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US closure of Russian diplomatic properties may be act of property development piracy

The local implications to some of America’s biggest property markets may be a key angle in understanding why the US has acted so aggressively.

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While initial reports concealing the forced eviction of Russian diplomatic and consular offices from their property by the US State Department has generally been discussed in terms of geo-political implications, there is another angle which hitherto has been ignored. There is an increasing likelihood that part of the reason why the US kicked the Russian diplomats and their staff out of properties they have held for decades, is due to a desire of local and federal US actors to get their hands on properties that are worth millions on the open market.

The properties which were formerly occupied by Russian diplomatic and consular officials are objectively grand buildings in prime (aka expensive) locations in three of America’s most expensive cities, New York, Washington D.C. and San Francisco.

The phenomenon of so-called ‘property regeneration’ has been a prominent fixture in each of the aforementioned cities. One element of property regeneration whether in poor areas being redeveloped or in affluent areas which are home to old buildings which aren’t living up to their ‘economic potential’, is when longtime tenants or owners are removed in order for new tenants and owners to move in. These new owners are tenants are selected on the basis of being able bring more economic value to the local economy.

One of the ways American state, local and federal governments do such things is through the use of something called eminent domain wherein property owners are forced to relocate while being compensated at a rate the government determines. Unless a property owner can win a lawsuit against the government in a court of law (which rarely happens), the owners/tenants have little say in the matter. They are simply forced to pack up without having the privilege of selling their property on the open market.

Donald Trump himself made extensive and controversial use of eminent domain when he encouraged Atlantic City to evoke it when clearing out the owners of old buildings where he ended up building large hotels and casinos.

Generally speaking, the properties of embassies and consular facilities in cities across the globe are in prestigious areas of capital cities and other big metropolitan areas. Naturally, the property which is owned by the governments of foreign countries would be worth a great deal of money on the open property market, a market which real estate brokers and developers are more than eager to get their hands on. As of yet, there is no instance of the US invoking eminent domain against a foreign embassy or consular property, not least because such things would almost certainly violate the Vienna Conventions.

The US has shown a precedent for being all too aware of this. For example, one of the biggest American embassies overseas is located in London. The current embassy of the United Sates in Britain is located in Mayfair, the most expensive region in the British capital.

In 2008, the United States announced it would be constructing a new embassy in the Nine Elms area of London, a then derelict part of the city where land was vastly cheaper than the location of the current embassy.

By the time the US moves into the new embassy, the property prices in Nine Elms will have increased substantially, as the once barren area filled with crumbling post-industrial facilities has been ‘redeveloped’. In other words, America will make a great deal of money from selling their old property while obtaining a good investment that may pay for itself in a few short years.

The former locations of the Russian properties in the United States which have recently been vacated are also located in extremely expensive parts of extremely expensive cities. The large building which housed the Russian Consulate in San Francisco is located in the Pacific Heights district, one of the most affluent and beautiful parts of the California city.

Pacific Heights, San Francisco.

The former Russian Consulate in San Francisco

The Russian Consular Annex which was shut down in New York was located in the Upper East Side, the most desirable and expensive part of Manhattan. The consular annex in Washington D.C. was also located in one of the distract’s most affluent areas.

Russia’s opulent former trade mission in Washington D.C.

Russia’s consular building in New York’s Upper East Side

The question now is: what happens to the properties?  

The way in which the Russian diplomats and workers were kicked out leaves little room for doubt that the facilities are not going to be re-opened to their existing owner, the Russian Federation.

As a result Russia expects compensation as anyone in a similar position would seek.

This reality was mentioned by the official Spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova. She stated,

“I am telling you a sensation. It is difficult to believe, officially the Department of State made it clear to us, we were told directly, that they expect that we shall sell those facilities to the US.

They expect from us that we shall sell those properties to the American government. Today, we shall make a set of pictures of those facilities, so that it is clear what we are talking about – those are not one-bedroom flats in the outskirts. Those are central locations in Washington and San Francisco (and New York). The facilities, the so-called residences fare the most respectable locations and this is why it was so interesting to host events there”.

While Russia has called America’s actions “hostile” in respect of violating the internally recognised Vienna Conventions, the act also most be something else, a proverbially hostile takeover.

From a pure economic standpoint, it seems incredibly devious that the US will according to Zakharova, force Russia to sell the properties to the US government rather than put them up for sale on the open market. If the properties were put up for sale on the open market, Russia could reasonable expect to receive a better final sale price.

If the US does indeed purchase the properties what then will happen? Will the US use the properties, thus increasing the property portfolio of the US government by an amount that is almost certainly over the tens of millions and will almost certainly increase over time?

Or will the US government sell the properties themselves on the open market to the highest bidder? Extrapolating this further, might the US government sell the properties to a developer who may have donated money to a Congressional party or a prominent politician? All of this is not only possible but increasingly probable.

The US may be close to getting a good deal on properties which are extremely desirable, properties the rightful owner did not have any intention on selling or otherwise giving up. It is a kind of eminent domain which has been exercised through geo-political and diplomatic warfare, all of which is illegal according to international law.

While this could merely be an unintended outcome of the protracted diplomatic struggles Washington has instigated against Moscow, it must be said that prior to becoming the President of the United States, Donald Trump was a property developer. If anyone in the US government knows how much the properties are worth and what economic potential they hold, that person is Donald Trump, a man who objectively has more experience in the property market than he has on foreign policy.

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Joe HueglinJetsJan MorrisVera GottliebAlexandra Recent comment authors
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Daisy Adler
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Daisy Adler

“act of property development piracy”

or, in a word: “theft”.

Simon
Guest
Simon

They want Russia to sell purely to close the issue and thus apprently ‘justify’ their illegal actions. Otherwise the problem will fester for a decade or more.

It’s from the same playbook as “Yanukovich left the country, nothing more to discuss, move along, nothing to see here.”

Russia should refuse to sell. But I doubt they will listen to my advice.
And btw, in the same way, they should never have accepted that Yankukovich was no longer the President of Ukraine.

Franz Kafka
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Franz Kafka

By his inaction, incompetence and, ultimately, complicity in the hand-over of the former The Ukraine to the Zionist expropriators, headed by Vicki ‘Cookies’ Knudlemann, Yanukovych made himself a pariah to Russia. Insupportable.

Simon
Guest
Simon

Oh I completely agree he’s a wanker.
But that’s no reason to abandon the doubt over the whole legality of the transfer of power. That could have proven useful.

In the same way, maybe the trade mission has structural damage and is rat infested – but it’s no reason to admit defeat, sell up and leave.
Its status is an embarrassment and a bargaining chip, better not to agree to take it off the table, yet.

Franz Kafka
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Franz Kafka

Russians have a built-in genetic aversion to pettiness. It puts the “People of Consummate Cant” as Nietzsche characterised the English (now the Anglo-Zionists) have at least that advantage in pettiness over Russia. Of course it means that in the end the Russians will always defeat them. But in the short term propaganda war it looks sometimes like a weakness. I am quite sure that it is not one. I wonder if you would agree?

Dorthyredison
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Dorthyredison

Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family!!!
On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
>>>http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash370TopOne/GetPay$97/Hour..

Wayne Blow
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Wayne Blow

Disgustingly deplorable, “BULL-SHIT”, Russia return the favor!!!!

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

Dear Adam, what is the deal with the US Embassy on Tverskoi Boulevard in Uber-Prime downtown Moscow praactically opposite the Kremlin? Might they be harboring missiles there to assassinate Putin. I think so.

Mr Putin: Consider this to be my official denunciation of the contents of, and intended purpose of, the US Embassy in Moscow. – A friend.

Tom Welsh
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Tom Welsh

“As of yet, there is no instance of the US invoking eminent domain against a foreign embassy or consular property, not least because such things would almost certainly violate the Vienna Conventions”.

As written, that sentence is incorrect. If, in the spirit of Mark Twain, we cross out “almost” and replace it with “damn”, the sentence will now be true.

Tom Welsh
Guest
Tom Welsh

The Russian government should refuse to sell the properties. If the US government wishes to steal them by force, let it do so publicly.

Punisher 1
Guest
Punisher 1

The US “rents” their US Mission buildings in Russia. While the Russians “own” their buildings in the US. It seems to me the leases should be terminated (I’m sure “some” legal reason can be found). And a Soviet built apartment building from the 1960’s ,in the outskirts of Moscow,offered the US instead. Why let the US enjoy “posh digs” in downtown Moscow. When a “shall we say”,more “suitable” building can be found for them (with no reduction in rent of course).

cap960
Guest
cap960

A pig farm would suffice.

Alexandra
Guest
Alexandra

Not sure if the pigs would want them in their stalls.

Hans Zandvliet
Guest
Hans Zandvliet

Especially some psycopathic tenents who love spare ribs on their barbeque.

Alexandra
Guest
Alexandra

Good one!

nshah
Guest
nshah

As I mentioned before he became potus.. He’s an Elicit Conman..!

Joe Hueglin
Guest
Joe Hueglin

The meaning of “Land of the Free” has become”Free to do as WE choose – regardless of rules.”
Invade a sovereign country with no UN authorization Serbia. Get UN authorization to help the people and destroy the overall highest standard country in Africa – Libya. Sadly this latest destruction of international law will be accepted by Canada and other subordinate states without comment..

Jets
Guest
Jets

“…international law will be accepted..” should be “HAS BEEN accepted by Canada …”.

Joe Hueglin
Guest
Joe Hueglin

In so far as not commenting is acceptance it has been as you write. Just like an Archbiship not reporting an abusive priest to the police – condoning is at minimum dishonourable.

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

Making America ‘great’ or rather, developers??? Shameless…

Jan Morris
Guest
Jan Morris

5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, “nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.” If I’m remembering correctly, “just compensation” means “fair market value”.

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Fusion GPS founder trapped in legal jeopardy, bets on Democrat midterm win to bury Russiagate hoax (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 135.

Alex Christoforou

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Fusion GPS researcher Nellie Ohr and ex-FBI official James Baker are set to testify before Congress, but Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson is taking the Fifth.

The man at the center of the Russiagate hoax, Glenn Simpson, headed the espionage/PR smear firm Fusion GPS, which ordered the discredited and fake Trump ‘dossier’, which John McCain handed to the FBI, and which Buzzfeed News published as actual news.

Simpson has a lot of explaining to do, and now appears trapped in his “under oath” lies.

Simpson had previously testified under oath to the House Intelligence Committee that he never met with DOJ official Bruce Ohr, husband to Fusion GPS researcher Nellie Ohr.

Simpson also stated under oath that he never discussed with Bruce Ohr the Steele dossier prior to the October FISA application, which was used to spy on Carter Page and kick off the ‘Russiagate hoax’.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the legal jeopardy entangling Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson. Republicans are close to breaking the ‘Russiagate hoax’ wide open, but Simpson is betting on delay tactics, and a subsequent Democrat midterm House victory, to save his ass from prosecution, and bury his involvement in a brazen attempt to discredit and remove an elected US President.

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According to Zerohedge, Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson may be in “real legal jeopardy” over inconsistent testimony given to Congress regarding his involvement in a massive counterintelligence effort against then-candidate Donald Trump, including the infamous Steele dossier.

Speaking with Fox News Maria Bartiromo, John Ratcliffe (R-TX) said…

“I’m not surprised that Glenn Simpson is taking the Fifth.”

“He probably should. He’s in real legal jeopardy. Very clearly someone is not telling the truth.”

Via The Daily Caller… 

Simpson, who investigated the Trump campaign on behalf of the DNC and Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, informed Congress on Thursday that he will plead the Fifth to avoid speaking with members of the House Judiciary and House Oversight & Government Committee in an interview set for Tuesday.

“The reason for that … is that Glenn Simpson had previously testified under oath to the House Intelligence Committee that he never met with Bruce Ohr or discussed with Bruce Ohr the Steele dossier prior to the October FISA application in 2016 or the 2016 presidential election,” said Ratcliffe, a member of the House Judiciary panel.

Via Fox News ‘Sunday Morning Futures’

Via Zerohedge

Ohr told the Judiciary and Oversight & Government Reform Committees in an August 28 interview that he met with Simpson in August and December of 2016 to discuss Fusion GPS’s opposition research into Donald Trump.

Bruce’s wife, Nellie Ohr, was hired by Fusion GPS for the anti-Trump effort at the time.

Simpson, however, told a different story to the House Intelligence Committee on November 14, 2017, when he said that he hadn’t been in contact with anyone from the DOJ or FBI until after the election. While he did acknowledge meeting with Bruce Ohr (meetings which would result in Ohr’s demotion), Simpson never disclosed his wife’s employment.

“Ohr, who has been demoted twice since December, was also in frequent contact with Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous anti-Trump dossier. Steele, a former British spy, was hired by Fusion GPS in June 2016 to investigate the Trump campaign’s possible links to the Kremlin.

Steele met with the Ohrs on July 30, 2016, a day before the FBI opened its counterintelligence investigation into the Trump team. Ohr met just after with FBI deputy Director Andrew McCabe.” – Daily Caller

Following the 2016 election, Steel and Ohr met over a dozen times, despite the FBI having blacklisted Steele for improper media disclosures concerning his work.

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Hillary and Holder are hurting Democrat Party with their rhetoric

Democrat-written opinion piece points out the fact that the party has radicalized so much it has left its own supporters behind.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Fox News ran an opinion piece written by Douglas E. Schoen early Sunday. It points out how radicalized the Democrat Party has become, and it is noteworthy because Douglas Schoen is a Democrat himself. He writes (emphasis added):

As Democrats campaign for the Nov. 6 midterm elections, they have plenty of legitimate criticisms to level at President Trump and Republicans who control the House and Senate. But Democrats were hurt in recent days by amazing and disgusting comments made by Hillary Clinton and former Attorney General Eric Holder.

As a Democrat, I want my party to win as many seats as possible in the House and Senate and to capture as many governorships and other state offices as it can. But the Clinton and Holder remarks do not advance that effort – they hurt it.

Former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Clinton said Tuesday that “you cannot be civil with” the Republican Party because it “wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about.” She added that “if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again.”

But even worse than Clinton’s comments were those of Eric Holder, who said at a recent campaign event in Georgia that Democrats should abandon the advice of former first lady Michelle Obama, who said at the 2016 Democratic National Convention that her party and mine should respond positively to negative attacks from the GOP.

Mrs. Obama said that “when someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.”

Holder argued just the opposite, saying: “When they go low, we kick them. That’s what this new Democratic Party is about.” He later said he wasn’t advocating violence – not literal kicking.

I beg to differ with both Clinton and Holder.

The only way the Democrats can regain the majority in either or both houses of Congress is by being civil, and pointing out the differences between Democrats and Republicans on the issues.

This is the real issue that should govern elections. Rather than the politics of popularity, one needs to consider policy points and which side offers points that are actually achievable, believable, concrete, desirable and specific. Calling President Trump and his administration names does not offer any constructive dialogue on policy matters.

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Conservatives and Trump supporters know this and it is precisely because of this that Donald Trump won the White House.

While the mainstream media (and here we can include Fox News largely) tried every possible way to ridicule Donald Trump’s candidacy, the people that actually listened to what he had to say found him very impressive on policy as much as his ability to speak as the voice of the people. The recent hysteria around Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination and confirmation to the Supreme Court was hysteria up front, driven by real policy fears from the deep core of liberals, as they know that this Justice is likely to form an effective wall against liberals ramming their agenda through the courts since their efforts fail legislatively so often.

Mr. Schoen continues:

As a centrist Democrat, the issue that strikes me most is the degree to which the national debt and the deficit are now out of control.

America faces uncertain and unstable times financially. Yet we are seeing a Republican-controlled Congress that has largely failed to do anything besides provide tax cuts for major corporations and the wealthiest individuals. This is by no means certain to have fundamentally altered the path of the economy or to provide economic growth.

Put another way, what the Trump administration has failed to do is to fix health care and cover pre-existing conditions more fundamentally; lead America in a fiscally responsible way; and pass tax cuts that help the average American. The Trump tax cuts have driven up the national debt and endangered funding for programs that benefit millions of people in our country.

So, here are policy points. Now we can begin to have a debate. Is Mr. Schoen right, or wrong in his information? This is far different than name-calling!

Democrats have long argued the need for a centrist agenda that focuses on:

  • Providing health-care benefits – whether private or public – to all Americans to cover expansively all pre-existing conditions.
  • Protecting the environment from the policies of the Trump administration that have only encouraged –and I dare say exacerbated – environmental degradation and climate change.
  • Promoting a pro-growth, inclusive agenda that seeks to put working people first, and the interests of Washington insiders and economic elites second. President Trump claims that he is doing this – he calls it “draining the swamp” – but this has not happened.

There is no justification for the angry rhetoric of Clinton and Holder, which only feeds into Republican claims that Democrats are an angry mob that can’t get over Clinton’s loss to Trump two years ago.

And Holder looks particularly bad because he was once the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, yet now sounds like he is effectively advocating what appears to be either illegal activities, or metaphorical initiatives that run counter to our traditions and our politics.

Hillary Clinton has said she won’t run for office again, but Holder has said he may run for president in 2020. Whoever the Democratic candidate turns out to be needs to be a responsible and respectable opponent – not one who calls for kicking the GOP or for incivility.

We should have learned from the Senate confirmation hearing for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh that resisting for the sake of resisting doesn’t work. In fact, Democratic attacks on Kavanaugh may well have backfired, recent polls show.

The Democratic Party itself is lost now, without a message, a direction, a strategy, or agenda to confront a Republican Party that is seen as in many ways as having let the American people down.

We need change – but it must be constructive change. This Democrat believes that the comments that Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton made are wrong, counterproductive, and deserve to be rejected by the leadership of the Democratic Party.

Perhaps Fox News ran this opinion piece because Douglas Schoen is the first rational Democrat contributor to say anything in some time. However, it also appears that Mr. Schoen is a minority in his own party. It is a greatly logical approach to argue policy, as he has and as anyone who really understands American government should. But it is unclear as to whether the bulk of the Democrat Party even has reasonable people remaining.

If they do, it may well be that they are being betrayed by their party’s increasingly leftist and radical positions. The Party apparatus seems focused, but it also seems to have left people like Mr. Schoen behind.

Who knows? Maybe that will bring them into the Trump camp.

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Patriarch Bartholomew lifts anathemas on schismatics in Ukraine (VIDEO)

Most of the Orthodox world is in strong opposition to this move by Patriarch Bartholomew, whose motivations seem not to be of Christ.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The biggest news in the Eastern Orthodox world in recent times occurred on Thursday, October 11, 2018. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, lifted the anathemas against two schismatic Ukrainian Churches and their leaders, paving the way to the creation of a fully independent Ukrainian national Orthodox Church.

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This announcement was given in English and is shown here in video with the textual transcript following:

“Presided by His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Holy and Sacred Synod convened for its regular session from October 9 to 11, 2018 in order to examine and discuss items on its agenda. The Holy Synod discussed in particular and at length, the ecclesiastical mater of Ukraine in the presence of His Excellency Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon and His Grace Bishp Ilarion of Edmonon, Patriarchal Exarchs to Ukraine, and following extensive deliberations decreed (emphasis added):

First, to renew the decision already made, that the Ecumenical Patriarchate proceed to the granting of autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine;

Second, to re-establish at this moment the stavropegion of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Kiev—one of its many starvorpegion in Ukraine that existed there always;

Third, to accept and review the petitions of appeal of Philaret Denisenko and Makary Maletich and their followers who found themselves in schism not for dogmatic reasons, in accordance with the canonical prerogatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to receive such petitions by hierarchs and other clergy of all the autocephalous Churches. Thus, the above mentioned have been canonically reinstated to their hierarchical or priestly rank, and their faithful have been restored to communion with the Church;

Fourth, to revoke the legal binding of the Synodal letter of the year 1686, issued for the circumstances of that time, which granted the right through economia to the Patriarch of Moscow to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev elected by the clergy-laity assembly of his eparchy, who would commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch as the first hierarch at any celebration, proclaiming and affirming his canonical dependence to the Mother Church of Constantinople;

Fifth, to appeal to all sides involved that they avoid appropriation of churches, monasteries, and other properties as well as every other act of violence and retaliation so that he peace and love of Christ may prevail.”

There are a few things that must be said about what this declaration is not before we get to the matter of what the points of actually are. The point of reference is the strict letter of the text above itself.

  • This is not a granting of autocephaly (full independent self-rule status) like the fourteen universally canonical Orthodox jurisdictions in the world. However, it is a huge step towards this status.
  • As far as Constantinople is concerned, Filaret Denisenko, the leader and “Patriarch” of the “Kyiv Patriarchate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church” and Makary, the “Metropolitan” of the “Ukrainian Orthodox Autocephalous Church”, and all their faithful are now restored to communion. The statement says that this applies to “The Church” which may be trying to state that these two men (and all the faithful that they lead), are now in communion with the entirety of canonical Orthodoxy, but more likely, this may be a carefully worded statement to say they now are in communion with Constantinople alone.
  • There is an official call for the cessation of the violence directed against the Moscow Patriarchate parishes and communities, who are the only canonically recognized Orthodox Church in Ukraine, and who are also the largest by far in that country. The Kyiv Patriarchate and Uniate (Roman oriented) Greek Catholics in Ukraine have gone on record for seizing MP church properties, often by force, with neo-Nazi sympathizers and other radical Ukrainian nationalists. So this official call to cease the violence is now a matter of public record.

However, the reaction has been far less civil than the clergy wished for.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko: “Expressing his view of the Moscow Patriarchate, Poroshenko added, “This is a great victory of the God-loving Ukrainian people over the Moscow demons, the victory of Good over Evil, the victory of Light over Darkness.”’

Perhaps this is the reason Metropolitan Onuphry of Ukraine (exarch under the Moscow Patriarchate) has been labeled an enemy of Ukraine and is now receiving death threats. Very civil.

Poroshenko’s statement is all the more bizarre, considering that it has been Ukrainian ultra-nationalists that have been violently attacking Moscow – related parishes in Ukraine. This has been corroborated by news sources eager to pin the blame on Russia, such as the U.K. Guardian.

The Union of Orthodox Journalists, based in Kiev and supportive of the Moscow Patriarchate, has been under intense cyber attack since October 11th, when the EP’s announcement was issued.

Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) Chancellor, Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary: “What happened at the Synod in Istanbul yesterday shocked the entire Orthodox world. It seems the Patriarchate of Constantinople is consciously embarking on a path of schism in world Orthodoxy. Patriarch Bartholomew ignored the calls of the Local Churches to convene a meeting of the primates to work out a common and conciliar solution to the Ukrainian Church issue and unilaterally made very serious but erroneous decisions. I hope the Orthodox world will give this action an objective evaluation… Having received the schismatics into communion, Patriarch Bartholomew did not make them canonical, but has himself embarked on the path of schism. The schismatics remain schismatics. They did not receive any autocephaly or tomos. It seems they have lost even that independence, although non-canonical, that they had and which they always emphasized.”

Metropolitan Rostislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia:“The Orthodox world recognizes the only canonical primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church—His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine. This fact was repeatedly mentioned and confirmed by the primate of the Great Church of Christ His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on behalf of all present at the Synaxis of the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches that was held in Chambésy (Switzerland) from January 21 to 27, 2016. Therefore, any attempt to legalize the Ukrainian schismatics by the state authorities should be strongly condemned by all the primates of the Local Orthodox Churches.

Patriarch Irinej of Serbia wrote two letters to the Ecumenical Patriarch, advocating that the provision of a new autocephaly is possible only with the consent of all local Orthodox Churches. According to Sedmitza.ru (Translation by Pravoslavie.ru),

“In these letters, it was very clearly stated that the granting of autocephaly cannot be the prerogative the Patriarchate of Constantinople alone, that new autocephalies must be created only with the consent of all the Local Orthodox Churches, as the Holy Synod of Antioch also said in its recent statement.”

Pat. Irinej also warned the Patriarchate of Constantinople against making such major decisions unilaterally, because “it will not bring harmony and peace to the Ukrainian land, but, on the contrary, will cause new divisions and new schisms.”

The Holy Synod of Antioch, the oldest Orthodox Church, and actually the very first place where the disciples of Christ were even called “Christians” weighed in on the issue as well and they had several things to say:

“The fathers examined the general Orthodox situation. They stressed that the Church of Antioch expresses her deep worries about the attempts to change the boundaries of the Orthodox Churches through a new reading of history. She considers that resorting to a unilateral reading of history does not serve Orthodox unity. It rather contributes to the fueling of the dissensions and quarrels within the one Church. Thus, the Church of Antioch refuses the principle of establishing parallel jurisdictions within the canonical boundaries of the Patriarchates and the autocephalous Churches as a way to solve conflicts, or as a de facto situation in the Orthodox world.

To summarize, this move by Constantinople is not being warmly received by many, many people. Most of the local Churches are on record giving their reaction to this process. In brief, here is the list most of the Local Churches and a one or two word summary of their reactions.

Patriarchate of Georgia: Unilateral action is wrong; Constantinople and Moscow must cooperate and find a solution together.

Patriarchate of Jerusalem: recognizes Ukraine as a canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church alone, as do all other local Churches

Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa: The Church does not bow to politicians. Moscow-led church is the only canonical Church in Ukraine.

Archbishop of Cyprus: Decries the Ukrainian situation but offered to mediate a discussion between Moscow and Constantinople

Bulgarian Patriarchate: Interference of the State in Church affairs leads to serious and negative consequences for both.

Polish Orthodox Church: Metropolitan Sawa called for a council of Orthodox ruling hierarchs to discuss this situation.

Estonian Orthodox Church: Condemns Constantinople’s actions in Ukraine.

Greek Archdiocese of America: Supports Constantinople’s actions in Ukraine.

The Orthodox Church of Greece (Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus quoted): “Schismatics, as we know, are not the Church, and communion with them is forbidden by the Divine and holy canons and the Apostolic and Ecumenical Councils. Why then this persistence of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in recognizing schismatics as an autocephalous Church? To provoke schisms and divisions in the one universal and Apostolic Church of Christ?”

Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR): Ceased commemoration of Constantinople, ceased concelebration with Constantinople.

This issue has also rocked the secular geopolitical world.

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