Today concluding our religious treatise where we began, with this piece from reporter Natalia Makarova. As we saw, the U.S. State Department has succeeded in its long-term project to split the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) away from the Moscow Patriarchate. As it happened, the UOC was attached as a subordinate Metropolitan-ate to the Patriarchate of Constantinople; in other words, the Ukrainians now report up the chain of command to Patriarch Bartholomew in Constantinople instead of to Patriarch Kirill in Moscow. It goes without saying that Kirill is beside himself at this point, but there ain’t much he can do, other than excommunicate all the heretics. Or, as one of the commenters to the piece (Andrei Shchukin) suggested, sarcastically (I hope): “For the Faith, the Tsar, and the Fatherland: It is time for the Believers to burn all the heretics with their sword!”
За Веру, Царя и Отечество! Пора православным мечом выжечь еретиков!
Which, logically speaking, would have to be a flaming sword. Meanwhile, the American government, in its Crusade to split Orthodoxy, also twisted a lot of skinny, bony arms of a lot of old bearded men, and got them to recognize their misbegotten Ukrainian Creature as a legitimate church; starting with the good ole boys in Athens, and then in Alexandria, Egypt (which Church is also runs by Greeks, albeit situated in Egypt, as Makarova points out). Thus once again dashing Moscow’s age-old ambition to be the Third Rome! Oh well, shit happens, what can you do… [taking a philosophical approach…]
We saw how Theodore II of Alexandria, who used to be loyal to Russia, suddenly made a 180 degree turn and came out in support of the Ukrainian Tomos. Prompting commenters to ask relevant questions such as: “How much did they pay him?” Or: “Did they blackmail those Greek pedophiles?” Moral of the story: Never trust Greeks, especially ones bearing long beards.
On the other side of the aisle, these developments were greeted with joy by Ukrainian Ex-President Poroshenko, who can rightfully be considered the Father of the Tomos. The Tomos is his child, in whom he is well pleased. “You cannot stop the march of history!” Poroshenko gloated, in his video announcement. “I would like to thank the Alexandrian Church, the Constantinople Church, the Helladan Church, and to all who made it possible for the Ukrainian Church to exist.” As he accepted the Oscar in the category of Most Corrupt Oligarch Who Ever Existed In History.
But How Will This Effect the Diptych?
So, the Orthodox religion has thing thing called the Diptych, not to be confused with a Dipstick, which is the thing you use to check oil levels in your engine. The word “diptych” comes from the Greek word for “folding boards”, it’s a folding icon with two pictures that you can carry handily with you when you travel. In its other meaning, the Diptych is a list of names that are read out during liturgy. In my previous post I called it “Suzy’s Prayer List”, in the sense of: “God bless Mommy, and Daddy, and Uncle Bartholomew, and …”
Yea, verily, Patriarch Kirill has commanded that none of these rogue Bishops who recognized the UOC should be mentioned any more in the Diptych during Russian Orthodox Liturgy. Like, they used to mention (in hierarchical order by ancient-ness of Church), Bartholomew and Theodore, and those other traitors. But now, according to Proto-Deacon Andrei Kuraev, the list on Patriarch Kirill’s Diptych grows ever shorter. Hopefully his Dipstick will remain the same size, however, so that he can continue to monitor his oil levels.
“Not that long ago,” Kuraev laments, “the Hellad Church fell out of the Diptych. And now the Alexandrian one too. (…) This was unexpected. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that the Presidents of Russia and Egypt, Vladimir Putin and Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi, met within the framework of the summit Russia – Africa. And now this happens. They recognized [the Ukrainian Church] without even convening the Greek synod.” Which, by the way, in my opinion, makes the whole thing illegal: You can’t do stuff like this (I don’t think) without convening the Synod!
Speaking of el-Sisi, however, some Russian pundits regard Bishop Theodore’s decision as a bitch-slap against the Egyptian President. (Who, if I am not mistaken, is a Muslim.) The Americans were very upset with that whole “Russia – Africa” bit, the last thing they want to see is Russia extending its influence into Africa. By right Africa and all its wealth and natural resources, belongs to the Great White Father, Uncle Sam. But what levers do the Americans have against el-Sisi? Well, the Greeks are always happy to betray anybody for money. Meanwhile, Turkey is a similar case, because Turkey, also a Muslim country, also hosts a bunch of old Greek men holed up in their ancient monasteries, using whatever ancient clout they still possess, to play their jam on the world’s geopolitical scene.
The musings of pundit Roman Lunkin (quite a wonderful name he has!), who heads something called the Center for Studying Problems of Religion and Society of the Institute of Europe:
“There can be no doubt that the Western world, namely the USA, gave its support to this. The position of the Alexandrian Church is connected to its closeness with the Greek Church, and also its reluctance to get into a personal argument with Bartholomew. But one should not think of this as a blow against the Russian Orthodox Church. For example, now we don’t have to pay for the trips the Alexandrian Patriarch makes to visit Moscow. We can save some money on that.” Always seeing the bright side of everything, Lunkin goes on to prognose, that once Bartholomew kicks the bucket, his successor will see to it that all these churches on the Dipstick — Constantinople, Athens and Alexandria — will most certainly come crawling back on their elbows and knees to reestablish ties with the Moscow Patriarch.
After all, Moscow is the place that has all the gold and all the money! Which is what the Third Rome is all about, natch.