Ukraine’s Orthodox Church Split From Russia

The Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow has called the leaders of the Ukrainian Church charlatans and schismatics, and President Vladimir Putin has warned of possible bloodshed.  

christmas 1
Clergymen and officials attend a service marking Orthodox Christmas and celebrating the independence of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine at the Saint Sophia’s Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

The eastern Orthodox church has over 250 million members around the world, with its spiritual leader based in Istanbul.

But for followers in Ukraine, there’s a new found independence.

Churches there have officially cut ties with the Russian branch of the church – accusing it of what they call ‘pro-Moscow propaganda’.

But the decision has angered Russian leaders, with Moscow warning of serious consequences for what it calls political maneuvering. 

oc

Ukraine’s Orthodox Christian Church celebrated its first Christmas on Monday outside Russian control and President Petro Poroshenko said the document enshrining its newly gained independence had broken “the last fetters tying us to Moscow”.

Hundreds of Ukrainians queued in the snow after the lavish two-hour liturgy at Kiev’s St Sophia Cathedral to view the document, known as a “Tomos”, which was only handed to the head of the new Church Metropolitan Epifaniy on Sunday.

Many Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7, not Dec. 25, as they follow a different calendar.

cc5

 

Accompanied by Poroshenko, Epifaniy processed into the cathedral on Monday carrying the decree, a scrolled white parchment. White-robed clergy then unfurled it and placed it in front of the iconostasis, a richly decorated screen that separates the sanctuary from the nave in Orthodox churches.

 

“For the first time, we celebrate Christmas with an independent autocephalous church,” said Poroshenko after the service. “It is the basis of our spiritual freedom, we broke the last fetters tying us to Moscow,” said the president, who faces a tough re-election battle this year.

cc2

 

Russia bitterly opposes the move to grant the Ukrainian Church autocephalous, or self-governing, status, comparing it to the Great Schism of 1054 that divided western and eastern Christianity.

The Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow has called the leaders of the Ukrainian Church charlatans and schismatics, and President Vladimir Putin has warned of possible bloodshed.  

cc1

 

Despite the snowy weather, hundreds of people watched Monday’s service on a big screen outside because there was not enough space in the packed cathedral to accommodate them.

 

“This is the most happy day in the life of every Ukrainian. And I understand that every soul desires to be here,” Oksana Pasenok, a university professor, told Reuters.

People formed a long queue after the service to see the decree, which will remain on public display.

cc3

 

“Today the words of those holy fathers who died for Ukraine, for our freedom, for our liberty, come true,” said Oleksandr Sydoruk, engineer, standing in the queue to see the document.

Claims That Ancient Hindus Invented Stem Cell Research Instead of Einstein Causes An Uproar

A scientist from a university in southern Tamil Nadu state questioned both the general theory of relativity by Albert Einstein and the theory of gravity by Isaac Newton.

Organizers distance themselves from speakers who claimed Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton were wrong.

hindus
Comments claiming Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton were wrong were heavily criticized by scientists [Reuters] 

The organizers of a major Indian science conference have distanced themselves from speakers who made some unusual claims during the five-day event held in the northern city of Jalandhar.

The speakers, one of whom was the vice chancellor of a South Indian university, claimed Hindus invented stem cell research thousands of years ago and said Einstein’s general theory of relativity was wrong.

jalandhar 1
 Jalandhar, India 

“We had 100 Kauravas from one mother because of stem cell and test tube technology,” Andhra University Vice Chancellor G Nageshwar Rao said, referring to a story from the Hindu epic Mahabharata.

Rao also told the group of schoolchildren and scientists he was addressing that a demon king from another centuries-old Hindu epic had two dozen aircraft and a network of landing strips in modern-day Sri Lanka.

“Hindu Lord Vishnu used guided missiles known as ‘Vishnu Chakra’ and chased moving targets,” Rao, a professor of inorganic chemistry, told the crowd.

Rao was not the only scientist who made outlandish remarks.

A scientist from a university in southern Tamil Nadu state questioned both the general theory of relativity by Albert Einstein and the theory of gravity by Isaac Newton.

Following the comments, the organizers of the event, the Indian Scientific Congress Association, expressed “serious concern” and distanced themselves from the speakers.

“We don’t subscribe to their views and distance ourselves from their comments. This is unfortunate,” General Secretary of the Indian Scientific Congress Association Premendu P Mathur, told AFP news agency.

jalandhar2

 

‘Hindus capable of genetic engineering’

It is not the first time controversial remarks have been made during the annual congress.

In 2015, a paper was presented which said Hindus discovered the Pythagorean theorem but that Greek scientist Pythagoras had taken the credit for it.

A speaker at that year’s event also said aircraft were invented by Hindus in ancient times and that they had discovered the technology behind interplanetary travel.

A year earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Hindus in ancient times already possessed the capabilities of genetic engineering and cosmetic surgery.

prime minister
Prime Minister Narendra Modi

“We all read about Karna in the Mahabharata,” Modi said.

“If we think a little more, we realize that the Mahabharata says Karna was not born from his mother’s womb. This means that genetic science was present at that time,” he had said.

“That is why Karna could be born outside his mother’s womb.”

Modi also said cosmetic surgery must have been possible, as shown by the Hindu deity Ganesha.

hindu_god
 Hindu god Ganesha

“We worship Lord Ganesha. There must have been some plastic surgeon at that time who got an elephant’s head on the body of a human being and began the practice of plastic surgery.

In 2016, former chief minister of the state of Uttarakhand and member of parliament Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank called “astrology the biggest science” and that it “should be promoted”.

“There is a serious concern about such kind of utterances by responsible people.”

Nishank also said Hindus in ancient times had knowledge of nuclear science.

“We speak about nuclear science today. But Sage Kanad conducted nuclear test one lakh (100,000) years ago,” Nishank said during an interview with local media.

ramesh pokhriyai nishank
Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank

Those comments were all heavily criticized by scientists.

In 2017, thousands of scientists and their supporters marched across India to promote their work and demand that the government invest more in the field.

Not only did those marching call for more funding, but they also called for the end to “propagation of unscientific, obscurantist ideas and religious intolerance”, as well as better adherence to Article 51A of the Constitution, which states that it is the duty of every citizen to “develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform”.