The Staging For the False Peace Treaty Before War?
"When they shall say peace and safety then cometh sudden destruction..."
"When they shall say peace and safety then cometh sudden destruction..."
It seems quite possible we are on the brink of that false peace treaty between the East & West. It appears the meeting between Francis and Kirill is all but a part of the setup
1854--Amazing 19th Century Prophecy, "Day of Wrath: The Hand of God Upon An Empire." North America in Bondage and Ruins.
Father Paul Kramer writes in Fatima Crusader, #82, Page 11, "On this point there is another amazing prophecy in the 19th Century that seems to sum up what’s in the Third Secret. I do not suggest it is authoritative, but it fits in with the rest of the picture. There was a book written in French, compiled by a priest in France by the name of Father Fatteccelli or Fatticioli. I have not actually read the text, but have heard it being read on audiotape. The name of the book is Day of Wrath: The Hand of God Upon An Empire. The revelations were made to an Armenian Jew, one Zachary, who was later baptized a Catholic. This book, published in the early 1850s, contains revelations (made to Zachary in the 1840s) concerning the precise dimensions of Russia and China and their satellites. It says that there would be the détente; that an agreement would be reached between the capitalist West and the Marxist East.
Then, says the prophecy, the East would overcome the West, by firing their missiles — they would fire their missiles — and the word “missiles” was used in the 1840s! They would fire their missiles on the coasts of North America — from the direction of Russia and China — and the Western world would be brought into bondage, after which “the firstborn of hell will rule the world.” Again, I do not say the prophecy is authoritative, but only that it is consistent with the other evidence we have of the great catastrophes foretold in the Third Secret.
TradCatKnight: America in Endtimes Prophecy
World War 3 Propaganda amounting very quickly...
Mounting Evidence Putin Will Ignite WWIII
By letting Putin get away with whatever he likes in Syria, Obama has created a deeply dangerous situation
Relations between Russia and Turkey have been dismal since late
November, when a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian bomber on the
border with Syria, killing its pilot. That began a war of words
between Moscow and Ankara that ought to concern everyone, since the
former has several thousand nuclear weapons and the latter is a member
Kremlin propaganda against Ankara has increased of late, setting the stage for further confrontation. As I explained here last week, Russian media outlets initially blamed the Sinai crash of Metrojet 9268 last autumn on the Islamic State, an atrocity which killed 224 innocents, nearly all of them Russians—a quite plausible claim. However, the Kremlin has abruptly shifted course and now blames the mass murder on Turkish ultranationalist terrorists, without any evidence provided to support that explosive assertion.
Where things may be going between Russia and Turkey, ancient enemies who have warred many times over the centuries, was evidenced this week, when the Kremlin announced large-scale surprise military exercises in the regions of the country that are close to Turkey. Troops were moved to full combat readiness, the last stage before a shooting war, with Sergei Shoygu, the Russian defense minister, announcing on TV: “We began our surprise check of the military preparedness in the Southwest strategic direction.”
That would be the direction of Turkey. These snap exercises involve the Southern Military District and the navy’s Black Sea Fleet, which are deeply involved in Russia’s not-so-secret secret war in eastern Ukraine. However, they also involve the navy’s Caspian Sea flotilla, which is nowhere near Ukraine.
It’s difficult to see how Turkey could stand idly by as an ancient city of two million is crushed just fifty miles from its frontier.This implies that the snap exercises, which have been prominently featured in Kremlin media, are about Turkey, not Russia. This goes back to recent events on the ground in Syria, where the Kremlin-backed regime of Bashar al-Assad is slowly crushing its opponents, thanks to prodigious military help from both Russia and Iran. Regime forces are closing in on Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city, and 50,000 civilians have already fled the city in panic.
The Russian military displays scant regard for civilian casualties. Mr. Putin’s air force killed almost 700 Syrian civilians last month (to compare, the Islamic State killed less than a hundred Syrian civilians in January), and if the crushing of the Chechen capital of Groznyy in 1994-95, when Russian forces killed roughly 35,000 Chechens, mostly civilians, in just six weeks, is any guide, residents of Aleppo are wise to get as far away as they can.
Needless to add, such a bloody siege of Aleppo would set off a humanitarian crisis that the world could not fail to notice. It’s difficult to see how Turkey could stand idly by as an ancient city of two million is crushed just fifty miles from its frontier.
That is precisely the scenario that has seasoned analysts worried. In Pentagon circles, among those who are watching the budding war between Moscow and Ankara, citations of this famous movie clip are now commonplace. Distressingly, smart Russian analysts are thinking along similar lines.
Today Pavel Felgenhauer published his analysis under the alarming title, “Russia has begun preparations for a major war,” and he marshals a convincing case that the snap exercises in the country’s southwest are really a cover for a shooting war with Turkey—and therefore with NATO too, if Ankara is perceived as defending itself and can assert its right to Article 5, collective self-defense, which obligates all members of the Atlantic Alliance to come to Turkey’s aid.
‘It’s clear that there has to be some actual ‘redline’ for Mr. Obama, something that the United States cannot tolerate Russia doing – but where is it? If I don’t know, I’m sure the Kremlin doesn’t either.’As The New York Times dryly noted of the Kremlin, “The [Defense] Ministry has ordered surprise maneuvers over the last three years as tensions between the East and West have worsened. The maneuvers have at times come as combat escalated in Ukraine and Syria.” In fact, using large-scale military exercises as a cover for aggression is old hat in Moscow. It was used during the August 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, which explains why NATO always got jumpy when Moscow held military exercises anywhere NATO territory, while snap exercises like this week inevitably caused Cold War panic.
Mr. Felgenhauer paints an alarmingly plausible scenario. As rebel forces defend Aleppo in Stalingrad fashion, the Syrian military, with Russian help, commences a protracted siege of the city, employing massive firepower, which becomes a humanitarian nightmare of a kind not seen in decades, a tragedy that would dwarf the 1992-95 siege of Sarajevo. However, any Turkish move to lift that siege, even with international imprimatur, would quickly devolve into all-out war.
Mr. Felgenhauer minces no words about this: “Russia has begun the deployment of forces and resources for a major war with Turkey.” Mr. Putin has decided to let his client, the Assad regime, win its bloody civil war, first in the north around Aleppo, and any moves by Turkey or NATO to stop them will be met with force. So far, President Barack Obama has let Mr. Putin do whatever he likes in Syria, no matter the cost in innocent lives, so the Kremlin has no reason to think that will change.
The Yom Kippur War of October 1973, when the United States and the Soviet Union came alarmingly close to great power war, is cited as an ominous precedent by Mr. Felgenhauer—albeit one that ended happily when nuclear war was averted thanks to wise diplomacy. There is no reason to think the befuddled Obama administration is that diplomatically deft.
But who is Pavel Felgenhauer? Regrettably, he is not a guy in furry slippers in someone’s basement spouting weird conspiracy theories. Instead, he is one of Russia’s top defense analysts with solid connections in that country’s military. He is a frequent critic of the Russian military and the Putin regime; it’s noteworthy that he published his analysis in Novoe Vremya (New Times), a Ukrainian newsmagazine, not a Russian outlet, perhaps because this sort of truth-telling is unwelcome at home. His prognostications are often correct, for instance his prediction of the Russian invasion of Georgia in August 2008, which he called two months before it happened.
That is NATO’s top concern right now: that after years of weakness and vacillation, the Obama administration may find itself backed into a corner by aggressive Russian action.Is Mr. Felgenhauer’s alarmism warranted? Many Western insiders think along similar lines. By letting Mr. Putin get away with whatever he likes in Syria, Mr. Obama has created a deeply dangerous situation in the region. By abandoning his infamous Syria “redline” in September 2013, the White House in effect outsourced American policy there to Mr. Putin, as I warned you at the time, and which the Obama administration, powerless to influence terrible events in Syria, is slowly realizing.
“Are we heading for our ‘Sarajevo moment’?” a senior NATO official bluntly asked: “It’s clear that there has to be some actual ‘redline’ for Mr. Obama, something that the United States cannot tolerate Russia doing – but where is it? If I don’t know, I’m sure the Kremlin doesn’t either.”
That is NATO’s top concern right now: that after years of weakness and vacillation, the Obama administration may find itself backed into a corner by aggressive Russian action. Particularly if coupled with intemperate Turkish reactions, that could create a nightmare of historic proportions around Aleppo. Although the White House has foresworn any military intervention in Syria’s fratricide, it’s worth noting that Mr. Obama led NATO to war in Libya exactly five years ago to prevent possible slaughter in Benghazi, a far smaller humanitarian threat than the terrifying sword of Russian artillery and airpower that’s hanging over Aleppo right now.
For their part, the Russians are upping the ante, with regime media publishing claims by the Defense Ministry that air attacks on Aleppo yesterday that killed civilians, including the bombing of a hospital, were actually perpetrated by U.S. Air Force A-10s, a war crime that they say the Pentagon has tried to pin on Moscow. In fact, American intelligence knows this was the work of the Russian Air Force: “We have intercepts of the Russian pilots talking during the attack,” explained a Pentagon official, “as usual, the Russians are lying.” Yet this sort of dishonest Kremlin propaganda, what spies term disinformation, is exactly what the Obama administration has refused to counter, as I’ve explained in this column, in a futile effort to keep the Kremlin happy.
Mr. Putin instead has taken his measure of Mr. Obama and has doubled down, saving his client regime in Syria. Russia has won in Syria and NATO and the West are stuck with that outcome, as are the unlucky residents of Aleppo. “I hope Obama doesn’t decide to get a backbone now,” suggested a retired American general who knows the Russians well, “since the Kremlin is in ‘drive’ in Syria and isn’t about to do ‘reverse’.”
There seems to be little chance of this White House taking on the Russians in Syria. However, there are no guarantees that Ankara is equally inclined to let the Kremlin do whatever it wants on its southern border, and that is how NATO could get embroiled in World War III over the Levant. Cooler heads may prevail, and all sensible people should hope they do here.
Russia Warns of World War if Syria Conflict Not Resolved
Medvedev says Saudis must call off planned invasion
The Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned that if a peace deal is not reached in Syria there is the possibility of a protracted world war.
“The Americans and our Arabic partners must think hard about this: do they want a permanent war?” Medvedev told the German Handelsblatt business daily in an interview.
“Do they really think they would win such a war very quickly? That’s impossible, especially in the Arabic world. There everyone is fighting against everyone… everything is far more complicated. It could take years or decades.”
“All sides must be forced to the negotiating table instead of sparking a new world war,” he added.
“This is bad as a ground offensive usually turns the war into a permanent one. Just look at what happened in Afghanistan and many other countries. I don’t need to remind you what happened in poor Libya,” he said.
On Monday Infowars.com reported on sources quoted by CNN’s Arabic division in Dubai stating Saudi Arabia has formed a coalition of Sunni nations that is preparing to invade Syria under the pretense of fighting the Islamic State.
The invasion scheduled for March will be led by the Saudis and Turks and will originate in Turkey, according to CNN.
Ashton Carter, the US Secretary of Defense, said he welcomed a Saudi offer to participate in ground operations. “That kind of news is very welcome,” he told reporters while on a visit to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.
Why Is America Restarting the Cold War With Russia?
The president’s new budget proposal for 2017 calls for a 200 percent increase for our military spending in Europe aimed at Russia—perhaps the most provocative step yet in our apparent efforts to encircle and antagonize that country.
Meanwhile, spending aimed at ISIS is to increase by 50 percent.
In a speech last week in Washington, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said explicitly that Russia constitutes a greater threat to U.S. security than ISIS, as witness Russian military activity from Ukraine to Syria. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, dutifully echoing the administration line, has indicated similar views.
This is belligerent nonsense.
Radical Islam has declared war on the United States, beheaded our citizens, planned and carried out the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, killed our soldiers and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan, and declared its intention to set up a caliphate that would stretch from the Mediterranean to the Caspian.
Drawing in Pakistan and the Caucasus, and expanding from there into Central Asia and beyond, the caliphate would claim a population roughly the size of the United States. It would possess nuclear weapons, which the Islamists have no qualms against using to destroy the modern world.
On the other hand, Russia’s activities in Ukraine and Syria, as Moscow sees it, represent a defensive effort to protect legitimate national interests. In the Kremlin’s view, Crimea is Russian and has no bearing whatsoever on U.S. security. Syria is as close to the Russian border as New York is to Chicago, and Russia will not countenance a jihadist regime in Damascus. It is only too mindful that fifteen thousand of the Islamic fighters in Syria are Chechens, who, once done there, will return to Russia for the next round of terrorist brutality.
As for Ukraine, had the United States encouraged that country’s electoral calendar to play out rather than accept the overthrow of the legitimately elected president, Viktor Yanukovych likely would have lost the February 2015 election. There is little doubt Crimea would now be a part of the Ukrainian Republic. If Ukraine is now a shambles, we must consider the role the West played in this strategic fiasco.
Likewise, we should have negotiated over the future of Syria without making it conditional on Assad’s departure (Moscow refused to participate in the charade of a “negotiation” with an already determined outcome). Syria in all likelihood might have averted the mayhem and chaos now engulfing a large part of that country. Russia would not be engaged militarily there, and Europe would not now be drowning in a flood of refugees who will not assimilate but are ready to assassinate.
Since the fall of Communism, Russia has concentrated on internal matters—yes, sometimes in a manner contrary to our values. Its leaders and policies have been seriously flawed. If Russia is expanding its military capabilities, this is a trend we must attend to, but that does not reactivate its status as our enemy.
It remains the case that NATO countries hugely outspend Moscow when it comes to military procurement. There is no evidence whatsoever that Russia, as when it was the Soviet Union, is embarked on a wanton course of global expansion. This is a country that unilaterally pulled its occupying troops out of Eastern Europe, a door closing on the Cold War.
Obviously, some highly influential people can’t accept that and leave the Cold War behind, their mindsets and careers linked to a lingering enmity between the Kremlin and the White House. In particular, they can be found as think tank strategists and arms merchants.
President Eisenhower, a career military man and one of our greatest heroes, did not shrink from warning his countrymen about the dangers of a rampant military-industrial complex. At the same time, such Cold War leaders who followed Ike understood that weakness is provocative and took steps to have sufficient military readiness to deter and defeat those who would do us harm.
President Nixon, at the Cold War’s height, saw the value in settling differences with Red China so as to offset the USSR. President Reagan saw no problem in sharing ABM technology with the Soviet Union, negotiating the removal of intermediate range nuclear weapons from the heart of Europe. He declared an end to the Cold War and strolled through Red Square arm-in-arm with President Gorbachev.
Today, we have the complete opposite approach: a waning military capacity coupled with petulant policies towards Russia, a country that could be an ally against such mutual enemies as radical Islam and, potentially, an expanding China.
It represents a stunning and total failure of vision, moral and strategic. We must cast aside such absurd, costly, unachievable and un-American ambitions that would have us policing and garrisoning the planet, intervening in every conflict. We must favor a policy that cultivates mutually beneficial relations with nations of like culture and values, negotiating smartly in the national interest—all, of course, while maintaining a defensive military posture second to none. America was conceived as a strong and healthy Republic, not a vitality-draining empire.
Moscow warns US over missile system deployment to S. Korea
Moscow on Wednesday warned that Washington's deployment of a US missile defence system to South Korea could spark an arms race in the region.
South Korean and US defence officials said last week they would begin formal talks on the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence System (THAAD) system in response to North Korea's recent nuclear and missile tests."The appearance of elements of the US global missile defence system in the region -- which is characterised by a very difficult security situation -- can provoke an arms race in Northeast Asia and complicate the resolution of the nuclear problem on the Korean peninsula," said the Russian foreign ministry.
"On a more global scale, this step can increase the destructive influence of the US global missile defence system on international security and stability."
The foreign ministry reiterated that Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests "could not but inspire strong condemnation" but accused Washington of using them to expand its missile defence system.
The US insists that the defence system is a deterrent necessitated by the North's advancing ballistic missile programme.
China has also argued it would undermine stability in the delicately balanced region.
Pyongyang has said that the deployment of a missile defence system would be a Cold War tactic to "contain" China and Russia.
The THAAD system, in service since 2008, includes truck-mounted launchers, radars, interceptor missiles and global communications links.
Five THAAD batteries are currently operational, according to the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, and two more were ordered in 2014.
North Korea's rocket launch last week, widely seen as a disguised long-range missile test, sparked international fury and prompted an agreement at the UN Security Council to slap new sanctions against the increasingly defiant state.
The launch, which violated multiple UN resolutions, came just weeks after Pyongyang carried out its fourth nuclear test.
The US will reopen a Cold War submarine hunting base in Iceland
In a sharp change reminiscent of the Cold War, the US is seeking to reopen parts of its former military base in Iceland for the express purpose of hunting Russian submarines.
The base, situated at Keflavik International Airport close to the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik, was first opened as a strategic US airbase for US bombers during World War II.
However, the base took on key strategic use during the Cold War as it allowed the US easy access to patrol the North Atlantic against potential Soviet threats, Forces TV reports.
After the Cold War, US presence in the region began to draw down and within the past ten years the US and NATO have largely stopped using Naval Air Station Keflavik. But, with a sudden return to Cold War-like tensions, the US is planning on once again opening the base for the express purpose of submarine hunting.
Stars and Stripes reports that the US Navy is asking for funds in its 2017 budget to reopen and upgrade its hangar at Keflavik. The upgrade would allow the US to fly P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft over the North Atlantic with ease — currently, the US has to fly the aircraft out of a base in Sicily to the Atlantic for operations.
The Poseidons would be used for patrolling the Atlantic waters off of the coasts of England, Ireland, Iceland, and Greenland.
The decision to base Poseidons once again in Iceland reflects the gradual shift towards a Cold War-like state between NATO and Russia. For reasons still unknown, Moscow has greatly increased the number of submarines operating the North Atlantic.
In addition to an increased number of submarines, the subs are also of higher quality and feature a more professional crew, leading to a general unease among NATO nations.
Attn. Vladimir Putin: U.S. and NATO beef up defenses on Russian border
The new U.S. defense budget includes a request for billions of dollars to defend Europe against Vladimir Putin's Russia, the latest sign of heightening tensions between Moscow and the West.
The Obama administration's proposed $583 billion defense budget for 2017 carves out $3.4 billion — more than four times the amount allotted the previous year — to fund the European Reassurance Initiative, which would send an additional 3,000 American troops, along with heavy artillery and military equipment, to Central and Eastern Europe to deter an increasingly aggressive Russia.
Under the plan, units of as many as 1,000 mostly American, British and German troops will be sent to reinforce defenses in Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. They will have the backing of a rapid-reaction force that includes air, naval and special operations units of up to 40,000 personnel.
Beefing up NATO's presence across Europe's east "will send a clear signal" to Russia, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.
At the same time, NATO officials were careful to avoid describing the approved moves as permanent ones, since doing so would violate an agreement with Russia not to station large groups of forces on its borders permanently and could lead to a nasty response from Moscow. For that reason, Cold War-era military bases will not be used.
Except, apparently, for one base elsewhere in Europe: The U.S. defense budget calls for the Navy to reopen and upgrade a Cold War-era aircraft hangar in Iceland for planes used to hunt Russian submarines.
Naval Air Station Keflavik was home to hundreds of military personnel before it closed in 2006, according to a Navy press release at the time.
Russian submarine activity in the North Atlantic has returned to Cold War levels, and the submarines themselves have been significantly improved, IHS Jane's 360 reported.
Joining the U.S. in boosting NATO's military presence is most notably Britain, which said it will send five warships and 530 personnel to join the alliance's maritime force.
Naturally, Moscow reacted negatively to NATO's new strategy. Russia has repeatedly blamed the West for stirring anti-Russian sentiment and encroaching on countries like Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, which it considers part of its sphere of influence.
On Monday, even before NATO's plan was approved, Russia's envoy to NATO, Alexander Grushko, warned that a buildup of alliance forces along the Russian border "can’t be left without a military-technical answer," The AP reported. He did not specify what steps Moscow would take.
On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the NATO plan part of a strategy to "contain" Russia.
Stoltenberg said he'll meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the Munich Security Conference later this week to stress the defensive nature of NATO's strategy.
As the West sees it, Moscow provoked this showdown, beginning with its annexation of Crimea — the first major land grab in Europe since World War II — followed by its invasion of eastern Ukraine.
Since then, Russia has been doing some serious saber-rattling. It has increased its investment in defense, beefing up missile defenses in Kaliningrad, the Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania, and in Crimea. Most recently, missile systems have popped up in war-ravaged Syria, where Russian military forces have been assisting the government by bombing its rebel enemies since September.
False Peace Treaty Cometh
The meeting of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill in Cuba on February 12 may turn out to be not only the most significant ecclesiastical event, but one of the most momentous political events in recent years.Since the schism of 1054 when the church separated into an Eastern and Western part, the differences have been irreconcilable and the two have not engaged in any dialogue. Leaders, political and military, know the strategy of divide and conquer. Although the Eastern Church, as well as its Western sister, has seen enormous development after the schism and has created cultural progress, the rule that division weakens an entity also applies to Christianity.
The church in Russia was oppressed and weakened under the Communist regime, and the Western church has been engaged in a struggle against the tide of secularization and the religion of scientism since the Enlightenment. In recent times both parts of the church have been under pressure, culminating now in persecution of Christians on a massive scale.
This trend is global, but is particularly severe in the Middle East, where ISIS commits horrible atrocities against Christians, as well as monasteries and churches. The persecution even threatens to remove Christianity from the lands whence the faith originated.
The persecutions in the Middle East are the immediate cause of the meeting. According to the Pope’s spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi and Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Department of External Church Relations and a permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow, the meeting has been considered for a number of years. Nonetheless, the announcement was a surprise when it was made, just one week before it was to take place. As recently as January this year, Hilarion denied that a meeting was being planned. Now it seems the political situation in the Middle East, the horrible persecution of Christians and the threat of destruction of the Christian community in the region have compelled the Pope and the Patriarch to agree to meet as soon as possible.
The meeting is intended to produce a joint declaration signed by both church leaders. Its character will not be theological, as dialogue in this area is held within the framework of the International Commission for dialogue between the Catholic Church and all the Orthodox Churches. It will be a statement on the various aspects of cooperation and shared testimony that the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church can offer the world today. In particular, it will address the problem of persecution of Christians in the Middle East, but also the issues of secularization, the protection of life, marriage and the family.
This means that the meeting springs from the need and desire of the churches to form a joint front, or joint ministry to a world disintegrating before our eyes: moral decay, political depravity and dissolution of values. World War III looms like darkness threatening to engulf us all with the rising tension in Syria and Turkey, Western proxy wars and Russia’s intervention. Not to mention the growing tensions between the West and Russia springing from the crisis in Ukraine.
The two leaders present an example to the entire world when they meet, because they choose to set aside ecclesiastical disagreement to achieve a greater good. The churches have had their own Ukraine crisis for years.
When the Communist regime started falling apart and loosening its grip in the late 1980s, the Russian Orthodox Church emerged once more to play the role in society it had once held, but there were complaints that the Roman Catholic Church had begun proselytizing in the traditional Orthodox areas. The Roman Catholic Church maintains that it made no active efforts to convert members from other Christian communities, which is the definition of proselytizing. No proof of aggressive proselytizing has ostensibly been presented, but the question of the presence and work of the Greek Catholic Church in the traditional Russian Orthodox area of Ukraine has remained problematic, and the controversy persists.
The ability of the patriarch and the pope to rise above their disagreements to address the far more serious problem of persecution of Christians offers an example to be emulated by politicians. Uniting to overcome a greater evil is the solution the global community ought now to pursue. A fragmented Western world will be fatally unable to stand up to radical Islam. Which other Christian voice can now speak with the authority needed when liberal democracy is becoming increasingly feeble in its struggle against radicalized Islam?
A church united on this matter can therefore achieve enormous political impact without casting the Patriarch or the Pope in the role of world politicians. The Pope is the head of over 1.25 billion Catholics and the Patriarch is head of about 164 million Orthodox Christians, whose conscience, faith, hope and charity these two leaders influence. Their message is not political, their message is moral and spiritual and has an enormous impact on the way society develops and people act towards other people. The spiritual and moral factor in social affairs and world politics is crucial when it comes to averting war, solving conflicts and ending dictatorial regimes, quite possibly more so than political initiatives. If churches divided for more than a millennium show themselves capable of surmounting their differences, they provide a powerful testimony to the world that is difficult to ignore, its influence must be felt. This reconciliation brings renewed hope of peace and reconciliation of an order that no merely political system would be able to provide.
The Church has already demonstrated in recent history that it has the ability to have an impact on history and end totalitarian regimes. Today, leading historians agree the Berlin Wall would not have come down the way it did without former Pope John Paul II. While Communism still held sway, this Pope – who made great efforts to reconcile the divided church – visited Poland on several occasions, at which he reminded Poles of their Christian identity and faith, with the Gospel’s familiar message: “Fear not!”. The moral and spiritual strength this gave the people was the factor that gave them strength to bring down the Wall. The churches in DDR also provided a forum of free speech that eventually caused the demise of the regime. Similarly, the celebration of the millennium anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1988, permitted by Gorbachev, provided significant impetus for the end of Communism and the Soviet Union. The regime in the Kremlin met its final collapse during the week when the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Even Joseph Stalin had to obtain the support of the Orthodox Church to achieve victory over Nazism in the Great Patriotic War.
No matter how tragic the cause of the summit meeting between the Patriarch and the Pope, the savage slaughter of Christians, it must be remembered that the church in ancient Rome grew strong and achieved influence on society on the basis of the testimony and blood of the martyrs. In a similar way, the Christians sacrificed by ISIS now help heal more than a thousand years of schism between the two churches. The foundation of the Christian faith is that sacrifice brought in love brings the fruit of peace, reconciliation and healing. This historic meeting – with the good will brought by the Patriarch and the Pope – may help transform the world and snatch peace from the jaws of the chaos that currently threatens to engulf us all. The significance of the meeting therefore vastly exceeds the relationship between Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians. A strong Christian voice and a united church is what world needs now to avert a third world war, at a time when politicians are exposed as bankrupt and impotent in the face of evil.