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    • Од Ромејац,
      Philaret Denisenko’s “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) does not and has never existed, Patriarch Bartholomew told a group of Ukrainian journalists in Istanbul last week.
      “As for [Ph]ilaret, he was restored to his episcopal dignity as former Metropolitan of Kiev. The so-called ‘Patriarchate of Kiev’ does not exist and never existed,” the Patriarch told the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine.
      The head of the Union, Sergei Tomilenko, wrote about the meeting on his Facebook page and published the full text of Pat. Bartholomew’s English speech.
      The declaration comes against the background of Philaret Denisenko’s active attempts to garner support for the revival of the KP, which he loudly proclaims never ceased to exist, despite his promise to liquidate it on the morning of the “unification council” in Kiev on December 15.
      The Ukrainian Ministry of Justice has confirmed that the KP was never liquidated and continues to exist, at least in the eyes of the state. Moreover, the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church,” which united with the KP to create the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU), was also not liquidated before the council.
      Thus, there are now three schismatic bodies in Ukraine, rather than the two that existed before the “unification council.”
      A battle has begun between Philaret Denisenko, the “Patriarch” of the KP, considered the “Honorary Patriarch” of the OCU, and the primate of the OCU “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko, that only further delegitimizes the OCU in the eyes of the Orthodox world and threatens to tear apart Pat. Bartholomew’s personal creation.
      While the Orthodox world has never recognized the legitimacy of the KP, it does not deny its existence.
      Moreover, in the same speech, Pat. Bartholomew himself speaks of the separation of Ukrainian Orthodoxy into “three separate entities,” and states that “This reality, the existence of two schismatic groups, was a real agony.”
      The rest of Pat. Bartholomew’s speech is largely a reiteration of the same points he and other Constantinople representatives have been making since the summer. He states that the granting of autocephaly to Ukraine was a purely pastoral matter on the part of Constantinople, to free Ukraine from the oppression of being part of the Russian Church and to create unity within Ukraine.
      The Synods, primates, and hierarchs of other Local Churches have, however, noted that Ukrainian Orthodoxy is only less unified since Constantinople’s interference there.
      He also repeats the historical claim that the Kiev Metropolis never transferred to the Russian Church—an assertion that only the Patriarchate of Constantinople accepts. Further, he states that “The issue in Ukraine was timely. That is, the Ecumenical Patriarchate did not suddenly decide to intervene,” although he had denied numerous appeals from schismatic clergy and state authorities over the preceding three decades, changing his mind only after the unsuccessful Crete council in 2016.
      Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, a hierarch of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, has tied Constantinople’s interference in Ukraine to Pat. Bartholomew’s disappointment that the Russian Church did not participate in the Crete Council.
      Pat. Bartholomew further states: “As we have maintained, there are no more schismatics in Ukraine because they have been restored to communion with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.” However, to date, the OCU is in communion only with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, not with the Orthodox Church as a whole. They have been explicitly rejected as schismatics by several Local Churches.
      http://orthochristian.com/121591.html?fbclid=IwAR12vr6wJNpNvByH8txIEr8X_vQXe-kVpv516GgsNGD1zDILzsNqiZ7tAgg
    • Од Ромејац,
      In an episode of “The Archpastor” TV program (Yekaterinburg), Bishop Irinej of Bačka (Serbian Orthodox Church) spoke about various topics.

      Here is what he had to say on the Ukrainian issue:
      “We deeply regret that the Ecumenical Patriarch in his personal capacity, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a whole, have (in my opinion and in the opinion of the majority of our theologians and hierarchs), made the greatest mistake in the whole history of the Ecumenical Throne of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
      I say it here for the first time, I have never said this before to the media: Ten years ago, maybe more, I told the ecumenical patriarch privately that I urged him not to interfere in the Ukrainian issue, because that would provoke an immense tragedy, not only there, but in the whole Orthodox world.
      I am not a prophet, but I knew enough about the situation and history, that it was easily predictable. Unfortunately, he did it.
      It is difficult to say for what reasons. Some consider it could be because of some grievance, a bitter feeling against the Patriarch of Moscow and against the Russian Church, due to their absence at the Council of Crete, but many also think it is the result of the pressure from the West, especially from the Americans, and that it is only a part in the general course of Western policy regarding Ukraine, and an attempt to further deepen the gap, to break apart the Russian world, and to ensure that Ukraine and Russia are not only separate, but enemy states.
      I fear that this may be true, at least partly. It is interesting that this opinion is shared also by some of my Greek friends, who have no reason to be at the service of the Church of Moscow.
      The Ecumenical Patriarchate thus made an absolutely uncanonical decision – or at least a decision that is not based on canons: to enter the territory of an already existing Church, the Ukrainian autonomous Orthodox Church, through negotiations with Ukrainian political power.
      As you know, Ukrainian political leaders are not very Orthodox: there are Orthodox in the parliament, but also Uniates and schismatics.
      The course of action is quite strange: the Ecumenical Patriarchate delegation does not discuss with the legitimate local Church, which is the majority in Ukraine. For the legitimate Church, the nationality of their members (whether Ukrainian, Russian, etc.), is not important. There is no national or political connection, but only the feeling of the ecclesial people that they are one church, as it has been along centuries. They do not prevent anyone from being Ukrainian or whatever – it is difficult to say how many nations are present in the Russian Church, one hundred, one hundred and fifty.
      [The Constantinople delegates] have not even visited Metropolitan Onufriy once. All their discussions took place with politicians and schismatics. And we are not talking here of occasional schismatics, but about people like Filaret Denisenko, who was once a candidate to become the new patriarch of Moscow. But he did not become a patriarch, for known reasons – his personal and moral life, and other factors.
      At first, he was opposed to Ukrainian separatism (at the level of the Church and other levels), far more than many in Ukraine. But then, when he was not elected patriarch, he remembered he was Ukrainian. And of course, his broke his oath to the patriarch not to create a schism, and he did create one anyway. He was then reduced to the lay state, excommunicated and anathematized.
      And now, the people of the Phanar come and say this is rubbish: “We acknowledged it [the Moscow decision], but we no longer do.”
      I read a letter from the Ecumenical Patriarch in which he writes to the Patriarch of Moscow that he recognizes and supports his decision, and that it cannot be otherwise. And now he says now that his own act is invalid. It is impossible in our Church. This is why our Church has made the decision of supporting the Russian Orthodox Church, especially in regard to the Ukrainian issue.
      Unfortunately, in Constantinople and in some circles, they think it’s odd. They say that the Serbs who had always been devoted to them and had fraternal relationships with them have now betrayed them and gone with the Russians.
      This reflects a very unhealthy feeling of ecclesial life. The Church is one, it is the divine and human body of Christ, it is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and the house of the heavenly Father. It is not an ideological, political, or social organization. Autocephaly is not an ontological, but administrative concept. It is a mode of organization for the Churches in the world. Autocephalous Churches are not separate Churches: it is a mode of organization for the one and unique Church.
      In this sense, we cannot accept this approach, in which we see ourselves as Greek Orthodox, Phanariots, and that over there, there are Muscovites, Slavs, etc. No: the Church is one. There are no Hellenes, no Greeks, no Russians, no Serbs, we are all one, if we are Orthodox. If we do not understand this, we are not Orthodox enough.
      When we are accused of having become Russians, or servants of the Russians, I consider this is not healthy, this is not ecclesial. We are not against one another, nor for one another. We take into consideration the canonical order. A healthy ecclesial life, that’s what we are interested in.
      If what Constantinople is doing now had been done by Moscow or Kyiv, we would also react against them. We cannot be against other for selfish reasons or goals. Things can happen, to us or to other Churches, that exists.
      But here, we consider that Constantinople acted in an unfair and, unfortunately, irresponsible way. They hurt not only the Russian or the Ukrainian Church, but also themselves and the whole Orthodoxy. And we are getting humiliated and ridiculed, by Roman Catholics and followers of other religions, and even by people without any religion.
      Unfortunately, this has been caused by Constantinople unilateral actions.
       
       
      https://orthodoxie.com/en/the-patriarch-of-constantinople-has-made-the-greatest-mistake-in-the-history-of-the-ecumenical-throne/?fbclid=IwAR19WFsa1I9CjC2AtFTlbStAMiHb_E01fJ-2TKvvqO7SPrMoKOF5RSg5e2s
    • Од Ромејац,
      The man behind the hit animated series, which has aired almost 250 episodes, has died from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

      Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants, has died at the age of 57.
      The animator, writer and director revealed he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neurone disease (MND), in March 2017. His best-known work was the Emmy-winning Nickelodeon show. Almost 250 episodes have aired.
      Nickelodeon said: “We are incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg has passed away following a battle with ALS. He was a beloved friend and long-time creative partner to everyone at Nickelodeon, and our hearts go out to his entire family.
      “Steve imbued SpongeBob SquarePants with a unique sense of humor and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere. His utterly original characters and the world of Bikini Bottom will long stand as a reminder of the value of optimism, friendship and the limitless power of imagination.”
      A former marine biology teacher, Hillenburg moved into television and worked on the show Rocko’s Modern Life. He created SpongeBob SquarePants, which originally aired in 1999, and it became a global hit, dubbed into more than 60 languages. Hillenburg also wrote, produced and directed 2004’s The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, which made $140m worldwide.
      “I thought we’d get four seasons, but it’s still going,” he told the Guardian in 2016. I see SpongeBob on ice-cream trucks a lot and I’ve got bootleg SpongeBob merchandise from Mexico. In Egypt, they even wear hijabs with SpongeBob on them.”
      Earlier this year, he was honored with a special Emmy “for his contribution and impact made in the animation field and within the broadcast industry”.
      He is survived by his wife and son.
       
      https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2018/nov/27/spongebob-squarepants-creator-stephen-hillenburg-dies-57
    • Од Ronald,
      Serbia has not implemented in a satisfactory manner any of the thirteen recommendations provided by the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body GRECO (Group of States against Corruption) to the country in July 2015, according to the new compliance report published today.
      GRECO specifically recommended that measures be taken to further improve the transparency of the parliamentary process, including through ensuring adequate timelines for submitting amendments and using the urgent procedure as an exception and not as a rule. A need to introduce transparency regulations on parliamentarians’ contacts with lobbyists and other third parties, given the great risk of undue influence, was underlined.
      Only limited progress has been achieved as regards transparency of the activity of the National Assembly, GRECO says in today’s compliance report. More determined action is necessary in this regard, as well as on the adoption of a code of conduct and the introduction of rules for members of parliament on how they interact with lobbyists and other third parties.
      Among other recommendations of 2015 were strengthening the independence and role of the High Judicial Council and the State Prosecutorial Council; amending the procedures for the recruitment and promotion of judges, court presidents and prosecutors, in particular by excluding the National Assembly from this process and ensuring merit-based recruitment; and continued reform of the system of appraisal of judges’ and prosecutors’ performance.
      As far as judges are concerned, in the compliance report GRECO welcomes the measures taken to further develop the role of the High Judicial Council, improve the objectivity and transparency of the procedures for the recruitment and promotion of judges, as well as to train judges on ethical issues. Beyond a necessary constitutional reform in order to change the composition of the High Judicial Council and exclude the National Assembly from the process of recruitment of judges, GRECO expects a review of the system of appraisal of judges’ performance.
      Prosecutors are in a situation largely similar to judges. Some steps have been taken to strengthen the role of the State Prosecutorial Council, to review the performance appraisal system for prosecutors and to train them on ethical issues. Further progress is conditioned by the upcoming constitutional reform. GRECO reiterates its call upon the Serbian authorities to review the criteria for the recruitment and promotion of prosecutors.
      In view of the above, GRECO concludes that the overall very low level of compliance with the recommendations is "globally unsatisfactory". GRECO therefore asks the Head of the Serbian delegation to provide a report on the progress in implementing all the pending recommendations as soon as possible, but at the latest by 31 October 2018.
      http://www.coe.int/nl/web/portal/-/serbia-has-not-implemented-any-of-the-recommendations-on-preventing-corruption-among-parliamentarians-judges-and-prosecutors
      https://rm.coe.int/fourth-evaluation-round-corruption-prevention-in-respect-of-members-of/1680792e56
         
    • Од Iulianus,
      It's the first time humans have seen this in the wild.
          For the first time, scientists have been able to observe something amazing: the evolution of a completely new species, in the wild, in real-time. And it took just two generations.
      Now, genomic sequencing and the analysis of physical characteristics have confirmed the new species of Darwin's finch, endemic to a small island called Daphne Major in the Galápagos. Its discoverers have nicknamed it Big Bird. There are at least 15 species of Darwin's finches, so named because their diversity helped famed naturalist Charles Darwin figure out his theory of evolution by natural selection - that is, mutations can help species become better adapted to their environment, and be passed down to subsequent generations.
      It's two of these species that came together in what is called species hybridisation to create an entirely new one.
      Here's what Big Bird looks like. (© P. R. Grant)
      While on expedition on the Daphne Major island, Peter and B. Rosemary Grant, biologists at Princeton University, noticed the presence of a non-native interloper, Geospiza conirostris.
      It's also known as the large cactus finch, and is native to other Galapagos islands, namely Española, Genovesa, Darwin, and Wolf.
      As one of the larger species of Darwin's finches, and with a different song than the three native Daphne Major species, the newcomer - a male - stood out.
      "We didn't see him fly in from over the sea, but we noticed him shortly after he arrived. He was so different from the other birds that we knew he did not hatch from an egg on Daphne Major," Peter Grant said.
      But then it mated with two females of one of those native species, Geospiza fortis, the medium ground finch. And the mating produced offspring.
      Mating between different species that results in offspring isn't that unusual - famous examples include mules, the product of mating between a male donkey and a mare. There are also ligers, a cross between a male lion and female tiger.
      G. conirostris (left) and G. fortis (right). (© K. T. Grant and B. R. Grant)
      But hybrid species are often sterile, or reproduce with difficulty - and that did not prove to be the case with these new chicks. A new lineage began - it had to.
      The birds had a different song from G. fortis, as well as different beak size and shape, and these are what the finches use to attract mates. Reproductively, the new species was completely isolated, and had to mate within its own kind to survive.
      But it was an uphill battle. During droughts on the island in 2002-2003, when the new lineage was in its fourth generation, all but two of the birds died.
      Then they rallied.
      "When the rains came again, the brother and sister mated with each other and produced 26 offspring," Rosemary Grant said in an interview last year.
      "All but nine survived to breed - a son bred with his mother, a daughter with her father, and the rest of the offspring with each other - producing a terrifically inbred lineage."
      Because the hybrid finches were bigger than the native populations, they were able to access previously unexploited food choices, and survive. At the Grants' most recent visit to the island in 2012, they counted 23 individuals and 8 breeding pairs of the birds.
      This success means, the researchers noted, that hybridisation could have occurred many times in Darwin's finches in the past, resulting in new species that either became extinct or evolved to become the species we know today.
      "A naturalist who came to Daphne Major without knowing that this lineage arose very recently would have recognised this lineage as one of the four species on the island," said Leif Andersson of Uppsala University in Sweden, who conducted the genetic analysis. "This clearly demonstrates the value of long-running field studies."
      Charles Darwin would have been delighted.
      (https://www.sciencealert.com/darwin-s-finches-evolve-into-new-species-in-real-time-two-generations-galapagos)

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