By Nick Stamatakis

Just a few days ago, on July 19, the Bishops Conference of the Moscow Patriarchate issued a significant document (link here in Russian) that caused a roar all over the Orthodox world (for an extensive analysis, please link to our friends of  This document is, in many ways, a condemnation of the heretical positions of the Constantinople Patriarchate and, specifically:

  • Its “primacy without equals” position, as opposed to the canonical Orthodox rule of “primacy of honor” or “primacy among equals”.  This form of papism, it seems, exceeds even the given powers of the Pope!
  • The restoration of schismatics without canonical ordination or after losing their rank due to schism.
  • Its claims to have exclusive rights to grant autocephaly.
  • Its claim of jurisdiction over the Diaspora.

The document is quite contentious in its opposition, and we can already tell it has historical significance. I can guess it was written by Metropolitan Hilarion of Hungary (formerly of Volokolamsk), who has extensive experience in international relations as the former “Foreign minister” of the Moscow Patriarchate. Its significance goes well beyond the current religious aspects of the conflict in Ukraine: I will propose here that it initiates a new era of global “activism” of the Moscow Patriarchate, the first sign of which was the establishment of an Exarchate in Africa (December 29, 2021, with headquarters to be built in Egypt).  A few days later, in January 2022, rumors circulated extensively about establishing a Russian Exarchate in Turkey, which caused quite a commotion in Turkey and Greece.  The Russians, always cautious in their foreign policy moves, did not actually materialize their unofficial threat.

Panagia Soumela August 15 Annual Celebration Banned for 2023

Then, just one day after the momentous Russian Bishops’ document mentioned above, the Turkish authorities announced that they would not allow the annual August 15 celebration at the historic Panagia Soumela Monastery in Pontos.  This action passed “unexplained” in the Greek and international media.  Indeed, it is not an easily understandable decision by Turkey because:

  • Over a million tourists visit the monastery annually, having a very positive economic impact on Turkey.
  • Turkey’s image – or whatever is left of it – is damaged internationally when it is supposedly attempting new negotiations to enter the EU.
  • What is the meaning of a Greek-Turkish rapprochement and possible negotiations for a “total solution” of the issues between the two countries when Turkey refuses a simple annual religious celebration in Panagia Soumela while demanding mosques everywhere in Greece? Turkey’s ban of Panagia Soumela blew up any prospect these negotiations had to succeed.

Was Russia behind the Turkish Ban of Panagia Soumela?

To answer this critical question, we need to note that the re-opening of the monastery in 2010 was not an “act of kindness” by the Turks, who had resisted all pressure for decades by the US to open the Halki Seminary near Constantinople. This re-opening of Panagia Soumela for an annual religious celebration on August 15, Assumption Day, and regular tourist visits throughout the year was the result of Russian intervention by President Putin himself, on-demand from his personal friend, Greek-Russian businessman, and Russian Duma (Parliament) member with Putin’s party, Ivan Savvides. The most significant advancement of the religious freedom of the Constantinople Patriarchate in recent history resulted not from American action but from Russian intervention, likely from Vladimir Putin himself!

Therefore, we can rightfully assume that in the same way that the Russians demanded the re-opening of the Holy Monastery, they could also demand its ban from the Constantinople Patriarchate.  Especially in the aftermath of Pat. Bartholomew’s not-so-hidden attempts to justify the desecration of Pechersk Lavra in Kiev, the most sacred place of Russian Orthodoxy.  Batholomew was rumored to have asked Zelensky to turn the Lavra into a Stavropegiac monastery under the Constantinople Patriarchate!  Moreover, the Russians have a particular way of inspiring “the fear of God” in the Turkish soul, as the two nations have fought numerous wars for three centuries, with most of these wars ending catastrophically for the Turks.

I could easily imagine President Putin or Foreign Minister Lavrov picking up the phone and explaining to the Turkish government that they have a few million of their “Turkish brethren” (Tatars, Ajeris, and others) living in Russia.  Russia also has about 200.000 Russians in Turkey (and another 200,000 Pontian Greeks in Russia who are under the Moscow Patriarchate).  They would explain that these Orthodox faithful now demand their Russian Church in Turkey, and hence, the Russian plans for an Exarchate will soon materialize.  “And, by the way, what is the reason for Panagia Soumela to be under Pat. Bartholomew? Maybe a Pontian Greek Bishop under Moscow Patriarchate would be the most desirable solution?”  Just examine all the possibilities. None of them are good for the future of the Constantinople Patriarchate.  Let’s remember that just last year, Erdogan turned Agia Sophia into a mosque.

Helleniscope and yours truly have been warning Pat. Bartholomew, for the last six years, that his disastrous policy in granting autocephaly to Ukraine would have catastrophic consequences.  Unfortunately, we were trying to talk sense on deaf ears.  As the war in Ukraine will inevitably come to a swift and disastrous end for the delusional Western policies, I do not think there is time to save anything.  As we say in America, the chickens have come home to roost…

PS. If Moscow establishes an Exarchate in Turkey, their Exarchate in Greece will not be far away.

July 22, 2023,

DISCLAIMER: The views and statements expressed in this article constitute constitutionally protected opinions of this author.



Είναι οι Ρώσοι πίσω από την απαγόρευση της Λειτουργίας της Παναγίας Σουμελά από την Τουρκία;

Του Νίκου Σταματάκη

Μόλις πριν από λίγες μέρες, στις 19 Ιουλίου, η Διάσκεψη των Επισκόπων του Πατριαρχείου Μόσχας εξέδωσε ένα σημαντικό έγγραφο (σύνδεσμος εδώ στα ρωσικά) που προκάλεσε βρυχηθμό σε όλο τον ορθόδοξο κόσμο (για εκτενή ανάλυση, παρακαλώ συνδεθείτε με τους φίλους μας του Ουσιαστικά, το έγγραφο αυτό αποτελεί, από πολλές απόψεις, καταδίκη των αιρετικών θέσεων του Πατριαρχείου Κωνσταντινουπόλεως και συγκεκριμένα:

  • Της θέσης του «πρωτείου χωρίς ίσους» σε αντίθεση με τον κανονικό Ορθόδοξο κανόνα της «πρωτείου τιμής» ή «πρωτείου μεταξύ ίσων». Αυτή η μορφή παπισμού, φαίνεται ότι ξεπερνά ακόμη και τις δεδομένες εξουσίες του Πάπα!
  • Η αποκατάσταση των σχισματικών χωρίς κανονική χειροτονία ή μετά από απώλεια του βαθμού τους λόγω σχίσματος.
  • Οι αξιώσεις της ότι έχει αποκλειστικά δικαιώματα για την παραχώρηση αυτοκεφαλίας.
  • Η διεκδίκηση της δικαιοδοσίας του επί της Διασποράς ανά τον κόσμο.

Το έγγραφο είναι αρκετά έντονο ως προς την αντίθεσή που περιγράφει και μπορούμε ήδη να πούμε ότι έχει ιστορική σημασία. Μπορώ να υποθέσω ότι γράφτηκε από τον Μητροπολίτη Ουγγαρίας Ιλαρίωνα (πρώην Volokolamsk), ο οποίος έχει μεγάλη εμπειρία στις διεθνείς σχέσεις ως πρώην «υπουργός Εξωτερικών» του Πατριαρχείου Μόσχας. Η σημασία του ξεπερνά πολύ τις τρέχουσες θρησκευτικές πτυχές της σύγκρουσης στην Ουκρανία: θα προτείνω εδώ ότι αποτελεί την εκκίνηση για μια νέα εποχή παγκόσμιου «ακτιβισμού» του Πατριαρχείου Μόσχας, το πρώτο σημάδι της οποίας ήταν η ίδρυση Εξαρχίας στην Αφρική (29 Δεκεμβρίου 2021, με έδρα την Αίγυπτο). Λίγες μέρες αργότερα, τον Ιανουάριο του 2022, κυκλοφόρησαν εκτενώς φήμες για ίδρυση Ρωσικής Εξαρχίας στην Τουρκία, κάτι που προκάλεσε μεγάλη αναταραχή σε Τουρκία και Ελλάδα. Οι Ρώσοι, πάντα προσεκτικοί στις κινήσεις τους στην εξωτερική πολιτική, δεν πραγματοποίησαν ουσιαστικά την ανεπίσημη απειλή τους τότε.

Απαγορεύτηκε ο Ετήσιος Εορτασμός Παναγίας Σουμελά 15 Αυγούστου για το 2023

Μόλις μία ημέρα μετά το βαρυσήμαντο έγγραφο των Ρώσων Επισκόπων, οι τουρκικές αρχές ανακοίνωσαν ότι δεν θα επιτρέψουν τον ετήσιο εορτασμό της 15ης Αυγούστου στην ιστορική Μονή Παναγίας Σουμελά στον Πόντο. Η ενέργεια αυτή πέρασε ως δήθεν «ανεξήγητη» στα ελληνικά και διεθνή ΜΜΕ. Πράγματι, δεν είναι μια εύκολα κατανοητή απόφαση της Τουρκίας γιατί:

  • Πάνω από ένα εκατομμύριο τουρίστες επισκέπτονται το μοναστήρι ετησίως, έχοντας πολύ θετικό οικονομικό αντίκτυπο στην Τουρκία.
  • Η εικόνα της Τουρκίας -ή ό,τι έχει απομείνει από αυτήν- αμαυρώνεται διεθνώς τη στιγμή που υποτίθεται ότι επιχειρεί νέες διαπραγματεύσεις για την ένταξη στην Ε.Ε.
  • Τι νόημα έχει μια ελληνοτουρκική προσέγγιση και πιθανές διαπραγματεύσεις για «ολική λύση» των ζητημάτων των δύο χωρών, όταν η Τουρκία αρνείται μια απλή ετήσια θρησκευτική γιορτή στην Παναγία Σουμελά την ίδια στιγμή που απαιτεί τζαμιά παντού στην Ελλάδα; Η απαγόρευση της Παναγίας Σουμελά από την Τουρκία ανατίναξε κάθε προοπτική που είχαν αυτές οι διαπραγματεύσεις.

Η Ρωσία ήταν πίσω από την τουρκική απαγόρευση της Παναγίας Σουμελά;

Για να απαντήσουμε σε αυτό το κρίσιμο ερώτημα, πρέπει να σημειώσουμε ότι η επαναλειτουργία του μοναστηριού το 2010 δεν ήταν μια «πράξη καλοσύνης» από τους Τούρκους, οι οποίοι είχαν αντισταθεί σε κάθε πίεση για δεκαετίες από τις ΗΠΑ να ανοίξουν τη Σχολή της Χάλκης κοντά στην Κωνσταντινούπολη. Αυτή η επαναλειτουργία της Παναγίας Σουμελά για έναν ετήσιο θρησκευτικό εορτασμό στις 15 Αυγούστου, ημέρα της Κοίμησης της Θεοτόκου, όπως και για τακτικές τουριστικές επισκέψεις καθ’ όλη τη διάρκεια του έτους ήταν αποτέλεσμα της ρωσικής παρέμβασης του ίδιου του Προέδρου Πούτιν, κατόπιν αιτήματος του προσωπικού του φίλου, Ελληνορώσου επιχειρηματία και μέλους της Ρωσικής Δούμας (με το κόμμα του Πούτιν), Ιβάν Σαββίδη. Η πιο σημαντική πρόοδος της θρησκευτικής ελευθερίας του Πατριαρχείου Κωνσταντινουπόλεως στην πρόσφατη ιστορία ήταν αποτέλεσμα όχι αμερικανικής πίεσης αλλά ρωσικής παρέμβασης!!

Δικαίως λοιπόν μπορούμε να υποθέσουμε ότι με τον ίδιο τρόπο που οι Ρώσοι ζήτησαν την επαναλειτουργία της Ιεράς Μονής, μπορούσαν να απαιτήσουν και την απαγόρευσή της για το Πατριαρχείο Κωνσταντινουπόλεως. Ειδικά στον απόηχο των όχι και τόσο κρυφών προσπαθειών του Πατ. Βαρθολομαίου να δικαιολογήσει τη βεβήλωση της Λαύρας Pechersk στο Κίεβο, τον πιο ιερό τόπο της Ρωσικής Ορθοδοξίας – και μάλιστα να την κάνει Σταυροπηγιακή μονή υπό το Πατριαρχείο Κωνσταντινουπόλεως!! Επιπλέον, οι Ρώσοι έχουν έναν ιδιαίτερο τρόπο να εμπνέουν «τον φόβο του Θεού» στην τουρκική ψυχή, καθώς τα δύο έθνη βρίσκονταν σε πόλεμο για τρεις αιώνες, με τους περισσότερους από αυτούς τους πολέμους να τελειώνουν καταστροφικά για τους Τούρκους.

Θα μπορούσα εύκολα να φανταστώ τον Πρόεδρο Πούτιν ή τον Υπουργό Εξωτερικών Λαβρόφ να σηκώνουν το τηλέφωνο και να εξηγούν στην τουρκική κυβέρνηση ότι έχουν μερικά εκατομμύρια από τους «Τούρκους αδελφούς» τους (Τάταρους, Αζέρους και άλλους) που ζουν στη Ρωσία. Η Ρωσία έχει επίσης περίπου 200.000 Ρώσους στην Τουρκία (και άλλους 200.000 Πόντιους Έλληνες στη Ρωσία που θρησκευτικά υπάγονται στο Πατριαρχείο Μόσχας). Αυτοί οι Ορθόδοξοι πιστοί απαιτούν τώρα τη δική τους Ρωσική Εκκλησία στην Τουρκία, και ως εκ τούτου, τα ρωσικά σχέδια για Εξαρχία θα υλοποιηθούν σύντομα. Φαντάζομει τους Ρώσους κυβερνητικούς να λένε στους Τούρκους: “Και, παρεμπιπτόντως, ποιος ο λόγος να είναι η Παναγία Σουμελά υπό τον Πατ. Βαρθολομαίο; Ίσως ένας Έλληνας Πόντιος Επίσκοπος υπό το Πατριαρχείο Μόσχας να ήταν η πιο επιθυμητή λύση;” Απλά ας δούμε όλες τις πιθανότητες. Καμία από αυτές δεν είναι καλή για το μέλλον του Πατριαρχείου Κωνσταντινουπόλεως. Ας θυμηθούμε απλά ότι μόλις πέρυσι ο Ερντογάν μετέτρεψε την Αγία Σοφία σε τζαμί.

Το Helleniscope και ο υποφαινόμενος έχουν με επιμονή προειδοποιήσει τον Πατ. Βαρθολομαίο, πολλές φορές τα τελευταία έξι χρόνια, ότι η καταστροφική πολιτική του για την παραχώρηση αυτοκεφαλίας στην Ουκρανία θα είχε τρομερές συνέπειες. Δυστυχώς, μιλούσαμε “εις ώτα μή ακούοντος”. Καθώς ο πόλεμος στην Ουκρανία πλησιάζει αναπόφευκτα σε ένα γρήγορο και καταστροφικό τέλος για τις παραληρηματικές δυτικές πολιτικές, δεν νομίζω ότι υπάρχει χρόνος να σωθεί κάτι. Η ώρα της τιμωρίας για τα λάθη είναι εδώ…

ΥG. Αν η Μόσχα ιδρύσει Εξαρχία στην Τουρκία, η Εξαρχία τους στην Ελλάδα δεν θα είναι μακριά.

July 22, 2023,

DISCLAIMER: The views and statements expressed in this article constitute constitutionally protected opinions of this author.




  1. Was Erdogan behind the following?

    “ In February 2022 Greece and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew blasted Turkey over the “desecration” of the Panagia Soumela Monastery which was turned into a nightclub for an advertising video clip.

    The controversial video clip, with a DJ playing loud electronic music in the courtyard of the historic monastery and people dancing, had many Orthodox Christians reacting in anger.”

    If so, what can we say? He is one of the devil’s minions. I cannot imagine doing this to any religious sect. What fools these government leaders continue to be.

  2. Ας προσευχόμεθα αυτός ο πόλεμος να
    επιβραβεύσει τους Ρώσους για να ξεκαθαρίσουν τα πράγματα στον χώρο της
    Ορθόδοξης Εκκλησίας και να προλάβουμε
    την ισοπέδωσή της από τους Παπικούς.
    Ο Βαρθολομαίος με τα ανά τον κόσμο
    Αρχιεπισκοπικά τσιράκια του θεωρούνται
    από την πλειονότητα των Ορθοδόξων πιστών ΕΚΠΤΩΤΟΙ……,,

  3. Serious question Nick, do you seriously think Greece will just allow a “russian exarchate” in the country 😂

    I know you love Russia but just as a word of warning or caution, you know not everything Russia says it decides is divine right?

    • As things are now, Greece would likely not allow a Russian Exarchate. But a few years ago a Russian Exarchate would be inconceivable in Africa also, right? The same is true for Turkey. But now Africa has a Russian Exarchate and last I heard they are building huge headquarters outside Cairo. In Turkey we are just a step away from the same – justified by the fact that the Russians living in the country are 10 times more than the followers of the Constantinople Patriarchate.
      Should I also remind you that the Russians (and other eastern Orthodox nations) have a monastery in Athos? Should I remind you that the principal monastery of Athos, Vatopedi, has a permanent base/icon showcase/money collection base in Moscow?
      In Athos Bartholomew’s policies in Ukraine and his “Papism” and ecumenism are vehemently rejected by almost all the monasteries and probably 99% of the monks. Keep in mind that 75% of the monks live outside the monasteries in sketes and “kellia” and among those the rejection of Bartholomew is 100%.
      Put that together with the fact that Russia and Putin consistently enjoy a 70% approval rate in Greece and you have the right ingredients in the mix for a near future change of the situation.
      Finally, as an analyst I do not “love” or “hate”. But I do recognize and honor the historic ties between Russia and Greece and I, along with the overwhelming majority of the Greeks, consider that it is beneficial for the interests of Greece to maintain a friendly relationship with Russia, China and all nations. And not to undermine its own interests for the benefit of the delusional globalists of Washington DC. And I do not forget that the warmongers of DC – through CIA – almost assassinated 15 years ago Greek PM Costas Karamanlis for exactly the same reason: maintaining meaningful relations with Russia.

      • Unless I’m mistaken, my understanding is that Bartholomew doesn’t seem to be popular with laity (and clergy) within Greece itself. Sometimes I think people forget that the Church of Greece IS NOT the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

        Also, the Church of Greece’s “recognization” of the OCU was by the “permanent Synod” this is not the same thing as the entire Synod of the Church of Greece which includes every bishop. The permanent synod does not.

        • Bartholomew is not popular but being who he is he is using the establishment mechanisms to promote his shenanigans. The Patriarchate partly (ecclesiastically) controls the so-called “New Lands” (Northern Greece and Eastern Islands) and he insisted and succeeded (after years of struggle) to establish an Exarchate and have a church in Athens. But he is not charismatic and people know of his many misdeeds.. He is considered to be a disaster of a Patriarch by those who have good knowledge of Church issues. He is supported by the establishment “journalists”…

          • I agree with Niko.
            The problem is not what the Russians are doing but what our Greek government does. Unfortunately, the Greek political system is not democratic. Any government with a majority even of one congressman , i.e. 151 out of 300 can do almost anything. And even worst ,is not the 151 who decide but the Prime Minister with a clique, at times non-elected counselors who decide.
            Mitsotakis is making the same mistake, Tsipras made. Tsipras knew the Greek people were against the Prespes agreement, but he thought he was omnipotent, he did not care if it was undemocratic, he cared more for EE’s money and the good will of our “allies”. He did not care about the Greek people. Tsipras and SYRIZA are gone but their misdeed, the Prespes agreement is staying, at least for now.
            Now Mitsotakis is blinded ( he is drunk) from power with 41% (what about the other 59%????? actually is less than 25% considering the 50% that did not vote.
            Hopefully Greece will survive Mitsotakis too, and Mitsotakis will end up in the waste basket of history.
            Panayiotis Baltatzis

    • The servile to the enemies of Hellenism leaders of the Greek state will allow a mosque for Muslim Russians but not an exarchate for Russian Orthodox Christians… However things will be worse… As the so called Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Church of Greece start joining the Schismatic and heretics antiChristians of the Vatican and other Protestant pseudoChristians we will be left with no other choice but switch to an Orthodox Christian jurisdiction… It’s quite likely Jerusalem will be the Choice of the Christians of Greece and not Moscow…

    • The subject is not whom we love but
      what is right. Every one religious and
      not religious have one or another way
      representation in Greece, like Mormons, jahovas wetness, presviterians , evangelicans and others, why not the Russian church that is also Orthodox.
      Love is not blind but light that should
      light every one and especially every
      Christian .
      From Lilikas beach Chios Greece

  4. This may very well be the hand and judgment of God. Black Bart is taking away the churches of the good Orthodox Christians of Ukraine. And so God is taking this Church away from Black Bart. Greater tests will be visited on Black Bart and his cabal before this is finished and he either dies or cries out in repentance. Popping the popcorn and waiting for the show. As a Greek I hope God visits on Black Bart and his robber synod everything he has coming to him. The Church of Jesus Christ is in the hearts and minds of his people, not old buildings. We treasure those old buildings because they are part of our heritage, but they are not THE CHURCH.

  5. Who gave the “blessing” to Erdogan to re-establish st. Sophia as an active mosque? There is no way Erdogan did that without getting “permission” from somebody…

    Technically, the Russians don’t need to establish an “exarchate” in Greece. They were already been granted a Byzantine church building on Φιλελληνων street in downtown Athens almost 100 years ago, granted for the Russian refugees that fled the Bolshevik revolution and established a foothold in Athens at the time. It’s still called “the Russian Church” today (and quite likely a reciprocal act for both the Georgian and Russian Patriarchates allowing Greek-speaking parishes in their own jurisdictions). What I don’t recall is if they were supposed to commemorate the Archbishop of Athens or not, but it is certain that St. Panteleimon monastery on Mt. Athos (the so-called “Russian” one) historically commemorates the bishop of Constantinople, as do the rest of the Mt. Athos monasteries, with the exception of “Esphigmenou” monastery, which unilaterally ceased commemoration of Bartholomew 30+ years ago, and has been isolated ever since …Mt. Athos is quite fragmented, and not unified, unfortunately…all you have to do is look at the list of 7 out of the 20 monasteries that voted in favor of sending a delegation to Kiev for Epiphanios’ enthronement…the vote didn’t pass, but Bartholomew subsequently “pressured/threatened” Ephraim of Vatopedi into flying to Kiev as a “representative of Athos”, but who mysteriously suffered a medical event upon landing, “forcing” his plane to divert and go to a “special clinic” in Switzerland…(it’s good to remember these soap-operesque details once in a while)…And today, we see monasteries such as Philotheou maintaining a “list” of those Athonite priest-monks who concelebrate with the Epiphanios clergy, and banning those “fellow monks” from celebrating services at Philotheou monastery… St. Nektarios monastery in Aegina also stood their ground, when the abbess refused to allow an Epiphanios delegation to show up and venerate the relics of St. Nektarios….

    Ultimately, the problem lies at the core of the Greek-speaking Churches…
    – Why did Cyprus elect the Archbishop that the people did NOT want, after a ton of “international diplomatic activity” occurred right after Chrysostomos died?
    – Why do so many Metropolitans in Greece blindly and fanatically support Bartholomew?
    – Why did Hieronymos of Athens and Theodoros of Alexandria feel it was necessary to unilaterally (outside of Synodical approval) commemorate Epiphanios? (and why did he recently visit Washington D.C.?)
    – Why are there rumors on the street that Ieronymos’ successor will likely be a metropolitan who had a lot of politicians and international diplomats show up at his enthronement?
    – Why did so many diplomats and politicians show up at Emmanuel’s enthronement as Metropolitan of Chalcedon (historically considered a successor to the throne of Constantinople), and why did he read his speech in Greek / Turkish / French / English?

    The answers unfortunately are quite scandalous, but that’s how this world operates behind the scenes, even though these “bishops” will quickly preach to the people that “you cannot serve 2 masters”, at the same time that many of them are obviously serving geo-political overlords, and not laboring in favor of the Unity of the Church…it’s really up to the people to identify and reject all corrupt bishops “with one voice”. However, we live in times of complacency, and rotten bishops come with the territory of overall complacency and luke-warmness…


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