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Ukraine’s Greek Catholic Heroes

Thousands of Ukrainians are continuing to express support to european integration and protesting against decision of Ukrainian government to refuse signing of association with EU in Vilnius. 27 November 2013. Kyiv, Ukraine.
Thousands of Ukrainians are continuing to express support to european integration and protesting against decision of Ukrainian government to refuse signing of association with EU in Vilnius. 27 November 2013. Kyiv, Ukraine.

Ever since the Maidan revolution of dignity erupted in Kyiv in November 2013, Russian propaganda has been pumped into the world in a steady stream of bilge reminiscent of what spewed out of Germany in the 1930s. That propaganda has come through governmental and putatively independent channels, through senior Kremlin officials, TV outlets like “Russia Today,” and Russian internet trolls. Most unfortunately, it has come from senior officials of the Russian Orthodox Church, who have too often misrepresented what the Kremlin is up to in Ukraine while slandering Ukraine’s Greek Catholic leaders with false accusations of Russophobia.

This mendacity is bad enough in itself. Its distortion of international public life is intensified, however, when ignorant, naïve, or duplicitous western reporters and commentators take these lies at face value and repeat them in their own work. One outrageous example of this unhappy phenomenon appeared in a recent issue of the Tablet, the London-based Catholic weekly that reaches a global audience. There, in an otherwise insightful article, writer Jonathan Luxmoore recycled Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion’s demonstrably false charge that Greek Catholic leaders in Ukraine has “used openly Russophobic rhetoric,” thus making it harder to heal historical wounds. Then Mr. Luxmoore proceeded to make matters worse:

The Moscow Patriarchate has a point. The Greek Catholic Church’s youthful, inexperienced leaders undoubtedly helped stoke the 2013-14 uprising against Ukraine’s pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych, with one bishop in particular, the US-born Borys Gudziak, coming close to inciting conflict. None of this can justify Russia’s land-grab in Crimea and backing for the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. But it may help to explain why Pope Francis has held back in his statements on the conflict, much to the frustration of Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych, the Greek Catholic Church’s 45-yar old leader.

Rarely has so much disinformation been packed into four sentences.

It is libelous to suggest that Bishop Gudziak “incited conflict,” when the truth of the matter is that he, and other Greek Catholic Church leaders, risked their lives to sustain nonviolent resistance and maintain calm on the Maidan, amidst an assault by murderous internal security forces who killed over one hundred innocent, nonviolent democratic activists.

Read more at FirstThings.com…

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