“President Volodymyr Zelensky’s invitation call to Pope Francis on June 30 made me look again into the Vatican – the line of the hybrid front of world war against Russian civilization,” reads an op-ed on the possibility of the pontiff’s visit to Ukraine, published by an outlet affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church, Russkaya Narodnaya Liniya (Russian People’s Line).
Its author, a Kyiv-based publicist Ivan Nazarenko, who is an avid adept of the so-called “Russian World” concept, allowed himself a contemptuous attitude to anything that’s Ukrainian, including the upcoming event marking the 30th anniversary of the country’s Independence.
“On the eve of the inglorious anniversary,” the Kremlin mignon wrote, “the Crimean Platform summit is scheduled for August 23, where the return of the peninsula will be discussed. Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who is known to see himself as the father of the Orthodox world, while being a father of the new Ukrainian split, has already agreed to take part in the main festive event,” Nazarenko wrote, spreading the word of the notorious Russian “Orthodox love.”
In his opinion, what President Zelensky was missing to feel wholesome was the emblem of Pope Francis along with the national flags of official delegations.
Nazarenko expressed the opinion that prevails among the adherents of the “Russian World” that both Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis are pursuing in Ukraine their respective strategic plans. At the same time, he appeals to such a conspiracy theory of the “prophecies about the popes” of the 12th century, claiming Pope Francis is to be the last pontiff before the end of the world. The fact that his name is not Peter, as the prophecy says, the author offsets with the claim that the de facto leader of the Vatican, as he believes, is the Secretary of State of the Holy See whose name is Pietro (Pietro Parolin – ed.).
Nazarenko goes on to say that Russian President Vladimir Putin never invited any Pope to Russia – to the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church. At the same time, he did meet with three pontiffs: John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis. The author also notes, presumably in order to pump up the conspiracy theory, that Pietro Parolin attended all those meetings.
In contrast to Putin, former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma earlier welcomed Pope John Paul II to Ukraine, without taking into account the claim promoted by the Russian People’s Line that Ukraine is part of the Russian Orthodox Church’s canonical territory. At the same time, the publication argues that the ROC in Ukraine (UOC-MP) opposed the visit of Pope John Paul II, but their position was ignored.
In a phone call with the pontiff on June 30, 2021, Volodymyr Zelensky recalled that they were speaking on the date marking the 20th anniversary of John Paul II’s visit, and that the bright memory of the then Pope lives on in the hearts of Ukrainians. This fact outraged “Russian World” adherents even more…
With his traditional Russian intolerance, Ivan Nazarenko vividly and contemptuously recalled the meeting of Bartholomew I and Pope Francis in Davos, where they exchanged friendly, fraternal remarks. Then the Ecumenical Patriarch called the pontiff an incredibly human, modest, and humble figure. In turn, the Pope assured that he personally felt the spirit of brotherhood at the meeting with Bartholomew I, and stressed the growing desire for even greater closeness and mutual understanding among Christians.
However, peace and mutual understanding are not at all what the Kremlin, the ROC, and the whole “Russian World” seek. Therefore, the fraternal dialogue angered the “highly spiritual” Russian Orthodox clerics.
At the end of his piece, Nazarenko states that Bartholomew and Francis, by their joint action on the eve of the “end of time,” are trying to unite schismatics and heretics of “all stripes,” “create a universal pseudo-church” and “anti-church in highly spiritual Russia.” However, according to the propagandist of the “Russian World”, the ROC will be repelling these developments.
“The scale of protest of the Orthodox against the Bartholomew and Francis’s visits will be seen on the day of remembrance of St. Volodymyr the Baptist, during the All-Ukrainian procession in Kyiv on July 27,” Nazarenko threatens, without specifying whether the “true Russian Orthodox” intend to employ in the rally any military hardware, tanks or ballistic missiles consecrated by the ROC clergy.
It should be recalled that the adherents of the “Russian World” are of the opinion that the Catholic Church poses a colossal threat to Christian faith.