So Who Is The Primate in Ukraine?

On Sunday, December 13, Metropolitan Emmanuel of France along with the Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Ukraine, Bishop Michael of Komana and with Bishop Yevstratiy of Chernihiv and Nizhyn officiated the first service.

With the blessing of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, a delegation of the Mother Church, consisting of Metropolitan Emmanuel of France and the Patriarchal Deacon, Iakovos Krochak, traveled to Kyiv to celebrate the feast of St. Andrew the First-Called whose memory is celebrated at the stauropegion, which has been granted to the Ecumenical Patriarchate by the Ukrainian State since 2018.

Former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, government officials, MPs, as well as a representative of the Greek Embassy in Kyiv were present.

In his speech, the Metropolitan of France stressed that he responded willingly to the Ecumenical Patriarch’s urging to represent him in that day’s celebration and feast and in the second anniversary of the Unification Council, which had formally requested the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine to the Mother Church, and elected Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine as its primate.

And the Metropolitan of France continued:

“From this Holy Patriarchal Stauropegion in Kyiv, I humbly declare in all directions that the Mother Church of Constantinople has constantly taken care of the stability of the local Orthodox Churches, and in fact of those who have received its internal administrative autonomy from her.

The existence of the stavropigia and this historical responsibility of the Archbishop of Constantinople to give stavropigia everwhere is the true witness of the strong unity of the church body and it is by no means an open intervention or interference in the internal affairs and operation of each Church. That is, the stavropigion is a sign of spiritual coexistence.”
https://orthodoxtimes.com/first-service-at-st-andrews-church-in-kyiv-after-11-years/

 
As OrthoChristian reported last week, Constantinople is reportedly planning to declare the OCU the only canonical church in Ukraine and to even suspend all the hierarchs of the canonical Church under His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.
 

Patriarch Theodore spoke in favor of “correct ecclesiology”

The Primates of the Orthodox Churches that have switched to the news calendar are issuing Christmas messages. Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria, in his address to the flock, especially emphasized the issues of ecclesiology, and in a very peculiar way. In the words of the Alexandrian Primate, “Christ was born, and was born in the Church! Our Church, eternal, timeless, the communion of the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit is the manger in which the incarnate Son of God and the Son of the Virgin – our Lord Jesus Christ – was born. ” How the Lord could have already been born in the Church, which He promised to create in the future (see: Matt. 16:18), is unclear.

Patriarch Theodore emphasized the importance of faith in the Church: “We are not able not only to love, but even to speak about Christ without the Church!” “Christ without the Church means nothing to believers. Through the Church, I believe! Through the Church I worship! ”

Why is the patriarch so insistent about the importance of the Church in his Christmas message? Is it because not everything is so smooth in the ranks of the African Orthodox? .. After all, dozens (if not hundreds) of African clerics have expressed disagreement with the position of the patriarch in connection with the Ukrainian question. Patriarch Theodore clearly ends the message with the words: “Let’s follow where the faithful, unshakable Star of the Church leads!”

According to Theodore, “correct ecclesiology is a safe haven and a cozy cradle in the church world, which is rapidly moving towards the desacralization of history due to external reasons.” But did Patriarch Theodore himself show loyalty to the Orthodox teaching about the Church? – On the contrary, he succumbed to external pressure and contributed to the aggravation of church disorders, supported that very desacralization, giving up Orthodox principles in favor of worldly interests.

Well, “by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:37).  https://raskolam.net/%d0%bf%d0%b0%d1%82%d1%80%d1%96%d0%b0%d1%80%d1%85-%d1%84%d0%b5%d0%be%d0%b4%d0%be%d1%80-%d0%b2%d0%b8%d1%81%d0%bb%d0%be%d0%b2%d0%b8%d0%b2%d1%81%d1%8f-%d0%b7%d0%b0-%d0%bf%d1%80%d0%b0%d0%b2%d0%b8/

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  1. It says “speak your mind” at the top of this comment page.

    These satanic scumbags masquerading as bishops are traitorous pieces of . . .

    There, I spoke my mind.

    Mike

  2. The newest Orthodox ‘cold war’ is about to get even worse. Despite resistance and statements here and there from scattered hierarchs within the Greeks churches, there will be a line drawn down the middle—Russia, canonical Ukraine, Belarus, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Czech and Slovaks against Bartholomew and his crooked cronies. Let’s all pray that the Lord gives true Orthodox Christians the power and resolve to get through this!

    • Johann Sebastian says

      All of this is courtesy of the US State Department, NATO, and the European Union.

      Meddling of the highest order and of the most evil sort.

      • I think it is also despite Trump,
        not because of him

        • Johann Sebastian says

          Absolutely concur. Trump is largely irrelevant to this, although the United States is very much relevant. This is just another chapter in a long line of insults to Orthodoxy by the United (perhaps I should say Uniate instead) States.

          It’s a shame that the American public (especially those who claim to be conservative) doesn’t care to know more about this religious meddling by our “sacrosanct” Republic; one that prides itself on the separation of Church and State.

          • Ironic, isn’t it?

            My instincts tell me that with the wrong side winning the War Between the States, the Northeastern Yankees took control of our foreign policy.

            These people hate Catholicism and view Orthodoxy in a contemptuous light. The fact that Russia has rediscovered its ✝ roots enrages them to no end.

            • A major check on Anglo/French support of the Confederacy
              was the presence of a Russian Fleet in the North Atlantic in 1863-4:
              https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/1835544.pdf

              “Aside from the friendly relations that had always existed between the two nations there were special reasons why they should draw close to each other at this critical period. Alexander had freed the serfs; Lincoln was emancipating the slaves. The United States had been invited by France to join the powers in dictating to Russia upon the Polish problem and had declined; Russia had been asked by France to intervene in the Civil War and had refused. Russia was fighting against insurrection; the United States to put down rebellion. “

    • Not exactly spit down the middle. Using wikipedia numbers for the countries you listed, there are greater than 168 million orthodox christians. With a worldwide total of about 220 million, that would leave about 52 million if all the other churches went with the EP.

      • Tanya, I didn’t mean down the middle numerically, but ethnically. The Greeks vs. non-Greeks. (I also neglected to put in Antioch…they will most likely side with the non-Greeks.)

        • Oh I know what you meant. I was just trying to illustrate that the overwhelming majority of Orthodox christians are not under the EP ( and also not greek). So, if God forbid, the EP creates a false union with Rome, they won’t be able to drag the bulk of the Church down with them.

          • Agreed. I doubt he would be able to take a majority of the Greek-speaking Christians with him.

            • I agree. There is something so sinister just dangling at the edge of perception that involves Rome, EP and the State Department that I feel that most of what is happening is just smoke and mirrors to hide the main event. May God grant us wisdom and discernment. Spidey senses wouldn’t hurt either.

  3. George Michalopulos says

    The answer my dear is easy: His Beatitude Onuphriy, Metropolitan of Kiev and all-Ukraine.

  4. Jane Tzilvelis says

    The Great GOA put its hand in the PPP stimulus US cookie jar to the tune of $2.5 million dollars. Being tax exempt is not enough.

    https://mcusercontent.com/d843d668dde012c7ea79d97f4/files/a78a8cf9-53bc-4318-a9c4-3c53c346b83f/Handout_1_for_Metropolis_of_Atlanta_Town_Hall_Meeting.pdf

  5. Whose presidency has more primacy in Ukraine? Vladimir Zelensky, or Vladimir Putin?

    • Johann Sebastian says

      The notion of a Ukrainian state is a fiction of Vatican meddling via the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Habsburg Empire.

      Ukraine is Russia.

      • Indeed. The Patriarchate of Moscow is no other than
        the Metropolitanate of Kiev, transferred via Vladimir
        and raised in status. It is the same historical church.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Someone needs to tell Bartholomew that Ukraine is not his territory.

          • Many have tried.
            None have succeeded.

          • I think that’s better said than done, Gail. Bartholomew is on a roll; he’s going to be meddling in Serbia’s back yard soon…Macedonia. (And, God knows where else?!)

            • Gail Sheppard says

              It begs the question: If the local Churches fail to act to remove Bartholomew to protect the Church, then when does it make sense to acknowledge that it really isn’t just Bartholomew who is the problem?

              • George Michalopulos says

                Gail, it’s predicted in both Scripture and Tradition that swaths of the Church will apostasize.

                I realize of course that evangelism is for all intents and purposes impossible at this point. As are the other duties of the Church (i.e. hospitals, soup kitchens, parochial education, etc).

                At any rate, our job is to remain faithful. For some reason, I have this intuition that that’s not going to be as hard as some of us imagine.

        • Johann Sebastian says

          Exactly. But like so many other things going on in this world, why do so few acknowledge this very simple historical fact?

          Even the MP doesn’t really do much to appeal to this.

        • In 1589, the city of Kiev was territory of the Polish-Lithuanian empire and still under the ecclesial jurisdiction of Constantinople. That same year, the Patriarch of Constantinople, Jeremias II, travelled to Kiev where he personally deposed the Metropolitan of Kiev and replaced him with a new Metropolitan. However, just beforehand he was in Moscow where he had personally elevated Moscow to the dignity of patriarchal status. He personally placed the patriarchal mitre on the head of St. Job of Moscow. So from the beginning of the Moscow Patriarchate, Kiev was still under jurisdiction of Constantinople.

          • You should deepen your research.
            See: History of the Russian Orthodox Church
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Russian_Orthodox_Church#15th_century

            (i) “The Kyivan church was originally a metropolitanate of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Ecumenical patriarch, along with the Emperor, appointed the metropolitan who governed the Church of Rus’. The Metropolitan’s residence was originally located in Kiev. As Kyiv was losing its political significance due to the Mongol invasion, Metropolitan Maximus moved to Vladimir in 1299; his successors, Metropolitan Peter and Theognostus, moved the residence to Moscow by the 14th century.”

            (ii) “In 1448, the Russian Church in Moscow became effectively independent from the Patriarchate of Constantinople — when the Russian bishops in Moscow elected their own primate, Jonas, a Russian bishop, without recourse to Constantinople. [Constantinople was, of course, in heresy at this time.] The Russian church within the bounds of the Grand Duchy of Moscow was thenceforth effectively autocephalous.”

            There are plenty of references supplied for you to confirm this.

            • Brendan, yet there continued to be Orthodox Metropolitans of Kiev, beginning again with Metropolitan Simeon of Kiev in 1481, though the episcopal see was relocated for a time to Vilnius in Lithuania. For example, see:

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Metropolitans_and_Patriarchs_of_Kyiv

              After Metropolitan Isidore of Kiev apostatized at the Council of Florence, he arrived in Moscow in 1441 on Pascha, hoping to unite Russia with Rome. Of course he was arrested, because the Russian bishops wouldn’t have it. Yet despite their problems with Isidore, the Russian Orthodox Church still continued to commemorate the Patriarch of Constantinople liturgically as their primate for seven more years, that is up until their self-proclaimed autocephaly in 1448. Even so, it wasn’t until about 1470 that Russia actually went into schism with Constantinople. That schism lasted up until about 1560. For example, see:

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/15th%E2%80%9316th_century_Moscow%E2%80%93Constantinople_schism

          • Then why, one may dare to ask, did Constantinople complain of Moscow’s inability to resolve the schism created by Philaret (and others) of the ‘Kievan Patriarchate’ whom Moscow, not Constantinople, originally installed as Metropolitan of Kiev. Moreover, why did Constantinople affirm in a written letter to the MP their sole competence to depose and later laicize this same Philaret?

            I do not deny what you have written here, but if it is to be accepted that Constantinople actively maintained a continuous claim of jurisdiction since 1589, one must also concede the fact that their oft-claimed “selfless care for the Churches” rings hollow in the extreme.

            It also fails to account for Philaret’s unconditional reinstatement, the acceptance of unlawfully ordained clergy, and the necessity of the autocephaly (so-called) that was granted.

            And finally there are the simple facts of the fruits (by which we will know them) of this so-called “healing of the schism.” Even if the MP jurisdiction is removed from the equation, all the previous schisms remain and are, in fact, growing deeper – not to mention spreading throughout the Church catholic.

            A crafty politician with ‘historical claims’ he may be. A shepherd of Christ’s flock he is not.

            • Brian, it seems that it’s mostly the official transfer in 1686 of Ukraine’s jurisdiction from Constantinople to Moscow that is debated. Moscow views this as a full transfer, and by all accounts it appears to be. Yet Constantinople holds out that it was never intended to be a full transfer, but rather only a temporary one that could be rescinded. Constantinople’s main justification for their position seems to be that the Metropolitan of Kiev was always supposed to commemorate the Patriarch of Constantinople, even though this practice obviously came to end.

              https://orthochristian.com/129186.html

              • Gail Sheppard says

                If that were true, they would have continued to commemorate Constantinople, which they didn’t. – Fr. Karloutsos had something to say about it at Crete:

                “In June 2016, during the Crete council, the Katehon Think Tank asked Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, an influential priest of the Greek Orthodox Archdioces of America, a jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, for his assessment of the appeal made by the Ukrainian parliament at that time for a tomos of autocephaly. He responded that such a request was inappropriate and that, in the eyes of Constantinople, the Russian Church has legitimate jurisdiction over the Ukrainian Church.”

                https://orthochristian.com/119616.html

                • It’s true that in 2016 Constantinople still viewed Ukraine as under the jurisdiction of Moscow. It was not until two years later, in 2018, that Constantinople rescinded the 1686 document that had “allowed” for Moscow’s jurisdiction over Ukraine.

                  Interestingly one of the reasons Constantinople gave for their reversal was that the Metropolitan of Kiev had stopped commemorating the Patriarch of Constantinople. I suspect the Metropolitan of Kiev had probably stopped doing so shortly after the 1686 document was issued, especially since the Metropolitan of Kiev was being selected and ordained by Moscow, and not by Constantinople. It appears that the Patriarch of Constantinople wasn’t commemorated in Kiev for at least three hundred years, and Constantinople was silent all that time.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    Someone should tell Constantinople: “You snooze you lose.”

                  • one of the reasons Constantinople gave for their reversal was that the Metropolitan of Kiev had stopped commemorating the Patriarch of Constantinople….It appears that the Patriarch of Constantinople wasn’t commemorated in Kiev for at least three hundred years, and Constantinople was silent all that time.

                    Now we’re understanding each other, Rufus. It should also be noted that the MP wasn’t being obstinate. The Russians highly revered the Patriarch of Constantinople, and their patriarchs continued to commemorate him.

            • “Then why, one may dare to ask, did Constantinople complain of Moscow’s inability…”

              They addressed this actually from Day 1. . . .

              • Hmm… The Ukrainian Autocephalous Church schism was revived in 1990. The ‘Kievan Patriarchate’ schism occurred in 1992. Yet suddenly, twenty-eight and thirty years (respectively) later, the Mother Church thought, “Gee, maybe we should take an interest in our beloved children,”

          • Johann Sebastian says

            I think you need to expound a little more on this. Tell us about Isidore and how the reconstituted Kievan Metropolitanate (the one after the original one that moved to Moscow and the one before the one formed under the auspices of Constantinople) had gone Uniate.

            That’s a HUGE issue that no one wants to touch. Moscow *couldn’t* defend the Orthodox there because they were under Polish captivity. The Greeks were called into help by the Russians.

            • In 1620 the Patriarch of Constantinople requested the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophanis III, to travel to Ukraine on Constantinople’s behalf to restore Orthodoxy and the Kievan Metropolis after it had been utterly latinized. So there was pastoral care at the time issued from Constantinople.

              https://gl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Te%C3%B3fanes_III,_patriarca_ortodoxo_de_Xerusal%C3%A9n

              • Mark Moya (aka Johann Sebastian) says

                So you understand that Orthodoxy in Ruthenia was being actively repressed by the Poles and that external help had to be called in because there was really no way that the Muscovites could go into such hostile territory?

                It would be nice if more people in the West knew about this story. It would shed so much light on what is now happening in Ukraine, and might make people rethink their hostility toward Russia. Geopolitics, the Church, the whole nine yards.

          • Rufus, you are correct. But later, Kiev was transferred to Moscow.

            • The 1686 letter from Constantinople transferred Kiev to Moscow, but with a strange stipulation: that the Metropolitan of Kiev henceforth commemorate the name of the Patriarch of Constantinople first and then the Patriarch of Moscow second. This seems strange, because a jurisdiction transferred from Constantinople to Moscow shouldn’t continue to commemorate the Constantinople Patriarch under normal circumstances.

              However, we can also look at the letter from Patriarch Joachim of Moscow that was sent to Constantinople initially requesting the transfer:

              “Knowing that Kiev eparchy is of no use to your Beatitude, and that it is located far from you, and that the threat from wild nations makes two-way journeys difficult, we therefore ask you, not wanting to take the eparchy into our possession, but seeking a fraternal union in Christ, so that Christians who live not only in our country but also in Poland could benefit from it, to express your good will, for the sake of evangelical consent and execution of the law, so that the whole Kiev eparchy should be under the Moscow Russian patriarchal throne, and in the spiritual ruling of the Eastern Church, henceforth to give obedience to and perform ordinations of Kiev metropolitans, in the reigning city of Moscow, since the Kiev eparchy is nearby from us and was part of our All-Russian throne from the very beginning of the adoption of the Orthodox faith in Russia.”

              https://spzh.news/en/zashhita-very/57204-ta-samaja-gramota-tak-peredaval-li-konstantinopoly-cerkovy-ukrainy-moskve

              In this letter, Patriarch Joachim undoubtedly expresses his pastoral concern for the Eparchy of Kiev, yet the key phrase here is:

              “not wanting to take the eparchy into our possession, but seeking a fraternal union in Christ”.

              The Patriarch of Moscow was not actually asking for full possession of the Kiev Eparchy. So in that context, Constantinople’s strange stipulation makes perfect sense. Constantinople was granting exactly what Moscow was requesting. Essentially, the Patriarch of Moscow was asking to become a middle manager for the Eparchy of Kiev, and that’s exactly what Constantinople granted.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Yes, but Bartholomew cannot exercise authority over Ukraine if it jeopardizes his relationship with Pope Francis who has a different understanding:

                Pope Francis appeared to address those charges directly in his remarks to Metropolitan Hilarion at the Vatican, saying that “the Catholic Church will never allow an attitude of division to arise from her people.”

                “We will never allow ourselves to do this; I do not want it,” he said. “In Moscow — in Russia — there is only one Patriarchate: yours. We will not have another one.”

                https://www.ncregister.com/news/orthodox-church-leaders-duel-over-ukraine-meet-with-pope-francis

              • “…so that the whole Kiev eparchy should be under the Moscow Russian patriarchal throne, and in the spiritual ruling of the Eastern Church, henceforth to give obedience to and perform ordinations of Kiev metropolitans, in the reigning city of Moscow, since the Kiev eparchy is nearby from us and was part of our All-Russian throne from the very beginning of the adoption of the Orthodox faith in Russia.”

              • Doesn’t matter. The fact remains Kiev is part of the Moscow Patriarchate and has been for 300 years. A bit of paper saying anything otherwise is a bit like dragging up the dubious “Donation of Constantine”. It ignores the facts on the ground.

                Keep trying though!

                • Johann Sebastian says

                  We don’t even have to bother with this 1686 document. The answer goes all the way back to 988.

              • As we all know, translations and historical contexts can be tricky, to say the least. The tenor of this phrase…

                “not wanting to take the eparchy into our possession, but seeking a fraternal union in Christ.”

                …very much corresponds to – and is highly reminiscent of – similar words written by the Apostle Paul to the Church at Corinth:

                Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand. (2 Corinthian 1:24)

                In other words, the phrase is very likely a statement of motivation that is only now being interpreted by some as a statement of condition. This would appear to be all the more appropriate to the context, given that the same letter also stated…

                “…to express your good will, for the sake of evangelical consent and execution of the law, so that the whole Kiev eparchy should be under the Moscow Russian patriarchal throne, and in the spiritual ruling of the Eastern Church, henceforth to give obedience to and perform ordinations of Kiev metropolitans, in the reigning city of Moscow, since the Kiev eparchy is nearby from us and was part of our All-Russian throne from the very beginning of the adoption of the Orthodox faith in Russia.”

                …as well as the fact that for 300 plus years the jurisdictional transfer back to Moscow was never questioned. Nor had there ever been – or could there be (canonically-speaking) – a Metropolitanate under two patriarchates. Thus the words, “for the sake of evangelical consent and execution of the law.”

                With Moscow’s “evangelical consent” at a time when Moscow was unable to maintain appropriate care of their Ukrainian flock due to the political situation that prevailed at the time, Constantinople was given jurisdiction. When the situation was reversed and Constantinople was unable to care appropriately for the Ukrainian flock, Moscow for the same reasons respectfully requested and was granted the restoration of what had been their jurisdiction.

                In both instances it seems both parties acted in good faith with Christian “evangelical” motivation and consent.

                Tragically, the same cannot be said today.

                • A perfectly clear explanation
                  which does no violence to the terms of the letter.

                • Brian, yet the strange stipulation of Constantinople was not called into question in subsequent letters from Patriarch Joachim of Moscow. Normally such stipulations would be an immediate red flag. Yet, as you mention, there was consent. The stipulation was not argued about.

                  Further, Patriarch Joachim was not requesting a paternal union, but rather a fraternal one. He was essentially asking to be administrative big brother to the Kiev Eparchy. Again, this appears to explain why Constantinople’s stipulation was not brought up as a matter of contention.

                  You also correctly point out that at the time the Patriarch of Constantinople was unable to travel to Kiev. This also explains Constantinople’s delegation of full administrative duties to Moscow. However, today and since 2014, the Patriarch of Moscow has been banned from entrance into Kiev by the Ukrainian government. Three hundred some years later the tables are now turned. That’s a fact on the ground.

                  • Good points, Rufus. There is, however, a difference today. The Kievan Metropolitanare is no longer an eparchy. They are an autonomous, self governing Church – like Greece. Moreover, close (in fact instant) communication with their patriarchate no longer requires travel of either bishops or the carriers of their communications.

                    Yours is at least a reasonable point nevertheless. Like you said, the patriarch cannot travel to the Ukraine, although with the new government that may change, and such travel is far less necessary than it was in 1686.

                    A question to which I do not know the answer: Can the metropolitan travel to Moscow?

                    Regardless, can these factors even begin justify the heavy-and-high-handed manner of Constantinople’s authoritarian treatment – both of the MP and of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, as well as all their innovative claims of universal jurisdiction in this and other matters?

                    It just doesn’t have ‘the aroma of the Fathers.’ In fact, it stinks. Nor does it have anything even approaching “evangelical consent.”

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Brian, a minor quibble: Greece is an autocephalous Church.

                    • Solitary Priest says

                      A slight correction, Brian. The Church of Greece is autocephalous, not autonomous. The Archbishop of Athens is dependent on no Patriarchate .
                      However,the Ukrainian Church is autonomous, under Moscow, but with maximum autonomy. I don’t wish to be drawn into arguments about Ukraine. The day the OCA recognizes the “autocephaly” of Dumenko’s sect, then I leave. With or without my parish.

                    • Covid notwithstanding, I believe Metropolitan Onuphriy still is able to travel to Moscow since he is a Ukrainian citizen. Of course he is also a member of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Holy Synod, so his ability to travel back and forth from Moscow to Kiev is important.

                      How important is it to the Ukrainian Church that their Patriarch Kyril is banned from visiting? It’s a curious situation. You’re right that the Ukrainian Church is already self-governing, so it wouldn’t seem that important, at least not from an administrative viewpoint.

                      The question that keeps coming up in my mind, though, is why doesn’t Russia at least encourage autocephaly for the Ukrainian Church? I know, I know, “because the Ukrainians don’t want it.” The Ukrainians that make up most of the Ukrainian Church probably consider themselves to be more Russian than Ukrainian, who woke up one day on the wrong side of the fence when Ukrainian sovereignty was declared. Probably most of them would rather have Ukraine join the Russian Federation than exist outside of it. Yet this doesn’t change the fact that many Ukrainians obviously want autocephaly. So it’s a divided country, and it has been since at least 2014. Constantinople has handed an olive branch to those Ukrainians who want autocephaly, and yet Moscow firmly supports those who don’t want it. The net result though is that the Orthodox Church is divided. Yes, it’s odious indeed.

                    • Not a minor quibble, George and Solitary priest. Thank you. I stand corrected.

                      Rufus,

                      You seem to be unaware of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s petition for autocephaly prior to Bartholomew’s involvement, as well as what caused them to change their minds about it – again prior to Constantinople’s meddling.

                      A very good synopsis can be found here:

                      https://orthochristian.com/116586.html

                      Bottom line: It is the schismatics themselves who torpedoed both the the OUC’s desire for autocephaly and Moscow’s previously strong inclination to grant it.

                      Then came His All-Holiness “to the rescue” with the incredibly strange notion that a very real and serious schism perpetrated by truly evil, self-seeking, power-hungry men could be resolved by restoring (with no repentance whatsoever) these same men to their clerical ranks and granting them ‘autocephaly’ to boot.

                      As I said in a previous post, we have seen the fruit of this strange notion. Only creating an ersatz reading of the real history of what took place can make Moscow appear to be the ‘bad guy.’ Moscow is not perfect, but they are hardly the villain in the real story of what occurred.

  6. Speaking of a bishop who has turned 180 degrees in the wrong direction…this man continues to disappoint.
    https://greekcitytimes.com/2020/12/28/metropolitan-nafpaktos-coronavirus/

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Truly.

    • They broke him.

    • They also broke the Russian Orthodox Church and have forced them to wear New World Order masks!

      https://orthodoxtimes.com/with-restrictions-the-celebration-of-christmas-in-moscow/

    • President Vladimir Putin has been broken by the New World Order too! He will also be receiving the vaccine.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        And how would anyone know what he is receiving?

      • Why would he require vaccination in the first place?

        • Gail Sheppard says

          The people want it.

          • So help me understand what you believe. Are you saying that Vladimir Putin, who stated that the vaccine was effective and safe, will pretend to be administered the globalist vaccine under Russia’s voluntary program in order to satisfy the wishes of his people?

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Like here in the States, many in Russia are clamoring for a vaccine because they’re scared.

              You keep referring to “the vaccine,” as if there is only one when in fact there are many. If Putin took a “vaccine” (as opposed to antibodies, for example) he probably took Sputnik V which uses adenoviral vector technology, which is different than the mRNA vaccine that Pfizer uses.

              • Ah, you believe that the Metropolitan is taking the dangerous, globalist vaccine while Putin on the other hand will be administered an effacious, non-globalist vaccine. Got it…

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  I never said anything about the Metropolitan taking the vaccine and like you, I don’t know what Putin took. My words are pretty straightforward.

                  • “My words are pretty straightforward.”

                    Not to a man who can read between lines that aren’t there…

                  • You chimed in approvingly above after somebody posted a link of the Metropolitan being immunized and who said that he “continues to disappoint.”

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      He does continue to disappoint and has since Crete.

                      Why are you scrutinizing every word I write? Does it make for entertaining reading for others? No. Does it clear anything up for you? No. Are you hoping to make me and others look bad by ascribing meaning to the inconsequential or unintended? BINGO!

                      This is what is meant by “needling” and you are violating house rules. From now on, restrict your words to new information or reflections that are not personal. Thank you.

    • And also disturbing with Bishop who rolls his sleeves in front of cameras is this priest from the south of Peloponnesus that interrupted the service and threatened to call the police as somebody was not wearing mask.
      https://youtu.be/e0dv80FEJr0

      • VSWR, no, this is a priest from Kalamata, “His Master’s Voice”. His Master is Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Kalamata, who loses no opportunity to kiss the Pope’s hand…

  7. Canon 113 of the Council of Carthage says that if one bishop wishes to challenge the right of another bishop to a territory, he has three years to raise his objection otherwise he loses any right.

    Canon 17 of the Council of Chalcedon (25 of the Council in Trullo) sets the bar at thirty years.

    Moscow governed Kiev peaceably for three hundred and thiry-three years before Bart decided to stick his oar in despite having previously acknowledged Moscow’s right.

    Constantinople is out of order and has no right in Kiev whatsoever.

  8. Orthochristian has had two reports in two days about EP clergy joining the Russian Church. Yesterday it was a Filipino hieromonk and today it was a relatively young Greek priest from Canada.

    I wonder how many more have made the switch without it being announced.

    Also, has anyone heard anything more about the GOARCH monasteries and their rumored switch?

  9. Good News for a Happy New Year!

    Priest of Greek Orthodox Church joins Russian Orthodox Church

    https://spzh.news/en/news/76760-svyashhennik-elladskoj-pravoslavnoj-cerkvi-pereshel-v-rpc

  10. In my view, other parishes would likely consider fleeing the GOA as it continues to self destruct were it not for the question of property ownership as defined by the Archdiocesan Charter. Can anyone opine and/or provide clarity regarding legal issues involved?

  11. Patriarch Bartholomew closes his eyes to schism he created,
    accuses Patriarch Kirill of papal pretensions

    https://orthochristian.com/136584.html

    The sheer effrontery of this man almost beggars description.

  12. Even Patriarch Bartholomew is not the Primate in Ukraine really. It’s rather ex-president Petro Poroshenko or may be even Pope Francis who is ruling the State Ukrainian Church.

    Politicians’ hypocrisy: How rights of Ecumenical Patriarchate are infringed in Ukraine
    https://www.eureporter.co/frontpage/2021/01/06/politicians-hypocrisy-how-rights-of-ecumenical-patriarchate-are-infringed-in-ukraine/

  13. “American political analyst [Jim Jatras]:
    U.S. wants to break the back of Orthodox Church”

    https://spzh.news/en/news/76912-amerikanskij-politolog-ssha-khotyat-slomaty-khrebet-pravoslavnoj-cerkvi

    And that’s the truth of it

  14. Apparently the churches of Jerusalem, Georgia, Romania (and possibly also Bulgaria and Albania) are now “ready” to recognize Ukrainian autocephaly:

    https://orthodoxtimes.com/metropolitan-of-kyiv-georgia-jerusalem-romania-ready-to-recognize-the-church-of-ukraine/

    I guess Mr. Pompeo has been a busy man.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Lets hope that isn’t true. The Orthodox Times is or was funded by the State Department. I don’t know much about the Romanian Church, but I would be very surprised if the Jerusalem and Georgian Church were on board.

    • George Michalopulos says

      All this will do is create schisms within each of these churches. Or “continuing churches”. It’s already happening in Greece, with the OC jurisdiction gaining members.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Also, I wonder about your assertion that Bulgaria and Serbia will join in, after all Bart and his NATO handlers are in the process of carving out “autocephalous” churches from their territories (i.e. Macedonia and Montenegro).

        • Bulgaria and Albania. They’re mentioned. Yet why not Czech Lands and Poland?

          I agree, Serbia won’t for the reason you mention.

        • George, even though Archbishop Anastasi of Albania has voiced concern, and ‘opposition’ to what the EPC has done in Ukraine, I’m really, really surprised that he and the Albanian Orthodox Church haven’t buckled under pressure to recognize the schismatics yet. Very surprised. Though, that could change.

          However, I just don’t see Bulgaria, Georgia and Romania as joining the evil ‘Axis’…I don’t think that they want to anger the Russian Church. Serbia, I know for sure will never join. Jerusalem is a wild card, to be sure. Who knows? Antioch is another Church that will stand with Russia.

          These are just my gut intuitions.

          • To date, Jerusalem has done everything right.

            • Yes, Brendan…to date—Jerusalem has done everything right—to date. Alexandria was once a staunch supporter of the canonical Ukrainian Church, but look how they folded.

          • Interested Roman says

            Romania has in the past sided with Russia on the debates about Constantinople’s primacy, and Romania was represented in the “Amman Conference” early in 2020, so that indicates that Romania’s non-recognition of the OCU is based on theological principles, not politics. Romania itself is non-Slav, is a staunch NATO country, and has poor relations with Russia, so if politics alone were the criteria it would have recognized the OCU long ago.

            It is hard to know what the Albanians will do. Anastasius of Albania has criticized the recognition of the OCU hierarchy on theological grounds, it is unlikely that he will buckle under Bartholomew’s pressure. He is however 90+. It is hard to predict what his eventual successor — who will presumably be ethnic Albanian — will do. It was the Greeks who rebuilt the shattered Albanian Orthodox Church and Albania is strongly within the Western ambit. It won’t be surprising if they eventually support the OCU. But who knows. Theological principles might still win the day.

            Jerusalem, Bulgaria and Georgia really are the wild cards.

            Georgia’s Patriarch has so far resisted recognizing the OCU, but he is very old. Georgia’s government is very pro-Western and may pressure a future Patriarch to recognize the OCU. On the other hand Georgia still has many Moscow-friendly hierarchs, and they know that in the event of a recognition of the OCU, Moscow might come in and assert juridisction over Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

            Bulgaria has the puzzling figure of Metropolitan Nikolai of Plovdiv, who is very anti-ecumenical and has supported a return to the Old Calendar, but also very Grecophile. He took part in a Liturgy in Greece where Epiphanius of the OCU was commemorated. On the other hand there are pro-Moscow / pro-UOC MP Bulgarian hierarchs. There seems to be a 50-50 balance between the two sides. Bulgaria has traditionally been pro-Russian but may be eager to now prove that it is a good Western ally. They can betray the UOC-MP yet, but it will certainly provoke an ecclesiastical civil war there.

            Patriarch Theophilos III has already stood up to Bartholomew on Ukraine, not least in putting together the Amman Conference. It will be an immense humiliation for him to reverse course and recognize the OCU. Furthermore the Russian presence in the Holy Land is sizeable and Theophilos has a restive and unhappy Arab flock to deal with. I think a betrayal by Theophilos will trigger a mass wave of transfers by Arab clergy and parishioners to the jurisdictions of Antioch (still not in communion with Jerusalem still 2014) and Moscow.

            As for the OCA, don’t be surprised if it eventually recognizes the OCU as well — in which case its minority of “traditionalist” parishes should switch en masse to ROCOR.

            I think Moscow should be prepared for the worst.

            • George Michalopulos says

              A lot of wild cards here. Interesting observation.

              One more wild card is the “popularity” of the West in many of these very traditional, OC Orthodox Churches –especially Georgia. According to several surveys, Georgia is the most anti-homosexualist Orthodox country. Ukraine comes next. (We’re talking in the 90%+ range of anti=homosexualist.)

              One of the flaws of the Globalist Left is that they tend to believe their own press releases and thus, overplay their hands. The more the appearance Gay Pride parades in Tbilisi, Sofia, Kiev, etc., the better Moscow looks to the more traditionalist-oriented Slavs, Romanians, Georgians, etc.

              Even in Greece, we are watching the slow extinction of the CoG and active growth in the Greek OC dioceses and even ROCOR(!)

              Having traveled to Russia a couple of times, I can assuredly tell you that the bloom is off the Western rose.

              True story: a few months ago, we had a monk from the new Piedmont monastery over at our house for dinner. He’s newly-arrived from Georgia and he’s very much interested in the American Indian culture (long story) and is very curious about America. He asked me many questions about America and he told me that his family back home is terrified for his safety. (This was during the Floyd Festivities.)

              I opened up the blog and showed him a photo of one of the “peaceful protests”. It showed a young black man leaping in the air, holding a looted TV/laptop’/whatever. Behind him were dozens of other “mourners”.

              The poor fellow thought he had died and descended into the abyss. I had to try and explain to him about race relations, antifa, BLM, and the Blue/Red State divide.

  15. Schismatic media “expose” the OCU-OP conspiracy against Filaret
    https://spzh.news/en/news/76985-raskolynicheskoje-smi-razoblachilo-zagovor-pcu-i-op-protiv-filareta

    According to the spokesman of the OCU, Denisenko is allegedly “confident that in the near future Moscow will give real autocephaly to the UOC, and he, Patriarch Filaret, will be ‘the patriarch of this real autocephalous Church’. To do this, he just needs to ‘wait’ and ‘not give in’.”

    I don’t know what they are all drinking
    but it seems to be powerful stuff…

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I wonder if the Moscow Patriarch is going to do an end run! Maybe they’ll reconcile with Filaret, he will take back his following, and the Russians will give them autocephaly over Kiev, which of course would be acknowledged by the canonical Church. That would pretty much decimate the problem with OCU, wouldn’t it?

      • Filaret is a criminal. It will never happen.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Yes, but he might be preferable to the OCU. He can repent. He is an old man and still carries some weight. He won’t be here as long as the OCU, if the local Churches don’t do something about them. It worries me when I hear Epiphany saying that more of them are going to recognize them.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Agreed. The recognition of Mr Dumenko by any canonical local Church would be a bridge too far for me.

      • I really do not see Kyril abandoning Onuphry,
        neither for Filaret nor anyone else.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Why would he have to abandon Metropolitan Onuphry? He is the Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine. That doesn’t have to change.

          Filaret wants to be the Patriarch of his own Church which was never under Moscow. If it moved under Moscow it would weaken Bartholomew’s grasp. When Fileret passes, every thing would move under Onuphry as Patriarch. Ukraine would have their Church under Moscow.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Don’t worry. I doubt Patriarch Kirill thinks like me. I just hate the idea of all those people uniting with Rome.

            • Johann Sebastian says

              In our family, “Ukrainian” was basically an epithet for fellow Little Russians who abandoned Orthodoxy for Rome.

              It wouldn’t be the first time they’d abandoned their birthright for a mess of pottage.

            • Rome can have them. Orthodoxy is the faith, not jurisdiction. If they want autocephaly more than they want the True Faith as passed down from the Holy Apostles, then they’re not Orthodox and can go wherever they want.

      • Basil is right. Philaret is a criminal and an enemy of the Faith. I would lose every last ounce of respect for the MP if they even mentioned the possibility. It would absolutely break my heart if Moscow stooped to the level of Constantinople wherein decisions are based purely on political advantage rather than what is true.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Unfortunately, we’re fast approaching a time when Bartholomew is going to take what’s his to Rome.

          Constantinople did NOT require repentance so it is not at all like what Bartholomew did.

          Repentance is part of Orthodoxy. If Filaret repented and it saved souls, I have no problem with it being politically expedient. Let’s face it, Filaret is not the only one with a checkered past.

          • Johann Sebastian says

            It wouldn’t be a bad idea for Moscow to grant autocephaly to Kiev, but with Onuphry as the Patriarch.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              But the kicker is only Filaret can unite them (he is loved by many) AND he would only do it if he could be patriarch before he dies. I hope he repents either way. His health isn’t good.

              • Don’t be deceived by what seems to be utility, Gail.

                “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven…”

                And yes, Philaret can repent. Being restored to his former office is another kettle of fish both canonically and practically. No one in their right spiritual mind would place that temptation in the way of a repentant Philaret – unless, of course, you are the Patriarch of Constantinople who didn’t bother to wait even for a sign of repentance, but instead focused only on his utility. (How did that utilitarian ploy work out?)

                It would be like taking a repentant sex addict to a porno film. It just isn’t done by anyone with an ounce of wisdom.

            • According to a friend of mine, a priestmonk in Ukraine, the MP does have plans to give autocephaly to the canonical Ukrainian Church under the venerable Met. Onuphry of Kiev. But Covid and other issues slowed everything done. My friend does agree with me that it should have been done a few years ago as soon as Bartholomew started sniffing around and dropping hints that he was going to be doing something underhanded over there.

              Even if Moscow comes through soon on autocephaly in the near future, you won’t really be healing any divisions in my opinion. My gut feeling is that there will always be two rival churches, one canonical—the other renegade—that will be competing against each other. Though, the canonical church will always be the right church!

              • Interested Roman says

                The thing is, the late Metropolitan Volodymyr, Metropolitan Onufry and the Vicar of the Kyiv Metropolis, Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil, have said time and again that they do not want autocephaly. Here are just some examples.

                https://orthochristian.com/135739.html

                https://orthochristian.com/116855.html

                https://mospat.ru/en/2020/02/29/news183565/

                What a lot of people don’t seem to want to understand is that the UOC-MP itself DOES NOT want to lose its connection with the Moscow Patriarchate. They want to preserve the religious unity of Holy Rus. An autocephalous, independent Ukrainian Church will easily become the sport of the pro-Uniate and pro-everything-Western government in Kyiv.

                • Johann Sebastian says

                  Another idea:

                  Moscow was basically set up as the Kievan Church in Exile due to Mongol and Polish invasions.

                  Moscow should just say, “OK guys, we’re going home; we’re relocating shop to Kiev.” Move the seat of the Russian Orthodox Church to Kiev and call it a day.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Speaking of a “checkered past,” the Church does this more than you know.

          For example, The OCA took in an Archbishop who had been deposed by ROCOR and had been associated with more than one non-canonical group. He also fathered two illegitimate children and went to live in a one room hut with a man who lives with him today, when his legitimate son lost his mother at the age of 6. He gave his small son over to relatives. https://orthodoxwiki.org/Lazar_(Puhalo)_of_Ottawa
          http://web.archive.org/web/20010409063509/www.ccms.net/~milan/Statements.htm

          But I think what I found most distasteful is that for a time he was over Christ of the Hills Monastery in TX. He knew kids were being molested and he told me he left because the brothers wouldn’t follow his directions to clean up the matter.

          The thing is: HE LEFT WITHOUT NOTIFYING THE AUTHORITIES and the molestations presumably continued for several more years.

          However, he repented and now is awarded all the respect of an archbishop.

          Just saying it happens.

          • V. Rev. Andrei Alexiev says

            Gail:
            As a ROCOR priest currently serving an OCA parish, I knew Archbishop Laser as Deacon Lev Puhalo, before he left ROCOR circa 1981. He joined the Free Serbian church, who received him as a deacon, disregarding the fact that our Synod deposed him. I was a young priest in Houston, Texas , when all this went down.
            I don’t believe he was connected to the monastery in Texas. I left Texas in 1983 and the monastery later came into ROCOR sometime in the 90’s when I was already in Michigan. I don’t think he could have had a connection to said monastery at this time. It may be that you have sources of information that I don’t know about. I know that the deposed deacon had a child or children, but I think this happened before he was ordained.
            There were some unfortunate scandals that came out of the Texas monastery, and I think you may have confused the deposed deacon with someone else.
            If the OCA bishops accepted him in Episcopal rank, the mistake is on them. I remind people that St. John of San Francisco ordained people who later became a source of scandal. But I would never say that he isn’t a Saint. All I can say in regards to what I have written is that I wouldn’t want to be a hierarch! I am no official spokesman for any bishop or diocese. I just feel you may have confused the deposed deacon with another situation that he wasn’t part of. If somebody else has information to the contrary, maybe you will hear from them.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              For a while there was a notice on the Internet that they had come under his omorph. It has since been removed. I actually discussed the monastery with him and he told me he left because they would not follow his instructions, although he said he was successful in getting Samuel Greene to move into a trailer off the grounds.

          • V. Rev. Andrei Alexiev says

            I stand corrected, Gail. I had forgotten that after ROCOR expelled the Texas monastery , they did affiliate with the so-called Kyiv Patriarchate . So they may have under the jurisdiction of the deposed deacon after all.

      • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

        Gail, I would be shocked if the Patriarchate of Moscow received back into its fold even a repentant Filaret. He was anathematized by the bishops’ council of the Patriarchate in 1997. Anathemas, to my knowledge, are never reversed.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          I don’t anything about that, Father. I’m sure you’re right.

          This is just “The World According to Gail” speaking. Ask George. I do this a lot at home. Most of my sentences begin with, “But why can’t. . .”

        • “Anathemas, to my knowledge, are never reversed.”!

          Who knows? There may be a first time.
          But I suspect this will not be it…

        • Yes, Father, that’s what I’ve known as well – that once anathematized, the only way back into the Church is on one’s deathbed through a deathbed confession.

          Which is why that Patriarch B’s magical “undoing” of “Patriarch Filaret’s” anathematization was so ludicrous and such a huge deal. Patriarch B and the C’ple church has essentially been pretending that Filaret was never anathematized – an act which they had previously acknowledged and supported.

          And this is why Patriarch B’s actions with respect to Ukraine are so serious. Assuming that he does declare the autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church with Metropolitan Onuphry magically “uncanonical,” then he and the hierarchy of the Constantinople church will be almost certainly anathematized by the Russian Church (as would be appropriate at that point).

          This is serious business. To our secular/atheist American State Dept this is all just a “fun global chess game” (I read that Biden is bringing back Ms Nuland… how quaint). But for Orthodox Christians who believe in Christ and His Church, this is serious stuff.

        • Matthew Panchisin says

          See Saint Andrew of Crete and the Great Canon.

          • Matthew Panchisin says

            He who was anathematized and repented helps us often in Christ’s Church, thanks be to God.

            The Song of a Repentant Heart: The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, by Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe

            “Something particularly relevant for our understanding of the Canon, however, took place in the year 712. A robber council was held in which the decrees of the Sixth Ecumenical Council — where, again, St Andrew had been present in an official capacity — were rejected, the devil attempting to strike a blow against the Church’s confession of truth in the face of the heresy of monothelitism. St Andrew, for reasons we do not entirely understand, took part in this robber council, and endorsed its heretical rejections of Constantinople III [4].”

            https://orthodox-europe.org/content/great-canon-repentant-heart/

        • Gail Sheppard says

          I was curious so I looked it up.

          “In the acts of the Councils and the further course of the New Testament Church of Christ, the word “anathema” came to mean complete separation from the Church. “The Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes”, “let him be anathema”, “let it be anathema”, means a complete tearing away from the church. While in cases of “separation from the communion of the Church” and other epitimia or penances laid on a person, the person remained a member of the Church, even though his participation in her grace filled life was limited, those given over to anathema were thus completely torn away from her until their repentance. Realizing that she is unable to do anything for their salvation, in view of their stubbornness and hardness of heart, the earthly church lifts them up to the judgement of God. That judgment is merciful unto repentant sinners, but fearsome for the stubborn enemies of God. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God … for our God is a consuming fire” (Heb 10:31 ; 12:29).

          Anathema is not final damnation: until death repentance is possible.”

          http://www.orthodox.net/articles/anathema-st-john.html

          What made Bartholomew’s actions intolerable is he did not require repentance from Filaret, nor did he ordain those who were previously “ordained” (in mock fashion) by Filaret.

  16. RCC Cardinal: We expect the Orthodox to recognize necessity of the First
    https://spzh.news/en/news/77142-kardinal-rkc-ozhidajem-ot-pravoslavnyh-priznanija-neobkhodimosti-pervogo

    “…the ministry of unity at the ecumenical level cannot be limited
    to mere honorary primacy, but must include legal elements…”

    It seems the EP has a rival for the position of Primus Sine Paribus.

    • George Michalopulos says

      An Orthodox priest once told me that “If the EP thinks, he’ll be the ‘Eastern Pope’, he’s got another thing coming”. It’s simply not in the RC DNA to have more than one pope.