Metropolitan Lavr (Laurus) Škurla (1929-2008) (left) and Patriarch Aleksei Rediger 1929- ) (right). Please, note how Vladyki Aleksei is discreetly holding Vladyki Laurus’ arm and supporting him. Was Vladyki in worse health than most of us knew?
Patriarch Aleksei Rediger of Moscow and all the Russias expressed his condolences in connection with the recent death of Metropolitan Laurus Škurla, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. “We pray that the soul of the newly-departed Metropolitan Laurus shall find rest in the heavenly mansions”, the patriarch said in a telephone conversation with Archbishop Mark Arndt of Berlin and all Germany, the second deputy chairman of the Holy Synod of the ROCOR. The press service of the Moscow Patriarchate reported that His Holiness expressed his deep and sincere condolences to the Holy Synod, clergy, and faithful of the ROCOR in regards to the recent passing of its Primate. He also noted the prominent role of Metropolitan Laurus in the restoration of the canonical unity of the Russian Orthodox Church after decades of tragic separation in the 20th century due to the consequences of the Red victory in the civil war.
16 March 2008
Fr Nikolai Balashov, of the Moscow Patriarchate Department of External Church Relations
The Moscow Patriarchate thinks that the death of Metropolitan Laurus, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) and Archbishop of New York and Eastern America is a huge loss, and that it was symbolic that he died on the day of the Feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy.
“Vladyki Laurus managed to complete his lifework. He became a part of history, as he united the ROCOR with the Church in the motherland. It is remarkable that he died on the very day that the Church celebrates as the Feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy”, Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, secretary of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, told Interfax-Religion. “Of course, this is a huge loss for the whole Russian Orthodox Church”, he said. Fr Nikolai expressed his satisfaction that Metropolitan Laurus was able to visit Moscow last month, “and we clearly saw that he was happy because his lifework had been completed”. “He spoke much about the good things that the unification last year of our churches has brought to the Russian people abroad”, he said.
16 March 2008
The First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Metropolitan Laurus Škurla, Archbishop of New York and Eastern America, passed away on Sunday at the age of 80, the ROCOR official website reported. Metropolitan Laurus passed away on the day the Church celebrates the Feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy. He was born Vasili Mikhailovich Škurla on 1 January 1928, in the village of Ladomirovo, in present-day Slovakia (then, a part of Czechoslovakia). He was ordained to the diaconate in 1950, and became a hieromonk in 1954. Fr Laurus graduated from Holy Trinity Theological Seminary in 1954, and was appointed its inspector in 1960. He was elevated to archimandrite on 17 April 1966. Archimandrite Laurus was consecrated bishop of Manhattan on 12 August 1967, and appointed Archbishop of Syracuse and Holy Trinity Monastery on 20 October 1981. In July 2001, he became the deputy to the First Hierarch of the ROCOR, Metropolitan Vitaly Ustinov. Later, that same year, Laurus was elected First Hierarch of the ROCOR and Archbishop of New York and Eastern America. Metropolitan Laurus was actively involved in restoring the canonical unity of the Russian Orthodox Church that was broken after the Red victory in the civil war. Metropolitan Laurus will be buried in the cemetery at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville NY, alongside previous First Hierarchs of the ROCOR. The ROCOR administrative centre is situated in Jordanville at Holy Trinity Monastery.
16 March 2008
Authorities in Riga approved a march by former Waffen-SS legionaries due to be held on Sunday. These marches have become a regular occurrence in Latvia and neighbouring Estonia. Meanwhile, organisations opposing the glorification of fascism were denied permission to hold their own rallies today. Earlier, the Latvian Socialist Party published a statement strongly condemning any attempts to revive the Nazi ideology. The government, however, seems to completely ignore the fact that the notorious Waffen-SS divisions that operated in countries under German occupation during the Second World War were declared illegal by the Nürnberg Tribunal. Incidentally, Hitler’s book Mein Kampf is on sale without hindrance in any bookstore in Riga.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has repeatedly voiced concern over the idolisation of fascism in a number of European countries. In Fieldkirchen in Austria, a local ultra-right group and German neo-Nazis staged a gathering under the slogan “A Jew Was and Remains an Enemy”. In Germany, Udo Voigt, the leader of the extreme right-wing National-Democratic Party, announced recently, “Our time has come”. There are neo-Nazi groups in Hungary and other European countries.
Last autumn, Russia presented at the UN General Assembly session a draft resolution aimed to prevent the spread of Nazism and racist movements. It came as a big surprise when 33 countries, some members of the EU included, abstained from voting. A military expert, General Nikolai Leonov, told us how Russia could have acted in such a situation.
“We can discuss the issue in all international organisations, including the European Court in Strasbourg. Fascism can receive other names, but, its essence will always remain the same. All countries condemn this system, that is why we should be persistent to achieve our goals”.
Russian MPs have long been discussing a draft resolution to ban neo-Nazi factions from spreading their activity in Europe. Moscow wants the UN Security Council to accept the initiative and make the resolution obligatory for all UN members.
16 March 2008
Voice of Russia World Service