What do all these mean?
What policies should we adopt to fight effectively the Islamic strategy to conquer the world by these three arms of Da’wah, Jihad and Hijrah? There are several important recommendations as a working policy:
1) Deal with the issue of immigration. Demographic conquest is the most permanent form of Islamic Da’wah and Jihad in history; the religious cloak is the Trojan Horse Islam uses to infiltrate the cultures and nations it seeks to destroy from within. Unfortunately, our worst enemy is the belief the Muslims wish to assimilate and will integrate in Western societies. Indeed, Europe is running adrift: not because of fanatics who occupy the land, but because of cowards who let them do it.
When you have an immigration policy that allows for the importation of millions of Muslims, you are also importing their ideology, an ideology that is fundamentally hostile to the foundations of western democracy, such as gender equality, pluralism, and individual liberties and freedoms. The best way to safeguard Europe and the US against the destructive effects of this poisonous reality is to enact laws that would bar the entry of foreign nationals who advocate the Sharī’ah, and for those already inside the borders, this should be a deportable offense. The other side is the annihilation of the U.S. Constitution, and consequently all freedoms.
One has to consider Theodore Roosevelt’s 1907 declaration: “Immigrants who come here in good faith become Americans and assimilate themselves in every facet to us… there can be no divided allegiance here. We have room for, but one flag – the American flag, but one language – the English language, but one sole loyalty – to the American institutions and people.” One should also consider the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard: Immigrants, not Australians, must adapt. It is take it or leave it… This is our country, our land, and our lifestyle you have to adapt with. It was Oriana Fallaci who observed so aptly: “Don’t let the multiculturalists fool you: it has never been about race or ethnicity, but about the threat of Islam’s monoculture; the threat to our minds; the threat to our very existence as a free society.”
Soeren Kern depicts the severe situation of the migration crisis from Hungary’s perspective. Europe’s migration crisis begins to expose the deep divisions exist within the European Union members. The EU is no longer being a model for post-nationalism and global citizenship. In 2014, more than 60,000 people have entered Hungary illegally; during the first six months of 2015, a nearly 900% increase over the same period in 2014. Approximately 95% of the migrants entering Hungary are coming from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Kosovo. On July 6, 2015, Hungary’s parliament approved the construction of a massive border fence with Serbia along the 175-kilometer frontier as part of an anti-immigration law that tightens the asylum rules. The move is aimed at stopping tens of thousands of migrants from entering Hungary, which has become a key gateway for illegal immigration into the European Union.
The Hungarian Foreign Minister has justified the moves as necessary to defend his country. “The Hungarian government is committed to defending Hungary and defending the Hungarian people from the immigration pressure. Hungary cannot allow itself to wait any longer.” Hungary is not alone. Bulgaria has built a 33-km barbed-wire fence along its border with Turkey, and more than one thousand police officers patrol the Turkish border. Greece has also erected a 10.5-km, barbed-wire fence along part of its border with Turkey. Spain has fortified fences in the North African exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. This is not a solution, nor the beginning of it. This has brought Chancellor Angela Merkel to warn that the waves of refugees are a bigger challenge than the debt crisis of Europe. Indeed, unless drastic steps are taken, Europe is becoming a province of Islam, an Islamic lebensraum.
Islamic aspirations to dominate the world politically by also enforcing the Sharī’ah as the only legitimate religion in the world are set to happen by the numbers of demography. In 1900 the entire Muslim population was almost 200 million, while the Christian population of the world was bigger almost by three times. According to data, in 2070, there will be more Muslims than Christians in the world. The number of Muslims will increase at more than double the rate of the world’s population.
There is also the persecution, massacre, enslavement, rape and annihilation of Christians in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Raymond Ibrahim, in his monthly reports and in his research proves very clearly the plight of the Christians. There is seemingly not a day goes by without Christian girls being abducted, enslaved, raped, and forced to convert, with the Islamic doctrinal justification for the Muslims’ horrific actions. It is to recall that Christian girls are considered goods to be damaged at leisure. Abusing them is a Muslim right, spoils of war, not to be considered as a crime. London and Sweden have become the capitals of rape, with no authorities’ answer. While unfortunately nobody pays attention to the many patterns of abuse against Christian minorities in the Muslim world, it is now occurring in the West in huge quantities. This is a new kind of Jihad the Free World is witnessing, without retaliation. Can one imagine what will happen when the Muslims become a majority or even 30 percent in the Western world?
2) Ban the application of the Sharī’ah as the state legal system. The first task is to try to ban the Sharī’ah as a legitimate law. It is the law in the Muslim countries, but its application in Non-Islamic states means no less than total disaster. It is possible to understand this when comparing its teachings to the US Constitution. In the US there is the separation of church and state, which was meant to protect the integrity of both, and to avoid religious power struggles. It sanctifies the separation of powers and checks and balances system. It makes the individual freedoms and civil right as a hallmark of the political processes. Islam exactly contradicts these and many more basic issues. Moreover, Islam and its teachings totally violate the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which protects the freedoms of speech and the press and praises individualism. Islam means the total submission and devotion to Allah, orders collectivism, denies that man is at the center and logic is the focus of human life. It also contradicts human freedoms and civil rights.
Islam and the Constitution of the US are incompatible, exactly like the communist and the Nazi ideologies. That is why it is easy to deny the adoption of the Sharī’ah. In Islam, freedoms and civil rights are absolutely missing; discriminating against women and disappearance of minorities are pervasive; and hatred of the other and incitement against him are the main characteristics. Islamic history and contemporary history clearly demonstrate that it spread by force and violence, which violates James Madison’s, fundamental and undeniable truth, in 1785: “We hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth that religion or the duty which we owe our Creator and the manner of discharging it can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.” No wonder he has been known as Father of the Constitution.
The question is how to stop Islam from being imposed on the Free World as the formal religion? Muslims can practice their religion as all other religions do, but Muslims must abide by the laws of their benevolent states’ laws and constitutions. The best way to begin with is to spread the truth about it. If we tell the truth about the bloody violent history of Islam; if we clearly observe and analyse the current Islamic politics with its extremist variations; if we tell the truth about the Sharī’ah, then Islam will be stopped in its march of occupation of the Free World. Instead of hatred and fear, so dominant in Islamic religion and way of life, one has to recall Thomas Jefferson’s: “When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.” Truth will also set the Free World’s peoples free and stick to the separation between the state and the religion. In our democracies man is at the centre and the rule of logic is at focus; while in Islam Allah is at the centre and submission to Allah is at focus.
The problem is that the majority of the peoples of the Free World are ignorant about the Islamic message and targets, and they are stupid enough not to learn its contents. They are naïve about the Islamic mission and they do not know about the real essence of Islam, because they do not bother to read and to learn. Instead, they act according to their own mirror image, believing the Muslims will become and behave like them. They are stunned by their failure when they watch the radicalization and extremism of the ‘third generation’ Muslims, and still they continue failing to connect the dots and come to the right conclusions. Unfortunately, they get their facts from the media; but the contemporary media is busy with a totally different agenda than conveying the Free World’s interests; and it also disseminates totally different messages.
The question is how to indoctrinate and socialize people about the deep hazards coming from Islam, about what endangers the Free World’s existence. Here comes the successful contribution of the Muslims with their diplomacy of deceit by Da’wah. When one quotes passages from the Qur’an to show how vile and evil they are, the Muslim propagators say that he quotes them out of context; and that he does not understand the meaning: that he does not even know Arabic; and that he reads the Qur’an from dubious translations, and other strange accusations. But they never tell us in what context the hundreds of verses can mean something else, and they never give another meaning. However, the fact is that those very scant verses in the Qur’an that they quote as peaceful are not only out of context, they have nothing to do with tolerance and peacefulness and compassion.
This is crucially important since it is the Islamic Da’wah’s highest strategy. It has been raised in the Netherlands; in Canada; Australia; and it is applied in Britain, after the Archbishop of Canterbury said that adoption of certain aspects of Sharī’ah in UK “seems unavoidable.” This is suicidal. The example to be taken is the Oklahoma House of Representatives which passed a Joint Resolution, 1056, to prohibit Oklahoma courts from considering Sharī’ah law in their court rulings.
If Western civilization really wants to get tough, its nations should outlaw the Sharī’ah. Public funds should be cut off immediately to Muslim groups that refuse to condemn and directly act against Muslim extremism. Muslim local imams who preach Jihad or hatred should be jailed, and those coming mainly from Saudi-Arabia, Qatar and Iran must be expelled and ban entering Western states, and their mosques closed.
c) Ban The harassing Islamic lawsuits. Western laws and values have become a weapon of war against its own by Islamic organizations. For that, it is crucially vital to protect our liberties by enacting laws prohibiting the degrading reality of Islamic lawsuits. Freedom of speech is under threat all over the Free World. The Muslim terrorists want to kill us, and Western governments want to silence us by legal or political harassment, out of intimidation and ignorance. A free society should not grant freedom to those who want to destroy it. As Abraham Lincoln said: “Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves”. We are not only confronted with the threat of Islamization by adopting the Sharī’ah, but also with the folly of cultural relativism and the appeasement mentality of our political leaders.
In the name of freedom, we have to speak out. No matter what the consequences are. Free speech is a fragile thing that must be boldly and courageously defended. The West’s political, academic, and media establishment are concealing the truth from their own people about the scope of the Islamic threat. Truth is our only weapon, and as long as we are free to speak, we can tell people the truth and make them realize what is at stake. However, when we defend the Judeo-Christian values and speak the truth about Islam it must not be labeled as “hate speech.” Criticizing Islam is considered ‘hate speech’ nowadays, but this attitude is anti-democratic. Criticism is the hallmark of a free society. Freedoms exist and are strengthened by criticism.
We are in the middle of the Third World War, and the battleground is not with tanks and airplanes (although this might come later on), but it is a conflict between freedom and tyranny staged on all fronts. We must spread the message about Islam. That is our first and most important duty. We have to stop pretending that Islam is only a religion. It is political more than it is a religion. It aims to occupy the world, and the Muslims declare it quite clearly, as it is written in the Qur’an. We must speak out the truth without censoring ourselves; draw the conclusions without the hedonism of the politically correct and the vicious slogans of multiculturalism and relativism; and we must act upon these conclusions courageously. If we allow ourselves to be self-censored about anything we say about Islam, soon Islam will start telling us how to live. We should never allow ourselves to be intimidated. That is how civilizations are led into political decay.
d) Change the lenient policy towards Muslim extremists, mainly Imāms that spread incitement and hatred among their followers. Michael Radu relates to the core issue of Islamic radicalism in Europe: Imāms and mosques. Without radical imāms, the entire ideological, political, psychological edifice of Islamism would crumble. No jihadist terrorist act has ever been committed without theological sanction from a cleric. Any solution has to start with the radical Imāms. The Free World states must act to deport the thousands of visiting Imāms, who mostly are financed by Saudi-Arabia and Qatar, and partly by Iran. Every investigation clearly reveals the crucial role of the Imāms in radicalizing the masses, and their role in antagonizing the Muslim communities towards and in Europe and the US. Unfortunately, Oriana Fallaci was so correct to observe that behind every Islamic terrorist there is an Imām. A life-wishing state must begin with this.
Not all Muslims are terrorists but, regrettably, the majority of the terrorists in the world are Muslims. For over 10 years, we have warned against the dangers of leniency in handling the extremism that is now spreading like a plague among Muslim immigrants. The battle is against the ideology that spreads propaganda of hatred and incitement among the Muslims. In the past, we told you: ‘Stop them!’ Today, we tell you: ‘Expel them.’ Immigration must be stopped and strict rules should be passed and enforced.
e) Ban the petro-dollar money flow of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The so-called “charity money,” Zakat, goes mainly to Da’wah’s hate and incitement organizations. Money is the blood that maintains and nurtures the Islamic occupation of Europe. Between 1982 and 2002, 1,500 mosques, 210 Islamic centers and 2,000 Muslim schools were established in non-Muslim countries. There are 200 mosques and 90 imams in Austria; 1,600 Mosques and 1,250 Imams in France; 1,000 mosques and 1,500 Imams in Germany; 500 mosques and 2,000 Imams in Britain. Academic chairs for Islamic studies and Islamic research institutes exist in many universities throughout the world. Hundreds of billions of dollars were spent by Saudi charities to “propagate” Islam worldwide.
Reza Safa estimates that since 1973, the Saudi government has spent an unbelievable 87 Billion dollars to promote the ideology of Wahhabism in the US and Europe. He brings official Saudi information that shows Saudi funds have been used to build and maintain over 1,500 mosques, 202 colleges, 210 Islamic centers, and almost 2,000 schools for educating Muslim children in non-Islamic countries in Europe and the US.
In 2002, The Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace (CMIP) undertook a survey of Saudi Arabian textbooks and its Wahhabi outlook on the West as well as Saudi notions of government and other political issues. The Report analyzes 93 school textbooks taught in grades 1-10, mostly from the years 1999-2002 and presents the religious and political worldview to school students between the ages of 6 and 16. In these Wahhabi texts, Islam is presented as the only true religion while all other religions are presented as false. “Islam is the only religion leading its followers to Paradise, whereas all other religions destroy their believers in Hell. Muslims are, consequently, superior to followers of all other religions, in both this world and the next.” The message is clear: Wahhabi Islam must dominate the entire world. There is no democratization and no modernization, as Wahhabism stands as a monument to stagnation and decline.
Muslims are obliged to consider all infidels the enemy. The West is the source of all misfortunes of the Muslim world, its most dangerous effect on Muslim society being “its cultural and intellectual influence in all fields of life.” An estimated 30,000 Muslim children attend Saudi-funded Wahhabi day schools in America. Intolerance and outright rejection of American values and democratic ideals are taught. The Saudis have also directed considerable outreach toward the American Afro-American Muslim community, and they have special programs aimed at converting blacks in US prisons.
The preaching of hatred of the Kuffār is part of demonizing and dehumanizing them, and this has been re-enforced in the mosques and Madāris all along Islamic history. Since the mid-1960s the Saudi royal family has funded Islamic radicalization around the world. The Saudi government spends billions of dollars to spread Islam to every corner of the earth deliberately and purposely. This conception resembles the Nazi indoctrination and hatred schooling of beliefs in Germany, which was proven to be so effective. Indeed, beliefs can be modified massively through propagating policy intervention. There is no pause in the Islamist hate propaganda and indoctrination among Muslim communities in the West, and it is a must, a deadly one, to find and to execute immediately effective means to de-radicalize this plague.
The Islamic doctrine of assaulting the world took place in two large waves: first, the conquests of the Middle East, Andalusia and Asia, mainly through the years 632-712, which is the period of occupations of the Arab Empire; second, through the years 1453-1683 by the Ottoman Empire. The result was horrific: civilizations have been annihilated, coerced into conversion and subjugation; the Middle East was predominantly Christian; Iran mostly Zoroastrian; Afghanistan and Central Asia were Buddhist; Pakistan was Hindu, and the Balkans were Christian. All have fallen prey to the invasion of Islam, and they are a vivid example of the standards of Islamic way of life.
Now, a third wave is taking place: the Islamic encroachment and occupation of the Free World. It uses the familiar Jihad, all sorts of intimidation, violence, and terrorism; it uses Da’wah, all means of propagation, aiming at deceiving, confusing and misleading the infidels, and to pave the way to Islamization; and it uses Hijrah, of immigration and demography, a lethal threat to flood the Free World’s territories with Muslims, and to convert their inhabitants. This is a calculated strategy by all means to achieve Islam’s universal goals to subdue and to cause Western civilization to capitulate. In the words of Oriana Fallaci, the Free World has become an outpost of an Islamic province, and in each of our cities lies a second city: a Muslim city, a city run by the Qur’an, a stage in the Islamic expansionism.
This situation is exemplified by the words of Abdallah Azzam, al-Qaeda’s founder and Bin Laden’s mentor: The life of the Islamic Ummah is solely dependent on the ink of its scholars, which is Da’wah, and the blood of its Mujāhidīn, which is Jihad, and the Muslim women’s womb, which is Hijrah. What is more beautiful than delineating the map of Islamic history with the black color that writes the Ummah’s history by its scholars, and the red color that shapes its borders by the Mujāhidīn’s blood?
The problem is that the Free World’s leaders, the media and cultural elites do not understand the situation and do not connect the dots clearly as they appear on the picture. They do not see the combined strategy of Jihad Da’wah and Hijrah. They concentrate on fighting Islamic terrorism while they totally ignore the Da’wah propagation, naively believing in a false sense of mutual friendship with Muslims, and they see the Hijrah as a social issue as the immigrants will eventually be assimilated and integrated. However, this is not only a myth, this is one of the greatest misconceptions of the millennium, and this is the worst nightmare ever, because all these groups are working, although separately and with different tactics and timetables, to achieve the same Islamic universal targets. The Free World’s leaders do not connect the dots and in fact they do work for Islam’s sake. What we do not understand is that securing our freedoms means sobriety in understanding reality and vigilance in pro-active vision. Vigilance means identifying and defining the enemy; clearly understanding the situation; and making the right, beneficial and insightful decisions. This is the first commandment of existence.
Indeed, there are moments in life when keeping silent becomes a fault, and speaking becomes an obligation, a civic duty, a moral challenge, and a categorical imperative from which we cannot escape. The moment one gives up his principles, values, and his freedoms, he is dead; his culture and way of life are dead, and his civilization is dead. Muslims who refuse to accept the Free World’s culture and way of life have the alternative not to live there. They must not try to impose their culture and way of life on us. To reject Islamic culture and way of life is an uppermost duty towards our culture, values, principles, and in fact our civilization. Europe is no longer Europe, it is Eurabia, where the Islamic invasion does not proceed only in a physical sense, but also in mental and cultural senses. The colonization of Europe by tens of millions of Muslims is on a scale unmatched in human history. The states of Western Europe today face a large, angry, separatist population, a third and even a fourth generation of young, radical and fanatical Muslims who are ready to tear down and wreak havoc in their benevolent generous hosts’ countries.
While analyzing these spheres, it is crucially important to understand the Islamic grand strategy. It works on all the spectrums with all available means, with no orderly schemes, but according to the ‘vacuum theory’. This strategy is real, imminent and lethal. While we spend most of our energies, attention, and expenditures on fighting Jihad and thwarting terrorism, we, out of oblivion and complacency, fail to comprehend and internalize the real fronts we face, which are Da’wah and Hijrah.
Islam commands its followers to spread the religion by force of Jihad as much as by propagation of Da’wah, and the demography of Hijrah. Conquests, conversion and subduing and immigration are legitimized and justified as the means to the utmost target. The Islamic empire must continually expand, and no grain of the earth is exempted. Islam insists that the first and utmost allegiance of the believer is to Islam. More than his family, his tribe, or his country, dying for the sake of Allah is the only way to guarantee entrance into Paradise, which is the utmost motivation for creating fearless, enthusiastic, zealots warriors of Islam.
How can we explain the Free World’s ill-suited reaction; its hypnotized paralysis? Is it hedonism alone? Is it the petro-dollar? Is it the guilt and remorse of the imperialist-colonialist past? Is it the unawareness of the implications of the stealth politics of the Da’wah? The fatal errors of policy-makers, public opinion molders and the media communications can be explained by the following components: a) the distorted mirror image, which is scientifically oriented and denotes cultural fallacies; b) the politically correctness, so pervasive in the West and deeply rooted in its social behavior; c) the oblivion and opacity of policy-makers, which is the march of folly, of ignorance and stupidity; d) the mental blindness and selective hearing of the political leaders and the media concerning the situation; e) the politics of denial and mental inhibition of Western leaders. This reality causes a combined politics of appeasement and subjection to intimidation that stems out of a deep fear that runs rampant causing leadership to act as if there is nothing wrong with Islam. Tragically, truth has become the new hate speech. It exemplifies George Orwell’s: “during times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”
We are frightened; intimidated; horrified; and terrorized in front of the violent, the villain and the savage, and we want to come back to our sanity out of this madness — by running away; by giving in and paying “protection money;” and by accommodating ourselves to their demands. An indication of this horrific situation comes from Tim Benson, Head of the Cartoonists Union in Britain: after smearing Israeli politicians so many times, in a purely anti-Semite approach, he was asked why he does not even try to blame the Muslims. His answer is the best for unmasking the issue: “the Jews do not issue killing Fatawā.”
This is the whole story: ‘the Jews do not issue killing Fatwahs;’ and the Christians too do not issue killing Fatwahs; only Muslims issue killing Fatwahs. And the horrible thing is that there are so many among the Muslims who run enthusiastically to perform and execute these atrocious obscene Fatwahs. In the same vein, here is the proof: a couple of Danish artists produced an ‘artistic’ exhibition in Berlin in April 2010, by drawing the map of the Middle East without the existence of Israel. Jews and Christians are persecuted, harassed, and at the same time are pictured as demons and the epitome of evil, without any fear of a ‘killing Fatawā.’
However, this is nothing compared to the main issue. Islam would have not won without the close assistance of the empty, unscientific, pseudo-academic ideas of the anarchist-Bolshevik production of multiculturalism and moral relativism. Islam would have not won without the naïve, ignorant, false beliefs, political correctness, and misconceptions of the Free World. The result is horrific: we live in an world turned upside-down, as Melanie Phillips asserts: the rejection of the Judeo-Christian tradition and the victory of post-modernism have paved the way for and facilitated the dooming of Western culture. Europe becomes more and more a province of Islam, a colony of Islam, an Islamic lebensraum, as much as the entire Free World.
That is, if the Free World does not wake up and sober up very soon; if it does not leave behind its political correctness and complacency; if it continues its ignorance and stupidity about what Islam really means; if it continues its intoxicated slumber and its idiot-fool beliefs about the good in every human being — then there is a high probability that the highest modern technological society will perish. But there is also a great paradox: Islam cannot live on its own. Muslims need others to sustain and to activate modern life. From the very first days, Muslims used to live by raids (Ghazawāt) plundering the others and taking booty (Ghanā’im) from them. What future is left for them without raids on the other and without their booty? That is, a double tragedy occurs: as long as Islam continues its encroachment, the Free World is weakening; and as it weakens, Islam becomes stronger to the point of annihilating the Free World, it being Kuffār. But this annihilation also means the destruction of Islam. This is the pure embodiment of the Pyrrhic victory, a tragedy to all participants.
Winston Churchill has written the following, in his book from 1899:
Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith.”
Indeed, this is exactly how civilization dies. In the struggle for our free democratic existence, we must reiterate the quotation of old Cato in the Roman Senate: Ceterum senseo Carthago esse delendam. It was Winston Churchill, to declare in his May 1940 speech in the British Parliament:
“You ask: what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory; victory at all costs; victory in spite of all terror, however long or hard the road may be. For without victory there is no survival.”
How Constantinople changed the Orthodox World
Soon it will be one month since the Ecumenical Patriarchate reinstated the primates of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC KP) and Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) and finally headed for granting the Ukrainian Orthodox Church the Tomos of Autocephaly.
This decision has already led to large-scale changes in Ukraine and the Orthodox world. So, what’s happening?
Ukraine: Property redistribution, fighting for the new Church’s Primate chair and uncertainty
The first thing the Ukrainians did was redistributing property. A part of the deal between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Autocephaly was a number of real estate items in the center of Kyiv. As it is rumored, Metropolitan Emmanuel of France visited the country to review the objects; their size and value quite impressed him.
On October 18, Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada passed the President’s bill on handing St. Andrew’s Church in Kyiv to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Up to that moment the church served as the UAOC’s cathedral but its primate Metropolitan Makarios supported the presidential decision since his organization will be part of the new united Ukrainian Church and he is ready to sacrifice for it.
Meanwhile the UOC KP is getting ready to obtain new real estate items. On October 20, the Synod changed the title of its head: now he will also be the “Holy Archimandrite of the Kyiv-Pechersk and Pochaiv Lavras”, which belong to the UOC MP. On the eve of elections, Filaret seems to demonstrate his supremacy before Makarios and the UOC MP. As it is known, the UOC KP and UAOC are in long-lasting conflict, which escalated since the Tomos will be granted shortly.
The UOC MP certainly is in no haste to recognize Constantinople’s decision: the clergy of a few large eparchies of the Moscow Patriarchate vote for Metropolitan Onufriy and against the Tomos. Met Onufriy openly claims that the Phanar’s actions are uncanonical and calls for defending the faith. Bishops won’t join the new Church without their clergy and dioceses.
For instance, in predominantly anti-Russian Rivne Oblast in western Ukraine, all the clergy and monks unilaterally supported Met. Onufriy.
At a voting by secret ballot in Odessa Diocese, only 3 (!) priests of 406 were against Met Onufriy.
Metropolitan Sofronios of Cherkasy was the only bishop of UOC MP dioceses who openly supported Autocephaly. Cherkasy Diocese’s voting by secret ballot showed that nearly all of the local clergy deprecate the Autocephaly. Facing criticism, Met Sofronios had to publically state that he “won’t join the same Church with Filaret.”
In case Filaret and Makarios don’t reconcile and UOC MP bishops stand aside, the Unification Council will fail. The only result yielded by the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s strategy would be an exarchate and valuable property in the center of Kyiv. But where is the promised unity of the Ukrainian Church?
The world: A schism, the declining authority of the Greek Orthodoxy and the Ecumenical Patriarch
The Ecumenical Patriarchate has failed to reach concord in the world Orthodoxy. It is starting to divide into two camps. Despite the cut ties, Moscow couldn’t be isolated: the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch and Slavic Churches are against Constantinople’s hasty actions on the Ukrainian question and the conflict is expected to be universal.
Such stand-offs can’t foster the positions of the Greek Orthodoxy. Constant quarrels between the Local Churches undermines the authority of the Orthodox Church in the eyes of Roman Catholics and Protestants: the Greek Orthodoxy once again looks ridiculous.
The ambiguous events influencing the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s reputation also added oil to the fire. First, the contents of the confidential talks on August 31 with Patriarch Kirill were leaked. The negotiations were recorded only by Constantinople’s representative, so it couldn’t have been published without prior consent of Patriarch Bartholomew.
The Ecumenical Patriarch is quite aggressive toward the Russian Orthodox Church without presenting grounds for his accusations. Thus, he has recently blamed Moscow for the dissemination of “well-paid articles” and “black propaganda” without clarifying what he meant.
Obviously, scandals like this one and aggression toward other Churches negatively affects Bartholomew’s reputation. Moreover, it looks like the Ecumenical Patriarchate strives not for the Unity of the world Orthodoxy but for its own supremacy over other Churches.
There should be recalled the situation with the “pearl in Constantinople’s crown” – the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA). In summer, some of its influential supporters spoke about independency following the example of Ukraine, but these talks were cut off. Meanwhile, for several months the Phanar has been trying to displace Archbishop Dimitrios. Against the background of the Ukrainian Autocephaly and open war with Moscow, the attempts to restrict the GOA’s independence and kick out its primate look cynical. Otherwise, it can urge the Archdiocese’s clergy and laity to unite for independency.
Relations with the ROC: the future of the ecumenical dialogue in question
The rupture between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate has influenced not only the processes between the two Churches. In cooperation with the ROC, Constantinople conducted active inter-confessional negotiations, but since Moscow refused to take part in them, the future of the relations, first of all with Roman Catholics, are not that promising. Now the talks led by Constantinople won’t be all-Orthodox, and this can be a pretext for predominantly anti-Ecumenical Churches to abandon them.
Besides, the Phanar’s actions will affect the Orthodox Diaspora: without the ROC, the Assemblies of Bishops won’t be that effective, their activity can stall.
At this moment, it’s unclear what awaits us in the future but one thing is obvious: the Orthodox world has changed and it will never be the same. Yes, Constantinople has won in the battle for supremacy becoming “the first without equals.” But the price is too high.
The Politics of Canons and Borders
The conflict surrounding the Orthodox church in Ukraine has moved irrevocably beyond the purely intra-ecclesiastical agenda. Experts, political scientists, and journalists have plunged headlong into the subtleties of canon law, the history of intra-Orthodox relations and discussions of the psychological profiles of the church hierarchs. As a rule, they consider the situation in a rather limited political context, assessing its consequences either for Russia–Ukraine relations or for Russia’s relations with the West.
At the same time, the problem of autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is far broader than the question of the future of Orthodoxy in a particular country or its relations with its neighbours. It would seem that a more extensive analysis of the current processes is possible using the approaches employed in the modern theory of international relations, which acknowledges the existence in global politics of denominational actors with their own objectives and principles . Such a post-secular take will make it possible to delineate the interests of secular and religious actors and assess the balance of power on the political and religious map of the world (that overlap, but rarely coincide).
Orthodox Centres of Power in Global Politics
In recent history, the Roman Catholic Church has long been the only significant religious actor of in the international arena. Historically, the Holy See was sufficiently independent of secular authorities, and had the structure and resources that allowed it to harbour global ambitions. In the 20th century, the Lateran Accords made it possible for the Roman Catholic Church to retain its secular extra-territorial authority. In terms of “religious economy,” the Roman Catholic Church, as the world’s largest denomination, was bound to perceive itself on a global scale, which it does, seeing all countries and continents as its “religious market.” Other religious movements lacked either the requisite strength of numbers or a requisite structure acting on behalf of its followers, or were subordinated to secular authorities, which made it impossible for them to entertain similar ambitions. This applies to autocephalous Orthodox Churches that either viewed themselves as regional actors or simply struggled for survival.
The first window of opportunity for the emergence of independent Orthodox centres of power appeared with the fall of the Russian and Ottoman Empires, the two states in which virtually all the world’s Orthodox population was concentrated. The Patriarchate of Constantinople immediately seized the opportunity afforded by the weakening of control over the religious sphere and attempted to use its status as the “first among equals” to take the leading positions in the family of Orthodox Churches. In 1922, Patriarch Meletius II of Alexandria declared Phanar’s right to govern the parishes of the so-called diaspora (that is, the parishes outside the territories of local Churches), and in 1923, he attempted to hold and chair a “Pan-Orthodox Congress.” Moreover, same year, taking advantage of the difficult situation of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), Meletius II hastened to spread his influence on its territory as well. He took the Orthodox population of Estonia and Finland under the governance of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and also interfered in the affairs of the Church in Poland. The ROC’s independence at the time was so fleeting that the growing demands of the Phanariotes encountered virtually no resistance.
As the USSR grew stronger and the Soviet Empire emerged, the opportunities of independent Orthodoxy were shrinking and finally collapsed when the world split into two global ideological camps. Orthodoxy found itself in the part which did not presuppose any independent ecclesiastical institutions. It should be noted that the provisional “restitution” of the ROC’s canonical territories which took place as the USSR moved West, was the result of the secular authorities, not the ecclesiastical authorities, realizing their interests.
The situation changed radically with the collapse of the USSR. About 185 million Orthodox Christians, over 90 per cent of their total number, lived in the countries of the former socialist bloc (primarily Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Kazakhstan). For the first time in modern history, large Orthodox communities that emerged on the ruins of the Soviet Empire had their own ecclesiastic bodies independent of the secular authorities. The actual, rather than the nominal separation of church and state (which in the post-Soviet and post-Imperial reality mostly meant that the state would not interfere in the affairs of the Church) allowed the ecclesiastical hierarchy to reconsider the significance and purposes of the institutions they headed. As soon as they became accustomed to the new situation of religious freedom, as soon as this part of the “market” that previously had been excluded from the global religious economy was opened, the struggle to define roles, boundaries and common goals intensified within Orthodoxy.
The process of shaping a new system of international ecclesiastical relations was launched in the Orthodox world. The word “new” here essentially means “first.” The Orthodoxy did not have its “Westphal” capable of serving as the starting point for defining common canonical rules and stable canonical boundaries. Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, where intra-ecclesiastical relations are regulated by a codified and regularly updated canonical law system enhanced by the efficiency of its hierarchical organization, Orthodox Churches do not have a uniform canonical law for intra-Orthodox relations. The most recent Ecumenical Council took place in 787, and the most Local Council, whose provisions were included in the Orthodox Canon Law, concluded in 880. The majority of key documents on church governance date to the 4th century. Such distance in time inevitably creates room for various readings and interpretations. Local Churches regularly accuse each other of misinterpreting a particular rule to fit their interests. The lack of more modern documents that are recognized by all churches is largely due to the above-mentioned limited international agency of Orthodox Churches.
The “great powers” of the Orthodox world – Constantinople and Moscow – took shape during this process. Of all the Churches, they are the only ones with sufficient resources (although they are of different nature), hierarchs of the requisite mindset and, mostly importantly, with the desire to fight for the right to format the “Orthodox factor” in global politics. As for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, its principal and essentially only resource is the “symbolic capital” of its “first among equals” status. The ambitions of the Phanariotes are determined by the conditions of their survival: without the Pan-Orthodox status and inclusion into the global “religious market,” the ecumene of the Ecumenical Patriarchate will dwindle to 3000 Istanbul parishioners, which even the western media never fail to mention. The Patriarchs of Constantinople cannot afford the role of leaders of a national church, the role most Orthodox leaders assume, because they do not have a national church.
Moscow’s stance is based on an entirely different logic. Even without Ukraine, the ROC’s parishioners account for over a half of all Orthodox believers. The Russian Orthodox Church also inherited from the Russian and Soviet empires the largest and most well-developed infrastructure and an established system of relations with today’s Russian authorities: these are resources that other churches lack. The idea of Moscow as the “Third Rome,” as the holy keeper and defender of global Orthodoxy, is inheritance that the ROC received from its “symphony with the state.” This self-perception of both church hierarchs and large proportion of parishioners, multiplied by their numbers, prompts the Moscow Patriarchate to define its global strategy.
“Phanarian Papism” vs. “Council Confederation”
The differences between the models that Moscow and Phanar offer to the rest of Orthodoxy turned out to be fundamentally opposite. Based on the nature of its resources, the Patriarchate of Constantinople banked on unifying the Orthodox world along the lines of the Catholic model, striving to transform its primacy of honour into unquestionable primacy. The course Meletius II set in the early 20th century was continued by his successors in the late 20th century. Thus, one of Constantinople’s first acts following the collapse of the USSR was to establish ecclesiastical bodies in Estonia parallel to those of the ROC. For obvious reasons, other Orthodox Churches gave Phanar’s ambitions the cold shoulder. It should be noted, however, that Constantinople made a rather effective use of its “symbolic capital” outside Orthodoxy proper, converting it into recognition of the Patriarch as the spiritual leader in the eyes of the West. Such was the purpose of the frequent meetings that the Patriarchs of Constantinople held with Popes, the inclusion of environmental issues on the agenda and the other tactical moves aimed at establishing themselves in the role of Orthodoxy’s principal speaker in the western media space.
The model proposed by the Russian Orthodox Church can be provisionally termed a “council confederation” model. The ROC strove to enshrine the existing areas of canonical influence and set clear rules of the game based on making decisions at councils following the principle of a consolidated position. The ROC probably counted on retaining the leading role through its qualitative and quantitative superiority over other churches. At the same time, the Moscow Patriarchate demonstrated certain flexibility: internal mobilization of resources and centralization of power go hand in hand with the readiness to grant broad autonomy to individual parts, and conservative rhetoric in Russia coexisted perfectly within the framework of establishing contacts with Catholics and Anglicans.
Ukraine as the Point of Collapse
The problem of the autocephaly of the Ukrainian church would have never grown to its current scale had it been solely a matter of the independence of Ukrainian Orthodoxy. A competitive environment formed in Ukraine that made it possible for various religious organizations to co-exist in the country regardless of anyone’s recognition. Canonical law does not affect issues of property or worship. Those of Ukrainian Orthodox hierarchs who wanted absolute independence from the Russian Orthodox Church could opt for non-canonical bodies. A significant number of bishops would still prefer to remain part of a larger community with another scale of interests. This desire can hardly be explained by some external pressure, more likely, it is testimony to their similar views on the role and strategy of the Russian Orthodox Church. Ultimately, it should be kept in mind that Ukrainian hierarchs account for nearly a third of Russian Orthodox bishops, and nearly a third of delegates at the 2009 Council that elected Patriarch Kirill of Moscow were Ukrainian citizens.
The current actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople are based on its own interests, which could only be implemented in today’s international situation. The increasing struggle between the ROC and Phanar took its final shape in 2016 with the collapse of the Pan-Orthodox Council that had been in the works since 1961; for the Orthodox world, it would have become the Eighth Ecumenical Council. With the refusal of the Russian Orthodox Church and several other Churches to attend the Council, the issue of determining a universally acceptable system of international ecclesiastical relations was driven into a virtual impasse. The opportunity to determine the map of the Orthodox ecclesiastical world through negotiations was missed. The further logic of the process demanded a conflict that would serve as a catalyst for the public uncovering of contradictions and setting down the real balance of power.
The conflict surrounding Orthodoxy in Ukraine proved to be just such a catalyst. The Patriarchate of Constantinople used a local coincidence of its interests with those of the Ukrainian authorities and the geopolitical situation to move to the active stage of the conflict. Phanar declared the territory outside Russia that was of great importance for the ROC to be its canonical demesne. Additionally, by lifting the anathema from the leaders of Ukraine’s schismatic churches, Phanar practically confirmed its vision of itself as the final judicial body of the Orthodox world. It does not matter whether the Ecumenical Patriarchate will grant autocephaly to a specific religious body in Ukraine or whether it will look for ways to formally subsume the Ukrainian Church. In any case, its key objective is to remove this territory from the area of Moscow’s influence and to stake out its own presence there thereby enshrining the new balance of power.
A Schism or Disintegration?
The conflict between Moscow and Constantinople has reached a new level. Its further development will determine the future of the world Orthodoxy and affect, at the very least, the position of Christianity in Europe, where some 257 million Catholics and about 200.5 million Orthodox Christians live. If the contradictions between the principal centres of power are not resolved, then the risk it that Orthodoxy may cease to exist in its current form. Without the Russian Orthodox Church, the Orthodox world loses any qualitative significance. And without the “symbolic power” of the rest of the Orthodox world, the Moscow Patriarchate is no more than Russia’s national religion, which may sit well with some politicians and hierarchs, but contradicts the internal logic of the Church and Christian universalism.
The current situation encapsulates the failure of both the Phanar and Moscow models, and their revitalization appears unlikely. Subsequently, events may follow one of two principal scenarios. The first scenario will be determined by the disintegration of the family of Orthodox Churches. Granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian church sets a decisive precedent for triggering the atomization of Orthodoxy. The protestant principle of “one state, one church” will deal a blow not only to the ROC, but also to other Orthodox churches, including the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The scale of disintegration will increase through the collapse of the unified legitimation system and, consequently, through the multiplication of Orthodox sects and the increased personal ambitions of individual bishops who would want autocephaly for themselves or at least autonomy within their states. Ukraine will be the first on the list; ultimate canonical confusion there will create all the requisite conditions for an explosive growth of the number of self-proclaimed patriarchs. Atomization will entail marginalization and relegation to the periphery of the religious world map. Emasculating and adapting the Church doctrine to the new realities, essentially an Orthodox “Reformation” and the end of universal Orthodoxy and the Diptych as its symbol will be the final chord in this scenario.
The second scenario is slightly less dramatic. The conflict between Phanar and the ROC will end with Orthodox Churches splitting into two camps with centres in Moscow and Istanbul. Other Orthodox Churches will try to remain neutral, but the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Moscow will force them to pick a side. Orthodoxy will be plunged in its most deep-running split since the Great Schism. Long-term, neither party is likely to win. The schism will either evolve into disintegration, or return to the starting point of the 1990s. The struggle between the two camps will effectively remove Orthodox Churches from global religious politics; the Roman Catholic Church will boost its standing in global Christianity and ardent Protestant denominations will be far more visible on the religious map than Orthodoxy.
Under both scenarios, a way out of the crisis is possible if new charismatic leaders emerge who are capable of offering new integration points for the Orthodox world. Ethnic or country affiliations will have no special significance; what is going to be of far greater importance is the ability to sweep along the believers who are tired of the canonical confusion, militant rhetoric and the feeling of conflict. One could suppose that the project of “Orthodox reboot” will go beyond the boundaries of the current Orthodox borders. Both Ancient Eastern churches (often counted when calculating the total number of Orthodox churches) and individual non-Orthodox Churches (such as the Armenian Church or the Anglican Church) may also be involved.
Under any scenario, the current situation decreases the level of autonomy of Orthodox Churches while increasing their dependence on secular authorities as their potential sponsors or allies in the struggle against the opposing camp. Given the experience of church–state relations within Orthodoxy, the religious sphere is under threat of politicization, while the influence the Church has on political processes will shrink. Globally, it entails the dwindling of “religious multipolarity” as a factor in maintaining the political multipolarity.
- 1. See, for instance, Wilson E. After Secularism: Rethinking Religion in Global Politics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, 222 pp.
First published in our partner RIAC
Is the Ecumenical Patriarchate Fine with St. Andrew’s Church in Kyiv?
On October 18, Ukrainian Parliament approved the handover of St. Andrew’s church in Kyiv to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. During the second hearing, 237 deputies voted for the bill (first, 216 deputies gave their votes). The project was personally initiated by President Poroshenko. It is reported that Parliament obliged the Cabinet to complete the handover in one month since the bill is adopted.
St Andrew’s Church was constructed between 1747 and 1754, to a design by the Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli, and is rightfully considered one of Ukraine’s most beautiful religious structures.
Now it is the cathedral of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC), but it’s a state property and part of the Sophia of Kyiv National Sanctuary. That is why the decision to hand over the church was reviewed by members of Parliament.
Nevertheless, the church won’t be transferred to the ownership but for use of Constantinople. As the bill reads, it was done to provide the Phanar with a place where its clergy can hold services, ceremonies and processions – on condition that the Ecumenical Patriarchate will comply with cultural protection laws.
Obviously, the UAOC’s consent was also obtained. Its primate Metropolitan Makarios said that if the UAOC was part of the new Local Orthodox Church he agreed to give his cathedral to the Exarch of Constantinople. Along with this he claimed that the UAOC needs another church in Kyiv in return, for example, St. Cyril’s Church or Church of the Savior at Berestove.
But here comes a peculiar detail: St Andrew’s Church was closed for restoration in 2015 and since then services haven’t been held there. The restoration will continue for at least a year and only after this the building will be opened, said a representative of the National Sanctuary complex “Sophia of Kyiv”, which owns the church. Besides, a special agreement will be signed between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the sanctuary complex according to which the church will operate both as a place of worship and a museum (like the Refectory Church of St. Sophia’s Monastery where services are held from 8 till 10 AM, and later it is open as a museum).
Does this property comply with the demands of Constantinople? After the Synod held on October 9-11, the Phanar published the decision on Ukraine’s autocephaly. One of the points was to restore the Patriarchate’s Stavropegion in Kyiv. According to Poroshenko, St. Andrew’s Church will become the “embassy” of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Ukraine. Kyiv seems to have decided that Constantinople would be fine with a church closed for restoration. The representatives of the world Orthodox leader would reside in a museum – and that, as politicians think, also shouldn’t confuse the Phanar. Moreover, the church won’t be owned but only used by Constantinople.
The Patriarchate seems to have come around with it as Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC KP), Archbishop Yevstratiy (Zorya) noticed that the state and the Phanar already agreed upon St. Andrew’s Church becoming the cathedral for the Stavropegion. But why was this very church, witnessing a long-standing restoration, chosen for the Constantinople Exarch?
Meanwhile, intriguing is the behavior of Filaret (Denysenko), the now-recognized primate of the UOC KP. On October 20, the UOC KP Synod changed the title of its head. Now the Church’s Primate will also be called the Archimandrite of Kyiv-Pechersk and Pochaiv Lavras, which seemingly reflects Filaret’s desire to get them at his disposal. At the moment both Lavras belong to the UOC MP, so it looks like the “Archimandrite” doesn’t want to comply with the fifth point of the Constantinople Synod decree in which the Patriarchate appeals to all sides involved that they avoid appropriation of Churches, Monasteries and other properties.
In any case, the transfer of St. Andrew’s Church shows how chaotic the process of creating a new Church in Ukraine is. Isn’t there a more decent estate to hand over to the Ecumenical Patriarchate?
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