City centre in Chișinău (Municipality of Chișinău) MOLDOVA
A scandal has erupted in Chișinău with international resonance. In the central park of the Moldovan capital, Orthodox priests tore down Jewish religious objects placed in honour of the holiday of Hanukkah. In this regard, the Israeli Foreign Ministry protested to the Moldovan government, the US Embassy condemned what happened, and the Moldovan Ministry of Justice recognised that it was an anti-Semitic riot and claimed that the only beneficiary of this action would be the Communist Party. Vulgar elements shook out a bag full of monkeyshines. The destruction of the menorah, a set of ritual candlesticks placed by the Jewish community in Moldova to mark a religious holiday, happened on Sunday, and, by Wednesday, the situation grew into a sizable scandal, rippling far beyond the republic.
Meanwhile, people in the Moldovan capital remembered the Kishinyov anti-Jewish pogroms in the last century. They also called to mind the World War II-era concentration camps in present-day Transdnistria, where Romania exiled Jews under armed guard. Not only are the Jews in the city uneasy, but, Russian residents of Moldova have not forgotten the terrorisation of the early 90s, when yobbos threatened to send them “beyond the Dniester”. In short, the city is abuzz about where the country is heading, about the authorities, “those folks who sent a minority up the river”, and who want to hand it over “to those Romanians”. The communists, who ruled Moldova for the eight previous years, made the blunt declaration that the incident was the fault of the new leadership.
Moreover, what happened came as a bolt from the blue. Every year, Hanukkah is marked in the city centre, but, no one ever interfered with it and it never caused a stir amongst the Orthodox population. The fact that, this time, people dressed in Orthodox vestments disrupted this holiday, came to many as a shock. Alexandru Tănase, the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Moldova, assured our NG correspondent that the vandals were not ordinary people in costume. He said that it was a group of priests from the Society of St Matrona of Moscow headed by Archpriest Anatoly Chibrikov. According to Mr Tănase, the Society belongs to the Moldovan Metropolia of the MP. Videotape caught everything that happened in the park on 13 December. Mr Tănase said that the group had previously organised protests, and always “followed certain elements”. This time, he claimed that the beneficiaries of the incident are the communists. Mr Tănase said that, without a doubt, the rally was anti-Semitic, as evidenced by the actions of its members and the insulting slogans they chanted.
He told our NG correspondent that he had created a special investigatory commission in the Justice Ministry to look into the incident. According to Moldovan law, the Justice Ministry is responsible for oversight in anything concerning the affairs of religious and non-governmental organisations. In this case, Mr Tănase said, the ministry will work with the Moldovan Metropolia of the MP, which declared that, on the one hand, this scandalous action was contrary to its teachings, but, on the other, it asked the question why the Jewish community chose the central park of the city for its holiday commemoration. According to Mr Tănase, this question is not to the point.
Meanwhile, the public asks questions of not only the Metropolia, but, also, of the Moldovan government. One of them is, “Why did the municipal police remain passive in the face of an actual riot?”
16 December 2009
Независимая Газета (Nezavisimaya Gazeta: The Independent Newspaper)
As quoted in Interfax-Religion
NG is one of the leading media outlets in Moscow. It is clear that there were “Orthodox” elements engaged in this riot. As the Association of Orthodox Experts pointed up, these elements are Diomidovtsy (those who supported the deposed Bishop Diomid Dzyuban of Andyr and Chukhotka). That is to say, they are extremists outside of the mainstream of the Church.
I condemn this riot without equivocation, just as St John of Kronshtadt spoke out clearly against the Kishinyov Pogrom of 1903. I would say to all who try to exculpate the vandals, “Read your true Orthodox history”. Remember St John of Kronshtadt. Remember the unnamed Greek country pappas who stood against the Fascists in World War II by saying, “Our Lord Christ was a Jew”. If you wish to hate… well, I can’t stop you… but, I will stand against you.
This is shameful. This is a blot upon us. I would say to all decent Jews and all decent people, “I am sorry that some used the Church as a cover for their hatred”. That was wrong. However, I refuse to abase myself before loud self-appointed “spokesmen” or throw a pinch of incense on the PC altar. Will an honest and decent Jew step forward to offer an apology for how some Jews treat Christian clergy in Israel? It’s a two-way street, after all.