Athens, March 7, 2019
According to the U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt, Russia is involved in manipulating information in Greece as an attack on the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
“We’ve seen evidence of this kind of manipulation of information. For instance the Russian efforts around the Orthodox Chruch, the efforts to undermine the role of the Ecumenical Patriarch,” Pyatt said in an interview with Antenna TV during a conference on disinformation and news manipulation in Athens.
Pyatt did not note, however, that the Local Orthodox Churches are in agreement that the Ukrainian issue should be solved synodically, rather than unilaterally, as Patriarch Bartholomew has chosen to do.
The ambassador’s words echo those of Pat. Bartholomew from October when, instead of addressing the in-depth historical and canonical arguments being put forth by Orthodox Synods, primates, and hierarchs around the world, Pat. Bartholomew instead said he is aware of Russian “black propaganda” and “well-paid-for articles.”
Recall that His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia personally proposed openly discussing the issues surrounding the Ukrainian autocephaly crisis. In Istanbul on August 31, he suggested to Pat. Bartholomew holding a meeting of scholars and hierarchs to discuss the historical documents surrounding the Kiev Metropolia’s move into the Russian Orthodox Church in 1686, but Pat. Bartholomew refused the chance to bring both side’s arguments to light.
At the Athens conference, Pyatt did say that to his knowledge there has not been any Russian meddling in elections: “I cannot tell you that I have seen evidence of an effort to meddle in Greece’s upcoming elections.”
“But the purpose of this event tonight is to raise awareness so that Greece’s democratic institutions, Greece’s free press—which are all quite strong—can be alert and able to respond,” he continued, according to Greek Reporter.
This is not the first time the pro-Constantinople ambassador has raised the flag about the need for a free press and reliable information. After meeting with the central team of the Greek Romfea news agency, Pyatt tweeted: “Enjoyed meeting the Romfea.news team. We are excited that the US Department of State provided support for the launch of this meaningful effort to strengthen the free press, fight disinformation, & highlight the values we share with Orthodoxy and the Ecumenical Patriarch.”
Interestingly, the next day, the English edition of Romfea published the article, “Mount Athos is strongly in favor of the Patriarchate on the Ukrainian issue,” which was blatantly false and discredited by multiple sources by the end of the same day.
Pyatt has been actively involved in undermining the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church for several years. He previously served as the Ambassador to Ukraine and was instrumental in orchestrating the Euromaidan revolution that has proved disastrous for the country and for the unity of the Church.
He stood with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland on the Maidan, supporting the violent ultra-nationalists. Nuland later admitted there were “very ugly colors” involved in the revolution, avoiding the question of whether neo-Nazis were involved.
Pyatt has also met with major players in the Greek Orthodox world, including Pat. Bartholomew himself, the internationally-known Metropolitan Hieortheos (Vlachos), and Archimandrite Ephraim, the abbot of Vatopedi Monastery who suffered a heart attack from the heavy pressure placed upon him by Pat. Bartholomew to attend the enthronement of the schismatic primate “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko in Kiev on February 3.
Following his meeting with Met. Hierotheos, he tweeted: “I had the honor of meeting Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos at Vatopedi. We had an important discussion on Orthodoxy worldwide, and U.S. support for the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”
Several months ago, it became known that Greece was denying visas to Russian clergy who wanted to go on pilgrimage to Mt. Athos, and it is suspected that during his visit to Mt. Athos, where he met with Archimandrite Ephraim, Pyatt openly demanded that the cooperation between the Athonite monasteries and the Russian Orthodox Church cease. At the same time, anti-Russian propaganda began to circulate in the Greek media, claiming that Russia was sending “spies in cassocks” to Greece.
“We are forced into concluding that behind the project for Ukrainian autocephaly, which is being insisted upon by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, are American elites acting through their agents of influence close to the leadership within the Phanar. The USA is more openly showing its role in bringing to fruition the project of Ukrainian autocephaly, the aim of which is to deepen the division between Ukraine and Russia,” writes Roman Silantyev, a researcher in religion, a doctor of historical sciences, and the director of the Human Rights Center for the All-Russian People’s Assembly.
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