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Armenia may now be shifting toward Europe – but there’s a catch

Yerevan badly needs nuclear energy, but the EU wants to force the country to shut down its power plant

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(New Eastern Outlook) – In November 2017, the Republic of Armenia (RA) plans to sign an important treaty with the European Union. The document is known as the “Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement” (CEPA). In the view of its supporters, the expansion of cooperation with the EU as a result of the CEPA implementation should benefit the Armenian economy. However, the conditions put forward by the European party make people doubt the benefits of the agreement for the Republic of Armenia.

One of the important requirements of the EU, which Armenia must fulfill in accordance with the CEPA, is the closure of the Armenian nuclear power plant.

The Armenian (Metsamor) NPP is located near Metsamor in the Ararat Valley, 28 km from Yerevan. More than 100 Soviet enterprises and organizations, most of which belonged to the RSFSR, took part in the construction of the station and the manufacture of necessary equipment, and after the collapse of the USSR, it was taken over by the Russian state corporation “Rosatom.”

The first power unit of the Armenian nuclear power plant was launched in 1976, and the second unit was put into operation in 1980. The project of the station was developed taking into account the seismic activity of the Armenian highland. The increased strength of the buildings, the monolithic slab in the basement and the hydro-depreciation system made it possible to prevent an accident during the devastating Spitak earthquake of December 1988. The earthquake claimed tens of thousands of lives and caused tremendous damage to the Armenian infrastructure and industry, but there was no radiological catastrophe. Moreover, the Armenian NPP remained fully operational.

However, in fear of new ground tremors, the Soviet leadership decided not to take the risk, and in early 1989, the operations of both units of the nuclear power plant were ceased. The Armenian SSR then shifted to using hydrocarbon fuel as its main energy source. Armenia does not have its own larger or smaller oil and gas fields. Therefore, hydrocarbons were supplied by rail and gas pipelines from the Azerbaijan SSR, the Turkmen SSR and the RSFSR. After the dissolution of the USSR and the beginning of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict in Nagorny Karabakh, the shipments by Azerbaijan were stopped. The transit of Russian energy carriers through the territory of Georgia also became impossible due to the military activities in Abkhazia and Ossetia. Turkey, which supported Azerbaijan in the Karabakh conflict, blocked all communication through the Turkish-Armenian border. Armenia thus found itself blockaded.

After that, the energy crisis of 1992-1995 broke out in Armenia, which became a difficult page in Armenian history. The relaunch of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant helped overcome it. In 1993, the Government of Armenia decided to begin rehabilitation work on the second power unit of the station. The first unit was then already partially dismantled and was not fit for restoration. In November 1995, Power Unit No. 2 of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant was put back into operation again.

At present, the station generates up to 40% of all the electricity consumed in the RA. Despite the successful operation of two Armenian thermal power plants and several dozen hydropower stations, as well as energy exchange with Iran, it remains a strategically important target for Armenian energy security. Therefore, for many, the demand of the European Union to close the Armenian nuclear power plant is puzzling: do the expansion of cooperation with the EU and the possibility of the introduction of a visa-free regime cost 40% of electricity?

It should be noted that the EU has long been pushing for the closure of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant. This issue has been raised periodically in the negotiations between Brussels and Yerevan since the early 2000s. Also, Azerbaijan and Turkey have for many years been demanding that the station operations be discontinued. However, these two countries have been engaged in a long-standing conflict with Armenia, and there is nothing surprising about their desire to try and weaken it. Nevertheless, the motives of the EU leadership are not yet very clear.

Usually, the supporters of the station closure are explaining their position in terms of security considerations. Thus, on 26 April 2017, the day of the 31st anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan once again called upon the international community to turn its attention to the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant. It was stated that the station was built based on the same technologies as the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, that it is located in a seismically hazardous zone, and that no major repairs have ever been carried out on it in all its years of existence, as the RA does not have the means to fully maintain its nuclear power plant. According to the representatives of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Armenian NPP poses a threat to the lives of millions of people in the region of the Caspian, Black and Mediterranean seas.

Most of these statements are untrue. First, the Armenian NPP does not have much in common with the Chernobyl NPP. As mentioned above, the plant was designed taking into account the increased seismicity of the construction area. At the Armenian NPP, VVER-440 reactors were installed that are much more stable than the RBMK reactors operating at Chernobyl. Secondly, the operation of the station is constantly supervised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has repeatedly confirmed its security. Other international organizations are also in agreement with the IAEA.

For example, in August-September 2017, The World Association of NPP Operators audited the operation of the Armenian NPP. A panel of experts from eight countries assessed the plant performance in terms of international safety standards. Following this assessment, some of them stated that the level of safety of the Armenian NPP is higher than that of most European nuclear power plants.

The European Union also recently had the opportunity to verify the plant’s security: in the summer of 2016, a group of experts from the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group and representatives of the European Commission conducted an expert assessment of the report on the “stress test” at the Armenian NPP. It should be recalled that, after the accident at the Japanese station “Fukushima-1” in 2011, it was decided that all European nuclear power plants were to undergo a “stress test,” during which reactors were supposed to operate under conditions close to the conditions of the Fukushima accident. A number of non-EU countries, including Armenia, also voluntarily decided to conduct such tests.

With regard to the maintenance of the Armenian NPP, to which, according to the Azerbaijani MFA, the RA does not have any funds allocated, it should be recalled that, since the relaunching of the station in 1995, Russian specialists from Rosatom have been carrying out the planned repairs. Rosatom is currently in the process of extending the operating life of Power Unit No. 2 of the Armenian NPP in accordance with the agreement that the Russian Federation and Armenia concluded in 2014. In May 2017, the RA Ministry of Energy stated that two thirds of these works had been completed. The Russian party took over the financing of the modernization of the nuclear power plant by allocating Armenia a credit of USD 270 million and a grant of USD 30 million.

Thus, the statements coming from Azerbaijan about the threat posed by the Armenian NPP to the whole region appear groundless. Many experts believe that the large-scale company deployed by Azerbaijan and Turkey against the atomic energy of the Republic of Armenia only has the goal of weakening its old enemy, inflicting it with maximum damage by any means. There is even a perception that the closure of the nuclear power plant is necessary for Azerbaijan in connection with its military plans.

It should be recalled that in April 2016, after more than 20 years of armistice, some fighting broke out between the armed forces of the RA and the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic on the one hand and the Azerbaijan troops on the other. The fighting was soon halted, but after that, some high-ranking Azerbaijani officials began threatening Armenia with a missile attack. One of the reasons why these threats are not yet feasible is the state of the Armenian NPP. Local weather conditions are such that in the event of Azerbaijani missiles hitting a station loaded with nuclear fuel, the wind would carry the resulting radioactive cloud back to Azerbaijani territory. Thus, the NPP is not only an important source of energy for Armenia, but also a defense barrier against military blackmail.

If the behavior of Azerbaijan and its ally Turkey seems understandable, the reason for their support by the European Union is unclear. The EU is not offering Armenia any specific substitution for its nuclear energy. There are only unclear promises of investment in renewable energy sources. Given the precarious financial situation of the EU, its promises should not be relied upon. The RA itself does not have the means to change its energy in a revolutionary manner. It is argued that once it accepts the EU conditions and signs the СЕРА, the country will immediately undergo a new energy crisis or become energy dependent on the countries that would agree to supply Armenia with hydrocarbons. If it were Azerbaijan, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic could forget its independence. Perhaps Brussels, which is now concerned about the integrity of the EU after Brexit and the events in Catalonia, would welcome such a result.

However, the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant is clearly not scheduled to close in the near future. As mentioned above, Rosatom is now working to extend its term of service to 2026. The possibility of building a new unit equipped with a more modern and safe Russian VVER-1000 reactor is still being discussed. In October 2017, the Russian company TVEL (a subsidiary of Rosatom specializing in the production of nuclear fuel) and the management of the Armenian NPP signed a new major contract for the fuel supply.

At the end of October 2017, there was held a regular meeting of the Security Council for Nuclear Energy under the President of Armenia, at which Armenian leader Serzh Sargsyan stated that the preservation and development of nuclear energy remains a strategic direction for the country.

All this clearly contradicts the conditions of the СЕРА. The EU may have to reconsider its requirements if it wants the treaty to be signed.

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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.

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“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

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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 Orthochristian.com ran the entire statement of the Holy Synod regarding this situation. We offer a brief summary of statements here, taken from that source and patriarcha.ru, 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

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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 Sedmitza.ru (Translation by Pravoslavie.ru),

“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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