Voices from Russia

Friday, 20 June 2008

To Cure Old Wounds: The First Hierarch of the ROCOR shall go to Moscow to Share his Experiences

Metropolitan Hilarion Kapral (1948- ), Archbishop of New York and Eastern America, First Hierarch of the ROCOR

Over the past several days, an official delegation of hierarchs from the ROCOR headed by its First Hierarch, Metropolitan Hilarion of New York and Eastern America, has arrived in Moscow to take part in the Archpastoral Council. Before he departed for Moscow, Metropolitan Hilarion answered questions asked by journalists.


This shall be your first trip to Russia in your capacity as First Hierarch of the ROCOR. How do you feel to be visiting the Russian capital?

Metropolitan Hilarion

This is far from my first visit to the capital city of Russia, but, now, when I am going to Moscow after accepting the labour of being the First Hierarch of the ROCOR, I feel a certain trepidation and a feeling of deep responsibility for our flock as I go to participate in the Archpastoral Council with my brother hierarchs of the MP. It is necessary for us to manifest to the world that we are capable of mutual love and understanding in our desire to be members of a united and indivisible church body.


What problems do you intend to draw attention to in your participation in the Council, which is planned to discuss, in particular, questions concerned with the Christian comprehension of human rights and the details of ecclesiastical tribunals?

Metropolitan Hilarion

At present, I am not as overly concerned about my own contribution to the deliberations of the Council as I am that we understand the urgency of the problems before us and we state our solutions to them in relevant joint statements of the Council. At the same time, I hope to introduce to the Council, and, through its agency, the entire Orthodox community in the motherland, my views on the special tasks of Orthodoxy and church life abroad. In an atmosphere coloured by a shared faith and church tradition, there are distinctive aspects dictated by differences in political and cultural life that shaped the historical path of Orthodoxy abroad.


On the day of your election as the head of the ROCOR you stated that “with outstretched arms we await the embrace of our separated brothers and sisters”. In your opinion, how complex is the task of continuing on the course of completing the reunification of the two parts of the Russian church?

Metropolitan Hilarion

I understand the full difficulty of the task of internal reunification, which has fallen upon me as primate, but, in reliance on God’s Will and His inscrutable plans, I understand my responsibility to my era, since according to the Apostle Hermes, the tower of the Church is built upon the people, each of whom has their unique place in its eternal foundation.


This is now the second year since the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion. How well is the reunification of these two sister-churches proceeding?

Metropolitan Hilarion

The reunification of the two parts of the church, this was, in reality, a healing of old wounds inflicted during the bloody years of the persecution of the Church. I would say that there were many different manifestations of this healing over the years, but, officially, it occurred publicly as you present it. The ROCOR always considered itself to be in a state of exile, she knew herself to be a branch united with the stem, but, the political situation directed otherwise, and this was part of our pain during the years of separation.

Today, our yearnings have been fulfilled. However, there was a problem in that some did not realise that the time for reunification had come, for, you see, here in the West, more so than in Russia, ecumenism is viewed as a much more serious threat.

Our parishioners, having been reared in Orthodox families, perceive this ecumenical virus as being mortally dangerous, and, as a result, they are extremely suspicious of any contact with bodies such as the WCC. The problem of the erosion of the spiritual boundaries of the Church, of using this as an excuse to not associate with the Church in the motherland, is one of the main reasons for distrust and disputes amongst us abroad.


What is the state of the ROCOR today? Are the problems that you are faced with in church life similar to those encountered by your brothers in Russia?

Metropolitan Hilarion

The ROCOR is still in many ways a church “in exile”. It found itself on foreign soil, and it had to survive in an environment with customs and a culture inimical to it, added to this was the struggle to maintain Russian cultural and religious values. Our problem is not in the number of our flock, but, in its national and class composition. Each parish has difficulties with the language issue, not so much in social interaction, as one finds in the services. Yes, our Russian parishioners love the services celebrated in the melodious Church Slavonic language. They perceive the closeness, the immanence, of the Orthodox sacraments in its poetry.

Although our non-Russian parishioners also love our moving hymnography, it would be ludicrous to expect everyone to study Church Slavonic, or even modern Russian, for that matter. The variety of nationalities in any given parish rivals that of the UN. As far as the tasks that we have in common with the church in the motherland, I would say one is Orthodox education, spreading the Word through preaching and theological exposition.

I hope that that our renewed church unity with the church in Russia shall strengthen our church life. I would also hope that our experience abroad would help the church in the motherland.

20 June 2008

Yuri Saikin

Vladimir Kakilo

Rossiskaya Gazeta (The Russian Newspaper)

As quoted in Interfax-Religion


Continued EP Provocation Forces the MP Delegation to Leave a Session of the Inter-Orthodox Commission on Rhodes

Bell-tower of St Mikhail the Archangel church in Arcangelos, on the island of Rhodes

A new conflict ignited between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Ecumenical Patriarchate because of the latter’s decision to include members of the non-canonical body under its jurisdiction in Estonia in its delegation to a meeting of the Inter-Orthodox commission on Rhodes. “Such manifestations of unilateral action from EP representatives make it extremely difficult to find a mutually satisfactory solution to the question of a canonical settlement of the situation within Orthodoxy in Estonia”, said a statement of the communications service of the MP Department for External Church Relations posted on the MP official website. It further noted that such actions “pose a dangerous threat to the actual implementation of Orthodox unity, whereas its reinforcement is one of the most important concerns of the MP. Responsibility for such incidents lies completely on the side of the EP”, the DECR message emphasised.

The MP delegation had to leave the commission’s session on Thursday and informed it that this incident would be reported to the members of the Archpastoral Council of the MP due to open on 24 June. The commission’s session was set to work out a draft message to the primates of the Local Orthodox Churches. The document was to be adopted at a planned meeting of Orthodox leaders expected to take place in October in Istanbul, at which the EP shall declare 2008 the year of St Paul.

Previously, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople invited Patriarch Aleksei of Moscow and all the Russias to participate in the autumn meeting. In his response of 3 June, Patriarch Aleksei expressed his desire to Bartholomew that the session of the Inter-Orthodox Commission tasked with preparing the draft document would respect the resolution of the MP Archpastoral Council of 2000 stipulating that MP clergy could not participate in inter-Orthodox forums when members of the uncanonical “Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church” (EP) acted as official delegates. “The letter went unanswered”, the DECR noted. Earlier, in October 2007, the same sort of provocation by the EP forced the MP delegation to leave a session of the Mixed Orthodox-Catholic Theological Commission in Ravenna, as members of the so-called “Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church” were amongst the EP delegation. This uncanonical body was established in 1996 by the EP on the canonical territory of the MP [without permission or release from the MP].

19 June 2008



Editor’s Note:

This is serious. However, one must gauge the contestants fairly and accurately. The MP, with over 140 million adherents, is 75 percent of world Orthodoxy. The EP has only 10,000 actual members on its canonical territory (Turkey). All of its other members are in dioceses seized by it whilst the Russian church was persecuted by the Bolshies. Great people… they kick others when they are down!

The conflict between the MP and EP has been a long time brewing. I believe that “High Noon” is near, and I do daresay that Moscow is going to win. Bartholomew is an Isidore, and his latest actions confirm it. I would suggest to Bartholomew’s Vatican paymasters that they rein him in or irreparable damage to Orthodox-Catholic relations shall ensue.

Why must we live in such “interesting times”?


Human Rights Record of the Baltic States to Top Russian-European Agenda

Filed under: Baltic states,diplomacy,politics,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

The Bronze Soldier in Tallinn. Extremist Estonian nationalists in the government impiously dug up the bodies of Russian soldiers and took the statue of the Soldier-Liberator out of town. Shame on them!


As it has granted the right to visa-free travel to Russia to the foreign residents of the Baltic republics, Moscow intends to raise the question of the record of the Baltic states in the field of human rights at the upcoming Russian-European summit. Konstantin Kosachyov, the chairman of the International Affairs Committee in the RF Gosduma, said in an interview with Voice of Russia that Russia would concentrate on the rights of the Russian-speaking residents of the Baltic republics as long as citizenship rights are denied to ethnic Russians in Latvia and Estonia. Kosachyov understands why Riga and Tallinn pursue that sort of policy in relations with ethnic Russians. However, understanding something is different from accepting and justifying something. Kosachyov saw that Riga and Tallinn have fenced off ethnic Russians in their desire to pretend that Latvia and Estonia are mono-ethnic countries, and, because it would be naïve to expect them to revise this stratagem, he would rather pin his hopes on foreign pressure. He spoke about discrete efforts to put pressure on Tallinn and Riga, and he’s confident that the combined power of the European Union, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and, since it describes itself as a democratically-oriented bloc, the North Atlantic Alliance should also be put to work in this field. That’s why, Kosachyov said, the human rights record of the Baltic republics deserves as much attention as the preparation of new agreements, the gradual elimination of red tape in cross-border travel, power production, and other problems. Almost half a million ethnic Russians are considered residents, but, not citizens, of these two Baltic republics. Their unemployment rate is over three times that of Latvians and Estonians. The few Russians who are citizens of the Baltic republics are denied the right to vote. Moscow, which is doing its best to encourage cultural and humanitarian contacts between ethnic Russians of Eastern Europe and the motherland, is worried very much about the situation in the Baltic republics. President Medvedev granted the right to visa-free travel to Russia to Russian residents of Latvia and Estonia. All Russians living in the Baltic republics may soon be considered compatriots officially. When they are, more effective moves to settle their problems shall be made by the government commission for the affairs of ethnic Russians abroad.

19 June 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

It’s a shame that the USA supports some of the nations that were the most enthusiastic supporters of Adolf Hitler. Croatia murdered over 600,000 Orthodox Christians, the Waffen-SS raised three divisions amongst Kosovar Albanians and Bosnians (they were disbanded because the SS considered them too thuggish… hmm), and Latvians, Estonians, and Galicians were willing and eager volunteers under the swastika. In all of these countries, veterans of the SS (and in Croatia, its Ustaše analogue) are given pensions and honours. Is the hatred of Russia so deep amongst certain factions in the American leadership that Nazis and their spiritual descendants are preferable? It does make one think…


Russian Economic Growth is accompanied by Economic Diversification

Filed under: business,economy,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

Standard & Poor’s has analysed the contemporary condition of the Russian economy to find that its gross domestic product has grown threefold over the past five years. Russia ranks as the tenth biggest economy of this planet and may rise to an even higher position within the next couple of years. Standard & Poor’s explains the notable growth of the past five years by the skyrocketing prices for raw materials, especially by the rise in oil and gas prices. Oil and natural gas make up 60 percent of Russian exports. The growth of prices for raw materials prompts a transfer of money from the pockets of buyers to the coffers of sellers. Russia is a seller in this transaction, and knowledgeable people refuse to see profit growth as a negative thing.

What the problem boils down to is “how do we spend this money?” The money may be invested in highly effective ventures that tend to boost production, or spent for unproductive projects that send inflation up. The man who heads the Russian Association of Privately-owned Businesses, Grigori Tomchin, agrees. “The size of an economy is not the most important thing, but, it is a necessary condition for the development of a nation. See for yourselves… an economy may owe its growth to one single industry, but, that will hardly improve the general welfare of the society. It takes balanced development to put an economy face to face with society and make it grow in its best interests. Efforts in economic diversification, concentration on infrastructure such as roads, power plants, and public services, make it possible to channel economic development into the enhancement of human life. Then, it shall be possible to speak of the wise investment of what we earned on the world market and the favourable conditions in it”.

Diversification and a developed infrastructure are strategic objectives of government programmes for the next few years. In efforts to meet these objectives, Russia is likely to invest what it earns on the raw materials market. Economic growth makes Russia all the more attractive in the eyes of foreign investors. The KPMG consulting company polled 311 managing officers of the biggest business companies of half a hundred nations. They said that it shall take Russia five to six years to win one of the first three positions on the investors’ list of most attractive nations.

18 June 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


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