Submitted By Andrew Matthews:
In 2011 the Syrian conflict commenced. Influenced and supported by foreign aggressors, a war against the government of President Bashar al-Assad would drag Syria into its darkest period. President Assad, a member of the minority Alawite sect, and devoted protector of religious minorities in his nation–which includes, among others, Christians, Shia Muslims, and Yazidis–had run afoul of the hardline Islamists, or terrorists, in both his nation and abroad. Tragically, these Islamists had been empowered by American and Saudi money, and soon religious, and even ethnic, minorities in Syria found their towns and cities overrun by terrorist groups, such as ISIS, who turned women into sex slaves, tortured and executed thousands of people, even using such means as crucifixion against their victims. Yet, this did not detour the US’s support, both financially and militarily, for the supposed “moderate rebels’” war against the legal government of Syria. In fact, these “moderate rebels” came from all over the world to fight “jihad” against President Assad, and to tear the Syrian nation apart in order to replace it with an Islamic state so extreme that it would make the Taliban blush. According to respected journalist Dan Kovalik, who bases his conclusion in part on a US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document, the US and Israel, and no doubt also Saudi Arabia, desired the establishment of a Salafist Muslim caliphate in eastern Syria, since this would further their political goals in the region.
The Syrian conflict had placed a target on the back of every Christian in the nation. Sadly, even Orthodox Patriarch John Yazigi of Antioch’s own brother, Metropolitan Boulos, would find himself a victim of anti-Assad terrorism. In April 2013, Metropolitan Boulos and Metropolitan Youhanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church, were on their way to Aleppo on a humanitarian mission, when their car was stopped by a group of armed Chechen Islamists. The Christian hierarchs’ driver, Deacon Fatuh, was murdered by the terrorists, while the two metropolitans were kidnapped, not to be heard from again. There can be little doubt that if not for nations like the US, who worked to destabilize Syria through their support of the terrorists, that these Chechens would not have been given the opportunity to commit this heinous crime. Yet, this is, of course, but one example out of the thousands of murders and kidnappings of innocent men, women, and children, that have taken place in Syria because of US foreign policy.
But what does this have to do with Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and the situation in Ukraine? At first glance, these two issues may appear completely unrelated, since Ukraine is geographically and culturally rather removed from that of Syria. However, these two situations are more related to one another than one may at first think.
What has prevented Syria from degenerating into a complete hell on earth, is that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani have chosen to stand up for what is right, and have led their nations to the rescue of the beleaguered Syrian minorities, including the Christians, by taking an unequivocal stance against the terrorists seeking to create a caliphate from the nation. Yet, Washington has continued to oppose both Russian and Iranian support for the legal government of Syria, and, thus, the US has continued to work to undermine both Russia and Iran in Syria, as well as elsewhere in the world, putting Christians and other minorities in greater danger.
In light of these facts, it would seem obvious that Patriarch Bartholomew, himself a Christian hierarch, would stand firm with the suffering believers of Syria, and voice his support for one of their main foreign protectors, Russia. However, he has decided to do the exact opposite. In his desire to become the Orthodox equivalent of the Roman pontiff, he has hedged his bets on the US, and decided to become a tool of American imperialism, despite the horrific results it has had throughout the world, with Syria being but a recent example. As a tool of the US, Bartholomew has sought to undermine the canonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine, simply because it has chosen to remain faithful to its spiritual shepherd, the Patriarch of Moscow. Bartholomew has done this by attempting to replace the Ukrainian Orthodox Church–a church which has spiritually united the Ukrainian and Russian people for centuries–with that of a ‘church’ of schismatic clergy, who are nothing more than a group of well-dressed charlatans, whose goal is to serve themselves politically and financially by bowing, not before the altar of Jesus Christ, but before the altar of American power and anti-Russian bigotry.
Bartholomew’s cozy relationship with US politicians has always been a cause of concern for those of who recognized the tragic results of decades upon decades of US foreign policy. The so-called “Green” Patriarch has even in the past had the likes of former-Vice President Joe Biden, whose son Hunter was given a position on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, and former-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, whose murderous hatred for the Serbian people is well-known, write glowing blurbs in support of vacuous and pandering books related to him. It is clear that the Patriarch and the US have been building their relationship for years, waiting for the moment when they could both scratch that profound itch on one another’s backs. Simply put, the US has found a tool in a man who dreams of being seen as something more than he is, i.e. the Orthodox Pope, and who desires to make the Patriarchate of Constantinople something that it was never intended to be, i.e. the Byzantine Vatican.
What is most unfortunate, however, is that Bartholomew’s delusions of grandeur are now undermining the safety of Christians in Syria. The Patriarch’s demonization of the Russian Orthodox Church, and, by extension, that of the Russian nation as a whole, is further empowering the US and its allies’ rhetoric against Russia’s heroic efforts in Syria, by once again painting Russia as the eternal bogeyman, who is bent on conquering the free world. Giving credence to such rhetoric risks turning an already Russophobic West even more in favour of attacking Russia and its allies at every turn, which in turn risks gaining further public support for attacks, military or otherwise, on the legal government of Syria. Moreover, Bartholomew is also working to weaken Russia by essentially creating his own anti-Russian ‘Orthodox’ church in Ukraine, that will serve the interests of the Ukrainian government, which itself is nothing more than a satellite government of the US. This will create potentially greater military disruptions on the Russian border, drawing Russia’s military and financial resources away from its humanitarian intervention in Syria, where they continue to play an essential role in battling the US backed terrorists, and protecting Christians and other innocents there. If Bartholomew cared even the slightest bit about the Christians who are being persecuted in Syria, he would have put aside his personal ambition, and stood beside Russia in their fight for the survival of Christians and other minorities in Syria, instead of becoming an ally of evil.
Patriarch Bartholomew is but one tool of the US, but any man who is willing to risk the lives of thousands of innocent people in the Middle East by sabotaging one of their essential protectors, not to mention by tearing apart the very church he claims to head, all for the sake of power, is behaving not like a Christian shepherd, but rather like a wolf dressed in the robes of a holy man.
Kovalik, Dan, The Plot to Attack Iran: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Iran. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2018.
 Kovalik, Dan, The Plot to Attack Iran: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Iran, (New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2018), p. 21.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.