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EU to Boycott Russia for being “anti-Western” but Russia is more Western than the West

The idea that Russian civilization is less “European” than Western Europe must be put to rest

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A member of the German Green Party is urging EU Governments to boycott the Russian-hosted June 2018 FIFA World Cup, in an open letter as reported on by Zero Hedge.

Her letter is filled with the age-old Russophobia spouted by smug westerners for centuries, and is in itself, nothing surprising. The letter is a self-righteous piece containing the typical praise of “western values”, and condemning Russia for various crimes she didn’t commit – without any evidence, as usual. It contains statements referencing what she considers “Vladimir Putin’s mockery of our European values“, with undertones of an implied moral high ground the west allegedly has. The entire letter can be summed up in the crowning moment of arrogance in the closing paragraph:

The world is looking at Europe in these difficult times. Our governments should not
strengthen the authoritarian and anti-western path of the Russian President, but
boycott the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and raise their voices for the protection of
human rights, of democratic values and peace.

Normally, this is a story that would fly under the radar. There are so many more important issues concerning Russia and the world, than the fantasies of a misguided woman’s desire to boycott a sporting event. Her open letter is not an official decision from the EU, although it is worth noting that according to Zero Hedge, Sixty Members of the European Parliament from 16 member states and 5 different political groups are supporting her call.

It is important to understand that even if the EU adopted her proposal, the European football teams would still play in Russia, all that would happen is EU officials wouldn’t “shake Putin’s hand” as she described it.
OH NO!!! Putin won’t get to shake hands with a bunch of Russophobes! How tragic!
For these reasons, I normally wouldn’t shed any attention on this story, and give the letter or it’s author any more publicity, however one major thing stuck out, was worthy of an academic level of scrutiny.
There was the line which referred to a “mockery of our European values” and another, which even worse, had the audacity to pull the “western values” card on Russia. This was the portion saying the EU must “raise their voices for the protection of human rights, of democratic values and peace” against Russia and her President’s “anti-western path”. Such words can ignite polymic fire in Russian philosophers.
It was the arrogant assumption that first of all, “Western” or “European values” are equivalent to “human rights, democratic values, and peace”. The second is her assumption that Russia, a key member of Western Civilization long before German principalities were united, and the eastern bulwark of Europe can be “anti-Western” or Anti-European.

Anna of Kiev – Western Kings begged for the hand of this “eastern” princess

This is an argument often used, that Russia is a “young Asiatic country”, however, Rus’ was an ancient nation, married into the Eastern Roman Imperial Family by the 10th century. French Kings begged for the hand of Anna of Kiev, daughter of Russian Knyaz Yaroslav, and granddaughter of Vladimir of Kiev and the Eastern Roman Emperors.

Anna of Kiev – Queen of France

At the time Russia was founded, there was no “Germany” but simply “East Francia”, and modern Germans were divided into hundreds of tiny fiefs for centuries.
As a result, it is worth discussing Russia’s true role and history in Europe, even if Russian philosophers argue over her destiny and identity.

Russia at the Crossroads

A Knight at the Crossroads by Viktor Vasnetsov

The idea that Russia is or isn’t western, or European is a very old debate, a very aggressive debate which can separate even friends. Some Russian thinkers like Lev Gumilev see Russia as something in-between “Eurasian”, whereas others think Russia constitutes a completely unique civilization.
In this context though, when Western European leaders argue that Russia is not western, or European, this deserves much examination. First of all, it is not their right to declare Russia’s civilization and path – this belongs only to the Russian people.
To say “Russia is going down a non-western path” is in this context, profoundly racist, in its implications. It’s an argument which is advocating the lie that Western Europe is – and has always been – a great bastion of freedom, whereas Russia is an Asiatic “prison of nations” (Тюрьма народов) as Lenin slandered her.
When the author of the letter speaks of a “western path or values” in her mind, she is referring to peace, love, diplomacy, freedom, etc. This is obvious from this sentence:
Our governments should not strengthen the authoritarian and anti-western path of the Russian President, but boycott the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and raise their voices for the protection of human rights, of democratic values and peace.
To her, that is what “western” means, sugar, spice, and everything nice, so to speak.
The natural conclusion of her statement, therefore implies what is “western” is always good, that the west is a white knight, and what is non-western or eastern is a barbaric horde. That level of racist presumptions is quite unpleasant, and brings back bad memories for Slavs to hear it from a German.
Germans really should not be lecturing anyone about peace, human rights, and European values, considering that both World Wars which radically messed up the state of European civilization, were started by Germanic powers.
But is Russia truly not western?

What is “The West”

Before we can address that, we must truly understand what Western meant in its historical context, and address any evolution of that meaning by today’s era. Unfortunately, this article does not lend itself to a deep scholarly discussion, so I will be brief.
The primary issue seems to be, that there are two profoundly different visions of what is Western civilization.
The first, and archaic vision is that the Western world, and what is western, is synonymous with Christendom. It was born when European civilizations adopted a uniting Christian faith, along with a certain Greco-Roman legacy.
You could argue western civilization began when the Emperor Saint Constantine the Great accepted Christianity as the faith of the Roman Empire, and united it under one autocrat. It began the idea of a Christian monarch ruling over a Christian land, and it predates the separation of Europe into tribal nation-states. The divine right of Kings, the use of the Cross on shields and heraldry, a certain union between the Church and the State, even the Nicene Creed and the Bible as we know it was formed under Constantine, who died in 337. His example defined one thousand years of European civilization.
This was the first definition of what was “western” and it remained a united consensus until Charlemagne’s election as “Holy Roman Emperor” – when he was really a Germanic king – conflicted with the already existing Roman (Byzantine) Emperor in the East. The East-West Schism, which divided the Christian church into two parts became a source of division, and later more rifts would emerge.
Never the less, the idea of Christendom as being synonymous with “western” was the prevailing belief until the 18th century.
After the enlightenment, and the French rationalists, the western world underwent a secular transformation. They overthrew ancient monarchies and faiths, and began a new civilization based on individualism and “reason”. This evolution slowly evolved into the liberal social values of these days, support for LGBT, abortion, secularization, what some refer to as “Cultural Marxism”, even if the term is a misnomer. For the sake of brevity, one can argue the West by 2018 changed its religion from Christianity to “Democracy”
Never the less, we have two definitions of western now
  1. Christendom (the Old Classical World)
  2. The so-called “democratic, human rights” secular powers of today – US, EU, and their allies.
From this point of view, it is clear that Russia is an inalienable member of the first definition. This is why the title of this article said “Russia is more western than the west”. By the definition of Christendom, Russia is far more western than Western Europe.

Priests, Cossacks, and Soldiers lead a cross procession of over 100,000 people in modern Saint Petersburg

Even Russian Christianity is more traditional, as it’s often blended with monarchism, and the high church rituals of the Orthodox Church are devoid of liberal reforms, and the church hierarchy operates more or less as it did in medieval times (in a positive sense).
In all honesty, Russian society was far more “western”, than Western Europe, even historically. The Czars of the “Third Rome” remained autocratic like Roman Emperors to the very end, as opposed to western monarchs.
Russian society remained closer to medieval Western Europe, than Western Europe was to its own history.
Russia today remains, in this way, far more traditionally “western”, in values, leadership, society,
and Faith, than Western Europe with its ultra social liberalism.

Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine Onufry leads a cross procession in Kiev – Holy Russia yet lives

However, if we consider these forms of socially liberal values to be the new European values, then Russia most certainly does not share the same values as The West.

A tale of two Europes – a gay parade in Berlin

Russia may have been more Western than the west, but The West has changed, and Russia is no longer part of that civilization. This conclusion is also expressed by renowned Russian conservative thinker Mikhail Remizov (MR) in an interview with Professor Paul Robinson (PR).

PR: You said that Russian culture, in your opinion, is a European culture. But there are many conservatives who say that Russia is a separate civilization, a Eurasian civilization. Do you consider that Russia is part of European civilization, and if so does that mean that Russia’ future must lie in Europe?

MR: How to understand the idea of civilization is a big question. If you consider a civilization to be a project built around religious or quasi-religious values, some project of organizing life, the image of man, society, power, then in Europe we can see a new civilization being built, one which is connected to a new set of quasi-religious coordinates founded on the religion of human rights and emancipation. And in this sense it is a new post-Christian civilization. Again, that is if we view civilization as a project, not as roots, but as a project. But if we understand civilization in terms of its roots: antiquity, Christianity, a certain Jewish component through Biblical thought, plus Slavic, Celtic, German, Indo-European roots, myths, then we are quite close to Europe. We have common roots. And our cultural codes are also similar. If we look at Russian stories and those of the Brothers Grimm, we can see one and the same subjects. But if we see civilization as a project, then, no, we are now separate civilizations.

The Problem with Russia’s so-called “Anti-Western Path”

At this point, one may ask was all this necessary, just because a hysterical German MP called Russia “non-Western” in her open letter to boycott Russia. The issue was never the letter itself, but the spirit of the letter. The Russophobia contained therein, the implication that Russia’s “path” is inferior to the “Western values” must be debunked. The whole East vs West sham must be debunked.
One could say it is obvious the German MP wasn’t saying Russia isn’t a Christian country. There is no evidence she even imagines the west as being Christendom.
She isn’t saying Russia is Asian, or that being Asian or non-European is bad. This has no racial or religious implications. She is clearly speaking of western values in the modern, secular sense. She means the West represents, as she said herself, “human rights, democratic values, and peace”
The issue with this is two-fold.
First of all, even if she isn’t denying Russia’s place in Western civilization (Christendom), she is still implying “The West” i.e. Western Europe and North America have superior moral values to Russia. She is implying the west has at the very least been known for its humanitarian nature in recent memories.
That is nonsense!!! Is this the same west which dropped the Atomic bomb on Japan? Which killed legions in Vietnam? Which practically invented modern radical Islam by funding the mujahadin to fight the Soviet Union. The west which plunged the Middle East into the endless bloodshed of recent years. Is this the west that waged a war against Yugoslavia and then Christian Serbia. Which tore Kosovo from the still-beating heart of Orthodox Serbia and gave it to Muslims? Did the West forget that Kosovo was the spot of the martyrdom of Czar-Saint Lazar Hrebeljanović who fought Ottoman Murad, defending Europe from invasion? Or has the West long since, ceased to care about such things.

The west that supports a fascist-sympathizing regime to rule Ukraine, bringing endless suffering on the people, and to prostitute and sell the people of Ukraine like one would sell in a marketplace soulless grain?
If this is the “western path” Russia is rejecting, then by rejecting it, Russia is taking the moral high ground. The idea that western values are synonymous with humanitarianism is as cynical as the words “Arbeit macht frei – Work will set you free”.
And finally, the liberal “humanitarian superpowers” are proving themselves very racist, by continuing to use the word western like this, and equating it with what she called “human rights, democratic values, and peace”
This is because when someone uses the word “Western” in this context, it’s impossible for a European not to have some vague image of that Christian Greco-Roman past. Even in a secular sense, one thinks of Greco-Roman pillars and domes over government and legal halls, the Renaissance masterpieces, the great composers.
It conjures a vision of that idealistic European golden age. She is implying the liberal state and values of Western Europe, is the natural evolution of this glorious golden age whereas Russia is moving to something foreign.
A closer look would reveal Russia remained western by the old standard, and it is the West which has changed and became something different.

Saint Petersburg – if that is not “Western” I don’t know what is

By implying that Russia is not western, if taken to the logical conclusion, they are saying Russia is some Asiatic backwater. They are implying the West is all human rights, democratic values, and peace, whereas anything “anti-Western”, to use her own term, is the opposite.
To use the terminology of SJWs, (not to agree with them, but maybe it will sink in better), saying that Russia isn’t western is a microaggression. It’s also moronic, and devoid of both cultural knowledge and common sense, so please stop doing it.

Eternal Russia

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Massacre in Crimea kills dozens, many in critical condition

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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Russian Orthodox Church officially breaks ties with Constantinople

Biggest separation in almost 1,000 years as world’s largest Orthodox Church cuts communion with Constantinople over legitimizing schismatics.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The schism between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate became official today, October 15, 2018, as the Russian Holy Synod reviewed the recent granting of communion to two schismatic groups in Ukraine, pursuant to Constantinople’s intent to grant autocephaly (full self-rule, or independence) to the agglomeration of these groups.

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RT reported that the Synod ruled that any further clerical relations with Constantinople are impossible, given the current conditions. Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev told journalists today about the breach in relations:

“A decision about the full break of relations with the Constantinople Patriarchate has been taken at a Synod meeting” that is currently been held in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, Hilarion said, as cited by TASS.

The move comes days after the Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate decided to eventually grant the so-called autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, thus making the clerical organization, which earlier enjoyed a broad autonomy within the Moscow Patriarchate, fully independent.

The Moscow Patriarchate also said that it would not abide by any decisions taken by Constantinople and related to the status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. “All these decisions are unlawful and canonically void,” Hilarion said, adding that “the Russian Orthodox Church does not recognize these decisions and will not follow them.”

At the same time, the Russian Church expressed its hope that “a common sense will prevail” and Constantinople will change its decision. However, it still accused the Ecumenical Patriarch of initiating the “schism.”

The marks the most significant split in the Orthodox Church since the Great Schism of 1054, in which Rome excommunicated Constantinople, a breach between the Roman Catholics and Orthodox which has persisted ever since then, becoming hardened and embittered after the Roman Catholic armies sacked Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in 1204.

Many other local Orthodox Churches expressed support for the Moscow Patriarchate’s position prior to today’s announcement, but the break in relations between these two churches does not have any known affect on local churches who hold communion with both Moscow and the Ecumenical Patriarchate at this time.

The website Orthochristian.com ran the entire statement of the Holy Synod regarding this situation. We offer a brief summary of statements here, taken from that source and patriarcha.ru, adding emphasis.

With deepest pain, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church received the message of the Patriarchate of Constantinople published on October 11, 2018 about the decisions adopted by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople: on the confirmation of the intention to “grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church”; on the opening of the “stavropegion” of the Patriarch of Constantinople in Kiev; on the “restoration in the hierarchal or priestly rank” of the leaders of the Ukrainian schism and their followers and the “return of their faithful to Church communion”; and on the “cancellation of the action” of the conciliar charter of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1686 concerning the transfer of the Kiev Metropolia to the Moscow Patriarchate

The Synod of the Church of Constantinople made these decisions unilaterally, ignoring the calls of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the entirety of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as the fraternal Local Orthodox Churches, and their primates and bishops for pan-Orthodox discussion of the issue.

Entering into communion with those who have departed into schism, let alone those who have been excommunicated from the Church, is tantamount to departing into schism and is severely condemned by the canons of the holy Church: “If any one of the bishops, presbyters, or deacons, or any of the clergy shall be found communicating with excommunicated persons, let him also be excommunicated, as one who brings confusion on the order of the Church” (Canon 2 of the Council of Antioch; Canon 10, 11 of the Holy Apostles).

The decision of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the “restoration” of the canonical status and the reception into communion of the former Metropolitan Philaret Denisenko, excommunicated from the Church, ignores a number of successive decisions of the Bishops’ Councils of the Russian Orthodox Church, the legitimacy of which are beyond doubt.

By the decision of the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Kharkov of May 27, 1992, Metropolitan Philaret (Denisenko) was removed from the Kiev Cathedra and was banned from the clergy for not fulfilling the oath made by him before the cross and the Gospel at the previous Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church.

By its ruling of June 11,1992, the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, confirmed the decision of the Kharkov Council and expelled Philaret Denisenko from his rank, depriving him of every degree of the priesthood on the following charges: “Cruel and arrogant attitude to the subordinate clergy, dictatorialness, and intimidation (Tit. 1:7-8; Canon 27 of the Holy Apostles); introducing temptation among the faithful by his behavior and personal life (Matthew 18:7; Canon 3 of the First Ecumenical Council, Canon 5 of the Sixth Ecumenical Council); oath-breaking (Canon 25 of the Holy Apostles); public slander and blasphemy against the Bishops’ Council (Canon 6 of the Second Ecumenical Council); the celebration of clerical functions, including ordinations, in a state of suspension (Canon 28 of the Holy Apostles); the perpetration of a schism in the Church (Canon 15 of the First-Second Council).” All ordinations performed by Philaret in a suspended state since May 27, 1992, and the punishments imposed by him, were declared invalid.

Despite repeated calls for repentance, after the deprivation of his hierarchal rank Philaret Denisenko continued his schismatic activity, including within the bounds of other Local Churches. By the ruling of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church of 1997, he was given over to anathema.

The aforesaid decisions were recognized by all the Local Orthodox Churches, including the Church of Constantinople.

… Now, after more than two decades, the Patriarchate of Constantinople has changed its position for political reasons.

… St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain, in his Pedalion, which is an authoritative source of ecclesiastical-canonical law of the Church of Constantinople, interprets Canon 9 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, rejecting the false opinion on the right of Constantinople to consider appeals from other Churches: “The Primate of Constantinople does not have the right to act in the dioceses and provinces of other Patriarchs, and this rule did not give him the right to take appeals on any matter in the Ecumenical Church… “ Listing a whole range of arguments in favor of this interpretation, referring to the practice of the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils, St. Nikodemos concludes: “At present … the Primate of Constantinople is the first, the only, and the last judge over the metropolitans subordinate to him—but not over those who are subject to the rest of the Patriarchs. For, as we said, the last and universal judge of all the Patriarchs is the Ecumenical Council and no one else.” It follows from the above that the Synod of the Church of Constantinople does not have canonical rights to withdraw judicial decisions rendered by the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church.

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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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