Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

There shall be a Molieben at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour to Pray for the Success of the Russian Paralympians

Russian Paralympian at the 2004 games. Ura! Rossiya, vpered! Russia, forward!

The Russian Paralympians shall gather before their departure for the XIIIth Paralympic Games in Beijing for a molieben in the lower church of the Transfiguration at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow to pray for success in their athletic endeavours. The molieben shall be held on Friday, 29 August, and shall be served by Bishop Amvrosy of Bronnitsky. After the service, there shall be a formal reception for the athletes, at which Vladyki Amvrosy shall pass on to them the blessing and benediction of Patriarch Aleksei of Moscow and all the Russias, the official website of the Moscow Patriarchate reported on Tuesday.

The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, the largest Orthodox church in the world. The Church of the Transfiguration is the lower church of this cathedral. It was chosen for the molieben due to its easier access for the wheelchair-bound.

Traditionally, the Paralympic Games (international sports competition for the physically-handicapped: Interfax) are held after the Olympic Games, and, since 1992, they are held in the same city. In 2001, this arrangement was formalised through an agreement between the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees. The summer Paralympic Games have been held since 1960, and the winter Paralympic Games were added in 1976. In practise, the Paralympiad is as significant an event as the Olympiad itself. The name “Paralympics” is formed from the Greek prefix “para”, meaning “near”, and the last two syllables of the world “Olympics”. By this, one can see the equality in stature of the two competitions.

The invention of this form of sport for the physically-handicapped is credited to the English neurosurgeon Ludwig Gutman, who, in defiance of hoary stereotypes concerning physically-handicapped people, introduced sport into the rehabilitation regimen of patients with spinal-cord injuries. It was found that sport for the handicapped created conditions for successful vital activity, restored mental equilibrium, and made it possible for many to return to a productive life.

The summer Paralympiad shall be held this year in Beijing from 6 to 17 September, and the winter games are scheduled for Vancouver from 12 to 21 March 2010.

26 August 2008



Editor’s Note:

The Paralympics are NOT a form of “Special Olympics”. They are serious sport events with no slack cut for anyone. It is as hard to win a medal at the Paralympics as it is at the Olympics. It is NOT a pity-party.

To the competitors: Good luck and Godspeed to all of you!



Mount Athos is Connected to the Internet

Filed under: Christian,elders,internet,monasticism,Orthodox life,religious — 01varvara @ 00.00

The monks on the Holy Mountain of Athos are now connected to the Internet. This pilot project, under the auspices of the Greek telecommunications company OTE, was accomplished in a practically-isolated area, due to the mountainous terrain and the lack of cable access and electrical power supply. To overcome these obstacles, the company built six stations powered by solar-panels that shall ensure Internet access for all the monasteries on Athos. Three monasteries and one skete are already participants in a special project to copy their most valuable manuscripts, frescoes, icons, and other treasures of the Holy Mountain into an easily-accessible electronic format. Of this data, some 10 percent shall be for general access on the Internet and the remainder shall be accessible to specialists and monastics on the Mountain, the website Blagovest-Info reported on Tuesday. Athos is an autonomous Orthodox monastic republic in Northern Greece comprised of 20 constituent ruling monasteries. The only permanent residents are male monastics, and there are some 1,400 monks living there today.

26 August 2008



Handicapped Art Students from the Kuban to Paint Icons for Iconostases for Churches in South Ossetia

The pupils of the Krasnodar Inva-Academy art studio will paint icons for iconostases for churches in South Ossetia. Soon, a group of instructors from the workshop will visit Tskhinvali to inspect the iconostases of local churches, to see what shape they are in. Twenty-five of their best pupils will paint icons for them, the newspaper Rossiskaya Gazeta (The Russian Newspaper) reported on Tuesday. The Inva-Academy educates physically-handicapped children. Their works are shown in many exhibitions in Russia and abroad. Besides this, the teachers of the Academy will bring four icons painted by their talented students as gifts to the parishioners of destroyed South Ossetian churches.

26 August 2008



Orthodox Church Marks 10 Years since the Second Finding of the Relics of St Savva of Storozhevsky

St Savva Storozhevsky Monastery, Zvenigorod

St Savva of Storozhevsky, a disciple of St Sergius of Radonezh and the confessor of Grand Prince St Dmitri Donskoi, is considered by many Orthodox believers to be the heavenly patron of warriors. Unlike his renowned teacher, St Sergius of Radonezh, St Savva of Storozhevsky was little known for quite some time, although the monastery he founded near the city of Zvenigorod on the Storozhi Kholm, or watching hill, became the first Lavra in the region. There is a long record of miracles worked by St Savva, who was a model of meekness and humility. He died in 1407 at the age of 80.

The first uncovering of his relics was initiated by Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich; this took place in January 1652 in the presence of the Patriarch Iosif of Moscow and all Russia and Metropolitan Nikon of Novgorod. The body of St Savva was exhumed and all those present saw that it was incorrupt. The relics were brought with due respect to the St Savva of Storozhevsky Monastery, which he founded near the city of Zvenigorod, and for almost 300 years they were seen as one of the greatest Orthodox holy objects.

Early in the 20th century, the monastery where the saint’s relics were kept was closed down and devastated by the atheistic authorities, the relics were confiscated. For a long time, they were thought as lost forever. Later, it turned out that an employee of the Historical Museum, Mikhail Uspensky, kept them in his country house. The Abbot of the St Savva of Storozhevsky Monastery, Fr Savvas Fateyev, believes that the second finding of the relics of St Savva of Storozhevsky is a genuine miracle, similar to those worked by St Savva himself. He said, “In the 1920s, Mikhail Uspensky worked for the State Historical Museum. Once, he was summoned by a KGB official who showed him a dish covered with a cloth and said, ‘Take it; this is all that was left of St Savva. Do whatever you wish with this’. Until 1985, Mikhail Uspensky kept the relics at his home”.

Only in 1998 were the relics handed over to the St Daniil Monastery in Moscow, later in a wooden case they were forwarded to Zvenigorod. Since then, numerous Orthodox pilgrims came to St Savva of Storozhevsky Monastery to venerate the relics of the saint. The tenth anniversary of the second finding of the relics of the saint is going to be marked for several days. This is because St Savva was much respected at all times by Russian Orthodox believers and the story of the return of the relics to the Church is most unusual. Divine services were held in many churches of the country. Thousands of believers went in a religious procession from Moscow to Zvenigorod carrying the icon of St Savva. The religious festivities culminated with a liturgy served outdoors at the St Savva of Storozhevsky Monastery by Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsa and Kolomna.

26 August 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


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