The relative success of Constantinople Patriarchy’s foray into the vipers’ tangle of Ukrainian church politics has whetted its appetite to try to go further along the same lines, following the general direction set by its overseas “partners.”
A few days ago in Kiev, a mammoth crowd of about 350,000 Ukrainians voted with their feet (as they used to tell us during the Cold War) in a procession organised by the local Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. The occasion was the 1033rd anniversary of the baptism of Kievan Rus. The bottom line is that the procession participants were manifesting their adherence to most of the concepts patiently and at length enunciated recently by President Putin in his detailed exposition of the interrelationship of the three major ethnic branches of the eastern Slavic world, of which the Ukrainians happen to be one. (Résumé of Putin’s thesis: they are all one people, and after reading his essay go to the Atlantic Council website here to have a good laugh at a pathetic attempt to debunk it.) As almost invariably happens with events that do not conform to prevailing Western narratives, the procession was blotted out by “fact checkers.” Although it occurred in the epicentre of the artificial anti-Russia that NATO is aggressively erecting in its Ukrainian vassalage, the event’s clear implications were ignored by those in the West who should have been the first to take realistic note of it. The massive “no” to their agenda in the streets of Kiev still resonates and pretending that this did not happen is an error greatly to their geopolitical disadvantage.
Although the general West, in its narcissistic self-fascination, is largely unaware of the existence of a vibrant Christian Orthodox East, preferring instead to equate traditional Christendom with its Roman Catholic religious offshoot, political strategists and specialists are well aware that the Vatican is only an important segment but by no means the whole of a complex religious picture. Those instances, unlike the man on the street, have therefore paid careful attention to the affairs of the Orthodox East and have factored it into their global competition and domination plans.
Hence, they long ago allocated intelligence resources to and engaged collaborators in the target religious community, fully taking into account the specific spirit and structure of Orthodoxy, in order to influence its behaviour and where possible bring it under their sway.
Thus, the close working relationship and policy consultations between the major Western powers and the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople go back over seventy years. With his captive and demographically decimated see in NATO member Turkey, the Greek Ecumenical Patriarch is an ideal subject for political manipulation and control, and that fact has not been lost on Western policy-makers. A strategic alliance with the Patriarchal see was concluded in the 1940s, at the time not just on an anti-communist but also specifically anti-Russian basis, not unlike Reagan’s “deal” with the Vatican much later in the 1980s. The Patriarchy henceforth became engaged in a number of Western political projects, crass interference in Ukrainian church affairs in the last few years being just one obvious example.
The gist of that affair, worthy of the machinations of any former eastern bloc country’s police religious affairs department, should be recalled briefly. At the direction of its NATO “partners,” the Ecumenical Patriarchate in December 2018 sponsored an irregular “church council” consisting of a patchwork of schismatic and uncanonical religious groups to which it awarded the status of a self-governing “autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church.” The new religious entity is not recognised by the majority of the Orthodox world, but merely establishing it under Constantinople’s auspices is enough to give a boost to Ukrainian separatism (which just happens to be a major NATO political goal) and also to engender division and hostility between the two main centres of Orthodoxy, Constantinople and Moscow. That, in turn, undermines the unity and integrity of the Orthodox Church as a whole, which has been judged correctly to be, in its traditional and “unreformed” incarnation, manifestly incompatible with virtually every objective inscribed in the globalist agenda.
The relative success of Constantinople Patriarchy’s foray into the vipers’ tangle of Ukrainian church politics has apparently whetted its appetite to try to go further along the same lines, again following the general direction set by its overseas “partners.” Speaking for the “Russia 24” network, the head of Moscow Patriarchy’s Department of external church relations, Metropolitan Ilarion, said recently that signs of a “Ukrainian scenario” (code word for externally induced ecclesiastical schism and disarray) are increasingly being noticed in Belarus. A self- proclaimed “Belarussian Orthodox Church” apparently is already taking shape and, interestingly, some of its core worshippers also seem to be individuals and their descendants who after the defeat of the option they had aligned themselves with in World War II took refuge and bided their time in the “free world.” So far, a perfect parallel with their schismatic Ukrainian co-religionists.
The autonomous canonical Belarussian Orthodox church, like its canonical Ukrainian counterpart which is the dominant religious tradition in that country, is in communion with the Moscow Patriarchy and an integral part of it. While, according to Metropolitan Ilarion, there is at present little chance of the new Belarussian “church” gaining much grass roots traction, he also points out prudently (and diplomatically) that abroad there are “forces interested in the political destabilisation of Belarus, having observed the trajectory of events in the Ukraine and realising that the church has the capacity to become a significant factor.” How and when the “church card” will be played in Belarus to further undermine the Lukashenko government will be fascinating to watch.
In a recent interview, Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov warned that Orthodoxy is the target of a comprehensive Western offensive which, in the religious sphere, complements similar initiatives in the political field:
“On the face of it, this is being presented as a movement for each Orthodox people having the right of choice. All of us are well aware of how the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) was created. It was not just an initiative suggested by Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew. It was directly dictated by the United States. By and large, they do not conceal this fact themselves. The U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom appointed by the previous administration was doing things that were directly opposite to his mandate. He was undermining the freedom of religion and imposing organisational parameters (to use the bureaucratic idiom) on different local churches. He was destroying the unity of the Orthodox believers of Russia and Ukraine and creating in Ukraine a schismatic and, in effect, powerless church. He was also destroying the unity of the Church of Antioch and attempting to wean from it the Lebanese Orthodox believers. The same is happening with regard to the canonical territory of the Serbian Orthodox Church.”
There does not seem much that should need to be added to this panorama of perfidy.