Written by Vladimir Moss



     Patriarch Kirill’s juggernaut has come to a shuddering halt. In spite of a last-minute flight to Constantinople to try and dissuade the Ecumenical Patiarch Bartholomew from his plan, the latter has decided to grant a Tomos of Autocephely to the so-called Kievan Patriarchate. KGB Agent “Mikhailov” has failed in his task of diminishing the influence of the Ukrainian Orthodox opponents of Russian Orthodoxy and their main backer, the EP. Whether this is only a temporary defeat for the MP is uncertain: that it is a defeat is certain.

     The irony is that the EP and the MP have very similar ecclesiologies and modes of conduct. Both believe in building spheres of influence, empires, even “worlds”of Orthodox believers and patriarchates.  The EP uses its supposed right as “first hierarch of Orthodpxy” to employ the weapon of granting“autocephalies” to its chosen satellites. These have gouged out and encircled the “Russian world”. As early as 1938 St. John Maximovich was pointing this out. By then the EP had taken out the following chunks from non-Greek Orthodoxy: Poland, the Baltic States, Finland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, the West European exarchate. After the war, the MP controlled all the East European patriarchates and Georgia, not through granting autocephalies, but through the Red Army and the KGB. Its only venture into autocephaly-creation was the Orthodox Church of America in 1970 – a complete failure except from an espionage point of view. It also, of course, held Ukraine in its vice. But the gradual political liberation of Ukraine from the Soviet Union and Putin’s Neo-Soviet Russian Federation since 1991 has turned the tables on Moscow. Symbolic of that is the fact that Kirill’s greatest enemy, “Patriarch” Philaret (Denisenko) of Kiev, is a former KGB agent and colleague in that ultra-evil organization with Kirill. Now he is working against his former masters. (Will he now be a candidate for the “novichok” treatment? Unlikely. He would be hailed as a (pseudo-)martyr…) Up to now that patriarchate (like the American autocephaly) has been considered illegal by most of World Orthodoxy (and all of True Orthodoxy, of course). But after the Tomos is published, it will be “legal” in the eyes of Greek Orthodoxy (except, perhaps, Jerusalem, which with Serbia has sided with Moscow in this quarrel).

     Kirill and Bartholomew are also united in their extreme pro-Catholicism. Both are vying to be the number 2 in the New World Religious Order after the Pope. In spite of Kirill’s meeting with the Pope (and Fidel Castro) in Havana in 2016, Bartholomew appears to be winning that race – although the deeply contested “Ecumenical Council” in Crete did not help him – and could still be used by Kirill against him.

     It is worth remembering from whom Kirill acquired his Latinophilia -  his spiritual father, Metropolitan Nicodim of Leningrad, KGB Agent “Sviatoslav”. Nicodim was warmly remembered at Kirill's recent meeting at the Phanar with Bartholomew. So both en seemingly revere this greatest traitor of Orthodoxy to Papism.

    Alexander Soldatov writes: “The most vivid supporter of the ‘reunion’ between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches in the whole of history was Metropolitan Nikodim (Rotov) – the spiritual father and protector of the present Patriarch Cyril. In the Moscow Patriarchate it is widely believed that he was a secret cardinal, and also the prophecy of Blessed Pelagia of Ryazan addressed to Nikodim: ‘You will die like a dog at the feet of your pope’. The metropolitan really did die at the age of 48 during a reception by Pope John-Paul I [in 1978]. In spite of his young age by hierarchical standards, Nikodim did a great deal. He was the first in the history of the Russian Church to serve with the Catholics, absorbed the Catholic mass, practiced spiritual exercises according to the method of Ignatius Loyola, and idolized pontiffs, especially the ‘red pope’, John XXIII, to whom he devoted his master’s dissertation. He went to the Vatican every year; from 1968 he began to take with him Volodya Gundiaev, the present patriarch. In 1969, when Patriarch Alexis I was dying, Nikodim was able to push through the Synod the decision to make it obligatory for Orthodox priests to give communion to Catholics ‘in the case of mortal danger’. This decision was condemned even by the ecumenically-minded Greeks [and condemned as “heretical” by the Russian Church Abroad in 1971].

     “The Russian émigré and well-known theologian Archbishop Basil (Krivoshein) explained this tendency as follows: ‘Metropolitan Nikodim was drawn to Catholicism above all by the idea he had of it as a powerful, strictly disciplined, single Church. In vain did they tell him many times that such a picture did not correspond to contemporary reality… Metropolitan Nikodim was in no way willing to renounce his conviction! It was the external appearance that worked on him.’”

     Nikodim’s links with the Vatican went much further than an intellectual affinity. He was in fact a high-ranking Jesuit and secret Vatican bishop! This at first sight unlikely hypothesis gains credibility from two witnesses. The first is from the True Orthodox hieromonk Fr. Tikhon Kozushin: “In 1989 I and several other Orthodox ‘informals’ were invited to lunch at the French embassy. Among other guests there was an elderly man from France of Czech origin. He introduced himself as the director of a Catholic boarding-school in Medon, a suburb of Paris and a high-ranking officer of the Jesuit order. And then he said that Metropolitan Nikodim was also a secret-official officer of the order who was quite close to the Pope.”

    The second witness is Fr. Michael Havryliv, a Russian priest who was secretly received into the Catholic Church in 1973. Fr. Serge Keleher writes: “A Capuchin priest told Havryliv that Metropolitan Nicodemus [of Leningrad] was secretly a Catholic bishop, recognized by Rome with jurisdiction from Pope Paul VI throughout Russia. This assertion is not impossible – but neither is it entirely proved.

     “On September 6 1975 Havryliv made a sacramental general Confession before Metropolitan Nicodemus, who then accepted Havryliv’s monastic vows and profession of Faith to the Apostolic See and the Pope of Rome. Kyr Nicodemus commanded Havryliv to order his monastic life according to the Jesuit Constitutions, and presented him with a copy of this document in Russian. This was all done privately; four days later the Metropolitan tonsured Havryliv a monk. On 9 October Kyr Nicodemus ordained Havryliv to the priesthood, without requiring the oaths customary for Russian Orthodox candidates to Holy Orders.

     “In 1977 Havryliv was reassigned to the Moscow Patriarchate’s archdiocese of L’viv and Ternopil… In Havryliv’s final interview with Kyr Nicodemus, the Metropolitan of Leningrad ‘blessed me and gave me instructions to keep my Catholic convictions and do everything possible for the growth of the Catholic cause, not only in Ukraine, but in Russia. The Metropolitan spoke of the practice of his predecessors – and also asked me to be prudent.’”

    These words indicate the power-loving truth behind the mask of the Vatican’s ecumenism; and the fact that Havryliv was re-ordained by Nikodim shows that Rome accepts the sacraments of the Orthodox for only as long as it suits her. The Orthodox were, according to Vatican II, not heretics, but “separated brethren”. However, the “separated brethren” still had to return in repentance to their father, the Pope…

     The intriguing question is: which master was Nikodim really serving – the Soviets or the Vatican? His pro-Soviet statements on the international stage were notorious. But his love of Catholicism also seems to have been sincere…

     In any case, the Catholics with their “liberation theology” were moving ever closer to communism (today’s Pope Francis I is more leftist in his ideology than any previous pope), while Nikodim was rushing to meet them from the other direction. Thus Soldatov writes: “Nikodim’s sympathies with Catholicism were interwoven with a very specific ‘theology of communism’. He considered the Soviet socialist system to be the closest to Christianity and dreamed of a powerful Orthodox USSR.

“A group of church dissidents addressed the Local Council of the ROC of the MP in 1971, at which Nikodim was almost elected patriarch. Their lengthy address ‘On the newly-appeared false teaching of Metropolitan Nikodim (Rotov)’ called this teaching ‘apocalyptic religious communism’…“

     Whatever his private convictions, and however he may or may not have bound himself to the coattails of the pope in imitation of his spiritual father, Kirill has to moderate his Latinophilia now. Already he has been labelling his Ukrainian opponents as uniates. If he is to survive, his most profitable course is likely to be a sharp turn against the Vatican. Of course, he will need the approval of his master Putin for that. Putin (who likes to turn up late to audiences with the Pope) may well agree to return to Stalin’s well-known contempt for the Pope (“How many legions has the Pope?” he asked). But will he retain the services of Kirill, who has failed in Ukraine and is an unpopular patriarch for other reasons (for example, his extreme wealth – he is probably the first billionaire monk in history)? Perhaps Putin will sack Kirill and put his supposed confessor, Metropolitan Tikhon Shevkhunov, in his place. Time will tell…


     A possible outcome, therefore, is this: the MP’s rejection of ecumenism, and the emergence of a wave of “apocalyptic religious communism” in “Holy Soviet Rus’”.

     A rejection of ecumenism will go down well with the large numbers of conservative anti-Catholics and anti-ecumenists in the MP’s ranks. It will enable the essentially political war in the Donbass and Ukraine to be turned into  a religious one, with odium politicum  combined with odium theologicum in a truly toxic mixture.  It will also probably rally even more Greek and Western Orthodox conservatives behind Putin.

     So Kirill (or his successor) can probably still turn the tables again on Bartholomew – if he realizes his opportunity and is unprincipled enough (which he almost certainly is). Few will see that the rejection of ecumenism will be done out of essentially political purposes, revealing, not a return to the true faith, but the core sergianist ideology of the MP. But who knows? Some eyes may be opened by God’s grace. “All things work together for those who love God” (Romans 8.28).

     “Constantinople will be ours!” said Dostoyevsky in  a much more truly religious era. That slogan could still be used by the KGB in its bid to overthrow its political and religious enemies. For the moment, however, Bartholomew is firmly in control of his Masonic, ecumenist domain – with the blessing of the Pope of Rome.


August 23 / September 5, 2018.

Apodosis of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God..


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