Interior of Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow (Fyodor Klages, 1883)
Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, Deputy Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, said that Russia needs to keep its Byzantine heritage alive in order not to be left behind by the march of history. “The Italian professor Silvio Ferrari, a prominent specialist on church and state relations, once said, ‘The Byzantine Empire fell apart because it couldn’t take in other civilisations. Rome survived as it managed to enculturate the barbarians’”, Fr Vsevolod wrote in the next instalment of his series Scraps published in the newspaper Pravoslavnaya Moskva (Orthodox Moscow).
He said that Byzantium did not vanish without a trace, “it was reincarnated in Russia. It survived to the degree as it managed to convert many peoples to its faith. In both cases, Roman and ours, it happened because society had the force to convey its faith despite the limits of state and ethnos”, Fr Vsevolod said. “This force is the Church of Christ, which realises that life of every state and nation is limited in space and time, but it strives to preach to ‘the far and the near’, even to its enemies. May the Lord make us such a force. It will make Russia ‘Byzantium without its faults’, (a Byzantium) that will never be dropped into the dustbin of history. Let it be!” Fr Vsevolod wished.
29 February 2008
Farewell to America of Patriarch St Tikhon (Filipp Moskvitin, 2003). In view of the Golgotha being suffered today by the native priests and faithful of the Alaskan Church so loved by St Tikhon, this was the only appropriate artwork for this article. May St Tikhon intercede for his native children, and may it be swift!
The relics of Patriarch St Tikhon of Moscow and all Russia are to visit parishes of the Russian Church in the US and Canada, Vladimir Yakunin, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of both the Centre for Russian National Glory and the St Andrew the First-called Foundation, said on Wednesday. “Today, we plan to bring the relics of St Tikhon from Russia to America”, Mr Yakunin said in addressing Metropolitan Laurus, the First Hierarch of the ROCOR, in the Pokrovsky Cathedral of Ss Martha and Mary Convent when the latter was decorated with the order of the international prize For Faith and Faithfulness of the St Andrew the First-called Foundation.
The relics of St Tikhon shall be brought to the US and Canada in autumn 2008 so that the Orthodox faithful abroad can venerate them. Earlier, Metropolitan Laurus addressed such a request to Patriarch Aleksei Rediger of Moscow and all the Russias and the St Andrew the First-called Foundation. Speaking at a press conference at the Ss Martha and Mary Convent, Metropolitan Vladimir of Tashkent and Central Asia confirmed that Patriarch Aleksei blessed the proposal to bring the relics to Orthodox parishes abroad. Vladyki Vladimir recalled that last autumn the Foundation brought the relics of St Aleksandr Nevsky to Orthodox parishes in Russia connected with the saint’s life and deeds. St Tikhon was canonised at the Episcopal Sobor of the Moscow Patriarchate on 9 October 1989. His relics are in the Grand Cathedral of Donskoy Monastery in Moscow.
27 February 2008
Visoki Dečani Monastery of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo, a World Heritage Site (this is one of the beautiful treasures threatened by the UCK terrorists)
Circles in the Moscow Patriarchate are concerned over the future of Orthodox shrines in Kosovo after its UDI from Serbia. When asked by the Vesti TV channel if there is a danger of their destruction as a result of the UDI of Kosovo, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, said, “Surely, there is such a danger”. “It is impossible to number all the shrines. Many churches and monasteries date back to the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries and they are under UNESCO protection. However, we know how tenuous this protection is. Monasteries are set on fire, churches are destroyed”, he said. “If this world heritage site is demolished in the centre of Europe in the 21st century, then, what is it all about? What criteria of international policy and future European society can be discussed, if we destroy some of the greatest memorials (of Christian civilisation)?” Metropolitan Kirill asked. He believes that “it is the greatest challenge to those who control this process in Kosovo”.
29 February 2008
The UDI of Kosovo threatens Orthodox shrines at Lake Ohrid in Macedonia, said Dr Natalya Narochnitskaya, the President of the Historical Prospects Foundation. “Illegitimacy always gives raise to extreme trends both in religion and in politics. It (Kosovo: Interfax) shall be a state that claims territories in other countries in accordance with the doctrine of Greater Albania. It is not a secret”, she said in an interview on the Vesti TV channel.
“Why do they (Europe and the USA: Interfax) pretend not to see it? Don’t they know that the Greater Albanian idea aims to seize 40 percent of Macedonia and the North-Western part of Greece and to make Lake Ohrid an Albanian sea? Christian and Orthodox shrines are located there”, Dr Narochnitskaya noted. She commented that the relics of Ss Naum and Clement who enriched the Slavonic alphabet with additions to its grammar after Ss Cyril and Methodius are located there.
“Who remembers that Christian shrines in Kosovo were not only plundered and set afire, they were desecrated? I saw authenticated photos of altars covered in excrement, an icon of the Mother of God pockmarked with bullet-holes defaced with the inscriptions “UCK” and “Peter’s Europe keeps silence”. It is strange and inexplicable. So short sighted”, she said. Dr Narochnitskaya also considered groundless the hopes of the USA that support from Kosovar Albanians “will compensate for the hatred of the Islamic world to the United States”.
She believes that Albanian extremists initially aim to occupy only a part of territory they claim. “The most dangerous kind of terrorism is the sort aiming for territorial changes. This terrorism is not dangerous for the US as the only thing that global terrorism wants from them is non-interference in their business. However, this is exactly what threatens Russia and Europe”, Dr Narochnitskaya remarked.
29 February 2008