End the Silence Over the Persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

We Demand an End to the Silence Over the Persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

To the Holy Hierarchs of the Orthodox Church Serving in the United States, all other Orthodox Christians, faithful Roman Catholics, concerned Protestants, and those who support Freedom of Christian Worship:

The war plaguing the Ukraine at this time is the business of politicians and generals. It is a symptom of our fallen world, and a great tragedy for humanity. It is the responsibility of the Orthodox Church to minister lovingly to all those afflicted in this terrible struggle on both sides. It is equally the business of the Orthodox Church, particularly in the United States and the West, to speak out in opposition to the ongoing persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The Ukrainian Government, which is wholly dependent on American (over 100 billion dollars) and Western support for its very survival, has engaged in a campaign of terror against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed by His Eminence Metropolitan Onuphry (who recently appealed to the UN and world community in desperation for help). This evil campaign has been endorsed by the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, which stands to be the primary beneficiary of the repression of the canonical Orthodox Church.

Our Orthodox hierarchs have been largely silent in the face of Christian persecution which we, as unfortunate tax payers of NATO nations, are actually funding. As Saint Gregory Palamas reminds us, the silence of the clergy is atheism. We demand an end to this silence.

Below is the text of the petition, signed by hundreds of concerned Christians and still growing, demanding that the Orthodox Christian hierarchy, the Roman Catholic hierarchy, human rights organizations, global institutions, Western politicians, and others speak up and demand a restoration of the freedom of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. If you are an official organization or government official, please email us to get a full list of signatures.

To sign the petition, click hereTo see the list of signatures, please click here, or scroll down. To view organizations who have received the petition so far, click here, or scroll down.



  1. Amen.

    Met. Tikhon (OCA) has expressed his support his support for Met. Onuphry and of course ROCOR has. But, as a whole the collective bishops have been silent regarding the situation with the UOC and Met. Onuphry.

    The meeting of the AOB would have been a perfect time to express their support, especially given that Elpidophoros was there and given his off-handed comments about the lack of recognition of the OCU and the status of the UOC.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Again, it could get them killed. The OCU has to believe they’re in control and have the hearts of the American people.

  2. Deacon John says


  3. Joseph Lipper says

    The purpose of autocephaly is really to protect a church from the forces of nationalism. For example, we do not hear about any Ukrainian nationalists persecuting the OCU, whose autocephalous status is clearly defined. Yes, the OCU is comprised of Ukrainian nationalists, and they are thus protected by other Ukrainian nationalists. The same goes for any Orthodox country. It was Greek nationalism that overthrew the Ottoman yoke, and it was Russian nationalism that overthrew the Mongol Horde. Later, it was Russian nationalism that self-claimed its ecclesial autocephaly in 1448.

    Unfortunately, it appears there is still some ambiguity about the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s independence under Metropolitan Onuphry though. Is he still part of the Russian Church, or is he autocephalous? Metropolitan Onuphry says there is no longer any connection with Moscow, and I certainly believe him, but he hasn’t clearly defined the UOC as autocephalous either. Patriarch Kirill still considers the UOC to part of the Moscow Patriarchate. So which is it? It seems the Ukrainian nationalists are trying to force an answer to that question.

    The Moscow Patriarchate has granted autocephaly to four churches: the Church of Georgia, the Church of Poland, the Church of Czechoslovakia, and the Orthodox Church in America. So why doesn’t Moscow grant autocephaly to Ukraine? Well, it seems too late. If Metropolitan Onuphry were even to ask Patriarch Kirill for autocephaly now, then that will only prove that the UOC is still technically part of the Moscow Patriarchate.

    In contrast to Orthodox Christianity, the Roman Papacy has no mechanism by which to grant an autocephaly to other churches. The Roman Catholic model only has one autocephaly, the Pope, and that Papacy will always be associated with nationalistic military crusades and conquistadors.

    In an attempt to defend Roman Catholicism from it’s association with nationalism, the Vatican was declared a neutral and sovereign state in 1929. Everyone knows the close relationship between Europe and the Vatican though. Its purported neutrality seems more of a facade.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      RE: “. . . it appears there is still some ambiguity about the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s independence under Metropolitan Onuphry though. Is he still part of the Russian Church, or is he autocephalous? Metropolitan Onuphry says there is no longer any connection with Moscow, and I certainly believe him, but he hasn’t clearly defined the UOC as autocephalous either.”

      He’s a POW. A prisoner-of-war, as I’ve said before. The UOC is surrounded by people who hate the Church because they aren’t in it. Until Met. Onufry and his flock don’t have to worry about being killed or locked up in jail because they’re practicing a now illegal form of worship, nothing is going to be clear.

      When Moscow finally takes over Ukraine, which should be in days, you may see autocephaly given to the UOC. Right now it would be a death sentence.

      Make no mistake, Joseph, the EP did nothing for anyone accept make a bad situation worse. He thinks he is keeper of the keys, but he is fact fast becoming a non-entity. He won’t meet with anyone because he doesn’t want the frank criticism so he’s playing the “I am the Eastern Pope” game in is head while others are shaking theirs in disgust.

      The EP he has lost the hearts of the Orthodox people. He has become an embarrassment to the Greek people. Soon, the Greeks will have no use for him, too, based on so many reasons. They’ve started petitions. He has effectively locked himself in the basement like a crazy uncle. Aside for the one or two who are beholden to him, because has dirt on them or gives them money, he’s in exile.

      • He won’t meet with anyone because he doesn’t want the frank criticism so he’s playing the “I am the Eastern Pope” game in is head while others are shaking theirs in disgust.

        The EP he has lost the hearts of the Orthodox people. He has become an embarrassment to the Greek people. Soon, the Greeks will have no use for him, too, based on so many reasons. They’ve started petitions. He has effectively locked himself in the basement like a crazy uncle. Aside for the one or two who are beholden to him, because has dirt on them or gives them money, he’s in exile.

        Could not have said it better Gail, amen.

    • The purpose of autocephaly is really to protect a church from the forces of nationalism.

      And how well exactly has that worked with in Ukraine with the UOC?

      we do not hear about any Ukrainian nationalists persecuting the OCU

      Exactly, you don’t hear about the UOC persecuting the OCU. Only the other way around.

      Yes, the OCU is comprised of Ukrainian nationalists

      Don’t forget about Nazis.

      The same goes for any Orthodox country. It was Greek nationalism that overthrew the Ottoman yoke, and it was Russian nationalism that overthrew the Mongol Horde. Later, it was Russian nationalism that self-claimed its ecclesial autocephaly in 1448.

      This is a huge false equivalence and I’m sure you know it. Neither the Greeks or Russians were fighting, persecuting, beating and killing OTHER Orthodox Greeks or Russians.

    • The current, suddenly-independent situation of the Ukrainian Church is actually similar in a number of ways (though different in other key ones) from how the Russian Church itself originally became independent from Constantinople. The Russian Church had been under Constantinople, its historical mother church, into the mid-15th century—just as Ukraine was under the Russian Church until just recently. Russia was forced to install its own primate in 1448 without reference to Constantinople because of the military situation breaking contact between the two centers (which is analogous to the present situation in Ukraine), and also because of Constantinople entering into Unia under Rome (which Russia is obviously not doing now). I don’t know if or when Russia formally claimed to be an autocephalous church during that transition period—maybe someone else here knows that information?

      After the Russian Church first took the initiative to select her own primate, it took just 5 more years for communion to be restored between Russia and the mother church of Constantinople—after the Turks had effectively purged Constantinople of Uniatism! But it was more than a century later that Constantinople formally acknowledged its former daughter church as autocephalous.

      Right now, we are living through one of the most chaotic times in the history of the Orthodox Church, at least at the level of Local Churches and their interrelations. So as long as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church remains in communion with most of the world’s Orthodox Churches (which they are), I don’t think we need to worry too much about autocephaly being formally defined and acknowledged—or at least not for a century or two!

      • At those critical junctures where a daughter church finds it necessary to seek autocephaly, it makes a great difference when that daughter church has a Saint at the helm to navigate those troubled waters! The Russian Church was privileged to have such a man in St. Jonah, Metropolitan of Kiev (later “of Moscow”) and All Rus’ 1448-1461, who changed his own title to Metropolitan of Moscow to acknowledge the new geographical reality. (Chillingly, during St. Jonah’s reign, the Uniate Patriarch of Constantinople appointed another “Metropolitan of Kiev” as a rival to Met. Jonah!)

        From this layman’s limited perspective, today’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church just might have that same priceless gift in Metropolitan Onuphry.

    • “Unfortunately, it appears there is still some ambiguity about the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s independence under Metropolitan Onuphry though. Is he still part of the Russian Church, or is he autocephalous?”

      Under what scenario does this question have anything to do with the persecution of any Christian under any circumstance.

      What, exactly, is your point, Joseph?

    • Alexander II says


      To quote the ever controversial Howard Cosell, “It’s over. It’s over. It’s all over .”

      Your guy in Istanbul is playing out a losing hand that he dealt to himself.

      The sad and tragic thing is that in doing so he will have the blood of thousands staining his sick, compromised, demented, egotistic and dirty hands. He’s managed to create Orthodox saints all right, by creating martyrs for the Faith. He himself will be added to the inglorious list of heretics who have occupied that “Throne” that he so covets. That’s one way to make history.

      The CANONICAL Ukrainian Church did not ask for autocephaly. How come that always escapes the polemics of his apologists? Never do they – or you – acknowledge that simple and fundamental fact.

      As to Istanbul, and its relationship to the Orthodox Church from which it has purposefully separated, all that is left are empty, pitiful words and the final scenes of grand kabuki theater. His paper shuffles have failed and will continue to fail.

      He’s a joke, the bishops of the “Throne” are a sad joke, and his “American” archdiocese an ATM with little left in the till.

      2025 or bust.

  4. Ronda Wintheiser says

    I was hoping you would post this! Thanks!

  5. Excellent! Signed, shared and tweeted.

  6. https://worldwarnow.substack.com/p/wwn-ep-18-turkish-earthquakeelections#details

    Really good analysis by World War Now (Konrad Franz) from an Orthodox POV on the current situation Turkey. They’re speaking with David Erhan who is Orthodox Christian and ethnically Turkish.

  7. Joseph Lipper says

    A petition in Ukraine against the ban of the UOC is desperately trying to get the minimum 25,000 signatures in order bring that petition before the Ukrainian congress:


    That online petition has been up for over a month now, since January 13th.

    As of this posting, it has been able to get about 20,400 signatures, so still a few thousand shy of the minimum needed:


    By contrast, the petition to ban the UOC in Ukraine took just a few days to get the minimum 25,000 signatures:


    • Gail Sheppard says

      Clearly banning the Orthodox Church excites you.

      But who in Ukraine is going to sign their name to a petition on behalf of the UOC when the Gestapo will be at the door to slit their throats?

    • Ah yes, Joseph…the Ukrainian constitution be damned, along with all those cherished ‘Western values.’

      While we’re at it, why don’t we outlaw the Antiochians for being under Syria? Surely it would be easy to collect the signatures. Or the Serbians. Or ROCOR.

      Constitution? What constitution? We are in the age of the man of lawlessness.

      Heck, the Turks may soon be on the the Western sh*t list. Why allow a Turkish EP? Or a Turkish GOA heirarch?

      The most recent word from your man in Istanbul was not a call for peace as one would expect of a world religious leader; it was an expression of hope for, and confidence in, a decisive Ukrainian victory…in war. So much for all his sanctimonious moralizing.


    • …and how wonderfully ‘democratic’ it is that they have to petition their own government in order to enjoy the protections of religious freedom supposedly guaranteed to all Ukrainians by the Ukrainian constitution.

      Way to go, Pat. Bartholomew. Way to go! You have single-handedly managed to turn a political conflict into a violent religious conflict while those you claim as your children suffer…on all sides. Does it please you to see ‘your children’ persecuting ‘your children?’

  8. The USA bishops ‘silence’ is an act of omission. Guaranteed, they will not speak up. Stop the flocks from tithing.

    Then the bishops will wake up quickly. But who will organize the flock of every church in the USA?

    • One of the saddest aspects of this whole tragedy is how the Ukrainian blood feud has been exacerbated by outside forces. The Uniates have enmity because of the Soviet Liquidation and the MP’s complicity in those events. The people that are part of the OCU have enmity because of the wounds of the Soviet period (and their attendant hatreds), whether they are descended from Uniates or they had a relative who was “turned in” by their parish priest. The UOC have enmity because the people in Eastern Ukraine are culturally Russian, and don’t want anything to do with the “Westernizers” in the west who gained a voice after the fall of the Soviet Union. ALL of these people needed healing, and they needed to be heard. Nobody was interested in listening or healing, but instead it became about settling scores. The Uniates wanted their Churches back which the MP stole, the MP wanted to keep those Churches, as they see “uniatism” as a cancer. The OCU people wanted an independent Church and wanted to throw off Russification. The UOC people saw this anti-Russification push as an existential threat to them. Co-existence and dialogue was never on the table at the leadership level, and that is the stark and ugly reality since 1991.

      I think this war was inevitable, because it was egged on by too many people for too long. It still saddens me, that nobody is talking about the above, but instead is speaking in terms of factionalism. MP VS EP. Never mind that there are a lot of good people who commemorate both Patriarchs who are thrown under the bus in these “discussions” (emphasis on the quotations). There are MP clergy who deplore Patriarch Kyrill’s support of the war, and there are EP clergy who strongly disagree with Patriarch Bartholomew’s actions. That doesn’t mean those MP clergy should schism and “join” the EP, or vice versa. Both Patriarchates have engaged in this behavior (the MP in Africa and elsewhere, the EP in the former Soviet Bloc), which is in itself sectarian and deplorable. This myopic factionalism is fueled by the politics of the moment. Russia is to be supported and believed because they happen to share your politics (or vice versa)? It is madness, and yet all too prevalent.

      As to the petitions, in theory, it is a good thing. But does it do more than just signal what “team” you are on?

      As for myself, I pray for Metropolitan Onuphry and Metropolitan Epiphany, that the enmity will be healed, which is not easy considering the cyclical anti-Russian/pro-Russian death dance that has gone on since the middle ages. Sometimes hatred reaches the point where it has to burn itself out.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        RE: ” MP VS EP.”

        Throw in the Vatican and you’ve got yourself a deal!

        Don’t mean to be flippant, and of course I agree with you, but the Vatican also entered into the mix when it incorporated the Ukrainian Orthodox into the Catholic Church. Bartholomew wanted to take this over, too, using the same old, tired playbook: “I’ll say their mine and everyone will get over it and go along because, well, I’m the EP.”

        However, it is my understanding that Epiphany pre-empted him and approached them directly to bring them under him.

        How can you take in churches with an allegiance to the Pope?

        I have this weird feeling that Bartholomew’s new-found son, Epiphany, is going to run right over him and create some highbred of the Church (or try to) directly under him (and only him), assuming there is even going to be a Ukraine in a week or two.

        Of course, others see things differently. The head of the UGCC, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, has taken to rewriting Ukraine’s history by claiming it’s the Catholic Church that has always sought to unite the nation, even though it was “united” under the Orthodox Church when the Catholic Church got there, from what I’ve been told. I have also been told Russia never really got over it and viewed it as poaching. If I’m wrong, I’m open to being corrected.

        See the “Unia 2.0: The UGCC and OCU are on a direct way to “new unity” https://spzh.news/en/zashhita-very/71817-unia-20-the-ugcc-and-ocu-are-on-a-direct-way-to-new-unity

        • The UGCC has just recently announced that it will be switching to the new calendar, I assume the OCU will soon follow.

          Honestly, if the OCU wants to join the Uniates so bad I say ciao, arrivederci, sayonara.

          If the RCC wants them, they can have all the baggage, questionable ordinations and Nazism that comes with them.

          Bartholomew can do whatever he wants. The fact that the overwhelming majority of the Orthodox Church has not joined him in his journey to join Catholicism shows that his plans have already failed. Even if he does go to Rome, so what, some Greek hierarchs are going to join him but it’s not even going to be the majority of the Churches of Greece, Cyprus and Alexandria that go along.

      • Joseph Lipper says


        Thanks for your post. There is a recent and excellent interview with ecclesial historian Dr. Serhii Shumylo, who is a member of the UOC and who has worked closely with Metropolitan Onuphry. He brings up this need for dialogue in Ukraine, and he also seems to have an inside track on what’s going on in ecclesiastical circles there:


        He points out the diversity in the UOC among it’s 10,000 priests, identifying three different “currents”: the pro-Ukrainian priests, the pro-Moscow priests, and those that are neither pro-Ukraine nor pro-Moscow, but rather are simply pro-Onuphry. These three currents themselves threaten to split the UOC apart, and Metropolitan Onuphry has the difficult task of trying to keep them all together. Perhaps this best explains the present ambiguity of the UOC’s ecclesial status in regards to Russia.

        Dr. Shumylo’s main thrust in his interview is the need for dialogue among all parties in Ukraine:

        “Unfortunately, in the UOC and in the OCU, there are forces everywhere that marginalize their Churches and, guided only by their own jurisdictional-corporate interests, strive to maintain confrontation and division. But in the same way, there are healthy forces there as well. Despite everything, between these healthy forces of both Churches there must be dialogue, fellowship and honest discussion of problems that divide or unite. Definitely, there is more that unites than divides.

        “Those who do not strive for dialogue and reconciliation are not Christians, but only accuse the opposite side. Unfortunately, there are many such non-Christians who pretend to be ‘Orthodox’ in both Churches, in particular among the episcopate and clergy. However, if you wish, you can always find someone to talk to. It is necessary to learn how to talk, shake hands, look into each other’s eyes, speak honestly about what unites and what separates… Even without moving from one jurisdiction to another, one can look for common ground that unites us.

        “And we are united by our common spiritual and historical heritage. At least through independent platforms of round tables and scientific conferences, it is necessary to start sitting at the same table together, it is necessary to communicate, discuss, look into each other’s eyes, cooperate, looking for something that can unite and reconcile us, and not vice versa, then that separates us and gives rise to distrust and hatred for each other. This is the format that could gradually melt the ice in the hearts of the clergy and believers of both Churches in relation to each other, becoming the foundation for the future unity of Orthodox Ukrainians.”

      • Re:

        “At least through independent platforms of round tables and scientific conferences, it is necessary to start sitting at the same table together, it is necessary to communicate, discuss, look into each other’s eyes, cooperate, looking for something that can unite and reconcile us, and not vice versa, then that separates us and gives rise to distrust and hatred for each other. This is the format that could gradually melt the ice in the hearts of the clergy and believers of both Churches in relation to each other, becoming the foundation for the future unity of Orthodox Ukrainians.”

        Although the entirety of this speech is far more biased against the MP than this excerpt Joseph provided, I happen to agree with what is quoted here in this my comment.

        However, the gnawing question remains: why has Bartholomew steadfastly avoided every forum (for example, the meetings in Jerusalem and in Moscow) wherein this frank, face-to-face dialogue might occur?

        • Because he’s the Eastern Pope and has unilaterally decided that Councils, where the bishops “look into each other’s eyes, cooperate, and look for something that can unite and reconcile them” is unimportant. He is now making all decisions and as he has said for decades, he speaks for the entire Orthodox Church.

          NO ONE CORRECTED HIM. Shame on our bishops for not addressing this sooner.

  9. Gail,

    The Vatican WAS in the mix. Rome these days views the Ukrainian Catholics as a thorn, and they have long been “the red-headed stepchild” of the Catholic Church. Given what is currently happening in Rome, the more likely scenario is that the Uniates rejoin Orthodoxy by merging with the OCU. The Vatican was rather mealy-mouthed when this whole thing started, and when it comes down to it, they will choose the “diplomatic option” (see China). Do you think the fireeaters in the UGCC are going to accept that? I don’t.

    The opportunistic anti-Catholic baiting that the MP employs in Ukraine (as a lever of control) has always been disgusting (and one of the bullet points on their “Why we hate Russia” list). The MP sends Metropolitan Hilarion to cozy up in Rome, making ecumenical gestures, but the MP in Ukraine spits fire about Vatican “machinations.” Like our Middle Eastern “friends.” They say one thing in English, and something else in Arabic. The duplicity was and is nauseating. It isn’t just the Ecumenical Patriarchate that plays “political games.” This sort of ugliness is excused, because there is this belief that Russia is “the ark of salvation” in our current world. Russian Messianism is just as offputting as the American version, why give it oxygen? I am genuinely mystified by this “Holy Russia” stuff that has taken hold. Anti-EP folks say they want to get over Byzantium, but then they are in a hurry to crown a Czar and re-establish the Russian Empire. The fantasy of resurrecting dead empires is not a positive trait. It is strange to me.

    Ukraine will not cease to exist. Even if Russia wins on the ground, it will be Northern Ireland and Gaza X 100. Existential Nationalism, once awakened, is a terrible thing, burning with a hatred that could fuel the furnace of Hell of a thousand years. Is Russia ready for that? I don’t think they are. Given the MP’s continued tone-deaf “helping” of the UOC, I am beginning to wonder if Russians understand the Ukrainian POV at all.

    Patriarch Bartholomew is not going to Rome. That is the fantasy of those who view the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a problem and want an easy way to get rid of him and his position in the Church. 2025 will be the mother of all WCC photo-ops, nothing more. Julian and Gregorian Easter coincide that year, so it will be a Prayer Breakfast for the Ages, complete with a commemorative coin and maybe a website!

    The hard work of dialogue has to take place. HAH isn’t going away. The OCU isn’t going to suddenly realize they are wrong and “come back” to Moscow. Ukrainians aren’t going to welcome Russian bombs in order to “save” them.

    Utter madness.

    • The OCU isn’t going to suddenly realize they are wrong and “come back” to Moscow.

      No one expects the OCU to go back to Moscow, at least not any time in the next century. BUT what many Churches have asked for is for the canonically irregular situation the OCU is in to be figured out by Orthodox consensus. And no, Bartholomew swiping his pen on paper does not magically give the OCU valid Holy Orders.


      The Church of Georgia has just recognized the autocephaly of the Macedonian Church. The Georgians are the 3rd Church in a week to recognize their autocephaly (the Church of Romania & Czech Lands are the other two). In a very short time since the Macedonians were regularized they have been accepted by numerous other Churches. You know why? Because the situation was handled canonically.

      We are several years on from Bartholomew’s creation of the OCU and who has recognized them? Greece, Cyprus & Alexandria. Not only that, it was the heads of those Churches (who are all ethnically Greek) who chose to support Bartholomew and the “Greek ethnos.” Not even everyone in those Churches supports the decision.

      The only thing other Churches have said about the OCU is that their situation needs to be figured out for the good of the Church and they have called on Bartholomew to convene a council to do this. Why has he not done it as the leader of the Ecumenical Throne and “All Orthodoxy”? Because he knows he will not be on the winning side, that’s why the only thing he did was try to call a council of the “ancient patriarchates” who are all ethnically Greek, minus Antioch.

      Bartholomew will go to Rome in 2025 come Hell (literally) or high water. Will it be overt like we expect? Probably not, he is cunning so it will be more covert.

      If what you say about the UGCC coming back to Orthodoxy then thanks be to God, because their ordinations are at least less shady than the OCU.

  10. Petros,

    You say that “no one” expects the OCU to do that, but that is exactly what Moscow expects. “Repent, and then we’ll talk” is their position. Moscow will never allow Kiev to be independent. Kiev is “the mother of all Russian cities,” and is integral to their identity, indeed their very souls. Kiev is to them what Kosovo is to Serbs and Asia Minor is to Greeks (which is why the EP will never leave willingly). This is why the MP refused to allow the Ukrainian question to be on the table for a discussion, and why Metropolitan Hilarion talked about Russia-Belarus-Ukraine being “One Spiritual Space.” It was a clear message that these countries constitute one united jurisdiction, and that is non-negotiable for them. As far as the MP is concerned, there is nothing to discuss. “Holy Rus” is one. It was a message not just to the EP, but to all the other autocephalous churches to “mind your own business.” Moscow will not submit this to a pan-Orthodox decision any more than Constantinople will allow a discussion of its “privileges.” For them it is existential.

    Holy Orders are not magic. If the MP wanted to do the canonical thing, they should have drawn the line in the 90s when the UOC-USA was a question. Same schism, same canonical issues. The MP accepted their reception into the EP “by pen stroke.” They also vest Catholic priests (who are just as “graceless”), and have no qualms about receiving problematic clergy from other jurisdictions. I’m sorry, I can’t take the ordination argument seriously. It is self-serving and hypocritical (no offense intended to you). The only thing the MP has is the territorial argument, and they ceded their moral high ground with their “African Exarchate.”

    The Macedonian schism was healed because of the love and leadership of Patriarch Porphyrios and Archbishop Stephen. His Holiness handled the situation with a true pastoral heart in Christ, having been bishop of Croatia (a place with hatreds and wounds comparable to Russia-Ukraine). He understood the situation with different eyes. Archbishop Stephen reciprocated. If the MP had acted as Patriarch Porphyrios did, it might have been different. All the MP offered angry Ukrainians was gaslighting and dismissal, because they didn’t want to let go of “Holy Rus.” If the MP had dialogue with the EP in the true spirit of “figuring things out” it would have been different. WORKING TOGETHER, they could have figured out pastoral accomodations for both sides, even if it meant the Estonia solution. As ugly as the Estonia situation was, it prevented a sectarian conflict. It was the right (pastoral) thing to do, all things considered. Sadly, the MP didn’t want to do that, and in turn the EP viewed the MP’s position as an attack on the EP itself. Hardness of heart compounding misunderstandings.

    The other Churches have both not recognized the OCU, nor have they broken communion over it. This is to prevent the schism that the hotheads on both sides seem to be clamoring for so badly. I have been very edified by the actions of the “non-aligned” Churches (in particular Patriarch Daniel of Romania and John of Antioch). The war prevents a firm solution to the issue, but Russian bombs have had their effect in changing minds in Ukraine, and the religious landscape is in flux. The ordination issue is secondary, as there is a rather simple precedent for fixing such issues.

    Not overt? Either one is in communion, or they are not. If HAH Bartholomew communes with Pope Francis, he ceases to be Orthodox (funny enough, nobody seems to be talking about how such a move would affect the Catholic side, and it would trigger a schism there as well). There is no “covert” communion. This is the language of politics.

    The UGCC are the descendents of “excommunicated and anathematized schismatics.” Again, the ordination debate is irritatingly incoherent. Are schisms grandfathered in? Do they become less odious after a few centuries? The UGCC will never unite with Moscow in any way, shape, or form. BUT, they would unite with the OCU, under the right circumstances. That might be an interesting irony to come from all of this, that through this the Unia is abolished.

    • Lot’s of “ifs” here. Let’s say all of your problems with the MP were resolved. (I say “your problems” because much of what you mentioned isn’t a problem for anyone else because it’s either accepted or history.)

      That wouldn’t change anything.

      The reason the OCU is not in the MP is because the OCU hates Russia, and all things Russian, which they say at every opportunity. In fact, they hate Russia so much they refused to be ordained because then they would have canonical ties to Russia and they can’t stand the idea of even that.

      They also hate the rules of the canonical Church. Rules that state if you are deposed and set up your own church, everyone under you is outside the Church. They are very much aware of these rules and are quite familiar with what it means to repent, but unlike the Macedonia Church, they don’t want to do that.

      So why would the MP consider bringing in an unrepentant, schismatic organization and give them independence over any part Ukraine given how much the OCU hates them and even kills Ukrainians who speak their language? They stole their parishes, interrogated their monasteries, and got the UOC banned because they were affiliated with Russia before it became a death sentence for them as it is now.

      The OCU is not an Orthodox Church! They’re a NATIONALIST church and, again, they say so at every opportunity.

      You’re right about one thing, though. Moscow would never allow unrepentant schematics independence in/over Kiev or anywhere else. And the OCU bought themselves a bill of goods by getting involved with the EP thinking it would buy them independence or legitimacy. It didn’t.

      The ordination issue is never secondary to an Orthodox Christian. The Church is based on apostolic succession.

      None of the Local Churches, Jerusalem or Antioch would ask Moscow to acknowledge anyone over any part of Ukraine because all of Ukraine is part of the MP’s territory and has been for a very long, long time.

      You can’t break communion over something that never happened and for the vast majority of the Church, the OCU is not now, and will never be, in the Church, which is why no one showed up for the enthronement ceremonies.

      Russia, on the other hand, had no choice but to break communion with Bartholomew.

      Something you haven’t mentioned is the OCU is not independent even in the eyes of the EP. The OCU cannot make a move without him which isn’t autocephaly. This was a power grab on his part that didn’t go over all that well with probably 85% to 90% of the Church.

      • “The ordination issue is never secondary to an Orthodox Christian.
        The Church is based on apostolic succession. ”


        • Joseph Lipper says

          Brendan, I agree, the ordination issue is not secondary. One of the original published writers to question the ordinations of clergy of the OCU was Dr. Serhii Shumylo. For example:


          Dr. Shumylo is an academic church historian who goes to the original sources as much as possible. Originally, he considered those ordinations to be a “stumbling block”, but he has since changed his mind. In this recent interview, he says this about those ordinations:

          “There is an ongoing discussion about the continuity of the [OCU] hierarchy. I’ve considered this issue to be a stumbling block for a while. On the basis of archival sources and testimonies of eyewitnesses, I tried to conduct thorough research on the history of Vincent Chekalin’s participation in the first consecrations of the UAOC in 1990. I believe there should be an honest discussion on this issue without withholding or twisting the facts. Unfortunately, Chekalin turned out to be an impostor and adventurer, something Bishop John Bodnarchuk did not know at first, believing he was really ‘a bishop of the ROCOR’. Unfortunately, there was no third bishop, Varlaam Ilyushchenko or anyone else, when Vasily Bodnarchuk was first ordained. This ordination is really problematic, and it needs to be honestly acknowledged. I have talked to Vladyka Filaret Denysenko on this subject, and he also considers this consecration problematic, so he has re-characterized most of the bishops of the UAOC. At the same time, one UAOC bishop whose ordination was attended by Chekalin, Andrei Abramchuk, never corrected his ordination. According to the akrivia, this bishop should be retired, or an additional correction of the chiros should be made through an additional or second cheirotonia. However, in addition to akrivia, the canonical practice of the Church also has the approach of oikonomia. I asked the Ecumenical Patriarchate about this. They explained to me that they applied the principle of oikonomia to Andrei Abramchuk because he was ordained by the legitimate Bishop Ioann Bodnarchuk, a former hierarch of the ROC-MP, and Chekalin only served as Bishop Ioann and witnessed the laying on of hands. Thus, according to the interpretation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, even though Chekalin turned out to be an impostor, at the same time, the ordination of Vasily Bodnarchuk and Andriy Abramchuk was performed by the legitimate Bishop Ioan Bodnarchuk, which should be considered as a sole bishop. Consequently, by oikonomia, they can be recognized as having apostolic succession. This is the position of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

          “There is an interpretation that grace is absent from any schism or schismatic schism and that this grace is received by the schismatic bishops only when they join the fullness of the Universal Church (“form is filled with content”). There are several rites of such accession, from schisma, akrivia and oikonomia. In the akrivia, it is a full re-ordering, and in the oikonomia, it is through the reception of the sacrament of the Eucharist in communion. The Ecumenical Church recognizes both principles. The Ecumenical Patriarchate applied oikonomia to Andrei Abramchuk as a bishop with a solemn ordination, granting him grace after his accession from the Schism through the reception of the sacrament of the Eucharist. Such is the position of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

          “I am not a canonist, so it is not my place to determine the correctness or otherwise of the application of oikonomia. As a historian who has studied the archival sources on this issue, I can state unequivocally that Chekalin was not a bishop and that there was no third bishop at the consecration of Vasily Bodnarchuk, and therefore only one legitimate bishop participated in his consecration. The question of the validity of such an act and the need to apply oikonomia or akrivia here should be determined by a separate theological and canonical commission. In the history of the Church, there have been frequent cases in which a single bishop has performed ordinations of bishops, and such ordinations have been recognized as lawful. Among them are even saints recognized by the Church. Perhaps, in order to remove the controversy surrounding this question, it would be more correct to perform an additional sacrament of consecration over Andrei Abramchuk as a supplement to and correction of his ordination or to retire him, which would remove the controversial issues that are a stumbling block and a significant temptation for many. In any case, I think this issue needs honest and frank discussion to dot the i’s finally.

          “I don’t think it’s a problem that can’t be fixed. All of these controversial issues could be resolved through dialogue if only one were willing. Besides, we are talking about one bishop of the former UAOC. With the consecrations in the UOC-KP, everything is much simpler. They were performed by former bishops of the ROC MP, who had impeccable canonical apostolic succession. So there is no problem here, and even the ROC MP was ready to recognize them, but political factors got in the way.”


          • Thank you, Joseph. This was helpful and the Church can certainly fix things. The part that can’t be fixed is the hearts of the OCU. They show no sign of wanting to fully enter the Church as long as Russia is in it.

          • From the blurb about Dr. Shumylo: “Also, he is a participant in the dialogue between clergy and believers of the UOC-MP and the OCU.” It’s so good to know that this dialogue even exists! May God direct it.

          • “Filaret Denysenko…has re-characterized
            most of the bishops of the UAOC.”

            Is this the same Filaret Denysenko who set up his own Patriarchate
            when the Moscow Patriarchate failed to elect him as their Patriarch?
            What did he re-characterize them as? Schismatics?

            “With the consecrations in the UOC-KP, everything is much simpler.
            They were performed by former bishops of the ROC MP,
            who had impeccable canonical apostolic succession.”

            See above…

    • Why are we even discussing how to accept a graceless sect of Dumenko?! There is a millenia old grace filled Orthodox Church in Ukraine, it’s the only Church of the Fathers in that territory headed by Met Onuphry. The Uniates along with the OCU have no right to exist. No right to misappropriate our liturgy, our saints, and our sacraments. No right to sabotage our beliefs and ecclesiology. Uniatism is the greatest enemy of Christianity. It’s not Islam nor Buddhism nor Hinduism nor Protestantism. You go into villages in the middle east such as in Syria and these tiny villagers are divided between Orthodox and Melkites while the Sunni Muslims laugh. You go into Lebanon into the Armenian quarter and see an Armenian catholic presence, you see a Syriac jacobite catholic presence, you see a Melkites catholic presence dividing up these communities, balkanizing them with a cacodox ecclesiology. Look at India prior to the Portuguese missionaries there was one sect of Christianity but then Uniatism hit. It divided the Christians into eastern and western antiochene rites under the Uniate umbrella (nestorian and monophysite wings), indian Christians under the Oriental Orthodox not wanting to be under the Unia but originally members of the tiny Chaldean indian flock who were the majority before Rome’s uniatism destroyed their unity. The ruthenian-, Galician phyletist sects should be discarded as agents of the devil.

      • Joseph Lipper says


        What’s being discussed is not the OCU per se, and not even an Unia under Rome, but rather one, unified autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine, a Patriarchate. The UOC would have to join also to make this work. Dr. Serhii Shumylo, who is a member of the UOC under Metropolitan Onuphry, believes that this is inevitable.

        How could this happen? Well, both the OCU Metropolitan Epiphany and the Uniate Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk would have to step down, and then the new Patriarch would be selected. Probably the most likely candidate for a Patriarch of Ukraine, currently, would be Metropolitan Onuphry.

    • “Moscow will never allow Kiev to be independent.”

      But they did.

      In the Church Kiev had complete autonomy
      and autocephaly was theirs for the simple asking of it,
      which they didn’t do because they had real influence in Moscow;
      and the autonomy they had was greater then the autocephaly
      which the Ecumenical Patriarch granted the schismatic OCU.

      Politically, Kiev was independent for over three decades.
      Moscow only intervened when Kiev began persecuting Russian speakers
      and inviting hostile powers to park their whizzbangs on Russia’s borders.

      only intervened when Kiev
      began persecuting the Russian speakers

    • Antiochene Son says

      You present a lot of scenarios but none of them align with what happened.

      The canonical Ukrainian Church never asked for autocephaly, which is the first step in the Chambesy autocephaly protocol. The ones who wanted autocephaly were universally recognized as schismatics, including by the EP, and this status was never rehabilitated.

      Yes, Russia receives Uniate priests by vesting, but this is part of a conversion process in which the priest repents of the sin of schism. Akrivia can be set aside to save a soul, but the first step in saving a soul is repentance. The UOC-EP was never required to repent, which is really the big error in all of this, and it’s why none of the Local Churches who are not in the EP’s orbit will ever accept the situation. And the UOC-EP bishops are clearly not repentant in any sense of the word; in fact they are emboldened in their sin. This entire situation is proof positive why the Church must not turn a blind eye to sin.

      All of this is Bartholomew’s fault ultimately. Because he was so dead-set on his “Great Council” happening in 2016, he refused to work with the Churches such as Antioch who had problems with some of the documents, as well as relations with Jerusalem. Since Antioch did not attend, Russia did not attend either (because you can’t have unanimity when some churches are absent), and Bart has been salty ever since.

      • I agree with you about the OCU’s sectarianism. It shows that the Tomos was premature, to put it mildly. “The schismatics” number in the millions (the low millions, but still larger than all of the North American Orthodoxy put together). What did the MP offer them except gaslighting? That is my whole point. This was a pastoral disaster, and the MP mishandled it, to put it mildly. Had the MP been willing to submit it to a pan-Orthodox discussion when the enmity reached a fever pitch, it could have been meaningful. But “the integrity of Holy Rus” was more important to them.

        That doesn’t let the EP off the hook. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has a hard time understanding the feelings of the non-Greek Churches. There is a serious divergence of views. Like the MP, this lack of understanding has sabotaged the pan-Orthodox process.

        Serbia didn’t make the Macedonians grovel. I think a different approach was needed, and nobody took it. Sad all around.

  11. Gail,

    They hate Russia because of what Russia did to them (both historically and in the recent past).   Their hatred is accumulated pain that has calcified into enmity.  That hatred has in turn moved them to do very unChristian things.   It doesn’t excuse those bad things (as much as some partisans for their “team” want to do so).   What is going on with the OCU was a pastoral failure of incalculable proportions on the part of the MP.   That is on them.    That the Tomos has enabled acts of vicious retribution is beyond dispute.   That is on the EP.   

    You speak of the canons.   The canons are guidelines for the Bishops to “bind and loose,” for the good of the Church.   “The canons are not cannons,” as Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpatkos once said.   The MP is applying Akrevia in a self-serving way.  If it was a vagante diocese in South America they wouldn’t be doing this.   They didn’t care that much when the American branch of the “schismatics” (AKA the UOC-USA) was brought under the EP.  If it was such an issue, why did they recognize the UOC-USA? 

    The ordination issue in THIS instance is secondary, because it is a farce.   You said that those who are deposed and set up their own church are outside the church.  The Catholics schismed and left the Church a thousand years ago.   Are they not “graceless schismatics”?   Do Uniates have Apostolic Succession?   If Uniates can be “made Orthodox” by dressing them up or by the stroke of a pen (Lvov 46), then how can one deny the OCU?   At least the Athonite position is consistent in that they say that all of them are laymen pretending.    
    That is my point.   The MP has compromised and used “economy” when it suited them, and Akrevia when it doesn’t.   It is the MP’s hypocrisy on this that I find galling.

    That doesn’t let the Ecumenical Patriarchate off the hook.   They made it messier by accepting that precedent and using it for their own ends.    Can ordinations be treated like heterodox baptisms, in that if the proper form (the Ordination Service) was used, can an act of the bishop (whatever it may be) retroactively validate that ordination?    The MP says yes (when it suits them), the EP says sometimes (when it suits them).   I rather like the Athonite strictness myself, but if the Bishops say that this sort of thing is ok, then there needs to be consistency.   This “Akrevia for thee but not for me” is, forgive me, male cow flop.  

    The Church of Greece can’t technically “make a move” without the EP’s blessing either (I mean they can, but that doesn’t mean the EP will accept it).   I think the OCU is doing a bit better than the CoG in that regard.

    For the record, I think the OCU has a sectarian streak that should have been dealt with before the Tomos was issued.   It was premature.   The OCU and UOC needed time to learn how to co-exist.  A real attempt at healing the wounds was needed.  That would have required the EP and MP to cooperate.   That they did not is another aspect of the pastoral failure that both share the blame for.

    I pray for my Patriarch and Patriarch Kyrill. I think they are both good men shaped by their own respective histories and ecclesial worlds. That can lead to blind spots (even fatal ones).

    Good men can make bad decisions. They don’t cease to be good men because of it.

    • I don’t recall saying anything about the canons, but that’s OK. What I should have emphasized, however, is THEY HATE THE RUSSIAN CHUCH which is the Orthodox Church. That can’t be fixed, David.

      They don’t want to be Orthodox.

      • What David doesn’t seem to realize is that this has nothing to do with historical grievances of the Ukrainians. The UOC was at peace under Yanukovich. It was autonomous. The Fanar recognized it. Poroshenko requested the tomos. There were schismatic sects, of course. The Fanar agreed they were schismatic. What changed? Politics. The enmity comes from the political machinations of the Ukro Not Zees and the coup regime. They hate Russians for ideological reasons, not historical.

        There were historical grievances, of course. No one denies this. But it was the US State Department that fomented the present anti Russian hatred. This is purely political. Bartholomew is simply an agent of DC.

        • Was it really at peace? Or was it the calm before the storm? Revolutions don’t just happen out of nowhere—the time and conditions have to be right. It is easy to blame the West for the Maidan, but the reality is that all was not well in Ukraine under the surface. The Maidan was inevitable. If it wasn’t 2014 it would have been later. Like America in the 1850s, the uneasy peace between North and South (in Ukraine’s case East and West) didn’t last. Deep unresolved political and cultural issues are not able to sit still for long.

          Yes, the West stirred the pot, but there was already hot stew in there.

    • Johann Sebastian says

      David says says

      They hate Russia because of what Russia did to them (both historically and in the recent past). Their hatred is accumulated pain that has calcified into enmity.

      That’s a two-way street there. There are plenty of us Ruthenians (a.k.a. Rusyns) for whom “Ukraine” is a dirty word that smacks of Polish-incited Uniatism. Many of us happily consider ourselves Russian, despite both Ukrainists and Great Russians dismissing us as a Ukrainian subgroup.

      To put it another way that might resonate more with western woke Russophobes who are obsessed with righting a million past wrongs both real and perceived throughout the world: Ukrainists are the Uncle Toms of the East Slavic world, rejecting who they are as sons of Rus’ and tolerating abuse and persecution to lick the Polish boot and kiss the Pope’s big toe, just like Isidore of Kiev did. They are the poster children for colonialism—not so evident to outsiders because their Polish overlords looked a lot like them and spoke a language not too dissimilar to theirs. They colonized the minds and souls of the Ruthenian—the western Russian—people. Consider what Russia “did” to be in league with modern ideas of “reparations.”

      Is this a Christian attitude? Certainly not. Is it logical and consistent with other strains of thinking when it comes to how the West approaches, makes excuses for, and takes sides when it comes to regional squabbles? Absolutely. But we’re dealing with the Orthodox here, so pull out the double standards…just like in Yugoslavia and Syria. Those were just practice runs for the big prize.

      L’vov ‘46 was in every way a righting of a 300 year-old wrong, and a shedding of an imposed allegiance. The problem is that it was also orchestrated by Bolshevists who, like the Habsburgs (and the Poles in 1596), wanted to destroy both Russia and Orthodoxy. This was indeed a clever move—by carrying this reunion out in a persecutory way, the Soviets managed to muddy the deeper historical waters here. It excited resentments and made the Uniates appear to be the persecuted ones when they were either collaborators with or unwilling participants in a campaign of Papist persecution that lasted from the late Renaissance right down through the First World War.

    • David- If apostolic succession does not exist (as the Greeks seem to believe nowadays) then Christianity does not exist. The OCU fiasco is nothing like the examples you give. A bishop from an outside territory cannot simply make a vagante sect the canonical church through the waving of the magic wand while simultaneously taking it away from the authentic Church everyone recognized just 5 minutes ago. As to how to go about receiving schismatic clergy the blueprint is found in canon 8 of Nicea .

    • “What is going on with the OCU was a pastoral failure of incalculable proportions on the part of the MP. That is on them.”


      Please elaborate. I have followed this closely…well before the war – the cause of which is primarily a political struggle between the West and the Russian Federation and has little to do with Ukraine itself.

      These are honest questions:

      How can anyone be reconciled with those who refuse to reconcile?

      How, precisely, did the EP work to try to bring about reconciliation; and how, precisely did the MP fail pastorally – not in “the past” (i.e., Soviet times), but hence? What could they have done that they failed to do?

  12. Meanwhile…this headline isn’t from a right-wing alternative news site—it’s from CNN.

    Ukraine is burning through ammunition faster than the US and NATO can produce it. Inside the Pentagon’s plan to close the gap

    • ““We are still the arsenal of democracy,” Bush [not G W] said.
      “And nobody does it better than the United States.”

      Syria? Libya? Afghanistan?

    • A sobering article, for sure. Until you get to this line, which was not written for its comedic value, but certainly got a grim smile from me:

      “….NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday that the “current rate of Ukraine’s ammunition expenditure is many times higher than our current rate of production, which is putting our defense industries under strain.”

      Much of that strain is being shouldered by American defense contractors… ”

      Thank God for the patriotic American defense contractors who are there to fill this critical need solely for the goodness of humanity. sigh…..

  13. Brendan: Ordinations are important. I wish the MP had been as vigorous in their care, instead of being willy-nilly about it when it was convenient. For the record, I think making it as simple as possible for Uniates to become Orthodox is a great thing. I just find the uproar over the OCU ordinations (with the exception of the Greek traditionalists, who have always been anti-vesting and pro-baptizing/ordaining everybody) to be hypocritical.

    Yes, the UOC had the arrangement they wanted. The problem here, is that there were still many disaffected Orthodox (the OCU is larger than all of North American Orthodoxy put together at the minimum) who wanted nothing to do with Russia in any way, shape or form. The MP did NOTHING for them, except to gaslight and marginalize them. That is what I meant when I called it a pastoral failure of monumental proportions, because that is what it was. That the MP still remains tone-deaf to the Ukrainian POV just confirms that they were never in a position to truly do the right thing, whether it is deliberate or not is something we can never know.

    Gail: The Russian Church is not the Orthodox Church. They are a PART of the Orthodox Church. That is why the OCU turned to the EP. What can be fixed, is Moscow LETTING THEM GO IN PEACE. If Moscow was willing to come to the table in good faith, recognizing that at least the western part of Ukraine was permanently lost to them, then it might have been different (and allowed for the Estonia Solution to become the Ukrainian Solution). I find the MP’s continued hard-heartedness on this to be inexplicable. The “Holy Rus” belief has created a very dangerous blind-spot. It has made the MP incapable of truly understanding the enmity towards Russia that exists in the former Eastern Bloc, and this lack of understanding prevents them from making the pastoral decisions necessary to ensure peace in the Church. Forgiveness requires the bending of both parties. The great tragedy here is that neither side is willing to do so.

    Kosta: Given that your beliefs are widely held in the Russian Orthodox sphere, it does much to explain why the enmity exists. Those people are Catholics—full stop. They have been Catholics for centuries. The refrain that they must “return to Orthodoxy” sounds great, except they don’t want anything to do with Russia. Your post illustrates why that is the case.

    I don’t think any of this is good. But my goal is to truly understand ALL sides in this conflict, as I am not a party to it. I have no stomach for the MP-EP nonsense, nor will I be dragged into the Ukrainian blood feud. I wouldn’t commune in an OCU or UOC church.

    • RE: “The Russian Church is not the Orthodox Church. They are a PART of the Orthodox Church.”

      David, there is but one Orthodox Church. Russia is the Orthodox Church in Russia. Antioch is the Orthodox Church in what we now call Antioch. But the Orthodox Church is one Church.

      Maybe that’s where the disconnect is coming from because the OCU thinks they can carve out a little niche just for themselves, but that is not how it works. As far as Russia goes, it has 75% of the Orthodox Christians in the world so it is very much “the Church.”

  14. Gail: Ukraine is not Russia. I think this is where the disconnect actually is. Many in the Russian sphere deny Ukrainian identity, statehood and legitimacy. Many Greeks feel the same way about the Macedonians. It’s all wrong, and unChristian.

    Brian: “Reconciliation” was never possible. They wanted and want nothing to do with the Russian world (I use that term in its actual sense). What WAS possible, was a bloodless, amicable (note I didn’t say friendly) split. The Estonia solution was the only path to peace prior to 2018. The unity of “Holy Rus” was more important to the MP than reading their flock. They thought they could marginalize “the schismatics” and gaslight them into returning. The MP not only failed to try and understand their enmity, but such a necessary “divorce” was never on the table. Do you think the Macedonian split was resolved without a Serbian promise to give them autocephaly right after the ink dried? THAT was the deal Serbia made. Had the MP been as open-hearted as Patriarch Porphyrius was, that would have made all the difference. That is one of the great tragedies—the missed opportunity. The same is true of NATO. Had NATO disappeared along with the Warsaw Pact, such a pure gesture would have changed the course of history.

    The EP also failed to read the situation. The sectarianism that still plagues the OCU would in clearer thinking times made them ineligible for autocephaly. The OCU needed time to mature. That would have also entailed learning to co-exist with the UOC. There is a reason why autocephaly is a slow process (in every instance it was granted, it was done only after the churches in question had already function as UNITED entity for some time. The EP violated its own longstanding policy on autocephaly, with tragic results. A UOC-EP (with an outside Ukrainian bishop as its head) would have been the more prudent option. The MP would have still been angry, but it wouldn’t have dragged the rest of the Church into the conflict and over time, Moscow might have warmed up to the Estonia solution there, especially if the sectarian violence was curtailed or eliminated.

    The EP and MP could have worked together in the end, but that isn’t what happened.

    • I never said Ukraine is Russia. I said Ukraine is in the MP’s territory which has been an accepted fact in the Church for a very long time. That doesn’t just get undone.

      At this juncture, who is in a position to say anything about Ukraine’s identity or statehood?

      The Orthodox Church is concerned for the Orthodox in Ukraine. It is their legitimacy we worry about. It has been taken from them in great part by the OCU, which were (1) the minority and (2) not Orthodox.

      The OCU is openly hostile toward anyone who doesn’t see things their way and then they say they’re the victims because the Church won’t give them what they want? That’s BS, frankly. Under these circumstances, you can understand why the Church wouldn’t be all that sympathetic, especially the Russian Orthodox Church.

      It is the Orthodox who are the victims here. It is the Orthodox who were kicked out of their parishes. It is the Orthodox who were and are being interrogated and generally persecuted. The OCU and their regime tried to ban them! That would be like me trying to ban the Greeks, or the Antiochians, or the Serbians in America! That is a preposterous position to take.

      I want to be seen as legitimate in the Orthodox Church but I’m going to continue to persecute Orthodox Christians! Huh??? No. You want to be Orthodox then start acting like your Orthodox and quit trying to hurt your brothers and sisters in Christ.

      Even George and I have been targeted by sympathizers of the OCU.

      For the sake of argument, let’s say I agreed with everything you said about the MP. That wouldn’t change anything about the OCU. It wouldn’t make them any more Orthodox. It wouldn’t make them follow the rules or quit persecuting Orthodox Christians.

      P.S. Gaslighting is psychological manipulation in which the abuser attempts to sow self-doubt and confusion in their victim’s mind. How does this apply to the Russian Church?

      • George Michalopulos says

        As complicated as this war is, for me, it boils down to one simple fact: there is s canonical, legitimate, territorial Ukrainian Orthodox Church. It’s primate is His Beatitude Onuphriy, Metropolitan of Kiev.

        Another fact: the EP unilaterally and unconscionably and egregiously, allowed his offices to be used by the Globalists in a most Judas-like fashion.

        Third fact: Ukrainian Orthodox Christians in the Donbass and the Crimea have been persecuted by Banderists and the false church set up by Bartholomew.

        Fourth fact: the “hierarchs” who were “regularized” by the EP are graceless charlatans.

        Fifth fact: the overwhelming majority of Orthodox Churches and Christians have not –nor will they–recognize these charlatans.

    • David,

      I hear what you are saying, but you didn’t really answer part of my question:

      How, precisely, did the EP work to try to bring about reconciliation…?

      Perhaps I am simplistic and naive, but how can reconciliation – even if it involves being in amicably separate jurisdictions – ever be considered “never possible” to Christians?

      He who hates his brother is in darkness until now.

      Personally, I am of the opinion that the nefarious character of Philaret Denisenko looms large in all this. His ‘restoration’ by the EP (with predictable results) was both unnecessary and a deliberate poke in The MP’s eye. It also, IMO, was a clear indication that the EP was less concerned with ‘restoring Orthodoxy’ and good order among the Ukrainian people than he was with ensuring Denisenko’s followers went along with the project (i.e., a united front against, and not along side, Russia wherein the enemy of my enemy is my friend without regard for the actual good order of the Church or real Christian reconciliation among Ukrainians.

      I can acccept (to a significant degree) much of what you say about pastoral failure on the part of the MP, but the EP’s handling of Denisenko was/is a bridge far too far for me and (apparently) most of the Orthodox world. This single act played (IMO) an immeasurably large role in making the entire project appear self-serving and illegitimate in the eyes of the Churches.

      • I should add that Denisenko’s ‘restoration’ was a bridge far too far for the UOC completely aside from its relationship with the MP. It was a cold slap in the face to the conciliar decisions of their own synod (not to mention that of the EP) and all their faithful.

        Pat. Bartholomew would never accept any such action if the shoe was on the other foot, nor should he.

  15. Gail,

    The MP’s gaslighting is the way they try to turn it around on the Ukrainians, saying they shouldn’t feel the way they do because it is “sinful.” “You don’t actually hate us! It is the Uniates/NATO/EP that turned you against us! They are the ones!” This doesn’t address the animosity that many Ukrainians feel (particularly in the Western part of the country). How does it heal wounds? It doesn’t.

    Who is in a position to say anything about Ukrainian identity? The Ukrainians themselves. This is what Russia (and many of their supporters) seems to not understand. It is the Russian denial of Ukrainian identity that is at the heart of much of the hatred. I’ve seen it here and on other online fora. “Ukraine’s not a real country!” How do you think Ukrainians feel about that, especially when it is Russians who are saying it?

    All of the ugliness that occurred—the fight over Churches, the attempted use of the courts and the law to hurt the other, stems from this unaddressed pain and animosity. Outsiders have egged it on to be sure, but it is not accurate to say that outsiders “caused it.”

    My whole point is that trying to understand both sides is important and necessary. Perhaps people are too worked up for that conversation to happen right now. I remember in the Iraq War era how the folks who wanted to “understand the terrorists” were hated and reviled. “Whose side are you on, anyway?” I remember those days very well. Understanding was necessary then, and it is necessary now, even if it isn’t welcome by either “team.”

    I won’t take up anybody’s time any longer. I’ll reply to those who have responded to tie up loose ends, but I won’t beat a dead horse. Lent is coming. May peace prevail.

    • The Orthodox Christians in Ukraine have an identity, too. A much stronger identity than the smaller, hobbled together, mess the EP put together. If anybody was gaslighting anyone it was the EP telling the OCU he could bring them some legitimacy in exchange for whatever Poroshenko gave him.

      What actually happened is the EP lost his own legitimacy with his brother bishops in the process.

      The Ukrainians don’t all think like the ones your championing. In terms of the Orthodox Church, I would say the vast majority don’t. No one is denying the other Ukrainians anything. They can come into the Church the right way.

      Ukraine is filled with Orthodox Christians. What about their identity as Ukrainians? Why is OK to take their identity away from them?

      No one fought over the Churches. The OCU just took them. They stole them right out from under the priests often beating and threaten them in the process. The rest of the Orthodox world wasn’t amused. Our hearts are with our brothers and sisters in Christ. When the OCU stops thinking only about themselves and what they want and starts helping the Orthodox recover what was stolen from them, THEN maybe I’ll start caring about them, too. Right now the world sees them for what they are: Opportunists who, by virtue of being Ukrainian Nationalists, think they are entitled to some legitimately within the Church.

      They are not.

      EVERYBODY has unaddressed pain and animosity. In this case, the people we most care about had their pain inflicted upon them by OCU in what I believe was a most brutal way.

      No one hates the OCU. . We’ve just seen how they operate and want to stay as far away from them as possible.

      • The armies will settle it and everyone else will just have to make do. That’s how it’s always been.

      • Bartholomew has just received priests from the Orthodox Church in Lithuania (under Moscow), I expect Russia to have a tit-for-tat and respond to this in their own way. It seems Bart is scheming to create a parallel jurisdiction in Lithuania like he’s done in other Baltic states.

        Perhaps we are about to see the creation of a Turkish Exarchate? Given the high number of Russians who live in Turkey I can see this. I’m actually surprised they haven’t already done it.

        • Petros, a minor correction: he did not “receive…priests.” These men were defrocked. So Bart waived his magic ukrocephalic undefrocking wand and made them priests again.

        • Alexander II says

          There is a clear pattern here with Arhondonis. His All Intergalacticness needs to present Rome with “churches” from every corner of his “Eastern Roman Empire.” He thinks that he is playing some game of ecclesiological “Risk.”

          The heretic has his fellow Hellenes, where blood is thicker than Orthodoxy: the Alexandrians, Athenians, and Cypriots.

          He has long-standing, pliable, compliant and food fest adoring Hellenes residing in:

          North, Central, and South America, including the Caribbean.
          Australia and New Zealand
          Great Britain, Scandinavia, Western Europe

          He grandly schismed his way to a “bigger piece,” Ukraine.

          So, he now has to clean up the “little pieces.” There’s the long-standing issue in Estonia, and now Lithuania; he’ll do something in Latvia — an effort to complete the proximal, middle and distal phalanx’s he’s extending to Russia. He has a consistent trouble making in the Czech Lands; Albania is “Greek.” He’ll try to make a mess in Poland. He has a bunch of “Bishops of the Throne,” with defunct dioceses scattered about Asia Minor and fake dioceses in the Far East.

          So far, he’s been only outfoxed by the Serbs’ grant of autocephaly to the Macedonians. But the closer we get, you watch, he’ll try to flip the Macedonians and get back at the Serbs in Montenegro.

          The thorns in his side will be the Serbs, Bulgarians and Romanians. He has little to latch onto there, but that will not be for a want of trying.

          Oh, lest I forget. He has the moon, because Buzz Aldrin’s great-great-grandfather bought a gyro. He has the rest of the solar system because Voyager used Pythagorean-based calculations in setting its trajectory and used Windex to get polished up. But more importantly, Mercury is really Hermes, Venus actually Aphrodite, Mars is Ares (you get the rest).

          2025 or bust.

          • Alex, that’s a hoot!

            We basically know what Bart’s game plan is, you did a very good job in laying it out if I may say so myself.

            That said, the best laid plans of mice and men…

            What am I talking about? I recently received inside information about the College of Cardinals. Although Frankie has stacked the deck, the are internal rumblings (even among the liberals) that the Roman Church is going off the rails and that its present trajectory is unsustainable. To my mind, this means that his globalist plans are going to bite the dusts.

            Now let’s switch over to Bart. His plans for the Baltic states’ respective local Churches I believe will come to naught as well. There’s too many variables as far as I’m concerned.

            Here’s a big variable: did you all know that Resident Biden had to receive permission from the Kremlin to make his surprise visit to Kiev? In poker, that’s called a “tell” and it gives you an indication who has the better hand. In diplospeak, that means that Moscow is sovereign over the Ukraine.

            • It looks like Met. Saba Isper has been elected by the Antiochian Holy Synod to be the new Antiochian Archbishop of N.A.

              I don’t know much about him but I hope he has the fortitude to withstand the onslaught

              • I think they just nominated him and now it’s up to Antioch to see if they’ll choose him.

              • If you haven’t already seen Met. Saba’s writings translated on Notes from Arab Orthodoxy, they’re well worth your time!

              • This was an interesting resolution of the Holy Synod of Antioch from their meeting yesterday and today, which I hadn’t paid attention to on first glance:

                “⁃ Establish a Joint Committee to articulate a future vision for the role of this Archdiocese [in North America] and her witness, and to examine her administrative structure and internal regulations, in order to harmonize her legal, organizational, and administrative status, being an Archdiocese as all the Archdioceses of the See of Antioch, with the provisions of the Basic Statute of the See of Antioch and its internal regulations, and with the decisions of the Holy Synod of Antioch which oversees the work of the Archdioceses of the See of Antioch. The conclusions and recommendations reached by the Joint Committee shall be submitted to the Holy Synod of Antioch in order to take the appropriate decisions thereon.”

                • Which probably is why they’ve been meeting with ROCOR: To come up with that joint vision which will be palatable to all.

                  • Met. Antonios went across the Archdiocese to figure out what the biggest issues were and took that information back to Patriarch John. I’m curious how many times Elpi’s name was brought up in those conversation.

                    I hope Met. Saba is up to the task of standing up to him on the AOB.

          • The heretic has his fellow Hellenes, where blood is thicker than Orthodoxy: the Alexandrians, Athenians, and Cypriots.

            Barts biggest proponents, and biggest opponents are in the Greek Churches, specifically Greece. Don’t be so sure that all of those Churches will apostatize with him.

            Even though Albania and Jerusalem have ethnically Greek primates their entire, or almost their entire, episcopate are ethnic Albanians and Arabs respectively. They can’t appeal to the “Greek ethnos” to get their flock to follow Bart.

            If Bart and his merry band (Frankenstein hodgepodge) of schismatics wants to go off to Rome I say “Why wait till 2025,” go now. The sooner they leave the better. This will not be the first schism in Church history.

            The world is quickly changing and if this was 10 years ago I would say your premise would be correct. But, America is losing ground quickly and Bart is a byproduct of Americanism to coopt religion. That world is fading.

            Will Bart go to Rome? I’m sure he plans to, but, “Tell God your plans and He will laugh.”

            • I thought the episcopate of the Jerusalem Patriarchate was still almost entirely Greek (with outstanding exceptions like Theodosios/Atallah of Sebastia and Christophoros of Kyriakoupolis/Amman). If not, when did that change?

              • Apologies, I meant laity, not episcopate. You’re correct the majority of the episcopate in Jerusalem Church are ethnically Greek though that has been changing. The priests seem to be mostly Arab. Albania is almost all or mostly all Albanian clergy and all Albanian laity for the most part

                • Please correct me if I am wrong,
                  but are the Greek clergy in the Jerusalem Patriarchate
                  subject to the same Israeli pass laws as the Arab clergy?

                  • This I am not sure of. I have to imagine probably not since the Arab issue is a local political one.

            • Alexander II says


              I sure hope you are correct, especially about Alexandria. And on further review, I should have been a bit more circumspect about Albania. (Though if Anastasios is replaced, You-Know-Who will have a near outcome dispositive say in the next First Hierarch of Albania.)

              But Alexandria, Greece, and Cyprus have had opportunities a plenty to tell His All Intergalacticness, “NO!” And they have shrugged their shoulders and played along with Arhondonis and the Istanbul Clown Show. While Arhondonis may have opponents in those places, they have had exactly zero impact on what actually has happened.

              I kept Jerusalem out, given the whole “Status Quo” stuff. And Antioch. If nothing more the Real Politik hammers would keep them far away from Rome.

              My own view is that the Ghetto and its sycophants are in de facto unia. 2025 allows a bit more time to get more heretical and defrocked ducks lined up, photo ops choreographed (you know, who stands next to whom), and prepare all those fancy parchments gussied up with calligraphy, peacocks, wax seals and ribbons.

              Remember folks, it’s 2025 or bust.

      • Just checked out some numbers and looks like there are around ~240,000 Russians who permanently reside in Turkey and around 5 Million + Russians who visit Turkey every year.

        This doesn’t include Ukrainians who belong to the UOC (hard to pinpoint those #’s)

        Second to that, there are several thousand Antiochian Orthodox (both Arab and Turkish) living mostly in Hatay Province (Lord Have Mercy from the Earthquake).

        If I remember right there are about 1,000-2,000 ethnic Greek Orthodox living almost exclusively in Istanbul with a handful (literally) in other places like Izmir and Antalya.

        There are over 200 X’s more Russians and probably at least 5 X’s more Antiochan Orthodox in Turkey than the actual Patriarchate of Constantinople.

        Russia knows this, Bartholomew knows this. Given how Erdogan is moving more towards Russia and given the political clout that Russia has, all it takes is Russia to call Bartholomew’s bluff and set up an Exarchate and start establishing parishes throughout Turkey and its lights out for the EP.

        If the prophesies regarding Turkey come to pass where 1/3 of Turks will become Christian are we seriously expected to believe that it is Bartholomew who is the one who will do this? I think very much not.

        • Actually, Russia is doing exactly what you suggested.

        • An article from 2021 suggests that the Greek Orthodox population of Istanbul may be as small as 1,000: “Though official figures say that about 3,000 Rum still live in Istanbul and on the Aegean island of Gokceada, the true number is thought to be significantly lower — some say as few as a thousand, most of them elderly.”

          Separately, a Cambridge study of the Antiochian Orthodox in Greece, Syria, and Turkey, published just last October, suggests that 20% of the “Greek” population of Istanbul is actually Antiochian Orthodox. (It’s not clear to me whether this is 20% out of the 1,000 or so “Greek Orthodox” in Istanbul, or an additional 20% on top of that number.)

        • Joseph Lipper says

          Erdogan is in big trouble over this earthquake. There’s video of him bragging about how he increased building construction in Turkey and lowered construction costs by abolishing building codes in 2018 that protected from earthquakes. He’s definitely taking the blame for this, and he probably won’t stay in power much longer.

          Once he’s gone, I expect Russia to attack Turkey and destroy Istanbul because the Bosphorus Straits are the bottleneck to the Black Sea, and Russia will want control over it. Prophecies say the whole city will burn except Hagia Sophia. The Russians will take over the city, but in the end they will not keep it, and they will have to hand it over to Greece. The whole world will rise up and eventually defeat Russia in this war. Then God’s chosen one, a Byzantine Emperor, will be revealed. He will rule from the rebuilt City of Constantinople. It is said that Elder Ephraim of Arizona believed this will be a saint who has been asleep since the 13th century, the Byzantine Emperor Saint John III Dukas Vatatzes:


          “In our own days Elder Ephraim of Arizona has said that the sacred relics of St John the Merciful were guarded by a family of crypto-Christians who kept them secret from generation to generation. He also affirms that the Merciful King has already risen and that the sword has emerged completely from its sheath. Now St John wanders around Constantinople in the guise of a fool and directs the hosts of the saints to take their places around the City. Here indeed is a model Orthodox ruler, and intercessor and restorer for our latter times, when we need him.”

          • “I expect Russia to attack Turkey and destroy Istanbul because the Bosphorus Straits are the bottleneck to the Black Sea, and Russia will want control over it. Prophecies say the whole city will burn except Hagia Sophia. The Russians will take over the city, but in the end they will not keep it, and they will have to hand it over to Greece. The whole world will rise up and eventually defeat Russia in this war.”

            Is it your dream, or what? They will not attack Turkey.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              According to well known prophecies of St. Paisios, Russia will attack Turkey:


              • Joseph, it would be quite stupid for Russia to attack Turkey, as they (Turkey) are a member of NATO. If that were to happen, then the other NATO countries would be bound to come to Turkey’s defense. (Russia would also be foolish to start anything with Turkey before they finish military operations against Ukraine.)

                Sorry to St. Paisios prophecies.

                • There is a persisting rumor out there that Turkey is going to withdraw from NATO.

                  If Turkey were to withdraw from NATO, Russia would become an even stronger and pivotal ally. They already have a strong relationship. They are each other’s largest trade partners and Russia is Turkey’s largest provider of energy. Many Turkish companies operate in Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church has expressed an interest in establishing an exarchate in Turkey.

                  This is why the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Schismatics is so afraid of Russia. Erdogan likes Russia; the EPS? Not so much.

                  Prophesies remain in the future until they are seen in the present. That time has not yet come.

                  • Don’t forget that prophecies can change and our prayers and actions have an effect on this. Metropolitan Neophytos talks about this.

                    If Turkey is able to be converted without the bloodshed then that is what we should be praying for.

                    The Church of Russia is very good about mission work in SE Asia and other places, there’s no reason to believe that they would not be equally as successful in Turkey, especially given the massive amount of Russians that are already there, many of whom are married to Turks.

                    Start a Turkish Exarchate, establish Russian-Turkish language parishes, in 10 years I’m sure the number of converts will be very high. And in a pipe dream -> Have a Russian billionaire buy back Hagia Sophia (hey, stranger things have happened)

                    I have to wonder if Russia is waiting for the EP to officially join Rome to create an Exarchate, I can’t figure out what exactly they are waiting for. Any thoughts?

                    • A possibility.

                      However, I think they will pull the trigger sooner rather than later. Even Turkey may not want to wait until 2025. Erdogan sees the Ecumenical Patriarch of Schismatics (EPS) as a nuisance given all the drama. Erdogan isn’t a globalist like he is and his entire country is hostile toward the EPS as evidenced by the many death threats. And then there is all that whining about Halki and Russia encroaching on his throne, which frankly Russia has to do to neutralize the damage Bartholomew had done to the Church and continues to do through his power grabs which include bringing schismatics into the Church. I think Bartholomew friendship with Gulen is of concern, as well.

                      The EPS sparked the war in Ukraine by giving the OCU (arguably little) legitimacy since most of the Church doesn’t recognize them. This will all be for naught if the OCU comes to their senses and puts Ukraine first by working things out with the UOC. Neither the OCU or the UOC ever wanted two Churches in Ukraine. The UOC will probably receive formal autocephaly from Russia and when all is said and done the OCU might find working things out with the UOC far more attractive than remaining under the EPS, especially now given the EPS’ propensity for brining in defrocked clergy as evidenced by Lithuania.

                      The OCU is probably tired of being snubbed by the rest of the Orthodox Church. However, to rectify this, they have to lose their schismatic past. If they work through Met. Onufry he can help them. The Church can fix anything as long as it’s done canonically. If the OCU comes in under Onufry they would have respectability and more importantly; they would be under a man many consider to be a saint. They would have all the legitimacy they ever wanted if they can ditch their schismatic past and be properly ordained.

                      Like Halki and Hagia Sophia, it may just seem easier for Erdogan to take the Ecumenical Patriarchate away from Bartholomew and force his band of merry men to go to Greece, where hopefully the Prince of Greece becomes more like a Tsar which will give the Greeks the exalted status they’ve always coveted: this time without Bartholomew. That would settle all this craziness about the special status of the “Eastern Pope” before 2025 when he can do some real damage by announcing we’re joined at the hip with Pope Francis who even the Catholics don’t want. Once the Ecumenical Patriarchate is moved (or taken), Bartholomew loses his status as Ecumenical Patriarch which frankly I hope will never be reestablished, lest some other fellow comes along who is also “too big for his britches” as my grandfather used to say.

                      In Greece, Bartholomew will finally be “without equal” only it will be at the bottom of the Orthodox food chain where he can preach the globalist agenda of the environment to high heaven to anyone who will listen and the Church can get back to preaching the Gospel.

                  • I would say Turkey is definitely leaving NATO because Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, are trying to join the BRICS alliance with Brazil, Russia, China, India, & South Africa. BRICS is an economic (“emerging economies,” they call it) and political alignment of forces. NATO sees it as a security threat (to them), as they should, due to BRICS sheer size and military capability. However, unlike NATO who is INSANE, BRICS operates more like business men who know how to cooperate to reach common goals.

                    • It may be that Turkey is ejected from NATO, but I don’t see any reason for them to leave it voluntarily. First, they benefit from it. Second, they can continue to sabotage its worst impulses from within.

                    • Because of the pressure NATO is putting on Tukey over blocking Sweden and Finland (which may have been resolved but I believe there may still be obstacles); Sweden is a particular thorn in their side because they house a long standing enemy of Turkey which Turkey considers a terrorist group.

                      Because Turkey doesn’t like the U.S.; doesn’t like the manipulation, doesn’t like the needs of Ukraine dwarfing every thing else.

                      Because NATO hates and fears Russia and Russia is a chief trading partner of Turkey, and as I said before that’s where they get their oil. A lot of Turkish businesses are in Russia which I was shocked to see when I was there. Russia has the best Turkish restaurants there! Incredible food.

                      Because Turkey wants to join BRICS. NATO fears BRICS and has a propensity to attack what it fears.

                      Frankly, the world has outgrown NATO.

                    • Zel Loprides says

                      Turkey, Finland and Sweden are all Magog. Many Swedes have totally Turkish names. Sweden is eager to avenge the Battle of Poltava. see LeDonne (doctoral student of Brzezinski) Harvard Ukrainian Studies
                      Vol. 31, No. 1/4, (2009-2010), pp. 177-191. leDonne is just as Napoleonic as Biden and Blinken. See pp 580-587, Paul Johnson, Modern Times for proof of Carolingian roots of EU.

                  • However, I think they will pull the trigger sooner rather than later.

                    You may be right. Due to their age both Francis and Bart are living on borrowed time so I think them going for broke is probably accurate. They probably know that geopolitically they don’t have 3 years to wait for Nicea. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t there a prophecy about a major war with Russia followed by a Church-wide council?

                    But, given the new “Abrahamic House” that opened in the UAE, and the major backing it has from Francis, I cannot imagine the majority of the Orthodox being on board with that at all.

                    frankly Russia has to do to neutralize the damage Bartholomew had done to the Church

                    I agree. Given the large status Russia has in the Church and the sheer numbers, they are the only ones that can feasibly counteract Bartholomew. If the Russians weren’t in the picture the amount of damage Bart has done would probably be doubled.

                    Part of me wonders if Russia will be asking Erdogan to take care of the “Bartholomew problem.” Bart being an asset of the State Department can’t in any way be popular among the Turkish government.

                • These prophecies are nothing but legends and pipe dreams. At best they were fulfilled by the Treaty of Sevres but the Greeks could not hold onto it. Greece is in a demographic decline, a death spiral with extremely low fertility rates. There are over 12 million Muslims in the Constantinople metro region. Greece has a total population of 10 5 million and maybe only 85 percent Orthodox nowadays. If Greece was given Constantinople the Turks would swallow up the entire country and make it Islamic. Greece has not even been able to convert the Muslim minority of Thrace who are reproducing faster than the Orthodox counterparts. We can’t rely on sensationalistic prophecies of marble kings and resurrected rulers which 98 percent of Greeks themselves have rejected as fables.

  16. It seems absurd in retrospect for me to talk about peace when the bullets are still flying. There is disagreement in the Church, but that doesn’t mean we are not brothers and sisters.

    May all of us have a proper accounting before the judgement seat of Christ. Forgive me for any offense I may have caused.

  17. Joseph Lipper says

    Last week, members of the UOC met with members of the OCU in Kiev to initiate dialogue and find common ground. The prologue from their statement reads:

    “In this difficult time, it is extremely important to preserve the spiritual unity of the Ukrainian people, the origins of which go back to the ancient Kyivan Orthodox tradition. Therefore, we strive to achieve the unification of all Orthodox Ukrainians in a single cathedral and local (autocephalous) Ukrainian Orthodox Church, recognized by the entire Christian Orthodox world. We understand that the path may not be easy, but it is our duty to start this movement.”


    • And it is completely appropriate for the UOC and the OCU to have these conversations and if they can somehow form one canonical Church in Ukraine, we will praise God.

      • Alexander II says

        Here I strongly disagree. Do you have conversations with the devil?

        I again ask, who are the people having these conversations and by what authority?

        There is one canonical Church in Ukraine, and it ain’t Dumenko’s outfit, Filaret’s group, or the official Uniates.

        You’ve opened a window or created an option that places these groups on an equal footing with the canonical Church. They are not. If these individuals shut down their operations and repent, I’m sure the canonical Church will accept them as ordinary members of the canonical Church — not ever as “bishops,” “priests,” or “deacons.”

        But, quite frankly, we all understand that these people do not believe in anything other than themselves, power, and crazy nationalism. They ain’t never repenting or shutting down.

        This is very dangerous reasoning.

        • Alex II, i had to do a double-take with your second sentence! (I’m guessing you meant Onuphriy having a conversation with Epiphony, with Epiphony being the devil.)

          In a better world, I would absolutely agree with you. Epiphony, Philaret and Makary are all mountebanks at best and opportunists at worst. Unfortunately, their grievances have brought us to the precipice of nuclear annihilation. What Gail is suggesting (not that it’s going to happen) is a way to defuse an already tense situation. I don’t disagree with her; if Onuphriy can get Dumenko and all of his unordained “hierarchs” and “clerics” to back down and find a face-saving way into the good graces of the UOC-MP, then he should explore it.

          I’m going to be very tactical and cynical here: the charlatans who make up Epiphony’s false sect at least can be reasoned with. Being con-men, they have no fixed values. Bartholomew on the other hand, actually believes his own hokum, at least to the extent where his delusion is just enough so that the globalists can take advantage of him.

          Bullets are flying. Shots are being fired in anger. Under such a scenario it’s vital that the good guys keep their wits about them and search for ways out.

          If not, then the Russians will settle the issue for them.

          • Alexander II says

            Sorry, but this would be a monumental travesty of epic proportions, achieved only through intellectual gymnastics, ecclesiological alchemy, double talk, sleight of hand, and plain ole’ BS:

            “if Onuphriy can get Dumenko and all of his unordained ‘hierarchs’ and ‘clerics’ to back down and find a face-saving way into the good graces of the UOC-MP, then he should explore it.”

            No, sir. No, way. No how.

            In the end, my guess is that the Russians will — and should — settle the issue with them, preferably by anathema.

            The persecution of the canonical church in Ukraine, by Brussels, the State Department, their Stooges in Istanbul, and the whack jobs associated with Dumenko have not brought us to “the precipice of nuclear annihilation.” If we are indeed there, it is because of other forces. The church issues are but pieces in an infinitely bigger game, not even worthy of being considered pawns.

            I know that many folks here argue and present evidence contending that we are at a nuclear precipice. I’m a bit more skeptical, fully acknowledging that it is pretty bad, for sure. In any event, from the perspective of the church, I’m thinking that “nuclear annihilation” would be a cake walk compared to hell.

          • Alexander II says
    • This is good. But, for such dialogue to happen the OCU really needs to stop seizing temples from the UOC and beating up its parishioners and clergy. If they really want to dialogue with the UOC was taking the Kiev Caves really the best thing for them to do?

      These are the things the OCU needs to do:

      1) Receive valid ordination: The is a concern that the majority of the Orthodox world shares and a serious issue that needs to be addressed before any dialogue can move forward.

      2) Handle the extreme sectarian factions in the OCU.

      3) Don’t change the calendar to match the Uniates

      Until these things happen how exactly can their be dialogue? Especially since a portion of the OCU already has one foot out the door and into Uniatism.

    • Alexander II says

      Yeah, who’s the “we” in this published statement? And by what authority are they making the statement?


      • Joseph Lipper says

        Alexander II, you might notice the source is from a Ukrainian government website, DESS. This dialogue is being facilitated and encouraged by the Ukrainian government. The Ukrainian government wants a single autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine and for national security reasons. National security is the prerogative of government, and yes, sometimes governments have to intervene. That is actually a normal occurrence.

        In Latvia and Lithuania, the government has also intervened for national security reasons, requesting the Orthodox churches there to separate from the Moscow Patriarchate. Latvia has complied by requesting autocephaly from Moscow, but so far their request has been ignored. In Lithuania, the Archbishop Innocent of Vilnius has refused to separate from Moscow. So the Prime Minister of Lithuania has appealed to the EP for help.

        • Joseph, and—we all know that the bishop of Istanbul (Bartholomew) is now rubbing his little hands together in anticipation of creating even more mischief and schisms in world Orthodoxy! You just can’t keep a bad bishop down! Right?!

          By the way, Joseph. Secular governments have no business sticking their noses in Orthodox Church affairs. Especially if the individuals making up these governments are NOT Orthodox.

        • Alexander II says

          Perhaps I should have been clearer.

          Who is talking to whom? The Uki government with the fake church operation? The Uki government with the canonical church? The Uki government with some freelancing cleric of the canonical church acting ultra vires? The fake church with the canonical church? The fake church with some disenchanted person or cleric in the canonical church? Dumenko with his Tarot Card Reader?

          I get the idea that the Uki government thinks a lot of things are in their “national security interest,” everything from Bandera’s sainthood, stealing churches and property from the canonical church, keeping the USA cash cow rolling, covering up for Uncle Sniffing Joe, Son Snorting Hunter, and the money laundering for all sorts of crooks, including members of the USA Congress.

        • Joseph, to be fair, there has been dialog going on even before 2019 when Filaret was deposed by the MP! It was one canonical Church until Filaret left and started a faux church which is why everyone he ordained in the OCU is schismatic.

          Then Bartholomew got involved with a crooked politician named Poroshenko who, word has it, offered Bartholomew $25M to bring the schismatic church under the Ecumenical patriarchate, even though all his brother bishops told him not to do it and the end result was a schism between Bartholomew and 75%+ of the Church.

          Poroshenko thought it would win him an election.

          Bartholomew convinced Filaret that if he turned his church over to him, he would make Filaret the Patriarch of Ukraine. He lied, of course. Filaret was out before the ink was dry and now Filaret is suing them. They combined 3 schematic churches using Filaret to do it and then they kicked him to the curb.

          Meanwhile, the State Department, who put all this together was weaponizing a radical group of Nazis and nationalists, within Filaret’s faux church who later stole the MP’s parishes and property, literally beating up the people in the canonical Church to do it.

          So Bartholomew, having the schismatics legally under him gave the Tomos to Poroshenko, who was the one who asked for it in writing! (Pictures are all over the Internet of the Tomos being handed directly to Poroshenko.) It’s not really autocephaly, for so many reasons, one of which is the OCU can’t make a move without Bartholomew. And the legitimacy he promised them? Didn’t happen.

          The Ukrainian government can schedule all the meetings they want in their desperation to cobble something together that won’t be canonical no mater what they do.

          What I was talking about is not this.

          I imagine when all is said and done and the West is officially out of Ukraine, Met. Onufrey and the OCU, minus the Nazis nationalists (as there are fewer and fewer left), he can work toward fixing this situation assuming there is still a Ukraine left. They need one canonical Church that the rest of the Church acknowledges. This is what held Ukraine together until Bartholomew and the State Department got involved.

          Joseph, you and I both know there is NOTHING the government can do to create a canonical Church. Even the OCU has got to be tired of the Church snubbing them. The only way they’re going to get one Church in Ukraine, which is accepted by the Local Churches, Jerusalem and Antioch is through Met. Onufrey and the Russian Orthodox Church, which I think is not only possible, but a necessity if there is going to be any legitimacy or autocephaly in their future.

          I suspect they have been meeting apart from Bartholomew and the government at this point because what I just said is what Ukraine needs and what Ukraine wants. Not another micky mouse situation.

  18. Well put, Gail.