Voices from Russia

Thursday, 19 June 2008

An Ultra-modern Sukhoi Su-34 Strike Aircraft to be named after St Nikolai the Wonderworker

Filed under: Christian,military,Orthodox life,patriotic,religious,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

Sukhoi Su-34 multipurpose strike aircraft of the Russian Air Force

A brand-new Sukhoi Su-34 multipurpose strike aircraft was named after St Nikolai the Wonderworker, in a ceremony held whilst the crew was undergoing combat familiarisation training at the Lipetsk air base, Vladimir Kakhlenko, the assistant to the base commander for press affairs, told Interfax on Wednesday. On that day, the aircraft was ceremoniously blessed, and it was revealed that an image of the saint was painted on its fuselage. This was a joint effort of the Diocese of Lipetsk and Yelets, the Lipetsk air base, and the All Russia Fund of St Nikolai the Wonderworker. The St Nikolai Fund also sponsored the celebrations in honour of the 55th anniversary of the Lipetsk Chkalov Combat Aircrew Training Centre. The Fund is also going to render financial assistance in the construction of a chapel on the air base for the attached personnel.

18 June 2008




The MP deems as a Hostile Act the EP’s Decision to Consecrate New Bishops in Estonia

Cathedral of St Aleksandr Nevsky in Tallinn (Estonia), the mother-church of the canonical Estonian Autonomous Orthodox Church (MP)

The election of new bishops for the uncanonical EP jurisdiction in Estonia is not warranted by pastoral need and shall needlessly complicate Orthodox relations in Estonia, the Moscow Patriarchate stated. “The decision to consecrate new bishops is not relevant to the actual pastoral needs of the small number of believers in the EP church, for official information from the Ministry of Interior says that they number only some 25,000”, according to a statement of the press-service of the MP Department for External Church Relations posted on the MP official web site on Wednesday.

This commentary was offered by the DECR regarding the results of a meeting of the EP jurisdiction in Estonia in Tallinn on 12 June. Bishop-designates for the Tartu and Pjarnu-Saarremaa Dioceses were elected and it was announced that the process of “restoring the Estonian Orthodox Church” through the establishment of a Holy Synod would soon be complete. The MP noted that information from the Ministry of Interior states that the number of adherents of the MP Estonian Autonomous Orthodox Church is some 170,000 under the pastoral care of 60 clergymen. “According to the best information, the churches of the EP in Estonia are sparsely attended, and many of their parishes only hold services sporadically. The election of new bishops shall hardly improve this situation, as the majority of Estonian Orthodox believers wish to preserve their ties to the Mother Church of the Moscow Patriarchate”, the statement said.

The MP sees the motives of the decisions taken on 12 June “as an attempt to create an outward impression that there is a vigorous church life in order to gain recognition as a canonical autonomous church from other Local Orthodox Churches and to secure the support of international Christian organisations. This action of the EP jurisdiction, which is not warranted by actual pastoral need, is directed towards the acquisition of one-sided advantages and shall only needlessly complicate Orthodox relations in Estonia. In addition, these actions shall only hinder the dialogue between the MP and EP in regards to the resolution of disputes over church properties in Estonia and the canonical status of the two jurisdictions”, the statement noted. The so-called “Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church”, founded by the EP in 1996, is considered an uncanonical body by the MP and all other Local Orthodox Churches.

18 June 2008



The Moscow Patriarchate says the Proposal of Bishop Diomid to end the Dialogue with the External World is Dangerous

Fr Vsevolod Chaplin (1968- ), Zamglavy of the MP DECR

The MP Department of External Church Relations says that the proposal issued by the Chukotka diocesan assembly headed by Bishop Diomid urging the Church to give up its dialogue with the state and adherents of other religions is dangerous. The Chukotka clergy recently agreed to this proposal as a protest against the DECR’s dialogue with the state, and with members of other confessions and religions. In the opinion of the Chukotka clergy, this negatively influences the purity of the Orthodox faith. Meanwhile, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the Zamglavy (Deputy Head) of the MP DECR, considers that such views are gravely mistaken, Interfax-Religion reported. “Isolation is always a sign of weakness, whilst rejection of organised dialogue always means defeat and death. If you retreat and go into isolation, you shall become easy prey for those you are hiding from”, he said in answer to questions from journalists in Moscow.

In any case, Fr Vsevolod confessed that he would have “great joy” if the DECR were abolished, as it would give him more time for pastoral work, for thought, and for doing good works that could help solve many of the church problems of the 21st century. Perhaps, he could work in youth education, or he could found his own theological school. “However, I cannot imagine how people who suggest abolishing the DECR would act if they become responsible for formulating the relations of our Church with those external groups the DECR tries to cooperate with”. Fr Vsevolod is convinced that “if we do not foster relations with these groups, our Church would soon face very hard blows such as its moral implosion, subservience to the secular government, and the mass conversion of most of its adherents to other religions and confessions… this scenario is more than real”.

“Therefore, it is rash to think that it is possible to hide in a cave from the necessity to build relations with the outside world. In any case, it is impossible to hide, they will reach right in and worm into your soul”, he emphasised. In his opinion, if the Church does not engage in dialogue with the leadership of various countries, with other confessions or religions, and with the political and public world “it would very soon prove to be defenceless”. Bishop Diomid of Anadyr and Chukotka became notorious last year after his introduction to an unpublished book was issued. It contained sharp criticism of Patriarch Aleksei II and other clergy for their contacts with the state and for their participation in the ecumenical dialogue.

19 June 2008



The Moscow Patriarchate Urges the State to Issue a Moral Evaluation of the Murder of the Imperial Family

Fr Vsevolod Chaplin (1968- ), Zamglavy of the MP DECR

The MP believes that the Russian state should issue, on the 90th anniversary of their deaths, a moral evaluation of the murder of Tsar St Nikolai II and his family. “Thus far, the state has not said that the murder of the imperial family was a crime. Until the state issues a moral evaluation of the actions of those who ordered their imprisonment, those who ordered the imperial family guarded under close arrest, and those who gave, approved, and executed the command to shoot them, until the state does this, in the form of a substantial symbolic gesture on the part of the leadership leading to a clarification of this question in the public consciousness, Russia shall be impeded in its future progress if it does not rid itself of the historical blemishes on its conscience”, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the Zamglavy (deputy head) of MP Department for External Church Relations, said in answering to questions from journalists in Moscow.

He expressed disagreement with those who advocate that all Russians repent of the sin of regicide. “I am against ceremonies of national repentance”, he said. “Man bears the imprint of original sin, but, that is cleansed in baptism. However, any talk of repentance for ancestral or national sins contradicts our dogma concerning salvation”. Fr Vsevolod is convinced that “we should heal the wound to the public conscience that arose from the murder of the imperial family”. In particular, it is puzzling to Fr Vsevolod that the discussion over the renaming of the Voikovskaya metro station in Moscow has been so prolonged, for it was named in honour of one of the murderers of the imperial family. “No onerous difficulties arose over the renaming of two other metro stations, which, in my view, were much less in need of renaming”, he noted, referring to the Bittsevsky Park and Delovoi Tsentr (Business Centre) stations.

He regrets that there is “reticence” about the question of our attitude to the shooting of the imperial family and that “there are people who say openly that there is no need to restore the reputation of Tsar Nikolai and that there is no need to condemn the Bolsheviks”. In Fr Vsevolod’s opinion, such people “are losing the argument today because society is beginning more and more to realise the truth… the Bolshevik leadership was a criminal organisation, and that the Bolsheviks seized power, the people had no part in it”. The more society learns, the more it poses questions such as “how should we assess this criminal organisation, how do we judge what it did, and how should we treat its heritage”, he noted. “Perhaps, there was probably much in Russia that needed correction… there was World War I, social and economic problems existed… but, the Red Terror corrected nothing, no crisis could ever justify the absolutely criminal activities of the Bolshevik rule in Russia”, Fr Vsevolod emphasised. In conclusion, he expressed the opinion that “Russia cannot advance to the future with a free conscience, if we think that what the Bolsheviks did is normal”.

19 June 2008



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