In Ukraine, politics have taken over religion and nationalists are turning WWII Nazi criminals into religious icons.
Let’s start at the end. The Patriarchate of Constantinople is creating the 3rd great schism in Christian history by seizing authority resting with the ROC (Russian Orthodox Church) and granting Kyiv independence from Russian Orthodox oversight.
The first schism in Christianity happened in 1054 when Orthodox and Catholic churches split. The second was the fallout from the Protestant Reformation which formed the Protestant churches.
The events going on in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Turkey are today are some of the most important in recent memory and could affect the next thousand years of history in the same fashion the other schisms did.
Those events were earth-shattering and still shape the world we live in. The fallout from creating a new religion based in total politics as any nationalist religion has to be would have caused Leo Strauss to bend a knee and shout Alleluia! Or it might just cause him to roll over in his grave with a face-palm.
Strauss recognized religion and political philosophy are incompatible. One bows reverently before an almighty God, the other seeks to replace Him or be His equal.
Today, the church support Bartholomew receives comes from Ukrainian nationalist churches in Ukraine, the US, and Canada. The US and Canadian churches were founded by the nationalist church leaders the Kyiv Patriarchate chooses to be based in.
The UOC churches in the US and Canada were historically apostate and could not gain recognition until the 1990s through deals with the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew. Part of that acceptance was an agreement to stay out of Ukraine’s affairs. This was how they came under Constantinople’s wing.
The global Orthodox churches collectively represent 300 million people. But, there are fewer than 3,000 of the Orthodox faithful in Istanbul. Bartholomew has been dubbed the last Bishop of Constantinople because his local churches are disappearing so fast. During his tenure, the local church population dropped by close to 100,000 adherents.
What Do Bartholomew’s Local Orthodox Churches Say?
The Turkish Orthodox Church is filing a lawsuit against both the Patriarchate of Constantinople and Patriarch Bartholomew. According to the lawsuit, Bartholomew DOESN’T have the authority to take on what he is doing. The head of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Bartholomew (birth name Dimitrios Arhondonis) is accused of committing crimes punishable under Turkey’s Criminal Code: instigation aimed at inciting hatred and hostility; negligence in performing religious duties; and instigation of a country to war,” Erenerol said” according to the TASS article.
The Lausanne Peace Treaty of 1923 limits the powers of the Patriarchy of Constantinople to the administration of worship services for Greeks living in Turkey. Because of this and Turkish law, it was illegal for Patriarch Bartholomew to send exarchs (representatives) from his US and Canadian churches (both political nationalist churches) to pave the way for Kyiv UOC breaking away (autocephaly) from the ROC. He may well be facing a criminal trial. On top of everything else, this is a strictly a political move not ecclesiastical.
Does Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomew recognize the error of his ways? In an August 1992-letter about the excommunication of Filaret, Bartholomew recognized what he called ROC Patriarch Alexi II’s exclusive competence in the matter.
Filaret was a church breaker from the beginning of 1991. He couldn’t gain the top position in the ROC so he seeks to destroy the Russian Orthodox Church any way he can. Now, instead of recognizing the same authority he upheld in 1992, Bartholomew usurps it to lift the apostate out of excommunication and make him a Patriarch.
The recent Synod in Minsk the ROC (Russian Orthodox Church) had about granting Ukraine independence from the ROC concluded by breaking relations with the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Because of this, it seems Patriarch Bartholomew might be considering a move to Kyiv. He would be able to consolidate his holdings which include churches in South American, some in the US, and Canadian churches. He would gain freedom from Turkish law that keeps him reigned into a degree.
To sweeten the deal Petr Poroshenko is proposing to give Bartholomew the historic St. Andrews Church in Kyiv.
The president supports the desire to receive a tomos [a church ordinance granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine] as soon as possible. And, as a sign of solidarity with this process, he has made a symbolic gesture: a bill will be registered within the next few days by which President Poroshenko proposes assigning St. Andrew’s Church for the ecumenical patriarch’s permanent use as a symbolic gesture indicating that St. Andrew once baptized Ukraine.”
While it’s called a symbolic gesture in Kiev, the rest of the world recognizes a bribe from a politico when they see one.
How do we know Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s move is purely political?
Even Petr Poroshenko thinks so. An independent Ukrainian church marks the biggest break with Russia since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. According to the Washington Post, the Church is the battlefield of the new nationalism that took over Ukraine in 2014. Poroshenko considers breaking the church part of his hybrid war against Russia.
Even though the Russian Orthodox Church gave the Ukrainian Orthodox Church autonomous rule in 1991. This meant that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) had the jurisdiction to do as it wished in Ukraine already.
The Atlantic Council is trying to destroy Russia and is paid by Ukrainian-American nationalist Diaspora groups. They see this move destroying Putin’s power. Russia sees this intrusion in religion as a US-backed provocation.
If the Ukrainian Orthodox community were left to decide, 2/3 of the entire community are ROC. If the recognized Orthodox churches in Ukraine were left to decide 100% of Ukrainian churchgoers are Russian Orthodox Church members.
The issue of Tomos and autocephaly is now being discussed by people who do not know how to open the door to the temple but consider themselves experts. This situation has turned the UOC believers into hostages who are only watching the process. We can only influence the situation through a personal attitude towards it and a personal choice that each of us will have to make in the given circumstances,” emphasized His Eminence”. Met. Mitrofan: Tomos initiators’ aim is to prevent peace in Ukraine
In Kiev on October 14th, Filaret’s schismatics and right-wing radicals held a political rally in support of Tomos (church independence) about autocephaly and the march in memory of the militants of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA).
The UPA and OUN murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews, millions of war prisoners (starvation), and fought the Allies (the USA and Europe) in WWII. These are the breakaway church’s flock.
And they are acting the part in what used to be non-political Christian churches. ROC church members have been fighting on both sides of the Ukrainian civil war since it started. The one thing we know for sure is it will help bolster Poroshenko’s sagging re-election bid.
If this is the case, why is Bartholomew making an apostate like Filaret the Shepherd of the Flock?
The Nationalist Political Church, Kyiv Patriarchate
What is a nationalist political church? I noted the philosopher Leo Strauss would have been in awe of it or laughed at because of its absurdity. The reason why is something this big happening in a modern society is beyond belief.
In Ukraine, politics have taken over religion and remade god and religion in its image. In Kyiv, with very little encouragement, the “new” UOC under Filaret make WWII Nazi criminals like Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych the newest religious icons.
This nationalist political church has all the trimmings, ceremony, and accruements of its religious counterpart. Except instead of serving God and people, it is purposed to teach people serving the State is the highest order and life accomplishment. Courage and piety are doing unthinkable in service to the State. Cowardice and blasphemy are questioning the State or working against its order.
This is a 150-year old Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Kiev one day after Bartholomew lifted the anathema from Filaret. The new mural glorifies nazi UPA, Azov battalion, Ukrainian Nazi Waffen SS, and ultranationalist Pravy Sektor whose symbols are depicted in the top of the arch. OUN murderers who ran the extermination camps during WWII are glorified. Their Nazi blood and soil flags are represented in the background. Their depiction of St. George is killing the Orthodox double-headed eagle (was first a Roman design, then, Orthodox, and finally the Russian emblem).
The history of the Kyiv UOC (1991) and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (1921) both begin in political currents trying to build a nationalist state. According to OUNb Ukrainian Diaspora sources; Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church went through the regions that would become Ukraine in 1921-23. The priests preached the gospel of nationalism, not the Gospel of Christ. This church is the smallest of the 3 churches in Kiev today.
Before this, these same priests and bishops came through Petliura nationalism. Ukrainian nationalists tried to start a Ukrainian state led by Simon Petliura. Nationalists are credited with murdering between 35000 and 100,000 Jews and countless people in a land that would soon be Soviet Ukraine.
In 1922 Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox priests were convincing people to become political Ukrainians. Ukrainians only existed as a bizarrely violent political party at the time. This Ukrainian political religion started by the same groups of people as the Greek Catholic Ukrainians. The religions were reworked to support Nazi ideals and political programs. Today, the UOC split from the ROC means they are free to express their radical and malevolent politics.
Within a few years of trying to start a breakaway ultranationalist political church, the newly formed apostate UOC moved to Canada and the USA because Stalin was rooting out Ukrainian nationalists. The church itself sent missionaries throughout the western Soviet Union trying to convert the masses to Ukrainian nationalism and form a breakaway country.
Both the US and Canadian Ukrainian Orthodox Churches became the only surviving outposts of the Ukrainian nationalist religion. Until 1994, both were considered apostate by the Orthodox world until they agreed to come under Bartholomew. Part of that agreement was to keep their hands and politics out of Ukraine.
Until 1991, church leadership of the US and Canadian UOC weren’t even required to go to seminary, have any type of religious college or training as long as their Ukrainian nationalist pedigree was good enough.
Now, Constantinople’s grand move was to send two UOC bishops under his jurisdiction, one from the US and one from Canada that were both born in West Ukraine to act as his envoys to negotiate with Filaret and the third Orthodox church which is the remnant of the 1920s church for autocephalous status.
The move itself is a circular bid for precedence and jurisdiction in the matter. If the 1920’s ultranationalist Ukrainian church from Kyiv started the US and Canadian based churches and those churches were broken off it as part of the agreement for US and Canadian churches to be accepted; can the US and Canadian based daughter churches do anything neutral about them or Filaret who is claiming to be the 1991 (Soviet breakup) rightful church leader.
Can Ukrainian citizens in charge of US and Canadian churches be fair if this is what they have been trying to do since 1922?
With this move Bartholomew isn’t just giving legitimacy to Filaret, he is making the Kyiv Patriarchate one of the most important religious leaders in the world. The Kyiv Patriarchate has the US and Canadian Churches. It has churches in Europe, Central America, Australia, and anywhere else there is a Ukrainian Diaspora present.
Who is Filaret and why do so many Orthodox leaders hold him in disdain?
The Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, by its Resolution of June 11, 1992, confirmed the decision of the Council of Kharkov and deposed Philaret Denisenko depriving him of all ranks of ministry according to the following accusations: ‘Cruel and arrogant attitude to the clergy under his jurisdiction, diktat and blackmail (Tit. 1: 7-8; Apostolic Canon 27; bringing temptation to the community of the faithful by his behavior and private life (Mt. 18:7; the First Ecumenical Council Canon 3, the Sixth Ecumenical Council Canon 5); perjury (Apostolic Canon 25); public slander and blasphemy against a Bishops’ Council (Second Ecumenical Council Canon 6); exercising divine offices including ordinations in the state of suspension (Apostolic Canon 28); causing a schism in the Church (Double Council Canon 15). All the ordinations administered by Philaret in the state of suspension since May 27, 1992, and the suspensions imposed by him were recognized as invalid.
In spite of repeated calls to repentance, Philaret Denisenko after his deposition continued his schismatic activity, also within other Local Churches. By the decision of the 1997 Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, he was anathematized.”
The Ukrainian Ministry of Memory and Truth launched a new exhibition called “Against Goliath.” It takes the WWII Nazi leaders Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukevych and recasts them into Biblical heroes. This is part of the reason Filaret is considered schismatic.
The mass murderer Stepan Bandera is being cast as a role model for children to model their lives on. This is what the new Nationalist Church Kyiv Patriarchate is learning from her children churches in the US and Canada.
For his trouble, Patriarch Bartholomew now has his hands full with a schismatic church that exists for the sake of radical politics. The second Kyiv thought they were free to do so, they graffiti 150-year-old churches. Filaret’s followers painted ode’s to their Nazi forbears on the walls along with the Ukrainian nationalist forms of the 3rd Reich swastika.
Filaret and his Ukrainian nationalist congregation are saying WWII Nazi leaders like Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukevych should be revered like King David from the Bible. Bandera’s OUN manned the levers at the Nazi death camps and murdered millions during the war. The Ukrainian Diaspora claim they fought Hitler’s Germany can’t explain why Bandera’s OUNb were in Germany begging Hitler for more money to continue building armies in 1945
Who is Bearing the Cross of Ukraine’s Nationalist Church
People including US Secretary of State Pompeo are making the claim that Ukraine should have the right to decide what its religious life should be. The problem is the people in Ukraine have already done that long before the Secretary or current President were born.
What you see in the image is the memorialized moment Ukraine’s national symbol, the Tryzub (3 toothed pitchfork) in all its glory doing what Ukrainian nationalists did with it.
If you look at Ukrainian nationalists religious life it fluxes from the heroic to rabidly vile and violent in the same person. UOC Kyiv Patriarchate Orthodox and Ukrainian Greek Catholics are from the same cloth, nationalism first, religion second as long as it agrees with national aspirations.
Kyiv is raising up a new crop of religious Nazi brownshirts which will be much more dedicated than their 1930’s counterparts. The only colleagues equally zealous are found today in Ukraine’s partner group called IGIL or ISIS.
On October 16,2011, members of the 54th branch of CYM “Khersones” in Stamford, CT attended a mass and requiem service in honor of the great Ukrainian hero and freedom fighter, Stepan Bandera. It was the first time since its’ inception that the branches’ members took part in an organized activity together with the greater Ukrainian community of Stamford.
The SUM members and the faithful present that day enjoyed a beautiful and emotional homily about the life and achievements of Stepan Bandera delivered by Reverend Bohdan Danylo, Rector of St. Basil’s Seminary in Stamford. He instructed the children on how they can model their own lives on Bandera’s by following his example of self-sacrifice and unwavering dedication to his country. Following the homily, Father Bohdan distributed candles to each child which burned brightly during a stirring execution of the prayer “Vichnaya Pam’yat” in honor of the great hero of the Ukrainian nation.”
…CYM Geelong(Australia) under the patronage of Stepan Bandera celebrated Stepan Bandera Day in remembrance of the OUN leader…CYM Geelong opened up the event not only to its members but also the wider Ukrainian community not only to remember Stepan Bandera but for all our Ukrainian heroes who lost their lives in the fight for Ukraine’s independence. Druh. Marko Tkaczuk showed video clips of the work of OUN and the life of Stepan Bandera.”
American and Canadian children are brought up to believe this is good or godly in Ukrainian Orthodox Churches under Bartholomew. Should Ukraine be allowed to do this considering last time they murdered millions of people because of these beliefs? During WWII, Ukrainian religious leaders, Greek Catholic and UOC were both lionized for courage and castigated for the atrocities.
Metropolitan Andrew Sheptytsky of Galicia was the Greek Catholic version of this. He welcomed the Nazis on one hand and tried to stop the Jewish pogroms on the other. But, he didn’t do that overly well because his congregants (OUN, UPA) which were the Ukrainian nationalists are famous for making the areas Jews suffer. The pitchfork image above commemorates that in Volyn, one of many mass murder sites.
Sheptytsky is also the patron of the Plast children’s groups like the one in Stamford CT. He worked with Plast groups in Lvov. Until they were reclassified at the end of the 1970’s, Plast was considered a murder and terrorist organization using children to carry out the horrors. This classification was made by the CIA.
According to Arch Bishop Clement of the UOC Moscow Patriarchate Filaret’s congregation and the nationalists are already murdering priests and capturing churches that are affiliated with ROC. There is evidence that foreigners including Americans are shuttled to the ROC churches and bidding on expensive icons and other religious historical items.
Filaret is calling for his congregants to do the same in Donbass and Russia.
This malignancy isn’t confined to Ukraine. It went back to Ukraine from outposts in places where nobody knew it was growing and festering. Did you ever wonder how the next great nationalist threat could come out of Geelong, AU? I didn’t either.
They have their media and lobbyist groups working full tilt trying to normalize nationalist thought so they don’t need to hide anymore. We have to decide if we will allow them to spit on our respective country’s greatest generation (fought nationalism in WWII) or not.
Top Photo | Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko waves during a mass prayer for Ukraine’s independent church in central Kiev, Ukraine, Oct. 14, 2018. The Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate says it will move forward with its decision to grant Ukrainian clerics independence from the Russian Orthodox Church. Mykola Lazarenko | Presidential Press Service
George Eliason is an American journalist that lives and works in Donbass. He has been interviewed by and provided analysis for RT, the BBC, and Press-TV. His articles have been published in the Security Assistance Monitor, Washingtons Blog, OpedNews, the Saker, RT, Global Research, and RINF, and the Greanville Post among others. He has been cited and republished by various academic blogs including Defending History, Michael Hudson, SWEDHR, Counterpunch, the Justice Integrity Project, among others.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.