By Jove! I Like the Cut of this Zelinsky Fellow’s Jib!

For a comedic actor and non-professional politician, the new President of Ukraine is turning out to be a bright canary when it comes to sensing a dangerous environment full of noxious gasses.  He certainly knows how to avoid walking into a trap:

Truth be told, when you’re dealing with the Phanar, that’s an awfully low bar. Duplicity is Istanbul’s strong suit. But, it’s good when men can act like men and not bobbysoxers enthralled by the newest boy band.

I knew something was up yesterday when the official photograph of President Zelinsky and Patriarch Bartholomew was taken. One man was smiling, the other wasn’t. We couldn’t know the context of the meeting but thanks to, we do now:  It seems the State Department organized the trip to solidify their relationship.   To stave off any controversy or embarrassment, a prosaic, rather platitudinous letter regarding ecology was crafted for both men to sign. Originally, it had nothing to do with religion, politics or anything of any substance, but at the last moment, someone on Patriarch Bartholomew’s staff inserted some hasty stipulations concerning the newly created autocephalous church.  These last-minute emendations undermined the intent of the original bland verbiage of the letter just enough to cause trouble down the road. Hint: They had nothing whatsoever to do with ecology.  Zelinsky (or somebody on his staff) spotted it at the last minute and the plucky little President didn’t sign.

This, of course, was a clear slap in the face to Patriarch Bartholomew. I would be willing to bet the farm that this is the real reason that he looked so glum.  I imagine the Phanar’s handlers in the State Department were none-too-happy, either; Zelinsky has shown he’s his own man and can’t be pushed into doing things he doesn’t want to do.  He’s on to their meddling now and that’s a good thing.

What a difference an election makes! Especially a wipeout the likes of which landed Zelinsky in office back in March. Seriously, Poroshenko was spanked like a red-headed bastard stepchild. My guess is that the extreme Russophobia that animates many in the western reaches of Ukraine is not as widespread as the “muh democracy” gaggle of neocons would have us believe. (I’m looking at you, Max Boot!) I would also venture to guess that the majority of the Ukrainian people would rather see better relations with Russia than having a church full of schismatic nationalists going full-on brown-shirt on them.   After all, we can see for ourselves that the authentic Ukrainian Orthodox Church has undergone quite a revival in recent months.  Lest it be forgotten, Metropolitan Onuphriy, the real Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine, continues to sit on the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. And always has.

It appears that once again, the misbegotten plans of former President Poroshenko and Patriarch Bartholomew have come to naught if you ask me. (“Suffering succotash!” as Sylvester invariably would say.)

Now, if only we can make sure that something like this doesn’t happen here in the States, we’ll all sleep better. (And yes, you all know what I’m talking about.)


  1. Very good post, George!

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thank you, Ioanni.

      • First in  list or last( and Christ said better to be last!!!) The OCA had better start ACTING AND BEHAVING as autocephalous Orthodox Church.  Еppi should have bought the bottle of wine and chocs and visited Tikhon for a free lunch, but we know this would never happen..  But the mistake of Tikhon is to think that by visiting Eppi he will move things forward.  Wrong.  All it has done is for their autocephaly to be not quite as autocephalous as the next one. 
        I am sure sure the plan is to give OCA autocephaly from Phanar and either wait a bit or then have OCA with money bribes etc to become an exarchate or what ever it’s called, within GOA USA.    The one thing Phanar will never do is let go of cash cow, even with it’s new Ukrainian cow,  cos Ukrainian one  far less financial security. 
        You know it is amazing but all these goings on are so similar to the 16/17c rivalry between Moscovy and powerful  Poland and the pressure for Unia with Rome. 

  2. “a comedic actor and non-professional politician, the new President of Ukraine”
    Two things to remember:

    There is no such thing as a  professional politician. Politicians, at least in a republic, do not finish academy with a degree, like physicians have to do. They are picked or rather pick themselves from the strangest backgrounds. To say that some politician is a non-professional is to say that he actually accomplished something. Like Ron Paul was an obstetrician or Elizabeth Warren a first grade professor.
     Mr Zelensky was a very successful POLITICAL satirist. I dare to say that to be one, you need to have quite good a grasp of politics and have a quick wit.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Martin, I’ll take your criticism. And thank you for it. As a rule, I try to be careful about words and my spider sense should have tingled when I typed the words professional and politician, because, as you say, there is no school curriculum for politics and credentialing program.

      Still, like Kleenex, Aspirin and Q-Tips, which are all registered brand names, these words are now used generically. (In the South, we use Coke as a generic name for all sodas.)

  3. Oooh, Spidey senses! Love the original Spiderman trilogy. Betrayal, jealousy, vengeance, hate, power, humility, forgiveness, redemption, love, it’s got it all. 
    Sorry for going off topic…
    Or did I?

    • George C Michalopulos says

      Not at all! I did as well. I have no idea why they felt like they had to reboot it.

  4. Joseph Lipper says

    Perhaps the new Ukrainian president will finally put the topic of “church seizures” to rest.  That would be a good thing.  When the Moscow Patriarchate is no longer under a perceived threat of property loss, then it becomes more difficult to justify Moscow’s schism.  I’m not talking about recognizing Ukrainian autocephaly, but rather just restoring communion and making peace.  As many have noted, the Moscow Patriarchate hasn’t actually lost that many parishes.  It’s time to move on.

    • I would agree Joseph, but I would add there have been grave crimes committed against the parishioners of the UOC that were the victims of church seizures, as Metropolitan Isaiah of Tamasso and Orinia notes.

    • Joseph Lipper: “it becomes more difficult to justify Moscow’s schism”
      Excuse me! It is the Phanar that went into schism by joining with the anathematized schismatics. It has to repent in order to return.

      • Well said as well Martin

      • Like the GOP here who berates me because I point out the Catholic dogma ecclesiology of Phanar etc. If they acted in  an Orthodox way I would not need to be so sharp! Blame the news not the messenger. 

  5. Just today five new metropolitans and four new archbishops were ordained to meet the immensly increased need of the canonical UOC that has sprouted from its revival in the past few months.
    The ordinations and the anniversary celebrations of Metropolitan Onufry’s ordination were also attended by several representatives of the OCA. Just something I thought I should add.

    • Estonian Slovak says

      Either translate correctly or don’t translate at all. The Russian text reads that five archbishops were elevated to metropolitans and four bishops to archbishops.

      • Estonian Slovak says

        To add: there is no higher ordination than bishop. The titles Patriarch, Metropolitan, and Archbishop are just honorary titles bestowed on some bishops.

        • I am terribly sorry friend, I would delete the post if I could. This error is mine and mine alone. It’s my fault for reading that article incorrectly.
          Once again, my fault, sorry.
          But the fact remains that the canonical UOC has had a great revival in the past few months, with the persecution serving as a “fire under the belly” for many previously apathetic paritioners.

          • Estonian Slovak says

            The only reason I bring this up is for the sake of accuracy. There are some out there like San Fillipo et al, who are trying to sink this site and traditional Orthodoxy in general. They have an agenda and we should not put ammunition into their hands.
                  I quite agree about the Ukrainian Autonomous church headed by Metropolitan Onufry as being the Canonical church. 

  6. It looks as though the outspoken critic of Patriarch Bartholomew, Metropolitan Ambrose of Kalavryta has resigned. Any thoughts on why? 

  7. Zel Cobrinin says

    Romanians and Ukranians distrust Russia
    because they believe Chernobyl
    was a deliberate nuclear planning drill.
    Go to any OCA coffee hour and you will learn this.

    • Zel, the Chernobyl thing was in Communist Russia, nowadays?
      There is no connection, or is there?

      • Zel Cobrinin says

        They don’t see communists, they see Russians!

        • Estonian Slovak says

          Were it not for Russia, in Romania, they would be speaking Hungarian at best, or Turkish at worst. Anyone familiar with the history of that region will confirm this.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            And, after all, speaking Hungarian is a challenge, as is generally recognized. Yet, the kids there seem to pick it up easily enough….

          • George Michalopulos says

            ES, I believe Vlad Tsepes, the Prince of Wallachia had something to do with the Romanians not speaking Turkish as well! 🙂