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    ROC Synod in Moscow launches preparations for attack on Patriarch Bartholomew, OCU

    On September 23, 2021, a meeting of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church took place in Moscow’s Danilov Monastery, where the leadership of the Moscow Patriarchate attempted to strongly condemn the actions of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and criticize the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

    “Today we have a number of issues, which, as a rule, concern the internal and external activities of the Church; relevant reports of a number of members of the Holy Synod will be presented,” the official website of the ROC briefly quoted Patriarch Kirill (Gundev) as saying.

    It is worth noting that Metropolitan Onufriy (Berezovsky), who holds the position of head of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine (the so-called “UOC-MP”), is a permanent member of the Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate.

    At the start of the Synod, Patriarch Kirill (Gundyaev) noted that the meeting will discuss, in particular, preparations for the ROC Council of Bishops in 2021, which experts say is expected to attack Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and the OCU. In particular, it was reported that the ROC seeks to overthrow Patriarch Bartholomew and create its own, parallel “Orthodoxy,” while religious expert Oleksandr Yefremenko has repeatedly stressed Moscow’s efforts toward splitting Orthodoxy, while blaming Constantinople for allegedly doing just that.

    If the ROC now dares to launch a serious attack on the Ecumenical Patriarchate and, in particular, on Patriarch Bartholomew I, it may drive itself into self-isolation, as no one in world Orthodoxy will support such actions, even the ROC’s most loyal friends, the Serbs.

    On the other hand, time doesn’t play in their favor, and concrete steps from the ROC leaders are expected both in the Kremlin and among the faithful of the Moscow Patriarchate. In general, the ROC has invented nothing new since the OCU received its tomos of autocephaly. The same accusations of “papism,” “abusing authority,” and “interfering in the affairs of other churches” are regularly heard in relation to Patriarch Bartholomew. The accusations are voiced so often that their absurd and illogical nature is beyond doubt.

    At the same time, we can expect that new steps are being plotted to be taken at the Council of Bishops, which the ROC intends to hold in November 2021. The first and more accurate conclusions can be voiced after reviewing the journals of the latest Synod decisions.

    Perhaps the ROC is initiating another attempt to convene the so-called Amman 2.0 meeting, which in 2020 failed miserably. It may invent some more propaganda nonsense to continue to split Orthodoxy in favor of the imperial ambitions of the Russian Federation.

    Nevertheless, many ROC hierarchs in Ukraine have their own views on the situation and are simply waiting for the right time to leave the Moscow Patriarchate, as entire parishes and priests of this pro-Russian religious organization regularly do.

    At the same time, the head of the ROCinU, Onufriy (Berezovsky), People’s Deputy and oligarch-deacon Vadym Novinsky, and Metropolitan Antoniy (Pakanych) will keep leading the pro-Russian wing defending the interests of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

    We should probably expect a new round of intensification of pro-Russian media reports, including by such “bloggers” as Anatoliy Shariy or members of the Myriany NGO, ROCinU’s front organization. However, the tools of their manipulation of the Ukrainian information space have long been exposed, and therefore the public is already able to resist various kinds of information attacks. Therefore, this time, too, the Kremlin handlers will face an inevitable failure, as was the case with Amman, where even Russian experts acknowledged how futile the meeting turned out to be.

    We should recall, the Spiritual Front of Ukraine earlier wrote that for the purpose of countering the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the ROC held on September 16-17 a conference on the issue of “primacy and catholicity.” Following the mentioned conference, an ROC spokesman thanked the church “for defending Orthodoxy” and for attacking Bartholomew.

    At the same time, according to military and political expert Oleksandr Kovalenko, Russian special services launched a new information attack against the Ecumenical Patriarch, comparing him to Hitler. In turn, Professor Yuriy Chornomorets ridiculed the ROC conference against Patriarch Bartholomew, referring to it as “howling in the swamps.”

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