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Russia-Ukraine Tensions Set Up the Biggest Christian Schism Since 1054


This is still playing out and may help to understand, and put into context, the Warren Commission testimony of Paul Raigorodsky and the White Russian Community in Dallas and Fort Worth.



“Mr. DAVIS. I didn't understand--what was the reason that the church was split?
Mr. RAIGORODSKY. Well, they just couldn't get along together. I mean, it's purely personality.
You see, Father Royster at that time--that's the main point--Father Royster doesn't mean anything to you or to me, but to lots of Russians it means everything. You see, Father Royster at that time belonged to the Ukraine branch of the church. You see, he couldn't get ordained, but then he tried to, and I tried to help him to be ordained by Metropolitan and Anastasia, but he couldn't fulfill the requirements so he tried to get in through Metropolitan Leonty. He couldn't quite get in because of their requirements, but they suggested that he will be ordained by the Russian Ukranian Church, of which Father Joseph Bogdan, B-o-g-d- a-n [spelling] had the jurisdiction of the Ukranian branch of Metropolitan Leonty's branch of the Russian Church in this country, and so, you see, and that was--now, we have to go back through the basic facts that Russians and Ukranians have never gotten along together, and in fact, Ukranians were separative-----they wanted to separate from the rest of the Russians and he will have their church to become part of their parish. That was just going against the grain of every Russian.”


Steve Thomas

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FWIW:  As you know, my wife spent the first 53 years of her life in the USSR (specifically Belarus).  She has never been a member of the Orthodox Church, but we are both religious and one of the first things she mentioned to me was that the Russian Orthodox Church is little more than a political arm of the government.  When the USSR split up, about 1/3 of the formerly atheistic Communist officials were seamlessly integrated into the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church.  In Belarus, where President (i.e., Dictator) Lukashenko keeps tight reins on all potentially disruptive organizations, the Russian Orthodox Church is officially embraced while my wife had to practically slink through the streets of Minsk as a Baptist.  The Orthodox theology is deep and profound, but anyone who was seriously committed to it might have problems with the Russian Orthodox Church.  (Also FWIW re: Father Bogdan - "Bog" is the Russian word for "God."  Also FWIW:  The Great Schism of 1054 referred to in the article was over the "filioque" issue - i.e., whether the Holy Sprit proceeds only from the Father or from both the Father and the Son.  At least that was the last straw.  Today the Orthodox disdain for Catholics is apparent in all their literature.)

There's a great cartoon from the Ukraine in one of my history books.  It shows a huge Russian fish with all of the smaller republic fish inside of him.  As he swallows up the last one, the caption reads:  "Now we are all one."  As the article suggests, this is and always has been the real issue.  Whether we're talking politics or church, Russia sees itself as the only one.

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4 hours ago, Lance Payette said:

here's a great cartoon from the Ukraine

Great. Image made my day

4 hours ago, Lance Payette said:

The Great Schism of 1054 referred to in the article was over the "filioque" issue - i.e., whether the Holy Sprit proceeds only from the Father or from both the Father and the Son.

That such disputes are prolonged for centuries, is not a bad perspective to have for the world today. The head of the Roman Catholic Church is the Pope. The head of the Anglican Church is the Queen of England. In the 5th century Augustine of Hippo wrote: What we know, therefore, we owe to reason, what we believe, to authority.

It took a thousand years before Luther successfully challenged the authority of the Pope. During the years Cromwell was overthrowing the monarchy, authority was fragmented and then restored.  Certain key individuals displayed a moral sense of "the end justifies the means "- Luther, Calvin. Zwingli etc belong here. The alternative, "the means justify the end" - was proposed by Erasmus and Thomas More. The latter was asked to stress "the end', refused,  and lost his head. At the time of Henry VIII's death, there was a painting hanging in Hampton Court of the 4 Evangelists stoning the pope to death. Remember the passage where Jesus asks that the one without sin cast the first stone?

500 years after that, the philosopher Wittgenstein wrote that “…. it remains true that in the proper acceptation of the term we know only what we owe to firm reasoning of the mind….When a true belief is justified by sense perception or trustworthy testimony, the plain man calls it knowledge, the philosopher belief.

 My very first post here started with a quote from Richard Sennet's book Authority.  Published more than 30 years ago, I thought it articulated thoughts relevant to the JFK murder.  His thoughts of what authority is - who wants it, needs it, abuses it is as relevant as ever. The Pope recently gave the Chinese government veto power over the Bishops sent there. The Russian patriarch has acknowledged a Ukranian head of church. The ironic thing is that the early Christians - until Constantine - were against association with the State. Good or bad. During the papacy of JP II, Fr Drinan a Jesuit priest  who was also a member of Congress from Massachusetts, was asked to step aside from politics. In San Salvador in 1980, Oscar Romero was assassinated while he was saying Mass for speaking out against the military oppression.

There is current activity involving the exit of the UK from the EU. There may not be a better chance for Northern Island to join the Republic on the land they share. The schism in religion produced the two Irelands; the same produced the split between Belgium and the Netherlands; to even bring up the current Middle East disputes is  simply saying that religion, organized religion, has been, and still is, a powerful force in the world. Was it chance that produced a Polish Pope, the first non-Italian in 500 years, when the Poles and Eastern Europe  got swallowed up like the fish in the cartoon? Or was it a politics of the unspeakable at work?





Edited by Robert Harper
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