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Vladimir Putin’s support of moderate Muslim education reveals difference between Russia and the West

‘Destructive ideas can only be tackled by other ideas’ said Putin, stressing Russian patriotism is an inclusive concept

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Vladimir Putin said that Russia will “definitely support” Islamic education via “major state universities” in a meeting with top Muslim clergy in Kazan, RT reports.

I can already hear some voices gasping, but rest assured, this is still Putin, the traditional Russian Orthodox man, who in some publications is portrayed as a communist, and likewise in others as a Czarist, in some as an anti-immigration nationalist, while in others as a friend to Chechnya. We have already covered how a variety of ideologies each like to claim Putin as being of their school of thought, when in reality Putin is far more moderate than people realize.

Putin tries not to divide people into sectarian or ethnic lines, but rather to unite the entire country for the greater good of the whole. Before we explain what this support of Muslim education means in the context of Russian culture, let us first listen to Putin’s words in full before immediately taking our favorite soundbites and appropriating him to justify our cause.

Putin spoke on the importance of education for young Muslim people, as there exist many harmful ideas which target them. Dangerous radical groups often seek to recruit new members among young people in the Muslim regions of Russia. The Russian president realizes the truth applies here that education is paramount. Far more effective than guns and tight border control, or the disastrous immigration policies we have seen in Europe, letting in murderers and rapists disguised as refugees, education is the key to turning young Muslim people into opponents of radical ideologies, rather than becoming radicalized by terrorists.

Education is preventative in nature. It is crucial to teach critical thinking skills which can actively prevent young people from supporting radical thought. Putin described this when meeting with Russian Muslim leaders in Kazan:

These ideas, even destructive ones, can only be tackled in one way – through other ideas. Those, which are being promoted and taught to the people in the Theological Academy, which was created here [in Kazan] and in other academies and educational institutions… in Moscow, Ufa and the Caucasus,” he said.

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Kazan

Putin also said that:

Traditional Islam is an important part of Russia’s cultural code and that the Muslim community is, undoubtedly, a very important part of the Russian multinational population.

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The Kazan Kremlin – where Orthodox Churches and a Mosque stand side by side

Russian Muslims from the core Russian territories like Kazan (Tatarstan), Bashkortostan, Chuvashia, (as opposed to the more volatile Caucasus) are some of the most peaceful and well integrated [into a European society] Muslims in the world.

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Kazan is fully Russified

Cynics who imagine Muslims are all terrorists should realize that the idea of a terrorist attack in Kazan perpetrated by local Tatars (as opposed to terrorists from the Caucasus, or abroad) is almost unthinkable.

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So why is it that a Muslim region of Russia can be quite peaceful, whereas there are around 3000 violent extremists in Sweden with Islamist ideology. What is the difference between Muslims who have lived in Russia for centuries, and those from abroad?

The difference between how Russia successfully deals with and educates Muslims vs the western model reveals a critical failure of education from every level of society, particularly in two fields:

  1. Very poor knowledge of one’s own European, Christian culture and history.
    How can anyone begin to respect a foreign culture if they have zero understanding of their own culture and history?
  2. Very poor knowledge of Islamic history, and Muslim cultures. Very poor experience dealing with ANY foreign culture.
    Most westerners have a very poor understanding of foreign cultures. Even those who wish to welcome Muslims often know very little about them, their languages, their histories, and often confuse the religion for a race. Comparing a shamanistic Tatar-Mongolian Muslim to a Saudi Arabian Sunni Muslim, to a most secular Azerbaijani is like comparing the English, Italians, and Russians. They have some basic religious and European roots, beyond which they are totally different.

Ignorance of one’s Own Culture

It is surprising and sad how many Western Europeans have fallen victim to internationalist globalism, which disdains local culture. It is simply not fashionable in Western Europe to be a patriot. One can talk about “European values” which allows Ukraine to tear itself apart, and Scandinavian women to fall victim to brutal sexual assaults, but it is considered almost extremist to be willing to defend one’s culture. You may find more French young people who sing American pop songs, and read Japanese comics than those who would proudly sing la marseillaise or read Les Misérables.

In Russia, the situation is quite different. The entire country isn’t filled with Cossacks riding bears on every street constantly singing folk songs and screaming “Glory to Russia”. Sadly, you can still find amongst some groups, lack of enthusiasm towards one’s own culture and history, but generally speaking, Russians are far more patriotic than western Europeans.

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I feel the number of Russian men and women who would fight for Russia is FAR higher than displayed, but Russians are a lot like Ilia Muromets. They sleep like him, passively, but once awakened i.e. once Russia is threatened, they arise and defend the Motherland. Even if they don’t have every aspect of their history memorized, many Russians will tell you Russia is the best country in the world with genuine Faith. That respect for own’s own culture is key to respecting others. How can you respect another if you don’t even respect yourself – better yet, how can you expect a foreign people to respect yours, if you don’t respect your own?

How the West Approaches Foreign Cultures

The West’s general lack of self-consciousness often displays itself in two opposite ways:

  1. A rabid, xenophobic, hatred of foreign cultures. Like all racist ideologies, it’s largely based on ignorance. These people are not unlike small dogs who bark and bite at strangers because they feel constantly threatened and insecure about themselves. Perhaps if they studied their own history and culture, they would find something to be proud of. These people claim to be patriots, though xenophobic racist suits them better.
  2. A naive, disingenuine professed love for all peoples, more the result of virtue signaling and a desire to fit in with the globalist elite and the PC crowd than a genuine understanding of another culture. These people are like prey animals that simply lay down and cower when threatened, and they’re allowing violent extremists into Europe by the literal boatloads all for the sake of proving to the world how tolerant they are, even unto death. These people claim to be cosmopolitans, with a hatred for nationalism.

Russia has an entirely different approach.

How Russia Approaches Foreign Cultures

Russian patriotism is one of the most unique and ancient in the world. Historian Egor Kholmogorov, a living legend amongst conservatives goes as far as to say Russia is the birthplace of patriotism, with the most primordial sense of continuous nationhood in Europe – and I agree.

Whether or not you agree with that statement, it is undeniable Russia approaches Patriotism different from the west. This is how Vladimir Putin is able to be a devout Orthodox Chrisitan, but support Muslim people in establishing schools for their children in Russia. This is how Russia is able to shake hands with the Prime Minister of Israel in one moment, and in another, the President of Iran, receiving both with statesmanship and respect, even if Russia does not agree with either. Russia, in fact, does not agree with one of those aforementioned “gentlemen”, more than the other, but I’ll leave our readers to guess who. You’re all smart, you’ll figure it out.

Of all the worlds superpowers, only Russia could do such a thing, as meeting two diametrically opposed powers, while maintaining it’s own strong interests and national pride. It is in this unique Russian mentality that reveals how Russia is able to reconcile itself, and Kholmogorov describes it perfectly:

Russian national awareness evolved in a different way. It was not directed against a neighbor…Russian self-awareness was based on a positive patriotism, on love for one’s own land, people, culture, and ruler. The rejection of others expressed itself not in hatred but in a good-natured gibe similar to the manner in which The Lay of the Ruin describes the neighbors of Rus’.

The “foreign” becomes a threat only if it is injurious and harmful to Russian identity. It is menacing not as an external but as an internal threat, as demonstrated by the Time of Troubles.

How Russia Approaches Muslim Cultures

That quote above is key to how Russia deals with Muslim cultures. Russians are able to be profoundly patriotic, but lacking the xenophobia and racism of western extremists like white nationalists and Neo-Nazis. Russia approaches Muslims from a position of gentile strength, like it does all cultures. Russia says “This is not your land, this is Russian land, it is ours, but you are welcome to share it. In time…maybe you will become Russian”

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Our Lady of Kazan depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary and The Lord Jesus Christ. The Lady is protectress of the city and all Russia.

Russia will respect all foreign cultures, but always honor Russian Orthodox culture above all else, teaching foreigners how to integrate into Russian society rather than teaching Russians “cultural sensitivity” and forcing them to adapt to strangers. American conservative Russophiles upset at finding a Spanish language option in their country may be surprised to know every republic in Russia with its own ethnic group has the right to use their own language on official papers together with Russian. The difference is the strength of the Russian culture in society means indigenous people often choose to use Russian above all by their own accord.

Russian foreign policy is epitomized in the words of Saint Alexander Nevsky

Those who come to us with the sword will die by the sword.

His example of allying with the Mongols to fight the German Catholic knights is touted by Eurasianists and Western Nationalists alike as proof Russia choose to be an Asian culture, but this is false. Saint Alexander preferred the Mongols because unlike the Teutonic Knights, who wanted Russia to convert to Catholicism, they simply wanted money, and did not pose a threat to the Russian culture. Russia welcomes all peoples, but she will always defend her culture.

In the 16th century, Czar Ivan the Terrible famously defeated the Khanate of Kazan destroying the last great remanent of the Golden Horde. His victory is depicted on one of the most famous Icons in the world “Blessed be the Hosts of the Heavenly Czar”

The icon depicts Ivan’s victory of Kazan as an army of Angles and Saints departing burning Sodom and Gomorrah towards a heavenly city.

Russians are not ashamed of this icon, even as Kazan is a major city in Russia. The idea of Russians apologizing to Tatars for conquering them hundreds of years ago is unthinkable. Russia abolished slavery amongst them, built their roads and cities.

Kazan

For centuries they lived together, they defended Russia together, and Tatar children learn in Russian schools. It is thanks to this education that Tatar people were uplifted to space, joining the ranks of Russian cosmonauts.

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Astana Kazakhstan, another country where Russia made peace with the local culture

This is Putin’s strategy, when he spoke to Kazan people about the need for Muslim education. Like it or hate it, the reality is Muslims have lived in Russia for hundreds of years…they’re part of the country. Putin refused to take the xenophobic approach which empowers the rhetoric of extremists, nor does he let radical Islam pose a threat to Russia. While the idea of radical Islam is Kazan is mostly unthinkable – the people there are heavily Russified and almost totally assimilated, more prone to agnosticism than devout Islam, the threat in the Caucasus is very real.

Unlike the more core Muslim regions in Russia like Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, where most of the population is Russian or mixed, the Caucasus were incorporated into Russia later in history, and lacked the centuries of Russian integration and education that pacified the Tatars.

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Kazan

Putin’s leadership proves that Russia will take a proactive role in educating young Muslims to be loyal Russian citizens.

It further demonstrates that the world should look to Russia to see a successful healthy interaction with Muslims rather than the “tolerant” west, as described in the RT report:

Among other things, the Russian Muslim organizations stage the annual International Muslim Forum, which brings together Muslim leaders from Europe and elsewhere. “They hear us; they see how we develop; how good the relations of the Russian Muslims with the country’s authorities are and how we are being supported by our president,” Russian Grand Mufti Ravil Gainutdin said.

According to Gainutdin, Russian Muslims are “a sort of a ‘soft power’ in promoting our model of development of civil society… I recently accepted the US ambassador, then his counterpart from Spain. We’re not politicians and diplomats, but we have our own people’s diplomacy – we talk to them, turning them to our side.”

Putin’s words and actions have touched the hearts of Russia’s Muslims in a real way. Just listen to how the Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov supports Putin:

These are not just words, Vladimir Putin has constantly proven that he is fulfilling his promises. While the United States and their allies are bringing wars and destruction to the Muslim world, Russia is consistently defending the interests of the Islamic nations and peoples,” the Chechen leader wrote.

In his message, Kadyrov also drew attention to a more recent statement by the Russian president. Last Wednesday, Putin met with representatives of Muslim clergy in the city of Kazan, and said that Russian authorities would support Islamic education through major state universities and other means.

Kadyrov supported Putin’s stance on the issue. “In Chechnya alone there are two Islamic universities, six Hafiz schools [dedicated schools for studying and memorizing the Quran] and dozens of Madrasas. For this, we are sincerely grateful to Vladimir Vladimirovich. But all rights are tied to responsibilities, and I am convinced that Muslims must actively counter the destructive and anti-Islamic movements such as Wahhabism. Conciliatory positions never lead to anything good, and we will always adhere to our position that we must never allow Wahhabism to rear its head in any of the Russian regions,” the Chechen leader wrote.

Putin faced the issues head-on, standing firm to his beliefs, but offering a genuine partnership with Russia’s Muslims. As a result of his patronage and support, they have proven loyal to Russia, and many are fighting in the Russian armed forces against Islamic terrorists in Syria and abroad.

In conclusion, Putin’s policy on Islam, and the success of the Russian model as opposed to western one can be revealed in the microcosm of Chechnya compared to countries in which the west intervened.

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The picture above is Grozny, the Chechen capital during the war, not a building was left standing. Indeed, Russia raised it to the ground. The difference…

Russia Rebuilt Grozny

Grozny has been rebuilt into a beautiful, modern city, thanks to cooperation between Russians and Chechens.

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Russia assumed full responsibility for Chechnya. Russia didn’t simply bomb it into the stone age and say “Okay, here’s your new democracy. Enjoy! Oh, and do sell us your oil and or natural reserves! No hard feelings for the war…right?” To do that would simply create a breeding center for terrorism within Russia.

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Russia rebuilt the city, taking an active role in the construction of not only infrastructure, by civil society.

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When Chechens see beautiful squares, clean roads, and tall blue skyscrapers, they know who to thank.

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The situation in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, etc is…well…

We may as well add Ukraine to the list. Russia didn’t invade Ukraine, but Ukrainian nationalists should maybe…just maybe wish she did…if the pattern continues, Ukraine would be rebuilt by now.

The reality speaks for itself. The West only knows how to destroy, be destroyed (mostly by itself), whereas Russia knows how to educate and built real cities and communities for the national unity of the Motherland.

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BREAKING: Explosion in Crimea, Russia kills many, injuring dozens, terrorism suspected

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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