Pot Calling the Kettle Black

Olga Yurkova, founder of StopFake.org, a website dedicated to the struggle against “fake information” about events in Ukraine, took “pot shots” at Russia in her TED talk entitled ”Inside the Fight Against Russia Fake News Empire.”  This was in retaliation for what she perceives as the perpetual slight against Ukraine in the media.   If you visit her site, it will become clear that in every situation she sees Russia as the aggressor.  In her mind, it is a fact which blinds her to all other realities.  But she’s an academic.  Boy does that word carry some weight in today’s world.   If you’re also a scientist, even better.  People will buy whatever you’re selling.  

Case in point Yurkova, and her colleagues, surveyed the media on January 31.  They concluded, “The news which fit Russian propaganda narratives often appeared in the online media.  For example, four news websites on 31 January simultaneously published Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement about the religious situation Ukraine. The statement was discriminatory towards the newly-created Ukrainian Orthodox Church and did not cover the position of Ukrainian side. Getting independence by the schismatic body was the main topic, around which such messages appeared. Other topics concerned the news legitimizing the occupation of Donbass or Crimea and discrediting Ukrainian authorities. Some TV channels while covering the situation in the frontline avoided calling the opposite side other than “fighters” and do not call Russia an aggressor state or invader.”  https://www.stopfake.org/en/news/

For the record, I could find only two websites (AP & Reuters) who published Putin’s statement on January 31 and they did so with little to no commentary.  Maybe neither thought to call Russia the “aggressor” because Russia was wholly innocent in the matter.  Russia had nothing to do with the creation of the newly formed schismatic church.  It was the government of Ukraine who invaded the canonical Church of Ukraine.  What could the laudable position of the “Ukrainian side” possibly be?  “We wanted it so we took it?”  Yurkova should check her own armpits before she commences to sniff out bias in other media sources.   

The question of the day:  Who’s going to save us from the fake news propagated by the “stop fake news” people if the “stop fake news” people are themselves propagating fake news?  

Putin’s statement:





  1. Joseph Lipper says

    “Putin said the push for a new church was rooted in ‘the struggle for power’ and provoked ‘animosity and intolerance’.”

    Of course there is no new church created, at least according to Moscow. It’s still the “schismatic Kievan Patriarchate” and those who have “unfortunately” joined with them. Even without Patriarch Bartholomew’s intervention, the situation in Ukraine likely still would have followed the same path. It was, and continues to be, a battle of the “schismatics” vs. the “canonical”. That’s crucial, because that’s the “civil war” narrative that Putin needs. Since 2014, the ongoing “civil war” narrative in Ukraine justifies Putin’s military intervention. Putin says:

    “we reserve the right to react and will do everything to protect human rights, including freedom of conscience.”

    Of course he’s not talking about protecting “human rights” in the Russia Federation, but rather in Ukraine, and specifically in the churches in Ukraine. It does not matter that Ukraine does not belong to the Russian Federation. Neither does it matter these are Ukrainian churches without Russian ownership, belonging to the Ukrainian people of the autonomous “Ukrainian Orthodox Church” under the Ukrainian Metropolitan Onuphrey. Instead, what matters is Putin’s own struggle for power and his own right to provocate animosity and intolerance.

    • Joseph Lipper: “what matters is Putin’s own struggle for power and his own right to provocate animosity and intolerance”
      Are you saying that Putin created this debacle? Any sources to support your claim?

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Vladimir Putin takes full credit for annexing Crimea.  He did it without any kind of agreement or compensation to Ukraine.  It was an unlawful act.   The annexation represents a willful struggle for geopolitical power, and it has provoked the animosity of Ukrainians and exasperated their tolerance of any further Russian aggression.  
        At the same time, the Russian annexation of Crimea does make sense for Russia.  It protects the Russian use of the port at Sevastopol.  It also makes Ukraine an “occupied” country and therefore ineligible for NATO.  There is no good reason for Ukraine to be in NATO.  Still, it was an illegal act, and Russia needs to make amends somehow with Ukraine.  Unfortunately, we are not seeing that happening. 
        Because no peace is being made, this puts the Ukrainian church in a very awkward position.  The consequence for the autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) is it’s duty to have allegiance to the Ukrainian government and it’s defense against (in this case Russian) aggression.  Instead, we are seeing the UOC-MP with a tendency to side with Russia against Ukraine, and that means the UOC-MP is not doing it’s job.
        So if the UOC-MP is not supporting their own government’s defense, then the UOC-MP is taking a contrary political position.  As St. Paul tells us,  “Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.”
        The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is supposed to have allegiance to the Ukrainian government that has jurisdiction over it.   Since this was compromised in Ukraine, I believe President Poroshenko was justified in reaching out to Patriarch Bartholomew for intervention.  The argument for Ukrainian autocephaly became all the more pertinent as Russian-granted autonomy wasn’t working.  Autocephaly was then neccesarily imposed on Ukraine by the EP as a disciplinary measure and correction.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          The schismatics have always been in a “very awkward position,” Joseph, and the EP made it worse. The enthronement of Epiphany reminded me of the kid who invited his entire class to his birthday party and no one showed up. It was the EP who made them into Orthodox orphans and gave them over to the State to be used as the poster children for “religious freedom.” If they manage to drag the West into a “boots on the grounds” war, it will leave Ukraine in sheds. This will be his legacy.

        • Mr. Lipper, please cite some facts to support your allegation that “we are seeing the UOC-MP with a tendency to side with Russia against Ukraine.”

          And tell us, if you know, what was Metr. Onufry’s position concerning Crimea becoming part of the Russian Federation?

        • Joseph Lipper: “The consequence for the autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) is it’s duty to have allegiance to the Ukrainian government and it’s defense”
          Are you saying that Orthodox Christians in Ukraine, should have defended legitimate, elected government of Yanukovych against the coup?

          • Joseph Lipper says


            A good example of this situation is probably the position of St. Tikhon of Moscow during the Bolshevik Revolution. Initially he supported the provisional government and denounced the godless Bolsheviks. However when the Bolsheviks finally came into power, he then ultimately recognized that as the legitimate governance of Russia. It was really an apolitical position. He then recognized the Bolsheviks as “God’s ministers” and prayed for them in Divine Liturgy.

            • The UOC commemorates the current president (that being Petro Poroshenko) during the liturgy, and prays for him and the Ukrainian army, as is required of every Orthodox Church. Metropolitan Onufry, and for that matter the synod of the UOC-MP has repeatedly stated it’s commitment to the protection of the independence and sovereignty of the Ukrainian nation state. What else can we expect them do? Are they not nationalist enough? Would they be patriotic enough if they supported Nazi war criminals like Stefan Bandera, and go on campaign tours for Poroshenko? (both of which the current OCU primate has repeatedly done) The accusations of the UOC-MP are groundless, and only serve to legitimize the persecution of the UOC-MP.

              • Randy again, I made a typo in the previous post I meant to say “These accusations against the UOC-MP are groundless, and their promulgation only serves to try and justify the persecution of the UOC-MP”.

              • Joseph Lipper says


                Crimea is still under the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Onuphrey and the UOC-MP. Do the UOC-MP churches in Crimea still pray for the nation of Ukraine, the government of Poroshenko, and the Ukrainian armed forces? How about the UOC-MP churches in Donbass? Honestly, I would really like to know.

                The Russian-backed militias in Donbass are still shooting at their own countrymen with heavy ammunition canons, and the UOC-MP priests there are encouraging it. St. Tikhon of Moscow would never have let that happen. I don’t like to say this, but it appears to me that Metropolitan Onuphrey is either talking from both sides of his mouth or is simply ignoring what his clergy are doing in Donbass.

            • Solitary Priest says

              He recognized the Soviet laws as obligatory as long as they DID NOT conflict the laws of piety. Commenting on this Solzhenitsyn says, ” If only everyone had answered this way, how different our history would have been.”

    • Wrong again Joseph. Bartholomew threw gasoline on the flame. The persecutions against the canonical Church have escalated now that the nationalist fascist government and the schismatics feel that Constantinople has justified their abomination.  When the schismatics and the Ukrainian KGB decide to go after the holy monasteries, Putin has said that he will help protect them.
      Thank God.

      • Joseph Lipper says


        Russia’s annexation of Crimea has certainly thrown gasoline on the flame, and it appears the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) has not served it’s own country well in the midst of this. That’s why so many people have left their UOC-MP parishes. With the current elections in Ukraine, I believe the leading contender with pro-Russian sympathies, Yuriy Boyko, is in fifth place with less than 10% support in current polls. It may be that his support in the polls also amounts to the percentage of Ukrainians who support the UOC-MP.


        • Joseph Lipper: “it appears the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) has not served it’s own country well in the midst of this. That’s why so many people have left their UOC-MP parishes”

          Really, how many? What are your sources? (BTW, Wikipedia entries on controversial and flammable topics are guaranteed to be biased, for obvious reasons)

          • George Michalopulos says

            Good point, Martin. As our intrepid correspondent Greatly Saddened has pointed out earlier, the new schismatic group is having trouble finding priests to serve in their parishes.

            There’s a theological reason for this: it’s called bad juju.

          • Joseph Lipper says


            This upcoming election in Ukraine is probably the best way to actually measure any pro-Russian sentiment that exists. I think it’s fair to say that support for the UOC-MP’s defense should manifest itself somehow in this election, and my best guess is this translates to support for a pro-Russian candidate, the leading one being Yuriy Boyko. While polling data always has a margin of error, it appears that overall support for pro-Russian contender Yuriy Boyko has remained fairly consistent at about ten percent since last summer when polling began. At any rate, Yuriy Boyko is not considered to be any threat by the other candidates to win or make it to the run-off elections.

            As for people leaving the UOC-MP, this has been a general trend in Ukraine, especially after the annexation of Crimea. Ever since then, the Moscow Patriarchate has increasingly complained about “church seizures”, but most likely this is basically just people voting with their feet and taking their parishes with them. Conversely, we just don’t hear about hardly any “Kievan Patriarchate” parishes leaving and joining the MP. I’m sure Moscow would boast about that if it were happening.

            • Joseph, why you are not answering my questions? You don’t have to, you want to monologue, it’s OK.

            • Numerous priests and faithful have been received from the schismatic structure into the UOC-MP, as evidenced by the fact that the UOC-MP has significantly grown in since over the past year, even after the “tomos”. While you are right that the ideologically deluded members of the schismatic structures often refuse to repent and return to the canonical church, there have nevertheless been many cases where schismatic laymen and even priests have voluntarily re-United to the UOC-MP, even in a time like this. Since the tomos, the UOC-MP has expanded and strengthened its mission in Ukraine. As for the ill-founded idea that the “transfers” are peaceful, one need only to watch the many videos of schismatics resorting to beating priests and elderly partitioners in order to seize these churches. There is a documentary about this by a Ukrainian Orthodox news agency well worth watching that I have posted below. I will also post a few videos that show the vile and violent nature of these church “transfers”, as well as a UN report on this issue that specifies the persecutions that the UOC-MP has increasingly faced since the “tomos”.

              UOC-MP documentary: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YprEaGjE6ps&
              Church seizure: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7kzzDh2Ow7A
              Church seizure: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Yar1tqn889I
              Church seizure: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nAwlerhBGU0
              Church seizure: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LOUUQrd-Nlc&t=1s
              UOC-MP Bishop physically assaulted: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_S3tzhI8fAw
              Interactive map of church seizures compiled by UOC-MP legal department: https://spzh.news/en/news/61096-juridicheskij-otdel-upc-sozdal-interaktivnuju-kartu-zahvatov-cerkvej
              UN report: https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/UA/CivicSpaceFundamentalFreedoms2019-2020.pdf

              I could go on ad-nauseam posting links like these that specifically detail open persecution against the UOC-MP by the nationalist groups that now have come to support the “OCU” but one only needs to read the daily reports of the union of orthodox journalists to clearly see the daily persecutions and seizures that the UOC-MP faces from members of the illegitimate “OCU” here: https://spzh.news/en

              I’m sorry if I got a bit heated in this post, I just get really annoyed when people deny the terrible persecutions of the UOC-MP faithful in Ukraine.

              • Joseph Lipper says


                Yes, churches should be transferred in a lawful and peaceful way, and not by unlawful violence. What we see in these videos is sad and wrong, and I have no doubt it will probably get worse as we approach Pascha.

                What I would like to see is some face to face communication between Metropolitan Onuphrey and Metropolitan Epiphany.

                • That would be interesting, but I would not blame Met. Onufry for refusing to do any such thing, considering the fact that “Metropolitan” Epiphany has: repeatedly openly slandered and insulted Metropolitan Onufry, openly stated his proud self identification with a Nazi war criminal, and acted in complicity to the numerous state and locally led persecutions of the faithful of the UOC-MP.

                  Even so, if “metropolitan” Epiphany really wants to talk with Metropolitan Onufry about church issues, he just would have to ask, and Met. Onufry would probably oblige, as he did with that Filaret character a few years back. Although Epiphany has talked a big talk about his supposed love for the “Russians who refuse to submit to OCU” or something along those lines; the schismatics (like many other times in history) are actually the ones that are the most opposed to dialogue and communication, as evidenced by Pat. Bartholomew’s unusually stubborn disapproval of the convoking of a Pan-Orthodox Council on the issue.

              • Nikos stone says

                Friend thank you for yr witness

                • My comment meant for Range, re thank you for witness and you do not get over heated. You just tell truth

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I would say it’s a human rights issue if the clergy is being detained, investigated, threatened and deported.

      Bartholomew is morally responsible for making an unstable situation more precarious.   Had he REALLY wanted to help the schismatics, he could have worked through the Russian Chruch to bring them into the Church properly.  Instead, he allowed himself to be used by the Ukrainian government in an effort to accomplish his own personal objectives.  When people die, and they very well may, it will be on  him and THIS will be his legacy.





      • And let’s not forget about Bartholomew’s vindictive and vengeful nature regarding his desire to get even for the non-attendance of the 2016 Cretan Robber Council.

  2. John Sakelaris says

    I just want to again drop in a few words of moderation here. Sure, the US policy has overreached in a number of ways. But let us, as a matter of preparedness, consider that worst-case scenario. This US-Russia tension could result in combat between US and Russian military personnel and there could then be death on both sides.

    If that happens, the Orthodox Christian presence in the US must be seen as just as loyal as any parish of Protestants or Catholics. And expect to be asked by others concerning your loyalty.

    If your Orthodox Christianity can be traced to an immigrant’s arrival in the US (in most cases, from Greece), tell of how much the naturalization of your family is appreciated by you and of how wonderful the US has been for your family for the last fifty or hundred years, or longer. If you are an Orthodox Christian because of the decision you or a loved one made to convert to it, tell of the ancient theological purity of Orthodox Christianity.

    Remember that part of our long-term responsibility is to grow the Orthodox Church in the US. And if this horrible US-Russia tension ends in bloodshed and perhaps even in a defeat for the US, we will want all the other Americans to be able to say that, when the killing was going on, the Orthodox here were loyal.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Yes, as Orthodox Christians in the U.S., our job is to pray for our country and for our civil authorities and for our armed forces. If we happen to be ROCOR and also U.S. citizens, then our loyalty should be to the U.S., even if our country is fighting against Russia.

      In Romans chapter 13, St. Paul writes about how governments are ordained by God, and Christians should accept the government that has jurisdiction over them:

      “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
      For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.”

      • When the germans, along with Romanians and Hungarians invaded USSR., the head of the ROC immediately, indeed even before Stalin, who was drunk and cowering for two weeks at his Dacha, called on all citizens and all Orthodox believers ,to defend their land and by extension the atheist government that had persecuted the Church to almost physical extinction.  Same with Bishop Nicholas in Japan in 1904 .

        • Monk James Silver says

          This paragraph is full of nonsense and misrepresentations of history Whoever ‘Nikos’ is, he ought to be ashamed of himself.

          • What should i be ASHAMED about? That as i said Sergius the locus temens of the Patrarchal throne in the Sunday following the invasion I think, in Epithany Cathedral in Moscow, that i have often attended,called upon all Russian Orthodox believers to defend their country. By extension, unsaid, defense of their government. Of course he made the point that nazis were not Christian. I rather think his hearers would have understanding of the further point re their own situation. The Russian church went on to fund tanks etc from believers ‘ offerings and to be totally anti nazis. Only the other sergius, the exarch of Ukraine trapped in Kiev, had a more, forced ambigious role.
            No I AM NOT ASHAMED of what i wrote. It’s history and I bow down to the Church of Russia for it.

            • Solitary Priest says

              Nikos, I don’t want to get into arguments with you or anyone else during this first week of the fast. Exarch Sergius was in charge of the Baltic region. Metropolitan Nicholai was Exarch of Ukraine.
              You, and anyone else interested, can look up “Pskov Orthodox Mission.”

            • Monk James Silver says

              It would be a good thing for ‘Nikos’ to read his earlier words again, and understand that his comments about the personal characteristics of Patriarch Sergius Stragorodskiy and Archbishop St Nicholas Kasatkin are out of line and shameful.

              In addition, his misreading of Russian church history in the 1940s is clearly motivated by some sort of animus which he now wants to disown.

              Next, I suppose he’ll be accusing Pat. Sergius of ‘sergianism’ — as if there were such a thing.

              • Nikos didn’t say anything untoward about Patriarch Sergius or Saint Nikolai; he just stated facts. Patriarch (then Metropolitan) Sergius patriotically called on the people to resist the invasion before Stalin did and – by extension – support the government, which was atheist.

                During the Russo-Japanese war, Saint Nikolai told his Japanese priests to commemorate their army and serve molebens for a Japanese – and by extension, pagan – victory, while he himself refrained from taking part and – if I remember correctly – prayed for the Russian army privately. For this, he received awards from both Russian and Japanese governments.

                Nikos said nothing wrong. The only thing could be a misunderstanding about being drunk in the dacha. That was Stalin, although some might read it as Metropolitan Sergius due to the way he phrased it.

                • Thank you. And yes I am greek and now speaking bulgarian. Inflective languages and of course english is not but very context led. I meant Stalin re drunk of course .
                  Of course Sergius and his hearers did not not parallel to be drawn between Stalin and Hitler nor did Mother Maria of Paris And her son and fellow Russian as well as Fr Dmitri who died in camps for adding jews .
                  The action of Russian church in wwii I find moving and deeply Christian and for many russians of the time brought them back to the Church.

                  • Monk James Silver says

                    I appreciate the clarification and the context.

                    In English, we have syntax where grammar works in other languages. As a result, words must be in exactly the right order if their meaning is to be understood correctly.

                    Since I was reacting to what was written as it was written, my misunderstanding is at least explainable. I regret calling ‘Nikos’s’ words shameful, and I apologize.

                    • That is fine because yr feelings were in right place given yr assumptions.
                      Word order is what i struggle with in english!!

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says

                    The original post was quite intelligible as written, in fact. While parentheses around the phrase in question would have been a bit better (or dashes setting off the phrase), it was clear enough. Indeed, I couldn’t figure out what the objection was until the above linguistic discussion….

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      Where in the world does this ‘http:Tim%20Mortiss’ come from?

                      That’s a new one…

                    • Tim good point. As a native greek speaker and english soon after native brits have always struggle to understand my written english as TOO DENSE, is the phrase heard. A teacher of english as a second language told me it is because I am used to inflective languages where words can be moved about. When i read english I often have to re- read a sentence to get clear who is refering to what!!

        • John Sakelaris says

          Yes, we Orthodox do not belong to any one nation or nationality. 
          Also, I forgot to add above that, wherever we are, we have a liturgy in which we pray for the leadership over us and for the local armed forces.

  3. Francis Frost says

    Dear Ms. Sheppard

    You write “When people die, and they very well may, it will be on  him and THIS will be his legacy.”

    My Dear Ms. Sheppard, I have news for you. People HAVE been dying, regularly and repeatedly for the past 25 years!

    Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian government has tried to claw back its prior conquests. Russia has illegally invaded its neighbors 5 times. Some 65,000 ordinary civilians, nearly all of them Orthodox Christians, have perished at the hands of the Russian military. There are some 2 million homeless refugees due to the Russians’ occupation of their neighbors’ territory.

    You would have us believe that the ‘crisis’ in Ukraine has somehow happed in isolation from the criminal acts of the once and always “Evil Empire. Not so!

    The Moscow Patriarchate would have us believe that they are somehow “innocent victims” of an ecclesiastical Anschluss by the EP. The MP’s propagandists repeatedly cite the sacred canons – the very canons they have repeatedly and flagrantly violated for the past 25 years. There is a certain irony in that. The Russians are quite well aware of their sin, that is why they have sent Hilarion Alfeyev to Tbilisi a half dozen times over the past 2 years to ask the Georgian Patriarchate to renew its offer to give the invaders the fig leaf of a “metochion” to cover the shame of their criminal acts. Having failed in that mission, Alefeyv has now resorted to threats: claiming the Georgian church will suffer “adverse consequences” if they do not cave in to the Russians’ demand to legitimize their criminal conquests.

    Let us be very clear here. No-one has invaded Russia. Not one Ukrainian or Georgian soldier has EVER set foot on even so much as one millimeter of Russian soil. No Georgian priest has ever set foot on the territory of the Moscow Patriarchate. It is the Russian church that has used military force to attack and uncanonically seize 2 entire dioceses of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate.

    The MP occupied 2 entered dioceses of the Georgian Orthodox Patrriarchate; dioceses that were seized though violence with the murder and expulsion of the legitimate Orthodox clergy. The MP created, funded and staffed the schismatic “Abkhaz Eparchy” on the ruins of the canonical Orthodox diocese of Pichvinta-Tskhum (Abkhazeti). The MP received into its ranks the renegade Archimandrite Visarrion Apliaa , without a canonical release from the Georgian Orthodox Patriarch or his diocese bishop. This same Vissarion Apliaa personally led the Russian military forces who expelled at gunpoint the last canonical clergy and monastic from Gali and Kodori (eastern Abkhazeti) after the 2008 war. During the August 2008 war, the Russian bishops, Panteleimon of Adyghea and Feofan of Saratov, along with other MP clergy accompanied the invasion forces into the canonical territory of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate and publicly “blessed” the weapons and forces that carried out deliberate attacks on civilian populations and that 15 entire towns and villages in occupied Samechablo (South Ossetia) On August 8 2008 the rockets blessed by bishop Feofan were used to attack the Ghvrtaeba Cathedral in Nikazi. On the next day, the Russians and Ossetains looted, desecrated a and burned the sanctuary of that ancient House of God. They did not spare even the sacred vessels nor the very Body of Christ on the Holy Table – but incinerated all.

    St. Seraphim of Sarov wrote to Tsar Aleksandr I in 1811, the year that the Russians abolished the Georgian Patriarchate: “Georgia is the inheritance of the Most Holy Mother of God. Do not make war on Georgia. If you do make war on Georgia, God will make war on Russia, and Russia will be destroyed.” That wise Tsar heeded St. Seraphim’s warning; but his heirs did not.

    The tsarist occupiers looted sacred treasures. They outlawed the Georgian language and Georgian liturgical chants. In the end Tsarist Russia was destroyed and the Georgian Patriarchate revived.

    On April 9, 1989 Gorbachov unleashed the Soviet tanks and troops on peaceful teenage protesters in Tbilisi – protesters against the proposed imposition of the Russian language on the Georgian state and its schools. Dozens of young people were killed; but the Soviet Empire collapsed within 2 years.

    Now Putin has again made war on Georgia, the sacred inheritance of the Theotokos. In 1992, St. Gabriel Urgebadze, the great confessor of Christ, the prophet and miracle worker prophesied: “If the Russians take Abkhazeti, the Most Holy Theotokos will never forgive them”.

    The outcome of Putin’s crime spree is clear. All that remains now is the final act, the denouement of this drama, “the day of wrath and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each one according to his deeds, eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor and immortality; but to those who are self seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness – indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish on every soul of man who does evil” Romans 2: 5 – 9

    My Dear Ms. Sheppard, you and your Monomakhos friends seem to think this is all some kind of ecclesiastic football game, and you can root for “your team” without being touched by the consequences.

    I can assure you that this no game to the hundreds of thousands of ordinary Orthodox Christians who were brutally murdered or driven from their ancestral homes by the Russians’ genocidal campaigns. I have attached below an portions of a newspaper article describing the suffering of just one family destroyed by the Russians during the 2008 invasion. Mind you there are literally hundred of thousands of such stories.

    Last Pascha, Mr. Archil Tetruashvili was kidnapped by the occupiers from his home in Akhalgori. Imprisoned by the occupation forces in Tskhinvali, he was tortured to death. The Russians refused for 6 weeks to return his body to his family for a Christian burial. It was only after Patriarch Ilya’s public appeals resulted in an international public outcry that Mr. Tetruashvili’s body was returned for a Christian burial. Sadly, his captors did not return his entire body as his internal organs were removed by the ‘medical examiner’ in Vladikavkaz and kept as a grisly trophy of their evil act.

    Read this except from the Guardian article “South Ossetia, One Year On”

    Mr Razmadze has no need to see for himself. He lived through the destruction of his home, refusing to leave even as the roar of Russian bombers filled the skies during five days of war last August, killing his neighbours and striking his house.

    It was only as Ossetian militiamen, bent on revenge, embarked on drunken looting sprees in Georgian villages like Eredvi that lay on Ossetian soil, that he finally decided to flee.
    He reached Gori, a supposedly safe sanctuary deep in undisputed Georgian territory, only to find that his older son Zviadi had just been buried, after being killed in a Russian air strike.
    Zaza Razmadze saw the explosions that killed his brother. Running through the choking dust and smoke that darkened the sky above Gori, he stumbled on his body in the forecourt of the block of flats where Zvio, as his family knew him, lived.
    It was here that The Sunday Telegraph came across Zaza Razmadze, cradling his brother’s head in his arms and imploring him to live as he ripped off his own shirt to try to staunch his wounds.
    Photographs of his grief were to become the defining images of the short but brutish war Georgia and Russia fought a year ago, images so compelling that the Kremlin sought to dismiss them as fabrication.
    Jerkily he recalled that hot August day, explaining that – unbeknown to him – as he tended Zvio’s body his brother’s wife, eight months pregnant, was also dying in the flat above.
    “They had left the previous day,” he said with quiet but forceful bitterness. “I still don’t know why they came back.”
    The only person who could answer that question is his nephew, eight-year-old Dito. Wounded in the blast that killed his parents, Dito is still to traumatised to speak of what happened.


    So, congratulate yourself on your support for the “winners” in this awful game.

    Just remember as you start the Great Fast, the prophecy of Isaiah that we read during this time:

    “When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.”

    Isaiah 1:15

    “By observing lies and vanities, you have forsaken your own mercy”

    Jonah 2:8 and the Canon of the Holy Sabbath

    A blessed and compunction Fast to you all

  4. Gail Sheppard says

    Per usual, Mr. Frost, you have written a novel. Very little of it applies to me, so I won’t bother to respond other than saying there are no winners here. The EP has placed us in a situation where there will only be more losers.

    • Francis Frost says

      Dear Ms. Sheppard:
      First, my dear Ms. Sheppard, if my post is “a novel” then why have you hidden it instead of replying to it?   You are simply demonstrating your own intellectual dishonesty. You don’t post my comment and you don’t respond to it for one reason, you are not ABLE to respond reasonably or factually. You have no counter argument, so you resort to trickery. What a shameful display.
      You ought at least, my dear, try to be honest with yourself, if not your readers. There are none so blind as those who refuse to see. 
      What is more, you say that the suffering of innocent Orthodox Christian does”not apply” to you.  Perhaps you have forgotten the Lord’s teaching which hopefully your heard in church last week:  “As you did it not to these the least of my brethren so you did it not to Me”. Perhaps you have not heard St. Silouan’s teaching, “My brother is my life”  or the parable of the Good Samaritan. If the suffering of Orthodox Christians does “not apply” to  you, then quite simply, you are no longer a Christian. You wax eloquent about  canonicity, and schism; and yet your very words betray the fact that in your own heart, you have renounced Christ. 
      You see, my dear Ms. Sheppard, if you cannot see the crucified Lord of Glory in the suffering of your fellow man, then you will never see that Lord when He come in his glory to judge the earth. 
      How utterly sad for you.     I’l leave it at that.     I’ll pray for you this fast.
      Have a blessed fast. 

      • Gail Sheppard says


        This is not my blog.  I did not withhold your comment.  You have a blessed fast, as well.

  5. GALE u only obligated to read Tolstoy ???

  6. Francis Frost says

    Dear Ms. Sheppard:
    You provoked me to anger and I spoke too harshly to you. Forgive me and have a good lent

  7. Joseph Lipper says

    Blimbax, thank you for your patience.

    There were numerous reports of Ukrainian soldiers who died defending their nation and then were subsequently denied Orthodox burial by the UOC-MP. In other words, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) was taking a position against supporting Ukrainian nationalism, and doing this even inside the nation of Ukraine. That wasn’t right. This is why so many Ukrainians left the UOC-MP, especially after Crimea’s annexation. The church is supposed to prayerfully support whatever nation it occupies. We pray for our country, our government, and our armed forces.

    I don’t entirely know Metropolitan Onuphrey’s position regarding Crimea. However, I do know that Crimea remains under his jurisdiction. Crimea is still part of the UOC-MP, which I think is very strange. It also means that Metropolitan Onuphrey didn’t lose anything, at least jurisdiction-wise, by Russia’s annexation.

    This strange ecclesial situation of Crimea seems to say the autonomous UOC-MP sympathizes with a view of Ukraine more as a territory of Russia, rather than as a nation. That’s an entirely subversive and unchristian position for a national church to take, that is to deny the validity of the nation it occupies. Such a position warrants an actual reprimand from the political authorities, or “God’s ministers” as St. Paul tells us. Because of this, President Petro Poroshenko had every right to request autocephaly from the EP. The Russian government and the Moscow Patriarchate were both creating a mess in Ukraine, and neither were able to fix it. So in that case, a response from the EP was justified also.

    • Joseph there is some truth in what u say. Not in right of Ukrainian legal church to be autonomous if wishes and it is Ukrainian but one has to accept the view that long run an autocephaly is needed.

      My beef with EP is how done WHICH WAS WRONG, WILL BE WRONG AND PAPAL and who done with. Denisenko is very much in the hot seat. He is for valid ecclesiastical reasons and moral a defrocked layman. EP has no authority tp change that.
      ANATHEMA. Sadly both sides a disgrace and Ukrainian Orthodox caught in middle. AS ALWAYS.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Nikos, thanks, I agree with you that how this autocephaly was done is a big question mark for most everyone, myself included.

        There needs to be a real council to discuss not only this situation in Ukraine, but also to examine the general topic of autocephaly and the general reasons why it should or should not be granted.

        Orthodox ecclesiology, especially here in America, is too Byzantine (that’s my joke for the day).

        • Joseph agree with u totally. This is the problem. I want neither a third Rome, St Andrew foundation claim or Phanar never never land. Both do church great damage.
          Look at USA. We need a Council to put church on footing with world as is .
          Here in Bulgaria the Church was for 70 odd yrs outside Orthodoxy as it were as the Phanar and greek world refused ro recognise the 19c new world of nationalism. We in same place again but this time it’s Phanar led by the nose and Moscow although technically in right, but treating Ukraine as a Russian franchise.
          The solution would be an autocephaly of legal current autonomous church which those outside could join with due Orthodox practice in returning schismatics to church as happened with living church in Russia.

  8. Joseph Lipper says

    The wounds of division among the Orthodox pilgrims in the Donbass


    “the priests and faithful of the area have taken to the field right from the first clashes, supporting the ‘separatists’ of the self-declared pro-Russian republic of Donetsk and Lugansk, recognized only by the Russians, which the Ukrainian forces they regularly try to win back. Orthodox priests have all incited ‘holy war’ against the Kievan army, confessing and blessing the faithful and the Cossacks alongside Russian mercenaries.

    “One of the parish priests of the area, Father Vitalij Veselij, is also a well-known local poet, and accompanies the blessings with one of his compositions: I love the Russian soldier / ready to die for the Fatherland / From monsters like NATO / and from all brigands defends her!”

    • Yes the secular world looks at us and says if this is what God and all that do, are we not better of without it!!? . That will be the comment in letters to editors and news discussions around western world.
      Yes I know, they will dismiss us anyway, but should we hand them out the pre- printed reasons? Same happened in yugoslavia. Friends in London with roots in Croatia but Ukrainian and mixed service and croatian ( wife) say ustaci and Ctetniks, ALL THE SAME HATE FILLED.