Ukrainian Dialogue: Kyiv Patriarchy & Russian Aggression in the Kerch Strait

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Panelists include:

  • Paul Grod, President of the Ukrainian World Congress
  • Rev. (Douglas) Anthony Perkins, Rector, St. Mary (Pokrova) Ukrainian Orthodox Pro-Cathedral in Allentown, PA; Professor & Vocations Director, St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Bound Brook, NJ; Retired US Army intelligence | Goodguyswearblack.org

Moderated by: 

  • Ambassador Roman Popadiuk, Former US Ambassador to Ukraine

On January 5, 2019 at the St. George’s Cathedral in Istanbul, Turkey, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople signed the Tomos of Autocephaly, which granted independence to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Before this change, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which came under the Moscow Patriarchate, accounted for a third of the Moscow Patriarchate’s total parishes. This form of Ukrainian independence from Russia is lauded as among its resistance to Putin’s unprovoked imperialism and military aggression.

Putin may have predicted this, considering the timeline leading up to January 5. Just a little more than a month before, on November 25, 2018, while Ukrainian Navy was legally navigating the Kerch Strait pursuant to a 2003 treaty between the countries, the Russian FSB Coast Guard blocked the passageway to the Azov Sea with a cargo ship, under Russia’s illegally constructed Crimean bridge.  The Ukrainian Navy turned away after an 8 hour standoff, only to be pursued, fired upon, seized, and its sailors captured to this day.

How can Russia continuously rail against Ukraine in a 21st century global society that hasn’t elsewhere seen the forcible seizure of sovereign boundaries between developed countries since the Second World War? Recall that Martin Niemöller held a view of German complicity through silence in the Nazi imprisonment, persecution, and the murder of millions of people. He said, “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Is the western world complicit in Russia’s imperialist military aggression against Ukraine? What will happen if the West fails to speak out clearly and firmly enough?  Donbass, Crimea, Kerch Strait, what’s next? The Baltic States, North Africa, Europe? Join us at Manor College to hear what our guest experts opine and recommend.

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