Parts of the Western world are being dominated by media hysteria about the new Cold War, the latest phase of which was launched several months ago by the US industrial-military complex. This has spread the propaganda that the Russian Federation is about to take back Russian-inhabited Novorossija, part of Russia until Lenin’s giveaway in 1922, from the present Kiev regime. However, inside the Russian Federation itself there are fears that NATO is about to invade it, precisely from its new base in Novorossija.
Perhaps the present diplomatic negotiations are really about how much of the eastern Ukraine has to be returned to Russia in order for the Ukraine to become a viable State. Viable means without constant injections of US cash, which Kiev is haemmorhaging because of regime corruption and the bloody war against its own people.
However, our attention is focused on the situation of the Russian Orthodox Church, which faces the aspect of the same Cold War which involves the US-inspired schism of the Church of Constantinople. The news here is that chrism will be consecrated in Istanbul later this year, but the US-funded Patriarchate of Constantinople is aiming to use the occasion to draw other Local Churches into concelebrating with its unordained or defrocked Ukrainian schismatics. See: https://orthochristian.com/144024 .html.
The fact is that at present nine of the fifteen Local Orthodox Churches still obtain their chrism, used for the essential sacrament of chrismation, from Constantinople. They must go there when they need chrism. Since Constantinople itself and Alexandria are already in schism, this means that the seven remaining Churches, of Antioch, Jerusalem, Greece, Poland, Cyprus, Albania and of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, will at some point, perhaps soon, have to decide whether they want schism with the Russian Church or not. If so, the crunch is coming and the fence-sitting of these Churches between the Churches of Russia and Constantinople will no longer be an option for them.
As my old friend from Moscow days, Arkady Mahler, a member of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Synodal Biblical-Theological Commission and the Inter-Council Presence of the Russian Church, notes – the hierarchs of other Local Churches may be drawn into a ‘danger zone’ by Constantinople. It is a serious violation of the canons to serve with the unordained schismatics in the Ukraine who are under Constantinople, but these Local Churches do not want to draw the anger of Constantinople. What will they do?
Canonical Orthodox in the other six Local Churches, of which by far the largest is the Russian Church (or Moscow Patriarchate), are faced with a balancing act of avoiding extremes. On the one hand, there are the new calendarist schismatics, who for the moment dominate the Churches of Constantinople and Alexandria. On the other hand, there are the old calendarist schismatics of various old sectarian groups who consider almost everyone else, including each other, some sort of heretic, and refuse to concelebrate with them. Canonical Orthodox, centred within the Moscow Patriarchate, preserve the balance.