Crete, September 30, 2020
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a number of accusations against Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church in a press conference during his 2-day visit to Crete this week, where he met with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The Secretary began his remarks lauding the establishment of the USS Hershel “Woody” Wiliiams expeditionary sea base at Crete’s Souda Bay, which symbolizes the expanding U.S.-Greece defense partnership.
Our security cooperation today is especially important, as Russia continues to destabilize the region, especially in Libya, where the U.S. calls for the withdrawal of all foreign military forces, and support for military de-escalation, and for Libyan reconciliation. The Prime Minister and I also agree to explore closer cooperation to overcome challenges that Russia poses through malignant influence activities, such as the spread of disinformation on the pandemic and trying to co-opt the Orthodox Church.
The U.S. Department of State played an active and decisive role in Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople’s creation of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” in late 2018, which led to a break in Eucharistic Communion between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
To date, the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the primates of the Alexandrian and Greek Churches have recognized the Ukrainian schismatics, while the majority of Local Orthodox Churches take the same theological-canonical stance as the Russian Church against schisms in the Church, and against the violence routinely carried out by Ukrainian schismatics against the canonical Ukrainian faithful.
Sec. Pompeo also criticized Russia’s Gazprom for having influence in energy supplies
The Russian Embassy in Athens quickly responded to Secretary Pompeo, stating: “This is not the first time that American officials have tried in their public statements to draw Greece to the anti-Russian front. This kind of anti-Russian hysteria can hardly find a response in the friendly Greek people.”