Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Gergiev Musical Centre Projected For North Ossetia

Filed under: architecture,art music,cultural,music,performing arts,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

Maestro Valery Gergiev (1953- ), musician, citizen, humanitarian, and Orthodox Christian

The project for the “Caucasus Valery Gergiev Musical Cultural Centre” will be presented to the 7th International Investment Forum in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. A prestigious venue for business meetings, the traditional Sochi forum brought together more than 4,000 participants from 36 countries (18 to 21 September). The Caucasus musical cultural centre is one of the biggest projects that was submitted for discussion at the investment forum. Its initiator is the “most famous Ossetian in the world”, as the prominent conductor Valery Gergiev is called. Maestro Gergiev hopes that a new centre will appear in the capital of the Republic of North Ossetia, Vladikavkaz, where he began his professional music studies.

The Caucasus musical cultural centre is, first of all, a big concert hall and a small multi-functional hall, and also a summer amphitheatre, art galleries and workshops, a cinema, and a children’s school of arts. The new centre will be situated in the historical part of Vladikavkaz and will occupy a space on the two banks of the Terek River, running across the city. A suspension foot-bridge will be built inside the huge complex, making it possible to pass from one building to another.

The key designer of the Caucasus musical cultural centre is the British architectural company, “Foster and Partners”, which is headed by the world-famous architect Norman Foster, who is actively working in Russia today. The construction of this complex will begin later this year and will be completed in 2014, at the latest. There’s much talk about the new musical cultural centre today, where it is rated as one of the best centres of such class existing today. “In time, the Caucasus Musical Cultural Centre will turn into one of the most attractive centres on the tour map of the world celebrities”, Maestro Gergiev said.

18 September 2008

Voice of Russia World Service



ROCOR Priest Asked Elderly Parishioners Not To Chase Young People Away From the Church

Filed under: Christian,Orthodox life,religious,ROCOR,Russian,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

The shrine of St John Maksimovich in the Cathedral of the Icon of the Mother of God “The Joy of All Who Sorrow”, San Francisco CA. Vladyki John loved the little children, so should we!

A leader of the scout movement in the ROCOR, Archpriest Yaroslav Belikov, asked elderly parishioners who scold young people coming to church to reflect on the spiritual education of their own grandchildren. “When I see old ladies reproaching youngsters, I always want to ask them, ‘Why do you upbraid the children and grandchildren of others who come to church? Where are your own grandchildren? Why aren’t they in church?” Fr Yaroslav told an Interfax-Religion correspondent. Fr Yaroslav is a cleric of the Cathedral of the Icon of the Mother of God “The Joy of All Who Sorrow” in San Francisco and a spiritual leader of the Kiev scout group.

According to Fr Yaroslav, new parishioners are lucky if they manage to pass the candle window and escape remarks about short sleeves, women in trousers, or a sign of cross improperly made. Fr Yaroslav suggests treating these remarks philosophically, “There are God’s dandelions (sweet little old ladies) and there are God’s nettles (old crusty battleaxes)”. He added, “If there are children playing during the service, I’m always glad to see them. This means the Church has a future”. He suggested that the way to solve the traditional conflict between “evil old church babas” and fumbling newcomers is to give young people a role in the Church. “Young parishioners should be sent to the church vestibule to welcome the people coming to service”, Fr Yaroslav suggested. He believes that young people acting as greeters can be a bridge between the priests and new people in church, who are often embarrassed to come up to a priest and ask him questions.

29 September 2008



Editor’s Note:

For the record… I LOVE the old babas. So many of them are sweet and are beautiful mirrors of God’s love in the world. However… there are the babas that seem to come straight out of Vlad Drakul’s castle. In Russia, a priest became exasperated at some of these old biddies, “You are not the queens of this parish. The Mother of God is the Queen of this parish!” I confide that most of the old babas concurred heartily with that statement. In Fr Sergei Rybko’s parish in Bibirovo, the old babas and dedes are used to the bikers and punkers who come to church there. It is something to see an old dede getting on with a death-metal rocker (it has to be seen to be believed!).

Another name for this sort of interfering old coot in Russian is matushki (“little mothers”, and this usage does NOT mean a priest’s wife). Many Russian priests think that these sorts are the bane of many a parish, and that they drive many people away from Christ and His Church. But, thankfully, this is not universal. In short, Fr Yaroslav is not “downing” all the babas. However, his point is valid, and we must attend to it.

As far as children in services are concerned, I agree with Batiushka emphatically. I love to see the little ones; they never fail to remind me of the purity of God. They do not distract me in the least from God and His Church. In fact, their innocence is such that we should remember our Lord Christ’s words, Unto such as these is given the Kingdom of Heaven. How can you improve on that?


Union of Orthodox Citizens Wants the Foreign Ministry to Publish a Report on the Freedom of Religion in the World

The Union of Orthodox Citizens urged the Foreign Ministry to conduct its own assessment of the state of the freedom of conscience globally and publish an annual report, just as the US State Department does. “We urge the Russian Foreign Ministry not to limit itself to criticism of the US State Department, but, to produce its own report on the observance of human rights and freedom of conscience globally, especially on the post-Soviet space”, the Moscow branch of the Union said in a statement made available to Interfax-Religion on Tuesday.

Every year, the US State Department assesses the human rights record globally, yet, it “absolutely refuses to see” the abuses against the freedom of religion in the Ukraine, or the times “when the rights of millions of Ukrainians who oppose the separation of the Ukrainian Church from the MP are trampled underfoot”, the Union said. “The churches seized by the activists of the ‘Kiev Patriarchate’ are not returned to the canonical Church in defiance of court rulings, whilst prominent political leaders of the ‘Orange’ faction, who are the organisers of these seizures and of the many attacks on clergy and faithful, are not punished and continue to pursue a policy of state interference in the internal affairs of the Church. This is a vivid example of tendentiousness, bias, and double standards”, the group said.

Moreover, any future report by the Foreign Ministry should centre on “such outstanding violations of the rights of Christians in the United States as the right to publicly express their opinions, as well as the right to religious education in school. It should also highlight the problems of banning Christianity from the public square and political Christophobia in the USA”, the statement said. “Russia must do this as the leader of Orthodox civilisation and as the foremost defender of Christian values in the entire world”, the Union said.

Recently, the Foreign Ministry criticised the US State Department’s annual report for a “tendentious approach” to Russia. The Foreign Ministry said that the report provided only a “standard list of claims” and again baselessly argued that “the Orthodox Church has a privileged status” in Russia.

30 September 2008



Editor’s Note:

Last year, one of the leading lights in the Saint Vladimir Seminary faction (who shall remain nameless) made a baseless attack on Orthodox lay groups such as the Union of Orthodox Citizens and the Society of Orthodox Banner-bearers. He used such groundless attacks as “Orthodox skinheads” and other such rot. It was fawned over by the usual cast of suspects on Harry Coin’s Orthodox Forum (which arrogates to itself the role of the foremost Orthodox list on the web, although it only has some 1,500 members out of the 1 million Orthodox in this country).

In short, these people hate the current revival in Russia, support a Russophobic policy in line with that of the neocons, and spread lies about the supposed corruption of the Church in Russia. I would say that anyone from the OCA or the AOCANA should be careful in issuing such attacks after the attested antics and hijinks of SVS, Syosset, and Philip Saliba. Some of the bitterest opponents of the Church are within it, and one must face this fact. They are advocates of such questionable figures as Aleksandr Men, Alexander Schmemann, Georgi Kochetkov, Bradley Nassif, Paul Meyendorff, and Peter Gillquist.

I say let these sorts spin off into irrelevance and heresy. Nothing can be done for them; their minds are made up and fixed. The rest of us should link arms with such good people such as Archbishop Vikenty Morar of Yekatrinburg, Kirill Frolov, the Union of Orthodox Citizens, the Banner-bearers, Fr Vsevolod Chaplin, Deacon Andrei Kuraev, and the Andrei Pervozvanny Foundation. We should concentrate on building up the Church, and help the RF Foreign Ministry ferret out the many cases of abuse against religion in this country by the secularist government (especially the courts), to make it known to the world.

America’s restrictions on religion should be made known. If nothing else, it would silence the neocons and expose their hypocrisy. May God give us such.


Jews Note the New Year

Filed under: Jewish,popular life and customs,religious,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

The coming of the Jewish Year 5769 or Rosh Hashanah (“The Beginning of the Year” in Hebrew) was celebrated by Jews in Russia and throughout the world on sundown on 29 September, with the opening of the month of Tishrei on the Jewish calendar. Celebrations in the Moscow Jewish Community Centre began on Sunday with an evening solemn service. Today, there shall be a performance given by a Jewish male chorus, the Khasidskaya Chorus. Amongst those who shall gather to welcome in the New Year shall be Berel Lazar, the Chief Rabbi of Russia. Worshippers shall light holiday candles and read prayers for the opening of the year.

According to Jewish tradition, on the first day of Tishrei God completed the creation of the world and made Adam, the first man. On Rosh Hashanah, believers solemnly proclaim the reign of God over the entire universe and the special union between Him and the people of Israel. It is a pious Jewish belief that the fate of mankind for the coming year is written on this day, so, on the first evening of Rosh Hashanah, Jews greet one another with the wish that they are inscribed in the Book of Life.

There are many food customs associated with the holiday. Before the New Year’s meal proper, Jews eat apples dipped in honey and wish each other a “good and sweet New Year”. Amongst the dishes to be found on a traditional New Year’s menu are fish, pomegranates, a dish with carrots, beets, and other fruits, because their names in Hebrew or Yiddish are associated with good things. The carrots are prepared using sweet ingredients; this is a sign of faith that one’s fate at God’s final judgement shall be favourable.

During the first or second day of Rosh Hashanah, the rite of tashlikh is performed. In the afternoon, Jews gather near flowing water outdoors, say prescribed ritual prayers, and shake out their pockets over the water, throwing out all the crumbs. This custom symbolises the desire to be cleansed of all sin and to enter the New Yea with clean thoughts.

29 September 2008



Editor’s Note:

To my Jewish readers and friends, a most blessed and happy New Year, and may God bless you.


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