Voices from Russia

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Martha-and-Mary Convent Now Ready to Welcome Pilgrims and Tourists

Filed under: architecture,Christian,monasticism,Orthodox life,religious,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

Vladimir Resin, First Deputy Mayor of Moscow, reported that construction crews have now completed the reconstruction and restoration of the Martha-and-Mary Convent in Moscow. Not only is the work on the convent complete, but, the street next to the convent has been repaved and the façades of the adjacent buildings have been refurbished, Mr Resin noted at a press conference on Thursday. He added, “Thus, another tourist destination has been added in Moscow, and Muscovites and visitors can come here and take pleasure in the beauty of this place”.

28 August 2008




Molieben Served at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour for Russian Paralympians

Russian Paralympians at a formal reception at the State Kremlin Palace

On Friday, the Russian Paralympians gathered at the Lower Church of the Transfiguration at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour for a molieben. After the service, Bishop Amvrosy of Bronnitsky communicated the blessing of Patriarch Aleksei of Moscow and all the Russias to the team as they prepared to depart for Beijing. He noted that the molieben for the Paralympians was served in a church that “is a symbol of the victories and of the spiritual revival of Russia. You are shining exemplars of indomitable spirit and dynamic will-power; therefore, we believe that you shall do your best”. Vladyki Amvrosy then gave each of the athletes a small cross and a small icon of St George the all-Victorious. The Paralympians were dressed in their team uniforms for the molieben, and Vladimir Lukin, the President of the Paralympic Committee and Advisor on Human Rights in the RF, and Pavel Rozhkov, the First Vice-President of the Committee and the Head of the Team, were present as well.

Russian Paralympic Team with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (1952- ) in the State Kremlin Palace

The Paraympic Games (Olympics for the physically-handicapped) in 2008 shall take place in Beijing from 6 to 17 September 2008, 13 days after the closing of the 29th Olympic Games. The Russian National Team consists of 145 members, including 40 Masters of Sport, 29 Masters of Sport (International Class), and 55 trainers.

29 August 2008



Editor’s Note:

The lower church of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was chosen as the venue of the molieben due to the fact that wheelchair accessibility is better than in the upper church or in any of the older churches in the Moscow Kremlin.


MP Proposes that Russia Directly Respond to the Global Aspirations of Western Leaders Detrimental to Russian Interests

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

The Moscow Patriarchate proposed that Russia should tenaciously defend its political system in the international arena and accused the West of blatantly using double standards in its policy. “In spite of all their talk concerning their adherence to international law and their respect of self-determination, certain (Western: Interfax) countries have always acted solely in their own interests and apply quite contrary principles in different cases”, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the deputy head of the MP Department for External Church Relations, said in a broadcast televised on the Orthodox TV channel Soyuz (Union).

He thought that Russia’s most pressing task is to defend “its free and untrammelled choice of a political system, and we should fearlessly tell the West, ‘You live as you like, and we will live as we like’. We should form our own political system and our own society, fixing its laws and rules in ways that are natural and organic for our nation, its destiny, its way of thinking, and our historical traditions”. Fr Vsevolod urged all of us to realise that “all talk about shared human values, and declarations stating that we can embrace and kiss all other nations of the world in peace after disarming ourselves are unrealistic, and they do not reflect practical politics. We should have a strong military and state, for we would then have the will and ability to repel any invasion against our way of life, our interests in the world, and our ability to influence events developing in the world”.

He emphasised that Russia “will never be a subservient and dependent player in the world system, it will always put forward, both to its people and to neighbouring nations as well, its approach to historical development”, and he expressed the opinion that the orientation of contemporary Western society “is a direction leading nowhere. It’s impossible for a society to survive if it’s deprived of faith as the foundation of public life, if it’s deprived of any purpose except consumption, and if it embraces the ideal of imposing a particular form of democracy all around the globe simply because it is expedient for American banks, Western governments, and the world economic and media élite”, Fr Vsevolod said.

He pointed up that Russia can offer the world another way, saying “We will do it. However, we need to remain strong, to be determined to say ‘no’ to everyone who tries to spread their influence in the world at our expense by infringing upon our interests”. Fr Vsevolod also criticised the attempt of the West to “violently impose its ideology on all nations. The West believes, and President Bush stated it clearly, that only one type of democracy, and one form of participation in taking decisions, the Western way, is obligatory and should be imposed on all nations and all countries!”

He noted that western countries were “not ashamed to apply quite different standards in various situations. We remember very well how the West backed up the right of national self-determination in Kosovo; it was only few months ago, then, the idea of territorial integrity was absent and in essence rejected. Today, the West insists that the principle of territorial integrity of Georgia must be defended at all costs”. According to Fr Vsevolod, the West “didn’t hesitate to introduce its troops into many countries where the local population did not request such aid, in which no referenda or votes were held on the question, and, sometimes, there were no parliamentary decisions authorising the deployment of American or NATO troops to this or that country. In this case, no one pays attention to democracy, and legal principle is powerless before the idea of national interest and the promotion of Western political systems and ‘democracy’ as President Bush and leaders of other Western countries claim so very often today”.

He also pointed out that Russian peacemakers in South Ossetia were accused “of not being neutral and thus they should be changed to forces from NATO or the EU. Are these countries, indeed, more neutral? These are countries that involve themselves in the conflict on one side, they are countries that haven’t even referred to the brutality committed against the people of South Ossetia, but, now, they sorrow over the bloodshed there!” Fr Vsevolod added.

29 August 2008



President Medvedev Outlines the Five Main Points of the Future Russian Foreign Policy

President Dmitri Medvedev (1965- )

President Dmitri Medvedev outlined on Sunday the five points upon which Moscow’s future foreign policy will be based, and also said that it could, if necessary, introduce sanctions against other states. Speaking near the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Mr Medvedev also said that Russia would not alter its decision to recognise South Ossetia and Abkhazia. He also said that Moscow’s agreements with them envisaged military as well as economic support.

The five points, Mr Medvedev said, were, firstly, the superiority of the fundamental principles of international law. The second point was that the world must be multipolar. “A unipolar world is unacceptable”, Mr Medvedev said, adding that Russia could “not accept a world order where all decisions are made by one side, even such a powerful one as the USA”. “Such a world is unstable and threatened by conflicts”, he added. Thirdly, he said, Russia does not seek confrontation with any other country. “Russia is not looking for isolation”, he said. “We will develop, in as much as is possible, friendly ties with Europe, the USA, and other countries in the world”. Fourthly, Russia will protect the lives of its citizens, “wherever they may be”. The fifth point was that Moscow would seek to develop ties in friendly regions.

On the topic of Moscow introducing sanctions against other states, he said that these would be unproductive, adding that sanctions should only be used in “extreme situations”. Mr Medvedev spoke the day before an EU emergency meeting on Georgia. The 27-nation organisation is expected to discuss future relations with Russia. A number of member states, including Britain and Poland, have called for sanctions against Moscow, as well as the postponement of talks on a new partnership and cooperation agreement with Russia.

31 August 2008



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