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Efforts to split the Orthodox Church intended to isolate Russia

Moscow’s excommunication of Constantinople may be part of the plan of the West to further isolate Russia by demonizing its Church.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The big news in geopolitics in Ukraine and Russia the last several weeks has been about the status of a church more than about the fighting in Donbass or the assassination of the leader of the Donetsk Republic. However, the uncanonical (this is synonymous with “illegal” in matters concerning the Eastern Orthodox Church) efforts by Ukraine’s so-called “Kyiv Patriarchate” to leapfrog from schismatic status to the official national Church of Ukraine have been assisted by – you guessed it – the United States.

And it is working.

Poster showing schismatic church leader to visit Cleveland, Ohio, USA

The self-proclaimed leader of this schismatic Church, Filaret Denisenko, known by many as “Patriarch Filaret” is making an American tour. This is of course being billed as a “Patriarchal visit to the United States” and for many well-meaning people it will certainly be that way.

However it is a farce. The Kyiv Patriarchate is not accepted as a legitimate Orthodox Jurisdiction by any of the fifteen canonical local Orthodox Churches. It is actually amazing that the Patriarch of Constantinople is even giving this matter the time of day, but for the understanding that this man, Patriarch Bartholomew, is alternately having dreams of papal grandeur (well, he was educated in Rome) and apparently, support from American people, probably with the promise of money.

Maybe he should ask the people of Ukraine how well that promise worked out before taking the bait.

So, why is this important? This is just a religious issue, isn’t it?

Actually, probably not. One of the often discussed, but poorly documented conspiracies regarding Russia from the Soviet times is called the “Dulles Plan.”

Given the present state of American denial of Christianity as much more than an out-of-date set of nice ideas and traditions, the American people generally would have a difficult time understanding that a major component of the society of Russia and the adjoining countries to it like Poland, Ukraine, the Czech lands, Bulgaria, Serbia, Georgia and so on is a very strong relationship with Eastern Orthodox Christianity. These countries all have very dedicated Orthodox populations, even in lands like Poland, where there is a great deal of persecution by Roman Catholics and others.

The biggest Church in all of Orthodoxy is that of Russia, with the Patriarch of Moscow leading this group of Christians. For the last thousand years since the breakaway of Rome from this very ancient communion, the Orthodox Church has held together as a confederation of local national jurisdictions, sometimes differing in language and cultural traditions, but adhering, letter-perfect, to the faith as it was taught by Christ and his Apostles.

This adherence is remarkably strong and the aforementioned Dulles Plan, coined for the name of its creator, Allen Dulles, lays out a strategy for defeating Russia – not just Communist Russia, but Russia after the fall of Communism – by attacking the resurgent Russian Orthodox Church.

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One of the reactions of the local churches was a round condemnation of Patriarch Bartholomew’s actions and a voicing of unity with the Moscow Patriarchate. But most of the Churches that voiced this are those communities that are physically close to Russia. While the oldest Church in the world – the Antiochian Orthodox Church – also voiced her support, the implication has come to the open talk of Russia breaking communion with Constantinople if the Ukrainian schismatics are legitimized. 

A possible blowback for this is actually to further isolate Russia, which has been getting this treatment on the geopolitical end ever since President Vladimir Putin put the 2013 Valdai speech about the collapse of Western morality into action. Once the Western media and politicians saw that President Putin meant to be serious about this the isolation of Russia began in greater and greater force to the point where it is today.

This does not mean that the breaking of communion should not happen if Constantinople continues its wayward course. In fact, to preserve the Church it is probably necessary, though tragic. But this will also result in a new order in the Orthodox Church, with the Patriarch of Moscow becoming the most likely “first among equals” due to the size and power of the Russian Church.

This will have the effect of drawing much more virulent attacks against Moscow from the West. While a possible way around that is to grant primacy to one of the remaining ancient sees, like Jerusalem, Antioch or Alexandria, Moscow nevertheless is very likely to be given the leadership role.

Many people dispute the reality of the Dulles plan. But even if it were not real, what is taking place now would certainly fit the goals that are attributed to it.

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Jorge BizarroClem KadidlehopperRev. Michael ShanbourJohn NolanDr. Valeria Nollan Recent comment authors
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Robert Michael Szallavary Sullivan
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Robert Michael Szallavary Sullivan

One has to ask the question, why the Roman Catholic Pope in Rome, the leader of 1.2B Roman Catholics worldwide, has not immediately and publicly went on record, and issued a strong formal condemnation of Ukraine–in conjunction with the West–using religion as a political tool, to inflict social damage on the Russian Federation, and its people? Is the Pope an independent religious leader, or he is another spineless stooge of the West? Roman Catholics sitting idly by, as this action plays out might want to consider how they would react, if a foreign nation(s) contrived to instigate a similar schism… Read more »

Jorge Bizarro
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Jorge Bizarro

Good question… pretty easy and obvious answer: the Churches concerned by this article are not anymore under Roman Bishop authority, so the Pope is simply avoiding meddling in someone else’s flocks. A wise thing to do, especially because these ‘Byzantine’ issues historically have been like a poked wasps nest that gets everybody stung for no obvious reason. The Latin Church has learnt the lesson.

Dr. Valeria Nollan
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Dr. Valeria Nollan

This is canonically an illegal step, and all Orthodox Christians who are faithful to Sacred Tradition going back at least as far as 325 CE will recognize its illegality.

John Nolan
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John Nolan

When will citizens realize that the Russian orthodox church, as the Greek orthodox, are nothing more than branches of the ‘not so great’ whore, her daughters, who are subservient to mumma Fatican’s will. According to the Bible, on which Christianity is founded, there is only one Church, the Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of this Church, not man. Christianity is not a religion, religions are control techniques, used by questionable people, built on foundations of shifting sands, where men can pervert or change the Word of God, contrary to Scripture, Rev.22:18-19, to manipulate the generally Scriptural ignorant masses. There… Read more »

Rev. Michael Shanbour
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Rev. Michael Shanbour

Dear John, what is terribly ironic about your comments is that everything you said is agreed with by the Orthodox Church: 1. There is only one Church (and the Orthodox Church has been that Church from 33AD); 2. Christianity is NOT a religion, it is the Life that flows from God, the Holy Trinity, Himself, through the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit; 3. the Orthodox Church is not founded on Peter but on Peter’s CONFESSION of Jesus as the Son of the Living God; 4. Jesus Christ is the only Head… Read more »

Clem Kadidlehopper
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Clem Kadidlehopper

Trump studied at a Jesuit University, Pompeo is Jesuit trained, Brennan and his cohorts almost to a man are Jesuit University graduates. Suppose the Catholic hierarchy might have something to do with this.
In fact US Intelligence is almost 100% Jesuit controlled.
Wonder why that doesn’t strike anyone peculiar.

Jorge Bizarro
Guest
Jorge Bizarro

This is why Christ properly designated a Head (and ONLY ONE) for His Church: Peter!
Without a supreme Authority, bad or good, the Church is but doomed.

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Ukraine Wants Nuclear Weapons: Will the West Bow to the Regime in Kiev?

Efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation are one of the few issues on which the great powers agree, intending to continue to limit the spread of nuclear weapons and to prevent new entrants into the exclusive nuclear club.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The former Ukrainian envoy to NATO, Major General Petro Garashchuk, recently stated in an interview with Obozrevatel TV:

“I’ll say it once more. We have the ability to develop and produce our own nuclear weapons, currently available in the world, such as the one that was built in the former USSR and which is now in independent Ukraine, located in the city of Dnipro (former Dnipropetrovsk) that can produce these kinds of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Neither the United States, nor Russia, nor China have produced a missile named Satan … At the same time, Ukraine does not have to worry about international sanctions when creating these nuclear weapons.”

The issue of nuclear weapons has always united the great powers, especially following the signing of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The decision to reduce the number of nuclear weapons towards the end of the Cold War went hand in hand with the need to prevent the spread of such weapons of mass destruction to other countries in the best interests of humanity. During the final stages of the Cold War, the scientific community expended great effort on impressing upon the American and Soviet leadership how a limited nuclear exchange would wipe out humanity. Moscow and Washington thus began START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) negotiations to reduce the risk of a nuclear winter. Following the dissolution of the USSR, the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances persuaded Ukraine to relinquish its nuclear weapons and accede to the NPT in exchange for security assurances from its signatories.

Ukraine has in recent years begun entertaining the possibility of returning to the nuclear fold, especially in light of North Korea’s recent actions. Kim Jong-un’s lesson seems to be that a nuclear deterrent remains the only way of guaranteeing complete protection against a regional hegemon. The situation in Ukraine, however, differs from that of North Korea, including in terms of alliances and power relations. Kiev’s government came into power as a result of a coup d’etat carried out by extremist nationalist elements who seek their inspiration from Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera. The long arm of NATO has always been deeply involved in the dark machinations that led to Poroshenko’s ascendency to the Ukrainian presidency. From a geopolitical point of view, NATO’s operation in Ukraine (instigating a civil war in the wake of a coup) follows in the footsteps of what happened in Georgia. NATO tends to organize countries with existing anti-Russia sentiments to channel their Russophobia into concrete actions that aim to undermine Moscow. The war in the Donbass is a prime example.

However, Ukraine has been unable to subdue the rebels in the Donbass region, the conflict freezing into a stalemate and the popularity of the Kiev government falling as the population’s quality of life experiences a precipitous decline. The United States and the European Union have not kept their promises, leaving Poroshenko desperate and tempted to resort to provocations like the recent Kerch strait incident or such as those that are apparently already in the works, as recently reported by the DPR authorities.

The idea of Ukraine resuming its production of nuclear weapons is currently being floated by minor figures, but it could take hold in the coming months, especially if the conflict continues in its frozen state and Kiev becomes frustrated and desperate. The neoconservative wing of the American ruling elite, absolutely committed to the destruction of the Russian Federation, could encourage Kiev along this path, in spite of the incalculable risks involved. The EU, on the other hand, would likely be terrified at the prospect, which would also place it between a rock and a hard place. Kiev, on one side, would be able to extract from the EU much needed economic assistance in exchange for not going nuclear, while on the other side the neocons would be irresponsibly egging the Ukrainians on.

Moscow, if faced with such a possibility, would not just stand there. In spite of Russia having good relations with North Korea, it did not seem too excited at the prospect of having a nuclear-armed neighbor. With Ukraine, the response would be much more severe. A nuclear-armed Ukraine would be a red line for Moscow, just as Crimea and Sevastopol were. It is worth remembering the Russian president’s words when referring to the possibility of a NATO invasion of Crimea during the 2014 coup:

“We were ready to do it [putting Russia’s nuclear arsenal on alert]. Russian people live there, they are in danger, we cannot leave them. It was not us who committed to coup, it was the nationalists and people with extreme beliefs. I do not think this is actually anyone’s wish – to turn it into a global conflict.”

As Kiev stands on the precipice, it will be good for the neocons, the neoliberals and their European lackeys to consider the consequences of advising Kiev to jump or not. Giving the nuclear go-ahead to a Ukrainian leadership so unstable and detached from reality may just be the spark that sets off Armageddon.

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Mike Pompeo lays out his vision for American exceptionalism (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 158.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and International Affairs and Security Analyst via Moscow, Mark Sleboda take a look at Mike Pompeo’s shocking Brussels speech, where the U.S. Secretary of State took aim at the European Union and United Nations, citing such institutions as outdated and poorly managed, in need of a new dogma that places America at its epicenter.

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Speaking in Brussels, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unwittingly underscored why nobody takes the United States seriously on the international stage. Via The Council on Foreign Relations


In a disingenuous speech at the German Marshall Fund, Pompeo depicted the transactional and hypernationalist Trump administration as “rallying the noble nations of the world to build a new liberal order.” He did so while launching gratuitous attacks on the European Union, United Nations, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund (IMF)—pillars of the existing postwar order the United States did so much to create. He remained silent, naturally, on the body blows that the current administration has delivered to its erstwhile allies and partners, and to the institutions that once upon a time permitted the United States to legitimate rather than squander its international leadership.

In Pompeo’s telling, Donald J. Trump is simply seeking a return to the world that former Secretary of State George Marshall helped to create. In the decades after 1945, the United States “underwrote new institutions” and “entered into treaties to codify Western values of freedom and human rights.” So doing, the United States “won the Cold War” and—thanks to the late President George H. W. Bush, “we won the peace” that followed. “This is the type of leadership that President Trump is boldly reasserting.”

That leadership is needed because the United States “allowed this liberal order to begin to corrode” once the bipolar conflict ended. “Multilateralism has too often become viewed as an end unto itself,” Pompeo explained. “The more treaties we sign, the safer we supposedly are. The more bureaucrats we have, the better the job gets done.” What is needed is a multilateralism that once again places the nation-state front and center.

Leave aside for the moment that nobody actually believes what Pompeo alleges: that multilateralism should be an end in itself; that paper commitments are credible absent implementation, verification, and enforcement; or that the yardstick of success is how many bureaucrats get hired. What sensible people do believe is that multilateral cooperation is often (though not always) the best way for nations to advance their interests in an interconnected world of complicated problems. Working with others is typically superior to unilateralism, since going it alone leaves the United States with the choice of trying to do everything itself (with uncertain results) or doing nothing. Multilateralism also provides far more bang for the buck than President Trump’s favored approach to diplomacy, bilateralism.

Much of Pompeo’s address was a selective and tendentious critique of international institutions that depicts them as invariably antithetical to national sovereignty. Sure, he conceded, the European Union has “delivered a great deal of prosperity to the continent.” But it has since gone badly off track, as the “political wake-up call” of Brexit showed. All this raised a question in his mind: “Is the EU ensuring that the interests of countries and their citizens are placed before those of bureaucrats and Brussels?”

The answer, as one listener shouted out, is “Yes!” The secretary, like many U.S. conservative critics of European integration, is unaware that EU member states continue to hold the lion’s share of power in the bloc, which remains more intergovernmental than supranational. Pompeo seems equally unaware of how disastrously Brexit is playing out. With each passing day, the costs of this catastrophic, self-inflicted wound are clearer. In its quest for complete policy autonomy—on ostensible “sovereignty” grounds—the United Kingdom will likely have to accept, as the price for EU market access, an entire body of law and regulations that it will have no say in shaping. So much for advancing British sovereignty.

Pompeo similarly mischaracterizes the World Bank and IMF as having gone badly off track. “Today, these institutions often counsel countries who have mismanaged their economic affairs to impose austerity measures that inhibit growth and crowd out private sector actors.” This is an odd, hybrid critique. It combines a shopworn, leftist criticism from the 1990s—that the international financial institutions (IFIs) punish poor countries with structural adjustment programs—with the conservative accusation that the IFIs are socialist, big-government behemoths. Both are ridiculous caricatures. They ignore how much soul-searching the IFIs have done since the 1990s, as well as how focused they are on nurturing an enabling institutional environment for the private sector in partner countries.

Pompeo also aims his blunderbuss at the United Nations. He complains that the United Nations’ “peacekeeping missions drag on for decades, no closer to peace,” ignoring the indispensable role that blue helmets play in preventing atrocities, as well as a recent Government Accountability Office report documenting how cost-effective such operations are compared to U.S. troops. Similarly, Pompeo claims, “The UN’s climate-related treaties are viewed by some nations simply as a vehicle to redistribute wealth”—an accusation that is both unsubstantiated and ignores the urgent need to mobilize global climate financing to save the planet.

Bizarrely, Pompeo also turns his sights on the Organization of American States (OAS) and the African Union (AU), for alleged shortcomings. Has the OAS, he asks, done enough “to promote its four pillars of democracy, human rights, security, and economic development?” Um, no. Could that have something to do with the lack of U.S. leadership in the Americas on democracy and human rights? Yes. Might it have helped if the Trump administration had filled the position of assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs before October 15 of this year? Probably.

Equally puzzling is Pompeo’s single line riff on the AU. “In Africa, does the African Union advance the mutual interest of its nation-state members?” Presumably the answer is yes, or its members would be headed for the door. The AU continues to struggle in financing its budget, but it has made great strides since its founding in 2002 to better advance security, stability, and good governance on the continent.

“International bodies must help facilitate cooperation that bolsters the security and values of the free world, or they must be reformed or eliminated,” Pompeo declared. Sounds reasonable. But where is this “free world” of which the secretary speaks, and what standing does the United States today have to defend, much less reform it? In the two years since he took office, Donald Trump has never expressed any interest in defending the international order, much less “returning [the United States] to its traditional, central leadership role in the world,” as Pompeo claims. Indeed, the phrase “U.S. leadership” has rarely escaped Trump’s lips, and he has gone out of his way to alienate longstanding Western allies and partners in venues from NATO to the G7.

When he looks at the world, the president cares only about what’s in it for the United States (and, naturally, for him). That cynicism explains the president’s deafening silence on human rights violations and indeed his readiness to cozy up to strongmen and killers from Vladimir Putin to Rodrigo Duterte to Mohammed bin Salman to too many more to list. Given Trump’s authoritarian sympathies and instincts, Pompeo’s warnings about “Orwellian human rights violations” in China and “suppressed opposition voices” in Russia ring hollow.

“The central question that we face,” Pompeo asked in Brussels, “is the question of whether the system as currently configured, as it exists today—does it work? Does it work for all the people of the world?” The answer, of course, is not as well as it should, and not for nearly enough of them. But if the secretary is seeking to identify impediments to a better functioning multilateral system, he can look to his left in his next Cabinet meeting.

“Principled realism” is the label Pompeo has given Trump’s foreign policy. Alas, it betrays few principles and its connection to reality is tenuous. The president has abandoned any pursuit of universal values, and his single-minded obsession to “reassert our sovereignty” (as Pompeo characterizes it) is actually depriving the United States of joining with others to build the prosperous, secure, and sustainable world that Americans want.

“Bad actors have exploited our lack of leadership for their own gain,” the secretary of state declared in Belgium. “This is the poisoned fruit of American retreat.” How true. Pompeo’s next sentence—“President Trump is determined to reverse that”—was less persuasive.

 

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Russia calls on US to put a leash on Petro Poroshenko

The West’s pass for Mr. Poroshenko may blow up in NATO’s and the US’s face if the Ukrainian President tries to start a war with Russia.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Russia called on Washington not to ignore the Poroshenko directives creating an active military buildup along the Ukrainian-Donbass frontier, this buildup consisting of Ukrainian forces and right-wing ultranationalists, lest it “trigger the implementation of a bloody scenario”, according to a Dec 11 report from TASS.

The [Russian] Embassy [to the US] urges the US State Department to recognize the presence of US instructors in the zone of combat actions, who are involved in a command and staff and field training of Ukraine’s assault airborne brigades. “We expect that the US will bring to reason its proteges. Their aggressive plans are not only doomed to failure but also run counter to the statements of the administration on its commitment to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine by political and diplomatic means,” the statement said.

This warning came after Eduard Basurin, the deputy defense minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic noted that the Ukrainian army was massing troops and materiel for a possible large-scale offensive at the Mariupol section of the contact line in Donbass. According to Basurin, this action is expected to take place on 14 December. TASS offered more details:

According to the DPR’s reconnaissance data, Ukrainian troops plan to seize the DPR’s Novoazovsky and Temanovsky districts and take control over the border section with Russia. The main attack force of over 12,000 servicemen has been deployed along the contact line near the settlements of Novotroitskoye, Shirokino, and Rovnopol. Moreover, more than 50 tanks, 40 multiple missile launcher systems, 180 artillery systems and mortars have been reportedly pulled to the area, Basurin added. Besides, 12 BM-30 Smerch heavy multiple rocket launchers have been sent near Volodarsky.

The DPR has warned about possible provocations plotted by Ukrainian troops several times. Thus, in early December, the DPR’s defense ministry cited reconnaissance data indicating that the Ukrainian military was planning to stage an offensive and deliver an airstrike. At a Contact Group meeting on December 5, DPR’s Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova raised the issue of Kiev’s possible use of chemical weapons in the conflict area.

This is a continuation of the reported buildup The Duran reported in this article linked here, and it is a continuation of the full-scale drama that started with the Kerch Strait incident, which itself appears to have been staged by Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko. Following that incident, the president was able to get about half of Ukraine placed under a 30-day period of martial law, citing “imminent Russian aggression.”

President Poroshenko is arguably a dangerous man. He appears to be desperate to maintain a hold on power, though his approval numbers and support is abysmally low in Ukraine. While he presents himself as a hero, agitating for armed conflict with Russia and simultaneously interfering in the affairs of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church, he is actually one of the most dangerous leaders the world has to contend with, precisely because he is unfit to lead.

Such men and women are dangerous because their desperation makes them short-sighted, only concerned about their power and standing.

An irony about this matter is that President Poroshenko appears to be exactly what the EuroMaidan was “supposed” to free Ukraine of; that is, a stooge puppet leader that marches to orders from a foreign power and does nothing for the improvement of the nation and its citizens.

The ouster of Viktor Yanukovich was seen as the sure ticket to “freedom from Russia” for Ukraine, and it may well have been that Mr. Yanukovich was an incompetent leader. However, his removal resulted in a tryannical regíme coming into power, that resulting in the secession of two Ukrainian regions into independent republics and a third secession of strategically super-important Crimea, who voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia.

While this activity was used by the West to try to bolster its own narrative that Russia remains the evil henchman in Europe, the reality of life in Ukraine doesn’t match this allegation at all. A nation that demonstrates such behavior shows that there are many problems, and the nature of these secessions points at a great deal of fear from Russian-speaking Ukrainian people about the government that is supposed to be their own.

President Poroshenko presents a face to the world that the West is apparently willing to support, but the in-country approval of this man as leader speaks volumes. The West’s blind support of him “against Russia” may be one of the most tragic errors yet in Western foreign policy.

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