Phanar Envoys’ Plans. Kiev Caves Lavra?

Photo: spzh.new Photo: spzh.new
    

Since the first very day, when it became known that the Patriarchate of Constantinople had appointed Exarchs to Ukraine, the question arose as to where their residence would be.

It is known that [the exarchs] Archbishop Daniel and Bishop Hilarion are originally from Ukraine. One from Buchach1, and the other from Ternopil2. But they won’t be able to receive guests, study the “Ukrainian Question”, and consider the possibility of granting autocephaly from their homesteads of Buchach or Ternopil. In addition, as church hierarchs, they must serve somewhere and celebrate the liturgy. Therefore the question of “where” remains the elephant in the room.

There were not many possibilities for their temporary residence:

Firstly, they presumed that their accommodations would be given to them by the Presidential Administration. But this option disappeared immediately because, according to the Constitution, the Church in Ukraine is separated from the state, and the state cannot (in fact!) interfere in the affairs of the Church.

The second option was considered in the winter, and based on the fact that there was an agreement between the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the representatives of the “Ukrainian Autocephalic Orthodox Church”, which was to give the Phanar one of its churches in Lviv.

But this option disappeared, most likely, because Lviv is still not the capital, and the Phanar must be as close as possible to the epicenter of everything going on. And so, volens nolens [Latin: like it or not], they had only once choice: Kiev, the Mother of Russian Cities3.

But Kiev is massive; in addition, there are several church problems in Ukraine, which despite their most bold statements, Constantinople must still take into account. For example, the problem of the schism and its rejection by the majority of real church-going people of our country. You can believe that the Phanar is very familiar with our situation, and no “studies” of various Razumkov Centers, which claim that almost all Ukrainians support the creation of a “National Local Church”, will convince them.4

Indeed, among those who have nothing to do with church, there are in fact many who support the Schism. Some of them, for example the presidential adviser Yuri Biryukov even call themselves “atheists of the Kiev Patriarchate”5. But these people can not be considered a flock of any kind of Church (except potentially), which means it’s hardly worth taking them into account. It is necessary to take into account only the position of “church-going, religious” people—and the vast majority of them do not accept the schism.6

The slightest hint of a connection with the schismatics will raise additional questions, and may have a repulsing effect in the Orthodox society of Ukraine. Therefore any premises or residences which would even remotely suggest this connection exists between the Schismatics and the representatives of Constantinople will not be used, at least, not yet.

Even if there is talk about Saint Sophia’s of Kiev7; we recall that the so-called “Warm [Gentle] Church”8 was given by the Ministry of Culture for the use of the “Kiev Patriarchate”9, and that kind of proximity is not ideal for the Phanarites.

This leaves us the operating churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. But there would be no priests or bishops who would allow the Exarchs Daniel and Ilarion to serve the liturgy in their churches. This is because even the most ardent supporters of autocephaly understand perfectly well, that communion and serving together with bishops who are illegally in the territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church can have the most severe consequences.

Therefore, the Exarchs require a residence which meets the following criteria:

  1. Would not in any way be connected with schismatics.

  2. Would have a church for services.

  3. Would have a good reputation among Orthodox Christians

And it seems they’ve found a facility. Journalists of the Union of Orthodox Journalists obtained information, that on the evening of September 7, the head of the “Kiev Patriarchate” Philaret met with the Acting Director of the National Kiev Caves Historical and Cultural Reserve10 Alexander Rudnik.

Philaret demanded the swift transfer of a specific Lavra territory to the Kiev Patriarchate: the 19th Corpus of the Lavra.11

Photo: infoportal.kiev.u Photo: infoportal.kiev.u
    

Map of Kiev Caves Lavra, the Upper Lavra on the left, lower on the right. Both are heavily fortified, however the walls of the Upper Lavra, particularly on the East side, are earth-packed retaining walls, built into the natural hill. The Upper Lavra is under state control, while the lower, under church control. Photo: http://infoportal.kiev.ua Map of Kiev Caves Lavra, the Upper Lavra on the left, lower on the right. Both are heavily fortified, however the walls of the Upper Lavra, particularly on the East side, are earth-packed retaining walls, built into the natural hill. The Upper Lavra is under state control, while the lower, under church control. Photo: http://infoportal.kiev.ua
  

It turned out, however, that there emerged new details of this meeting. Apparently, Philaret asked for this facility not for himself, and not even for the “Single Local Church”, but in fact, for the Exarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate! As to how much this information corresponds with reality, we will find out in the very near future. But it appears that everything is moving in this direction.12

And if this is truly so, then what does this mean?

The Kiev Caves Lavra is undoubtedly the main holy site of the Ukrainian people, and one of the greatest holy sites in the entire Orthodox world. And by using it as a residence, the Phanar’s Exarchs would effectively infiltrate into the very heart of our church.

At the same time, they would solve several of their main problems:

  • This would place them at the epicenter of events

  • They would have a basis to look authoritative in the eyes of Orthodox Christians

  • They would not have an external connection with the schism.

Indeed, at first glance, it would seem to be problematic to serve the liturgy without consent from the His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry, as this is an unquestionable violation of the canons; but then again, the position of the Exarchs is anti-canonical in and of itself, so one more canon, or one less, what’s the difference between one more canon, or one less [if they’ve already so crudely broken the canons.—Trans]?

In addition, it must be taken into account that every divine service of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on the territory of the Upper Lavra13—which belongs to the National Kiev Caves Historical and Cultural Reserve—is conducted in agreement with the National Reserve’s leadership.14 And they can grant, or deny permission to serve… or… give it to someone else!

The Kiev Caves Lavra. Photo: ukrainetrek.com. The Kiev Caves Lavra. Photo: ukrainetrek.com.
  

With all we understand, if Patriarch Bartholomew turns to President Petro Poroshenko with a request that the Phanar Exarchs be given the opportunity to serve in Dormition Cathedral, then such a request would be immediately granted!

Thus, the Phanarites have a quite real chance to place their residence in the territory of Kiev Caves Lavra, and even to serve in one of its main churches!15

It’s not hard to guess who came up with this cunning move, and they are, of course, counting on the idea that in time, representatives of Constantinople will force out the monastics of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the entire territory of the Lavra!

And moreover, that Orthodox people will get used to the idea of the leadership of a “Single Local Church” in an ancient holy sight, because in the national consciousness, everything connected with Kiev Caves Lavra is Holy, right, and canonical. It is certainly more convenient to receive those hierarchs and clerics who want to bind their lives to a “Single Local Church”, from inside the Lavra. And to promise them parishes and cathedrae from within the Lavra is far more convenient than from any other parish church.

It is clear that canonically, all the actions of Constantinople in relation to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church do not stand up to even the most insignificant criticism. Nevertheless, no matter how arrogantly the Phanar treated the hierarchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, once all is said and done, they will still have to explain their actions to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry, and the Primates of the other Local Churches.

And the editorial board of the Union of Orthodox Journalists became aware that the arguments of the Exarchs of Constantinople will be built on one of the theses of Patriarch Bartholomew, which he voiced at the recently held synaxis, namely, that the spiritual connection of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church with the Moscow Patriarchate is illegal, and therefore, the canonical status of the Ukrainian Church is not orderly, and should be reviewed—naturally, in favor of the reassignment to the Patriarchate of Constantinople.16

And furthermore, the Phanar is free to do whatever it wants with “its own” structure. Though even now, the fact that the Phanar did not even think it necessary to notify the leadership of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, about it sending its “Exarchs” to Ukraine, speaks to the fact that the Phanar already considers the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to be its integral part. After all, the leaders do not have to inform their subordinates about any of their actions, do they? They usually simply place them before the fact.

Will this state of affairs agree with the leadership of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the Moscow Patriarchate, and all the other Local Churches? And even if they don’t agree, then what?

The Phanar will have almost unlimited opportunities, which the Ukrainian authorities are ready to give them: forceful, administrative, and legislative support.

And therefore, we recall the famous words of Al Capone: “You can achieve much more with a kind word and a gun, than with just a kind word alone.”

And it’s really hard to argue with that! The Phanar will have on their side everything that earthly power17 can give.

Only one question remains: Will God be on their side?18

1 A city in Ternopol Province. – trans.

2 The capital of Ternopol Province. While its true Ukraine can be most simplistically divided into East and West, Ternopol being in the west, the reality is there are three main cultural regions which often reflect differences and trends in Ukrainian society: Galicia (The West), Malorossia (The Center-North, the core of Kievan Rus’), and Novorossia (the South-East). Ternopol, originally a Polish built city, is located in Western Ukraine, and as such, was for a long time ruled by Catholic powers, namely Poland and Austro-Hungary. In the broader Ternopol Province is located Pochaev Lavra, the spiritual center of Western Ukraine, and a historical fortress of Orthodoxy. Pochaev is among the locations schismatics have constantly threatened to seize. – Trans.

3 This term is used in the ancient Slavic manuscript of Saint Nestor the Chronicler to describe Kiev as the Mother of Rus[s]ian cities “Се буди мати градомъ рускими” http://expositions.nlr.ru/LaurentianCodex/_Project/page_Show.php (page 8/л. 8) - Trans.

4 The Razumkov Center, also called Ukrainian Centre for Economic and Political Studies named after Olexander Razumkov, in Western installed NGO think tank for government policy. It supposedly formed the conclusion that the population would support the creation of a “National Church”, but this is not the reality on the ground.—OC.

5 http://www.liga.net/politics/articles/my-uje-obedinilis-kak-proshel-krestnyy-hod-upts-kp In this article, an example of non-believers and atheists supporting the schismatic churches: “We do not go to church, we came today to support Ukraine", a young man with a girl told a LIGA.net correspondent” – Trans.

6 See above; Orthodoxy in the homelands, in Europe and the Middle East is completely engrained into both the conscious, and subconscious cultures of the people. Therefore in Russia, for example, many will say “To be Russian is to be Orthodox”. As a result of this, actual statistics of the population of believers is quite difficult. In many cases, around 70-90% of an Orthodox countries population identify as Orthodox, but fewer attend services regularly, and fewer still have a deep knowledge of theology. As a result, while there many be many people in Ukraine claim to be “Orthodox” and support the schism, the majority of them are not practicing, “churched” people. As noted in above examples, sometimes even atheists or non-believers will support the schismatic churches purely for political reasons.

This can plainly be seen by comparing the cross processions of the canonical church with the schismatics. In this first video from last year, the canonical church shown up to the 3 minute mark has a massive crowd of hundreds of thousands, whereas the schismatics shown after that mark have a tiny crowd of a few thousand. Likewise, in this recent video, the 250,000+ strong procession of the canonical church can clearly be seen as a spiritual event, with icons and prayers, whereas the schismatics including their “priests” march with Ukrainian flags and political slogans, clearly chanting “death to enemies (Smert voroham!)” at this moment.—Trans.

7 Saint Sophia’s Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in Kiev, built by Grand Prince of Kiev Yaroslav the Wise, son of Vladimir the Great and Baptizer of All Rus’. The Cathedral’s namesake was Saint Sophia’s in Novgorod, Russia, where Yaroslav was prince.

The Saint Sophia Cathedral/Monastery Complex is under state control, and the state is not supposed to favor a particular religious organization, however this did not stop the government from allowing the Kiev Patriarchate to serve in the smaller Saint Sophia’s Refectory Church, which is part of the broader Cathedral Complex included in the “National Sanctuary "Sophia of Kiev". That church is often called “Warm Sophia” (see below), or “Little Sophia” (Мала Софія) to contrast with the larger Saint Sophia’s Cathedral beside it. Little Sophia is known officially in Ukrainian as: Трапезна церква Софійського монастиря.—Trans.

8 On November 12th, 1822, this church (see above) was given the name “Тепла Софія” (Warm Sophia) or “Warm Church” (теплый храм). In this context “Warm” can also mean in English affectionate (ласковый), gentle, i.e. “warm and cozy”, etc. There are other churches referred to as “The Warm Church”, namely the “Warm Church” (Теплий храм) in honor of the Venerable Fathers of the Kiev Caves (Ukrainian: Теплий храм в ім'я всіх прпп. отців Києво-Печерських) – Trans.

9 This refectory church, “Little Sophia”, was given for services of the schismatic Kiev Patriarchate by the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine in 2016. This was made possible because the Saint Sophia Complex national sanctuary is under state control, as opposed to Church control. Technically speaking, the state can not interfere in Church affairs, but for obvious political motives, the current Ukrainian authorities favor the schismatic Kiev Patriarchate. The ability of the Ukrainian government to permit (or disallow) certain groups to serve in holy sites under state management (which includes portions of Kiev Caves Lavra) poses a potential threat to the canonical church, and a method of giving the Phanar representatives a church, as later discussed in this article. – Trans.

10 The “National Kyiv-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Reserve” is the official government body which curates the territory of Kiev Caves Lavra (in particular, the upper Lavra), in concord with UNESCO [English site]. The territory is registered together with the Sophia Cathedral Complex as a UNESCO World heritage site, under the name: “Kiev: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kiev-Pechersk Lavra”. The Canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church essentially shares custody of the Lavra with them. If the legal status of these territories seems confusing, this reflects the very confusing nature of everything on the ground. – Trans.

11 The 19th Corpus of Kiev Caves Lavra, (on the above mentioned national/UNESCO map), constitutes the Residence of the Lavra’s Vicar (Namestnik), in addition to Flavians Library, the exhibition hall with microminiatures by M. Siadrysky, among other things. It is the Vicar’s Residence which is of particular interest, as it provides an already established episcopal residence and headquarters in the heart of the canonical church. The 19th Corpus is centrally located across from Dormition Cathedral, and the Trapezna Church, the primary working cathedral of the UOC. – Trans.

12 . Update: According to the latest reports from the Union of Orthodox Journalists, this appears to be in the making, a petition has already been put forward in the cabinet of ministers, threatening the UOCs custody of the Lavra, however as of now, it must be said that this is only a petition, not a decree…yet. – Trans.

13 Legally and practically speaking, Kiev Caves Lavra is divided into two portions, the Upper Lavra and the Lower Lavra. The Lower Lavra contains the near and far caves, and is a normal operating part of the monastery. The Upper Lavra contains the majority of the Lavra’s most famous sites and churches, which the Church can only use with the consent of the government (see below).—Trans.

14 (See Above) Currently, with regards to Ukrainian law, the Lower Lavra is under the authority of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (of the Moscow Patriarchate), and the Upper Lavra is under the authority of the National Kyiv-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Reserve http://hram-nikola.kiev.ua/palomnichestvo/945-sfericheskie-panoramy-3d-svyato-uspenskoj-kievo-pecherskoj-lavry.

15 This is one of the greatest potential threats to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and one of the most important issues to take note of: Due to the legal status of Kiev Caves Lavra, shared with the government as noted, the authorities could simply dictate that a portion of the Lavra be given to the Phanar, allowing those who are opposed to the very canonical status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to literally move in next door with the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Church. Update: According to the latest reports, this appears to be in the making, a petition has already been put forward in the cabinet of ministers, threatening the UOCs custody of the Lavra, however as of now, it must be said that this is only a petition, not a decree… yet.—Trans.

16 The idea of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church not being legitimate, or that the schismatics need to be legalized was thoroughly debunked by Ukrainian Archbishop Theodosy here. The historical aspects of the transfer of the Kievan Metropolia were thoroughly examined in their full historical context here.

17 “God is not [found] in power, but in Truth”.—Saint Alexander Nevsky, Right Believing Grand Prince of Novgorod, Kiev, and Vladimir, ancestor of the Muscovite Tsars.

18  A motto of Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarussian people throughout history was “God is With Us” (З нами Бог – Snami Bog), taken from Isaiah 8:9-10. The words of this song (and prayer) were sung by Russian soldiers and Zaporozhian Cossacks, and are of course, sung during Great Compline.

See also
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This article was put forth to analyze the speech of the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew, at the Synaxis (Council) of the Archbishops of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which was held in Istanbul on September 1-4, 2018.
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Comments
George Kender Comney9/18/2018 5:44 pm
The Patriach of Jerusalem lived in Constantinople until
Nesselrode sent Uspensky to deHellenize the Antiochians and almost Jerusalem (eventually causing Michel Aflaq to found the Assad-Saddam Ba’ath party).
It was the same Porphyry Uspensky who exposed the Sulphur fraud of the Holy Fire. Uspensky and Kapustin went to buy up Jerusalem properties now under ROCOR to prevent Moses Montefiore (the Jewish Tositsas) doing so on behalf of the British. In February 8, 1993, the other patriarchs decided to temporarily suspend relations with the Jerusalem Patriarch and dismiss two bishops who acted as his deputies and defrock five priests for challenging the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarch. Yet in
Anthony9/17/2018 8:57 pm
Read these prophecies on the Ukraine .... like reading a newspaper: http://www.events.orthodoxengland.org.uk/three-prophecies-on-the-ukraine/
Mickey9/17/2018 6:09 pm
God will judge the arch heretic Bartholomew and all his sycophants.
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