Sunday, March 26, 2023

War Between the Orthodoxies


This tanky website

(where by "tanky", I mean "person who sees Putin as the heir to Stalin and thinks that's a good thing" for the world proletarian revolution, even if thinking so involves trying to think that a good Marxist is obliged to give deference to the Russian Orthodox church because "Western values") is engaging in some especially vicious propaganda, obviously not as bad as the continuing claims that Ukraine is run by Nazis, but in the same family. I think I've touched on this before, but I need to go through it in some detail, because it's just too wrong to be borne.

There is no "war on Orthodoxy" in Ukraine. There is no war on any religious tradition in Ukraine, including the Catholics of the Latin Church, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (the majority of Ukrainian Catholics), the Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church, and the Armenian Catholic Church (the Greek ones practice the Byzantine rite, but are in communion with Rome), and the Jews and Muslims who have been part of the landscape since time immemorial (treated with extreme cruelty by Russian, German, and again Russian occupiers between the late 19th century and the collapse of the USSR), not to mention the Buddhist Kalmyks of the Don Valley, the modern Buddhists of the cities, and who knows who else.

There is a conflict between two branches of Ukrainian Orthodoxy, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (OUC), founded in 1921 after the dissolution of the Russian Empire at the end of World War I, which is directly affiliated with Patriarch Bartholomew in Constantinople (Istanbul, for purposes of the administration of international Christianity, is still Constantinople, in spite of the efforts of They Might Be Giants), and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), the Russian Orthodox Church of Patriarch Kirill in Moscow, who claims some kind of specific authority over the churches of Ukraine, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Moldova, and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, which those churches don't necessarily recognize, except for Belarus. This conflict has gotten a lot worse since the the Russian invasions of Crimea and Donbas in 2014, as Patriarch Kirill in Moscow openly supports the Russian military, as when he was responding to the mass conscription last fall by offering all the conscripts absolution from their sins:

“Many die in the fields of fratricidal war,” said 75-year-old Kirill in his first Sunday speech after the draft order. “The Church prays that this battle will end as soon as possible, so that as few brothers as possible will kill each other in this fratricidal war.”

“But at the same time, the Church realizes that if someone, driven by a sense of duty and the need to fulfill his oath… goes to do what he is called to do and if someone dies in the performance of that duty, then he has undoubtedly committed something that amounts to a sacrifice. He will have sacrificed himself for others. And therefore, we believe that this sacrifice washes away all the sins committed by such a man.”

But Russian Orthodox aid to Russian troops gets a good deal livelier than that:

Evidence of churches being treated as instruments of Russian aims is commonplace. Searches have turned up wads of cash, flags of the former Russian client states in eastern Ukraine and pamphlets printed by the Russian Army for distribution in occupied territories, the Security Service of Ukraine, the domestic intelligence agency, has said in statements.

The archimandrite, or top religious official, of the Assumption Cathedral in Kherson in southern Ukraine attended a ceremony in the Kremlin in which Russia claimed to annex the Kherson province as part of Russia.

During the eight-month Russian occupation of Kherson city, Moscow’s forces cracked down on private charities in an effort to steer the population to Russian humanitarian aid programs, which required registration with occupation authorities. It was a policy of forcing dependence on Russia. When a priest nonetheless continued operating a soup kitchen, the Russian-aligned church excommunicated him.

In the western Chernivtsi-Bukovyna region where the video same from, where there's a big Romanian-speaking population, there's a murkier situation, but the main issue in Chernivtsi-Bukovyna seems to be a Russian-sponsored effort to get the 121 Romanian-speaking UOC churches in that region to reaffiliate themselves with the Romanian Orthodox Church, putting themselves outside Ukrainian jurisdiction, and across the country as a whole of Kirill's orientation toward the theory of Russkiy mir, the Russian world, which holds that there is a single Russian-ness with a political center in Moscow and a spiritual center in Kiyiv (the home of the first Christianized leader of old Rus', St. Vladimir), and with

a common patriarch (the Patriarch of Moscow), who works in 'symphony' with a common president/national leader (Vladimir Putin) to govern this Russian world, as well as upholding a common distinctive spirituality, morality, and culture."[5]

It's just so spooky how these "spiritual" aims coincide with the secular ones articulated in Putin's crazy historical diatribes and in the actual military moves. Tanky propagandists don't likely know what they're talking about, but after all they are talking about something,

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