UNIA: The Face and the Disguise
6. Unia and the Christian East
Unia is not, nor can it be perceived as, an “intermediary body” between Orthodoxy and the Papacy. It is a veritable part of the Papacy, comprised only of geographically “Eastern” Christians who are fully incorporated in the Latin “Church”. The term “the West of the East” has quite aptly been used in their case, as it had for Protestantism. The only thing they have in common with Orthodoxy is their “rite”, although it is so alien a clime to them that one can tell from the performing of the Eucharist just how foreign Orthodox liturgical practice is. Uniates, not being a genuine item, simply mimic the Orthodox. Unia continues to be – according to the Patriarchal Encyclical of 1838 – “a secret method and an infernal instrument by which they seduce the gullible and the easily deceivable towards Papism.” Unia identifies with Papism. In fact, Uniates support the Papal institution with a fanaticism far greater than that of the Roman Catholics. Among the latter, there are some who manage to disengage themselves from the “papist mysticism” that is artfully cultivated, especially among the lower, popular classes, and who exercise a degree of criticism of the Pope (for example in Latin America). But Uniates hinge their very existence on the Papist institution, which is why they become the staunchest supporters of the Pope. That is also why, although Rome gladly accepted – or even assisted - the assimilation of Uniates in older times, nowadays it discourages their assimilation and instead prefers to maintain them as they are. This is because it uses their loyalty in order to restore the Pope’s wavering prestige in the West. Uniates today are forced to maintain the religious customs of their individual homelands: Greeks, the Greek customs; Syrians, the Syrian customs, etc., the pretext being the “universality of the Church” – that is, of Papacy – which thus appears as a universal “power”.
The complete excision of Uniates from the Orthodox corpus was a common conscience among the orthodox faithful in older times, when spiritual reflexes were still functioning properly. This is why the people and literate theologians up until the 19th century did not refer to them as “Roman Catholics”, but as “Papists” and “Catolicans” (taken from the Italian term “Catolico”). With regard to their essence, Saint Mark of Ephesus († 1444) called them “Greco-Latins” and “half-beast humans”. The expansion of Ecumenism also brought about confusion in the terminology used, so that today, we need to re-define matters once more.
Historically, Unia was engaged at the most suitable moment in the service of the Papist State’s political designs (up until 1929) and thereafter of the Vatican’s (as a geographically truncated Papist state), but also of the Roman Catholic Leaders and Governments dependent on Rome or collaborating with it. That is why Uniates do not get themselves directly involved in political intrigues, as their existence alone facilitates the expansionist political plans of the Papacy and its allies. Thus, the term “battering ram” with reference to Unia is not at all far from the truth.
From the very first moment of implementation of the idea of Unia and the formation of Uniate communities, the supervision and the steering of this movement was assigned to the Order of Jesuits – the most reliably dedicated servants of Papal authority; if the expression may be permitted, they were Papacy’s “commandos”. The Jesuit Order was founded in Paris in 1540, where the “Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fidei” came to belong, and to which Unia was appended. The “Congregatio pro Ecclesia Orientale” was then founded, as a “branch office” of the above Congregatio; as of 1917, this became a self-inclusive organization designed for the promotion of Papist propaganda in the regions of the East. It was here that Unia was finally appended from that time on, and has remained in that relationship to this day. Unia’s dependence on the Jesuit Order rendered it Jesuitism's “dragnet” for the promotion of Rome’s interests. A glorious victim of Jesuitism and Unia was the martyred Ecumenical Patriarch Cyril I Loukaris († 1638), who had opposed the plans of both; he of course was not the only victim in the Hellenic East.
In 1577 in Rome, Pope Gregory XIII founded the Greek College of Saint Athanasius, a School of theology for the preparation of Uniate staff members who were to undertake the necessary activities in the Hellenic-speaking regions of the Ottoman Empire as well as the Venetian-occupied territories. The graduates of this College would sign a Bull of subservience to the Pope upon their graduation, and eventually became the fanatic supporters and preachers of the subjugation of the Orthodox to Rome. Their activity was catalytic for Orthodoxy. Being the first to utilize the colloquial language in their printed material gave them immense potential to access the commoners. It was for this reason that the Ecumenical Patriarchate, faithful to its ethnarchic role, immediately adopted the same measure, so that its flock might be duly informed.
But Unia’s activity did not limit itself to spiritual means only. Wherever local state government was pro-Papist, raw violence was also resorted to, in order to subjugate the Orthodox. This happened in Poland, towards the end of the 16th century. The king of Poland, Sigismund III (1587-1632) became the instrument of the Jesuits Possevin and Skarga, as well as of the Uniates. Being a Papist himself, the king chose the Pope’s friendship for the promoting of his own political relations with Europe. Sigismund imposed Unia on the Orthodox of Poland, as well as Lithuania and Ukraine, in a violent manner, following the Uniate synod of Brest-Litovsk (1596). Every opposition was confronted violently by the Latins and the Uniate clergy, and a mass of crimes was committed. In the above synod, almost all of the bishops signed the union and millions of Orthodox were forcefully made Uniates. The remaining Orthodox were subjected to unprecedented persecutions. Unia spread in parallel into Trans-Carpathian Ruthenia (sub-Carpathian Russia) in the 17th century (1646), into Slovakia (1649), into Transylvania (1698/99) and generally, wherever there was an Orthodox corpus of faithful (Serbia, Albania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Ecumenical Patriarchate, Greece). The military conflict between Poland and Russia in the 17th century took on the character of a purely religious confrontation, given that the objective of Papism-Uniatism was to strike the “protector” of the Orthodox – the Tsar – and to impede the expansion of Protestantism.
However, Papism also infiltrated the Middle East through Unia, by taking advantage of the local squabbles arising between ecclesiastic groups from time to time, or the ignorance of the local Clergy, or the adventures of the population and the voids that were created. “Protection” was also provided through Unia to the potentates of Europe, along with comprehensive poemantic, educational and financial organization. In fact, in countries with which the Vatican has contracted diplomatic relations or concordats over the last decades, Unia’s position is automatically upgraded and empowered, and its activities greatly facilitated. As a method of expansion or strengthening, Unia (like all heresies and propagandas) utilizes “philanthropy”, because it is the easiest way to deceive... and not only the simpler people.
During the last four centuries Unia has also been active in the “anti-Chalcedonian” Churches of the East (Ethiopian, Armenian, Coptic, Malabar, Syro-Jacobite). It has furthermore infiltrated the Assyrian Nestorian Church, which resulted in the creation of the Chaldean-Catholic Church of the Middle East, with faithful in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, France and the U.S.A.. In Syria in 1724, the Uniate Melchite-Catholic Patriarchate among the Melchites; that is, the old Orthodox, who are faithful to the Byzantine emperor (Melchites, from the word “malkā” = king). Its jurisdiction, beyond the Middle East, extends nowadays as far as Europe, America and Australia.
Recent reclassifications in the region of Eastern Europe, especially in the former Soviet Union, provided the Vatican with the opportunity to hasten to fill the voids that were created, using Unia. In fact, Unia’s move and its promotion was accompanied by the artfully spread Papist propaganda that the Uniates had been victims of Communist brutality, and that with their resistance, they had contributed towards the fall of existent socialism. Although it is a fact that the Papists or Uniates, like the Orthodox and other Christians, also had victims of their own between 1917 and up until the Perestroika, what is being artfully concealed is the collaboration of Papists and Uniates with the Nazi powers and the betrayal of their homeland during World War II – something that provoked Stalin’s fury and induced his actions against them. It was the Orthodox who had shouldered the immense burden of defending the Soviet Union from the Nazi hordes, whom, thanks to Pope Pius XI’s concord with Hitler (1933), the Papists and Uniates of the Soviet Union and other eastern European Countries had accepted as friends and allies.
It is also a fact that with the synod of Lvov (March 1946) Stalin had taken his revenge on the Uniates, by forcing them in Ukraine to unite with the Orthodox Church of Russia. Within that turbulent atmosphere and the surprise advent of the Perestroika, the Uniates of Ukraine surfaced once again provocatively, under the guidance of the Vatican, not only projecting their demands in an intense manner, creating unbearable situations for the Orthodox, but with their obvious vindictiveness and vengefulness, they resorted to violence and vandalisms (with human victims). Thus, the Uniates’ hatred towards the Orthodox (and the fact that their role is motivated by foreigners) became evident one more time. This was obviously not an impulsive explosion which had no presuppositions; it was the instructions of the Vatican that had encouraged the Uniates and their provocativeness, thus precipitating the ensuing political developments. By general admission, the strings were pulled by the Pope and the Curia from Rome. The Vatican continues in this manner to enforce its age-old policy against insubordinate Orthodoxy, by again electing to turn the most audacious and effective weapon against it: fanatic Unia. Also more than obvious today is the Vatican’s involvement in the Balkan crisis (Croatia, “Macedonia”, Albania) and its implementation there of the same tactics. The Papist element and Unia undertake the execution of the Pope’s commands, who has ready Uniate solutions for these regions - and indeed for the case of pseudo-“Macedonia” - by acting in an underhanded and treacherous manner against Hellenism by undermining its rights. It has in fact become known that the Pope is working towards “Uniatizing” the hierarchy of Skopje, having even given his promise to “upgrade” the “Church” of Skopje to the status of Patriarchate. This scheduled upgrading of the “Church” of Skopje will be an immediate challenge and an attack on the Churches of Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia; Skopje will surely hasten to take advantage of this upgrading in order to achieve its political goals – to the detriment mainly of our Homeland, which they seek to shrink in size. The “unionists” of Byzantium and all the present-day concordant minds are once again disproved. The Vatican does not desire to become a true friend of Greece and Orthodoxy! That is what the facts show.
Article published in English on: 13-12-2008.
Last Update: 15-12-2008.