Borysfen Intel

Tomos for Ukraine

December 20, 2018
<p>Tomos for Ukraine</p>

Geopolitical Consequences and Prospects

 

December 15, 2018, according to the results of the Council (Sobor) of Unification, was created the new, independent from Russia, Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The official recognition of the new Ukrainian Church by Constantinople is scheduled for January 6, 2018, after which it will receive all rights in the diptych of the world Orthodoxy. It is significant that on this day, according to the Gregorian calendar, the Holy Evening — one of the greatest Christian holidays on the eve of the Nativity of Jesus Christ — is celebrated.

Undoubtedly, this event has an epoch-making historical significance for Ukraine, no less than the achievement of its independence in 1991. After a long and difficult path (when the Kyivan Metropolitanate of the Constantinople Patriarchate was liquidated by Russian princes in 1299, revived in 1620 at the time of the Cossack era, and then again was destroyed by Russia) our own Orthodox Church again has returned to Kyiv.

Due to this, Ukraine got a chance for free spiritual development under the auspices of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, inextricably linked with the Western world. In turn, Russia has largely lost its ability to influence Ukraine through the Moscow Patriarchate, which is nothing other than the Kremlin's instrument for realization of its geopolitical interests.

…For Ukraine, the creation of the Orthodox Church, independent from Russia, has an epoch-making historical significance…

All this creates qualitatively new opportunities for Ukraine's integration into European and world civilizations as an integral part of them. Unfortunately, Russia, which totally hates Ukraine as an independent, democratic and European state with its own Church, will remain an obstacle on our path.

 

However, the creation of the legitimate Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) has wider geopolitical significance. Thus, the recognition of the OCU by Constantinople confirms the principleness and consistency of the West's position on assuming responsibility for Ukraine. In this regard, the decision of the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to give Tomos on the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine is essentially in line with the conclusion of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, as well as NATO's adoption of the Comprehensive Assistance Package for Ukraine in connection with Russia's armed aggression against Ukraine.

At the same time, it once again confirmed Ukraine's importance to the West because it has a decisive influence on the balance of power in Europe and plays a leading role in deterring Russia's neo-imperial policy. In this context, illustrative is Constantinople's recognizing the Orthodox Church of Ukraine despite the powerful pressure from Moscow, which is actually trying to split the Orthodox world. This also showed principled attitudes of leaders of the world Orthodoxy, impossibility of influencing their decision by any kind of blackmail, and inviolability of the rights of each people to their own spiritual choices and their own church.

 

…For Russia, the creation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine is the same “red line”, as Ukraine's joining NATO…

In turn, Moscow's actions to break relations with Constantinople as a result of the latter's recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, showed the crucial nature of this issue for Russia, which has a geopolitical significance for it. By this step, the Kremlin clearly demonstrated the inadmissibility of the existence of independent from Moscow Orthodoxy in Ukraine. In fact, it has shown that the creation of the OCU is the same “red line” for Moscow, as Ukraine's joining NATO. This is fully in line with reality, since Ukraine's getting its own autocephalous church imposes far greater and, most importantly, real threats to Russian interests than Ukraine's membership in the Alliance.

Thus, despite all Moscow's concerns about NATO enlargement and the Alliance's military infrastructure approaching Russia's borders, the North Atlantic Alliance is in no way going and never intended to attack not only Russia but also the USSR.

Since the founding of the Alliance in 1949, it was exclusively defensive, which was enshrined in the Washington (North Atlantic) Treaty. At this, the accession to NATO of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic States in the late 1990s and early 2000s was not directed against Russia in any way. The aim of the Alliance's enlargement was exclusively to integrate these countries into European and Euro-Atlantic collective security systems.

…Ukraine's exit from under Moscow's religious influence is a real geopolitical challenge for Russia…

In contrast, Ukraine's exit from under Moscow's religious influence is a real geopolitical challenge for Russia, which loses one of the main tools for realizing its interests on the Ukrainian direction. And, consequently, the last chance to revive as a great world power. Without Ukraine, its territory, economic and demographic potentials, and most importantly — the spiritual foundations of Kyivan Rus, Russia will never be able to achieve its great-power goals. And it will remain, for the most part, the Asian country, which it really is…

Besides, Ukraine's having its own Orthodox Church will also mean significant financial losses of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), which it had been getting from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP). Thus, Russia's armed aggression against Ukraine has already begun the process of exodus of parishioners from the UOC-MP. And after the creation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, it can acquire much larger scales.

In general, these circumstances are the main reasons for Russia's eternal hatred for Ukrainian Orthodoxy. From the Middle Ages, and to our time, when such hatred has become especially hypertrophied. An evidence of this is the situation in the annexed Crimea and in the occupied territories of the Donbas, where all Ukrainian temples have been looted and closed. Neither Mongol-Tatars or the Ottomans, not even the Nazi invaders did this, only the Russian Communists and the Putin regime.

…The religious issue is considered by the Kremlin as an excuse for expanding the scale of the armed aggression against Ukraine…

Moreover, the religious issue is considered by the Kremlin as an excuse for expanding the scale of the armed aggression against Ukraine. Thus, V. Putin and other representatives of the leadership of the Russian Federation are already making open statements about Russia's readiness to move on to “protecting the Orthodox in Ukraine”, including with the use of armed force.

 

At the same time, Moscow deliberately uses the creation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine as an eligible reason for the realization of its great-power interests also in the religious sphere, that is — in order to take the role of the spiritual center of the world Orthodoxy. In fact, this is one of the means of strengthening Russia's position in confronting the West, as well as an instrument for building a “Russian world”, which, according to the ideas of Russian ideologues, should include the entire Orthodox world as well.

…Russia's separation from the canonical Orthodoxy can become a powerful incentive for its parishioners' breaking with both the Russian Orthodox Church itself and its subordinate churches in other countries…

It was on this that Moscow's actions were aimed when it was breaking the relations with Constantinople, as well as forcing other Orthodox churches to do the same, both, in the countries of the former USSR, and in other states. In particular, Russia has already received support from the UOC-MP, the Belarusian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Serbian Orthodox Church on this issue.

Incidentaly, in the same way as today's Russia, the Moscow princes acted in the Middle Ages. Thus, in 1448, Prince Vasily II subjected Anathema to Constantinople and all of its Metropolitanates, and proclaimed Moscow the only center of Orthodox Christianity. The reason for this was the decision of the Ecumenical Council of Florence, during which Catholics managed to achieve  agreement with Orthodox Christians to create an alliance against the Ottoman Empire. While Moscow, by virtue of its Mongolian, Horde and anti-Western nature, rejected any agreements with Catholics. And therefore they remained outside the European civilization of that time.

 

…Contrary to Moscow's attempts to become the center of world Orthodoxy, it will actually be in religious isolation…

But then, as you know, “making any decision, you accept responsibility for its consequences”. This fully applies to the Putin regime's actions in the religious sphere. Thus, despite the active attempts of the Russian propaganda (both church and state) to compromise Constantinople, a significant part of Russian believers will not go against the canonical Orthodoxy. And this will already mean the split of the Russian Orthodox Church itself. Moreover, such a split could have much worse consequences for Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church than the church split of the 1650s–1660s associated with Patriarch Nikon's reforms. In this regard, Russia's separation from the canonical Orthodoxy can become a powerful incentive for its parishioners' breaking with both the ROC itself and its subordinate churches in other countries, including in Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. As noted above, such a process has actually started in Ukraine. For example, the Vinnytsya Diocese has already left the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate for the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

At the same time, the Russian Orthodox Church's separation from Constantinople, in fact, deprives it of international legitimacy in the Orthodox, and in general, the whole Christian world. And, therefore, contrary to Moscow's attempts to become the center of world Orthodoxy, it will actually be in religious isolation. This was already shown by the postponing of the head of the Catholic Church Pope Francis' visit to Russia, which was scheduled for 2019.

…Russia has already turned into a “besieged fortress” with a powerful internal explosive potential. And from the East, China is near, just waiting for the right time…

As a result, Russia will remain alone with its internal and external religious problems that will objectively give rise to even more pressing military-political problems. In particular, in this context, Russia is facing a major threat to it — intensification and spread of aggressive Islamism from the regions of Central Asia and the Middle East, which already has a tangible impact on the situation in the Russian Volga region and the North Caucasus. And only the loyalty of the leaders of these regions to Moscow in exchange for its financial support still holds them away from anti-Russian protests, including on a religious basis.

 

…All of this is the result of the ambitions of the Putin regime and its aggressive and ill-advised actions in all spheres that have already turned Russia into a “besieged fortress” with a powerful internal explosive potential. And from the East, China is near, just waiting for the right time.

 

Page URL: http://bintel.com.ua/en/article/print/12-20-tomos/