The St Aleksei Central Medical Clinic of the Moscow Patriarchate now offers free medical care to those who need it. This is being extended not only to those who live in the raion assigned to the hospital, emergency cases delivered to the casualty ward, clergy and parishioners of the Church, but, to all people who need medical care. This is a major step in the development of the hospital as a charitable institution, the website of the commission for social work of the diocesan council of Moscow reports. The goal of free treatment for all was set long ago; however, many practical difficulties had to be overcome to allow the diocese to do so.
12 January 2008
This is a practical sign that the Church is re-entering all spheres of charitable activity that it practised prior to the Revolution. How many American hospitals offer free care to all?
Representatives of Orthodox patriotic groups in the Ukraine urged the leadership of the Ukraine not to enter NATO. “We, as Orthodox Christians, see NATO as the military arm of Western civilisation. This is a threat to all Eastern Slavic peoples in its unwarranted expansion to the east”, read a statement from the patriotic group Pravoslavny Vybor (Orthodox Choice) and the Orthodox Brotherhood of St Aleksandr Nevsky given to Interfax on Tuesday. A telling detail, according to the statement, was that “the NATO bombing of the fraternal and allied people of Serbia and its ancient Orthodox shrines did not cease even during the holy season of Easter”. They believe that the intention of certain Ukrainian politicians to realise membership in NATO “is treachery and treason to the essence of the Ukrainian culture and people”. The release further continues, “The entrance of the Ukraine into the political and military structure of the West can be compared with the Union of Lublin in 1569 between Poland and Lithuania, which was a precursor of the so-called Union of Brest that led to a severe persecution of the Orthodox Church in Western Russia and to the oppression of our Orthodox ancestors”.
“Therefore, we believe that the actions of the Ukrainian leadership are anti-national, as they are in contradiction to the opinion of the majority of Ukrainians, who oppose the entry of our country into NATO”. Orthodox activists have asked the Ukrainian leadership to withdraw their letter of application for NATO membership sent to that organisation’s headquarters in Brussels. If the Ukrainian leadership refuses to do this, they call for the resignation of those who wrote the letter, specifically, Arseniya Yatsenyuk, the chairman of the Supreme Rada, who placed her signature on the letter without consulting the Rada, and Yuliya Timoshenko, “who signed the letter, and then used deceit to fool the voters (in the recent election)”. They issued an appeal for all Ukrainians to take part in the anti-NATO demonstrations planned by Orthodox patriotic groups in Kiev on 21 February, 20 March, and 3 April. The last date mentioned is the day of the beginning of the NATO summit in Bucharest that shall examine the application of the Ukraine for membership.
12 February 2008
Florists and souvenir vendors in Riyadh received a harsh “recommendation” (from religious authorities) not to sell purple roses on the Eve of St Valentine’s Day. Furthermore, owners of stores were forbidden to sell goods of red or purple colour on that day. The religious police confiscated and destroyed goods they considered to be “contraband” in the course of morning and evening inspections, according to a report Tuesday in the newspaper Trud (Labour). The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia strictly prohibits the public observation of any Christian holiday. Sheikh Abdel Aziz ash-Sheikh, supreme mufti of Saudi Arabia, called St Valentine’s Day “an idolatrous Christian holiday”. In the opinion of the religious police, measures against St Valentine’s Day are meant to forestall manifestations of immorality amongst the population, such as marital infidelity or premarital sexual relations.
12 February 2008
Thank God for the people at Trud. Apparently, political correctness doesn’t muzzle people in Russia! If Muslims wish their beliefs to be respected, and if they wish to be left in peace for expressing their belief in public (as is right and proper), they should do likewise to those of different faiths who live amongst them. Muslims can express their faith openly and publicly in Russia… what about the Christians in Saudi Arabia? Does not the same standard of fairness apply to them? There appears to be a double standard here.
Vladimir Yakunin, chairman of the memorial board of trustees
A memorial dedicated to the White Guard Russians of the corps of General Kutepov who died in the Turkish city of Gelibolu (Gallipoli) in the 1920s shall be dedicated on 17 May 2008, the board of trustees of the memorial reported to Interfax. “The realisation of this project is an important landmark in the integration of all Russians, both in the homeland and abroad, a process that began with the historic reconciliation of the two branches of the Russian Orthodox Church”, said Vladimir Yakunin, co-chairman of the memorial board of trustees in Moscow. Mr Yakunin is also chairman of the Centre for Russia’s National Glory and the St Andrew the First-called Foundation.
Mr Yakunin stated the dedication of the memorial in Gelibolu shall occur exactly one year after the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion in Moscow between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Mikhail Yakushev, the Vice President of the Centre for Russia’s National Glory and chairman of the memorial’s working group, reported that the construction of the memorial is now 70 percent complete. The memorial shall include a museum dedicated to the sojourn in Turkey of the White Guard émigrés in the 1920s, this last item being an idea of the Mayor of Gelibolu. In January 2008, the solemn laying of the cornerstone of the memorial took place, and a time capsule was placed inside it. The materials inside the capsule were signed by Mr Yakunin, Sergei Lavrov, the Foreign Minister of the RF, and Aleksandr Sokolov, the Minister of Culture and Mass Media of the RF. According to Russian records, 342 White Guard émigrés died during the time of the stay of the White forces in Gallipoli in the 1920s.
11 February 2008