The Schengen Zone
by Orthodox Monk
Pravoslavie ili Smert'
No. 15 (2000)
Translated from the Russian
he author of these lines must admit that when the first of the materials which were to form the basis of this article fell into his hands some two years ago the last thing he wanted was to take them seriously. However facts continued to stubbornly accumulate, and yet I couldn't muster the resolve to put my conclusions to paper: so strange were the materials in the file labeled "The Schengen Zone".
But let's begin with the beginning: On June 14, 1985 in the small Luxembourg border town of Schengen a secret agreement was signed by representatives of several European countries regarding the abolishment of border controls in the then nascent European Union. Despite the seeming praiseworthiness of this initiative the agreement was nonetheless, we repeat, secret; it was made public only three and one-half years later by the French Senator P. Mason.
Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite: That imposing formula had once again dawned over Europe, a new Europe without borders. By the end of the 20th Century all had managed to forget, of course, that these words were written in blood on the pages of history and that the intoxication which they caused was cured exclusively by the guillotine.
The convenience of the new agreement was soon felt by all; gone were the tiresome formalities involved in going from one country to another. Our countrymen, who just around that time had begun venturing forth from their native nest in huge flocks, also rendered tribute to the convenience of the Schengen Visa. But soon alarming, even frightening, reports appeared on the formerly cloudless horizon: It turns out that an electronic dossier with all sorts of information, often of a very personal nature, is collected and constantly updated on every citizen who travels within the spacious borders of the new united Europe. It turns out that national information centers have been formed, each connected to a giant computer located in Strasbourg. To those Europeans alarmed and discouraged by this news it was explained that all this is being done in the name of security: to fight terrorism, drug-trafficking and organized crime.
But citizens of Schengen Europe had already begun to suspect that instead of limitless freedom they'd received a secret dictatorship unprecedented in scale: With great purposefullness someone was creating a unified police state with a mighty mechanism of control.
The protests began. Western Europeans, according to old habit, took up their favorite activity: the struggle for human rights. But the deepest and most interesting processes were taking place in the last country to enter the Schengen Agreement: poor little Greece -- poor and little, but Orthodox Christian, and therefore correct in its assessment of the unusual situation.
So while Frenchmen and Germans were expressing indignation at the encroachment on their freedoms, the Orthodox Greeks looked at Schengen from a completely different perspective. Something about the new free Europe with its total control over the citizen reminded them of the last imposing state in human history, the one described in the Book of Revelations, or Apocalypse. They became especially wary when new passports were introduced simultaneously in all the Schengen countries. The most notable feature of these passports is a magnetic strip capable of holding 200,000 words, or roughly 1,000 pages of text in standard format. In this manner all of the more-or-less important information about the Schengen citizen's relation to the outside world is recorded each time he presents his passport and relayed to the central computer in Strasbourg, where it's analyzed accordingly.
The introduction of the new passports in Greece was accompanied by a storm of protest. Here's how it was described in the newspaper Argumenty i Fakty of June 12, 1997: "Around 200 Orthodox fanatics, including many representatives of the clergy, but without the sanction of the Greek Orthodox Church, held a vigil Tuesday night in front of the parliament building to protest an agreement which, in their opinion, violates individual freedom.... Plans for a civil disobedience campaign are underway to convince Greeks to reject new identification documents which will be issued to replace the old ones."
I'd like to note that the actual number of demonstrators was not 200 but several thousand, among which were not only simple people but representatives of Greece's spiritual and intellectual elite. But did they, along with "many representatives of the clergy", really keep vigil all night just to protest violations of their freedoms by computerization? And are we to believe that these "fanatics" lacked the support of the official Church, which, according to the usual stereotypes of the press, preferred, as always, to stand cowardly on the sidelines?
* * *
In fact we're already acquainted with this problem and we run into it practically every day, mainly when we buy and sell. I'm referring to the so-called Universal Product Symbol (UPS), better known as the barcode, present on all foreign product packages and now on most Russian ones too.
The barcode is a new type of computer code where each digit is represented by a pair of parallel lines of varying thickness. The digits from 0 to 9 are represented by 2 or 3 different encodings, or sets (in much the same way as numbers can be represented by Roman, Arabic or Slavic symbols). The barcode tells about the origin country, quality, type, and in some cases price of a product. Naturally, bar codes of different products differ one from another, but there's one thing they all have in common, without exception: the number 666.
Any of us can easily spot it on any barcode: two thin parallel lines which are a bit longer than the rest -- at the beginning, middle and end of the barcode. This is the number '6' from the second set. These lines are called the 'security strips'. Sometimes the number '6' from a different set is used but the result is the same: three sixes, or '666'.
Well, the exact same coding is present on the Schengen passport.
Last year, when the question of Greece's entry into the Schengen Agreement was being discussed, the abbot of one Greek Orthodox monastery, Archimandrite Nektarios, asked the opinion of an information technology expert from Athens, Thomas Psarasos. Here's a portion of the scientist's reply, dated April 7, 1997:
Most Respected Father Nektarios!
In connection with your question about the technical justification for the use of the number '666' in the barcode system and on 'smart cards', I state the following:
For correct scanning of the barcode, without mistakes, hidden double parallels are used, at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of the digital information, which, by will of fate represent the number '6'.
To prevent the copying of information on the barcode by photographic means, the information is now commonly put on a magnetic strip.
...The problem of theft of the cards will finally be solved by other means. For example, we should mention the technical terms 'F' (forehead) and 'H' (hand). In this way the card can be used only by a person having the corresponding number on his forehead or hand.
[Here are the appropriate verses from the Book of Revelations:
13:16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
13:17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. -- Editor]
Let's put aside for a moment the stunning paragraph about marking of the hand or forehead with an individual computer code. That's the subject of a separate discussion. Let's try first to answer the question: Why the strange and insistent attachment to the 'number of the beast' on the part of the creators of the New World Order? You see, specialists unanimously affirm that the 'base code' for the so-called 'security strips' could have been any collection of digits.
That same summer, when discussions about Greece's entry into Schengen were taking place, I happened to make a trip to America. What stunned me was the disproportionate number of 666's in New York. It was like someone's tasteless and sinister joke. Three giant 6's stood atop one skyscraper. They were also present on the roof of the taxi whose driver offered to take us to the airport. In my hotel room in the 'Marriott-Marquis' on Broadway I noticed the same number on my telephone: the emergency help number, as it turned out. At the end of my stay I couldn't hold out any longer and asked a resident of the city why this number is so often seen there.
With unexpected seriousness and after a long pause my interlocutor answered my question with a question: "Can't you guess why?"
I replied that, to be honest, much to my horror I had already guessed, but that I'd been trying to write off my suspicions as the product of my 'Orthodox backwardness' and 'fundamentalism'.
"Don't write off your suspicions", answered my interlocutor, as serious as before. "Your supposition is correct. With that number we have more luck, that's all."
"We must await the enemy, and he's already sent his forerunners and is waiting to move in for the kill", wrote St. Cyril of Jerusalem. "Therefore, keep an eye on yourself, man, and guard your soul. The Church has already told of the Antichrist before his coming. Whether that will happen in your lifetime, we don't know. But you would do well to know about it and take warning. If you yourself bear signs of the Antichrist, don't keep it to yourself but tell others.... For the secret of lawlessness is already in action."
By St. Cyril's time in the Fourth Century and even before, in Apostolic times, the Church had already acknowledged that the "secret of lawlessness is already in action." But we've perhaps never been so literally on the brink of the fulfillment of Christian prophecies about the end of the world as today.
For that reason the Synod of the Hellene Orthodox Church, the Synod of the Cretan Church and the Kinot (the monastic governing body) of Mount Athos appealed last year to the Greek government with identical petitions, one of which, from the Hellene Synod, we will now quote:
The Holy Synod makes the following appeal to the government:
• not to accept the code number '666' for the electronic passports;
• to appeal to the leadership of the European Union member countries having a Christian culture to discuss the replacement of the number '666' in the Union's unified computer system with any other number;
• to ensure that the number '666' not be present in any form on the new Greek internal passports.
On June 12, 1997 the Greek parliament ratified the Schengen Agreement by a narrow majority.
Pravoslavie ili Smert' is an Orthodox Christian journal published in St. Petersburg, Russia
Be wise Ukraine
Ukraine Foreign Ministry Doubts that Putin May Speak About Split of Ukraine Should It Enter Shengen Zone
The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine calls in doubt that Russian President Vladimir Putin may state that should Ukraine enter the Shengen Zone, it would remind the split of Germany into East and West. This statement was published by “Kommersant” Russian newspaper yesterday.
According to an UNIAN correspondent, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s deputy spokesman Dmytro Svystkov has claimed this at the press conference today.
“We doubt the possibility of such statements by Russian President V.Putin. The information, published in the newspaper, contains absurd and illogical theses”, said he. D.Svystkov has noted that the Ministry is studying the authenticity of this statement.
D.Svystkov has express a belief that V.Putin knows very well that not a Russian population, but citizens of Ukraine live in the country and make up a single state. According to D.Svystkov, it is unclear what kind of split is concerned – what should play the role of the Eastern Germany, which is still recovering from the consequences of its totalitarian past. D.Svystkov has stressed that the people, disseminating such statements, are working against the interests of Ukrainian and Russian nations.
Yesterday Russian newspaper “Kommersant” published the statement of Russian president Vladimir Putin, who believes Ukraine’s entering Shengen Zone will harm Russian interests.
Putin told that to German and Russian editors-in-chief during the press conference held in Hanover.
Putin thinks there is a “humanity aspect” in the question of Ukraine’s membership in EU.
”If Ukraine enters Shengen Zone that will be a problem. There is about 17% Russian population living in Ukraine”, - he said.
”That’s split of the people. That resembles pretty much dividing of Germany into Eastern and Western”, - he added.
Russian president also stated that revolutions take place in countries with “advanced level of democracy like Ukraine, Georgia, Kirgizia. Putin offered mass media to think about that. “That’s your hometask”, - he said.
One of German publishers said: “What if it’s about the zones of influence the countries are in and that has nothing to do with democracy?
”That you’ve said, not me”, - cheered up Putin, says Kommersant.
From Pope John Paul II
FAREWELL ADDRESS TO THE PEOPLE OF UKRAINE
Pope John Paul II
TOGETHER YOU CAN BUILD THE FUTURE
United you will be able to face the challenges of the present time
On Wednesday, 27 June, at the airport of Lviv, during the departure ceremony, the Holy father summed up his pastoral visit in Ukraine with an address that expressed his great thanksgiving to the Nation for the cooperation that made the visit a success.
He mad a last plea for the peace, reforms, unity and harmony that will bring true stability and growth to Ukraine. "People of Ukraine, it is into the fertile soil of your own traditions that the roots of your future stretch! Together you can build that future; together you will be able to face the challenges of the present time, inspired by the common ideals of the present time, inspired by the common ideals that for the indelible heritage of your past and recent history". Here is a translation o f the Holy Father's Ukrainian address.*
I want to thank Mr Leonid Danilovic Kuchma very much for his courageous invitation to me to visit Ukraine. I want to thank all those who contributed to make a success my pastoral visit with the faithful of the Catholic Church in Ukraine and with the people of your wonderful Nation. May God bless your service, Mr President, for the good of the Ukrainian people.
Mr President of the Republic of Ukraine,
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. The moment of farewell has arrived. With affection I greet all of you here present and through you I greet the people of Ukraine whom I have come to know better during these days. I especially greet the people of the cities of Kyiv and Lviv who welcomed me, and those who came from other cities and regions to meet me.
Great Thanksgiving to a heroic nation for historic exploits and current generosity
Upon my arrival, I felt embraced by the affection of the city of Kyiv with its golden domes and tapestry of gardens. I then experienced the traditional hospitality of Lviv, a city of famous monuments, rich in Christian memories.
I am now sad to leave this land, which is a crossroads of peoples and cultures, where over a thousand years ago the Gospel began its course to spread and take root in the historical and cultural fabric of the peoples of Eastern Europe. To each and every one of you I say again: Thank you!
2. Thank you, Ukraine, who defended Europe in your untiring and heroic struggle against invaders.
Thank you, civil and military Authorities, and all of you who in different ways and with great generosity have cooperated in ensuring the successful outcome of my visit.
Thank you, dear Brothers and Sisters, who are part of this Christian community, "faithful unto death" (Rev 2:10). It has been my long-standing wish to express my admiration and appreciation for the heroic witness that you have borne during the long winter of persecution in the past century.
Thank you for your prayers and the long spiritual preparation you made for this meeting with the Successor of Peter, so that he would be able to confirm you in faith and help you to live in the fraternal love that "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Cor 13:7).
As I depart from Ukrainian soil I extend respectful and heartfelt greeting to the brothers and sisters and to the Pastors of the venerable Orthodox Church.
I bear you all in my prayer and I greet you all in Saint Paul’s words of blessing to the Christians of Thessalonika: "May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways" (2 Th 3:16).
3. May the Lord give you peace, People of Ukraine, who with tenacious and harmonious dedication have at last recovered your freedom, and have begun the work of rediscovering your truest roots. You are committed to an arduous path of reforms aimed at giving everyone the possibility of following and practising their own faith, culture and convictions in a framework of freedom and justice.
May Ukraine take her place in the concert of a united Europe
Even if you still feel the painful scars of the tremendous wounds inflicted over endless years of oppression, dictatorship and totalitarianism, during which the rights of the people were denied and trampled upon, look with confidence to the future. This is the opportune time! This is the time for hope and daring!
My hope is that Ukraine will be able fully to become a part of the Europe which will take in the entire continent from the Atlantic to the Urals. As I said at the end of that year 1989 which was of such great importance in the recent history of the continent, there cannot be "a peaceful Europe capable of spreading civilization without the interaction and sharing of the different though complementary values" which are characteristic of the peoples of East and West (Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, XXX/2, 1989, p. 1591).
4. In this important and significant transition, the Church, conscious of her mission, will not fail to exhort the faithful to cooperate actively with the State in the promotion of the common good. There is in fact a social charity, which is expressed in "service to culture, politics, the economy and the family, so that the fundamental principles upon which depend the destiny of human beings and the future of civilization will be everywhere respected" (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 51).
Furthermore, Christians know that they are by right an integral part of the Ukrainian nation. They are so by virtue of a thousand-year history, which began with the baptism of Volodymyr and Kievan Rus’ in 988 in the waters of the Dnieper river; but they are especially so today, because of the baptism of blood which they received in the course of the tremendous persecutions of the 20th century: in those terrible years countless were the witnesses to the faith, not only Catholics but also Orthodox and Reformed Christians, who underwent deprivations of all kinds for love of Christ, in many cases even to the sacrifice of their lives.
Promote unity and harmony as the secret of true social progress
5. Unity and harmony! This is the secret of peace and the condition for true and stable social progress. It is thanks to this combination of intentions and actions that Ukraine, homeland of faith and dialogue, will see its dignity recognized in the community of nations.
The solemn warning of your great poet Taras Shevchenko comes to mind: "Only in your own house will you find truth, strength and freedom". People of Ukraine, it is into the fertile soil of your own traditions that the roots of your future stretch! Together you can build that future; together you will be able to face the challenges of the present time, inspired by the common ideals that form the indelible heritage of your past and recent history. The mission is common to all; may the commitment taken on by the entire Ukrainian people also be common to all!
To you, land of Ukraine, I renew my wish for prosperity and peace. You have left unforgettable memories in my heart! Goodbye, friendly people, whom I embrace with sympathy and affection! Thank you for your heartfelt welcome and hospitality, which I shall never forget!
Goodbye, Ukraine! I make my own the words of your greatest poet and I invoke every blessing of the "strong and just God" upon the children of your land, "a hundred times stained with blood, once a glorious land". Dear Brothers and Sisters, with your poet and with you I say: May God protect you always, "O holy, holy, land of mine!".
I ask Almighty God to bless you, the people of Ukraine, and to heal all your wounds. May his great love fill your hearts and guide you in the Third Christian Millennium towards a new future. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!
Weekly Edition in English
4 July 2001, page 7
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