraine. This has been corroborated by news sources eager to pin the blame on Russia, such as the U.K. Guardian.

The Union of Orthodox Journalists, based in Kiev and supportive of the Moscow Patriarchate, has been under intense cyber attack since October 11th, when the EP’s announcement was issued.

Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) Chancellor, Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary: “What happened at the Synod in Istanbul yesterday shocked the entire Orthodox world. It seems the Patriarchate of Constantinople is consciously embarking on a path of schism in world Orthodoxy. Patriarch Bartholomew ignored the calls of the Local Churches to convene a meeting of the primates to work out a common and conciliar solution to the Ukrainian Church issue and unilaterally made very serious but erroneous decisions. I hope the Orthodox world will give this action an objective evaluation… Having received the schismatics into communion, Patriarch Bartholomew did not make them canonical, but has himself embarked on the path of schism. The schismatics remain schismatics. They did not receive any autocephaly or tomos. It seems they have lost even that independence, although non-canonical, that they had and which they always emphasized.”

Metropolitan Rostislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia:“The Orthodox world recognizes the only canonical primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church—His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine. This fact was repeatedly mentioned and confirmed by the primate of the Great Church of Christ His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on behalf of all present at the Synaxis of the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches that was held in Chambésy (Switzerland) from January 21 to 27, 2016. Therefore, any attempt to legalize the Ukrainian schismatics by the state authorities should be strongly condemned by all the primates of the Local Orthodox Churches.

Patriarch Irinej of Serbia wrote two letters to the Ecumenical Patriarch, advocating that the provision of a new autocephaly is possible only with the consent of all local Orthodox Churches. According to (Translation by,

“In these letters, it was very clearly stated that the granting of autocephaly cannot be the prerogative the Patriarchate of Constantinople alone, that new autocephalies must be created only with the consent of all the Local Orthodox Churches, as the Holy Synod of Antioch also said in its recent statement.”

Pat. Irinej also warned the Patriarchate of Constantinople against making such major decisions unilaterally, because “it will not bring harmony and peace to the Ukrainian land, but, on the contrary, will cause new divisions and new schisms.”

The Holy Synod of Antioch, the oldest Orthodox Church, and actually the very first place where the disciples of Christ were even called “Christians” weighed in on the issue as well and they had several things to say:

“The fathers examined the general Orthodox situation. They stressed that the Church of Antioch expresses her deep worries about the attempts to change the boundaries of the Orthodox Churches through a new reading of history. She considers that resorting to a unilateral reading of history does not serve Orthodox unity. It rather contributes to the fueling of the dissensions and quarrels within the one Church. Thus, the Church of Antioch refuses the principle of establishing parallel jurisdictions within the canonical boundaries of the Patriarchates and the autocephalous Churches as a way to solve conflicts, or as a de facto situation in the Orthodox world.

To summarize, this move by Constantinople is not being warmly received by many, many people. Most of the local Churches are on record giving their reaction to this process. In brief, here is the list most of the Local Churches and a one or two word summary of their reactions.

Patriarchate of Georgia: Unilateral action is wrong; Constantinople and Moscow must cooperate and find a solution together.

Patriarchate of Jerusalem: recognizes Ukraine as a canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church alone, as do all other local Churches

Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa: The Church does not bow to politicians. Moscow-led church is the only canonical Church in Ukraine.

Archbishop of Cyprus: Decries the Ukrainian situation but offered to mediate a discussion between Moscow and Constantinople

Bulgarian Patriarchate: Interference of the State in Church affairs leads to serious and negative consequences for both.

Polish Orthodox Church: Metropolitan Sawa called for a council of Orthodox ruling hierarchs to discuss this situation.

Estonian Orthodox Church: Condemns Constantinople’s actions in Ukraine.

Greek Archdiocese of America: Supports Constantinople’s actions in Ukraine.

The Orthodox Church of Greece (Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus quoted): “Schismatics, as we know, are not the Church, and communion with them is forbidden by the Divine and holy canons and the Apostolic and Ecumenical Councils. Why then this persistence of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in recognizing schismatics as an autocephalous Church? To provoke schisms and divisions in the one universal and Apostolic Church of Christ?”

Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR): Ceased commemoration of Constantinople, ceased concelebration with Constantinople.

This issue has also rocked the secular geopolitical world.

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