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Efforts to split the Orthodox Church intended to isolate Russia

The big news in geopolitics in Ukraine and Russia the last several weeks has been about the status of a church more than about the fighting in Donbass or the assassination of the leader of the Donetsk Republic. However, the uncanonical (this is synonymous with “illegal” in matters concerning the Eastern Orthodox Church) efforts by Ukraine’s so-called “Kyiv Patriarchate” to leapfrog from schismatic status to the official national Church of Ukraine have been assisted by – you guessed it – the United States.

And it is working.

Poster showing schismatic church leader to visit Cleveland, Ohio, USA

The self-proclaimed leader of this schismatic Church, Filaret Denisenko, known by many as “Patriarch Filaret” is making an American tour. This is of course being billed as a “Patriarchal visit to the United States” and for many well-meaning people it will certainly be that way.

However it is a farce. The Kyiv Patriarchate is not accepted as a legitimate Orthodox Jurisdiction by any of the fifteen canonical local Orthodox Churches. It is actually amazing that the Patriarch of Constantinople is even giving this matter the time of day, but for the understanding that this man, Patriarch Bartholomew, is alternately having dreams of papal grandeur (well, he was educated in Rome) and apparently, support from American people, probably with the promise of money.

Maybe he should ask the people of Ukraine how well that promise worked out before taking the bait.

So, why is this important? This is just a religious issue, isn’t it?

Actually, probably not. One of the often discussed, but poorly documented conspiracies regarding Russia from the Soviet times is called the “Dulles Plan.”

Given the present state of American denial of Christianity as much more than an out-of-date set of nice ideas and traditions, the American people generally would have a difficult time understanding that a major component of the society of Russia and the adjoining countries to it like Poland, Ukraine, the Czech lands, Bulgaria, Serbia, Georgia and so on is a very strong relationship with Eastern Orthodox Christianity. These countries all have very dedicated Orthodox populations, even in lands like Poland, where there is a great deal of persecution by Roman Catholics and others.

The biggest Church in all of Orthodoxy is that of Russia, with the Patriarch of Moscow leading this group of Christians. For the last thousand years since the breakaway of Rome from this very ancient communion, the Orthodox Church has held together as a confederation of local national jurisdictions, sometimes differing in language and cultural traditions, but adhering, letter-perfect, to the faith as it was taught by Christ and his Apostles.

This adherence is remarkably strong and the aforementioned Dulles Plan, coined for the name of its creator, Allen Dulles, lays out a strategy for defeating Russia – not just Communist Russia, but Russia after the fall of Communism – by attacking the resurgent Russian Orthodox Church.

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One of the reactions of the local churches was a round condemnation of Patriarch Bartholomew’s actions and a voicing of unity with the Moscow Patriarchate. But most of the Churches that voiced this are those communities that are physically close to Russia. While the oldest Church in the world – the Antiochian Orthodox Church – also voiced her support, the implication has come to the open talk of Russia breaking communion with Constantinople if the Ukrainian schismatics are legitimized. 

A possible blowback for this is actually to further isolate Russia, which has been getting this treatment on the geopolitical end ever since President Vladimir Putin put the 2013 Valdai speech about the collapse of Western morality into action. Once the Western media and politicians saw that President Putin meant to be serious about this the isolation of Russia began in greater and greater force to the point where it is today.

This does not mean that the breaking of communion should not happen if Constantinople continues its wayward course. In fact, to preserve the Church it is probably necessary, though tragic. But this will also result in a new order in the Orthodox Church, with the Patriarch of Moscow becoming the most likely “first among equals” due to the size and power of the Russian Church.

This will have the effect of drawing much more virulent attacks against Moscow from the West. While a possible way around that is to grant primacy to one of the remaining ancient sees, like Jerusalem, Antioch or Alexandria, Moscow nevertheless is very likely to be given the leadership role.

Many people dispute the reality of the Dulles plan. But even if it were not real, what is taking place now would certainly fit the goals that are attributed to it.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.

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Robert Michael Szallavary Sullivan
Robert Michael Szallavary Sullivan
September 18, 2018

One has to ask the question, why the Roman Catholic Pope in Rome, the leader of 1.2B Roman Catholics worldwide, has not immediately and publicly went on record, and issued a strong formal condemnation of Ukraine–in conjunction with the West–using religion as a political tool, to inflict social damage on the Russian Federation, and its people? Is the Pope an independent religious leader, or he is another spineless stooge of the West? Roman Catholics sitting idly by, as this action plays out might want to consider how they would react, if a foreign nation(s) contrived to instigate a similar schism… Read more »

Jorge Bizarro
Jorge Bizarro
Reply to  Robert Michael Szallavary Sullivan
September 19, 2018

Good question… pretty easy and obvious answer: the Churches concerned by this article are not anymore under Roman Bishop authority, so the Pope is simply avoiding meddling in someone else’s flocks. A wise thing to do, especially because these ‘Byzantine’ issues historically have been like a poked wasps nest that gets everybody stung for no obvious reason. The Latin Church has learnt the lesson.

Dr. Valeria Nollan
Dr. Valeria Nollan
September 19, 2018

This is canonically an illegal step, and all Orthodox Christians who are faithful to Sacred Tradition going back at least as far as 325 CE will recognize its illegality.

John Nolan
John Nolan
Reply to  Dr. Valeria Nollan
September 19, 2018

When will citizens realize that the Russian orthodox church, as the Greek orthodox, are nothing more than branches of the ‘not so great’ whore, her daughters, who are subservient to mumma Fatican’s will. According to the Bible, on which Christianity is founded, there is only one Church, the Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of this Church, not man. Christianity is not a religion, religions are control techniques, used by questionable people, built on foundations of shifting sands, where men can pervert or change the Word of God, contrary to Scripture, Rev.22:18-19, to manipulate the generally Scriptural ignorant masses. There… Read more »

Rev. Michael Shanbour
Rev. Michael Shanbour
Reply to  John Nolan
September 19, 2018

Dear John, what is terribly ironic about your comments is that everything you said is agreed with by the Orthodox Church: 1. There is only one Church (and the Orthodox Church has been that Church from 33AD); 2. Christianity is NOT a religion, it is the Life that flows from God, the Holy Trinity, Himself, through the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit; 3. the Orthodox Church is not founded on Peter but on Peter’s CONFESSION of Jesus as the Son of the Living God; 4. Jesus Christ is the only Head… Read more »

Clem Kadidlehopper
Clem Kadidlehopper
September 19, 2018

Trump studied at a Jesuit University, Pompeo is Jesuit trained, Brennan and his cohorts almost to a man are Jesuit University graduates. Suppose the Catholic hierarchy might have something to do with this.
In fact US Intelligence is almost 100% Jesuit controlled.
Wonder why that doesn’t strike anyone peculiar.

Jorge Bizarro
Jorge Bizarro
September 19, 2018

This is why Christ properly designated a Head (and ONLY ONE) for His Church: Peter!
Without a supreme Authority, bad or good, the Church is but doomed.

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