Phanar and State Department pushing for further recognition of OCU?
The Phanar backed by the State Department is communicating with diplomats from the countries whose Churches are expected to recognise the OCU. How is this happening?
In the week of Antipascha, a solemn service in honour of the Great Martyr St George the Victorious was held at the Phanar. The service was just a service, but there were some "non-ecclesiastical" nuances.
First, during the service, there was a blessing of bread (αρτοκλασία) and a special prayer "for the children of the Holy Great Church of Christ in America".
Secondly, the worship service was attended by the Consuls General Nedelskyi of Ukraine Roman, Sergiu Gurduza of Moldova, Branislav Karadžić of Montenegro and Aktan Ago of Northern Macedonia, the heads of the Consulates General Lucian Crîngasu of Romania, Zaza Nadiradze of Georgia and the Bulgarian consul, Mr Krasimir Tsenovski.
It is clear that none of these people got into the main temple of the Phanar by accident. They were invited there. And, given the circumstances and recent events related to the policy of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, they were not invited by accident. Then what can this invitation mean and what is its purpose?
Why is the Phanar inviting diplomats?
Now for both the Phanar and its "friends" in the State Department, the question of OCU recognition is becoming increasingly important. After all, for 4.5 years since Dumenko's structure received the Tomos from Patriarch Bartholomew, there have been no real successes in terms of its recognition by other Churches (except those that have already recognized it). Moreover, even among the Churches whose hierarchs commemorate Dumenko, there are many bishops who consider Epifaniy to be a schismatic or even a layman. And their voices are getting louder.
Moreover, the common people support these bishops, and ultimately, their position can become a serious argument for reconsidering the decision of the Phanar to grant the Tomos to the OCU. Therefore, it is extremely important for the Patriarchate of Constantinople to strengthen its influence in world Orthodoxy, and this can only be done if other Churches, preferably Slavic ones, join in recognising the OCU.
The second crucial point is the persecution of the UOC by the OCU. Fraudulent "transitions," the arson of Orthodox churches, the use of nerve gas, beatings of clergy and bishops, and extremely harsh measures against the UOC faithful and its shrines – all this does not serve the OCU any good. On the contrary, representatives of Dumenko look like demoniacal barbarians in the eyes of Orthodox Christians from other countries, with whom there can be no dialogue in principle. Moreover, we know examples when bishops and priests who held a neutral position in relation to the OCU (or were even sympathetic to Dumenko) abruptly changed their minds when they saw what the supporters of this structure were resorting to.
The third point is that even at the international level, the OCU is now perceived as a toxic organization. Even such a supporter of the "Ukrainian Church" as Belarusian opposition activist Natalia Vasilevich has to admit the obvious:
"In the first year of the war, representatives of the Ukrainian churches were quite new to the ecumenical movement but felt quite confident: they had clear and understandable answers to all questions; while representatives of the ROC mostly tried not to meet someone's eye, kept their mouth shut, had to agree to the wordings they did not like and could not particularly oppose the presence of the OCU and its membership in ecumenical organisations.
Now the situation has changed – the ROC can finally ride fully on its horse "persecution of canonical Orthodoxy in Ukraine". Each new church forcibly transferred from the UOC to the OCU is an argument in favour of this, ‘my precious’.
But now it's difficult to get representatives of Ukrainian churches to participate in ecumenical events: everyone feels uncertain, doesn't want uncomfortable questions, and enthusiasm compared to last year has diminished... I'm still not happy with the trend."
Therefore, we emphasize that the question of OCU recognition at the moment is one of the "hottest" for the Phanar (especially against the background of the scandal with the "great archimandrite" who stole a watch). They need to assert their shaky authority in every sense, and this can only be done by forcing other churches to recognise the Ukrainian schismatics. How can this be done? By a well-known and tested scheme.
Which diplomats did the Phanar invite?
It can be noted that on the feast of the Great Martyr St George the Victorious, consuls of those countries whose Churches:
- did not recognise the OCU;
- could become the next victims of the Phanar’s policy;
Among those who did not recognise are the Georgian Church, the Bulgarian Church, the Romanian Church, and the Macedonian Church. Among the potential victims are Montenegro and Moldova.
It is not difficult to guess that the "friends" of the Phanar, the Americans, decided to act in the old and proven way – to pressure the Churches and their bishops with the help of state authorities.
This scheme has already been used by the State Department several times – in Ukraine, Lithuania (recently), Macedonia and Montenegro. We have no doubt that it will also be used against the Georgian, Romanian, Bulgarian and Macedonian Churches.
It is very likely that the next countries to be declared to have "historical ties" with the Phanar will be Moldova and Montenegro.
It should be reminded that in Moldova there is an Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, and there is the Metropolis of the Serbian Church in Montenegro. It is probably unnecessary to explain how the Phanar treats the Russian and Serbian Churches.
What is the outcome?
We see that Patriarch Bartholomew and his structure continue to carry out the political order of the "senior comrades" to destroy Orthodoxy. In the very near future, we can expect some speeches from individual Georgian, Bulgarian, or Romanian hierarchs who will support the OCU. Perhaps, someone will even serve with representatives of Dumenko.
In addition, there will be a "rocking" of the situation in Moldova and Montenegro. Against the Church in these countries, the full force of state propaganda and "free" media will be directed. There will appear activists who will accuse hierarchs of the most mortal and heinous sins, demands will be made that it is time to have "our" national Church, and so on. That is, exactly what we have witnessed in Ukraine over the past few years.
The only hope is that the Lord will not allow the celebration of lawlessness and that He will stop the fall of world Orthodoxy into the abyss. And of course, we hope that the episcopate of other Churches will have the courage and firmness to adhere to the Holy Canons of the Church rather than the prescriptions of the Phanar and the demands of the State Department.