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Crooks, clowns, and Nazis – failed state Ukraine’s glorious leaders need a new war

The cabal in charge in Kiev has utterly destroyed their country. Now all they have left is more conflict

The Saker

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(The Saker) – The latest big news out of the Ukraine

Have you heard what the latest big news out of the Ukraine is? No? There is a mini-Maidan under way and Ukrainian nationalists seem to hope that Poroshenko will be kicked out before the end of the week. You did not know? Well, that is the real big news, the fact that you did not hear about this.

Truthfully, what is going on is kind of interesting. Let me sum it up: the former President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili (who was stripped from his Georgian citizenship and of his Ukrainian citizenship) recently crossed the border (through Poland, of course) and proceeded to travel to Kiev to demand Poroshenko’s resignation. You think that I am kidding? Check the Wikipedia article about him, it has all the details. It gets better. There is a consensus amongst analysts that Saakashvili is being used as a battering ram by somebody far more influential – Iulia Timoshenko, of course. But what is really new is that many well informed analysts and commentators seem to think that the USA and EU are not the main driving force behind these latest developments (though they are involved, of course).

What is going on here?

Well, as I said, the big news is that you did not hear about it. You did not hear about it because fundamentally nobody cares, least of all the Trump Administration. True, the Trump Administration is so busy self-destructing that it does not really care about Kurdistan either and that implies that it does not even really care about the Holy of Holies : Israel (cry me a river Bibi!). So nevermind the Trump administration, even the Ziomedia mostly seems not to care any more what happens in the Ukraine (of course, some hardcore hardliners still continue to hallucinate). Hence the (relative) silence on this issue. What this tells the Ukrainian politicians is that they are pretty much on their own. And that is why they are taking matters in their own hands.

I don’t think that it is worthwhile to plunge into all the personalities and factions which are currently involved in the political struggle. I can summarize it by saying that there are four main group currently identifiable: bad, worse, even worse and the silent majority. Let’s begin by the last one, the silent majority.

By all accounts (and from all my personal contacts) it is pretty obvious that the vast majority of those who could not leave the Ukraine are now depressed, silent and in a “survival mode”. The Ukrainians, like the Russians, are extremely good at this survival mode which a very painful history has taught them: they could survive in conditions were everybody else would perish. Their history has also taught them that there are time when you want to stay low, shut up and focus on making it through the day. I also think that most Ukrainians fully realize that there is no faction/force out there representing their interest and that means that they have absolutely no reason at all to get involved. This has nothing to do with passivity or political ignorance: that is common sense. Getting involved is what gets you killed. Hunkering down until the worst of the storm passes is the only correct survival technique in times of very ugly political struggles.

Then there are bad, worse and even worse. Bad – that’s Poroshenko. Worse – that’s the crazies à la Oleg Liashko. Even worse – that would be the rabid ideologues like Tiagnibok or Farion. We can think of it as the Crooks, the Clowns and the Nazis.

The Crooks, the Clown and the Nazis:

Right now, the Crooks are still in power but they are struggling. Worse, the Crooks are terrified of the Nazis, so they constantly have to engage into a stream of concessions to try to appease them which, of course, fails, and only emboldens them Nazis (sounds exactly like Trump’s never-ending stream of concessions to the Neocons, doesn’t it?). As for the Clowns, they can be bought by both sides, sometimes at the same time, and they keep the people entertained by their antics. The Clowns are really a byproduct of the terminally lunatic Ukrainian nationalist ideology, but they don’t really represent a powerful constituency: the Crooks and the Nazis are far more powerful. Still, don’t dismiss the Clowns too soon, because they could suddenly switch to the Crooks or the Nazis depending who offers them a better deal (or scares them most).

This would all seem rather amusing if yet another Urkonazi attack was not a very real possibility. Here is how this could happen.

The Crooks are barely holding on to power, and they might have to start a war only to deflect the mounting political pressure against them into another direction. Wars are good to circle the wagons and to crush the opposition.

The Clowns, due to their ideology, would have to approve of a new war. They simply could not say anything against it. If a war is launched, they would have to give it a standing ovation. Besides, if they tried any form of disagreement they would be easily crushed by the Crooks and Nazis. So the Clowns will always support whatever the other two factions agree upon.

As for for Nazis, well, war against Russia and anything Russian is their raison d’être, the very core of their identity and the purpose of their lives. The Ukronazis have a profoundly revanchist worldview and agenda and if defeating Russia is not an option (although some of them won’t even accept that as a fact of life) then killing or expelling all the non-Ukronazis from the Ukraine is an acceptable substitute for them. Yup, they even have some convoluted racial purity theories (Ukie Aryans versus Finno-Ugric Russian Mongols). True, bona fide Nazis are a minority in the Ukraine, but the compensate for that by having guns, lots of guns.

What has kept from Ukronazis from attacking since their last attempt is the painful memory of the crushing defeat they suffered at the hands of the Novorussians. But herein also lies a very real risk: defeats often make armies better, victories often makes them complacent. When I hear the Novorussians speaking of “next time we go to Kiev” I hope that their confidence is warranted, but I am afraid that they might be underestimating the opponent.

Are the sides really ready for a resumption of warfare?

In truth it is very hard to assess the chances of another Ukronazi attack. On one hand, the Ukronazi forces have had two years to regroup, lick their wounds, reorganize, rearm, retrain, etc. Most importantly, it appears that they have built defensive positions in depth, possibly including 2 or even 3 defensive echelons. Why does defense matter? Because if your defensive positions are strong, then the risk of counter-attack by the enemy’s forces are much lower and that, in turn, means that your offensive is far less likely to end up surrounded in a “cauldron” (I simplify here, in reality this is a little more complicated as it depends on the depth of your attack, but nevermind that). A couple of years is a lot of time to dig in an prepare for defense and without access to classified data it is hard to gage who effective these efforts have been. In terms of new equipment (whether Ukrainian or new delivers from the Empire), they will make no difference at all, that’s just political talk. My advice is that as soon as you hear or read anything about the delivery of “lethal weapons” you ignore everything that comes after that. Ditto for training by Polish or US experts. That is just propaganda. What is not propaganda is the intelligence support offered by the Empire overtly (satellites) or covertly (EU ‘observers’ etc.). That and the fact that the Ukronazis have a 2-2.5:1 numerical advantage over the Novorussians.

Much of the same could be said about the Novorussians: they also have had 2 years to dig in, by all reports they have now integrated their forces into a regular army capable of operational-depth counter-offensives, their morale and training is probably much higher than on the Ukronazi side and they can count on Russian support (intelligence, logistics, training, etc.). Also, they would have the home turf advantage. Finally, and Putin very clearly stated that recently, Russia will not allow the military reconquest of Novorussia, which means that even if the Ukronazis somehow succeed in breaking through the Novorussian defenses they will be engaged by the Russian armed forces, primarily by missile/bombing strikes at which point the war will stop in less than 24 hours.

The big conceptual mistake, however, would be to assume that the Ukronazi really want to reconquer Novorussia (or Crimea, for that matter). In reality, everybody knows that these territories are gone forever and that Kiev simply has no means to control them even without Russian assistance. Let me repeat this: even if by some magical effect the Russians were to let the Ukronazis invade the Donbass this would result in a fantastically nasty guerrilla war by the locals which the Ukronazis would have no chance at all to defeat. Yes, it would be a bloodbath, but it would never end with a workable pacification of the Donbass my the Ukronazis. I would therefore say that the role of Russia is not to prevent Kiev from regaining the control of the Donbass, but to prevent a bloodbath in the Donbass.

The real goal: not to win, but to trigger a Russian intervention (same old, same old)

Now, and I have been saying that for years now, the real goal of the junta is to force Russia to openly intervene in the Donbass. As soon as the Russians overtly get involved that would kill the Minsk 1 and 2 agreements, it would turn the current disaster in the Nazi occupied Ukraine into a war of national liberation against the hated Moskals, NATO would immediately put an end to all that recent cozying-up of various EU political parties towards Russia and the AngloZionst Empire’s wet dream would finally come true: such a Russian intervention would usher a new Cold, possibly even Tepid, War in Europe thereby giving a meaning to NATO (finally!) and crushing any kind of anti-imperial feelings in Europe. The Balts and the Poles would finally be secure in their mission to “protect Europe from a resurgent Russia” and the US Neocons would have a big victory party. True, Russia would liberate all of Novorussia in 24 hours or less and, yes, with Russian help the Novorussians could push the line of contact (well, at this point, the frontline) pretty much as far West as they would want to. But that would be a small victory in the context of a global political catastrophe (along with an ugly bloodbath).

This is why the Russians have made a huge effort *not* to intervene, even if that has costs them a lot of political capital (there are still those out there who speak of a Russian “sell-out” of the Donbass). Unlike their western counterpart, who still don’t understand that the purpose of warfare is to achieve a political objective, the Russians fully realize that an (easy) military victory against the Ukronazis would come at a cost of an immense political disaster. The last thing the Kremlin wants is to copy what the US Americans did in Iraq and Afghanistan: begin by an easy victory, declare victory, and then end up with an absolute disaster on their hands from which they sill are unable to extricate themselves. In this respect, Crimea was a totally different and unique case: a vitally important piece of land, which historically was Russian, populated by people who were overwhelmingly pro-Russian (or, simply, Russian), with easy to control choke-points connecting with the Nazi occupied Ukraine and fantastic economic prospects. And yet, even in these ideal condition, the Russian economy is struggling to rebuild this relatively small territory.

It is pretty clear that at the end of the day, Russia will also have to pay for most the reconstruction of the Donbass, however hard this will be. But as much as that is possible, Russia would much prefer to make the reconstruction of the Ukraine an international problem, yet another reason for her to try to avoid any real, overt, military intervention. Because once Russia occupies any territory, she owns it and she becomes responsible for it.

The bottom line is this: we don’t hear much about the Ukraine right now because at least the US Americans seem to have given up on this entire project and because they are busy with more important issues (self-destructing, mostly). But that does not mean that the situation in the Ukraine cannot suddenly reignite with very serious international consequences.

So when I speak of Crooks, Clowns and Nazis, I am not taking these issues lightly at all. Yes, they truly are crooks, clowns and Nazis, but they also very dangerous individuals, especially collectively.

A tiny ray of hope for “less bad”?

Rumor has it that the two big figures behind the scenes in the Ukraine are Igor Kolomoiskii (who now has a personal vendetta against Poroshenko and Saakashvili) and Iulia Timoshenko. I honestly have no means to assess these claims, but I will say that while these two are truly profoundly evil and hateful people (Kolomoiskii was probably deeply involved in the MH-17 false flag), neither of them is stupid. Furthermore, they are both Crooks, not Clowns or Nazis, which means that they can be negotiated with, however distasteful this maybe. Last but not least, they both have a real power base in the Ukraine, money in Kolomoiskii’s case, true popularity in Timoshenko’s case. In this I see a tiny ray of hope.

With the US Americans busy fighting each other internally, and with the Europeans slowly waking up to the total disaster “their” (it is not really “their’s” – but nevermind that) Ukrainian policy has been, maybe, just maybe, there is a tiny chance of, say, some EU leaders getting together with, say, Timoshenko (Kolomoiskii will never be a public official again, he will pull the strings in the back) to sit down with the Russians and the Novorussians and finally seriously negotiate some kind of end to this very dangerous situation. Remember, Poroshenko is a pure US puppet, and he is weak. There is no way he could negotiated *anything* of substance any more. All he needs to do now is to prepare his flight to the US, UK or Israel. But Timoshenko is still “for real” and she is far more capable of dealing with the Nazis than Poroshenko, his billions, his chocolate factory and his Eltsin-like dependence on alcohol.

Of course, there is “the devil you know” argument. And in many ways, Poroshenko being the greedy weak booze-soaked coward that he is looks like the lesser evil. The problem with that is that he is terrified of the Nazis and that they are either paralyzing him or making him do stupid things (like the recent law making Ukrainian the sole language used in schools). And for all the desperate window-dressing the fact remains is that the Ukraine is already a failed state which is going down the tubes with a momentum which nobody can stop, at least not with the current political deadlock in Kiev. Still, we should also remember that Eltsin was also a greedy weak booze-soaked coward, but that did not prevent him form triggering the bloodbath of the First Chechen war. Greedy weak booze-soaked cowards can be extremely dangerous.

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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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Failed Soyuz launch deepens mystery of trouble with Russian spacecraft

Aborted launch follow close on the heels of discovery of hole in Soyuz spacecraft docked to the ISS, causing great concern.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Space travel is arguably the most risky venture mankind has undertaken in its history. When something goes wrong, the reaction of space agencies is usually great caution. This is in effect now as the ISS canceled all spacewalking activities for the foreseeable future after an astronaut ferry mission in a Soyuz rocket went very wrong shortly after launch from Baikonur on Thursday last week.

As the Soyuz FG launch vehicle was heading for orbit, shortly before the schedule T +120 second booster detachment, something happened. The booster failed and the emergency escape system triggered, pulling the Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and American astronaut Nick Hague away from the failed first stage. The escape system worked perfectly, and the astronauts endured a fairly grueling 6.7g deceleration before landing safely in a field some 400 km (250 miles) downrange from the launch pad.

German Astronaut Alexander Gerst captured this image of Soyuz launch vehicle at the time of its failure.

The success of the emergency escape system cannot be overrated, obviously. But the failure of the Soyuz rocket is the second significant problem to arise in a program known usually in the US and Russia by its almost boring, “business as usual” demeanor.

The first problem arose a little over a month ago, on 29 August, when a small hole was discovered in the hull of a Soyuz docking module attached to the International Space Station. That hole was found after a slight drop in ISS cabin air pressure was noted by instruments on board. The hole measured two millimeters across and had been drilled by someone in the upper orbital module of the Soyuz crew rocket.

The reason for this is as yet unknown, but the company Energia is the place where the final assembly of the Soyuz spacecraft takes place. As a coincidence, the two astronauts who failed to reach the ISS on Thursday were actually slated to inspect the hole from the earlier craft to continue the investigation into how this happened.

The inside-ISS view of a 2mm wide hole someone drilled in the hull of the Soyuz crew vehicle, found on August 29th, 2018

The reason is simple. If there is a hole in the hull, the ISS can lose its atmosphere and anyone on the station risks suffocation and death. As it stands, the hole that was discovered was very small, and the leak would have taken a very long time to depressurize the whole ISS, but such malpractice should not happen at all in spacefaring equipment. Hence, both Russian and American space agencies are concerned.

The concurrence of these two incidents has now led to a cancellation of spacewalks from the ISS, and it also has led to a freeze of launches while RosKosmos and NASA investigate the issue.

Soyuz is the only operating launch vehicle taking astronauts to the ISS at this time. The United States lost its spacefaring capability when it canceled its Space Shuttle program in 2011. At that time, too, relations with fellow spacefaring Russia were in a better state than they are now. Ironically, as the US-Russian diplomatic row took hold, so did American dependency on Russian equipment – RD-180 engines for American rockets and the Soyuz platform as the only way to ferry astronauts to and from the Space Station.

Now, even the Russian program is at a standstill. With spacewalks canceled, and Soyuz launches on hold pending a further investigation into this recent failure, the situation is this:

The ISS is presently crewed by three astronauts: Serena M. Auñon-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst of the USA and Germany respectively, and Sergey Prokopyev of Russia. Their return vehicle is the Soyuz spacecraft with the hole in it. While the hole is sealed, it was later found that it extended through to the micrometeoroid shield, a piece of worse news. While confidence is reasonably high that the craft with its patch-job will survive re-entry, the preference was to have a fully viable craft for the return journey, and now this will have to wait for at least another month while the investigation on the ground is carried out.

Initial reports about the Soyuz malfunction are vague, only noting that components of different stages of the rocket collided with one another on the ascent.

As the investigation continues, perhaps SpaceX and Blue Horizons may be seen to gain front and center stage. SpaceX is in the closest position to being able to take men and women into orbit but its Crew Dragon is still in development and testing. No one else is even close.

While spaceflight is often off the radar of most people in our times, these two recent events have brought it back into the spotlight, as they highlight the concern for a program that is not being pursued as it was once, back in the great Space Race of the 1960’s.

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