Kiev, December 13, 2018
Constantinople hierarch Philaret Denisenko, the head of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) has shown his appreciation to another American governmental figure for his support of Ukraine’s national-ecclesiastical project of creating an autocephalous church.
Denisenko met with Jack Devine, the former Acting Director and Associate Director of the CIA, recently in Kiev. Devine, in town to promote his new book Good Hunting: An American Spymaster’s Story, expressed his admiration for the Ukrainian people who support the idea of obtaining a tomos of autocephaly from Constantinople.
He also praised Denisenko’s 30-year struggle for autocephaly and his defense of the rights of Christians before the godless communist authorities.
In turn, Denisenko thanked Devine for the US’s help and support for Ukraine in its bid to create an autocephalous Church, unconnected to the Russian Orthodox Church, and, at the recommendation of board members of the Ukraine-21st Century Foundation, Denisenko awarded Devine with the Order of St. Andrew.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has routinely talked about the autocephaly project in terms of national identity and security. For example, he wrote on his Facebook page on December 10 that the long-awaited tomos is part of a political strategy to break with Ukraine’s colonial past “and a reorientation towards Europe.”
In his talk given to the Atlantic Council in September, Denisenko also focused almost exclusively on politics, painting autocephaly as a means of overcoming Russian President Putin.
Denisenko and the Ukrainian state have made no secret of their practice of currying favor with American politicians. The KP head met with former Vice President Joe Biden in September, thanking him for his long-term support for Ukraine and awarding him the Order of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Vladimir the Great, 2nd Degree.
Also in September, while speaking at the Atlantic Council event, Philaret expressed his thanks to America: “We thank the U.S. for supporting Patriarch Bartholomew’s intention to provide us with a tomos of autocephaly… We hope that the U.S. will help us bring our Church matter to an end.”
Philaret awarded Sen. John McCain the same St. Vladimir Order, 1st Degree in 2015, for his support of Ukraine during the events of Euromaidan and the “Russian occupation of Donbass and Crimea.”
Moreover, U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Samuel D. Brownback met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev on September 11, expressing the same support for Ukraine’s battle against the Moscow Patriarchate.
In October, the head of the U.S. Department of State, Mike Pompeo, put out a statement on Friday expressing the U.S.’s support for the creation of an autocephalous Church in Ukraine.
Canada’s Conservative Party has also expressed its support for Patriarch Bartholomew and his actions in Canada.
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