Russia & Ukraine, China & Taiwan

Patriarch Kirill


Today, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church is in Ukraine:

Russian Patriarch Visits Kyiv, But Motives Questioned

Radio Free Europe – July 27, 2009  By Breffni O’Rourke
Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, has begun a 10-day visit to Ukraine.Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill will visit historical religious sites aplenty during his trip. One of the highlights of the tour comes when he pays tribute to Grand Prince Vladimir, who converted to Christianity in 988 and Christianized the medieval state of Rus.

But it’s not ancient history that is preoccupying many Ukrainians as Kirill’s visit gets under way. Some suspect the patriarch is intent on increasing Russian influence in Ukraine, a state still in search of its own identity as an independent nation.

Kirill has described his visit as purely pastoral…And for the first time, he will conduct a meeting in Ukraine of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.

But that’s too much for some Ukrainian nationalists. They note that the Moscow Patriarchate controls the larger part of the divided Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and they point to the traditional closeness of the Russian church to the Russian state.

To some nationalists, this adds up to an attempt to use religious links to increase Russian influence over Ukraine’s political and cultural life. This they see as complementing the very concrete efforts of the government in Moscow, led by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, to keep Ukraine within Russia’s sphere of influence. The Russian leadership particularly wants to keep Ukraine out of the NATO alliance.

A Unified Church

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko expressed his desire for an independent, unified Ukrainian Orthodox Church in remarks ahead of the patriarch’s visit. He said a truly Ukrainian Church would be a “great historical truth.”

In remarks on July 27, Kirill referred to church unity, but he meant the continued bonds between Moscow and Kyiv.”I appeal to the heavenly hosts shining over these holy lands,” Kirill said. “Together with them, we will pray for the well-being and prosperity of Ukraine, for peace and concord of her citizens, for the friendship and brotherhood of [our] kindred nations, which both emerged from the font of the Dniepr, for our unbreakable spiritual and church unity.”

The smaller of the two churches in Ukraine is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, But it can’t compete with Kirill’s church, which has 1,100 dioceses around Ukraine — almost as many as the Russian church has in Russia itself.

Nationalist-minded Ukrainians have sought to bring a new element into the equation. They are seeking the support of the Istanbul Patriarchate of the Greek Orthodox Church, and its ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew I, to balance the centuries-old influence of Moscow.

And while the Ukrainian Orthodox are not as numerous as the Russian Orthodox, many Ukrainians shouted against Patriarch Kirill:

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Visits Ukraine

Voice of America – July 27, 2009  By Peter Fedynsky
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, is in Ukraine for a visit he says is spiritual and not political. He made the statement in Kyiv, where Ukrainians and Russians trace the origins of their common Christian faith. However, some Ukrainians are skeptical of the Patriarch’s intentions…Kirill says Orthodox faithful will pray together with Christian saints for the blessing and prosperity of Ukraine, for peace and agreement among its citizens, for friendship and brotherhood of fraternal peoples who came from the common baptismal waters of the Dnieper River, and for permanent spiritual and church unity.

Hundreds of protesters in Kyiv demonstrated the lack of such unity with shouts of “Out with the Muscovite Pope.” Senior Ukrainian Church leaders have also voiced misgivings about Kirill’s visit.

While acknowledging the Patriarch’s right to pray with Orthodox Ukrainians who recognize his authority, Kyiv’s Orthodox Patriarch Filaret recently said Kirill pursued the Kremlin’s political line toward Ukraine in his previous capacity as foreign relations director of the Russian Orthodox Church. Filaret voices the concern of many in Ukraine who believe the Kremlin seeks to re-integrate that country into Russia…

Parts of Western Ukraine adopted Catholicism in the late 16th century. The head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, told the Liviy Bereh, or Left Bank, newspaper it is no secret that Russia seeks to maintain control over Ukraine. The Cardinal notes the Ukrainian nation wants to preserve its identity and to trade its intellectual and other gifts as an equal with the Russian nation.

Whether Ukraine ends up under Russian or European dominance is not yet clear.  What is clear, however, is that the Russian Orthodox want it.

Also in the news was a first between China and Taiwan:

China, Taiwan in direct exchange
BBC – July 27, 2009

The leaders of China and Taiwan have exchanged direct messages for the first time in more than 60 years.

Chinese President Hu Jintao sent a congratulatory telegram to Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou after his Sunday election to head of the ruling party.

Mr Ma responded, suggesting that they had “put aside disputes”, a statement from Mr Ma’s KMT party said.

Mr Ma was elected president last year on pledges to improve ties. The two sides split in 1949 amid civil war…

Although ties have improved in the past year, Beijing has not put aside its territorial claim to Taiwan, insisting the island is a breakaway province of China.

Taiwan is self-governing, but holds no seat at the UN and is recognised by only about two dozen states – most of them small Caribbean and Pacific nations.

It is likely that cooperation between China and Taiwan will increase.  And as China’s economic influence grows, Taiwan’s independence is likely to deteriorate.

Why is what is now going on in the Eastern Hemisphere important?

Ultimately, the Bible shows a time when the “kings of the east” (Revelation 16:4) will get together militarily.  Those from “the east and the north shall trouble” the King of the North (Daniel 11:44).  And the “daughter of Babylon” will be troubled by those from “the north” (Jeremiah 50:41-43).

These scriptures are pointing to Russia, China, and others (like Taiwan and possibly the Ukraine) becoming part of some type of  confederation that will ultimately invade the European King of the North.

And while this is not going to happen for at least 6 1/2 years (and probably later than that), it seems that events are lining up for this to happen sometime next decade.

As Jesus said:

37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch! (Mark 13:36-37)

Some articles of related interest may include:

Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Living Church of God Both groups claim to represent the original Christian faith. Do you know much about them? Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Russia: Its Origins and Prophesied Future Where do the Russians come from? What is prophesied for Russia? What will it do to the Europeans that supported the Beast in the end?
Asia in Prophecy What is Ahead for Asia? Who are the “Kings of the East”? What will happen to nearly all the Chinese, Russians, Indians, and others of Asia? China in prophecy, where? Who has the 200,000,000 man army related to Armageddon?
Europa, the Beast, and Revelation Where did Europe get its name? What might Europe have to do with the Book of Revelation? What about “the Beast”? What is ahead for Europe?
Who is the King of the North? Is there one? Do biblical and Roman Catholic prophecies point to the same leader? Should he be followed? Who will be the King of the North discussed in Daniel 11? Is a nuclear attack prophesied to happen to the English-speaking peoples of the United States of America, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand? When do the 1335 days, 1290 days, and 1260 days (the time, times, and half a time) of Daniel 12 begin? When does the Bible show that economic collapse will affect the United States of America?
Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2009, 2010, or 2011? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord?

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