Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?

Ukrainian Orthodox Church wanted to break ties with Russia – updated 12 October 2018


Ukraine secured approval yesterday to establish an independent church in what Kiev says is a vital step against Russian meddling in its affairs, but the Russian clergy fiercely opposes as the biggest split in Christianity for a thousand years.

A three-day synod presided over by the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul, seat of the global spiritual leader of roughly 300 million Orthodox Christians, endorsed Ukraine’s request for an “autocephalous” (independent) church.

The synod will “proceed to the granting of Autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine,” a statement said.

The synod took several decisions to pave the way for Ukraine to set up its church, including rehabilitating a Ukrainian patriarch excommunicated by the Russian Orthodox Church for leading a breakaway church in the early 1990s. (source Reuters)


People can’t fail to have noticed  that President Vladimir Putin has found God. For a former KGB chief and a presumably a hard-line communist back in the day this is truly his road to Damascus. Or is it?

Like the Tsars he has used religion as a “soft power” approach to influence all the orthodox followers in the former Soviet Union using Patriarch Krill as his go-to church man. He is said to have his own confessor (that must be an interesting experience) and was recently seen wading in ice-cold water at Epiphany (but then he’s always bearing his chest isn’t he?).

But the Ukrainians have had enough and want to break from Moscow. They accuse the Russians of hacking and even an assassination attempt on Patriarch Filaret who has been particularly critical of Putin using the church for political advantage.

He accused him of using the church to spread “propaganda that defends Russia and Putin” on a visit to America last week. After Russia invaded eastern Ukraine he called Putin a “cynical liar” who would suffer “eternal damnation in hell“. In return his superiors in Moscow excommunicated him in 1997.

Sunday Times picture

Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, the head of the orthodox church is expected to grant the Ukrainians self-governance (autocephaly) at next month’s synod. He too has been the subject of the hacking of his e-mails.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is very pleased about the chance of freedom from the Moscow and said he hoped that “no-one will try to turn it back”.

Moscow is understandably very unhappy, furious in fact, promising to cut off links with Constantinople (Istanbul) the heart of the orthodox faith for over a thousand years when it was capital of the Byzantine empire.

Patriarch Krill has suspended communications with Constantinople and has said he will no longer mention Patriarch Bartholomew in his prayers.

But that would be cutting off his nose to spite his face. Half of the orthodox followers – 100 million – are in Russia. Perhaps more worrying is that Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk ((similar to an arch-bishop) who is in charge of external relations in the Russian church has warned that “bloodshed would follow. Very christian!

But the former American Ambassador to Kiev, John Herbst, said that there are legitimate fears about how Russia would react as it would reduce Moscow’s “soft power”. And Moscow hasn’t just got Ukraine to worry about. Similar moves have been started in Belarus with the risk of it spreading to other former republics like Moldova and the Caucasus region. Archbishop Sviatoslav of Belarus said “Moscow has been doing everything to prevent the Ukrainian and Belorussian churches form receiving autocephaly“.

One of the reasons Moscow is worried that Ukraine will block access to Moscow’s control of holy sites including the monasteries in Kiev, the birthplace of Russian orthodoxy. There are many beautiful churches in Kiev – St Andrew’s, St Michael and Saint Sophia cathedral among others.

But the heart of it all is in the “Cave monastery” or the Kiev Pechersk Lavra. 

The Greek St Antony founded this lavrain 1051, after Orthodoxy was adopted as Kyivan Rus’ official religion.

It contains numerous architectural monuments, ranging from bell towers to cathedrals to the catacombs which St Antony and his follower Feodosy progressively dug out  and  where they and other reclusive monks worshipped, studied and lived.

When they died their bodies were naturally preserved, without embalming, by the caves’ cool temperature and dry atmosphere. The mummies survive even today, confirmation for believers that these were true holy men.

I’ve been lucky enough to have a guided tour of it with pilgrims from all over the world. Walking through narrow corridors hewed from the rock with only candles to light the way is not for the claustrophobic. You can see boxes and earthenware pots (marked with a stick-man symbol with upraised arms) of relics behind grilled alcoves as you walk along and hear monks chanting from somewhere in the depths – where only priests are allowed to go.

The main attractions of the Lavra include the Great Lavra Belltower, and the Dormition Cathedral, destroyed in World War II, and fully reconstructed in recent years. 

Other churches and cathedrals of the Lavra include: the Refectory Church, the Church of All Saints, the Church of the Saviour at Berestove, the Church of the Exaltation of Cross, the Church of the Trinity, the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin, the Church of the Conception of St. Anne, and the Church of the Life-Giving Spring. The Lavra also contains the St. Nicholas Monastery, and the Kiev Theological Academy and Seminary andstrong stone fortification walls..

When I visited Kiev and toured this 28 hectare site I was intrigued to learn that all the revenue from tourists goes to the Russian church not to the Ukrainian one.

And it is big business. Apart from the usual tourist memorabilia (I bought a “Keep me safe ring”) they sell bibles, priests’ robes and all the paraphernalia used by orthodox priest. They even sell the onion domes to put on the church roofs.

So apart from a religious disconnect there are probably financial implications too.

Scratch a Russian…

and you get a Tartar, is a well-known proverb alluding to a Russian’s asiatic nature beneath a european countenance. Hinting of the fierce nature of Genghis Khan’s mongol hordes.

So it may come as no surprise that President Putin has decriminalised some forms of domestic abuse. That’s right, you can beat your wife with less chance of being imprisoned now.

According to official government figures between 12 and 14,000 women die each year of domestic abuse. A popular saying in Russia is “if he beats you it means he loves you“.

The revised law reduced the punishment for minor injuries, such as cuts and bruises, from two years to 15 days in prison if it doesn’t happen more than once a year.

thIt was instigated by Yelena Mizulina, an ultra-conservative MP who is head of the Russian State Duma’s Committee for Family, Women and Children. It was voted through by 38 votes to 1. She said that prosecuting people for a slap threatened to break up families and if parents weren’t allowed to beat their children “it would undermine traditional family values“. Sorry, but what committee is she head of?

A survey showed that 55% of Russians actually supported the change in the law (wonder what the gender split was?) and only 17% were against it.

th-1The popular tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda (Young Communist League Truth)  ran an article that said women with violent husbands should “be proud of their bruises” because some biologists believe that  they are then more likely to give birth to boys.( One way of continuing the vicious cycle as well).

Amnesty International describes it as ” a sickening attempt to further trivialise domestic violence“.

The mayor of Yekaterinberg, Russia’s fourth largest city, said they were now dealing with 350 cases of domestic assault very day compared to 150 a day previously. Before people were afraid of criminal charges – it acted as a safety barrier. “People got the impression that before it wasn’t allowed but now it is”.

So there you have it, an insight into the Russian character as personified by that low-achieving KGB officer (he only achieved lietenant-colonel rank), gay icon and macho man of the people who now sees himself as the Tsar of a  new Russian Empire.

Jezza Corbyn……..deluded idiot

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)


Jeremy Corbyn refused to say whether he would defend a Nato ally if it were invaded by Russia. The Labour leader was asked multiple times at a leadership debate in Birmingham if he would uphold the Nato principle of “collective defence” where an attack against one member is considered an attack against all.

But he refused to give concrete assurance that he would do so were he prime minister. Instead he said: “I would want to avoid us getting involved military, by building up democratic relationships.”

The Labour leader repeatedly stressed the importance of improving diplomacy with Russia but would not firmly commit to upholding article five, which enshrines the “collective defence” principle.

When pushed on whether he would sign off on the UK going to the aid of a Nato ally, he said: “I don’t wish to go to war. What I want to do is achieve a world where we…

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Ukraine is a beautiful country being torn apart by Putin

You’ve all seen the news stories, heard the evidence of the “little green men” from the reconnaissance and sabotage units running around fomenting trouble. You’ll have seen pictures of rocket launchers, modern Russian tanks (as David Cameron said “you can’t buy those on e-bay“) and well-armed separatists flouting the ceasefire. Putin lies through his teeth, denies everything. Fools the EU. Has the US on the back foot. Sees himself as the new Tsar of a new Russian empire embracing all the “near abroad” countries.

You will also remember the scenes in the square in Kiev where Russian snipers were killing protestors indiscriminately. You may not believe it but that’s all been repaired and looks reasonably normal. I’ve been to Ukraine three times with friends and thoroughly enjoyed it each time. First before the “Orange Revolution” and then after it.

I came across this video promoting the European Cup in 2012. This is Ukraine’s point of view. Look at the wonderful buildings, the modern infrastructure. Kiev, or Kyiv, is a modern western-looking capital city. Something which is anathema to Putin’s Russia.

Hope you enjoy the views: