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Orthodox priest enduring persecution at the hands of the Ukrainian Government

Seraphim Hanisch




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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Constantinople: Ukrainian Church leader is now uncanonical

October 12 letter proclaims Metropolitan Onuphry as uncanonical and tries to strong-arm him into acquiescing through bribery and force.

Seraphim Hanisch



The pressure in Ukraine kept ratcheting up over the last few days, with a big revelation today that Patriarch Bartholomew now considers Metropolitan Onuphy “uncanonical.” This news was published on 6 December by a hierarch of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (running under the Moscow Patriarchate).

This assessment marks a complete 180-degree turn by the leader of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople, and it further embitters the split that has developed to quite a major row between this church’s leadership and the Moscow Patriarchate.

OrthoChristian reported this today (we have added emphasis):

A letter of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine was published yesterday by a hierarch of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in which the Patriarch informed the Metropolitan that his title and position is, in fact, uncanonical.

This assertion represents a negation of the position held by Pat. Bartholomew himself until April of this year, when the latest stage in the Ukrainian crisis began…

The same letter was independently published by the Greek news agency Romfea today as well.

It is dated October 12, meaning it was written just one day after Constantinople made its historic decision to rehabilitate the Ukrainian schismatics and rescind the 1686 document whereby the Kiev Metropolitanate was transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church, thereby, in Constantinople’s view, taking full control of Ukraine.

In the letter, Pat. Bartholomew informs Met. Onuphry that after the council, currently scheduled for December 15, he will no longer be able to carry his current title of “Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine.”

The Patriarch immediately opens his letter with Constantinople’s newly-developed historical claim about the jurisdictional alignment of Kiev: “You know from history and from indisputable archival documents that the holy Metropolitanate of Kiev has always belonged to the jurisdiction of the Mother Church of Constantinople…”

Constantinople has done an about-face on its position regarding Ukraine in recent months, given that it had previously always recognized the Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate as the sole canonical primate in Ukraine.

…The bulk of the Patriarch’s letter is a rehash of Constantinople’s historical and canonical arguments, which have already been laid out and discussed elsewhere. (See also here and here). Pat. Bartholomew also writes that Constantinople stepped into the Ukrainian ecclesiastical sphere as the Russian Church had not managed to overcome the schisms that have persisted for 30 years.

It should be noted that the schisms began and have persisted precisely as anti-Russian movements and thus the relevant groups refused to accept union with the Russian Church.

Continuing, Pat. Bartholomew informs Met. Onuphry that his position and title are uncanonical:

Addressing you as ‘Your Eminence the Metropolitan of Kiev’ as a form of economia [indulgence/condescension—OC] and mercy, we inform you that after the elections for the primate of the Ukrainian Church by a body that will consist of clergy and laity, you will not be able ecclesiologically and canonically to bear the title of Metropolitan of Kiev, which, in any case, you now bear in violation of the described conditions of the official documents of 1686.

He also entreats Met. Onuphry to “promptly and in a spirit of harmony and unity” participate, with the other hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in the founding council of the new Ukrainian church that Constantinople is planning to create, and in the election of its primate.

The Constantinople head also writes that he “allows” Met. Onuphry to be a candidate for the position of primate.

He further implores Met. Onuphry and the UOC hierarchy to communicate with Philaret Denisenko, the former Metropolitan of Kiev, and Makary Maletich, the heads of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” and the schismatic “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” respectively—both of which have been subsumed into Constantinople—but whose canonical condemnations remain in force for the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The hierarchs of the Serbian and Polish Churches have also officially rejected the rehabilitation of the Ukrainian schismatics.

Pat. Bartholomew concludes expressing his confidence that Met. Onuphry will decide to heal the schism through the creation of a new church in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church under Metropolitan Onuphry’s leadership is recognized as the sole canonical Orthodox jurisdiction in Ukraine by just about every other canonical Orthodox Jurisdiction besides Constantinople. Even NATO member Albania, whose expressed reaction was “both sides are wrong for recent actions” still does not accept the canonicity of the “restored hierarchs.”

In fact, about the only people in this dispute that seem to be in support of the “restored” hierarchs, Filaret and Makary, are President Poroshenko, Patriarch Bartholomew, Filaret and Makary… and NATO.

While this letter was released to the public eye yesterday, the nearly two months that Metropolitan Onuphry has had to comply with it have not been helped in any way by the actions of both the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Ukrainian government.

Priests of the Canonical Church in Ukraine awaiting interrogation by the State authorities

For example, in parallel reports released on December 6th, the government is reportedly accusing canonical priests in Ukraine of treason because they are carrying and distributing a brochure entitled (in English): The Ukrainian Orthodox Church: Relations with the State. The Attitude Towards the Conflict in Donbass and to the Church Schism. Questions and Answers.

In a manner that would do any American liberal proud, these priests are being accused of inciting religious hatred, though really all they are doing is offering an explanation for the situation in Ukraine as it exists.

A further piece also released yesterday notes that the Ukrainian government rehabilitated an old Soviet-style technique of performing “inspections of church artifacts” at the Pochaev Lavra. This move appears to be both intended to intimidate the monastics who are living there now, who are members of the canonical Church, as well as preparation for an expected forcible takeover by the new “united Church” that is under creation. The brotherhood characterized the inspections in this way:

The brotherhood of the Pochaev Lavra previously characterized the state’s actions as communist methods of putting pressure on the monastery and aimed at destroying monasticism.

Commenting on the situation with the Pochaev Lavra, His Eminence Archbishop Clement of Nizhyn and Prilusk, the head of the Ukrainian Church’s Information-Education Department, noted:

This is a formal raiding, because no reserve ever built the Pochaev Lavra, and no Ministry of Culture ever invested a single penny to restoring the Lavra, and the state has done nothing to preserve the Lavra in its modern form. The state destroyed the Lavra, turned it into a psychiatric hospital, a hospital for infectious diseases, and so on—the state has done nothing more. And now it just declares that it all belongs to the state. No one asked the Church, the people that built it. When did the Lavra and the land become state property? They belonged to the Church from time immemorial.

With the massive pressure both geopolitically and ecclesiastically building in Ukraine almost by the day, it is anyone’s guess what will happen next.

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Ukrainian leadership is a party of war, and it will continue as long as they’re in power – Putin

“We care about Ukraine because Ukraine is our neighbor,” Putin said.





Via RT…

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has branded the Ukrainian leadership a “party of war” which would continue fueling conflicts while they stay in power, giving the recent Kerch Strait incident as an example.

“When I look at this latest incident in the Black Sea, all what’s happening in Donbass – everything indicates that the current Ukrainian leadership is not interested in resolving this situation at all, especially in a peaceful way,” Putin told reporters during a media conference in the aftermath of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

This is a party of war and as long as they stay in power, all such tragedies, all this war will go on.

The Kiev authorities are craving war primarily for two reasons – to rip profits from it, and to blame all their own domestic failures on it and actions of some sort of “aggressors.”

“As they say, for one it’s war, for other – it’s mother. That’s reason number one why the Ukrainian government is not interested in a peaceful resolution of the conflict,” Putin stated.

Second, you can always use war to justify your failures in economy, social policy. You can always blame things on an aggressor.

This approach to statecraft by the Ukrainian authorities deeply concerns Russia’s President. “We care about Ukraine because Ukraine is our neighbor,” Putin said.

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have been soaring after the incident in the Kerch Strait. Last weekend three Ukrainian Navy ships tried to break through the strait without seeking the proper permission from Russia. Following a tense stand-off and altercation with Russia’s border guard, the vessels were seized and their crews detained over their violation of the country’s border.

While Kiev branded the incident an act of “aggression” on Moscow’s part, Russia believes the whole Kerch affair to be a deliberate “provocation” which allowed Kiev to declare a so-called “partial” martial law ahead of Ukraine’s presidential election.

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When Putin Met Bin Sally

Another G20 handshake for the history books.



Via Zerohedge

In the annals of handshake photo-ops, we just may have a new winner (much to the delight of oil bulls who are looking at oil treading $50 and contemplating jumping out of the window).

Nothing but sheer joy, delight and friendship…

…but something is missing…

Meanwhile, earlier…

Zoomed in…

And again.

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