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Editorial

Why is Bartholomew a Target of the Russians?

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew holds a place of honor on the list of enemies of President Putin-Patriarch Kirill.

The Associated Press (AP) reports that, “in January, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the U.S. of being ‘directly involved in the ongoing crisis in Orthodoxy’ and of having ‘financed Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople so he could pursue a policy of divide, including in Ukraine.’”

The war, according to Kyrill, Patriarch of Moscow, has political and religious motives, which led to the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in 2019, to recognize the Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine – that is to say, its independence from the Patriarchate of Moscow.

“That,” the AP notes, “plus ongoing dealings with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who has met with top U.S. dignitaries, has fueled Russian allegations of a U.S. role in the schism… Moscow Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, said both the West and a rival patriarch were ‘pursuing the same end’ of seeking to weaken Russia and ‘make the brotherly peoples – Russians and Ukrainians – enemies.’”

It’s obvious that the Rusians judge others by the way they behave.

The decision of Patriarch Bartholomew was certainly not an easy one.

However, he was able to make it because it served Orthodoxy, in general, but also the very interests of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, since in this way it extended its jurisdiction to a country from which it had been lost.

That, in combination with the fact that it also favored the interests of the West – not just America – was an additional gain. After all, the flock of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the vast majority of the members of its churches, are in the West. So why not pursue the interests of America and the West in general at the same time?

Now, regarding the accusation that America is financing the Patriarchate to carry out this act, the Russian Minister does not cite any evidence as proof.

However, one thing that seems to disprove what the Russian Foreign Minister is saying is that some of the other Orthodox patriarchates to date are not in agreement with the Patriarchate of Constantinople on this issue.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Moscow Patriarchate. It is an open secret that it uses lots of money to serve its goals.

The decision of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to grant Autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was a bold action that only a leader of his stature could take.

And that is already justified by the facts.

Today, after the destruction that is raining upon Ukraine and the three million refugees the war has generated so far, Ukrainians will have no desire to belong to the Russian church, the church of Putin and Kirill.

That it bothers the Rusians so much proves the correctness of the decision of the Patriarchate, which strengthens it even more in its long-term struggle to remain in its historic space in Constantinople.

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