If you ask anyone in America, “When do you celebrate Christmas?” the person will look at you cross-eyed and wonder if you were mentally deficient or in the early stages of dementia (I live in Florida and there are a lot of old people. I’m now one of them!). December 25th, of course! The majority do not realize that the members of the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrate Christmas on January 7th.
The differences between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church (which includes Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox) is one of the dynamics at play in Ukraine.
About 9 percent of Ukrainians (about 3.6 million persons) are Greek Catholics, meaning they are Catholics who belong to Churches of the Byzantine rite. The vast majority of these are part of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which is led by Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuck of the Ukrainian Archeparchy of Kyiv-Halych.
The majority of Christians in Ukraine are Eastern Orthodox; especially those who live in eastern Ukraine:
The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church,[a] with approximately 220 million baptized members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops via local synods. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the head of the Roman Catholic Church—the Pope—but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognized by them as primus inter pares (“first among equals”), which may be explained as a representative of the church. As one of the oldest surviving religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe. The Eastern Orthodox Church officially calls itself the Orthodox Catholic Church.[
Although both churches believe in Jesus, the Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox do not view each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. Sad. But it gets worse — Zelensky’s Ukrainian government is targeting the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Ukrainian counter-intelligence services have turned their sights on some Orthodox clergy whom they suspect of pro-Russian sentiment and activity. Ukraine’s secret service examined belongings of a parishioner at the entrance to the Pechersk Lavra monastic complex in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. Ukraine’s counter-intelligence service, police officers and the country’s National Guard searched one of the most famous Orthodox Christian sites in the capital, Kyiv, after a priest spoke favorably about Russia – Ukraine’s invader – during a service. (AP Photo/Efrem Luka)
I was contacted tonight by a Ukrainian friend who spoke recently to the head of the Lavra Metropolit, Vladyka Pavel. He shared the following:
Pavel said that next week the radical church UPC Poroshenko Tomos church might take over the Kiev Lavra as the government of Ukraine Zelenskiy and his Ministers are ignoring the calls of the head of Lavra Metropolite Pavel to continue the contract for the Church service in Svyato Uspebskaya church and TrapeNaya church of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra. The radicals from Azov and Pravin Secfor will come into Lavra and try to take control while the regime decides what to with Lavra next.
This is the kind of religious persecution commonly associated with Stalin’s Soviet Union. The potential involvement of the Azov movement in this action is disturbing because the Azov adherents are not Christian. They embrace pagan imagery and practices.
The spiritual leaders of the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, if they genuinely believe in the gospel of Jesus, should be coming together to call for peace and an end to the killing. But history tells us that when it comes to killing, religion takes a back seat to nationalism. Or, even worse, religion becomes an excuse for killing.
I want to take this opportunity to wish all of my readers from around the world a Merry Christmas. You do not have to be a Christian to receive the greeting. In writing this I was reminded of something that I witnessed in the Colon Free Trade Zone in Panama twenty years ago.
Well, there’s your answer, right there.
Zelensky and his Azov Battalian can control the message of the smaller, pro-Ukrainian church.
Not so any universal churches such as the Catholic or Russian Orthodox churches.
And neo-nazis of Ukraine, the Azov Battalion, is being supported by the USA, NATE, the EU and, of course, Zelensky.
Statues of Pushkin are being cut in pieces and removed all across Ukraine by the Azov Battalion.
Russian authors are being expunged from Ukrainian literature and being replaced by nonsensical Ukrainian history books by nonsensical Ukrainian authors that smack of nazi mythology where ever the Azov Battalion holds sway.
If it all sounds slightly totalitarian to you, you have a grasp of history.
The Azov Battalion and Zelensky have also purged media and even military that don’t agree with them.