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World’s senior Orthodox Bishop won’t back Ukraine’s breakaway extremist church

Patriarch Bartholomew OPPOSES Church schism in Ukraine, supports canonical Church

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A high-level delegation of Metropolitans/Bishops from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has met in Constantinople, at the Phanar, to discuss the Ukrainian crisis, specifically, the major issues of the Church in Ukraine, with the Patriarch of Constantinople.

Currently, there are three churches which claim to be Orthodox in Ukraine, however only one of them is canonical, meaning it is recognized as legitimate by the universal and organic consensus of the Orthodox Church, as The Duran has already reported. This is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, currently, lead by Metropolitan of Kiev Onufry.

Kiev Caves Lavra, one of the Five Lavra’s of the Russian Lands, the current Headquarters of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and the first Russian monastery in history

The other two non-canonical sects are the so-called “Kiev Patriarchate” and the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church”, neither of which are recognized by the international community of Orthodox Churches.

The canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, is a part of the Moscow Patriarchate, and Metropolitan Onufry is, in fact, the second highest bishop in the entire Russian Church, after Patriarch Kirill of Moscow himself.

Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church commemorates Patriarch Kirill in all services, and receives the Holy Myrhh from Moscow which is made by bishops according to ancient and secret recipe, however the Ukrainian Church operates with rather broad autonomy.

Truly, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has a very advantageous position within the Russian Church, and the ways in which they are stronger together are indescribable, however, the non-canonical churches attempt to destroy the church and murder her children. This was described perfectly by Patriarch Irenej of Serbia:

“The martyric Ukrainian Church—where the holy Prince Vladimir baptized the people of Holy Rus’—is now being defiled by the schismatics’ blasphemy, violence, and bloodshed,” His Holiness emphasized while accepting an award from the International Public Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox People, orthochristian.com reports.

‘Ukrainian politicians are enemies to all Slavs’ — head of Serbian Church

For his words, the Serbian Patriarch, who many of my friends have met, and know him to be a very Holy man, was put on what amounts to a state-sponsored hit-list in Ukraine.

Ukraine calls head of Serbian Church an “enemy”

It was because of this type of extremism used against her, the Ukrainian Church sent a delegation to the Phenar, to meet with the Patriarch of Constantinople, and to pray together and discuss solutions to the situation. There was a great concern that the radical sects were trying to gain legitimacy, and take over the property of the canonical Church, which they often do by force.

Now, we have received confirmation from Metropolitan Antony of Borispol and Brovary, the Chancellor of the Ukrainian Church, and one of her highest ranking bishops, that:

“His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew himself repeatedly said that in Ukraine there is one canonical Church headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry.

He dispelled many of the rumors that have been circulating these days, about what he wants to do in Ukraine as we were assured, “

Metropolitan Antony of Borispol and Brovary

Numerous sources, secular, and official Church news networks have reported that Patriarch Bartholomew has communicated to Metropolitan Antony there is no way to legalize the schism in Ukraine. There is only one Ukrainian Church, as the Union of Orthodox Journalists reports:

“It was repeatedly said about the impossibility of legalizing the schism, the question should be raised about the cure,” said Metropolitan Anthony. “Figuratively speaking, sometimes medicines do not help, and now we are in search of something that will help unite our brothers who have long been outside the church fence; and we see that the desire of the Patriarch of Constantinople – the Church in which we were baptized – is to help in this matter.”

According to the Chancellor of the UOC, Patriarch Bartholomew stressed that he does not want to interfere in the situation, but at the same time he wants to help solve the complex “Ukrainian issue”. “We must do everything to ensure that our brothers and compatriots who are in schism will return to the bosom of the Orthodox Church,” concluded Bishop Anthony.

Patriarch Bartholomew (left) and Metropolitan Antony (right)

TASS News also quotes Metropolitan Antony:

“Actually, it was stated several times today that legalizing the schism is out of the question. We are currently looking for those medicines, which will help unite and integrate our brothers who have been behind the church fence for a long time,” he told the 112 Ukraine TV channel.

According to Metropolitan Antony, Patriarch Bartholomew “is reluctant to interfere in the situation.” “However, as a responsible person, as the first among the equal patriarchs of the entire Orthodox Christian world, he wants to help resolve this complex issue.” He added that the problem would be handled on the basis of the canonical rules. The patriarch paid particular attention to statements made by some high-ranking officials that the Tomos had allegedly been signed. “It was even said that those who say that the Tomos has been written are working against the Church of Constantinople,” the metropolitan stressed.

Patriarch Bartholomew (left) hugs Metropolitan Antony (right)

Hearing word from the highest sources, that Patriarch Bartholomew has said this allows for all the faithful of the entire Russian church worldwide, including the Ukrainian Church, to rest a little easier. It must be said, that Patriarch Bartholomew is not the “pope” of Orthodoxy; Orthodoxy has no single bishop above all others, but his voice is very influential with soft power.

Patriarch Bartholomew has now made it clear that he supports the canonical Church, does not wish to interfere, but would be happy to assist the canonical Church in attempting reconciliation at their request.

For some time, there has been a great concern raised by many, that Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople was sympathetic to the idea of creating a single national church in Ukraine, which could make the Non-Canonical Churches canonical by joining them to it. In this model, they would theoretically become legitimized, simply by becoming a part of his church and by his decree, however this move would be highly controversial.

This is exactly what the forces which have illegally taken power in Kiev want, as President Poroshenko has repeatedly called for this.

It must be said, that President Poroshenko has a lot in common with members of the nationalist, non-canonical churches, especially self-proclaimed “Patriarch” Filaret. They both happen to believe that all those who don’t support their Neo-Nazi vision, including children, deserve to die.

Jesse Dominick has reported on this subject very keenly:

As orthochristian.com reports, the self-proclaimed “Patriarch” Philaret Denisenko of the “Kiev Patriarchate,” the darling of all Ukrainian nationalists, publicly preached in November 2016 that Donbass residents affected by the ongoing conflict there are to blame for their afflictions, due to their “sin of federalization,” and deserve to die:

Filaret is a bitter, angry, and very sad man. From what I have seen of his more recent public appearances and videos, he seems literally senile. His eyes are cold and dead. Metropolitan Onufry, however, radiates grace and holiness.

Dominick is, of course, referring to that horrifying moment, when the so-called religious leader Filaret said:

We should not think that the population of Donbass is innocent in these sufferings. It is guilty! And it must expiate its guilt by torment and blood.

Sad and Angry Filaret loves to yell

Not only are Filaret’s calls for Donbass people to “drown in their own blood” as “penitence” disgusting, and a sign of severe mental disorder, if not demonic possession, but they are also similar to President Poroshenko, who said “they” will win the war in Ukraine, when:

Our Children will go to school – theirs (Eastern Ukrainians) will be hiding in bomb shelters

For those people who are not religious, and therefore do not care about our Orthodox Faith, I remind you this is not merely an issue for religious people. The non-canonical churches are filled with dangerous psychopaths who believe Ukrainian children deserve to drown in blood.

The best part is – Filaret is no Western Ukrainian holdout, with ties to an old lineage of independent Ukrainian bishops, during the Soviet Era, and the early 90s, he was a normal Russian bishop, born in Donbass, who was upset he was not elected Metropolitan of Kiev, and so he formed a nationalist church. He is an opportunist.

Metropolitan Onufry is practically a living Saint, he is the definition of what we call, and he is ironically born in Western Ukraine.

Многая Лета!!!

The difference between the deranged Filaret, and the exceptionally blessed and beloved Vladica Onufry, is so evident if you’ve ever heard them speak, or even seen their eyes. This difference was perfectly summed up in this English language translation of a great article on the official news agency of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The article was called “Light and darkness, Metropolitan Onufry and Filaret”.

Metropolitan Onufry (left) is like the grandfather of Ukraine. Everyone wants to hug him. Filaret (right) is more like the Krampus of Ukraine, he’s just mad because no one wants to hug him.

Indeed, this is not the only day and night difference that can be observed in the Ukrainian Church, as there is also the matter of the population. Now that Neo-Nazis have taken over power in Ukraine, it must be said that the canonical church does not have even close to the same number of believers as the radical groups…

The Canonical Church is totally different…

The Canonical Church outnumbers them by far.

Don’t believe me, here is a simple video that shows just how far the canonical church towers over the Neo-Nazi sects – the canonical Church has the support of the people. The video below, shows the All-Ukrainian Cross Procession to Saint Vladimir’s Hill on the Feast of the Baptism of Holy Rus’. For the first three minutes, you will see over one hundred thousand faithful members of the canonical Church. After three minutes, the video lets you compare this to the tiny horde of nationalists who had around 2000 people.

Such massive processions are normal events in Ukraine and Russia, as evidenced by the videos below (which only show the canonical Church). The Church easily attracts tens of thousands of people for these long and difficult pilgrimages on foot hundreds of kilometers. This shows that the people can tell good from evil.

It is worth noting, that many Orthodox people believe the events in Ukraine were prophesied by Saint Lavrenty of Chernigov (Ukraine) who reposed (died) in 1950. Saint Lavrenty predicted the schism and fighting in Ukraine, but also said God would use it to drive evil out of the church, and unite the Russian lands and Church. Here are some of Saint Lavrenty’s words, spoken in our times, which eerily match up with events in Ukraine.

He spoke of a great persecution in his homeland, in the Ukraine, after “a little freedom comes”. Seeing as Saint Lavrenty lived in both the Imperial and the Soviet period, many people believe this little freedom meant the end of Communism, which would coincide with events that occurred. After the Soviet Union fell, this schism began in Ukraine.

St. Lawrence’s Prophetic Words About Heresies and Schisms in the Ukrainian Church”4

“When a little freedom appears, when the churches and monasteries are being opened and restored, then all false teaching will come out, and the demons and secret atheists (Catholics, Uniates, Ukrainian self-ordained, and others) and will fiercely take up arms against the Orthodox Russian Church, its unity and its conciliar nature.

A godless authority will support these heretics, and therefore they will take churches away from the Orthodox and slaughter the faithful.

The whole world will be amazed at his lawlessness and will be frightened.

But all these slanders of the evil one and false teachings will disappear in Russia, and there will be One Orthodox Russian Church.”

Elder Lawrence’s Words about Rus’, about the Concept of “Russian,” about Heresies and Schisms, and about Faithfulness to the Mother-Church7

St. Lawrence spoke emphatically and strictly, with warning, that the word for our native land and people is Rus’ and Russian.8 “And it’s absolutely necessary to know, remember, and not forget that it was the Baptism of Rus’ (Russia), and not the baptism of Ukraine. Kiev is a second Jerusalem and the mother of Russian cities. Kievan Rus’ was together with Great Russia. Kiev without Great Russia and separate from Russia is completely unthinkable.

Saint Lavrenty felt strongly that the name Ukraine was forced on the people, in order to make them forget their connection to Kievan Rus’, saying foreign powers did this “so that we would be torn away from Holy and Orthodox Rus’ forever.” You can read the entire prophecies from Saint Lavrenty here, at Orthochristian.

The international Orthodox community understands the plot of neo-Nazis to create a single national Church in Ukraine, which in their design, would be a nationalist club to bless and legitimize their politics, as Uniate (Eastern Catholic) clergy blessed the Nazi soldiers of the Uniate Bandera, who allied with Hitler in WW2.

A Uniate priest blessing Neo-Nazis in Ukraine. Note: Uniates are part of the Catholic Church, they do not claim to be Orthodox

The long-suffering Ukrainian lands are part of the Ancient Lands of Rus’ or Holy Russia. In the words of Saint Lavrenty of Chernigov.

“As it is impossible to divide the Most Holy Trinity, Father and Son and Holy Spirit, for it is One God, so also it is impossible to divide Russia, the Ukraine and Belorussia, for these together are Holy Rus’. Know, remember, and do not forget.”

Those words will forever remain true. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church will bring Sobornost’ (unity) to the lands of Kievan Rus’. Nothing, not even death can destroy the Church, for she already conquered death.

The Orthodox Church is built on the blood of the martyrs. I sometimes wonder if the Church’s enemies realize she survived the Mongols, the Ottomans, Napoleon, the Bolsheviks, and Hitler, and she survives to this day in Syria. This persecution in Ukraine will also pass, but the Church is eternal, she will outlast.

Attempts to destroy Russia in the last few centuries have given her millions of martyrs praying before the throne of God, interceding on Russia’s behalf.

The New-Martyrs of Russia, among the first of which, Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and Galicia

Holy Rus’ is still alive, no matter how much she suffers, she survives. Whenever evil forces believe they will bring down darkness upon Holy Rus’, they must remember that the works and words of her Saints have resounded harmoniously throughout the Russians lands.

They are like little embers from an old fire, like echoes from the bygone years, dancing across the Ukrainian steppes. This is the heritage of Holy Rus’, a light shining in the darkness, bought ages ago to Crimea and Kiev by luminaries from Constantinople, Anatolia, and Syria – deliverers of the Orthodox Faith.

The Baptism of Rus occurred in Kiev – what makes these Nazis think the Church is afraid of them – after all, she already survived Hitler. The Neo-Nazis are just a pale imitation. They will find it is fascism which will fade like dew before the Bright Sun – a play on the words of the Ukrainian national anthem, the term “Bright Sun” being a term for Saint Vladimir of Kiev.

Saint Vladimir and the Baptism of Rus

If you ever need a reminder what is the difference between the heretics and the Canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, just save this picture. Those who dwell in darkness can’t understand light, but once you’ve seen light, you’ll never forget what it looks like.

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franz kafkaDenLilleAbelinapogohereNicholas Ferris Recent comment authors
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franz kafka
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franz kafka

The Ukrainian Fascist Patriarch looks like Al Baghdadi, the CIA/Mossad appointed head of ISIS/ISIL got himself a new gig.

DenLilleAbe
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DenLilleAbe

I am not religious. I do respect peoples right and wish to be religious, and some people are truly devout. Am I to question that ? No, I am not. However i do recognize a fraud when I see one. The picture with people in Waffen SS uniforms is disgusting and disturbing. Any religion that embraces Nazism, must inherently be evil.

lina
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lina

The Church of the “Holy Rus” is wandering in the wilderness mostly because of its ungodly political leaders and their treasonous policies towards own people and other orthodox brothers ( i.e Serbs ). The period in question is 1917 to today, and can be safely extended all the way back to Peter the Great, the Tsar loved by todays olgharcs and their Kremlin protectors.

pogohere
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Excellent article and links. Thanks.

Nicholas Ferris
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Nicholas Ferris

Great news. Hopefully, this will help avoid a religious civil war in Ukieland. Also the link to St Lawrence article is very valuable.

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Whose Money Stoked Religious Strife in Ukraine – and Who Tried to Steal It?

Was $25 million in American tax dollars allocated for a payoff to stir up religious turmoil and violence in Ukraine?

Jim Jatras

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Authored by James George Jatras via Strategic Culture:


Was $25 million in American tax dollars allocated for a payoff to stir up religious turmoil and violence in Ukraine? Did Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (unsuccessfully) attempt to divert most of it into his own pocket?

Last month the worldwide Orthodox Christian communion was plunged into crisis by the decision of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in Constantinople to recognize as legitimate schismatic pseudo-bishops anathematized by the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is an autonomous part of the Russian Orthodox Church. In so doing not only has Patriarch Bartholomew besmirched the global witness of Orthodoxy’s two-millennia old Apostolic faith, he has set the stage for religious strife in Ukraine and fratricidal violence – which has already begun.

Starting in July, when few were paying attention, this analyst warned about the impending dispute and how it facilitated the anti-Christian moral agenda of certain marginal “Orthodox” voices like “Orthodoxy in Dialogue,” Fordham University’s “Orthodox Christian Studies Center,” and The Wheel. These “self-professed teachers presume to challenge the moral teachings of the faith” (in the words of Fr. John Parker) and “prowl around, wolves in sheep’s clothing, forming and shaping false ideas about the reality of our life in Christ.” Unsurprisingly such groups have embraced Constantinople’s neopapal self-aggrandizement and support for the Ukrainian schismatics.

No one – and certainly not this analyst – would accuse Patriarch Bartholomew, most Ukrainian politicians, or even the Ukrainian schismatics of sympathizing with advocacy of such anti-Orthodox values. And yet these advocates know they cannot advance their goals if the conciliar and traditional structure of Orthodoxy remains intact. Thus they welcome efforts by Constantinople to centralize power while throwing the Church into discord, especially the Russian Church, which is vilified in some Western circles precisely because it is a global beacon of traditional Christian moral witness.

This aspect points to another reason for Western governments to support Ukrainian autocephaly as a spiritual offensive against Russia and Orthodoxy. The post-Maidan leadership harp on the “European choice” the people of Ukraine supposedly made in 2014, but they soft-pedal the accompanying moral baggage the West demands, symbolized by “gay” marches organized over Christian objections in Orthodox cities like AthensBelgradeBucharestKievOdessaPodgoricaSofia, and Tbilisi. Even under the Trump administration, the US is in lockstep with our European Union friends in pressuring countries liberated from communism to adopt such nihilistic “democratic, European values.”

Perhaps even more important to its initiators, the row over Ukraine aims to break what they see as the “soft power” of the Russian Federation, of which the Orthodox Church is the spiritual heart and soul. As explained by Valeria Z. Nollan, professor emerita of Russian Studies at Rhodes College:

‘The real goal of the quest for autocephaly [i.e., complete self-governing status independent of the Moscow Patriarchate] of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a de facto coup: a political coup already took place in 2014, poisoning the relations between western Ukraine and Russia, and thus another type of coup – a religious one – similarly seeks to undermine the canonical relationship between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Moscow.’

In furthering these twin objectives (morally, the degrading of Orthodox Christianity; politically, undermining the Russian state as Orthodoxy’s powerful traditional protector) it is increasingly clear that the United States government – and specifically the Department of State – has become a hands-on fomenter of conflict. After a short period of appropriately declaring that “any decision on autocephaly is an internal [Orthodox] church matter,” the Department within days reversed its position and issued a formal statement (in the name of Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, but clearly drafted by the European bureau) that skirted a direct call for autocephaly but gave the unmistakable impression of such backing. This is exactly how it was reported in the media, for example, “US backs Ukrainian Church bid for autocephaly.” Finally, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo weighed in personally with his own endorsement as did the US Reichskommissar for UkraineKurt Volker.

The Threat…

There soon became reason to believe that the State Department’s involvement was not limited to exhortations. As reported by this analyst in October, according to an unconfirmed report originating with the members of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (an autonomous New York-based jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate), in July of this year State Department officials (possibly including Secretary Pompeo personally) warned the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (also based in New York but part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate) that the US government was aware of the misappropriation of a large amount of money, about $10 million, from estimated $37 million raised from believers for the construction of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine in New York. The State Department warning also reportedly noted that federal prosecutors have documentary evidence confirming the withdrawal of these funds abroad on the orders of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. It was suggested that Secretary Pompeo would “close his eyes” to this theft in exchange for movement by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in favor of Ukrainian autocephaly, which helped set Patriarch Bartholomew on his current course.

[Further details on the St. Nicholas scandal are available here, but in summary: Only one place of worship of any faith was destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attack in New York and only one building not part of the World Trade Center complex was completely destroyed. That was St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, a small urban parish church established at the end of World War I and dedicated to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, who is very popular with Greeks as the patron of sailors. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attack, and following a lengthy legal battle with the Port Authority, which opposed rebuilding the church, in 2011 the Greek Archdiocese launched an extensive campaign to raise funds for a brilliant innovative design by the renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava based on traditional Byzantine forms. Wealthy donors and those of modest means alike enthusiastically contributed millions to the effort. Then – poof! In December 2017, suddenly all construction was halted for lack of funds and remains stalled to this day. Resumption would require having an estimated $2 million on hand. Despite the Archdiocese’s calling in a major accounting firm to conduct an audit, there’s been no clear answer to what happened to the money. Both the US Attorney and New York state authorities are investigating.]

This is where things get back to Ukraine. If the State Department wanted to find the right button to push to spur Patriarch Bartholomew to move on the question of autocephaly, the Greek Archdiocese in the US is it. Let’s keep in mind that in his home country, Turkey, Patriarch Bartholomew has virtually no local flock – only a few hundred mostly elderly Greeks left huddled in Istanbul’s Phanar district. (Sometimes the Patriarchate is referred to simply as “the Phanar,” much as “the Vatican” is shorthand for the Roman Catholic papacy.) Whatever funds the Patriarchate derives from other sources (the Greek government, the Roman Catholic Church, the World Council of Churches), the Phanar’s financial lifeline is the ethnic Greek community (including this analyst) in what is still quaintly called the “Diaspora” in places like America, Australia, and New Zealand. And of these, the biggest cash cow is the Greek-Americans.

That’s why, when Patriarch Bartholomew issued a call in 2016 for what was billed as an Orthodox “Eighth Ecumenical Council” (the first one since the year 787!), the funds largely came from America, to the tune of up to $8 million according to the same confidential source as will be noted below. Intended by some as a modernizing Orthodox “Vatican II,” the event was doomed to failure by a boycott organized by Moscow over what the latter saw as Patriarch Bartholomew’s adopting papal or even imperial prerogatives – now sadly coming to bear in Ukraine.

…and the Payoff

On top of the foregoing, it now appears that the State Department’s direct hand in this sordid business may not have consisted solely of wielding the “stick” of legal threat: there’s reason to believe there was a “carrot” too. It very recently came to the attention of this analyst, via an unsolicited, confidential source in the Greek Archdiocese in New York, that a payment of $25 million in US government money was made to Constantinople to encourage Patriarch Bartholomew to move forward on Ukraine.

The source for this confidential report was unaware of earlier media reports that the same figure – $25 million – was paid by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to the Phanar as an incentive for Patriarch Bartholomew to move forward on creating an independent Ukrainian church. Moreover, Poroshenko evidently tried to shortchange the payment:

‘Peter [Petro] Poroshenko — the president of Ukraine — was obligated to return $15 million US dollars to the Patriarch of Constantinople, which he had appropriated for himself.

‘As reported by Izvestia, this occurred after the story about Bartholomew’s bribe and a “vanishing” large sum designated for the creation of a Unified Local Orthodox Church in Ukraine surfaced in the mass media.

‘As reported, on the eve of Poroshenko’s visit in Istanbul, a few wealthy people of Ukraine “chipped in” in order to hasten the process of creating a Unified Local Orthodox Church. About $25 million was collected. They were supposed to go to the award ceremony for Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople for the issuing of a tomos of autocephaly. [A tomos is a small book containing a formal announcement.] However, in the words of people close to the backer, during the visit on April 9, Poroshenko handed over only $10 million.

‘As a result, having learned of the deal, Bartholomew cancelled the participation of the delegation of the Phanar – the residence of the Patriarch of Constantinople, in the celebration of the 1030th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia on July 27 in Kiev.

‘”Such a decision from Bartholomew’s side was nothing other than a strong ultimatum to Poroshenko to return the stolen money. Of course, in order to not lose his face in light of the stark revelations of the creation of the tomos of autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Peter Alexeevich [Poroshenko] had to just return those $15 million for the needs of Constantinople,” a trusted source explained to reporters.

‘For preliminary information, only after receiving the remaining sum, did Bartholomew finally give his consent to sending a delegation of the Phanar to Kiev … ‘

Now, it’s possible that the two identical figures of $25 million refer to two different pots of money (a cool $50 million!) but that seems unlikely. It’s more probable the reports refer to the same sum as viewed from the sending side (the State Department, the Greek Archdiocese) and the delivery side (Poroshenko, Constantinople).

Lending credibility to the confidential information from New York and pointing to the probability that it refers to the same payment that Poroshenko reportedly sought to raid for himself are the following observations:

  • When Poroshenko generously offered Patriarch Bartholomew $10 million, the latter was aware that the full amount was $25 million and demanded the $15 million Poroshenko had held back. How did the Patriarch know that, unless he was informed via New York of the full sum?
  • If the earlier-reported $25 million was really collected from “a few wealthy people of Ukraine” who “chipped in,” given the cutthroat nature of disputes among Ukrainian oligarchs would Poroshenko (an oligarch in his own right) have risked trying to shortchange the payment? Why has not even one such Ukrainian donor been identified?
  • Without going into all the details, the Phanar and the Greek Archdiocese have a long relationship with US administrations of both parties going back at least to the Truman administration, encompassing some decidedly unattractive episodes. In such a history, a mere bribe for a geopolitical shot against Moscow would hardly be a first instance or the worst.

As one of this analyst’s Greek-American connections puts it: “It’s easy to comprehend the Patriarchate bowing to the pressure of State Dept. blackmail… not overly savory, but understandable. However, it’s another thing altogether if Kiev truly “purchased” their autocephalous status from an all too willing Patriarchate … which would relegate the Patriarch to ‘salesman’ status and leave the faithful wondering what else might be offered to the highest bidder the next time it became convenient to hold a Patriarchal ‘fire sale’ at the Phanar?!”

To add insult to injury, you’d think Constantinople at least could pay back some of the $7-8 million wasted on the Crete 2016 debacle to restart the St. Nicholas project in New York. Evidently the Phanar has better things to spend it on, like the demonstrative environmentalism of “the Green Patriarch” and, together with Pope Francis, welcoming Muslim migrants to Europe through Greece. Of course maybe there’s no need to worry, as the Ukraine “sale” was consistent with Constantinople’s papal ambitions, an uncanonical claim to “universal” status, and misuse of incarnational language and adoption of a breathtakingly arrogant tone that would cause even the most ultramontane proponent of the Rome’s supremacy to blush.

Finally, it seems that, for the time being at least, Constantinople doesn’t intend to create an independent Ukrainian church but rather an autonomous church under its own authority. It’s unclear whether or not Poroshenko or the State Department, in such event, would believe they had gotten their money’s worth. Perhaps they would. After all, the issue here is less what is appropriate for Ukraine than what strikes at Russia and injures the worldwide Christian witness of the Orthodox Church. To that end, it doesn’t matter whether the new illegal body is Constantinopolitan or Kievan, just so long as it isn’t a “Moskal church” linked to Russia.

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EU Army: Fact or Fiction? (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 152.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and International Affairs and Security Analyst via Moscow, Mark Sleboda discuss the possibility, and feasibility, of putting together an EU army, as French President Macron is now boasting about.

Will an EU Army replace, rival, or fold into NATO? How will the US respond to Europe’s military initiative, and how will Russia deal an EU army?

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

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Via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


“Insulting” – that’s how US President Donald Trump sharply reacted to the idea of a “real European army” proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron.

And it was how Macron rationalized the need for an independent military force for Europe that perhaps most irked the American leader.

Speaking on a tour of World War I battlefields in northern France last week, Macron said that Europe needed to defend itself from “China, Russia and even the United States of America”.

It was a pretty extraordinary choice of words by the French leader. To frame the US among an array of perceived foreign enemy powers was a devastating blow to the concept of a much-vaunted transatlantic alliance.

Since the Second World War, ending 1945, the concept of an American-European alliance has been the bedrock of a supposed inviolable, mutual defense pact. That nearly seven-decade alliance is now being questioned more than ever.

Macron’s call for a European army was further backed up by German Chancellor Angela Merkel who also pointedly said this week that Europe can no longer rely on the US for its defense.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has welcomed the proposal for Europe to form its own military organization, independent from Washington. No doubt, Moscow views such a development as augmenting a move towards a multipolar international order, which Russia and China, among others, have been advocating in opposition to American ambitions of unipolar dominance.

When Trump arrived in Paris last weekend along with dozens of other world leaders, including Putin, to commemorate the centennial anniversary marking the end of World War I, there was a notable frostiness between Macron and the American president. Only a few months ago, Macron and Trump had appeared the best of friends in what some observers referred to as a “bromance”.

During the Paris events, Macron sought to placate Trump by saying that the European army proposal would have a “complementary” role to the US-led NATO military alliance. However, their relationship further soured when Macron later delivered a speech in which he made a veiled rebuke of Trump’s “nationalist” politics.

Days later, on returning to Washington, Trump then fired off a fusillade of angry tweets attacking Macron in very personal terms over a range of issues, including “unfair” economic trade and France’s alleged ungrateful attitude towards the US liberation of Paris from Nazi Germany during the Second World War.

The rift between the US and Europe has been brewing even before Trump’s presidency. For years, Washington has been carping that the Europeans need to spend more on military defense, claiming that the US has been shouldering the burden for too long. Trump has taken the griping to a new, higher level. Recall that he has threatened to pull out of NATO because the Europeans were “free loading” on American “protection”.

The irony is that now the French and German leaders are talking about setting up their own military defenses, Trump has blown a fuse.

Evidently, the American contention is not about “burden sharing” of defense. If Washington was genuinely aggrieved about supposedly defending Europe at too much of its own expense, then Trump, one would think, would be only too glad to hear that the Europeans were at last making their own military arrangements, and taking the burden off Washington.

This gets to the heart of the matter about the real purpose of NATO and presence of tens of thousands of US troops stationed in bases across Europe since 1945. American military presence in Europe is not about “protecting” its supposed allies. It is, and always has been, about projecting American power over Europe. In reality, American troops and bases in Europe are more functioning as an occupying force, keeping the Europeans in line with Washington’s strategic objectives of hegemony over the continent.

Macron and Merkel’s vision of a European army is probably fanciful anyway, without any real prospect of materializing. How such a new defense arrangement would work independently from the 29-member NATO alliance led by the US seems unwieldy and impractical.

But the latest tensions between Washington and European leaders over military organization demonstrate the real nature of America’s relationship to Europe. It is about domination by Washington over Europe and has little to do with partnership and protection.

When Trump and previous US presidents have urged greater military spending by Europe the ulterior agenda is for Europeans to pay more to underpin American military presence, not for Europeans to find their own independent defense arrangement.

Tensions in the transatlantic axis seem to be coming to a head, heightened by Trump’s nationalistic “America First” policy. Rivalries are sharpening over trade, US sanctions on Iran, Trump’s threats against European energy plans with Russia, the Paris Climate Accord, and squabbling over NATO expenditures.

There is nothing progressive about Macron or Merkel’s call for a European army. It is more to do with France and Germany wanting to assert themselves as great powers and to shake off American tutelage out of frustration with Trump’s domineering petulance.

Only last week, Macron caused controversy when he praised French military general Philippe Pétain who collaborated with Nazi Germany as leader of Vichy France (1940-44). Macron wants a European army to satisfy his own nationalistic ambitions of revamping French global power. This week, he spent the night onboard a refurbished French aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, from which he gave a media interview saying that being “an ally of America meant not being a vassal”. Touché!

A progressive challenge from Europe to American power would not involve setting up a new army. Instead it would involve Europeans pushing for the disbandment of NATO as an obsolete organization and for the withdrawal of US-led forces which are dangerously amassing on Russia’s border.

Nonetheless, the one positive thing to emerge from the transatlantic spat over military defenses is that it illustrates more than ever how European protection is not the real purpose of Washington’s relationship to the continent. The purpose is one of using Europe as a platform for projecting America’s power, in particular against Russia.

The recent announcement by the Trump administration that it is willing to rip up yet another nuclear arms control treaty – the INF following the ABM in 2002 – clearly shows that Washington, ultimately, has recklessly scant concern for Europe’s security with regard to a possible future war with Russia.

For Washington, despite all the chivalrous rhetoric, Europe is not a partner nor even an ally. It is a vassal. Admittedly, thousands of American troops died while bravely fighting wars in Europe. But they are distinct from the US ruling class. At bottom, Europe is merely a battlefield for American military power, just as it was in two previous world wars. One hundred years after the end of World War I, the same callous calculus for the imperial planners in Washington is at play.

European ideas for independent defense is why Washington has reacted so furiously. It’s not willing to give up its European front.

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Zuckerberg Clings To Power While Sandberg Claims Ignorance After Damaging NYT Report

The New York Times reported that Facebook hired GOP PR firm, Defenders, to smear liberal detractors as Soros operatives. 

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Facebook executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg are battling backlash over an explosive investigation by the New York Times into Facebook’s mercenary damage control tactics in the wake of several major scandals.

Despite fresh calls from investors for Zuckerberg to step down in his dual role as CEO and chairman and appoint an independent director to oversee the board, the 34-year-old tech titan brushed off the suggestion during a Thursday call with journalists.

“A company with Facebook’s massive reach and influence requires robust oversight and that can only be achieved through an independent chair who is empowered to provide critical checks on company leadership,” said New York City comptroller, Scott Stringer.

Zuckerberg disagrees. “I don’t think that that specific proposal is the right way to go,” said the Facebook CEO when asked if he would consider stepping down, adding that other initiatives had been launched to “get more independence into our systems.”

The measures include creating an independent body to advise the company on decisions over whether controversial content should remain on the site.

Ultimately, he said Facebook is never going to eradicate mistakes. “We’re never going to get to the point where there are no errors,” he told reporters. “I’m trying to set up the company so that way we have our board, and we report on our financial results and do a call every quarter, but that also we have this independent oversight that is just focused on the community.” –Business Insider

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, meanwhile, is claiming ignorance – telling CBS This Morning co-host Norah O’Donnell “we absolutely did not pay anyone to create fake news – that they have assured me was not happening.”

In their Wednesday exposé – the culmination of interviews with over 50 current and former company executives, lawmakers, government officials, lobbyists and congressional staff members,the New York Times reported that Facebook had hired GOP PR firm, Defenders, which smeared liberal detractors as Soros operatives – and worked with a sister company to create negative propaganda about competitors Google and Apple.

Mr. Kaplan prevailed on Ms. Sandberg to promote Kevin Martin, a former Federal Communications Commission chairman and fellow Bush administration veteran, to lead the company’s American lobbying efforts. Facebook also expanded its work with Definers.

On a conservative news site called the NTK Network, dozens of articles blasted Google and Apple for unsavory business practices. One story called Mr. Cook hypocritical for chiding Facebook over privacy, noting that Apple also collects reams of data from users. Another played down the impact of the Russians’ use of Facebook.

The rash of news coverage was no accident: NTK is an affiliate of Definers, sharing offices and staff with the public relations firm in Arlington, Va. Many NTK Network stories are written by staff members at Definers or America Rising, the company’s political opposition-research arm, to attack their clients’ enemies. –NYT

Meanwhile, Sandberg stressed that Facebook was undertaking new security measures, telling O’Donnell: “Our strategy was to shore up the security on Facebook and make major investments there,” and that the company had made significant investments in combatting fake news and foreign influence.

“It was not what I was doing nor was it the company’s strategy to deflect, to deny or to hire PR firms to do things. That’s not the strategy. And I was part of none of that. We’ve taken great steps, we’ve made huge investments. We’ve invested a ton in AI and technology and if you were following us before the election you saw those efforts pay off. We were able to take down lots of stuff over and over, over and over because we were now focused on this,” said Sandberg.

When asked if rank-and-file employees are confident in her, Sandberg replied: “Yes, I believe so.

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