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Orthodox priest enduring persecution at the hands of the Ukrainian Government

Seraphim Hanisch

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When God is first, a nation usually does pretty well. This has been proven through several thousand years of what the Church calls “sacred history”, but even honest secular based surveys of history reveal the same fact. When a nation is aligned in such a way that its leadership keeps an allegiance to God as prime, then the nation usually does well.

The opposite is also true – when a nation or its leadership rebels against God, it usually fails. The same thing also happens when the nation in question puts its own identity first and then “hijacks” God through a twisted version of nationalism in which religious belief is made subject to nationalist views first. When this happens, the appearance of religion in national culture is subtly but powerfully altered, and it eventually falls apart or results in disastrous behavior.

For example, National Socialism, or Naziism as we know it, did NOT expressly forbid religion. Six years into the Nazi era, a survey taken in 1939 revealed the demographic makeup of Germany to be 54% Protestant, 40% Roman Catholic, 3.5% as essentially deistic and only 1.5% atheist. However, the push within the government was for what was called a “positive Christianity” which was a uniquely Nazi form that rejected Christianity’s Jewish origins and portrayed “true Christianity” as a fight against Jews.

We all know what the result of this was.

History repeats itself

In today’s Ukraine we are witnessing a similar situation. That part of Ukraine which favors Western ideals and values, and wants to be away from Russia’s orbit has claimed as its justification its own Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate as both justification and product of a uniquely Ukrainian national culture that is distinct from Russian culture. And in a tragic error, the Kyiv Patriarchate has identified itself more along the lines of Ukrainian nationalism than as a Church of a nation that itself tries to live under God.

The results are tragic.

The leader of the schismatic Kyiv Patriarchate, Patriarch Philaret shared the stage with a hideous and depraved man, the self-styled “drag queen” whose name is Tom Neuwirth, but appeals to the sexually perverse crowd under the name “Conchita Wurst” (and looks like the worst, too). Philaret blessed the Eurovision event in Saint Sophia’s square, reportedly in exchange for evicting a Ukrainian Autocephalous Church presence at St Michael’s Monastery there. While this may not seem like anything big in the West, the Ukrainian and Russian people alike have a deeply traditional history, but as the vassal or cohort of the nationalist Ukrainian government, the church is betraying Christ by placating to the most vile examples of depravity, and with a blessing!

Violence between the Kyiv group, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, which is also schismatic and uncanonical, and the canonical Moscow Patriarchate Church operating in Ukraine has been periodic and sporadic. Moscow-affiliated priests and churches are often besieged, sometimes violently, by Kyiv people and they are aided and abetted in that regard by the Ukrainian government, which is virulently anti-Russian.

Priest Evegeny Molchanov persecuted by the Ukrainian government for doing his job

Political pressure applied in the most heinous way

The latest event concerns a Moscow Patriarchate priest who is targeted for criminal proceedings because he refused to serve a funeral for a young boy whose families are parishioners of the Kyiv Patriarchate. The child’s father reportedly physically attacked the priest for not doing the service.

Again, in the unbelieving and ignorant West, this may seem like a stupid problem. But viewed from the context of the Orthodox Christian Church it is significant. Part of keeping Church order is that one follows the rules, called “canons” of the Church and to violate them is seen not just as a transgression, but something tantamount to a spiritual betrayal of Christ, whom the Church is supposed to serve.

The priest, Father Evgeny Molchanov, followed canonical norms as he is expected to as a priest of the Orthodox Moscow Patriarchate, but he is being treated as a criminal for doing his job. Since the child was not baptized in a canonical Church, the priest of a canonical Church cannot serve a funeral for him.

In a meeting of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), the canonical Church in the region, these criminal proceedings were addressed. The bishops present demanded a cessation of the case, given that their priest was simply abiding by the canons of the Orthodox Church, and in no way was the priest violating Ukrainian law.

The Synod further explained:

According to the Holy Synod, the criminal proceedings contain signs of persecution on religious grounds, stemming from a political point of view, and are nothing but an attempt to interfere in the internal life of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Nationalistic Ukrainians often persecute clergy and parishioners of the canonical Church because they remain faithful to the Orthodox Church within the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate.

The Synod also drew attention to the fact that, in accordance with international law, state authorities have no right to interfere in the internal affairs of a religious community, and cannot dictate the order and method of a religious community celebrating or not celebrating its rites.

As Fr. Nikolai Danilevich had explained, the Synod reiterated that Church Sacraments and rites can be celebrated exclusively for members of the Church, which requires a true, Orthodox Baptism.

A clear and deliberate setup

It should be clearly understood that there are a great many Kyiv Patriarchate parishes in Ukraine, and so the likelihood here is that this was orchestrated (one of the most heinous ideas imaginable, to use the death of a child as a political or ecclesiastical weapon) to create havoc for the Moscow Church in Zaporozhye, Ukraine, where this happened.

It should be further noted that Zaporozhye is in Eastern Ukraine, and while it is not in the breakaway regions of Donetsk or Lugansk, most of the people in this region are Russian speaking and favor close ties with Russia. So here the government and the Church in the western part of the country are attempting to use the Church as a weapon of the State, to uphold Ukrainian nationhood rather than to serve God.

In the Orthodox Byzantine model of Church and State relationships, the structure is said to be “in symphony”, or symphonia, where the Church and State mutually cooperate in matters concerning the nation involved. But further, the Church rightly acts as the conscience of the State, and properly understood, symphonia between the two notes that the State must listen to the guidance of God through the Church, and not the other way around.

In Ukraine’s present government, this is tragically reversed. The Kyiv Church has all the trappings of an Orthodox Church, and no doubt many, if not most, of the people who are members of it do not think of Ukraine’s nationhood as more important than serving God. At least, let us hope this is still the case. But at the levels where it counts, it is clear that the Church no longer really serves God, it attempts to use him to promote a secular humanist political agenda, and in that sense serves to only betray Christ.

In the Christian world view, there can be nothing more tragic than this.

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Foreign Banks Are Embracing Russia’s Alternative To SWIFT, Moscow Says

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative.

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Via Zerohedge


On Friday, one day after Russia and China pledged to reduce their reliance on the dollar by increasing the amount of bilateral trade conducted in rubles and yuan (a goal toward which much progress has already been made over the past three years), Russia’s Central Bank provided the latest update on Moscow’s alternative to US-dominated international payments network SWIFT.

Moscow started working on the project back in 2014, when international sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea inspired fears that the country’s largest banks would soon be cut off from SWIFT which, though it’s based in Belgium and claims to be politically neutral, is effectively controlled by the US Treasury.

Today, the Russian alternative, known as the System for Transfer of Financial Messages, has attracted a modest amount of support within the Russian business community, with 416 Russian companies having joined as of September, including the Russian Federal Treasury and large state corporations likeGazprom Neft and Rosneft.

And now, eight months after a senior Russian official advised that “our banks are ready to turn off SWIFT,” it appears the system has reached another milestone in its development: It’s ready to take on international partners in the quest to de-dollarize and end the US’s leverage over the international financial system. A Russian official advised that non-residents will begin joining the system “this year,” according to RT.

“Non-residents will start connecting to us this year. People are already turning to us,”said First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Russia Olga Skorobogatova. Earlier, the official said that by using the alternative payment system foreign firms would be able to do business with sanctioned Russian companies.

Turkey, China, India and others are among the countries that might be interested in a SWIFT alternative, as Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out in a speech earlier this month, the US’s willingness to blithely sanction countries from Iran to Venezuela and beyond will eventually rebound on the US economy by undermining the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.

To be sure, the Russians aren’t the only ones building a SWIFT alternative to help avoid US sanctions. Russia and China, along with the European Union are launching an interbank payments network known as the Special Purpose Vehicle to help companies pursue “legitimate business with Iran” in defiance of US sanctions.

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative. For one, much of Europe is dependent on Russian natural gas and oil.

And as Russian trade with other US rivals increases, Moscow’s payments network will look increasingly attractive,particularly if buyers of Russian crude have no other alternatives to pay for their goods.

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US leaving INF will put nuclear non-proliferation at risk & may lead to ‘complete chaos’

The US is pulling out of a nuclear missile pact with Russia. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty requires both countries to eliminate their short and medium-range atomic missiles.

The Duran

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Via RT


If the US ditches the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), it could collapse the entire nuclear non-proliferation system, and bring nuclear war even closer, Russian officials warn.

By ending the INF, Washington risks creating a domino effect which could endanger other landmark deals like the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and collapse the existing non-proliferation mechanism as we know it, senior lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev said on Sunday.

The current iteration of the START treaty, which limits the deployment of all types of nuclear weapons, is due to expire in 2021. Kosachev, who chairs the Parliament’s Upper House Foreign Affairs Committee, warned that such an outcome pits mankind against “complete chaos in terms of nuclear weapons.”

“Now the US Western allies face a choice: either embarking on the same path, possibly leading to new war, or siding with common sense, at least for the sake of their self-preservation instinct.”

His remarks came after US President Donald Trump announced his intentions to “terminate” the INF, citing alleged violations of the deal by Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly denied undermining the treaty, pointing out that Trump has failed to produce any evidence of violations. Moreover, Russian officials insist that the deployment of US-made Mk 41 ground-based universal launching systems in Europe actually violates the agreement since the launchers are capable of firing mid-range cruise missiles.

Leonid Slutsky, who leads the Foreign Affairs Committee in parliament’s lower chamber, argued that Trump’s words are akin to placing “a huge mine under the whole disarmament process on the planet.”

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The deal effectively bans the parties from having and developing short- and mid-range missiles of all types. According to the provisions, the US was obliged to destroy Pershing I and II launcher systems and BGM-109G Gryphon ground-launched cruise missiles. Moscow, meanwhile, pledged to remove the SS-20 and several other types of missiles from its nuclear arsenal.

Pershing missiles stationed in the US Army arsenal. © Hulton Archive / Getty Images ©

By scrapping the historic accord, Washington is trying to fulfill its “dream of a unipolar world,” a source within the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“This decision fits into the US policy of ditching the international agreements which impose equal obligations on it and its partners, and render the ‘exceptionalism’ concept vulnerable.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov denounced Trump’s threats as “blackmail” and said that Washington wants to dismantle the INF because it views the deal as a “problem” on its course for “total domination” in the military sphere.

The issue of nuclear arms treaties is too vital for national and global security to rush into hastily-made “emotional” decisions, the official explained. Russia is expecting to hear more on the US’ plans from Trump’s top security adviser, John Bolton, who is set to hold talks in Moscow tomorrow.

President Trump has been open about unilaterally pulling the US out of various international agreements if he deems them to be damaging to national interests. Earlier this year, Washington withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program. All other signatories to the landmark agreement, including Russia, China, and the EU, decided to stick to the deal, while blasting Trump for leaving.

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Kiev ‘Patriarch’ prepares to seize Moscow properties in Ukraine

Although Constantinople besought the Kiev church to stop property seizures, they were ignored and used, or perhaps, complicit.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The attack on the Eastern Orthodox Church, brought about by the US State Department and its proxies in Constantinople and Ukraine, is continuing. On October 20, 2018, the illegitimate “Kyiv (Kiev) Patriarchate”, led by Filaret Denisenko who is calling himself “Patriarch Filaret”, had a synodal meeting in which it changed the commemoration title of the leader of the church to include the Kyiv Caves and Pochaev Lavras.

This is a problem because Metropolitan Onuphry of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church which is canonically accepted and acts as a very autonomous church under the Moscow Patriarchate has these places under his pastoral care.

This move takes place only one week after Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople unilaterally (and illegally) lifted the excommunications, depositions (removal from priestly ranks as punishment) and anathemas against Filaret and Makary that were imposed on them by the hierarchy of the Moscow Patriarchate.

These two censures are very serious matters in the Orthodox Church. Excommunication means that the person or church so considered cannot receive Holy Communion or any of the other Mysteries (called Sacraments in the West) in a neighboring local Orthodox Church. Anathema is even more serious, for this happens when a cleric disregards his excommunication and deposition (removal from the priesthood), and acts as a priest or a bishop anyway.

Filaret Denisenko received all these censures in 1992, and Patriarch Bartholomew accepted this decision at the time, as stated in a letter he sent to Moscow shortly after the censures. However, three years later, Patriarch Bartholomew received a group of Ukrainian autocephalist bishops called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA, who had been in communion with Filaret’s group. While this move may have been motivated by the factor of Bartholomew’s almost total isolation within Istanbul, Turkey, it is nonetheless non-canonical.

This year’s moves have far exceeded previous ones, though, and now the possibility for a real clash that could cost lives is raised. With Filaret’s “church” – really an agglomeration of Ukrainian ultranationalists and Neo-Nazis in the mix, plus millions of no doubt innocent Ukrainian faithful who are deluded about the problems of their church, challenging an existing arrangement regarding Ukraine and Russia’s two most holy sites, the results are not likely to be good at all.

Here is the report about today’s developments, reprinted in part from OrthoChristian.com:

Meeting today in Kiev, the Synod of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) has officially changed the title of its primate, “Patriarch” Philaret, to include the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras under his jurisdiction.

The primate’s new official title, as given on the site of the KP, is “His Holiness and Beatitude (name), Archbishop and Metropolitan of Kiev—Mother of the cities of Rus’, and Galicia, Patriarch of All Rus’-Ukraine, Svyaschenno-Archimandrite of the Holy Dormition Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras.”

…Thus, the KP Synod is declaring that “Patriarch” Philaret has jurisdiction over the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras, although they are canonically under the omophorion of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the primate of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Philaret and his followers and nationalistic radicals have continually proclaimed that they will take the Lavras for themselves.

This claim to the ancient and venerable monasteries comes after the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate announced that it had removed the anathema placed upon Philaret by the Russian Orthodox Church and had restored him to his hierarchical office. Philaret was a metropolitan of the canonical Church, becoming patriarch in his schismatic organization.

Representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate have clarified that they consider Philaret to be the “former Metropolitan of Kiev,” but he and his organization continue to consider him an active patriarch, with jurisdiction in Ukraine.

Constantinople’s statement also appealed to all in Ukraine to “avoid appropriation of churches, monasteries, and other properties,” which the Synod of the KP ignored in today’s decision.

The KP primate’s abbreviated title will be, “His Holiness (name), Patriarch of Kiev and All Rus’-Ukraine,” and the acceptable form for relations with other Local Churches is “His Beatitude Archbishop (name), Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus’-Ukraine.”

The Russian Orthodox Church broke eucharistic communion and all relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate over this matter earlier this week. Of the fourteen local Orthodox Churches recognized the world over, twelve have expressed the viewpoint that Constantinople’s move was in violation of the canons of the Holy Orthodox Church. Only one local Church supported Constantinople wholeheartedly, and all jurisdictions except Constantinople have appealed for an interOrthodox Synod to address and solve the Ukrainian matter in a legitimate manner.

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