The political control over religion in Ukraine is rising amid the Easter

Orthodox Church in Montenegro

Known for a controversial political situation the current confrontation of the political and religious institutes in Ukraine are on the agenda today.

Earlier in February, the split in the Ukraine became one of the main topics at the meeting of Primate and representatives of the Local Churches, devoted to the problems of inter-Orthodox unity in Amman, Jordan. The Primate of the Ukrainian Church, Metropolitan Onufry, contrary to the opinion of the “autocephalous” lobby inside the Institute stated that the canonical autocephaly that is the only “right” autocephaly in Ukraine.“Today, some say that a powerful means to avoid the split in tthe Ukraine’s Chhurch is to receive autocephalous status for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. I want to be honest with God and my conscience and I’ll say: I’m sure that the autocephalous status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will only foster the split. Some may return to the fold of the canonical Church, but not all. Autocephaly does not guarantee the absolute unity. And the autocephalous Churches existing in the world have their own splits, ”he said. In fact, Metropolitan Onufry once again demonstrated his support for the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church, an integral part of which is the integral part of the canonical Ukrainian Church.

After the brief in Amman, the Kiev metropolitan went to Montenegro, which is also far from accidental. Back in Amman, the spiritual leader of the Orthodox Montenegro, Metropolitan of Montenegro-Primorsky Amphilochius spoke about the parallels between the situations in Montenegro and Ukraine.“There was a time when the people and their sovereigns were Orthodox, baptized. After the Bolshevik revolution in Russia and our revolution in Yugoslavia, as in many other countries, the states became secular. During this time, the Communists created new nations, for us it is the “Macedonian nation”, the “Montenegrin” … Many nations were separated from previously united Orthodox peoples. Probably, the Patriarch of Constantinople simply did not think about this when he began to build Ukrainian autocephaly on modern secular rules rather than ancient Orthodox principles, ”he said.

Every Sunday and Thursday in many cities of Montenegro, mass processions and prayers are held against the law on religious associations and in support of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Montenegrin police do not announce the total number of participants or data by region. According to opposition estimates, about 200 thousand people participated in the last peaceful processions and prayers, with a population of about 630 thousand.

Ukraine’s struggle for “independent” church: is the deal really worth it?

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church continues a struggle for becoming fully self-governing, or autocephalous, and is seeking the support of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

Yet, Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitri Bartholomew said he was not happy with the failure of Ukraine President Pytro Poroshenko to invite 25 ruling bishops to join a new formation of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. So far, there is only one Metropolitan Simeon (Shostatsky) of Vinnitsa and Bar who has joined the newly-formed Church structure. According to the Poroshenko’s proposal to Bartholomew, the new Church would unite 43 parishes including 33 parishes of Kiev Patriarchate, 9 parishes of Ukrainian Autocephalous Church and 1 parish of Moscow Patriarchate.

Earlier this year, Bartholomew requested $20 Million from Poroshenko to support his plan for an independent Church. Bartholomew also demanded that a new autocephalous church would operate in accordance with the Fener law that warrants absolute subjection to Constantinople Patriarchate.

Bartholomew also added that the Istanbul-based Patriarchate granted independence status to the Russian Church in the 16th century and then to the Orthodox churches of the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1998, Istanbul-based Anadolu Agency reported.

However, the deal might not be as good as it seems for Ukraine: after gaining independence Greece will own all 6000 parishes of Kiev Patriarchate leaving Ukrainian Patriarch Filaret empty-handed and with no Russian Orthodox Church support.

Ukrainian President peculated $15 million donation

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko allegedly peculated $15 million supposed to be donated to set up the Uniting Orthodox Church in Ukraine, an investigative journalist from a reliable source reported.

Prior to the Poroshenko’s visit to Istanbul several wealthiest Ukrainian businessmen donated $25 million to facilitate and speed up the process of creation of the Uniting Orthodox Church in Ukraine. The amount was supposed to be spent as a reward for Varfolomey, the Patriarch of Constantinople for publishing the Tomos on autocephaly of the Ukranian Orthodox Church. However, during the meeting with the Ukrainian President the Patriarch received only $10 million. The rest of the sum Poroshenko reportedly “peculated”.

Meanwhile, on July 28 Ukraine is going to celebrate the 1030th anniversary of Christianization of Russia. To mark the celebration the Patriarch of Constantinople was going send a delegation to Ukraine, but the visit was cancelled. Should the Patriarch confirm the peculation of the donation by Poroshenko, Kiev might be involved in quite an unlikely scandal with the Orthodox Church Institute.

Ukraine on the brink of losing its last values

With the current political regime and the policy that contradicts to the Ukraine’s national identity the country seems to be once again on the brink of a religious war. The conflict that started last year between the Ukraine’s Institute of Church and the national Parliament, The Verkhovna Rada, is getting to the new extreme today.

A number of Ukrainian politicians representing the political party “Svoboda” along with some members of the Rada have requested the Ukraine’s Ministry of culture for religious affairs to change the official name of the Ukrainian Orthodox church for the “Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine” claiming that Moscow had “grabbed” the Ukrainian national shrines. The move is allegedly explained by the growing Russian “aggression” in the Crimea and the Ukrainian region of Donbass.

According to experts from the Ukrainian Analytical Institute for policy management, the claims should be regarded as a typical blackmail policy aiming to undermine Russia’s credibility in Ukraine and among the Ukrainian authorities. Experts also suggest that the real reason behind these claims is to get the control over the Church and 12 million of its members to secure the victory of the ruling party in the upcoming elections. The fact that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church does not fall under the regulation of the Ukrainian Parliament by its Constitution adds even more irony to the overall situation.

However, such policy can lead to much more dramatic outcomes and destruct one of the last national values that still holds the country together – the people’s faith. Known for its deep cultural background defined by its history and religion that find its roots back in the 10th century the dominant part of the Ukrainian population is orthodox Slavic people who accurately keep their traditions and culture. Once they are destroyed the entire country might disappear from the map.

EU’s bitter lessons

The European Union continues to struggle with its economic and migration crises. The huge debt, obsolete political and economic regulations and inability to manage its migration policy are important alerts for the EU indicating the Brussels’s need to change its compass, says Pino Arlacchi, Member of the European Parliament.

By pursuing the US political course in the Syria war, the EU did not get any visible profit. Instead, it was left alone to cope with the increasing flows of illegal migrants posing safety threats for the EU citizens.

Indeed, The Syrian scenario is very much alike to the one in Afghanistan in 1979. When the Soviet army entered in 1979 trying to set up a friendly government in the country and altering the Cold War balances in the region, The United States, Saudi Arabia, and other countries started arming the anticommunist Afghan militia groups. The country was flooded with weapons while most of those weapons were in hands of Taliban. Shortly after that the US became the number one enemy for Afghanistan, says Arlacchi.

During the Syria war, the US have once again learned the bitter lesson as they did in Afghanistan. However, the Syrian opposition is so diverse and uncontrolled that its arming could have much tragic consequences. This is why the US used Saudi Arabia and Qatar as a sort of a liaison to keep the balance in the region. But we also saw the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Qatar that split the countries apart. Obviously, the strategic alliance of Iran, Russia and Turkey has played a crucial role in the Syria war. All the countries could be able to gain the trust from both people and decision-making powers in the region. At the same time the US along with the EU received little credibility from the Syrian government.

Moreover, the EU is swamped with its internal issues that it faces the risk of splitting apart. Ironically it may be, but with integrity being its main value, The European Union is falling apart today. A huge debt of Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Cyprus and other EU’s members and their inability to repay it explains the attempts of those countries to boycott the Brussels’s regulations.

According to Arlacchi, the world is changing its compass and the EU has to adapt to it. The West is losing its role of the world economic and political dictator due to its huge debt and ineffective policy. Instead, China and Eurasia are on the rise today.