Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Mother Cathedral

00 St Michael Cathedral. Sitka AK. 19.08.14


St Michael Cathedral is a great example of Old Russian church architecture. The greatest Orthodox Missionary in Alaska, Bishop Innokenty Veniaminov, designed it. He came to Sitka in 1834, returned to Russia in 1838, and became a bishop in 1840. He was the first Bishop of Alaska, and upon his return to Sitka in 1841, he began planning the construction of the cathedral. Bishop Innokenty laid the cornerstone in 1844 and hired carpenters and craftsmen to build it. The building used spruce logs with an outer layer of clapboard, and sailcloth covered the ceilings and walls for insulation and acoustics. The history of St Michael Cathedral began when a ship carrying the St Michael icon sank, along with all its valuable cargo, 30 miles short of its destination. Thirty days after the Neva sank, the undamaged crate carrying the icon washed ashore at Sitka and local residents found it On 20 November 1848, Bishop Innokenty consecrated St Michael the Archangel Russian Orthodox Cathedral. The building is laid out in the form of a cross, with three altars dedicated from left to right to the Mother of God “of Sitka”, St Michael the Archangel, and St Innokenty.

Bishop Innokenty learned how to speak the Tlingit language, and the Tlingits loved him, as he went all-out to understand their way of life and spiritual needs. He provided them with medicine and vaccines. Today, 90 percent of the cathedral congregation is Tlingit, as well as other native groups. The music in the liturgy is sung a capella (unaccompanied voice) in English, Slavonic, Tlingit, Aleut, and Yupik. Bishop Innokenty eventually returned to Russia and became the Metropolitan of Moscow and all the Russias. The Church canonised him a saint in 1977.

On 2 January 1966, tragedy struck the cathedral. A fire in Sitka’s business district in the middle of the night eventually spread to the church. Scores of local people rushed to the cathedral, where they formed human chains to remove most of the treasures… original artworks, icons, and religious objects, at the risk of their own lives. Unfortunately, the fire destroyed the structure, the clock built by Bishop Innokenty, Bishop Innokenty’s library, and bells. The Icon of the Last Supper above the Royal Doors in the main altar also perished in the blaze. Immediately after this tragedy, concerned citizens made plans to rebuild the cathedral in its original form, beauty, size, and style. They formed the Sitka Historical Restoration Committee, including many prominent citizens. It took 10 years to rebuild due to the difficult conditions peculiar to Alaska. The original plans were extant and they used them in the reconstruction. The replacement was completed and consecrated on 21 November 1976. The generous support of thousands of people in Sitka, throughout Alaska, and Lower 48 states made all of it possible.

The National Parks Service designated St Michael Cathedral a National Historical Monument and the OCA Holy Synod of Bishops named it an architectural and historical monument. To this day, its clergy serve a full cycle of liturgical services to accommodate the needs of Orthodox believers in Sitka, and it’s the “Mother Cathedral” of the Orthodox Church in America.

20 August 2014

Junjun Ablaza

Manila Bulletin


Saturday, 16 August 2014

16 August 2014. Now, For Something Entirely Different… There Be Orthodoxy in Darkest Africa, I Hear…

00 african orthodox church. 16.08.14



Do you know WHY Holy Orthodoxy is the fastest growing religion in Sub-Saharan Africa? Of course, it’s the True Faith and it appears to simple innocent people with signs and wonders. However, there’s more to it… unlike the RCs and Protestants, Orthodoxy appeared in Black Africa as ANTI-imperialist. It didn’t come in under the protection of the colonialists’ bayonets. Catholics, Anglicans, and Protestants all came to the black man as a part of the white man’s often brutal, sometimes patronising, but always condescending dictatorship.

On the other hand, Orthodoxy came to modern Africa from Greece and (especially) Cyprus. Cyprus, like much of Africa, had been under arrogant and arbitrary British rule and imperialism. Like the Africans, the Cypriots loathed their “paternal” overlords and their condescending snootiness… they struggled long and hard to break free. When Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda struggled for their freedom and dignity after World War II, they found rich support from Metropolitan Makarios of Cyprus, who furnished Africans with both spiritual weaponry (The Holy Faith) and material weaponry (military training and support from Cyprus).

The African peoples NEVER forgot this… Greeks and Russians (yes, even in the time of the USSR) won the love of the African peoples… and their Faith inspired Africans too… Orthodox Christianity. It was a Christianity free of the White Man’s Diktat. The struggle of the Kenyan freedom fighters against the Brit occupiers was a hard one, as the Brits had no scruples and spared no one. However, with God’s help, in the end, the natives kicked out the Brits and won their freedom. Cyprus was the first nation to recognise the sovereignty and independence of almost a dozen African states. Africans haven’t forgotten this… nor have they forgotten the cruelties of the conceited and snotty Western Europeans and Anglo Americans. We see their narcissism and wilfulness in the Ukraine today, don’t we? They sure haven’t changed, have they?


Letter of Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev to the Patriarch of Constantinople on the Current Situation in the Ukraine and Novorossiya

00 save donbass people 01a. 28.05.14


To write to you this letter brings me a deep sense of pain and extreme concern about the situation facing the flock of the Church in [Novorossiya], where a fratricidal civil war has raged for the last few months. Last autumn, at the beginning of the current Ukrainian political crisis, members of the UGKTs and schismatical “Orthodox” openly preached hatred of the Orthodox Church on the Maidan; they urged the seizure of Orthodox shrines and they called for Orthodoxy’s eradication from the Ukraine. Since the beginning of hostilities, Uniates and schismatics took up arms under the guise of the “anti-terrorist operation” and started direct aggression against the clergy of the canonical UPTs/MP. Nevertheless, the UPTs/MP, unlike the UGKTs and schismatics, remains alien to political bias. It continues to carry out its pastoral care of its believers, including those who find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict, trying to reconcile them, issuing constant calls for dialogue.

In recent weeks, we received reports from local bishops indicating abuse of canonical UPTs/MP clergy as they carry out their pastoral duties. Here are a few examples. On 17 July, during Divine Liturgy in the Church of the Resurrection in Slavyansk, a gang of armed men led by a UGKTs military chaplain threatened the rector Archpriest Vitaly Vesyol. The UGKTs “priest” stated that the MP doesn’t belong in the Ukraine, and lamented that the authorities wouldn’t let the Uniates steal the Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra. On 19 July, junta “soldiers” issued death threats to Archpriest Andrei Chicherinda, Dean of the Nikolaevsk Okrug of the Diocese of Gorlovka and Slavyansk, and they harassed and interrogated him, keeping him handcuffed. On 20 July, near Slavyansk, thugs armed with avtomats made Archpriest Vadim Yablonovsky dig his own grave, and on the same day, they nabbed Archpriest Viktor Stratovich, handcuffed him, and took him away with a bag on his head into the woods, where they forced him to grovel on his knees as they interrogated him.

July 30 in Krasnoarmeiskoe [in the DNR], a group of armed men illegally searched the home of Archpriest Igor Sergienko, rector of St Alexander Nevsky parish. They insulted Fr Igor, accusing him of taking part in clandestine organisations, threatened him with torture, demanded that he leave the Ukraine, and that he hand over the deeds to the parish property. On the same day, in Amvrosievska Raion [in the DNR], Ukrainian troops seized Archpriest Yevgeni Podgorny, showering him with abusive curses, bound him, and threw him to the ground. They kicked him, hit him with a rifle butt, and fired over his head, to force him to admit that he supported the opolchenie. They tried to force him to take off his priestly cross, but he refused, so, they tore if off by force, put a bag over his head, and threw him into a pit. Then, they threatened to kill his son, and robbed his house. Only his parishioners’ intervention saved Fr Igor.

We can’t ignore the fact that the conflict in the Ukraine has unambiguous religious overtones. The Uniates and schismatics try to overpower the canonical UPTs/MP, whilst the UPTs/MP continues to minister with patience and courage to its suffering believers in a tough environment. Priests serve in places that became battlegrounds; the majority remain with their flocks, sharing with them all the horrors of civil war. Their families suffer from attacks, lack of water and food, and shelling. On 31 July, Archpriest Vladimir Kreslyansky died of his wounds after a shelling of civilian areas in Lugansk, leaving behind a wife and five children.

[Novorossiya] was a fruitful land inhabited by millions of hardworking Orthodox Christians… now, it’s burnt-over and destroyed. Bombing destroyed Metropolitan Ilarion Shukalo‘s home (he heads the Diocese of Donetsk and Mariupol). Artillery shelling damaged the Diocesan Admin building in Gorlovka. The Convent of the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God in the Diocese of Donetsk lies in ruins, it burned during the fighting. However, the canonical UPTs/MP is a Martyr Church; it stays with the believers in spite of these difficult conditions, it does everything possible to help people who’re experiencing the worst times in modern Ukrainian history. The fire of civil conflict caused hundreds of thousands to lose their homes and become refugees. Many of them try to escape the horrors of war by finding shelter in churches and monasteries, in particular, in the Assumption Lavra in Svyatogorsk, which is full of refugees. In Donetsk, Gorlovka, and Lugansk, civilians try to escape the bombardments by staying in the churches at night; once there, they get free food and shelter. All UPTs/MP monasteries, parishes, and dioceses provide all kinds of assistance to refugees and ordinary civilians.

The MP as a whole uses every opportunity to provide humanitarian assistance to the civilian population in areas where fighting takes place. Daily, all MP churches offer special prayers for peace and the end of the internecine warfare in the Ukraine. The Church takes care of many thousands of refugees from [Novorossiya] in camps and in specially prepared facilitated located all over Russia. We provide assistance to all without distinction as to nationality or religion. Amongst those who sought refuge in Russia are many Ukrainian soldiers who didn’t want to shoot their own people.

These are perilous days for our Russian Orthodox Church, especially for the faithful believers in the Ukraine, I ask the prayers of Your Holiness, archpastors, pastors, monastics, and all the believers of the Holy Church of Constantinople for peace in the Ukrainian land, to stop the bloodshed, and to end the suffering of our brethren in the Lord, especially our archpastors and pastors, who in the most difficult conditions of civil strife continue to do their duty courageously, to serve the Church and defend Holy Orthodoxy. I ask Your Holiness to use every opportunity to elevate your voice to defend Orthodox Christians [in Novorossiya], which live in daily fear due to the worsening violence by Greek Catholics and schismatics, who fear that if the persecutors take power that they and their loved ones will face severe persecution if they don’t renounce their faith.

15 August 2014


Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias


MP official website



The only time that you and I can put a “cross” in front of a hierarch’s name is when it’s a signature on an official document THAT EXISTS IN THE ORIGINAL. Otherwise, to put a cross in front of a bishop’s name is ignorant konvertsy nonsense. Note who does it… then, ignore everything that they write, for if they’re spitting on the Church’s usage in this respect, it’s probably true that they’re doing so in others.

If your priest wears Uniate-style vestments without a cowl, he supports the persecutors of the canonical Church. This is all-too-often due to the baleful influence of SVS and Michael Dahulich. We’re paying dearly for their errors now… it’ll be a dog’s age before we root it all out (for we haven’t made a start yet). Yes, Virginia, such things AREN’T minor at all… we’re also paying for ordaining former Anglican (and other heterodox) clergy without insisting that they go to Orthodox seminary and receive a proper formation (that takes years), accepting disobedient clergy from other archdioceses (Maymon, Moriak, and Dahulich… a Terrible Trio if there ever was such), and allowing SVS to run rampant (when they chose Hatfield as their Führer it showed their disconnect with Lived Orthodoxy).

We have a job of work to do. We should follow HH… NOT John Jillions… NOT Victor Potapov… NOT Michael Dahulich… NOT Vassa Larina… you get the picture. We’ve fallen… and we REFUSE to get up. God do spare us the punishment that we so richly deserve for supporting the enemies of Christ’s Church…


Nationalists Firebombed Two UPTs/MP Churches in Nikolayev

00 St Semyon Cathedral. Nikolayev. 16.08.14


In Nikolayev, arson fires burned two UPTs/MP churches, St Semyon Cathedral and St Sergei Church. Local police sources said that both arsons occurred during the night of 15 August. According to preliminary information, the assailants threw Molotov cocktails into the affected buildings.

16 August 2014



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