Voices from Russia

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Archpastoral Council says that the Unity of Holy Russia is the most Precious Possession of the Peoples of Russia, the Ukraine, and Byelorussia

Kievo-Pecherskago Lavra, founded in 1015, the oldest Monastic house in Russia

The Archpastoral Council urged the peoples of Russia, the Ukraine, and Byelorussia to preserve their spiritual unity as it is rooted in the Orthodox faith. In the words of a report issued by the Council, now in session in Moscow, “The Baptismal Fount in the Dnepr was a common source of the spirituality, statehood, and Christian culture of our peoples. Our united Holy Russian motherland was born in it, and it gave birth to a shared and distinctive culture”. The Council participants noted that security of our homeland “repeatedly suffered heavy blows” over many centuries as “many parties attempted to destroy us or enrich themselves at the expense of our motherland, but, all these attempts failed because we received aid from Almighty God. Moreover, we now most solemnly declare that the unity of Holy Russia is the most precious possession of our church and peoples, it is our most cherished treasure, for it gives us the strength to overcome temptation and resist schism”.

The assembled bishops stated that the only way that Russian Orthodoxy can “contribute a unique and coherent testimony through its fidelity to the Orthodox spiritual tradition to the general European and world civilisations” is by maintaining the unity of the Church. The Council recognised the need to strengthen collaboration between the dioceses of Russia, the Ukraine, and Byelorussia, “through the development of mutual contacts and encouraging pilgrimages between the different parts of the historical Russian state. In this instance, it is important to take into consideration various national and cultural differences, bearing in mind that the Church has always shown respect to legitimate local differences, which led to a strengthening of the Church, leading to its growth and unity”, the document said. The council also supported the proposal of Patriarch Aleksei to establish a podvorie (representation) of the Kievo-Percherskago Lavra (the oldest monastic house in Russia) in Moscow and a podvorie of Patriarch Aleksei in Kiev “in order to strengthen the connections between the two capitals of Russian Orthodoxy”.

27 June 2008

Interfax-Religion

http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=25181

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The Holy Synod of the MP Deposed Bishop Diomid from his Episcopal Office and put him under Interdict

His Holiness Aleksei Mikhailovich Rediger (1929- ), Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias

At a session on Saturday, the Holy Synod of the MP deposed Bishop Diomid of Chukotka and Anadyr as ruling bishop of the diocese and forbade him to engage in pastoral work, sources in the MP reported to Interfax. This decision was announced at a session of the Holy Synod called to consider a report of the Archpastoral Council issued yesterday that recommended the deposition of Bishop Diomid from his episcopal office.

Over the last 18 months, Vladyki Diomid issued public statements in which he openly criticised Patriarch Aleksei and other prominent church hierarchs, and he called for the Church to retreat into isolation from the “sinful” world. That is, he condemned dialogue with the secular government and other religions and confessions, as well as active missionary activity amongst the youth culture. At its session on Friday, the Archpastoral Council called Bishop Diomid to immediately repent and cease his anti-church activity. They stipulated that he must repent before the next regularly-scheduled session of the Holy Synod (the normal summer session of this body is usually held in the middle of July on the feastday of St Sergei of Radonezh: Interfax). If Bishop Diomid fails to repent during this period, the decision of the Archpastoral Council shall come into full effect, that is, Vladyki Diomid shall be officially and definitively deposed from his episcopal office.

Today, the Holy Synod decided to consider the final fate of Bishop Diomid of Chukotka at its forthcoming regular session. Moreover, the hierarchs decreed that Bishop Diomid was to receive an official summons to appear in person before the Holy Synod. The Synod appointed Archbishop Mark of Khabarovsk and Priamursky as locum tenems of the Diocese of Chukotka and Anadyr.

28 June 2008

Interfax-Religion

http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=25183

Prime Minister Putin says that the State shall Support the Social and Educational Mission of the MP

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (1952- )

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Prime Minister Vladimir Putin thanked the MP for its large contribution to the unity of the Russian world and promised to give it his support as well. “From the depths of my soul, I wish to thank all of you who contributed their share to the unity of the Russian world, for it is a good work”, Putin said on Saturday at the official opening of the 1,020th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus in the Kremlin. He also expressed his appreciation to Patriarch Aleksei Ridiger of Moscow and all the Russias. Putin emphasised, “From this time forward, the state intends to support the programmes of the church directed towards secular and interreligious harmony, its social work, its efforts in the support and preservation of our cultural heritage, and its charitable mission”.

He noted, “Orthodoxy was always very tolerant of those who belonged to other confessions, and this very position of the MP contributed to the creation of a Russian state that was not only multi-national, but, multi-confessional as well”. Putin stated that he was satisfied that “we have a substantial and multi-faceted dialogue between the Church and the State. Indeed, we shall do further work in this direction with the Orthodox Church”. He emphasised the fact that “the acceptance of Orthodoxy became the most important and formative event in the history of Russia. It is the fountainhead of our statehood, our great culture, our national soul, and the traditions of our people. Orthodoxy has inseparably united the destinies of the peoples of Russia, the Ukraine, and Belarus, not to mention those in other countries as well”.

Putin went on to say, “We have common values and a common spiritual path, which was established in the very beginning in the Baptismal Fount of the Dnepr. This is a priceless heritage we are obliged to preserve”. In his view, the 20 years that passed between now and the Millennium of the Baptism of Russia in 1988 saw a complete turnaround for the Church, the society, and the entire Russian people. “These years saw a revival of church life and spiritual and moral values”, he said. Putin noted the good brought about by the restoration of the unity of the Russian church, calling it “the incarnation of the dream of several generations of our compatriots abroad concerning the surmounting of the tragic division brought about by the mayhem of the Civil War through mutual forgiveness”. In conclusion, he mentioned that the Archpastoral Council of the MP had just held its sessions in Moscow. “The deliberations of its participants were drawn to the most vital problems that disturb all of Russian society today. This is one more sign that the Orthodox Church heeds the needs and concerns of our people, and it is their firm and reliable support. I believe that this shall be always so”, Putin said.

28 June 2008

Interfax-Religion

http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=25184

Patriarch Aleksei Calls the Peoples of Russia, the Ukraine, and Byelorussia to Maintain their Unity in the Faith despite Political Separations

00 Viktor Vasnetsov. Three Bogatyrs. 1898.

Three Bogatyrs

Viktor Vasnetsov

1898

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Patriarch Aleksei of Moscow and all the Russias said that political boundaries mustn’t be an obstacle to the unity of the peoples of ancient Kievan Rus. “Today, the peoples of the historic Russian state live under new political conditions, but, their unity in the faith mustn’t be weakened in any way”, His Holiness said on Saturday in his address on the occasion of the opening of the official celebrations in honour of the 1,020th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia in the State Kremlin Palace. He urged all three peoples to remember that “together, we’re invincible, our community, mutual aid, and fraternal solidarity shall ensure our joint future. I’m convinced that the present political boundaries splitting the territories of the historic Russian state aren’t an obstacle to the unity of our church”.

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A video on the Second Great Patriotic WarGreat Russia was united then… may it be united yet again

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In his opinion, up to the present moment, Kiev remains the “greatest historical and spiritual treasure of Holy Russia, it remains a spiritual centre for the peoples united by the Orthodox faith, Orthodox culture, the Orthodox way-of-life, and the Orthodox ideal of public morality. Of necessity, this means that we must remain united, and we mustn’t sell our freedom for temporary emolument”, His Holiness emphasised. The patriarch believes that it was through the Baptism of Russia that “we were able to found a united and powerful state, rich not only in earthly goods, but also in a majestic Orthodox culture”. Patriarch Aleksei urged all Orthodox believers in Russia, the Ukraine, and Byelorussia “to firmly maintain peace and unity based upon our historic faith and genuine love”.

28 June 2008

Interfax-Religion

http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=25185 (in Russian)

Editor’s Note:

My Russkie by Zhanna Bichevskaya

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The painting above of the three bogatyrs (epic heroes) symbolises the unity, love, and common culture that ties together the Orthodox peoples of Holy Russia, Russians, Ukrainians, and Byelorussians. I think of Zhanna Bichevskaya’s song, My Russkie! (We are Russians!) Rossiya, Ukraina, Byelorusiya, tri bogatyryam! (Russia, the Ukraine, and Byelorussia, three heroes!) One Faith, One Culture, One Soul. Let no Uniate or Orange fanatic say otherwise.

BMD

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