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An Evil Alliance: The Vatican and Turkey
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TheVatican against the Orthodox Church
Excerptedfrom the book:
VaticanImperialism in the 20th Century
GIANTS ACT LIKE GIANTS, hence their undertakings are on a giganticscale. Years are reckoned by decades, decades by centuries. Geographicalareas are made to embrace nations or even continents, while the historiesof institutions and of races are seen in perspectives not easily comprehended.Because of this, their actions, being in harmony with their extraordinarymagnitude, will escape the notice of individuals unable to size upthe vast historical panoramas which, although clearly scrutinizableby retinas of gigantic forms, yet are partly blurred and often whollyinvisible to others.
The Catholic Church,the greatest surviving giant in the world, is a colossus with no peerin antiquity, experience and above all, in her determination to dominatethe human race. To reach such a goal, she will suffer no rivals, tolerateno competitors, put up with no enemies.
Giants who, likeher, were found roaming in the deep valley of history, she foughtwith bloody claws and a ruthlessness to shame the Attillas, the GenghisKhans and all the other scourgers of civilization. Many she led totheir destruction; others she subjugated for good; some were annihilated,but some resisted and escaped all her guiles. More than one survived,and even fought relentless battles that echoed with sanguinary echoesin the corridors of the centuries and that are still being foughtas ferociously as in olden times, now, in the very midst of the twentiethcentury.
Vatican diplomacyis the oldest diplomacy in the world. Most of those it fought wereeither shrunk to nothing by time or blotted out by history, and tomodern ears all its multifarious intrigues would sound as hollow andas unreal as they have become strangely unrelated to the ever-bewilderingevents of our day.
Yet not all theancient foes of the Vatican have been reduced to mere landmarks ofthe past. Some have bridged bygone centuries to the present, and oneof them, the most formidable of all, the Orthodox Church, a peer toCatholicism in antiquity, is as much a reality in our time as is theVatican itself.
The antagonismof these two ancient colossi has produced the longest diplomatic warin the history of man, which is still being fought as fiercely, asruthlessly and as unscrupulously as ever. Catholic intrigues againstOrthodoxy, since its inception, are uncountable. They fill the annalsof the first millennium; and from the beginning of the second, whenin 1054 the Orthodox Patriarch, Michael Cerulanius, brought aboutthe final breach between the Eastern and Western Churches, until thefall of Constantinople, they remained paramount in the history ofmedieval Europe.
The goal of thisthousand-year war is simple: the destruction or subjugation of theOrthodox Church or its voluntary or forcible integration into theCatholic Church. The unscrupulousness of Vatican diplomacy to reachthis objective, prior to and after the fall of Byzantium, is hardlymatched by parallel exertions in history, its most blatant intriguesof the period being veritable masterpieces of diplomatic cunning anddouble-dealing. Councils, religious compromises, political bargaining,secret negotiations with Orthodox patriarchs, pacts with the Byzantineemperors - everything and every device was used at one time or anotherto put Orthodoxy in fetters. We can mention the pact struck with thelast Orthodox emperor of Constantinople, who, to obtain a promiseof help in the defense of the Orthodox capital against the gatheringMohammedan armies, pledged to the Vatican the mass conversion of theOrthodox Church.
From the smashingof the Orthodox Church's political pillar, the Byzantine empire, in1453, to the crumbling of its political successor, the Russian CzaristEmpire, in 1917, the Vatican-Orthodox relations were characterizedby a period of comparative diplomatic lull. This was due to historicalfactors, the most outstanding of which was that, in the course ofthe centuries, the center of Orthodoxy had shifted en masse from the Near East to the West, where its former missionary landsbecame its new home - namely, to Holy Russia. There the Orthodox Churchstruck deep roots. More than that: as Rome had been the first Rome,Constantinople had been the "second Rome," so now Moscowbecame the "third Rome." Moscow, Philothey said in the fifteenthcentury, was the natural successor of Constantinople. Now that Constantinoplehad fallen, the only Orthodox empire left in the world was the Russian.The Russian nation alone, therefore, henceforward became the truerepository of the Orthodox faith. The idea of an Orthodox empire becamethe Russian's paramount idea. Church and State were integrated, linkedby a common messianic purpose. Having found such fertile soil, soonthe Orthodox Church regained its old vigor and splendor. As of old,committing its ancient mistake, it identified itself as intimatelywith the Russian empire as it had previously done with the Byzantine.From about 1721, when Peter the Great, after his Spiritual Regulation,made the Orthodox Church a branch of Czarism, until the BolshevikRevolution, Caesaro-popism made her invincible against the machinationsof the Vatican and almost impregnable to its attack on the religious,diplomatic and political fronts. Her immense strength, however, washer fatal weakness, as the fall of Czarism would automatically entailthe fall of the Orthodox Church - which, in fact, occurred in 1917.
From then onwardthe machinations of Vatican diplomacy were resumed with renewed vigorwherever Orthodoxy existed - in the Balkans, in Russia, in NortheastEurope, and, indeed, even in the Near East.
Catholic instrumentsused to hamper, undermine, boycott and subjugate the Orthodox Churchhave been extremely varied, ranging from converted White Russiansto Turkish officers, beginning and ending with diplomatic or politicalintrigues of all kinds, as can easily be imagined.
A typical caseoccurred after the First World War, when the fortunes of war put thefate of Constantinople in the balance. Immediately following the outbreakof hostilities, Lloyd George, Zaharoff and Premier Venezelos of Greece,signed an agreement by which the Greeks were to get the former Orthodoxcapital, This provoked a storm of protest from various quarters. Thestrongest, however, did not come from any Western State, but fromthe Vatican. The British government, with whom the final decisionrested, became the particular target of Papal displeasure. Constantinopleshould never be ceded to the Orthodox Church, was the Vatican's request.This was tactfully ignored. Thereupon, Catholic diplomacy having lookedelsewhere for support, soon found an unexpected ally in an unexpectedquarter, a Turkish officer by the name of Kemal, who in no time dispelledRome's anxiety by a brilliant victory at Smyrna. Kemal's victory precludedany possibility of Greece getting the ancient Orthodox capital.
Kemal Ataturkwas not slow to perceive that identification of the interests of theyoung Turkey and of the Vatican could be mutually beneficial, anda tacit but real alliance was unofficially agreed upon. The fruitsthat it bore were various. They ranged from the heavy punishment andeven death of any Turkish soldier found harming Armenian Christians,to the granting of special privileges to the Catholic Church in Turkishterritory. But in the eyes of Rome, its paramount result was thatthe Orthodox Church had been prevented from returning to its ancientseat.
As long as anindependent Turkish nation existed, Constantinople, by remaining incorporatedin it, would never pass to her, The new Turkish republic, therefore,must survive and prosper. Following this strategy, the curious spectacleof the Vatican supporting a Moslem nation ruled by an atheist dictatorbecame a discreet feature of Catholic diplomacy. Kemal Pasha, in gratitudefor the unofficial pressure exerted in his favor by Catholic diplomacyin many European quarters, maintained a tacit understanding with theVatican throughout his tenure of office; an alliance, this, which,although almost unnoticed, yet more than once stultified various conflictinginterests in the Middle East.
Kemal Ataturk,who had been the instrument of "a great victory for the Pope,"as the Osservatore Romano triumphantly put it, commenting uponKemal's military victory at Smyrna, a decade or so later became theinstrument of a second, which symbolically was even more significant.
The center ofthe Orthodox Church since the foundation of the Byzantine Empire ofConstantine the Great in A.D, 324 has been the great Church of St.Sophia, which for over a millennium had come to symbolize Orthodoxyperhaps even more than St. Peter's in Rome symbolizes the Mother Churchof Catholicism. From St. Sophia the Orthodox Patriarchs ruled almostlike Popes of the East, until the fall of Constantinople. After thefall, notwithstanding the shifting of the center of Orthodoxy, St.Sophia continued to be the greatest symbol of Orthodoxy: a link bridgingher past with the present, and her present with a future when St.Sophia would become once more the Mother Church of all Orthodox theworld over.
Such a dream,however, was soon to be shattered, at least for a comparatively shortperiod, when in 1935 Kemal, in one of his boldest steps to modernizeTurkey, converted St. Sophia into a museum of Romano-Byzantine-Christianand Ottoman-Muslim art. The humiliation of the center of Orthodoxycould not have been more bitter.
A thing worthyof notice is that, prior to Ataturk's decision, the Vatican was informallyconsulted about any possible objections to St. Sophia's transformation.The Vatican, which thunders so promptly whenever a nation threatensto secularize Catholic schools or churches, not only did not object,but actually tacitly approved and even encouraged Kemal in his scheme.
It was thus that,when finally the muezzin, having climbed the minarets of St. Sophia,called in echoing accents to the faithful for the last time and thegreat building became officially a museum, whereas in the East theMoslems exculpated themselves to Allah for the sacrilege and the Orthodoxworld heard of the change with a heavy heart, at the Vatican therewere smiles. Enigmatic, it is true, but very clear to those who understoodthe secret code of diplomacy.
If the first upheavalcreated by the First World War had enabled the Vatican to score asignificant victory against the Orthodox Church, that same world hadunexpectedly opened up a tremendous vista of conquests for Catholicdiplomacy by causing the simultaneous thunderous fall of two greatempires which until then had partially dominated both the East andthe West alike - i.e. the Turkish and the Russian empires.This meant not only the tumbling of two massive political units, butalso - and for the Vatican this had an even more significant meaning- the tumbling of the caliphate as the supreme head of Islam, andof the czar as the supreme head of the Orthodox Church.
The downfall ofczarism, in addition to being a political event of the first magnitude,spelled the disintegration of the power of the Orthodox Church, centeredin the person of the czar.
The centralizationof political-religious power, by binding both, meant that the downfallof one would spell the downfall of the other. This is precisely whatoccurred. The Russian Revolution consequently, by sweeping away czarism,swept away also the established Orthodox Church. The latter fell,not only because of her ties with the civil power, but also owingto the intrinsic dead weight which she had grown within herself. TheOrthodox Church, in fact, had become a formidable reactionary powerin her own right, whose economic tentacles spread to every nook andcranny of Holy Russia, controlling with an iron grip the minds andbodies of its inhabitants. She had over 80,000 churches and chapelsand an army of 120,000 priests, supplemented by thousands of monasteriesand convents, inhabited by another 100,000 monks and nuns. She controlledenormous wealth in land and buildings, owning 20,000,000 acres ofthe richest land and, at the time of the outbreak of the revolution,a bank balance of eight billion rubles and an income of about 500,000,000rubles a year.
Her influencewas truly enormous and was at the service of the czar, whose absolutismwas further advocated by priests who took to politics. Without mentioningthe monk Rasputin, the clergy sent to Parliament were of the mostreactionary kind. The Third Duma saw forty-five priests, none of whombelonged to the liberal party; the next Duma had forty-eight, fortyof whom represented the most reactionary movements. Whenever therewere elections, the Orthodox Church supported the czar and preachedagainst any social or political reform.
The BolshevikRevolution, when it came, swept away this formidable tool of reactionas ruthlessly as it did czarism. The immense church property was nationalized,schools were requisitioned, the clergy were brought to political impotence:in short, the separation of Church and State was made a reality, andthe Orthodox Church, despoiled of her magnificence, was reduced overnightto the naked poverty of early Christendom.
All these portentswere followed with sinister fascination by the Roman Curia. When,therefore, in 1917 the Bolsheviks took over, at the Vatican, incredibleas it may seem, there was jubilation. If the Bolsheviks were a terriblemenace, they were also a blessing in disguise. Had they not pulleddown the Orthodox Church, Rome's seemingly immovable rival? Had theynot become the instruments for her approaching total disintegration?
The Russian Revolutionhad thus opened for the Vatican an immense field for Catholic conquest.A bold policy might result in what Catholicism had attempted in vainfor over one thousand years: the reunion of the Orthodox Church, viaa mass conversion of the Russians, in addition to the spiritual incorporationof Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, the Polish Orthodox Ukrainians and allthe other different Orthodox groups in Eastern Europe - in fact, practicallythe whole Orthodox world. Orthodox resistance against the Sovietsfound no sympathy whatsoever in Rome. On the contrary, it was welcomedin the hope that, by defying the new atheistic government, the Churchwould be given a mortal blow and would be wiped out for good.
It was while waitingfor the Orthodox Church to receive the last blow that would finallybury her, and while the whole of Europe kept repeating, "ThisLenin cannot last" - and by Lenin was meant Bolshevik Russia- that the Vatican unobtrusively made the first moves directed atattaining simultaneously its two main goals: acceleration of the stabin the back for what it believed to be an already moribund OrthodoxChurch, and its grandiose scheme for the mass conversion to Catholicismof the Orthodox millions.
Count Sforza,a leading figure in the Italian Foreign Office was approached by PopeBenedict XV, via one of the Popes most intimate confidants, and, underthe seal of secrecy, was asked whether he would facilitate the entryof a number of Catholic priests into Russia. "Seeing my surprise,"Count Sforza afterward related:
Monti (the Pope'sconfidant) explained, and it was evident that he was repeating thevery words of the Pope: "His Holiness thinks that even thesecrimes and this blood will one day be of service if it is goingto be possible, when the wave of irreligion has passed, to attempta Catholic evangelization in Russia. Orthodoxy no longer has anydeep rooted life; its end as the official religion offers possibilitieswhich would never have existed so long as a Czar, Protector of theChurch, continued to reign."1
On receiving afavorable reply, on the orders of Benedict XV, "young priestsbegan desperately studying Russian and the history of the OrthodoxChurch."1 Catholics with Russian experience and CatholicRussians overnight became top counsellors, chief among these beinga Russian diplomat who, besides having become converted to Catholicism,had been ordained a Catholic priest: Alexander Evreinow, who was oftenconsulted by the leading figures of the Vatican Secretariat of State.
From Rome, Vaticanactivities spread toward Russia itself. Negotiations between Romeand Moscow continued with varying fortune, the Bolsheviks being seeminglybent on pursuing crafty tactics. Yet at the Vatican the hopes thatits patient efforts would eventually be rewarded by the conversionof "a country of 90,000,000 people to the true religion"remained very bright. "The moment has arrived propitious for rapprochement" (between the Vatican and Moscow),
--wrote the OsservatoreRomano, "inasmuch as the iron circle of Caesaro-popism, whichhermetically closed Russian religious life to all Roman influences,has been broken."
At this pointone question might come to the fore, in view of subsequent events.Surely Vatican diplomacy could not possibly trust the promises ofthe Bolsheviks? And, if so, why did it go on negotiating? The answeris simple, the transactions were useful as preparatory ground forthe eventual grand-scale conversion of Russia after Bolshevik Russiahad collapsed.
For the key toVatican diplomacy, then as now, was just this. It must be rememberedthat at that period expeditionary forces were being dispatched byvarious Western countries to kill the revolution; indeed, that CatholicPoland had invaded Russian territory, and that anti-Bolshevik armies,encouraged, sponsored and supported by the West, were roaming insideand outside Bolshevik Russia, in attempts to bring about its earlydownfall. The Chancelleries of Europe were buzzing with plans andcounter-plans of all kinds to bring nearer the blessed day.
The Vatican, consequently,based its moves on a possibility which at this period was practicallya certainty for diplomatic Europe" Actual political conditions[inside Russia] form a grave obstacle; but this obstacle," pontificatedagain the Osservatore Romano, "has a temporary character."
The climax ofthe Vatican-Bolshevik negotiations were reached in 1922, when theConference of Genoa offered the most incredible spectacle of the BolshevikForeign Minister, Chicherin, and the Pope's representative, the Archbishopof Genoa, toasting one another in public. Vatican diplomacy thoughtit had scored a triumph, or, at least, was about to score one. Chicherin's"concessions," however, were but an amplification of thebasic Soviet rule that, as the separation of Church and State wasan accomplished fact, there was the amplest scope for any Church zealousof proselytizing. The Vatican, whose scheme remained immense, interpretedthis as favorable to itself, and plans for the "Catholicizingof Russia" were put forward. These, however, soon incurred greatdifficulties, owing to the delaying Soviet tactics.
But what gaveVatican diplomacy a shock, and its understanding with the Sovietsa matter of urgency, was that the Bolsheviks, giving a literal interpretationto their constitution, had applied religious freedom with equal impartialityto various Protestant bodies, which had meanwhile made soundings forthe Protestant evangelization of the Russians. This was not all. Atheisticand anti-religious organizations of all kinds were also flourishingeverywhere, sponsored by the State itself. But, still worse, the moribundOrthodox Church, instead of resignedly giving up the ghost, was stillalive - indeed, was giving alarming signs of recovering.
The incursionof the Protestants into what the Vatican had envisaged as its exclusivefield, but, above all, the ominous recovery of the Orthodox Church,convinced it that time was pressing. Vagueness had to be replacedby concrete action, to force the hand of the Soviets.
The Vatican changedits tactics. The phase of patient, secretive negotiations was over.That of the diplomatic mailed fist was initiated. This consisted ofindirect pressure, via Catholic friendly or allied nations, upon whomsoeverVatican diplomacy decided to attack.
A Papal messengerarrived at the Genoa Conference. He bore a missive whose content wassimple. It asked the powers not to sign any treaty whatsoever withBolshevik Russia unless "freedom to practice any religion"was guaranteed. Freedom, the Vatican explained to the Soviet representativeat this juncture, meant complete freedom "for the Catholic Church."With regard to the other Christian denominations (Protestant and Orthodox),the Vatican would not object to any "restrictive" measuresthat the Soviets might take against their exertions. Previous to this,the Vatican had made sure of the support of some of the countriesparticipating in the Conference by discreetly "briefing"Catholic and anti-communist representatives assembled there.
The Vatican'sefforts ended in nothing, the Genoa Conference having failed.
In 1927 the lastsemi-direct attempts at agreement between the Vatican and Moscow tookplace. The Vatican declared its dissatisfaction with "the Sovietproposals," and relations with Moscow were broken off for good.
Something of paramountimportance which, more than anything else, made the Vatican adoptanother diplomatic policy had meanwhile occurred.
The Orthodox Church,although still stunned by the 1917 blow, had rapidly adapted herselfto the changed situation. The separation of Church and State, whichthe Vatican had reckoned would kill her, had turned out to be a moreinvigorating factor than her former identification with the governmentwhich had caused her downfall. Orthodoxy, in fact, had begun to reorganizeitself, and in the religious domain had already almost recovered itsformer strength.
In these conditions,the original grandiose scheme of the Vatican had become obsolete.The policy of conversion was therefore discarded and a new one adopted.This rested upon the forcible overthrow of Soviet Russia via militaryattack.
The original plan,based upon the formula that the Soviet regime was of a "temporarycharacter," was re-adopted. The various Foreign Offices of theworld were still conceiving different schemes for the overthrow ofthe Bolsheviks. Had these succeeded, the Catholic Church would havepenetrated Russia in their wake.
It became increasinglyevident, however, that to base a whole strategy upon this kind of"intervention" was to pursue an increasingly unrealisticpolicy. And within a few years, although the plan was once more discreetlydropped, it was nonetheless promptly replaced by another, no lessgrandiose: the total mobilization of the West against Soviet Russia,to be carried out, no longer by direct military intervention, butby an ideological and emotional anti-Bolshevik crusade, preparatoryto an eventual physical attack.
The scheme soonbecame a reality, thanks to the timely growth of a most sinister politicalportent: fascism, whose fundamental policy was war against communism.The Vatican, which had already concluded an alliance with its originalfounder, supported similar movements everywhere it could, with a viewof converting the whole of Europe into a monolithic anti-Bolshevikbloc. Its ultimate objective: a military invasion of Russia.
By 1930-31 theWest had already been "emotionally roused to war against godlessRussia." Only three years afterward, Hitler, having come to power,began to voice his ambition of acquiring the Ukraine; three more years,and the Anti-Comintem Pact was signed between Nazi Germany and Japan(1936). Russia was being swiftly enclosed in an iron ring, from theWest and from the East. Two more years, and the first surrender ofEurope to Hitler was made at Munich (1938), when the four powers -two fascist dictatorships, Nazi Germany and fascist Italy, on theone side, and two democracies, England and France, on the other -tried to settle the fate of Europe by sacrificing Czechoslovakia atthe altar of appeasement. It was the Vatican which, during this crisis,specifically asked the British Premier, Chamberlain, to exclude Russiafrom the Conference. This at a time when Great Britain was seekinga pact with Russia, to strengthen her bargaining weight against Hitler.The exclusion proved fatal. Hitler emerged wholly victorious, andthe Second World War was made inevitable.
In the followingyear Hitler occupied the whole of Czechoslovakia. During the FinnishWar of 1939, Great Britain and France, with the Vatican in the background,instigated the expulsion of Soviet Russia from the League of Nations,and, in close cooperation with the Vatican, mobilized world opinionagainst her, speaking of this campaign as a crusade.
Two years laterthe Vatican's grand strategy bore its fruit. Hitler, backed by themight of a nazified European continent, attacked Soviet Russia. Thegrandiose vistas dreamed of at the fall of the czar were dreamed ofonce more, to the chanting of hallelujahs in St. Peter's. The InstitutePro Russia, in Rome, which had been languishing for so long, now pulsatedwith feverish activity,2 and Catholics were urged to renewtheir devotions to Our Lady of Fatima. Yes, the promise of the Virgin,so curiously in harmony with the Vatican's grand scheme, at long lastwas coming true.
Within a few months,the Nazi armies had reached the outskirts of Moscow, Leningrad andStalingrad. Soviet Russia was about to be destroyed.
The Nazi armiesand the Catholic legions fighting by their side, after their initialtriumph, were hammered back. And ultimately, to the horror of theVatican, it was the Russians who entered Berlin and not Hitler whoentered Moscow.
Vatican diplomacyhad received yet another resounding defeat. But even before this hadbeen completed, with its typical suppleness it had already launchedyet another anti-Bolshevik, anti-Orthodox grand scheme, in cooperationwith a new partner, which was even more powerful than its former Nazially - i.e. the United States of America. The new campaignhad been launched while the guns of the Second World War were stillechoing in the battlefields of both SEurope and Asia, and the peopleof the world were looking forward with a prayer in their hearts toan era of tranquility and peace,
As, after theFirst World War, Vatican diplomacy operated simultaneously a many-branchedanti-Soviet strategy, so, after the Second, it launched another, noless formidable than the first.
The ultimate objectivebeing the same, fundamentally its policy remained the same. In additionto its new main partners, playing the role of Nazi Germany vis-a-vis Soviet Russia, new tactical moves directed at implementing it werecarefully studied and carried out. These, although seemingly disconnected,in reality were closely knit into an inter-continental pattern embracingthe whole world.
The principaltactical features of this new strategy took the form of: (a) mobilizationof the Catholics of the Near East; (b) mobilization of the OrthodoxChurch outside Russia; (c) mobilization of Islam; and (d) generalintensification and speeding up of the ideological and military mobilizationof the West.
These four typesof political machination were carried out almost simultaneously, witha technique which was greatly different from that used after the FirstWorld War, when the Vatican, having failed to carry on its intriguesagainst the Orthodox Church inside Russia, had shifted its operationsagainst her outside Russia - that is to say, in the Balkans.
After the SecondWorld War the Vatican began to mobilize all Catholics in the Nearand Middle East.
It was thus that,as the various Balkan countries became sealed to Catholic diplomacy,the Vatican became increasingly active outside the Balkans - e.g.with the Chaldean Catholics, mainly centered in Iraq; the Maronitesin Lebanon; the Copt-Catholics in Egypt; the Melkites, or Greek Catholics,and others to be found in practically all these territories, as wellas in Syria, Trans-Jordan and Palestine.
Simultaneouslywith this, it approached the Orthodox Church outside the communistworld with a view to inducing it to side with the Vatican, or, atleast, with the Vatican’s political allies in their anti-Russian,anti-communist wars.
Unofficial negotiationswere initiated, but, owing mainly to Orthodoxy's deep-rooted suspicionof the Vatican, these yielded very little result. Indeed, it lookedas though they would prevent any real rapprochement altogether.
Vatican diplomacywaited for a while and then resorted to a master move. It sent tothe Middle East, no longer Catholic diplomats, but the envoy of thetwo most powerful men in the West: Mr. Myron Taylor, the representativeof the President of the U.S.A., and simultaneously, on this particularmission, representative of the Pope vis-a-vis the Orthodoxleaders whom he went to meet.
It was thus that,at the beginning of February, 1949, when the cold war against Russiawas at its height Myron Taylor arrived in Istanbul, where, in hisdual capacity, he met the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagorar.
Mr. Taylor putforward concrete plans for the cooperation of the Orthodox and CatholicChurches, in the face of the "communist threat to religion,"at the same time trying to ascertain the "true" currentstatus of the Orthodox churches in communist-dominated countries,and the ways in which communism might be using these churches to strengthenits position in Eastern Europe and in Near East areas. Having discussedsuch matters, both with the Orthodox leaders and with the Apostolicdelegate in Turkey, Myron Taylor, to make his argument for Orthodoxcooperation more convincing, stated in no doubtful terms that the"cooperation" of Orthodoxy was not only wished for by theVatican but was "wanted" by the U.S.A. The whole point ofthe Vatican's choice of Myron Taylor, the representative of the AmericanPresident, to meet the Eastern Orthodox leaders, was to lay emphasisprecisely on this.
It was the trumpcard of Vatican diplomacy, so well screened behind the American envoy.For it must be remembered that Greece, where the Orthodox Church wasat its strongest, had been saved by America from becoming a communistcountry only a short while before. Following the end of the SecondWorld War, a bloody civil war between Right and Left devastated Greecefor several years. Great Britain poured in troops to reinforce theanti-communist faction. The left, however, owing chiefly to the supportof the population, was near to winning, and the U.S.A. had to intervene.
Military and financialaid was rushed to the country. The left was defeated. Extreme right-wingforces were installed in power. Throughout the civil war and the Britishand American intervention, the Orthodox Church played a paramountrole. Indeed, at one time the Greek Orthodox Patriarch became headof the Greek government.
The Orthodox Church,having identified itself with the right and with the American interventionists,consequently had the support of the Greek government, sponsored bythe U.S.A. Withdrawal of American protection would have meant thefall of the right-wing Greek government, in which case the fate ofthe Greek Orthodox Church would have been precisely a repetition inminiature of the fate of the Russian Orthodox Church on the fall ofthe czar.
The dispatch ofthe American envoy as the Vatican's representative, with his emphasison the American desire to see the cooperation of the Orthodox Church,was political blackmail of the first order which the Vatican had accomplishedby using political, non-Catholic pressure.
Precisely oneyear later the mission bore its first real fruit. In February, 1950,His Beatitude the Patriarch Cristoforos of Alexandria arrived in Athensto prepare with Archbishop Spiridon, head of the Orthodox Church inGreece, for an event of the greatest significance: the summoning ofa Pan-Orthodox Synod.
The new Synod,once translated into less directly theological terms, meant a politicalcouncil of the Orthodox churches to keep step with the anti-communistwar of their protector, the U.S.A.
The Orthodox Churchwithin the communist region countered soon afterward, when PatriarchAlexei of Moscow "extended" the Russian Church's jurisdictionto include Hungary (March, 1950).
This was followedby a counter-blow from the Russian Orthodox Church in the United States,which announced that it had officially broken all ties with the OrthodoxChurch of Moscow. Metropolitan Bishop Krimowicz, of Springfleld, Mass.,was appointed Patriarch of the Orthodox Church in the United States,and Metropolitan Bishop Jaroshevich Patriarch of the Orthodox Churchin foreign countries (October, 1950). In December, 1951, MetropolitanLeonty, the Orthodox Church's U.S. Primate, and the Bishops of Alaskaand San Francisco, invested a one-time officer of the czarist armyas the first Orthodox Bishop of Washington. 3
Moves and counter-movesfollowed one another in quick succession in the years that followed,until the bridges were totally burnt on either side.
The Orthodox Churchhad been split asunder, one part, the larger, in Soviet Russia, thecenter of the communist world, the other in the U.S.A., the centerof Western capitalism.
Division meansweakness. The Vatican had maneuvered its opponent where it had plannedto maneuver it, in readiness for reducing further its unity and thusbringing nearer its ultimate downfall.
Simultaneouslywith these moves, Vatican diplomacy was busy setting in motion oneof the greatest religious-political forces in the world, Islam. Islam,the historic enemy of Christianity, had always loomed large in theVatican diplomatic plans against the Orthodox Church.
Cautious unofficialexchanges between the Vatican and various Arab countries, particularlythe most influential Islamic country in the Middle East, Egypt, werebegun in the years that followed the Second World War. These boreexceptional results. In 1946 an Arab delegation, composed of Christiansand Moslems, paid an official visit to the Pope, and in 1947 the MoslemEast made its first official approach to the Vatican. Egypt exchangedrepresentatives with the Pope, and sent to Rome a Minister Plenipotentiary.Other Moslem countries - e.g. Syria, Lebanon, Iran - followed Egypt'sexample, and soon even those Moslem lands which had not yet officiallyexchanged diplomats were unofficially in close touch with Rome.
The Vatican’smobilization of the Islamic world culminated in 1950, when the EgyptianForeign Minister, Salah ed Din, disclosed that Egypt and the Vaticanhad been conducting secret negotiations and had agreed upon the establishmentof a "united Roman Catholic-Moslem front against communism." 4
The followingyear, Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League, went to Romefor a whole week, where he saw the Pope and other Vatican dignitaries:"The time has come for us to collaborate loyally, both as a nationand a religious entity, in the rebirth of a common patrimony,"he declared, speaking on Radio Rome, "and in . . . the creationof a united front between Islam and Christianity against communism." 5
The foundationsof a Catholic-Islamic partnership had been skillfully laid by Vaticandiplomacy. From then onward, particularly during 1951-52, and in spiteof many vicissitudes, it continued to be solidified, to the presentday. Islam is a potentially formidable religious-political unit. Whoeversucceeds in exerting even a partial influence upon it will wield apower capable of provoking political and social repercussions in manystrategically important parts of the world. From Spanish and FrenchMorocco to Egypt, Persia, Pakistan, Indonesia, indeed, to within thevery Soviet Union itself, housing 25,000,000 Moslems, as well as withincommunist China, housing another 50,000,000.
The potentialitiesof the Moslem world as a formidable anticommunist, anti-Russian, religious-politicalinstrument, did not escape the attention of another anti-communistpower, the U.S.A. The American mobilization of the Islamic countrieshad been initiated by Roosevelt himself, who, just before his death(1945), had envisaged meeting Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia, King Faroukof Egypt and others, for the amalgamation of the Near and Middle Eastinto the framework of American global foreign policy.
Since then, Vatican-Americaninterests ran ever closer, until, within a few brief years, they weretransformed into a veritable Vatican American alliance. The materialmight of the U.S.A. and the spiritual power of the Catholic Church,by mobilizing the religious influence of Islam and the political energiesof the Arab world, had encircled Soviet Russia in a religious-politicaliron ring, the precursor of a military one.
It's objective:for the U.S.A., the destruction of a mighty ideological and economicenemy; for the Catholic Church, the destruction, not only of communism,but of Soviet Russia, the new protector of her religious rival, theOrthodox Church.
In bygone centuriesthe Vatican schemed stubbornly and tirelessly with the Turkish Empire,with the Austrian Empire, with Moslem, Buddhist and other potentates,to bring about the downfall of czarist Russia, so as to weaken theOrthodox Church.
In the twentiethcentury it schemed with equal pertinacity with the Europe which aroseafter the First World War, with fascism and nazism before and duringthe Second, in order, by causing the downfall of Soviet Russia, toparalyze a regenerated Orthodoxy.
After the SecondWorld War it continued in its relentless scheming with the U.S.A.,with a "dollarized" Europe, with the Arab nations and otherAsiatic countries, to annihilate the U.S.S.R., in order, once again,to subjugate its Orthodox rival.
Following thechanged political world habitat, the Vatican renewed its attemptsby wooing the Orthodox Church with plans of "Dialogues,"initiated by Pope John XXIII - a policy of blandishment instead ofthe old one of intrigues. The new policy soon yielded unusual dividends.Relics were returned, e.g. the skull of St. Andrew, which had restedin St. Peter's, Rome, since 1462, sent back in 1964 by Pope Paul VI,to its original place, Patras, following the request by the OrthodoxMetropolitan of Patras to Pope John XXIII the previous year.
Cordial relationswith the traditionally morose orthodoxy were established. With theresult that even the world's largest orthodox body, the Patriarchateof Moscow, finally agreed to convoke a Pan Orthodox Conference todiscuss "a dialogue" on equal terms with Rome.
This was precededby an unique meeting: that of Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinoplewith Pope Paul VI in Jerusalem (January 1964), followed in 1965 bythe elevation of several Cardinals of the oriental churches in communionwith Rome.
That same yearthe 14 orthodox churches participating in the Pan-Orthodox Conferenceat Rhodes sent a delegation to Rome, to establish the first formalcontact with the Vatican since one of the last Union attempts in 1439.
The "dialogue"continued after the Second Vatican Council was over. And, althoughformal progress was made, the profound rivalry between the two Churchesremained. The Orthodox Church's main basic fear of ultimate absorptionby Rome being still the major obstacle bedeviling their relationship.
Catholic scheming,it should never be forgotten, has for its ultimate objective, notonly the annihilation of an ideological enemy, represented by SovietRussia, but also the annihilation of a religious foe, which the CatholicChurch is more determined than ever to reduce to total subjugationand, indeed, to wipe from the face of the earth: the ever-resurgentOrthodox Church, the millenarian enemy she has sworn either whollyto absorb or wholly to demolish and destroy.
[link to www.reformation.org]
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