In a shocking move, the recently crowned patriarch of Ukraine is blessing an icon filled with open occult and national socialist imagery:
On the October 12, 2018, self-proclaimed “Patriarch” Philaret visited “Holy Transfiguration Cathedral” in the Ternopil region of western Ukraine, to “bless” a massive “icon” of Saint George. However, the the “icon” in question is not a true icon, but a sacrilegious monument to the sin of ethnophyletism and Nazism, which has more in common with demonic symbolism than Orthodox iconography.
The mural depicts Saint George, who instead of trampling a dragon—a symbol of satan—beneath his horse, spears a majestic two-headed eagle—a symbol of not only divinely anointed monarchs and the Russian Empire, but also of the Eastern Roman Empire, and many other Orthodox cultures, including the Ecumenical Patriarchate!.1
In the background, the burning ruins of Donetsk Sergei Prokofiev International Airport is depicted on the top right. The western-backed Maidan revolution (executed with the help of neo-Nazis) is depicted on the top left. Several Nazi symbols can be seen, including the Wolfsangel, used by the SS, and the black and red flag of the “Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists/Ukrainian Insurgent Army”, which during WW2 fought alongside Hitler’s Army and SS. Assault rifles are also displayed.
There are many troubling features of this demonic mural: nationalist, Nazi, demonic, satanic, are descriptions that come to mind.
Neo-nazism, ultra-nationalism, and ethophylitism
The mural demonstrates both neo-nazism and the heresy of ethnophyletism (religious nationalism, i.e., forming and defining one’s religion based on ethno-nationalistic political grounds). Here are words taken from the official website of their schismatic Ternopil diocese that plainly reveal that “church’s” openly nationalist orientation. Philaret is quoted as saying, among other things, that:
“Due to the existence of the UOC (Kiev Patriarchate), and other patriotically-mindedChristian churches, we have today an independent state. And if we have only one Ukrainian Orthodox Church, then Russia will not have any access to Ukraine. And then our state will establish and strengthen itself, and will be a fortress of peace in Eastern Ukraine”
Taking into consideration that the mural features the ruins of Donetsk airport ablaze, it’s clear that Philaret’s peace involves war against other Ukrainians. We cannot forget that he himself arguedDonbass should “expiate its guilt by torment and blood”.
Now if we ignore Philaret’s propaganda against the canonical church, which the latter refutes, it must be said that Philaret admits that his, and other schismatic churches, are “patriotic-based churches”, in other words, nationalist, ethnophyletist.
It is perfectly natural for churches to have patriots within them, who love their homeland and culture peacefully and productively. The difference between patriotism and ethnophyletism, however, is that the latter bases an entire church on nationalism. This is a heresy.
It is also worth noting, that when he spoke of “other Christian, patriotically-attuned churches”, he is likely referring to the Uniates and Baptists, since the only other church in Ukraine that claims to be Orthodox (apart from the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church) is the schismatic “Ukrainian Autocephalic Orthodox Church”. It is worth noting that recently Philaret’s secretary, Zorya, whom many call the “Red Eminence”2, recently stated that a tomos from Constantinople is needed that specifically gives them the possibility to conduct ecumenical dialog with Protestants and Catholics, whom he, along with Uniate leader Shevchuk, believe are historically “isolated” from the “Ukrainian Church”.
One thing is certain: the Kiev Patriarchate and its allies are indeed nationalist Churches. Furthermore, the official site says that next to Saint George the painter portrayed “The Revolution of Dignity” (the Maidan coup) and Ukrainian soldiers, and that the idea of the “icon” is: “God is with Us—Ukraine is behind us.”
Now, we will examine this mural, and prove it is not a product of natural love for one’s country, but of radical Neo-Nazi extremism.
First of all, aside from the troubling religious aspects of the mural, which with its rifles, fires, and leering faces more by far resembles an anti-religious placard of the soviet era than it does an Orthodox fresco, it must first be said this mural has nothing to do with religion, but everything to do with politics. The most evil manifestations of human politics can be seen here, in the form of Neo-Nazism.
Before we discuss the elephant in the room, let it be said that the devil is literally in the details.
A detail which could be easily missed, but was already noted by a Greek website3, is the presence of a Wolfsangel, a neo-Nazi hate symbol4 that is banned in Germany5 for its Nazi connections. Variations of it were used by a multitude of Nazi German divisions in WW2; the version depicted on the mural was used by the 2nd SS Panzer Division “Das Reich”.
In modern Ukraine, this symbol has been associated with a variety of far-right organizations, such as the Social-National Party of Ukraine, as well as Azov Battalion, a national guard regiment directly connected by many organizations including the UN to war crimes in Ukraine—war crimes including targeting civilians in mass lootings6, torture78, killings, and rape.
Some Azov battalion leaders attempt to deny this symbol is connected to Nazism. Their denial, however, is about as transparent as a “white supremacist” claiming the swastika tattooed on his head is all about Hinduism and not Nazism9.
There have been reports of the wolfsangle being used by satanic organizations; moreover, the majority of the Azov Battalion members are known to be neo-pagans, who erected a pagan idol of Perun in Mariupol, in addition to being Neo-Nazis10. This includes their leader Andriy Biletsky.
Also noticeable to the left and right of the image, seen more clearly in this version below, are several Kalashnikov-type rifles displayed in communist-style revolutionary fashion, painted within small gold diamonds.
In the background of the mural, on the left side, one can clearly see black and red flags (compare with blood and soil) belonging to the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists/Ukrainian Insurgent Army. This is no less of a Nazi symbol then a swastika.
The Ukrainian Nazi leader Stepan Bandera allied with Hitler, and his followers committed genocides against Poles, Jews, Russians, Ukrainians, and basically anyone who did not agree with them.
The origin of these groups and their hate would require its own research; however, suffice to say that seed of ethnic hatred was planted in Western Ukraine by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and returned after the 2014 Maidan coup as a bloody revenant to terrorize Ukraine and its bordering counties.
In a terrible joining together of the old Uniate terror, with ideologies taken right out of Nazi Germany, Bandera and the many Uniates within his organization wished to create an “ethnically pure” Ukraine, in which only the Ukrainians they deemed worthy would remain alive.
Bandera’s organization was founded in Vienna in 1929—ironically, the former capital of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire which persecuted Orthodox Christians from Serbia to Romania and Ukraine. In one of their propaganda tracts, their military arm listed not only “terror”, but essentially brainwashing as one of their methods11.
A simple web search for “neo-Nazi march in Ukraine” will provide plenty of examples of radicals marching in the streets with this black and red flag, as well as swastikas, and portraits of Bandera.
One of the best videos however, to draw the correlation between armed radicalism, these flags, this mural, and the Uniates is this video, in which a Uniate “Priest” conducts a memorial service with these black and red flags seen in the background.
A microcosm of ethnophyletism can be seen here. Close to the end, the priest says the traditional Carpathian greeting “Slava Isusu Khristu” (Glory to Jesus Christ) but received an anemic response from just a few who knew to reply properly “Slava Na Viki” (Glory forever).
But the moment he tried nationalist and Nazi slogans, such as “Slava Ukraini—Heroyam Slava” (Glory to Ukraine—Glory to the Heroes), he got a very loud and proud response. He finished three times with the slogan “Slava Natsii—Smert Voroham” (Glory to the Nation—Death to the Enemies) and the people began to chant as if possessed, “Death to Enemies!” as their gunfire rang out over the mountains.
This slogan of “death to enemies” can also be heard loud and proud at Philaret’s nationalist march, which was thinly veiled as a cross procession, as seen in this video with English subtitles by the Union of Orthodox Journalists. As shown in these videos, those who attend these groups are far more concerned with nationalism than religion, and religion is included merely to “sanctify” their nationalism. (source, source)
Nationalism has always been a problem in Christianity and for that matter, is a problem which affects all religions. This is not to say that one cannot love one’s country, but rather it is the co-mingling of the two that creates problems, often of which is related to the equivocation of patriotism with religious piety. This problem affects the Orthodox more than the Catholics because while the problem can be found in both, the Catholic Church emphasizes the universality of Christian brotherhood first (hence the word “catholicos,” meaning “universal”) in its relationship with a government so that identity is understood to transcend race, time, and tribe. This was also one of the major issues with the Catholic-Protestant split, as while there were theological issues, it was driven by nationalism and a desire to subjugate the Church to the will of the government and national identity.
This is contrasted to the Orthodox and much of the Christian east, that while also it teaches the same, has historically been identified with the particular races that it has converted. As such there is an Orthodox Church for many different ethnic groups- Bulgarians, Greeks, Romanians and Russians to name a few among the many. However, the emphasis on the ethnicity within the identity of the Church naturally paces a tribal identity with the practice of the religion. This is exacerbated by the rejection of the primacy of St. Peter as articulated in Matthew’s Gospel, and in so doing allows for the Church not per se to reject tradition, but to bind oneself to it in such a way as to be unable to articulate clear, consistent, and defined answers to issues of faith and morals outside of that which has already been discussed in the past. The result is that the ensuing autocephaly, which the Orthodox Church promotes, leads to a tribalized version of Christianity that unintentionally perpetuates the very identitarianism that Christ came to fight among the many evils he confronted, but with a Christian flavor that leaves itself open to the possible influence of heresy.
It is to be noted that the Orthodox officially condemned phyletism in 1872, and rightly so. However, it is a problem that will never disappear because of the tribal identities bound up with each Church. One can see this in the Russian Orthodox Church, which for all of the good that it has done, was embraced by the Russian population specifically as a form of national identity and, far from being something that brought Russia into communion with the peoples of the world as with the Catholic Church (one only needs to look at the evangelical effort of the Spanish and Portuguese throughout the Americas and Asia ti see this), Orthodoxy tended to serve as a measure of one’s patriotism and as such was a form of chosen isolationism.
Nationalism is ultimately a specter which no matter how good the intentions may be the Orthodox cannot abandon as their schism with the Catholic Church is bound with the very existence of the concept of “Orthodoxy” (capital “O”), using theological claims to justify insubordination rooted in national identity politics to St. Peter.
The issue of Ukraine splitting from the Russian Orthodox Church becomes even more serious because it is compounded by an inseparable nationalism bound to the tribal destiny of the nation itself. Ukraine is the ethnic homeland of the Russian people, as the formal Christianization of the Rus’ tribe took place in Kiev in 988, and for centuries Ukraine was considered an extension of Russia because of the shared history and tribal affinity. This was likewise the great danger of the American and “European” (read: German) backed invasion of Ukraine through the support of neo-Nazi terrorist groups, because the splitting of Ukraine is a split among the Russian people itself between “Russia” as a nation and the “Western” world. The recognition of Ukraine as having their own autocephalous branch of the Orthodox Church reinforces this division of tribal identity that is ultimately intended to be an attack on Russia as an extension of Operation Gladio.
The attack so far has worked. For while there is much talk from the Orthodox of “unity” and especially as Orthodoxy often resides in tandem with Hellenic and Slavic nationalism, there has been the silence of submission to the newly created autocephalous Patriarchate in Ukraine. Truly individuals have spoken out, but the hierarchies themselves for the Egyptians, Syrians, Greeks, Bulgarians, and even the Romanians (who are the third largest adherents to “orthodoxy”, with the first being Russia and Ukraine second) have not opposed the creation.
The silence says everything, as it is consent to the creation. The only one who has really spoken up has been Russia, which has responded by barring Russian monks from visiting Mount Athos in Greece, which is one of the holiest sites in the Eastern Orthodox Church. As we noted, this is a very significant act because:
The fact that it was not the Greeks, but it was the Russian Orthodox Patriarch, who gave the order barring Russian Orthodox Christians from Mt. Athos is the direct acknowledgement of not only real and serious schism between the Orthodox, but is a revolutionary act as it says that those who say they are Orthodox and recognize the validity of the new autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church or remain in communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople are not true Orthodox Christians in the same way of what happened in Europe during the Protestant Revolution with Luther in Germany, Zwingli and Calvin in Switzerland, and King Henry VIII in England. It is an admission of a Second Great Schism taking place. (source)
The sad reality is that, based on the reaction of the orthodox world of which there is a clear split now, the largest of the churches may be the Russian Orthodox Church, but the Russians are isolated in a temporal as well as spiritual sense from the rest of “orthodoxy”, and it was all realized in the name of nationalism, the same nationalism that caused the Great Schism of 1054, and which almost a thousand years later has brought about the Second Great Schism, this time within “Orthodoxy” herself. This is highly prophetic, because it is the fulfillment of the warning of Matthew 16:18:
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
The Catholic Church has had many bad popes, and even times when nearly the whole hierarchy was infected with heretics, politically ambitious men, or just evil people. While there are struggles with every age, the situation with the Church today is probably the worst it has been since the days of the Arian heresy, and so one is living in historically unprecedented times. However, the reality is that the church established by St. Peter has not been prevailed over because, by the grace of God through His promise in scripture, He will not allow it to happen. especially to the false christ of nationalism, which promises to be an angel of light but is only a vehicle for greater darkness than even that which is openly evil and deviant today.
Orthodoxy, to the contrary and very sadly, is also proving this to be true, for while nationalism prevailed over her centuries ago, the fruits of the schism are also being realized as just with Protestantism, the most fervent nationalists gain their own “patriotic” churches as with what happened in the Protestant Revolution, and the most genuinely pious orthodox find themselves homeless and isolated, rejected by the rest of orthodoxy and as they are not outside of the See of St. Peter, are relegated to exile and yet also still besieged by the same nationalistic devil that ripped apart the rest of the church. The flock is without a shepherd, and will in time either dissipate or be picked off by the wolves of the times.
This is another reason why in spite of a major historical event taking place, the Second Great Schism, there is so little said about it, because the consequences are extremely dire.
The Catholic Church will continue to suffer, and as many mystics have said, it will be laid waste and in certain geographic locations may even disappear. However, the physical institution herself, no matter what happens, even if the Germans and the Turks sack and destroy the Vatican, will not be destroyed because the institutional Church- her dual spiritual and physical presence on Earth -has been guaranteed by Sacred Scripture.
And, when the day does come that the institutional Church seems on the edge of permanent annihilation, rejoice and make ready your soul, humbling yourself before God, because it will be the end of the time of mercy and the hour of justice before the day of wrath, when all souls must give an account of their actions before God and Christ, who came as a baby with mercy, will return as an adult with the final justice of God.