Bartholomew’s visit to Kyiv ends in disaster

Bartholomew’s visit to Kyiv ends in disaster

The Orthodox Patriarch of Phanar (Istanbul)  made a 4-day-visit to Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, starting on August 21. The visit of the Patriarch, who in violation of the Lausanne Treaty claims to be Ecumenical, ended in disaster.

Role in US plans

In January 2019, Bartholomew had recognized the independence (“autocephaly”) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Russian Orthodox Church, to which it was connected before. The patriarch’s signature under the decree (“tomos”) had led to the break up of relations between the Phanar Patriarchate and Russia on the on side and the division of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in two parts on the other, where one side had rejected the autocephaly decision and continued to be connected to the Muscovite church. The Ukrainian people responded with protest actions against Bartholomew’s intervention into Ukrainian domestic affairs on behalf of US interests, and his act that divided Ukraine in terms of religion. During the protests, a puppet symbolizing Bartholomew was set on fire.

Welcomed with protests

Under these circumstances, the recent visit of Bartholomew to Kyiv carried a different meaning. The Patriarch was welcomed with protest actions, as the photos below display. The protests forced the Patriarch to enter the Ukrainian parliament from the back door.

Sources speaking to United World International stated that this visit did not succeed in smoothening the conflict between the churches. Quite the contrary, the rift has become even deeper.

The blame is put on Turkey

Sources close to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church pointed to the fact that Bartholomew is a citizen of the Turkish Republic, living in Istanbul. They indicated that while he intervenes in Ukraine’s domestic affairs, he might be perceived as Turkey’s representative. Sources said that the Phanar Patriarchate acts along the interest of the US and Greece, pursuing mainly anti-Turkish activities. At the same time, he presents his disruptive activities against the countries in the region as if there were being done in the name of Turkey.

Reputation is weakening

Meanwhile, despite the strong pro-American stance of the Ukrainian government, the visit of Bartholomew ended in a huge disaster. The Patriarch was not invited to the ceremony held on August 24 in the Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv to celebrate Ukraine’s day of independence. On demand of Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Onufriy, who continues to be connected to the Muscovite Patriarchate, Ukrainian President did not invite Bartholomew to the ceremony, where all spiritual leaders of different religions prayed together, constituting one of the most important religious events in the country – although Bartholomew was in town that day. Zelensky participated in the prayer with his wife.

The religious ceremony on Ukraine’s independence day with representatives of all religious groups – although in town, Bartholomew was not invited

The Patriarch claims to be ecumenical. He was treated this way in Ukraine, a country where the US has a very strong say. The treatment he received clearly shows that, due to his approach to use religion for US plans, the Patriarch is consistently losing reputation in the Orthodox world.

United World International

Independent analytical center where political scientists and experts in international relations from various countries exchange their opinions and views.

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June 2024