10/22/2019, 09.30
RUSSIA - GREECE
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Moscow Patriarchate penalizes pro-Ukrainian Greek bishops

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Directives for the faithful to go only to Greek churches where the metropolitan of Kiev is not mentioned. The "Eucharistic blackmail" also has consequences on tourism and pilgrimages. According to Kirill, the conflict between the Greek Church and the Russian Church is caused by "those who intend to spread anti-Christian ideology in the world" and do not want the Russian Orthodox Church to offer the world "their spiritual gifts".

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The patriarchate of Moscow has invited its faithful who are going to Greece to participate in the liturgy and Eucharistic communion only in those churches in which the Metropolitan Epiphanius of Kiev is not named.

Speaking on the Russian channel 24 the metropolitan bishop Ilarion (Alfeev) said he was available, with the patriarchal department for foreign affairs he leads, to indicate which churches are acceptable and which are not: "If you go to Greece on vacation there is no problem, but if you want to attend the Greek churches, ask us first".

On 19 October, in a liturgy in Thessaloniki, the patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew (Archontonis) concelebrated with the head of the Hellenic Church Hieronymos (Liapis), Archbishop of Athens, and together they commemorated the head of the new Ukrainian Church Epiphanius (Dumenko).

So far none of the other Greek bishops has mentioned the metropolitan of Kiev during the liturgy (only in the most solemn liturgies are all the hierarchs in communion named), but the patriarchate of Moscow has promised to keep the situation under control, to distinguish the "faithful" bishops from those who will be sanctioned.

This definition will have not only devotional consequences: Russian travel agencies are already organizing to exclude the tourist destinations in the forbidden areas, subjected to what is already called the "Eucharistic blackmail". Not only does this regard large tourist flows, but of tens of thousands of pilgrims, who go to visit the Greek sanctuaries.

Taking part in the XIII Congress of the "Russian World Council", a patriotic organization he founded in the nineties, the Patriarch of Moscow Kirill (Gundjaev) in recent days rallied against "the conspirators who want to separate the Greek world from Russia; we have clear information on the fact that everything that happens in Orthodoxy today is not causal, but the realization of a very concrete plan ”. According to the patriarch, this plan aims to prevent the Russians from "sharing their spiritual gifts with the world, which are not acceptable to those who intend to spread anti-Christian ideology in the world".

Moreover, Russia does not intend to cede to such "malignant" projects, indeed the Russian Council has taken concrete steps to strengthen the unity and future development of the Russian people at home and in the world.

The plan is to bring the Russian population from 145 to 160 million by 2050, obtaining ample credits for mothers who have children (which should increase from 0.7 to 3 children each). In addition, the project plans to grant Russian citizenship to all Russians in the world, starting with Ukraine and Belarus, and to "all those who feel Russian" anywhere in the world.

For this reason also the Russian Church wants to affirm its universal role, in competition with the patriarchate of Constantinople, dividing the Orthodox world into "us" and "them". At the extraordinary meeting of the Synod of Russian bishops on 17-18 October (see photo 1), all the interventions of the Greek bishops at the Synod of Athens on 12 October were analyzed, emphasizing how some of them defended the Russian thesis, according to which Ukraine had been under Russian jurisdiction for more than three centuries. In addition, the Russians highlight the largely Filorussian positions of the Church of Cyprus, led by Archbishop Chrysostomos (Tala), a historical friend of Kirill. The Russians have one of the main off-shore capital locations in Cyprus. The war for the control of world Orthodoxy has perhaps only just begun.

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