Voices from Russia

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Estonian Bear Caught Trying to Enter Russia

Filed under: animals,humour/wry/"people are funny",Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

A brown bear was caught by an Estonian environmental inspector in the Narva River swimming toward the Russian border, the newspaper Eesti Paevaleht reported on Friday. The bear swam almost 100 metres (@330 feet) until it was noticed by the official, who was on a barge. Frightened by the barge horn, the bear swam back to Estonia. However, when the barge moved away, the bear re-entered Russian territory, swimming to Ivangorod, some 160 kilometres (@100 miles) west of St Petersburg, before later swimming back to Estonia.

16 May 2008



Editor’s Note:

Was this bear originally from Estonia or from Russia… only the Shadow knows! Hmm… is he the same bear who shouted Preved! (“Hi!”, also slang for “surprise!”) at the lovers in the field? Perspiring minds want to know…



The New First Hierarch of the ROCOR was installed in New York

Metropolitan Hilarion Kapral of New York and Eastern America (1948- ), installed officially in New York today.


The Solemn Elevation of Metropolitan Hilarion Kapral of New York and Eastern America, the First Hierarch-elect of the ROCOR, to the full dignity of his office took place Sunday at the Cathedral of the Sign in New York City. Archbishop Hilarion of Sydney, Australia, and New Zealand was elected First Hierarch of the ROCOR on 12 May at a session of the Archbishops’ Council of the ROCOR in New York to succeed the late Metropolitan Laurus Škurla. On 14 May, the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate confirmed the decision of the ROCOR hierarchs.

According to the present practise of the Orthodox Church, a Solemn Elevation is celebrated when a new First Hierarch of a Local Church is installed. In the MP, only the patriarch and the First Hierarchs of the Autonomous Churches (the ROCOR is one of the latter) are installed with a Solemn Elevation. In the Local Churches that follow the Greek tradition, a Solemn Elevation is performed at the installation of every bishop.

Before the beginning of the Divine Liturgy Sunday in the Cathedral of the Sign in New York, two senior bishops of the ROCOR elevated the new metropolitan on the episcopal ambo (a small elevated platform in the centre of the nave) and they exclaimed, “Axios!” (Greek for “He is worthy!”) This exclamation was first repeated by the bishops and the clergy, and then the choir repeated it. Then, the clergy robed the newly-proclaimed First Hierarch in the centre of the nave, after which two clergymen brought the metropolitan his episcopal crown. The oldest hierarch of the ROCOR presented the staff to the metropolitan. This was a gift of the Diocese of Sydney, Australia, and New Zealand, and it was blessed upon the relics of Patriarch St Tikhon of Moscow the New Martyr.

The gramota (official confirmation) and the personal greetings of Patriarch Aleksei were brought by Archbishop Innokenty Vasiliev of Korsun, the head of the MP commission during the dialogue with the ROCOR. At the conclusion, the choir sang “Many Years” to the newly-installed First Hierarch of the ROCOR.

Patriarch Aleksei wished that God would bless the new head of the ROCOR in the performance of his coming duties. His Holiness also touched on the preparation for the forthcoming Archbishops’ Council of the MP, which the bishops of the ROCOR shall participate in for the first time, the official website of the MP reported. In addition, with the blessings of the patriarch, Archbishop Innokenty conferred the Order of St Sergei of Radonezh (second class) upon Metropolitan Hilarion. His Holiness granted this honour to Vladyki Hilarion on the occasion of his elevation to the post of First Hierarch, for his zealous service to the Church, and in celebration of Vladyki Hilarion’s 60th birthday.

In his reply to Archbishop Innokenty, the metropolitan emphasised the extraordinary importance of the reunification of the two branches of the Russian Orthodox Church that took place a year ago. He also noted that only the day before, on Saturday 17 May, the Archbishops’ Council of the ROCOR approved a new Prayer of Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the Unity Achieved, which is set to be read on the Ascension of Our Lord, the feast days of Grand Prince St Vladimir, Grand Princess St Olga, the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, and on the Day of Remembrance of All Saints that have Shone Forth in the Russian Land. This prayer shall replace the prayer previously said in all parishes of the ROCOR for the salvation of Russia.

Metropolitan Hilarion and Archbishop Innokenty then engaged in a lengthy, personal, and cordial discussion covering various aspects of church life in the ROCOR, how to strengthen and reinforce the spiritual connections between our Orthodox compatriots abroad and the homeland, and the developments in the practical relations between the dioceses and parishes of the ROCOR and the MP.

18 May 2008



St George Ribbon Campaign is Gaining Popularity in Russia and Throughout the World

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

President Vladimir Putin (1952- ), wearing the St George Ribbon on Victory Day, 2007

Those watching the 9 May Victory Day parade in Red Square could not fail to see the St George ribbons on the lapels of President Dmitri Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. It was the very first time that the Russian number-ones publicly joined the St George Ribbon campaign.

The history of this campaign is quite remarkable. It started three years ago, in 2005, as a mostly Moscow-based action to mark the 60th anniversary of the Great Victory over Nazi Germany. Passers-by were presented with ribbons in the colours of the Order of St George in memory of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45 and as tokens of our never-dying gratitude to our veterans. People attached the ribbons to their clothing and tied them to car antennas and other belongings.

St George Ribbon

Let me explain about this ribbon. The ribbon of the Order of St George is one of the most recognised and respected symbols of military valour in Russia. This black-and-orange-striped ribbon, 3 black stripes and 2 orange ones to be exact, is said to derive its colours from the Russian imperial coat of arms. This ribbon was a part of the regalia of the Order of St George, established in 1789 as the highest military decoration of Imperial Russia. The distinction passed on to the Soviet army. Among my father’s military decorations there is one called “For the Victory over Germany”, attached to a St George ribbon.

During the first year of the St George ribbon campaign in 2005, some 600,000 ribbons were handed out. This campaign, launched by public organisations, had a tremendous success and was blessed by the Patriarch. The next year, 4 million ribbons were distributed, and in 2007, some 10 million ribbons were given out. The St George ribbon campaign grew rapidly in all countries with sizeable Russian populations. This campaign was accompanied by fund raising to help hospitalised war veterans and needy veterans.

The St George ribbon campaign success story has several roots. Firstly, the idea was in the air because the St George ribbon is basically nothing else but a version of the currently-popular awareness ribbons. Most know that awareness ribbons are short pieces of ribbon folded into a loop and a way for the wearer to make a subtle statement of support for a cause or issue. The meaning behind the awareness ribbon depends on its colour. For example, a red awareness ribbon is most commonly associated with the fight against AIDS and HIV.

Lest we forget… the Scarlet Poppy, an inspiration for the St George Ribbon

Another root and inspiration for the St George ribbon campaign was the Scarlet Poppy, an international symbol for those who died in battle. Since November 1921, when the first poppies were distributed in Canada, they turned into a sign to commemorate soldiers who died in wars. The commemoration period starts in late October, and the Poppy is usually worn at any time after that date on the left lapel of a garment or as close to the heart as possible. So far, we have no St George ribbon dress code, and I have seen people attaching it to any part of their clothing and even to pets. Currently, the St George ribbon is worn only at the time of Victory Day celebration. I think that finally we shall follow a tradition of the Scarlet Poppy. It is not limited to the annual Remembrance period; a person may wear a Poppy any time they wish to do so.

The stunning success of the St George ribbon campaign resulted from the prevailing public mood, for according to a nationwide poll, 94 percent of Russians believe that Victory Day on 9 May is a very important day. The importance of this day can be found in the fact that 64 percent of all Russian families had a family member killed in the Great Patriotic War. As for my family, two of my cousins were killed in October 1941 defending Moscow. Therefore, it is no wonder that, according to a poll, 76 percent of Russians were positive about the St George ribbon being attached to one’s clothing or to a car. Negative responses primarily expressed displeasure about this sacred ribbon being used to decorate a car, mobile phone, dog, or any other non-human object. I would agree… just imagine a Scarlet Poppy being hooked to a car antenna or to a dog-collar. But, the St George ribbon custom is only 3 years old, and we have not yet developed a proper ribbon code.

The stunning success of the St George ribbon campaign is quite interesting as an example of the grassroots democracy emerging in Russia. Here, I would like to compare Victory Day as symbolised by the St George ribbon with the official Russian Independence Day known now as the Russia Day. It’s celebrated on 12 June and it is a non-working day. But, even today, only 3 percent of all Russians are aware that on 12 June 1990, the Congress of People’s Deputies of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic adopted a declaration of state sovereignty for the Russian Federation. This holiday, imposed from the top, is the most unpopular of all national holidays, whilst Victory Day, which Russians celebrate on 9 May, is the most-loved. The ribbon of St George that symbolises our martial glory and the remembrance of our fallen heroes succeeded where Independence Day failed. This tiny ribbon is enthusiastically worn as a symbol of patriotism, a concept which rises above politics and other personal convictions.

14 May 2008

Vsevolod Marinov


Voice of Russia World Service

18 May 2008. A Shot of Culture, if you please…

Filed under: art music,fine arts,military,music,patriotic,performing arts,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

All 100+ museums in Moscow shall stay open throughout the night from late Saturday to early Sunday

Part of the Tsaritsyno Museum Complex

All 100+ museums in Moscow shall stay open throughout the night from late Saturday to early Sunday. Admission is free. It is part of a cultural event occurring throughout all of Europe today. Many museums shall present performances, concerts, literary meetings, historical re-enactments, and master classes. The Tsaritsyno Museum Complex will offer night-time tours and a laser show.

17 May 2008


Slavic Written Language and Culture Day celebrations in Tver

19th century Russian icon of Ss Cyril and Methodius

The ancient Russian city of Tver is the centre of celebrations marking Slavic Written Language and Culture Day. This holiday traditionally falls on 24 May in Russia. The programme that started on Sunday included a festival of spiritual culture and sport events. An international conference devoted to the Slavic world is a part of the programme. Amongst its participants are representatives from the CIS, the US, and Canada. This is the only combined state and church holiday in Russia. It was established in memory of the brothers Ss Cyril and Methodius, who developed the Cyrillic alphabet.

18 May 2008


Odessa pays homage to the famous Russian commander Marshal Aleksandr Suvorov

The Storming of Ochakov on 6 December 1788 (Yanuary Sukhodolsky, 1853)

The climax of the ceremonies devoted to the 208th anniversary of the death of Marshal Suvorov (who wrote a book entitled The Science of Victory) was a salvo from cannons near the city of Ochakov on the Kinburn Bay-bar. A monument to the commander was erected there. In one of the many battles he fought in the Crimea, Russian forces led by Marshal Aleksandr Suvorov defeated the Turkish army near Ochakov on 1 October 1778 (the city definitively fell to the Russians in 1788). The city government of Odessa decided to erect a monument to the commander and rename a street in Odessa in his honour.

18 May 2008


Delphic Games started

Logo of the 1999 Delphic Games in Saratov

On Saturday, the seventh Delphic Games started under the slogan of “Our future is in the family”. Over 200 young talents from across Russia participated in a competition for the best new faces in culture, fine arts, and practical crafts. They displayed their talents in singing, dancing, reading, cooking, cosmetology, photography, carton animation, and musical performance. Each classification shall have its own winner. The Delphic Games started in Greece 582 BC when they were staged like the Olympic Games, but, they covered creativity in both the fine and useful arts.

18 May 2008


Voice of Russia World Service

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