Voices from Russia

Thursday, 17 July 2008

The Problem of Kosovo must be solved on the Basis of International Law

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (1950- )

Russia and Serbia favour resumption of negotiations on Kosovo. They believe that the problem caused in that historically-Serbian province by the UDI proclaimed by Albanian separatists must be resolved on the basis of international law. This comment was made today in the wake of Moscow talks between Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Serbian counterpart, Vuk Jeremic.

Foreign Minister Lavrov said at a news conference, “We are convinced that the UN Secretary General must continue consultations with all parties to the conflict and all interested members of the international community. We are convinced that a long-term solution to the Kosovo problem can be found only through the reaching of a consensus between all sides. The Russian proposal introduced earlier at the UN Security Council concerning the need for direct talks between Belgrade and Pristina is still relevant and urgent”.

Such an approach is not based solely on respect for territorial integrity and state sovereignty, although these are key principles of international security. The need of accommodating the interests of all groups living in Kosovo, irrespective of their nationality, is also taken into account. Experience has shown that the UDI [by the Albanian separatists] has created more difficulties in the province and in the region surrounding it. Tension is being artificially whipped up in Kosovo between Albanians and Serbians. Since the Serbians refuse to be integrated into an illegal state, it becomes ever more difficult and complex to restore trust. Furthermore, all Balkan states are facing a growth of separatist trends.

No doubt, the sponsors of the Albanian extremists bear the responsibility for this. Specifically, we mean the USA and its European allies, who earlier supported the Ahtisaari plan stipulating the secession of Kosovo from Serbia. At present, they are making efforts to abolish the present international presence in the province, wishing to replace it with a new one in favour of the Kosovo UDI. Such a charade is fraught with serious consequences, not only for the Balkans, but, also for Europe as a whole, because separatist trends are becoming ever stronger.

17 July 2008

Yevgeny Kryshkin

Voice of Russia World Service



Bishop Diomid Declared Patriarch Aleksei Anathema

Bishop Diomid Dzyuban of Anadyr and Chukotka, deposed from the episcopate by the Archpastoral Council, issued a statement where he declared Patriarch Aleksei of Moscow and all the Russias anathema. In this document, released on Thursday, Bishop Diomid also declared anathema Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, the head of the MP Department of External Church Relations, his predecessor in that post, Metropolitan Philaret Vakhromeyev of Minsk and Slutsk, “and all their predecessors, those who participated in the February 1917 Revolution, and all those of like mind with them”. Bishop Diomid intends to declare the Diocese of Anadyr and Chukotka self-governing “in the resolution of dogmatic and canonical questions… we won’t be in subordination to a heretical hierarchy”. At the same time, he announced that the dioceses of Moscow, Smolensk, and Minsk, along with a number of church departments, were vacant as their heads were anathematised in his statement. In conclusion, the deposed Bishop of Chukotka “reserved to himself the duty to assume plenipotentiary powers as archpastor to lead the Orthodox flock in the vacant sees and departments”. That is, he actually declared himself the head of the Moscow Patriarchate!

Meanwhile, the MP issued a statement calling the declarations of the deposed Bishop Diomid “nonsense”, and it asked the faithful to pray that he come to his senses. “When God abandons and punishes a man, He deprives him of his reason. This is precisely what happened in this case”, Fr Vsevolod Chaplin, the deputy head of the MP DECR, said in comments on Bishop Diomid’s statement. In this case, he expressed regret that Bishop Diomid, “who began his way in the church as a sincere and believing man, abandoned church unity, a joyous church life, Christian witness, and openness to people of different faiths and persuasions in favour of the adulation of a small set of followers who suggest to him that he’s the true spiritual leader of Russia”. Turning to Bishop Diomid personally, Fr Vsevolod said, “Vladyki, this is false. You send a message to people where you deceive them and indulge the dark side of your soul”. He expressed the conviction that if Diomid entered into an open and frank discussion with his fellow bishops, it’s still possible for everything to turn out well. “The door to repentance would be open, indeed, it was opened, and it’s still open. However, unfortunately, Diomid flees ever farther from us. Today, he’s at Cape Shmidt in northern Chukotka. Tomorrow, dear God, he’ll flee to some cave”, Fr Vsevolod complained.

In his opinion, if we’re self-sufficient and believing people, with “burning conscience and zeal”, we can find a way to anywhere. “We should pray for Bishop Diomid, we shouldn’t rejoice maliciously, since the Lord makes miracles, and we should give Diomid a chance to confess, to change his mind, and come to repentance”, he said in conclusion. In his turn, Bishop Aleksandr Ishchein of Baku and the Caspian Region reminded journalists that according to the canons only the First Hierarch of a Local Church, a Holy Synod, or the Archpastoral Council can declare a person anathema. One of the main reproaches by Bishop Diomid towards the hierarchy is the participation of the MP in dialogue of the MP with other religions and other Christian confessions, which, in his opinion, besmirches the purity of Orthodoxy. Apropos of this, on Thursday, the sixth session of the Russian-Iranian commission on Islamic-Christian dialogue convened in Moscow. Turning to his fellow delegates in the course of his press conference, Bishop Aleksandr, the head of the Russian delegation, noted that both sets of clergy agree that Muslims and Christians would live together in the world without violating the law of their conscience. “It’s truly a great pity that there are those who aren’t pleased by our efforts in this direction. He doesn’t realise that we’re preventing a possible religious confrontation”, Bishop Aleksandr said, and he expressed the hope that the Lord would help Bishop Diomid “to realise his unfairness”.

17 July 2008



Editor’s Note:

One can only shake one’s head in sadness and dismay. Diomid isn’t alone, unfortunately. There are those who left the ROCOR in a snit after the reconciliation in Moscow and there are those living in a dream-world at SVS and Syosset. Right-wing or left-wing, it doesn’t matter to me. Both are distortions of the Body of Christ. It’s time for all Russian Orthodox on this continent to unify, and the sadness is that there are those who prefer their own private notions to churchly unity. Again, sad in the extreme. How long must this last? By the way, this is a text-book illustration of the schismatical mindset laid out in an excellent essay, The Psychology of Schism, by Deacon Jan Veselak. It’s available here on the ROCOR official website.


Approximately 35,000 Pilgrims took part in an Evening Religious Procession in Yekaterinburg in Honour of the Royal Martyrs

Memorial Church of Christ on-the-Spilled-Blood, Yekaterinburg

In the darkness in the early hours of Thursday, about 35,000 people took part in a religious procession in Yekaterinburg on the 90th anniversary of the murder of the imperial family. According to the Diocese of Yekaterinburg, the procession was preceded by an all-night vigil at the Memorial Church of the Saviour on-the-Spilled-Blood, which is built on the precise spot where Tsar Nikolai and his family were martyred. There was not enough room in the church for all of the worshippers, many knelt in the street, and the area directly in front of the church was filled with a vast throng.

Exactly at midnight the bells rang out, and a liturgy was served by hierarchs of the MP, including those of the ROCOR. “Thousands of people received the Holy Mystery of the Eucharist on this night of prayer and repentance at this holy place of Christ, a place soaked with the blood of the martyrs. Pilgrims came from all over the globe, Orthodox Christians came here to the Urals to confess, receive absolution, and to ask forgiveness from the Holy Royal Martyrs”, a spokesman of the diocese told journalists. During the entire duration of the solemnities the Memorial Church was brightly illuminated by searchlights.

The services were broadcast in their entirety to the region, and those who could not enter the stuffed church prayed under the open sky. The liturgy concluded at 04.00, after which the bells rang out again, signalling the beginning of a religious procession to Ganina Yama. Thousands of people filled the streets of Yekaterinburg in the darkness of the pre-dawn morning, ready to walk the 20 kilometres (@12.5 miles) to Ganina Yama (the original burial site of the Royal Martyrs: editor’s note). Liturgy shall be offered in all parishes of the MP on Thursday on the feastday of the Holy Royal Martyrs.

17 July 2008



Editor’s Note:

More people participated in this one event than there are in most American Orthodox jurisdictions. This is what we need. We do not need Metropolitan Councils, psychologists, “facilitators”, Fair Practises, “workshops”, boards of “eminent theologians”, Town Halls, or “American democracy” in our Church. We need the faith that moves mountains. The people of Yekaterinburg have it. We do not. Therefore, we must do what we must to get it.


Fr Vsevolod Chaplin Called for a Clear Statement Concerning the Guilt of the Murderers of the Imperial Family

Aleksandr Kerensky (1881-1970), leftist leader of the Provisional Government. If his order to arrest the tsar was illegal, then, those who assisted him were also guilty. These same people later led the Evlogian schism in Paris.


The most important task in the matter of the murder of the family of Tsar Nikolai II must be the establishment of who’s at fault in this crime, those who planned it, those who carried it out, and those who followed the orders of the Urals Soviet, according to Fr Vsevolod Chaplin, assistant head of the MP Department of External Church Relations. “To me, it seems that the most consequential issue isn’t the one concerning the recently-found remains, but we should focus on the main problem, the chief question. That is, ‘Who’s guilty of this act?’ This is a question that’s been unanswered up to this point”, Fr Vsevolod said to our Interfax-Religion correspondent on Thursday. “Of course, we can’t haul the perpetrators of the murder of the imperial family into court to face justice; God has already punished them with His judgement. However, it isn’t only possible, but it’s necessary, to name all of those guilty. This is the most consequential task facing us”, he said.

In his opinion, it’s less important to name those who carried out this crime than it is to answer a more pressing question, “Who gave the order to murder the imperial family?” It’s also of consequence to establish who approved this order, “those who by their consent became participants in the act. We have to establish whether the order for the arrest of the imperial family was legal, and if it was, then, we must ask who is responsible for this illegal act. Was it the Petrograd Soviet or was it the Provisional Government that decided to arrest the tsar and his family? Are the leadership of the Urals Soviet and the Ural Cheka solely innocent or guilty, inasmuch as they gave the order for the murder for the imperial family, or is their guilt shared by the Petrograd Soviet and the Provisional Government?”, Fr Vsevolod noted. He called “for a thorough investigation using the large amount of historical evidence extant” to determine whether “the All-Russian Central Executive Committee approved this act, and whether Lenin, Sverdlov, and others, were personally responsible. The discussion shall be fruitless unless we can determine the guilt or innocence of these people and these institutions!”

17 July 2008



Editor’s Note:

This leads to an interesting corollary question. The White emigration wasn’t monolithic, not all émigrés were royalists. This was particularly true in Paris, where Westernised secularised intellectuals seized control, leading to the Evlogian schism, which was the precursor of the present Paris cabal (ADS came out of this questionable group). If we find that the Provisional Government (many of the Paris group were members of or supporters of the Provisional Government) was at least partially guilty of the arrest of the imperial family, this leads to the inescapable conclusion that many of the church problems that later bedevilled the Orthodox diaspora had their genesis in such depravity. It’s sobering food for thought.


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