Voices from Russia

Sunday, 14 December 2014

14 December 2014. A Multimedia Presentation. Ho, Ho, Ho… po-stilom Russkoye! Dede Moroz in Veliky Ustyug

00 Dede Moroz. Veliki Ustyug 01. 14.12.14

The one-and-only truly legit and official 100% certified Kosher Dede Moroz House in Veliky Ustyug

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Dede in Belarus… Dede is EVERYWHERE! You don’t have to know Byelorussian to have fun with this one

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Rockin’ the New Year for the kids

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00 Dede Moroz. Veliki Ustyug 02. 14.12.14

Here’s the New Year Yolka inside the Dede Moroz House… it’s secular, not Christian… PARTY FOR EVERYBODY!

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The Buranovskiye Babushki singing Party for Everybody… and that DOES mean EVERYBODY…

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Russian Ded Moroz… a Russian New Year song

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00 Dede Moroz. Veliki Ustyug 03. 14.12.14

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A modern New Year song (A Forest New Year’s) for kids… good stuff… smile awhile and remember your own childhood

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Just a kids’ song… Two Cats… just fun

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THIS IS STUCK TO THE TOP OF THE PAGE FOR THE DURATION OF THE HOLIDAYS… Scroll down for new stuff.

It’s that time o’ year, kids. It’s holiday time… don’t give me that “war on Christmas” crapola. Several religious and secular holidays DO coincide, so, “Happy Holidays” is more appropriate in a secular context. Of course, in Christian venues, “Merry Christmas” is welcome… but even there, one sees a place for “Happy Holidays”… ever heard of New Year’s or Epiphany? Remember, there’s a world of difference between “secular” and “secularist”. Furthermore, there’s nothing wrong with the latter, so long as it isn’t “theomachistic” or “anti-Faith”. I respect all faiths… including Secularism. I don’t hold with many of them, but I do respect the people who hold them.

Let’s keep the spirit of the season (and do pass the spirits, please… 80 proof or better, hon). After all, Dede is watching you… and he’s got a secret line to Santa!

BMD

Thursday, 18 December 2014

18 December 2014. Yesterday was the “Angel Day” for All the Barbaras Out There

00 St Barbara. Russian. 18th century.

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01k Angel Day

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Yesterday was the “angel day” (Name Day) for all the Barbaras in the world (I guess that includes me, too!). OOPS! I had a note to myself on my machine, but I had “writer’s block” big-time yesterday. I just couldn’t come up with anything. It happens sometimes… you just sit back, let it run its course, and things DO return to normal. I’ve gotten over it and I seem to be as full of P&V as always! It’s interesting… my angel day is 17 December and Nicky’s is 19 December (St Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra)… there’s only two days difference. However, our birthdays are six months apart (mine is 8 April and Nicky’s is 16 October).

Raise a glass and cheer for all the Barbaras in the world. We emulate our heavenly exemplar, who’s the patron saint of miners and hard work… ponder that. Two years ago, I wrote:

St Barbara is venerated widely amongst our traditional parishes. Almost every old-school Russian Orthodox parish in America and Canada has an icon or stained glass window of her. That’s because she’s “the patroness of COAL MINERS and all who toil in the bowels of the Earth”. Many of our working-class forebears asked for, and received, her intercession and protection from harm. Have you noticed how, in certain quarters, she’s ignored and no longer honoured with liturgies on her day? Are some of us ashamed of the coal dust and sweat on their dede’s back? Are others so disdainful of the founders of our parishes that they deliberately turn a blind eye to Baba’s sacrifices? On top of that, do the half-converted Anglo new arrivals even consider these hard-scrabble “Polacks” and “Hunkies” worthy of respect (without the efforts of these solid working-class folk, there’d be no Church for these upper-middle “searchers” to come to)?

Three years ago, I wrote:

It’s why we have to continue the fight today. Our Orthodox forebears fought the good fight… it’s why our generation was blessed with prosperity. At present, the GOP and the teabaggers are trying to smash everything that our Orthodox grandparents won through a hard and arduous struggle. Don’t forget their legacy… it’s our past! Ask for St Barbara’s intercessions… she’ll point to our grandparents and say to us, “Do likewise”. That’s what we should do… it’s how we can honour not only their legacy, but Christ’s mandate to us to build a fair and just society. God wills it!

I haven’t changed my mind. Cheers to all of you!

Бог благословит!

BMD

President Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz’s Speech to the Cuban Nation and People on the Recent Developments in Cuban-American Bilateral Relations

04 Raul Castro with Patriarch Kirill

President Raúl Castro Ruz’s policies align Cuba in a tacit alliance with the BRICS; it remains close to both Russia and China in their struggle with the West

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Since my election as President of the State Council and Council of Ministers, on many occasions, I’ve reiterated our willingness to hold a respectful dialogue with the USA based on sovereign equality, to deal reciprocally with a variety of topics without detriment to the national Independence and self-determination of our people. On several occasions, both publicly and privately, Comrade Fidel conveyed this stance to the US Government during our long-standing struggle, stating our willingness to discuss and solve our differences without renouncing any of our principles.

The heroic Cuban people, in the wake of serious dangers, aggressions, adversities, and sacrifices, proved their continued faithfulness to our ideals of independence and social justice. Strongly united throughout these 56 years of Revolution, we’ve kept our unswerving loyalty to those who died to defend our principles since the beginning of our wars of independence in 1868. Today, despite difficulties, we’ve embarked on the task of updating our economic model to build a prosperous and sustainable Socialism.

Because of dialogue at the highest level, which included a phone conversation I had yesterday with President Obama, we’ve been able to make headway to solve some topics of mutual interest for both nations. As Fidel promised on June 2001, when he said, “They shall return!” Gerardo, Ramon, and Antonio arrived today in our homeland. Hundreds of solidarity committees and groups, governments, parliaments, organisations, institutions, and personalities, who for the last sixteen years made tireless efforts demanding their release, share the enormous joy of their families and of all our people, who relentlessly fought for this goal. We convey our deepest gratitude and commitment to all of them. President Obama’s decision deserves the respect and acknowledgement of our people.

I wish to thank and acknowledge the support of the Vatican, most particularly the support of Pope Francisco, in the efforts for improving relations between Cuba and the USA. I also want to thank the Government of Canada for facilitating high-level dialogue between the two countries. In turn, we decided to release and send back to the USA a spy of Cuban origin who worked for that nation. On the other hand, for humanitarian reasons, today, we also sent the American citizen Alan Gross back to his country. Unilaterally, as has always been our practise, and in strict compliance with the provisions of our legal system, the concerned prisoners received legal benefits, including the release of those persons that the US Government had conveyed their interest in.

We also agreed to renew diplomatic relations. In no way does this mean that we’ve solved the heart of the matter. The economic, commercial, and financial blockade, which causes enormous human and economic damages to our country, must stop. Although the blockade is part of American law, the President of the USA has the executive authority to modify its implementation. We propose to the US Government that we adopt mutual steps to improve the bilateral atmosphere and advance towards normalisation of relations between our two countries, based on the principles of International Law and the UN Charter. Cuba reiterates its willingness to coöperate in multilateral bodies, such as the United Nations.

Whilst acknowledging our profound differences, particularly, on issues related to national sovereignty, democracy, human rights, and foreign policy, I reaffirm our willingness to dialogue on all these issues. I call upon the US Government to remove the obstacles hindering or restricting ties between peoples, families, and citizens of both countries, particularly restrictions on travelling, direct post services, and telecommunications. The progress made in our exchanges proves that it’s possible to find solutions to many problems. As we’ve reiterated, we must learn the art of coexisting with our differences in a civilised way.

raul castro17 December 2014

Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz

President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba

President of the Council of State of Cuba

First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) 

Greanville Post                         

http://www.greanvillepost.com/2014/12/17/the-new-opening-with-the-usa/?utm_campaign=Newsatme&utm_content=The%2BNew%2BOpening%2BWith%2Bthe%2BUSA&utm_medium=news%40me&utm_source=mail%2Balert

Editor:      

By doing this, President Obama makes it clear that he, not the GOP Greedsters, will set the tone of debate for the next two years. I expect further actions… firstly, he acted unilaterally on immigration, now, he’s acting unilaterally on Cuba. You see, the pinheaded Republican Affluent Effluent didn’t expect these actions, so, they’re not reacting in a reasoned way. BHO is carefully turning up the heat under the ignoranus Know-Nothing GOP to provoke them into stupid statements (not a hard task, truly… the GOP isn’t called the “Stupid Party” for nought). Instead of pursuing their own agenda, the Republicans HAVE to respond to BHO’s moves or have their crackbrained base savage them. In short, its sweet revenge for BHO… he’s FAR smarter than the Republican imbeciles think that he is. His foreign policy towards Russia is a shambles… but I’d say that Russia is VERY low on his list of priorities. His real focus has always been domestic policy. I expect that the next executive order could involve the ACA or homosexual rights… with an anti-Wall Street action an outside possibility.

BHO seized the high ground from the clueless Republican stumblebums (any bloc with the likes of Ted Cruz in the leadership certainly isn’t stellar in the brains department)… he’s looking forward to 2016. Don’t bet on Hillary… remember WHY the Democrats nominated BHO… “He wasn’t Hillary”. Ponder that.

BMD

A Colloquy on Scripture and the Church

00 Orthodox Bible image

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Editor:

My interlocutor is in plain type; I’m in italics and indented.

BMD

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Most likely, you use the Authorised Version. You’ll both find these sites to be amazingly helpful resources!

http://www.kjvtoday.com/

http://www.thekingsbible.com/

I’m trying to publicise these sites as much as possible. I can’t see how they’d find a “place” on your blog but perhaps you could send them around to Orthodox folks you know?

Of course… I use the KJV/AV in all my scripture quotes, as it’s the closest equivalent in English terms to the Russian of the Synodal Edition. I could post something… as part of one of my periodic “chats with readers”… I’m due for one…

It amazes me how many Christians hate the AV. Why? It goes like this:

Reformer:

Oh! I never use the KJV! I prefer modern translations. After all, they all say the same thing. There’s no place where the modern translations contradict any Christian dogma! (BTW: not true)

Traditionalist:

Oh! OK! Since there’s “no contradiction”, we’ll keep using the KJV.

Reformer: 

NOOOOOOOOOOO!

Yup. These sites expose the failings of the modern translations and support the AV’s validity. Did you know that St Kyrillos Lukaris, Patriarch of Constantinople, sent manuscripts to the AV translators? It has Orthodox roots! Kyrillos was Patriarch of Alexandria then. Alexandria glorified him as a saint in 2009 or thereabouts.

It’s the same argument used by those who want to drop Staroslav. I’d say that there’s less confusion than the intellectuals think. Firstly, the babas are NOT confused. Secondly, Staroslav is closer to modern Slavic languages than Old English is… for instance, some egghead idiots want to get rid of “zhivot”… well, the Modern Russian word for animal is “zhivotne” (“living thing”), so, I’d submit that the “confusion” is merely in the eyes of academic charlatans with a “reforming” itch… like the late Aleksandr Dmitryevich Schmemann!

Remember the “Reform” of Church Slavonic that everyone touted? You mentioned this on your blog. In time, the MP decided it was a waste of time. Obviously, some prissy “theological” types stirred a tempest in a teapot. Then, the Church looked to where the rubber met the road and dumped the whole idea. I’m sure that they’re writing tear-soaked epistles to Syosset…

I mean it…it’s time for Russian Orthodox people here in the diaspora to start seriously talking unity… it’s the only way that we’ll keep the feral in check. I’ll be blunt… I think that there’d be a “Rump OCA” after such a union… but the healthy parts would “come home”. It’s TIME… it’s time to overlook minor disagreements… we NEED to be together… that’s the lesson of the Ukrainian Civil War… the Ukies have unity, ergo their voice is heard. We’re shunted to the side… it’s our own fault!

However, you’re aware that Great Russian chauvinism is the curse of our unity? They disdain Rusins, Byelorussians, and Russophile Ukrainians and THAT has been the cause of our disunity. Don’t EVEN get the NEPA sorts started on THAT topic. “We’re ‘HIGH Russians’ and you people are ‘LOW Russians’. You’ll do as WE say”. UGH. Can you fight THAT?

Veliki Rus is the core of Holy Rus, but it isn’t the only part… Great Russia is the largest partner at table, but not the only one. God willing, “High Russians” like me can help move things right…

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I’m surprised that some elements in the Church use Evangelical distortions of Scripture. Such groups are only barely Christian (if they’re such at all)… not all those who say, “Lord, Lord”, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven… their ahistoricity and lack of a coherent liturgy, for me, put them outside of Christendom altogether. They’re pseudo-Christian sectarians, with no real and substantial ties to historical Christianity at all. Look at the Mormons, Pentecostalists, and megachurchers… to say the least, if we apply the standard of “lex orandi, lex credendi”, it’s clear that Evangelicals aren’t Christian at all. They have a bowdlerised distortion of the Holy Scriptures, no worship, no reverence, and no iconography… they’re closer to Muslims than they are to Christians (yet, look at how they HATE Muslims… when they’re closer to them than they are to REAL Christians). On top of that, they proselytise with vigour amongst our faithful… sane people don’t put an adder to their breasts!

We ordained far too many converts without insisting that they have sufficient time amongst us and without insisting that they pursue a FULL Orthodox clerical formation (that DOES take YEARS). Look at poseurs such as Josiah Trenham, and you can get a feel for what I’m saying. It’s coming home to haunt us. I fear that we’ll have a schism… either, we must recapture Orthodoxy in its fullness, or we’ll degenerate into “Evangelicals with a liturgical itch” (Fathausen was a sterling exemplar of such, with his signature on the Extreme Rightwing and Anti-Church “Manhattan Declaration”).

As always, the choice is yours…

BMD

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Eight Days of Hanukkah… Maybe, Not the Twelve Days of Christmas, But It’s Close

hanukkah candles in moscow     

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Hanukkah starts at sundown on 16 December; it’s a time for Jewish families to gather and celebrate miracles. The holiday celebrates the end of the Seleucid Greco-Syrian Empire in Jerusalem. The Maccabee brothers helped end the empire, which outlawed Judaism, and they had to rededicate their Temple. They only had a small drop of oil that miraculously lasted for eight nights, hence, the length of Hanukkah. Those who observe the Jewish holiday light a menorah in honour of these events each evening. To celebrate the Festival of Lights, some make latkes, watch Hanukkah movies or TV specials, or even find some quotes to share. Here are eight quotes about Hanukkah:

  • Hanukkah is about the spark of the divine in all of us made in God’s image. (Suzanne Fields)
  • As long as Hanukkah is studied and remembered, Jews won’t surrender to the night. The proper response, as Hanukkah teaches, isn’t to curse the darkness, but to light a candle. (Irving Greenberg)
  • The miracle, of course, wasn’t that the oil for the sacred light… in a little cruse… lasted as long as they say; but that the courage of the Maccabees lasted to this day; let that nourish my flickering spirit. (Charles Reznikoff)
  • The lights of the Hanukkah menorah that we kindle in our homes are a reminder both of the Menorah in the Temple in Jerusalem and the light that shines brightly within each one of us. For as it says in Proverbs 20.27, The candle of God is the soul of man. (Libi Astaire)
  • We light candles in testament that faith makes miracles possible. (Nachum Braverman)
  • Just as Hanukkah candles are lighted one by one from a single flame, so the tale of the miracle is passed from one man to another, from one house to another, and to the whole House of Israel throughout the generations. (Judah Leon Magnes)
  • Is not Hanukkah a symbol of Israel, and its light a symbol of his immortality? (Leo Jung)
  • Put on your yarmulke
    Here comes Chanukah
    So much funukah
    To celebrate Chanukah
    Chanukah is the festival of lights
    Instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights (Adam Sandler/The Chanukah Song)

16 December 2014

Nicole Massabrook

International Business Times

international http://www.ibtimes.com/hanukkah-2014-8-quotes-help-celebrate-jewish-festival-lights-1760120

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