Friday, July 19, 2024

    Pundit: Rumors of Bartholomew’s stepdown part of info aggression

    Recent reports claiming His All-Holiness Bartholomew was set to resign are in fact part of information aggression waged against the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    That’s according to Oleksandr Yefremenko, a Ukrainian religious expert.

    Retirement is never announced in advance – this is something even the most naïve people are aware of. It is in view of this fact that all relevant reports by pro-Moscow media platforms and outlets affiliated with the Moscow Patriarchate, claiming that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I was about to resign, immediately earned a reputation of yet another information operation by Russia’s propaganda machine.

    Moreover, when some outlets wrote that the patriarch himself pitched Archbishop Elpidophoros as his possible successor, the picture became even clearer.

    Had Bartholomew been preparing to resign, everyone, even his closest allies, would have learnt about it only when he actually did it. And even had Bartholomew been convinced that Elpidophoros was the best candidate to embrace the Ecumenical Throne, he would have never said so publicly.

    To experts in church affairs, the fact that the patriarch praised Archbishop Elpidophoros during his U.S. visit is seen as a regular and mediocre thing. Many media outlets, however (the ones who wished to ride the hype tide without double-checking or simply circulated propaganda narratives), interpreted the nice words uttered by His All-Holiness as a special appeal or a hint at a possible successor pick.

    It seems that with the help of certain centers engaged in religious affairs pushed the relevant scenarios so massively into the information space that the Ecumenical Patriarch was forced to personally refute the rumors in a formal statement of the Patriarchate. It appears that the circulation of rumors and manipulative reports was set up in such a way that remaining silent on the matter could be interpreted as confirmation of Bartholomew’s expected resignation or speculation on the topic.

    The patriarch “denied rumors of a possible intention to abdicate for health reasons,” the Ecumenical Patriarchate said in the statement last Friday. As per an acclaimed Greek-language U.S. newspaper The National Herald, His All-Holiness said: “I’d like to clarify that as long as my strength allows, and as long as God wills, I will remain in my position and continue my ministry with the Great Church of Christ. I did not nominate anyone (as successors). What has been reported about Elpidophoros is not true. It is true though that when the time comes, you will choose my successor.”

    “The information I have received on this subject raises no concerns about the health of the Ecumenical Patriarch in connection with a surgery he underwent at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. At the same time, a busy schedule, drawn up personally by His All-Holiness Bartholomew I, also shows no indication that the patriarch is tired of daily work and in need of rest, or that he doesn’t enjoy his everyday life,” Yefremenko wrote.

    “On the other hand, of genuine concern are the inferences we draw when analyzing the situation: skillfully-plotted information manipulations have clearly shown that certain church and secular media that circulated the lion’s share of rumors are controlled by or dependent on Moscow,” the pundit concluded.