Saving non-private Epiphany: Patriarch Bartholomew and TSN rescue rangers

19 July 2019 20:36
Phanar is undertaking attempts to back the OCU. Photo Fuse: UOJ Phanar is undertaking attempts to back the OCU. Photo Fuse: UOJ

The split and crisis in OCU, unexpected interview of Patriarch Bartholomew with TSN and delegation of Phanar to Kiev on the Day of Baptism of Rus. Here is our analysis.

In July 2019, Patriarch Bartholomew gave an interview to the Ukrainian resource TSN – the one being notorious for dozens of cases of manipulations and fibs about the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The author of such plots, Sergei Galchenko, was invited to Istanbul specifically to talk with a man who had never given an interview to the Ukrainian media. All this happens at the backdrop of the tough crisis and split in the OCU – homunculus created by Patriarch Bartholomew himself. The coincidence is amazing.

Sergei Galchenko: "I flew here for an important meeting which Patriarch Bartholomew had scheduled with me."

The interview of the patriarch turned out to be very interesting. Thanks to it, the believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church learned for themselves lots of new and unexpected things from their own lives.

We have selected from the interview by the Phanar head the most important theses, in our opinion, and offer our insight into them.

Thesis 1 of the Patriarch. Most Ukrainians appealed to Phanar to get rid of their dependence on UOC

Patriarch Bartholomew: "The majority of the population (of Ukraine – Ed.) appealed to us with a petition for independence from the Moscow Church administration."

Well, we have not misheard. According to Patriarch Bartholomew, most of the population of Ukraine has long appealed to Phanar in order to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The Patriarch himself does not mention the UOC, but the expression “Moscow Church Administration in Ukraine” is difficult to interpret differently in the mouth of the head of Phanar.

Let us remember who and when appealed to Constantinople to get rid of the hegemony of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The first appeal is dated June 16, 2016.

The Verkhovna Rada voted for the bill “On the Petition of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to His Holiness Bartholomew, the Archbishop of Constantinople and New Rome, the Ecumenical Patriarch, on granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.”

Let's take a look who are the initiators of the petition. MPs: Paruby, Vysotsky, Levus, Kniazhytsky, Matios, Yelensky, Demchak. Almost all of the authors of the petition are Greek Catholics and have absolutely nothing to do with Orthodoxy.

The second appeal to Phanar was made on April 17, 2018 and again the initiators were partially Uniates. They were also joined by President Petro Poroshenko, who later will make a losing stake on the church theme in the presidential election. However, this time dissenters Filaret and Makariy also turned to Constantinople.

Isn't it they, alongside the Greek-Catholic deputies, whom Patriarch Bartholomew calls "the majority of the Ukrainian people"?

However, a significant part of the Ukrainian people really appealed to the patriarch. In June, nearly 400,000 petitions of the believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church were delivered to Phanar in bags. However, the content of appeals of UOC parishioners was opposite to what Patriarch Bartholomew says – a request not to interfere in the church affairs of Ukraine.

Did the head of Phanar know about them? Sure. In other words, Patriarch Bartholomew ignored the opinion of hundreds of thousands of his fellow believers, but at the same time he heard the Uniate deputies, the president and the leaders of the Ukrainian schism and called them the majority of the population of Ukraine. How can all this be called? To avoid politically incorrect terms, let's call it euphemistically as a delusion.

Thesis 2 of the Patriarch. Ukrainians complain about UOC imposing Russian world on them

Patriarch Bartholomew: “It came to the point that our brothers in Ukraine continually complained that they are controlled by the Church, which also wants to impose on them non-church factors among all other things.”

Patriarch Bartholomew does not speak directly about the Russian world, but Galchenko, who will not definitely deceive us, finalizes his message.

Sergei Galchenko: “The Russian Church, through its Exarchate of the UOC-MP, has constantly imposed and imposes the pro-Russian policy of the Kremlin.”

Also, the head of Phanar said that the Ukrainian authorities had complained to him about the propaganda of the Russian world in the temples of the UOC.

Patriarch Bartholomew: "The same request was repeatedly made by the state and political leadership of the nation."

We can certainly believe this. We all know very well what Poroshenko, Parubiy and other state actors are worth.

But it’s hard to believe that the UOC believers kept on complaining about the propaganda of the Russian world to Phanar and did it continually. To be more precise, it is impossible to believe it.

It is likely that the schismatics complained to Patriarch Bartholomew about it. But they have nothing to do with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. What could they complain about then? Therefore, it is difficult to call this thesis of the patriarch other than a delusion.

Thesis 3 of the Patriarch. Tomos for OCU is no different from those for other Churches

Sergei Galchenko: “According to him (Patriarch Bartholomew – Ed.), the Ukrainian autocephaly is no different from a number of autocephalies of other Local Churches. They just help like a Mother-Church.”

The dependence on Phanar is spelled out in the text of the Tomos. This was immediately discussed in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church after the publication of the text, but now it is spoken up directly by one of those whom this Tomos was granted to.

“Patriarch” Filaret: “If you read the Tomos and delve into the sibject, you will see that this Church is dependent. There is no autocephaly, i.e., independence. Or if there is any, then it is restricted. But we wanted to have the autocephaly all Orthodox Churches have: Greek, Romanian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Russian, Georgian and other Autocephalous Churches. Yet, arising from the Tomos, we have no such autocephaly.”

Thesis 4 of the Patriarch. Greek Church will be the first to recognize OCU

Patriarch Bartholomew: "The first Church to recognize the Local Church of Ukraine will be our Sister Orthodox Church of Greece."

Eight months have passed since the creation of the OCU. None of the Local Churches expressed any desire to recognize this structure, including the Church of Greece. At the October meeting of the Bishops' Council of this Church, a discussion of the “Ukrainian issue” is not on the agenda. There are no statements on the Ukrainian topic from either Archbishop Ieronymos or other hierarchs.

However, this is not the main thing. The statement of Patriarch Bartholomew, who claims to primacy in the Orthodox world, savors of a certain autocratic attitude of the boss to his subordinate, for whom everything has already been decided and his actions even voiced. How ethical is it to declare on behalf of the Primate of another Local Church about the decisions he must take? And does the head of the Greek Church agree to this?

Thesis 5 of the Patriarch. Delegation of Phanar will come to OCU to celebrate Christianization of Rus

Patriarch Bartholomew: “We would like to wish you all the blessings from God and also a successful celebration of the Baptism of Rus and the day of Remembrance of St. Vladimir. This year a reverend delegation from the mother Church of Constantinople will come to the feast, which will bring along the precious relics of the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called to worship by the God-fearing Ukrainian people.”

The OCU, and before it, the Kiev Patriarchate, who always felt the potent leverage of power, have now lost it and are in desperate need of any support.

Phanar, according to Article 3 of the agreement between Constantinople and Poroshenko, is obliged to contribute to the functioning of the OCU, and it does perform its duties as it were a Church of Christ. Therefore, on the eve of the Christianization Day, in order to back up its creature, it sends its delegation, which will bring along the relics of the Apostle Andrew to Kiev.

The OCU and Phanar are now thumping their chest before the whole world that the new structure has united all Ukrainian Orthodoxy, and therefore, they are simply obliged to demonstrate an incredible number of their united believers at the religious procession dedicated to the holiday of the Baptism of Rus.

At this point it is important to remember that in recent years, the Kiev Patriarchate as a predecessor of the OCU, desperately tried to deliver the maximum number of people to its festive procession to demonstrate the mass character of its organization and to show that there are more supporters of the UOC-KP than those of the canonical Church.

Until recently, especially in 2018, the UOC-KP was cherished by the authorities in an unprecedented way. The procession of the organization was attended by public employees, national flags were handed out, and the head of the column was led by President Poroshenko and other government officials. But, for all that, incomparably more believers participated in the cross procession of the canonical Church.

However, even this is not the main thing. Participants of the Kiev Patriarchate march come there to sing folk songs, shout nationalist chants, and sport national flags. It is easy to see that the participants of these processions have practically no crosses or icons.

This was always understood by the organizers themselves who in every possible way fueled patriotic and nationalist sentiments of their supporters. For example, in 2016, the Kiev Patriarchate referred to its march without any mention of the cross procession, but used the name of the nation – “Ukrainian procession”.

In this context, Phanar’s attempt to attract people to the procession of the OCU with the relics of the Apostle Andrew the First-Called looks naive and shows complete ignorance by Istanbul hierarchs of the psychology of their Ukrainian flock.

Those who really want to pray to the holy apostle have been doing this for a long time. In Kiev, there are several temples, where his relics are kept. These are the Holy Cross Ascension church in Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, the church of Apostles Peter and Paul in Nivki district, St. Andrew's church on Askold's grave. A part of the cross of the Apostle Andrew is also kept in the Lavra.

Therefore, all Phanar’s actions, aimed at supporting its political creature, the false rhetoric of Patriarch Bartholomew look more like desperate attempts to keep a crumbling house made of sand from falling.

In Ukraine, there is a true Church, which does not need the efforts of church politicians. She resents lies and manipulation. And on July 27, on the Day of Rus Christianization, the believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will come to their feast, to their religious procession. They will come neither to compete nor to prove anything, but to celebrate and thank God that 1031 years ago, the Orthodox faith was established on our land.


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