Moscow, October 1, 2020
During a press conference in Crete earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made several accusations against Russia. Implicitly referring to the ecclesiastical conflict in Ukraine, he accused the Russian state of attempting 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.
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.”
And in his own response on his Telegram channel, Vladimir Legoida, head of the Russian Church’s Synodal Department for Relations Between the Church, Society, and the Media, noted that the U.S. has been using the Patriarchate of Constantinople to impose its will around the world for decades.
“American diplomacy is frank in its simplicity,” he writes. “Using the Phanar [the Patriarchate of Constantinople—OC] in its own interests since the post-war period, it intends to ‘fight the influence’ of any other states that are unwilling to fulfill the will of the State Department as expressed by the Patriarch of Constantinople.”
“Just look at the interference in the internal affairs of the Church in Ukraine, when the U.S.A., together with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, created a quasi-religious structure in order to conducts its ‘well-intentioned’ political influence, which has brought suffering to thousands of faithful Ukrainians,” he concluded.
In an article entitled, “Pyatt, Pompeo, and Orthodoxy,” Greek journalist and filmmaker Lamprini Thoma expressed the same view.
“It is one thing to be a captive, to be degraded in the hands of the Turks for centuries, and it is another to surrender happily to the hands of the United States, whose obvious goal is to dismantle the unity of Orthodoxy and use it as a weapon against Moscow,” she writes.
“If some had doubts about the fact that the U.S. is hiding behind the recent crisis between the Churches, they will probably now be convinced, precisely because of this characteristic uniqueness of Pompeo, who views Orthodoxy as another weapon of U.S. imperialist games,” she continues.
She also recalls that Geoffrey Pyatt, the current U.S. Ambassador to Greece, who regularly meets with Orthodox authorities, formerly served in Ukraine, during the Maidan crisis which he helped to instigate.
“It is time that we insist … that the unity of Orthodoxy, its survival in the new century, cannot pass through the imperial machine,” in which the U.S. creates a “war of civilizations” between the Western-leaning Greece, as the U.S. sees it, and the enemy Russia.
OrthoChristian has written about the relationship between the Patriarchate of Constantinople and U.S. politics before. The connection is well documented, and the Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas has published several articles that offer a first look at the evidence.
See their articles, “Secret 1950 State Dept Memo on Ecumenical Patriarch,” “Athenagoras: The Apostle of America to Orthodoxy,” “Patriarch Athenagoras’ Declarations of Loyalty to America,” “Ousting the Ecumenical Patriarch: the removal of Maximos V according to CIA records,” and “Greek Archbishop to proto-CIA: “Your directions will be executed faithfully.”