What moved Patriarch Bartholomew to lay to ruin Ukrainian Orthodoxy?

This is an English translation of an article from the Ukrainian news website, The Union of Orthodox Journalists.   

The monks of the Tithes Monastery in Kiev, standing for peace between police and Maidan revolutionaries. This monastery would later become a victim of arson perpetrated by Ukrainian nationalists. The monks of the Tithes Monastery in Kiev, standing for peace between police and Maidan revolutionaries. This monastery would later become a victim of arson perpetrated by Ukrainian nationalists.

Dubious initiatives by the Phanar in Ukraine are becoming increasingly puzzling; but is Patriarch Bartholomew really free in his actions?

In many publications devoted to the topic of Ukrainian autocephaly and the corresponding Tomos, the idea is expressed that the Phanar, with the aim of asserting his rule and exclusivity in the Orthodox world, decided to take advantage of an opportune situation in Ukraine—using it as an opportunity to declare himself “canonical head” of all Ukrainian Orthodoxy, as a leader “who will come and establish order”[1]. This is the very “order” which he alleges the Russian Orthodox Church has been unable to bring to its canonical territory for over 25 years.

Proponents of this idea argue that the appeal of the Ukrainian President on Autocephaly fell on favorable grounds for Constantinople, and that in this initiative of President Petro Poroshenko, the Phanar saw for itself the opportunity to realize its claims of supremacy on the ground.

That point of view has the right to exist, and many circumstances speak to its favor—but the argument that Constantinople is actually trying to become an “Orthodox Vatican” by interfering in Church affairs in Ukraine will come true only in one case.

And that is: If all the other Local Orthodox Churches agree with the lawfulness of the actions of Constantinople.

In layman’s terms: If they swallow the tricks of the Phanar in Ukraine.

If this does not turn out to be the case, then Constantinople will definitely lose in this religious-geopolitical game, and will lose even the position in the Orthodox world that it occupies now.

In the worst-case scenario for Patriarch Bartholomew, a Pan-Orthodox Council may gather, in which the Ecumenical Patriarch would be condemned for his "Papist” claims, for gross interference in the affairs of a different Local Church, and for ecumenical worship with the Catholics. The Constantinople (Istanbul) Patriarchate may well simply be abolished as unnecessary[2].

[This is] simply to restore historical justice, and taking into account that Constantinople is no longer “the city of the Emperor and the Senate” but instead Istanbul, which has for a long time not been an “Imperial City”, but instead a Turkish province, and to transfer it again to the subjection of the Metropolitan of Heraclea, which it was under until the year 381.[3]

What endgame scenario seems more likely? The rise of Constantinople to the level of “Orthodox Vatican” with a flock of 300 million, or its descent to the level of “Turkish Orthodox Church”?

In order to answer this question, it makes sense to draw attention to the reaction of the Local Orthodox Churches to the events taking place in Ukraine, and to the level of support of these Churches of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Here are some statements made by the Primates of the Local Churches and their hierarchs:

Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem: “The unity of the Church is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and we are called to preserve and strengthen it. The destruction of this unity is a serious crime.” “We condemn in the most categorical terms those who are committing actions directed against the parishes of the canonical Orthodox Church in the Ukraine. Not in vain do the holy fathers remind us that the violation of the Church’s unity is the gravest sin.

Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa: “Let us pray to God, Who does all for our good, that He would instruct us all for a solution to these problems. If the schismatic Denisenko [the self-proclaimed “patriarch” of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate”—O.C.] wants to return to the bosom of the Church, then he must turn to where he left from. That which has fallen away must return to where it fell from. God is merciful to those who repent, and the Church forgives and receives in its motherly embrace all who repent.”

Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East: “The Antiochian Church stands together with the Russian Church, speaking against the Church schism in Ukraine.”

Patriarch Ilya of Georgia: “His Beatitude disagrees with the initiative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate concerning Ukraine, as he recognizes only the legitimate Church headed by Metropolitan Onuphry.”

Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church: “[T]he Assembly expresses full solidarity, in co-suffering brotherly love, with the martyred sister Church in Ukraine, exposed to the harshest persecution by the current regime in Kiev.”

Holy Synod of the Polish Orthodox Church: “We express the clear position of the Polish Orthodox Church, namely that the ecclesiastical life of the canonical Orthodox Church should be based on the principles of dogma and the holy canons of the Orthodox Church. Violation of this principle leads to chaos in the life of the Church. “There are certain schismatic groups in Ukraine which must first repent and return to the canonical Church. Only then can we discuss the issue of providing autocephaly. “We must not be led by the political climate in questions of dogma and the canons.”

Met. Rostislav of Czech Lands and Slovakia: “A schism, caused by man’s egotism, can be healed only through repentance and returning to the Church,” the primate noted. “The new autocephaly must be the result of a consensus.”

Patriarch Neofit of Bulgaria: “I have always had a very good relationship with His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry [head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church—MP.—O.C.]. We know that he loves the Ukrainian people and humbly labors for the good of Ukraine and all Orthodox Christians. We will be praying that the Lord grant him health and strength to successfully bear the obedience he was given by the Lord, and which he bears with dignity.”

Metropolitan George of Kitros, Katerini, and Platamon (Church of Greece): “The Greek Orthodox Church and all other Orthodox Churches of the world recognize only one canonical Church of Ukraine—the Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry.”

Metr. Athanasios of Limassol (Church of Cyprus): “First and foremost, this question should be resolved by the Patriarch of Moscow, in whose jurisdiction the Ukrainian Church is located, then—the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and then all the Orthodox Churches under the chairmanship of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,” Met. Anathasios stated. “But first of all, the first word is for the Mother Church of the Ukrainian Church, which is the Moscow Patriarchate. To it belongs the first word in this process. “What relationship does the Ecumenical Church have to the Philaret schism in Ukraine? How can it be overcome? We desire that our brothers who are in schism would return to the Church under the leadership of Metropolitan Onuphry—it is the sole canonical Church in Ukraine, having communion with the Moscow Patriarchate, and with all canonical Orthodox Churches… We pray for this.”

Out of the total of fifteen Local Orthodox Churches, twelve have already expressed unequivocal support for the UOC and Metropolitan Onufry. The American, Romanian, and Albanian Churches have not diplomatically indicated their position on this issue so far.

But it is an undeniable fact that at this moment, not one has expressed approval of the actions of the Constantinople Patriarchate in Ukraine.

In this way, it becomes clear that for Patriarch Bartholomew, the risk of getting called out for obstruction by all, or almost all Local Orthodox Churches is very high.

After all, the “Ukrainian Question” is an obvious precedent for the entire Orthodox world.[4] And none of the autocephalous—that is self-headed and independent Churches—want a citizen of Turkey to interfere in their affairs, whose activities are funded from the USA[5].

There is yet another important point which leads us to understand that the actions of Constantinople are not simply anticanonical [but also externally-politically motivated].

The Ecumenical Patriarchate in recent years, has clearly claimed to be the sole and indisputable head of all Orthodoxy.

Therefore, it makes sense to analyze in which historical moments was the idea of “Orthodox Papism”[6] formed in the minds of the Primates of Constantinople (or their foreign patrons), and under which historical conditions was it manifested?

Until the beginning of the 20th century, we do not hear any statements about the primacy or the exclusivity of the Phanar, and no claims to the canonical territories of other Churches, especially of all the Russian. There is no direct or indirect evidence, that Constantinople had given the Patriarchate of Moscow the Kievan Metropolia temporarily, and intended to take it back—this was never known in history.[7]

The first such statement dates back to 1924, when the Patriarch of Constantinople Gregory VII encroached on the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church, and gave the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Polish Orthodox Church. Patriarch Bartholomew referred to this document in his speech on July 1, 2018:

In this spirit, the Mother Church did not concede its canonical rights over Ukraine, but incorporated a special reference in the Patriarchal and Synodal Tome “about the granting of the status of autocephaly to the Church of Poland” (1924), noting that “the original detachment from our Throne of the Metropolis of Kiev and its dependent Orthodox Churches of Lithuania and Poland, along with their attachment to the Holy Church of Moscow did not at all occur in accordance with the conventional canonical regulations; nor were the agreed statements about complete ecclesiastical self-sufficiency of the Metropolitan of Kiev, bearing the title of Exarch of the Ecumenical Throne, respected...[8]

In fact, when referring to the 1924 document as the basis for claims to the Metropolis of Kiev, Patriarch Bartholomew admitted that earlier documents simply did not exist, because if they did, it would have been better to refer to them, or even better, to those and others together.

And so, His All-Holiness recognized that between the Tomos of 1686 on the transfer of the Kievan Metropolia, and the 1924 Tomos on the Autocephaly of the Polish Church (i.e. for 238 years) Constantinople did not raise the question of the non-canonical or temporal nature of the transfer of the Kievan Metropolia.[9]

But let’s instead see what happened in 1924, and the years preceding it.

As a result of the defeat in the First World War (1914-1918), the Ottoman Empire was divided into several territories under the protection of France and Great Britain.

These are the modern states of: Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. A little later, in 1923, the Turkish Republic led by Kemal Ataturk was formed. In the same year, there was an exchange of people between Turkey and Greece, the result of which Turkey became practically a mono-ethnic state, and the Ecumenical Patriarch, as a result of this, lost almost all his flock.

The Republic of Turkey proclaimed the separation of religion from state, and no longer consider the Patriarch as the head of the “Rûm millet[10]”, a Christian population which in fact, was not actually in Turkey. Thus, the Phanar urgently had to seek a rationale for its own existence, for he actually became a “shepherd without a flock”. That’s when the first claims to rule over the entire Orthodox world appear.

Then the encroachments on the pretext of them being the “Mother Church” begin on the territory of the Russian Orthodox Church.[11] In 1923, Constantinople announced the inclusion in its territory of the Finnish Orthodox Church, which at that time was autonomous within the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Finns then requested autocephaly, but the Greeks accepted the Finnish Orthodox Church into their holdings, and they forgot about autocephaly.

In 1924, Constantinople declared its right to grant autocephaly to the Polish Church, which it did.

And then the idea suddenly emerged out of oblivion, that Constantinople did not transmit to Moscow the Kievan Metropolia, but simply gave Moscow “a chance to play around in Kiev”.[12]

All of this—the raider-style capture by the Phanar of another territory—became possible in fact, because of one simple reason.

After the Revolution of 1917 in the Russian Empire (which became the USSR in 1922), the Russian Orthodox Church was laid to ruins unprecedented in the history of the persecution of Christianity.

A church destroyed by the soviet authorities. A church destroyed by the soviet authorities.

The Soviet state considered the physical destruction of churches and clergy as a part of its internal policies.

At the same time that the Russian Orthodox Church was carrying out its podvig of confession, when dozens of hierarchs and thousands of clerics were shot and thrown into jails, the Patriarchate of Constantinople declared itself to be the owner of its territories.

At the same time, the Phanar tarnished itself with yet another indelible mark of shame—the support and recognition of the “Living/Renovationist Church”, a fake Orthodox organization created on the initiative of the Bolsheviks to fight the Russian Church. They also made appeals to the Holy Patriarch (Saint) Tikhon to resign.[13]

The act of the annexation of the Polish Orthodox Church, by the diocese of the Phanar was committed at a time when the Holy Hierarch and Confessor Patriarch Tikhon was under arrest in the internal prison of the GPU (State Political Directorate)[14] and was threatened with execution.

Since the 1920s, the idea of papism has been gradually developing in the Phanar, being implemented in various initiatives. The Ecumenical Throne is proclaimed the head of the entire Orthodox Diaspora; then Constantinople would have the authority to represent the Orthodox world in dialog with Catholics and other religious organizations; then the Phanar would announce its exclusive right to convene Ecumenical Councils and to grant autocephaly; finally the Ecumenical Patriarchate would become the supreme judge in disputes between Local Orthodox Churches, or in conflicts between bishops with the leaders of their own Churches.

But all of these ideas were promoted by the Phanar against the backdrop of the significant weakening, to say the least, of the Russian Orthodox Church and its influence in the world.

Today, however, we are witnessing a completely different situation. Of course, the significance today of the Russian Orthodox Church, and its place in the state is not quite the same as before the 1917 revolution, but nevertheless, it can be said that the Russian Church rose from the ashes and was reborn as the most populous Local Orthodox Church in the world.

Approximately 150 million people, (according to some data, up to 180 million) consider themselves the flock of the Russian Orthodox Church. In this Church, around 40,000 clergy serve; there are more than 1000 monasteries, 72 religious seminaries and colleges, and 11 higher education institutions! In this respect, the Russian Orthodox Church is developing dynamically.

In 2017, the number of clergy increased by 521, the number of parishes, by 1340, and the number of monasteries by eighteen! The influence of the Russian Orthodox Church in the world increased immeasurably in comparison with the Soviet period. Of great significance was the reunion of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCOR) in 2007.

In the early 1990s, the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, which today has branches and offices in eleven countries, has been resurrected, and provided great assistance to Christians in the Middle East and other regions. In Israel, a significant portion of the Russian Orthodox Church’s property that was lost in 1917 was returned to it. In 2016, a newly erected, monumental Holy Trinity Cathedral was consecrated in Paris, along with a cultural and educational center. The Cathedral is located in the center of Paris, a few hundred meters from the Eiffel tower.

The Russian Orthodox Center in Paris. The Russian Orthodox Center in Paris.

During the Soviet Period, the Russian Orthodox Church was completely unable to respond to the raider-style seizures of its canonical territories, and to effectively oppose the papist claims of the Phanar. But now the situation is radically different; now the Russian Orthodox Church can well organize opposition to the attempts of Constantinople to become an “Orthodox Vatican”.

On September 12, Archpriest Igor Yakymchuk, the secretary for inter-Orthodox relations of the Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, said that the Moscow Patriarchate maintains regular contacts with all the Local Orthodox Churches, and that “not one of them supports the project of Ukrainian autocephaly set forth by Constantinople.”

Independent religious experts are less optimistic, but they also say that possibly, under certain conditions and reservations, the actions of the Phanar can only be supported by those Local Churches that are Greek in their ethnic composition.[15]

All this is well known to Constantinople, in as much as his representatives engaged in visits with virtually all of the Local Orthodox Churches, and clarified their attitude to a theoretical Ukrainian autocephaly.

And so, a perplexing question arises: what are the reasons that Patriarch Bartholomew is deliberately playing a losing religious-political game?

The answer is simple—it’s not exactly his game. The initiators and curators of this project do not hesitate.

As far as can be seen, the curator of the Ukrainian autocephaly project is Samuel Brownback, who today is the United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, and recently was the governor of Kansas, a member of the House of Representatives, a senator, and in 2008, even ran for President of the United States in the Republican Party.

President Petro Poroshenko and the U.S. ambassador for religious freedom, Samual Brownback. President Petro Poroshenko and the U.S. ambassador for religious freedom, Samual Brownback.

It was Sam Brownback who held talks in April on Ukrainian Autocephaly with Patriarch Bartholomew, and on September 11 he was in Kiev, and spoke of the same with the Ukrainian President.

The Presidential Administration did not conceal the content of this conversation: “Ambassador Brownback assured that the United States will continue to support Ukraine in its struggle for the restoration of its sovereignty, and territorial integrity, and the right to have a single Ukrainian autocephalous Orthodox church.”

Only a hopelessly biased and invested person could believe that the former US presidential candidate came to Ukraine simply to tell the Ukrainian President about the right to one’s own church.

One can not even speak of Ukrainian sovereignty in general without a bitter grin, since sovereignty under the current government assumes a rather conditional form.[16] And the arrival of a “big boss” from across the ocean, speaks of something else: He is here to control and monitor the progress of his own project.

Brownback’s statements that “The US does not interfere in the decision on a Tomos for the Ukrainian Church but will help to bring it to life” is a statement of praiseworthy modesty, with the help of which the American administration tries to hide its role in the project.[17]

Only a naïve person can believe that “the US does not interfere in the decision about the Tomos”. And the phrase that the US “will help bring it to life”, already reveals their intentions. If according to the Constitution of Ukraine, even the native state does not have a right to create a church, then the state officials of a foreign country (USA) have even less of a right to participate in it. But still, Brownback is planning to “help”.

And at that time, an American official lower in rank went to Georgia, and explained to the Church there, that it does not need to support the Russian Orthodox Church, but rather, it is better to obey the United States.

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Aaron Wess Mitchell, while on a visit to Tbilisi said: “Today our efforts are mainly directed to the cities of Georgia. But there are a lot of people in the country who do not use social media. The Orthodox Church for them is an indirect conductor of Russia’s influence. We must do more to explain to these people: the West is not indifferent to the traditions and beliefs of Georgian society. In the long run, it is necessary to win over Russia. We have a lot to do, but it is clear that the Georgian people have chosen the Western future, and they need help.”

In other words, this person:

Wess Mitchell, assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia. Wess Mitchell, assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia.

is to teach this person:

Patriarch Ilya of Georgia. Patriarch Ilya of Georgia.

…about what the Georgian Orthodox Church must be.

US officials openly reveal the fact that the Patriarchate of Constantinople is under the auspices of the US administration.

In the same time way, in April of 2018, the former US Ambassador to Ukraine, and now the ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey Pyatt[18] visited Mount Athos and without any concealment, wrote on Twitter that he:

“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.”


While harmless at first glance, these words of support in fact speak to the actual leadership of the Phanar by/from the United States. If you look at the policy of Constantinople in recent decades, you can see that it fully meets the interests of the United States. And that’s hardly an accident. The benefit and deciding factor for the Phanar in this interaction is based in the fact that under the pressure of Turkish authorities and without the support of the US administration, the Patriarchate of Constantinople would have long ceased to exist.

But everything has its price. The American State is not Holy Rus’, which for centuries could send huge sums of money to Constantinople, build churches, and shed blood for its brother-Christians.[19]

America is a very pragmatic state that counts its money and the benefits it receives for spending it: “Nothing personal—it’s just business”.[20]

It’s not a secret for anyone that the Phanar has a long and very close relationship with the US administration. So close that in 1949, the US President Harry Truman[21] greatly contributed to Athenagoras (Spyrou) becoming Ecumenical Patriarch, and even let him use his presidential plane for his flight from America to Istanbul.[22]

The Greek community in the USA has a huge influence on Constantinople, and the American Archdiocese is the most numerous and richest part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. It is this structure that is the main source of the financing of the Phanar, and also has a significant influence on the decisions taken by the Constantinople Hierarchs.

The Greek community itself is closely integrated into the higher financial and political circles of the United States; and naturally, the Orthodox Greeks can’t afford to act contrary to the policy perused by the American administration as a whole.

In addition, the social morals that reign in the “progressive” American society affect the self-consciousness of members of the American Archdiocese.[23] I want to believe that simple Orthodox Greeks in the US really live according to Christ’s commandments, and try to “depart from evil and do good”.[24] But here follows a strong example, characterizing the morals of the top leadership of the American Archdiocese, and it should be noted that conventionally, a very important role in its management is played by lay people, usually businessmen or politicians.

One such influential politician in the Greek community is Michael Huffington, a prominent member of the Republican Party, a member of the US House of Representatives from California in 1993-95, and the founder of the influential media resource: The Huffington Post, which in 2012, was named the most popular political site in the US.

Michael Huffington was first a member of the Presbyterian Church, and then moved to the Evangelical, and in 1996, after traveling to Istanbul and having talks with the Phanarites, he became Orthodox. This, however, did not prevent him from openly declaring his homosexuality two years later, and even releasing in 2007 a film that promotes same-sex “love” with a very frilly title: “We’re all Angels”.

Archbishop Demetrios (left), Michael Huffington (right). Archbishop Demetrios (left), Michael Huffington (right).

In addition, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and M. Huffington sponsor various projects for the promotion of LGBT communities, and ecumenical projects.[25] In order to bring the Orthodox and Catholics closer, he created at Loyola Marymount University[26], an ecumenical institution in his own name, the Huffington Ecumenical Institute, and stated that his dream is to see Catholics and Orthodox commune together. Considering that he is already 71 years old, he hopes that this will happen soon.

And this man in June 2018 openly called for the resignation of Archbishop Demetrios, the Primate of the American Archdiocese.

The reason for such appeals was a scandal involving the disappearance of the huge amounts from the treasury of the American archdiocese allocated for the construction of Saint Nicholas Cathedral in New York, and some other moments. The influential American edition The National Herald published an article dedicated to the analysis of the scandal in the American Archdiocese at the recent Synaxis.

Screenshot from the National Herald online. Screenshot from the National Herald online.

The publication contains the words of Archbishop Demetrios, with whom he reacted in reproach for the misuse of funds, and the assertion that after this, the sponsors of the Archdiocese no longer trust him. He said that sponsors don’t have the right to ask what happened to the money, just as he does not ask them how they made their money.

Of course, it is very unusual to hear such maxims from an Orthodox Hierarch. But there is reason to believe that the US authorities know perfectly well who spent these funds and how, and Archbishop Demetrios with such rhetoric nobly tries to escape the threat of some of his high-ranking colleagues.

Thus, the US seems to have many levers of pressure on the Ecumenical Church—the very one which aggressively claims to be the undisputed head of the entire Orthodox world.

In October of 1998, there was a Pan-Orthodox Council in Sofia, attended by the heads and representatives of almost all the Local Churches. The council initiated the healing of a schism of the Bulgarian Church, at which the heretics came to the hierarchs of the Local Churches with a penitential letter. That is, the schismatics returned to the Church according to the canons, through repentance.[27] That is the same repentance which, as Ukrainian schismatics say, “humiliates” them, and which they assure is “impossible” in the current situation.

On September 14, 2018, the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church decided to appeal to the Local Churches to conduct a Pan-Orthodox judgment on the situation in Ukraine. It is surprising that Patriarch Bartholomew, the same Primate who twenty years ago actively (and successfully) healed a schism, now in the situation of Ukraine, is taking a totally opposite position—not to heal a schism, but to legalize it[28].

Can a hierarch of world Orthodoxy change his position so radically on the most principled and important issues of the life of the Church?

And if not, then what moves the Primate of the Church of Constantinople to act in this way?

Obviously, no one will give a direct answer to us.

But in any case, in the near future, both Ukraine and the entire Orthodox world are in for great upheavals.

Kirill Alexandrov
Translation by Matfey Shaheen

Union of Orthodox Journalists


[1] As discussed in this article, Constantinople declared in the speech, that “The Ecumenical Patriarchate bears the responsibility of setting matters in ecclesiastical and canonical order because it alone has the canonical privilege as well as the prayer and blessing of the Church and the Ecumenical Councils to carry out this supreme and exceptional duty as a nurturing Mother and birth-giver of Churches.”

[2] While the previous sentences were more likely scenarios, this last scenario of abolition is put forward by the author as a theoretical possibility. It is not something he is personally advocating for in this article, nor does it in general reflect the official position of the Moscow Patriarchate or Orthochristian.com. In general, for what it’s worth, the Moscow Patriarchate has been doing everything it can in a fraternal spirit [despite receiving no such reciprocal feelings from Constantinople] to make it possible for the Ecumenical Patriarchate change its mind and turn back from this dangerous papist position it has apparently taken.—Trans.

[3] The Patriarchate of Constantinople was once under the see of the Metropolitan of Heraclea, before it was raised to the dignity of Patriarchate, when the post was simply the bishop of Byzantium. The city of Heraclea is today called Marmara Ereğlisi. The rise of the Patriarchate of Constantinople coincided with the city of Byzantium becoming Constantinople, new capital of the Roman Empire—the Second Rome. Byzantium was once, in the first few centuries, a relatively insignificant territory, compared to Antioch, and Alexandria, for example.

[4] If the Patriarchate of Constantinople is aloud to interfere in the affairs of one local church, what prevents this from happening to another?

[5] It’s an open fact (and elephant in the room) that the majority of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s funding and support comes from his holdings in the United States of America. Therefore there are questions of the political motives of the funders, with regards to Russia.

[8] Source: Synaxis of Hierarchs of The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople - https://www.uocofusa.org/news_180901_1.html

[9] “In the letter of Patriarch Dionysius IV, there is no indication of a timeframe or a concrete date. It seems that the Kievan Metropolis was not so important for Constantinople, since they didn’t leave a way out for themselves. Even if Patriarch Dionysius theoretically had in mind a temporary nature of rule by the Moscow Patriarchate, then he would have not hesitated to claim his rights at the earliest opportunity. However, neither during the liquidation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, nor during the Russo-Turkish Wars, nor after the February revolution right up to 1923 (the tomos of autocephaly of the Polish Orthodox Church), we do not see any documents of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in which he claims his rights to these territories.” - Source

[10] The Roman Nation, or Rûm millet was what Ottoman Turks, and some Muslims referred to Christians in the Ottoman Empire and Middle East as. Likewise Christians themselves there often refer(ed) to themselves as Romans or the Roman [Orthodox] Church—NOT with reference to the Roman Catholic Church, or the Uniates-Melkites, Eastern Catholics, etc., but because they considered themselves the people of the Eastern Roman Empire, whose throne and legacy was preserved in Russia-Moscow “The Third Rome”. This all serves to illustrate how events as far back as the Baptism of Rus’, to the Fall of the Second Rome Constantinople and transfer of the title “Rome” to Moscow, to the First World War and Fall of the Russian Empire, are effecting the world to this day.—Trans.

[11] It must be remembered in this same post WW1 setting, the mighty Russian Empire had collapsed, and Russia was in chaos, leaving its massive territories “up for the taking” so to speak, for Constantinople to capitalize on the misfortune and suffering of the people of Holy Rus’.

[12] See footnote 9. This idea, as well as the historical circumstances of the transfer of the Kievan Metropolia to the Moscow Patriarchate are discussed in this article, and the false idea propossed by Constantinople is debunked there. It must always be remembered that the Kievan Church and the Russian church emerged from the same baptismal font, and were separated briefly (in the grand scheme of things) as the result of political invasions (of the Mongols) and occupations (of Poland-Lithuania). The churches in origin are one and the same.

[14] A predecessor of the KGB, part of the long line of Russian secret state security services. The long-standing tradition of a very powerful state security apparatus in Russia arguably began in the 16th century under Ivan the Terrible, with his Oprichnia. The large size of Russia and necessity for central leadership created in the Russian society a certain custom of devoting a large amount of society towards state security and preventing coups. Sadly, after the revolution, this extensively developed skill was used against the church. The current state security agency, the FSB, however, is even helping to fund and beautify a church, as part of the new, free Russia of today, in a return to her ancient tradition.

[15] That said, there has been noteworthy support from Greek Hierarchs of the Church of Greece and others for the Canonical Church of Ukraine.

[16] In the war in Eastern Ukraine, around 10,000 Ukrainian citizens including children and clergy have been killed in a so-called “Anti-Terrorist Operation”, which has in fact taken the form of a fascists style persecution, with literal Neo-Nazi marches in the street.

[17] An interesting discussion on the complex methods of propaganda, PR, and psychological warfare employed by historical state actors can be found here: http://orthochristian.com/115821.html

[18] Pyatt was among the US officials including Victoria Nuland who handed out cookies on Maidan to Ukrainian fighters during the chaotic and violent days around the coup. When Nuland was questioned by US Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher as to the presence of Neo-Nazis involved with the street fighters on Maidan and being among the groups which she, and the US supported, she struggled to speak around the subject. She was forced to admit “there were many colors of Ukraine involved, including very ugly colors”, effectively confirming in her own words the commonly known US government support for Neo-Nazi and radical groups in Ukraine.

[19] A tiny example of this is the great Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia Bulgaria, built by grateful Bulgarians to the Russian Army, which liberated Bulgarian Slavs from Ottoman Turkish occupation. This is merely a microcosm of this situation.

[20] This by in large speaks to differences between Holy Rus—Russia , and the mentality of the West. Russian mentality, influenced by Orthodoxy is immortalized in the quote of Fyodor Tyutchev “You can’t understand Russia with your mind, she can’t be imprisoned by earthly measurements, Russia has a special status, in Russia you can only believe.” This essentially means Russia is a spiritual concept, a matter of faith which is believed in, based on the idea of the “Russian soul”. It is natural for Russians to believe they sacrifice themselves for Russia, the individuals sacrifice themselves for the collective, because Russia is a collective society, whereas the post-enlightenment West became individualistic. This is why the West believes in the idea of “prosperity gospel” i.e. the wealthier you become, the more God loves you. Russians however are influenced by the idea of suffering purifying the soul, and that suffering with love for one’s fellow Christians grants closeness with God. This idea is incomprehensible to the individualistic west, because its entire consciousness is based on the false and pragmatic mindset of man. Russia however, is collective, based on belief in Russia, and ultimately God, she is based on the soul.—Trans.

[21] The first (and only person to date) to use nuclear weapons on other humans.

[22] Patriarch Athenagoras is a very controversial man to say the least. He was the first Patriarch to meet with the Pope since the Great Schism of 1054. This blog of the Greek Orthodox Church in America on the subject, openly admits among other things “American presidents understood that Washington’s active support and defense of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople was not only consistent with the principle of religious freedom but was also an important, global resource for highlighting and communicating American values in the twin arenas of international relations and Great Power diplomacy.” A supporter of organ use in church, other orthodox sites claim that when he was a bishop in America, he attempted to join the US Army during WW2 but was turned down (showing his apparent draft card), and that he supposedly gave a shard of the true cross to President Truman.

[23] See footnote 25 below, the influence of liberal political ideologies in the Ecumenical Patriarchate at large is noted in this article.

[24] Psalm 33:15 in Russian/Slavonic, listed as 34:14 in some non-Orthodox bibles.

[25] “… Constantinople preaches a liberal trend in Orthodoxy. There is talk of joint prayers with Protestants and Catholics, which, to put it mildly, is not welcome in Orthodoxy…They are constantly releasing semi-transparent hints and signals about the permissibility of unconventional sexual orientations…Moscow, on the contrary, embodies the conservative, traditionalist…Orthodoxy…But scientific-theological discussions are one thing, while the direct invasion of someone else’s home is a totally separate matter….the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew proclaimed and signaled a schism in … Orthodoxy, along the liberal and conservative lines. And he is officially headed in a liberal direction.” Source: http://orthochristian.com/115696.html

[26] A Jesuit university—the same Jesuits which contributed to the mass murder of Orthodox Christians in Ukraine, in the form of Catholic-Uniate terror which occurred from the late 16th century to WW2, when Uniates (Greek-Catholics) fought alongside and within Hitler’s SS Galicia division. Uniate “clergy” continue to serve at Nazi themed memorials in Ukraine.

[27]In an interview, Archbishop Theodosy, a Hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church clearly explained in this same light, that it is only through repentance the schismatics can be received back into the bosom of the Church. Vladika said: “Repentance is needed for the healing of schism in Ukraine, not autocephaly”. http://orthochristian.com/115266.html

[28] See above. In the same interview the Archbishop explained that legalizing the schism is not (canonically) possible.

Nun Cornelia10/20/2019 1:00 pm
PN Siersbeck: I will take the liberty of answering your questions. 1) Yes, the ROC did take responsibility before the Russian people for cooperating with the soviet government. There was a special address by Patriarch Alexei II, and the Church's act of canonizing the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia (who were persecuted by the soviet regime) was part of that repentance. Furthermore, the whole period is much more understandable to the Russians, who lived through it, than it could be to you. 2)The Soviets and the Russian people were not the same thing. That betrays great ignorance of the situation on your part. If the soviet government armed the Turks, that has absolutely nothing to do with the Russian Orthodox Church. Under the Tsars, the Russians to the contrary fought against the Turks in a number of wars, and supported the Greeks. Incidentally, that is the first time I have seen anyone put it that way. Did the soviets really help the Turks? Or did they save the Armenians from total annihilation by the Turks by negotiating the formation of an Armenian republic within the Soviet Union? 3) Mass murder by Stalin in Ukraine: A huge over-simplification. Didn't Stalin commit mass murder throughout the Soviet Union? Why suppose that only the Ukraine suffered? Or was he supposed to skip over the Ukraine and only murder Russians? And what in the world does Stalin have to do with the ROC? He was, first of all, Georgian, and secondly, a militant atheist. If you are talking about the famine the Ukraine, do not be deceived--the famine was brought on in order to force collectivization of agriculture all over the USSR. Everyone suffered from it, not only Ukrainians. See Solzhenitzyn's assessment of it. That has become a very divisive issue, especially since at the time, the Western press was denying that it was even happening. Now suddenly it was somehow a Ukrainian genocide. No, it was a genocide against Russians and Ukrainians both, but more specifically against the peasantry. 4) Crimea. Yes, it was always part of Russia, it was taken from the Ottoman Turks by the Russian Empire. It was given to the Ukraine by Khrushchev, who was Ukrainian. Most of the population there was and is Russian, and Russian speaking. But in any case, the Crimea has absolutely nothing to do with Patriarch Bartholomew's invasion into the canonical territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - MP. That is a political issue. Since when are Local Orthodox Church's supposed to punish countries for political moves by invading the canonical territory of their Local Churches? By the way, the Crimea is still under the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. My sincere request to you: look into things more deeply.
Peter Nicholas Siersbeck10/20/2019 6:18 am
When the Russian Orthodox Church in the later Soviet years cooperated more closely with the Soviet state, did it take on the responsibility of asking for the forgiveness of the Russian people for what they did to the Orthodox Church both knowingly and unknowingly? The Communists didn't just destroy Orthodox churches directly in its internal borders. The Soviets sided with the Turkish side during the Greek and Turkish war which happened after WWI by providing military aid to the Turkish Army. Maybe some Orthodox Christians in Russia unknowingly helped the Communists with their crimes. Some people think that the Soviets and the Russian Orthodox people in the Soviet Union were the same thing. I will leave that to the experts to decide if this was the case occasionally. If you talk to some Greeks about the Ukrainian situation, they will talk about how Stalin committed mass murder in the Ukraine. But nobody is bringing up the more recent Crimea annexation by Russia. All that I go by were the news reports. And they didn't report neutral international officials observing the voting in the Crimea after Russia occupied it. Crimea was once part of Russia and then the Soviets gave it to Ukraine, probably because Stalin committed mass genocide on the Ukrainian people. I found the article to very helpful though.
John Lee Raile10/25/2018 5:29 pm
A quick study of Orthodox history shows us the Church is a living organism with a "Life Principle." Anything within the Body that is contrary to the body--a cancer, if you will--will be flushed out over time by this life principle (the Church is not a human organization). Consider Arius: at that time the majority were sympathetic to his views. Over time this evil was rooted out and Arius' demise was rather dramatic. As the bishop in Constantinople, Nestorius was also contrary to the body and God rooted him out as well. If we the rank and file Orthodox pray for God to sort this thing, He will do so in a manner obvious to all who is contrary to the Mind of Christ/Phronima of the Church.
Anthony9/24/2018 9:23 pm
And the plot thickens!!!... ''Mike Pompeo reported that Washington is aware of the theft in 2017-2018 of a large amount of money (about 10 million US dollars) from the budget for the construction of the Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas in New York. Mike Pompeo noted separately for the Patriarchate of Constantinople that the US Attorney's Office has documentary evidence confirming the withdrawal of these funds abroad on the orders of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew'' http://katehon.com/article/how-us-prepared-split-orthodox-churches-horsemen-apocalypse-ukraine
anthony9/23/2018 11:22 pm
This great articel sums up the anti-Orthodox antics of the phanar and his sponsors in the morally-financially bankrupt American (of Greek origin) community in the USA well. Of course Ayios Paisios knew about these fithia long before. When some senators (of Greek origin) came to see him on Ayion Oros, he turned his head away reviling them and calling them "killers of people". How frightful that even a saint refused to accept these people. Then there's Archbishop Dim of America who gave war criminal Biden the Pat Athenag award for human rights!!!
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