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The Clash of the Titans — How Greece became the target of an epic struggle

The key to understanding Greece’s role in the Eurozone crisis, and to Greece’s eventual liberation from that crisis, is its pivotal role in the competing gas pipeline projects that are being planned by Moscow and Brussels in southern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean.

Haneul Na'avi

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Greek-EU relations parallel the epic battle of Hesiod’s Theogony, in which Kronos (Saturn/ restriction) overthrows his father Uranus (innovation) to become ruler of the Cosmos, and then devours his five children save for Zeus (Jupiter/ expansion) to prevent their future uprising.

Similarly, the trade bloc has done the same by devouring Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Portugal, and Greece in order to cement dominion over Europe, using the global financial crisis as an impetus.

1. “[…] the son from his ambush stretched forth his left hand and […] and swiftly lopped off his own father’s members…”

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ struggle with the bureaucratic Cerberus known as the European Troika—the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—failed after he betrayed former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, who sought radical fiscal options to rescue Greece’s economy.

Tsipras later signed the 2015 Supplemental Memorandum of Understanding, which claimed to “tackle tax evasion, fraud and strategic defaulters”, but in reality, shackles the country to another immovable €85 billion bailout and imposes a neoliberal, graduated privatisation scheme.

Unsurprisingly, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein was the architect of Greece’s calamity, where in 2001 he feloniously hid Greece’s debts using complex credit default swaps in order to meet Eurozone requirements set by the Maastricht Treaty, but the spell did not last long.

Salon reports:

“After the 9/11 attacks, bond yields plunged, resulting in a big loss for Greece because of the formula Goldman had used to compute the country’s debt repayments under the swap. By 2005, Greece owed almost double what it had put into the deal, pushing its off-the-books debt from 2.8 billion euros to 5.1 billion.

“[…] as interest rates plunged and the swaps turned out to cost far more, Goldman and the other banks refused to let the municipalities refinance without paying hefty fees to terminate the deals.”

Since then, Hellenic ministers have desperately sought options to revitalise its economy whilst battling austerity, but even rational measures to save it have come under fire from Brussels.

In 2008, Greek ministers tried to bail out its national industry Hellenic Shipyards before selling it to a German enterprise, which was later declared an “illegal move under Brussels law”.

EU technocrats imposed “a six million euro upfront penalty on Greece’s cash-strapped government, to be followed by a daily levy of 34,974 euros,” the Express highlighted.

“[…] Greece will be required to pay 34,974 euros to Brussels every day until it has recouped all of the 250 million euros it used to bail out Hellenic Shipyards”.

The country continues to battles a Hydra of problems, and despite slow gains, very few options remain within the EU framework. Fortunately, it is not alone and there is still hope.

2. “[…] and these goddesses never cease from their dread anger until they punish the sinner with a sore penalty…

The Eurozone debacle raises eyebrows regarding the Troika’s real intentions, as scapegoating continues to pervade mainstream media headlines without explaining the attacks and bailouts.

Paradoxically, underneath the miasma of lies and finger-pointing, a truth emerges: The Eurozone’s power rests in keeping Greece within its geopolitical orbit at all costs, and does so by exploiting Greek debt and “corruption”, which it consciously ignored in 2001.

Greece is one of the most geopolitically strategic energy transit hubs in Europe, which two multinational energy corporations—The European Commission Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) and Gazprom’s TurkStream Pipeline, fully understand.

BP expressed it in this way

“[The SGC] is arguably the global oil and gas industry’s most significant and ambitious undertaking yet […] – [involving] seven governments and 11 companies”.

Investors plan to construct the 550 km-long Trans Adriatic Pipeline through Greece, starting at Kipoi to connect to the Turkish Trans Anatolian Route (TANAP), and proceed to Albania and Italy.

World Policy echoed in 2014.

“Athens is vital to the success of the project, since the largest part of the pipeline crosses through Greece.”

Azerbaijan has been exploiting its Shah Deniz gas reserves in the Caspian Sea since 2006 and serves as the SGC’s main oil rig, and along with Western vassal state Georgia, and earns significant transit revenues via the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCPX).

Unfortunately, Azerbaijan depends on disputed reserves, and other stakeholders—neighbouring Russia, Kazakhstan, and Armenia—are members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and expect the largest share, which further complicates matters.

Stratfor mentioned in a report.

“[…] there are disputes between the five bordering states over where to demarcate the maritime borders and how to split up the energy resources.  This has created a tense geopolitical environment in the region, with the Caspian Sea serving as an important area of competition between Russia and the West.”

Furthermore, Iran has also expressed interest in joining the EEU, compounding the EU’s troubles. 

The Tehran Times highlighted.

“President Vladimir Putin […] has expressed hope that a free trade zone can soon be established between Iran and the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union.”

To date, Russia has had difficulty incorporating Greece into the TurkStream project after Western sanctions followed the Kiev coup and MH17 sabotage, forcing EU member states into a common position policy, which has severely limited Greece’s political decision-making.

After Kyiv received a $17.5 billion IMF stabilisation package, it officially became a vassal state of the Eurozone, and unfortunately, the Soviet-era Druzhba pipeline, the world’s largest pipeline network, lost its southernmost flank.  Additionally, Kiev refuses to pay back its $3 billion debt to Russia.

Sanctions also forced Gazprom to divert its attention from the defunct South Stream pipeline to the TurkStream, bypassing Bulgaria and Ukraine after they rejected the project due to EU pressure.

RT commented.

“Last year, Russia scrapped South Stream because of objections from the EU over its construction. It was to supply gas to Southern Europe via Bulgaria, avoiding Ukraine.”

3. “Therefore he kept no blind outlook, but watched and swallowed down his children…”

Greece shares its concerns with other Southern European countries seeking to diversify their energy security, but have found it painstakingly difficult to accomplish. Christopher Coats of the London School of Economics goes into explicit detail:

“The EU’s current approach to energy policy limits itself to issues of connectivity, energy security and the harmonisation of member states’ fragmented markets, and it is unlikely that the EU will seek to incentivise new hydrocarbons exploration and production.’ […] However, [its] weakened financial standing has made funds increasingly elusive.”

He continues:

“Governments found quick targets for spending cuts in the state subsidy systems for renewable energy as the 2008 crisis took hold. Such cuts slowed interest in the sector, making it a far less attractive investment and hindering future planning […] Spain went from being a global leader of solar development and installation to a pariah of foreign investors in a matter of months.”

Rather than compensating countries for lost green initiatives, the Commission simply demanded austerity. Despite this, EU parliamentarians continue to enjoy generous salaries and benefits.

Furthermore, the implementation of the COP21 Paris Agreement, which targets anthropogenic climate change, adds further bureaucratic obstacles to hydrocarbons exploration.  The Institution of Civil Engineers implied that according to it

“governments and investors will need to manage an orderly transition away from a fossil fuel dominated economy.”

A 2009 European Commission document states

“Second Strategic Energy Review” (COM/2008/781), reiterates this strategy, demanding to “identify and remove barriers to investment, including by means of streamlining of planning and consultation procedures or by appointing European coordinators, in particular for projects which improve interconnection.”

Greece, therefore, cannot exist independently, as the EU desperately seeks to prevent Athens from pivoting eastward, which challenges the Commission’s objectives.  World Policy continued.

“[It] relies on the stability that Greece can offer as a mediator country […] thus bypassing Russian gas supplies.”

Together, these legislative barriers favour EU agendas at the expense of state rights. Greek Energy Minister Panos Skourletis remarked about his interest in the Turk Stream.

“Greece is interested in building a gas pipeline, we are ready to take part in it, but everything depends on Europe.”

EU pundits have also voiced concerns over Greece’s pivot to Russia, insinuating that it could form an interregional coalition to strengthen non-EU energy partnerships. Professor Konstantinos Filis replied during an interview.

“It will try to form a common EU bloc with other member states that share the same position […] such as Italy, Austria, Slovakia, Cyprus and Hungary.”

4. “Him did vast Earth receive from Rhea in wide Crete to nourish and to bring up.”

Fortunately, the ongoing Moscow-Ankara-Athens detente has yielded positive results.

Western attempts to court Turkey have backfired, especially after denying Ankara EU accession, Germany’s Bundestag recognised the Armenian genocide, and later, military coups occurred in Ankara and Istanbul, which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames on US-asset Fethullah Güllen.

After the Turkish SU24 shoot-down in November 2015 as part of the conflict in Syria Russia froze production on the Turk Stream, but new developments now point to reconciliation; notwithstanding several demands from the Kremlin.

On August 31st Gazprom highlighted

“a working meeting between Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, and [Turkish Energy Minister] Berat Albayrak, took place today in Istanbul, [and that] negotiations on Russian gas supplies to Turkey will continue.”

Conversely, Greece and Russia have begun their long-awaited rapprochement in late May, when President Putin and PM Tsipras offered their groundbreaking joint statement in Athens.

Dubbed the historical Year of Russia held in Greece and the Year of Greece held in Russia, both figureheads communicated their hopes of new ambitious joint projects in agriculture, science, tourism, security and technology.

Over the years, trade between the two countries fell sharply, and measures to correct this were discussed at the 2015 Russian-Greek Intergovernmental Commission, along with the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Sochi, Russia.

The SPIEF RosCongress Foundation explains:

“Foreign trade between Russia and Greece totalled USD 866.7 million over January–April 2015, with Russian exports amounting to USD 793.1 million (a drop of 42.3%), and imports from Greece standing at USD 73.6 million. Russia’s trade surplus with Greece stood at USD 719.5 million.”

Reflecting on this shortcoming, Greek Minister of Economy, Infrastructure, Shipping, and Tourism Giorgos Stathakis boldly stated

“As all of you are fully aware, we currently stand at the centre of a storm, but we are a seafaring people, so we are not scared of storms”.

Secretary General for International Economic Relations of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs Yiorgos Tsipras added.

“[…] we have recognized that it is easy to talk to our Russian colleagues. We are ready to move beyond the problems facing us and create new opportunities.”

5. “[…] And through your devising we are come back again from the murky gloom and from our merciless bonds…”

The most salient opportunity was, of course, revitalising cooperation in the energy sector. Tsipras addressed.

“We expressed our satisfaction with the signing of a memorandum of cooperation between the Russian Energy Institute and Greece’s Centre for Renewable Energy Sources (CRES) as well as an agreement between Hellenic Petroleum and Rosneft.”

Just before the visit, Vladimir Putin clearly stated in an Ekathimerini article that Greece was

“Russia’s important partner in Europe.  Issues relating to southern routes of energy shipment to the European Union states are still on the agenda.”

This was apparent a year ago in Moscow, where Greek Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis stated Greece would

“…..receive significant financial dividends for the pipeline’s operations [after signing a Russian-Greek MoU on the Turk Stream].”

Most importantly, it would provide Greece with a portion of 63 billion cubic metres per annum, immense compensation in transit fees, as well as creating jobs.

The Ekathimerini article continues

“[…] construction will start in 2016 and be completed by 2019”.

This is the path that Greece must pursue—an independent one with like-minded partners for growth and prosperity.

The rest of Southern Europe should follow suit to promote jobs, lower energy prices, and pay off outstanding debts to the Eurozone.

To do this, Mediterranean states (Turkey included) must create a common platform for dialogue, with clear goals and channels to mediate disputes, outside of the EU framework.

No matter what, there will be a pipeline running from Athens to Rome, constructed by either Moscow or Brussels, but only one benefits Greece long-term.

Greek ministers should prioritise the Turk Stream and reclaim its bargaining power within the “EU framework”.

Greece must be allowed into the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to finance the project and remove Western currencies from controlling its financial decisions.

Putin should facilitate their entry into the AIIB to counteract Goldman Sachs and the EU bureaucracy.

Greece, like Zeus, must face its enemy without fear to restore order. Conversely, the EU, like Kronos, has empowered its greatest fear through its authoritarian reign.

Greece and her siblings must grab the BRICS emetic and set themselves free.

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Nigel Farage lashes out at Angela Merkel, as Chancellor attends EU Parliament debate (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 17.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at Nigel Farage’s blistering speech, aimed squarely at Angela Merkel, calling out the German Chancellor’s disastrous migrant policy, wish to build an EU army, and Brussels’ Cold War rhetoric with Russia to the East and now the United States to the West.

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The Ukrainian President Signs a Pact With Constantinople – Against the Ukrainian Church

There is still a chance to prevent the schism from occurring.

Dmitry Babich

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Authored by Dmitry Babich via Strategic Culture:


Increasingly tragic and violent events are taking their toll on the plight of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Ukraine . After several fights over control of the church’s property, prohibitions and blacklists are starting to spread, affecting respected church figures coming from Russia to Ukraine. The latest news is that the head of the Moscow Theological Academy, Archbishop Amvrosyi Yermakov, was deported from Ukraine back to Russia. Amvrosyi’s name popped up on the black list of Russian citizens who are not deemed “eligible to visit” Ukraine. Obviously, this happened right before his plane landed in Zhulyany, Kiev’s international airport. After a brief arrest, Amvrosyi was put on a plane and sent back to Moscow. This is not the first such humiliation of the Orthodox Church and its priests that has taken place since the new pro-Western regime came to power in Kiev in 2014. Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church has been declared persona non grata throughout Ukraine since 2014. That decision was made by humiliatingly low-level officials. A department within the Ukrainian ministry of culture published a ruling stating that Kirill’s visit to Ukraine’s capital of Kiev “would not be desirable.”

Since the ancestors of modern Russians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians were first baptized in 988 in Kiev, the Patriarchs of the Russian Church have never had problems visiting Kiev, the birthplace of their church. Not even under the Bolsheviks did such prohibitions exist. So, for Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church to be denied permission to visit Kiev can only be compared to a possible prohibition against the pope visiting Rome. Since 2014, there have also been several criminal cases filed against the priests of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC MP) because they have called the hostilities in eastern Ukraine a “civil war” and have discouraged the faithful from supporting that war. This has been interpreted by the Ukrainian state authorities as a call for soldiers to desert the army.

Why Poroshenko’s meeting with Bartholomew is ominous

Despite the fact that the UOC MP has become used to all sorts of trouble since 2014, things have been looking even worse for the canonical church lately, as 2018 draws to a close. In early November 2018, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko broke the wall of separation between church and state in the most overt manner possible — he signed “an agreement on cooperation and joint action” between Ukraine and the so called Constantinople Patriarchate, the oldest institution of Orthodox Christianity, which is now based in Turkish Istanbul.

Rostislav Pavlenko, an aide to Poroshenko, wrote on his Facebook page that the agreement (not yet published) is premised on the creation of a new “autocephalous” Orthodox Church of Ukraine — a development that the official, existing Orthodox Churches in Russia and Ukraine view with foreboding as a “schism” that they have done all they can to prevent. Why? Because Poroshenko’s regime, which came to power via a violent coup in Kiev in 2014 on a wave of public anti-Russian sentiment, may try to force the canonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine to merge with other, non-canonical institutions and to surrender to them church buildings, including the famous monasteries in Kiev and Pochai, as well as other property.

President Poroshenko was visibly happy to sign the document — the contents of which have not yet been made public — on cooperation between the Ukrainian state and the Constantinople Patriarchate, in the office of Bartholomew, the head of the Constantinople Patriarchate. Poroshenko smiled and laughed, obviously rejoicing over the fact that the Constantinople Patriarchate is already embroiled in a scandalous rift with the Russian Orthodox Church and its Ukrainian sister church over several of Bartholomew’s recent moves. Bartholomew’s decision to “lift” the excommunication from two of Ukraine’s most prominent schismatic “priests,” in addition to Bartholomew’s declaration that the new church of Ukraine will be under Constantinople’s direct command — these moves were just not acceptable for the canonical Orthodox believers in Russia and Ukraine. Kirill, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), as well as Onufriy, the Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine, are protesting loudly, viewing this situation as a breach of two basic principles. First of all, the Ukrainian state has interfered in the church’s affairs, asking Constantinople to give the Ukrainian church “autocephaly,” which that church never requested. Second, Constantinople itself has interfered in the affairs of two autonomous national churches, the Russian and the Ukrainian. In the eyes of Ukrainian and Russian clergy, Bartholomew is behaving like the Roman pope and not as a true Orthodox leader who respects the autonomy and self-rule of the separate, national Orthodox Churches.

The Russian President sympathizes with the believers’ pain

Two days before Poroshenko made his trip to Istanbul, Russian president Vladimir Putin broke with his usual reserve when commenting on faith issues to bitterly complain about the pain which believers in Russia and Ukraine have experienced from the recent divisions within the triangle of Orthodoxy’s three historic capitals — Constantinople, Kiev, and Moscow.

“Politicking in such a sensitive area as religion has always had grave consequences, first and foremost for the people who engaged in this politicking,” Putin said, addressing the World Congress of Russian Compatriots, an international organization that unites millions of ethnic and cultural Russians from various countries, including Ukraine. Himself a practicing Orthodox believer, Putin lauded Islam and Judaism, while at the same time complaining about the plight of Orthodox believers in Ukraine, where people of Orthodox heritage make up more than 80% of the population and where the church has traditionally acted as a powerful “spiritual link” with Russia.

Despite his complaints about “politicking,” Putin was careful not to go into the details of why exactly the state of affairs in Ukraine is so painful for Orthodox believers. That situation was explained by Patriarch Kirill. After many months of tense silence and an unsuccessful visit to Barthlomew’s office in Istanbul on August 31, Kirill has been literally crying for help in the last few weeks, saying he was “ready to go anywhere and talk to anyone” in order to prevent the destruction of the canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

Politics with a “mystical dimension”

Kirill said the attack against the Orthodox Church in Ukraine “had not only a political, but also a mystical dimension.” Speaking in more earthly terms, there is a danger that the 1,000-year-old historical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) — which now owns 11,392 church buildings, 12,328 parishes, and two world-famous monasteries in Ukraine — will be dissolved. The roots of the UOC MP go back to the pre-Soviet Russian Empire and even further back to the era of Kievan Rus, the proto-state of the Eastern Slavs in the tenth-twelfth centuries AD, when the people who would later become Russians, Ukrainians, and Byelorussians were adopting Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire. It is by far the biggest church in Ukraine, as Mikhail Denisenko’s non-canonical “alternative” church has only 3,700 parishes that include church buildings (fewer than a third of what is owned by the UOC-MP, despite the fact that Denisenko enjoys official support from the Ukrainian state).

What many Russian and Ukrainian believers fear is that the Istanbul-based Patriarch Bartholomew will eventually grant Kiev what is being called autocephaly. In that event, the UOC-MP may be forced to merge with two other, non-canonical churches in Ukraine that have no apostolic liaison. The apostolic succession of the UOC-MP consists in the historical fact that its first bishops were ordained by medieval bishops from Constantinople, who had in turn been ordained by Christ’s disciples from ancient Israel. Apostolic succession is crucial for the Orthodox Church, where only bishops can ordain new priests and where the church’s connection to the first Christians is reflected in many ways, including in the clergy’s attire.

Metropolitan Hilarion (his secular name is Grigory Alfeyev), the Russian church’s chief spokesman on questions of schism and unity, accused the patriarch of contributing to the schism by officially “lifting” the excommunication from Ukraine’s most prominent schismatic church leader — the defrocked former bishop Mikhail Denisenko. That clergyman stands to gain most from the “autocephaly” promised to Poroshenko by Patriarch Bartholomew. A hierarchical Orthodox Church is considered to have autocephalous status, as its highest bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has stated that for Ukraine to be granted autocephaly from Istanbul, this would mean a complete “reformatting” of the country’s religious status quo and the severing of all links to Orthodox Russia and its “demons.”. Most likely, the new “united” church won’t be headed by the UOC MP’s Metropolitan, but by Mikhail Denisenko, who was excommunicated by both the UOC MP and the Russian church back in 1997 and with whom real Orthodox priests can only serve against their will and against the church’s internal rules.

Constantinople’s first dangerous moves

On October 11, 2018, the Constantinople Patriarchate made its first step towards granting autocephaly by repealing its own decision of 1686 that gave the Moscow Patriarch primacy over the Kiev-based Metropolitan. This 17th-century decision reflected the political reality of the merger between the states of Russia and Ukraine and established some order in the matters of church administration. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moscow gave the Ukrainian church complete independence in financial and administrative matters, but the two churches retained their cherished “spiritual unity.” “Constantinople’s decision is aimed at destroying that unity,” the ROC’s Patriarch Kirill explained. “We can’t accept it. That is why our Holy Synod made the decision to end eucharistic communication with the Constantinople Patriarchate.”

How Moscow “excommunicated” Bartholomew

The end of eucharistic communication means that the priests of the two patriarchates (based in Moscow and Istanbul) won’t be able to hold church services together. It will be maintained as long as the threat of autocephaly continues. The Western mainstream media, however, interpreted this decision by the Russian church as a unilateral aggressive act. The NYT and the British tabloid press wrote that it simply reveals Putin’s “desperation” at not being able to keep Ukraine’s religious life under control.

However, Patriarch Bartholomew seems undeterred by the protests from the Russian faithful and the majority of Ukraine’s believers. Bartholomew said in a recent statement that Russia should just follow the example of Constantinople, which once granted autocephaly to the churches of the Balkan nations. Bartholomew’s ambassadors in Kiev do not shy away from communicating with the self-declared “Patriarch” Filaret (Mikhail Denisenko’s adopted religious name from back when he was the UOC MP’s Metropolitan prior to his excommunication in 1997). For true Orthodox believers, any communication with Denisenko has been forbidden since 1992, the year when he founded his own so-called Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP). Unfortunately, Denisenko enjoys the full support of Ukrainian President Poroshenko, and recently the US State Department began encouraging Denisenko, by giving its full support to Ukraine’s autocephaly.

The lifting of Denisenko’s excommunication by Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul both upset and embittered the Orthodox believers in both Ukraine and Moscow, since Denisenko was excommunicated by a joint decision of the Russian church and the UOC MP in 1997, after a five-year wait for his return to the fold of the mother church. So, by undoing that decision, Constantinople has interfered in the canonical territory of both the Ukrainian and the Russian churches.

The UOC-MP protested, accusing not only Patriarch Bartholomew, but also the Ukrainian state of interfering in the church’s affairs. “We are being forced to get involved in politics. The politicians do not want Christ to run our church; they want to do it themselves,” said Metropolitan Onufriy (Onuphrius), the head of the UOC-MP, in an interview with PravMir, an Orthodox website. “Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate has been independent. Our church did not ask for autocephaly, because we already have independence. We have our own Synod (church council) and our own church court. Decisions are made by a congress of bishops and priests from all over Ukraine. We have financial and administrative independence, so autocephaly for us will be a limitation, not an expansion of our rights.”

Poroshenko’s premature jubilation

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Poroshenko did not conceal his jubilation about Constantinople’s moves. “This is a victory of good over evil, light over darkness,” Poroshenko said when the news about the lifting of Denisenko’s excomnmunication came from Istanbul in early October.

Poroshenko said he wanted a “united Orthodox Church” for his country, and he openly pressured Patriarch Bartholomew to provide autocephaly to Kiev during his visits to Istanbul in the spring of 2018 and in November of the same year. Meanwhile, Denisenko said that the provision of autocephaly would mean the immediate dispossession of the UOC MP. “This Russian church (UOC MP) will have to cede control of its church buildings and famous monasteries to the new Ukrainian church, which will be ours,” Denisenko was quoted by Ukrainian media as saying. “These monasteries have been owned by the state since Soviet times, and the state gave them to the Russian church for temporary use. Now the state will appoint our communities of believers as the new guardians of this heritage.” Denisenko also made a visit to the US, where he met Undersecretary of State Wess Mitchell, obtaining from him America’s active support for the creation of a “unified” Ukrainian church.

There is still a chance to prevent the schism from occurring. Poroshenko’s presidential aide, Rostislav Pavlenko, made it clear on Tuesday that the actual “tomos” (a letter from the Constantinople Patriarchate allowing the creation of an autocephalous church) will be delivered only IN RESPONSE to a request from a “unifying convention” that represents all of Ukraine’s Orthodox believers in at least some sort of formal manner. This new convention will have to declare the creation of a new church and elect this church’s official head. Only then will Constantinople be able to give that person the cherished “tomos.”

Since the UOC-MP has made it very clear that it won’t participate in any such convention, the chances of the smooth transition and easy victory over the “Muscovite believers” that Poroshenko wants so badly are quite slim. There are big scandals, big fights, and big disappointments ahead.

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Trump DEMOLISHES Macron; Tweets ‘Make France Great Again’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 16.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at US President Trump’s tweetstorm aimed at French President Macron, who just days ago used the WW1 ceremony in Paris to ridicule and talk down to the US President in front of world leaders.

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Via Zerohedge

Macron’s office has refused to comment on Trump’s claims.

OFFICE OF FRENCH PRESIDENT MACRON SAYS IT REFUSES TO MAKE ANY COMMENT REGARDING TRUMP’S TWEETS CRITICISING FRANCE AND MACRON

* * *

Without directly referencing the rumors, Trump has branded reports that he refused to appear at a cemetery for American soldiers because he didn’t want to get his hair wet as “fake news.” In the tweet, Trump insisted that he wanted the Secret Service to drive him to the speech instead of taking a helicopter, but they refused because of security concerns. He added that he gave a speech at the cemetery the next day in the pouring rain – something that was “little reported”.

Trump’s rampage against Macron continues. The president slammed his French counterpart for his low approval rating, as well as France’s high unemployment. Furthermore, in response to Macron’s “nationalist” snub, Trump pointed out that “there is no more nationalist country” than France..

…before adding a spin on his classic slogan.

Trump’s rage against Macron continues, but this time, the topic is slightly more serious. What could be more serious than questioning the foundation of Post-WWII military alliances, you might ask? The answer is simple – trade!

Trump conceded that while France makes “very good wine” (an interesting claim from Trump, who doesn’t drink), the country “makes it hard for the US to sell its wine into France, and charges very big tariffs”. Meanwhile “The US makes it easy for French wines and charges small tariffs.”

“Not Fair, must change!”

We now await Trump’s order of an investigation into the national security implications of imported French wine.

* * *

President Trump isn’t ready to forgive the “French diss” served up over the weekend by President Emmanuel Macron.

During a ceremony honoring the 100th anniversary of World War I at the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron insulted Trump to his face by launching into a screed about the dangers of toxic “nationalism” and subtly accusing the US of abandoning its “moral values”.

This did not sit well with the US president, who was already facing criticism over his decision to show up late to a ceremony honoring the war dead (the administration blamed it on security concerns though it’s widely suspected that Trump didn’t want to get his hair wet), and Trump has let his displeasure be known in a series of tweets ridiculing Macron’s suggestion that Europe build its own army, saying that France and other European members of NATO would be better served by paying their fair share for NATO while daring them to leave and pay for their own protection.

And in his most abrasive tweet yet mocking the increasingly unpopular Macron’s imperial ambitions (no, really), Trump pointed out that, historically speaking, Europe has been its own worst enemy, and that while Macron wants to defend the Continent from the US, China and Russia, “it was Germany in WWI & WWII,” adding that “they were starting to learn German in Paris before the US came along. Pay for NATO or not!”

Of course, Macron isn’t the only French official calling for the creation of a “European army”. The country’s finance minister advocated for the creation of a Continental army during an interview with Germany’s Handelsblatt – a comment that was derided by the paper’s editors, who pointed out that Germans “weren’t very supportive” of the idea. One wonders why…

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