Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Russian Orthodox Church Mourns the Death of Metropolitan Laurus

Metropolitan Laurus Škurla of New York and Eastern America (1928-2008), First Hierarch of the ROCOR, architect of the reconciliation of the ROCOR and MP on 17 May 2007. 


The Russian Orthodox Church sees the death of Metropolitan Laurus Škurla, Archbishop of New York and Eastern America, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), as a great loss for the Christian world. He reposed in peace at the age of 80 in Jordanville NY on 16 March. The head of the ROCOR died on the first Sunday of the Great Lent, which the Church celebrates as the Feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy. Undoubtedly, all his life Metropolitan Laurus had worked for a triumph of Russian Orthodoxy. The would-be Metropolitan was born in 1928, a year after a split in the Russian Orthodox Church that was provoked by the events around the Russian Revolution and Civil War of the early 20th century, and the refusal on the part of Russian clergy abroad to defer to the new authorities. Many priests had left Russia, and they set up Orthodox parishes in the emigration. This split lasted for almost 90 years, and it was only overcome on 17 May 2007 when the historic Act on Canonical Communion between the two branches of the Russian Orthodox Church was signed in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, an event that was attended by a great number of the faithful.

According to Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, a spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Laurus did whatever what he could to reunite and reconcile the two branches of Russian Orthodoxy. “Metropolitan Laurus played an important role in the reconciliation of the ROCOR with the MP. When he headed the Holy Synod of Bishops of the ROCOR, the process of unification was stepped up through the work of joint commissions, discussions, and exchange of visits. Before the unification, Metropolitan Laurus visited Russia several times and prayed in Russian churches. Certainly, this advanced the integration of the two branches of Russian Orthodoxy”. Within the past year, Metropolitan Laurus visited Russia twice, in May 2007, and, again, last month. During his last visit to Moscow, Metropolitan Laurus took part in the work of the 12th World Russian People’s Council. For his performance of spiritual endeavours, his struggle against vice, and for his development of virtues and dedicated service to the Church, Metropolitan Laurus was awarded with two Russian prizes, “Compatriot of the Year” and “For Faith and Loyalty”. He is also the holder of the church order of St Sergius of Radonezh.

17 March 2008

Voice of Russia World Service



Russia Marks the 102nd Anniversary of the Establishment of its Submarine Forces

Filed under: military,patriotic,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00


Russia established its submarine forces 102 years ago today. On 19 March 1906, submarines were added to the list of the navy’s combatants. At present, nuclear and diesel submarines of the latest models are being added to the Russian Navy. In particular, eight strategic missile submarines of the Borei class shall shortly be put into service. Holiday events to mark the Day of Submarine Forces shall be held today everywhere in the country.

19 March 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


Russia Returns Stained-Glass Windows to the Marienkirche in Frankfurt am Oder in Germany


Detail from a 14th century stained-glass window from the Marienkirche in Frankfurt am Oder, Germany

Russia continues to return stained glass windows from the Marienkirche in Frankfurt am Oder in Germany, which were taken to the Soviet Union at the end of the Second World War. After returning 111 items which were kept at the Hermitage in St Petersburg, it is now delivering 6 more from the storage vaults of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. Russia has classified these artefacts as purely religious items; therefore, they must be repatriated to their native location.

19 March 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


The Decision of Metropolitan Laurus to Restore the Unity of the Russian Church was His Way to Golgotha According to Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov


Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov (1958- ), Superior of the Sretensky Monastery

Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov, the superior of the Sretensky Monastery, said the decision of the late Metropolitan Laurus to restore the canonical unity of the ROCOR with the Church in the motherland was “very courageous”. “It’s very interesting to think about this decision’s background. Metropolitan Laurus realised that the numerous opponents of reunification would direct their fire against him if he said, ‘Yes, there shall be reconciliation’. There would be not only positive criticism and sincere objections, but defamation, dirt, and slander. Indeed, this was how it happened”, Fr Tikhon said in an interview on theVesti (News) TV channel.

In his opinion, Metropolitan Laurus knew “exactly what he would have to face. There is a popular belief in the Church that a pastor goes to his Golgotha at the close of his days. Metropolitan Laurus entered upon this Golgotha consciously and voluntarily. It is hard to imagine how much mud was thrown at him, a man of simple and holy life”, Fr Tikhon said (note well that Archimandrite Tikhon was one of the active participants in the negotiations leading to the reunion in the Church).

He noted that the First Hierarch of the ROCOR “was enormously respected and honoured by his flock because of his age and his position. It would have been a simple thing for him to have simply grumbled, ‘It is not time for this, yet’. Everyone would have said, ‘Oh isn’t Vladyki so shrewd! Indeed, we have to put it on hold. Not everything in Russia or in the Russian Church is clear. Metropolitan Laurus decided wisely. Let’s wait’. However, he did not choose to take this seemingly-safe and cautious route”, Fr Tikhon emphasised.

19 March 2008



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