In the world ye shall have tribulation:
but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
The geopolitical blow that the USA inflicted on Russia through Patriarch Bartholomew by means of the Ukrainian ‘autocephaly’ was strong, painful, strategic, historical. It will bring more suffering, and grief, and a heavy cross to the Orthodox Ukrainians.
There are two ways to understand this phenomenon: the geopolitical approach, which investigates the ostensible meaning (secular, superficial, horizontal); and the theopolitical approach – which reveals the essence.
The world is inherently wrong when it tries to explain ecclesiastical phenomena in a worldly way. The world is inherently wrong when it tries to use the Church for its secular (i.e. un-ecclesiastic, i.e. anti-ecclesiastic) purposes. Because the Church is a Divine-human institution. It overcomes the world, even when it is humiliated, suffering and crucified – or rather, revealingly, whenever it is humiliated, suffering and crucified. There is no uncrucified Christian saint.
Church events in Ukraine are woeful, but they foreshadow the end of an age-old disastrous deviation in the history of the earthly Church – secularist, modernistic, ecumenist, mercenary, apostatic, self-deceiving, self-satisfied… This secular deviation, deadly in its very banality, is personified today by Patriarch Bartholomew, but we should call it meletism – after its ‘father’ Patriarch Meletius (Metaxakis).
The most dangerous enemy of the earthly Church is not violent atheist persecution, but peaceful secularism: millennial, all-pervading, entropic.
We, the people of God, are becoming more worldly. This process has been on the offensive steadily for a thousand years, and especially during the last centuries. Its apex was reached after the Second World War.
The key year was 1948, when the post-war new world order crystallized. It was then that two secular political projects concerning Orthodoxy collided.
On the one hand, the Bolshevik Stalin, on the wings of victory over Nazism, tried to convene a pan-Orthodox council in 1948 and impose Moscow as the leader of the Orthodox Church – in order to use it for his own purposes. This project rapidly failed.
The most dangerous enemy of the earthly Church is not violent atheist persecution, but peaceful secularism: millennial, all-pervading, entropic. In recent centuries, rather than conquering the world, the earthly Church is itself becoming more and more worldly.
On the other hand, the freemason Truman, intoxicated with the nuclear monopoly (omnipotence, impunity) of the USA, decided to appropriate the Patriarchate of Constantinople for his own purposes. He had the Patriarch of Constantinople Maximus V deposed, and blatantly appointed instead his own American crony Athenagoras (1948). Also in 1948, and with the same purpose, Truman created the so-called World Council of Churches (WCC), in which he included also the Orthodox Churches that were under his sway (the ‘capitalist’ ones). Truman’s project thrived (Athenagoras begat Demetrios begat Bartholomew) – until 2016…
In 1961, intoxicated with the success of the USSR in the space race, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, a plain atheist and enthusiast, decided to use the Church for his own, anti-Western, purposes. He introduced the Moscow Patriarchate and the other Orthodox Churches that were under his control (the “socialist” ones) into the WCC. He did this not out of love for Orthodoxy, which he despised, but as a ‘clever’ political tool that should contribute to his cherished dream of the victory of ‘communism’, envisaged in 1980. The ecclesiastical ‘Khrushchev doctrine’, naturally, failed. The ‘socialist’ hierarchs, who were humiliated at home, had an inferiority complex vis-à-vis their blazé Western counterparts, became dependent on them…
‘Communism’ collapsed – and in the 90s the entire former socialist camp (including Yeltsin’s Russia) became a direct vassal of the West. The ecclesiastic battlefield remained in the hands of the ‘Truman Doctrine’ of American control over Orthodoxy by means of the Phanar and the WCC.
Crete was the ultimate peril for contemporary Orthodoxy, because it was (almost!) leading all the earthly leadership of the Church into accomplishing, solemnly, a pseudo-conciliar apostasy.
The secular spirit is powerful and cunning. It does not serve Stalin, Truman, Khrushchev – it is they that serve it. It does not endeavor, as they do, to overmaster the world, making use of the Church. It wants incomparably more: to overmaster the Church, making use of the world. It endeavors to secularize the Church. The worldly spirit wants to overmaster the earthly Church from the inside — to penetrate into the fortress of its canons and dogmas. It schemed to do this through a secularized ‘Pan-Orthodox Council’, the brain child of Patriarch Meletius (Metaxakis) back in 1923, revived by Patriarch Athenagoras (1961). This Council was earmarked to be held, “urgently”, under Patriarch Demetrios, but was blasted by St. Justin (Popovich) in 1977. Finally, under Patriarch Bartholomew, this Council was quite on the brink of materializing in 2016 in Crete. But then there was a miracle of God, and it failed…
Crete was the ultimate peril for contemporary Orthodoxy, because it was leading all the earthly leadership of the Church into (almost!) accomplishing, solemnly, a pseudo-conciliar apostasy. After which, following up on that ‘success’, the ‘Council’ could be turned into a regular one, a “permanent” one… Then, in 2025 (the anniversary of the Council of Nicaea), an even greater Council could be convened, where ‘hate’ would be overcome, ‘love’ would conquer, and the dream of the evil one would be fulfilled – ‘the union of churches’. By the way, such a ‘union’ would be applauded by the worldly majority: by all the secularists, the lukewarm, the half-believers, the unbelievers, the mercenaries…
The miracle of the failure of Crete in 2016 ruined this toxic self-deception.
By worldly standards, the threat of a geopolitical blow to Moscow through the Ukrainian “autocephaly” (a “revenge” for Crete) was terrible. Patriarch Kirill seemed to have made a political mistake and put himself in an even weaker position, when he went to Istanbul to talk with Patriarch Bartholomew about Ukraine. He returned not only empty-handed, but humiliated because of his impotence. But maybe this ‘mistake’ and ‘powerlessness’ will turn out to be providential.
Patriarch Bartholomew wishfully though himself to be ‘powerful’, and delivered the ‘blow’. In his hubris he decided that through his inevitable ‘victory’ in Ukraine he would hit Moscow in the heart. And hence he would wash away the disgrace of Crete, establish himself as ‘the first without equals’ and the boss of Orthodoxy…
The crisis in Ukraine can awaken the Russian Church – from the self-deception of secular utopias, self-defeating ‘diplomacy’, the indecency of ecumenism and the WCC – to live up to its true vocation.
But. Theopolitics is not just more trustworthy than geopolitics. In fact, it is the trustworthy approach. Worldly geopolitics is a self-deception, a utopia, a ghost – like communism, like capital, like world domination. The theopolitical result of geopolitical actions is always paradoxical to the world.
The painful crisis in Ukraine can awaken the Russian Church – from the self-deception of secular utopias, self-defeating ‘diplomacy’, the indecency of ecumenism and the WCC – to live up to its true vocation. It has already started to speak non-diplomatically (the real element of the Church is not ‘diplomacy’, but the truth). In this world of all-subduing fake, the small herd of unsubdued humans are not yearning for a “great and holy” ecclesiastical fake (Crete, Phanar, WCC, etc.), but for genuine holiness and for truth. The Church is the last fortress of truth.
It is not the Russian Church that should be an instrument of the state, but the Russian state should be an instrument of the Church, i.e. of God. Because the Russian Church does not belong to Russia, but to God. Holy Russia belongs to the Church, i.e. to God.