Voices from Russia

Thursday, 15 January 2009

An Orthodox-Patriotic Procession in Favour of Unity with Russia shall be Held in Kiev on 17 January


The Unity of the Russian People

Mikhail Khmelko



An Orthodox-patriotic procession marking the 355th anniversary of the Pereyaslavl Rada will take place on 17 January in Kiev. The march will take place with the theme, “We shall defend the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox peoples of the Ukraine, Russia and Byelorussia“, a spokesman for the public organisation Pravoslavny Vybor (Orthodox Choice) reported to our Interfax-Religion correspondent on Thursday. Participants in the procession will gather at noon at the Holy Assumption Cathedral at the Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra and will march to St Sophia Cathedral, before which, 355 years ago, the Kievans solemnly swore fealty to the Russian sovereign. The procession shall complete its activities by serving an akafist to the Holy Passionbearer Tsar St Nikolai II and his family, and a molieben shall be offered “to overcome the consequences of the sin of breaking an oath and the consequent division of the Russian people”. After this, a meeting of Orthodox and patriotic groups of the Ukraine shall send a petition to the Local Council with the request to strengthen the unity of the Russian Church “as an essential factor in the nurturance of the life of the canonical Orthodox Church in the Ukraine and the preservation of the shared civilisation of the peoples of the Ukraine, Russia, and Byelorussia”. In addition, the marchers will appeal to the Ukrainian government “with the demand to stop the state policy of integrating the Ukraine into Western structures such as NATO and the EU, which contradicts the deeply Orthodox soul of our Ukrainian people, to avoid confrontation with Russia, and give real content to the treaty on friendship and cooperation between the Ukraine and Russia, which was prolonged in October 2008 for another ten years”, the organisers reported. The Pereyaslavl Rada convened on 8 January 1654 at the initiative of Ataman Bogdan Khmelnytsky. This body approved the decision of the East-bank Ukrainians to reunite the Ukraine to Russia.

15 January 2009




A Fraternal Reproach


With God’s Help (Aleksandr Matrekhin, 1997). I believe this this what Mr Kuprin is attempting to advocate via this article…. a picture is, indeed, worth a thousand words

Quite often, opinionated non-Church people judge church matters. Oh, they know everything, they are full of self-assurance all the time, and they are always right. They especially come alive when there is an occasion to opine on the minutiae of Orthodoxy, when they can advance themselves as the champions of the pure faith. They have an opinion on everything… the census, tobacco, the INN (the Russian Social Security number: editor’s note), Diomid… But, when you ask them how often they go to church, and how long ago was the last time they received communion, they become very offended… when you ask them to pray, they simply argue with you. “Me? Go to your church?” they say, and, then, they tell why they won’t go there… “It’s full of freemasons, FSB agents, and Jews”. Then, they ask you, “Are you that naïve?” It’s the same old merry-go-round of ecumenism, globalisation, and universal ID numbers. They won’t listen to any of your objections or explanations. They, and only they, are right.

Then, the December events came. Now, we have the expectation of the Council and its chief problem…. the election of a new Patriarch. Well, this really fires up these champions of the faith. “How can this be… why wasn’t I asked my opinion of who should be the next patriarch?” They discuss the candidates, they give their opinion. Especially in regards in regards to the Locum Tenens! “Just why is he, of all people, the Locum Tenens?” But, brothers, he did not take this office himself, he was elected to it by the Holy Synod. “Why did he invite the Patriarch of Constantinople to the funeral of our Holy Patriarch?” Well, he has the title of Ecumenical Patriarch, he does, and, so, it was good that he served at the funeral. In any case, holy and prayer-filled Mount Athos is in the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

“Why is there such haste in holding the Council? What is the rush?” The date was fixed, not by the Locum Tenens, but, by the Holy Synod, and not on the second day after the funeral, but, after the fortieth day. For all the forty days, by the way, the clergy constantly served Liturgies and Pannikhidas for the memory of His Holiness Patriarch Aleksei, amongst whom was the Locum Tenens. He only read his Christmas message after reading the encyclical of the late Patriarch Aleksei. The first sounded like a last will and testament, and the second as our collective grateful memory of our late First Hierarch, now departed this life. “Why did he meet with the Catholics?” He did so in the line of duty. For that matter, it’s like telling off Foreign Minister Lavrov for meeting with the Israelis as they were bombing the Palestinians.

Talking to these champions of the faith is like talking to the wall. Unfortunately, it is futile to remind them of the words of Scripture and the precepts of the Holy Fathers on humility, about patience, and about prayer. Do these wrestlers of the faith speak of humility or counsel patience? They think they are indispensable; otherwise, the Orthodox faith would be gutted by ecumenism. Chattering, chattering, empty talk… “The Pope shall come to Moscow in the autumn… They shall rename the Russian Orthodox Church the Orthodox Church in Russia”. Is that all you have to say? They heard it somewhere, they read it somewhere, and they puffed it up, larger-than-life.

Brothers, this murmuring is nothing but pettiness and censure, you must repent of it, and not drag dissension inside the church fence. We should not bring the passions of the ungodly world into our church life. Above all, the people of God involve themselves in church life through the medium of the Christian way of life. Most importantly, can we judge the priesthood? The priests are above us, in front of us, they are closer to the throne of God. From them, it shall be asked first of all, by our Lord Christ Himself. Jesus is, indeed, the Christ, but, we are not as He is, with our weak, earthly, and credulous minds.

Perhaps, the words of St Seraphim concerning our personal salvation do not apply to them? But, when the fighters think about themselves, they are not selfish, for they are saving the entire church. But, what shall save us was long ago revealed to us… the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. Save one’s own soul, yes, and remember that Christ’s small flock will always be persecuted. But, it is the most rapturous joy in life to know that one is a part of it. It is built on the rock of faith, it is lit by the illumination of Mt Tabor, and it is sanctified by Golgotha. The blood of the martyrs cries out to us and asks us, “Are you ready to die for Christ?” Only by this readiness for self-sacrifice can you measure the Orthodox faith, not with speculations about who shall win the patriarchal throne. Thus far, we deserve the observation of an old monk, “The Judgement is drawing ever nearer, but, we grow ever more diluted”. Indeed, such unnecessary debate does nothing but dilute our faith.

The Lord will not leave us without a helmsman. We must point up that it is very difficult to be the new Patriarch. All of his actions, of necessity, shall be compared with those of the previous patriarch. Our duty, as laypeople who love Russia, is prayer. We must pray, both individually and collectively, for the new Patriarch. We should not raise our opinions and banners, even patriotic ones, above the Cross.

15 January 2009

Vladimir Krupin

Russkaya Liniya (Russian Line)

As quoted in Interfax-Religion


Metropolitan Kliment Kapalin Thinks it is Very Important to Study the Missionary Experience of the Orthodox Church in Alaska

Orthodox divine liturgy in Alaska

Metropolitan Kliment Kapalin of Kaluga and Borovsk, the Chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate, urged modern missionaries to use the experience of the Russian Orthodox mission in Alaska. “Studying the experience of the mission of the Church in Alaska is an important task for the development of the contemporary church”, Vladyki Kliment wrote in the preface to his book, The Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska until 1917 (Русская православная церковь на Аляске до 1917 года in the original Russian).

The interest of Metropolitan Kliment in Alaska is no accident, for when he was the Chancellor of the parishes of the MP in the USA and Canada in the 1980s, he visited Alaska, and he met many of the local Orthodox Christians. On Thursday, Metropolitan Kliment himself presented his book at Russian State Library (RGB), and he noted that liturgy is served in three different languages in Alaska, English, Aleut, and Church Slavonic. He reported that many local residents give their children Russian names at their baptism. Furthermore, after sharing his impressions of his sojourns in Alaska, Vladyki Kliment said that he was surprised at the almost complete similarity of the traditional dwellings of the Aleuts with the traditional Russian huts.

The first Orthodox mission, which consisted of monks from the Valaam and Konevsky monasteries and the St Aleksandr Nevsky Lavra, arrived in Alaska in 1794. Hence, through the work of Russian missionaries, the Orthodox faith began to spread throughout the Western Hemisphere. Besides preaching, they undertook scientific observations of the climate, catalogued the natural flora and fauna, and made ethnographical studies of the local population, which were the first topographical, climatic, and ethnographic descriptions of Alaska and its adjacent islands.

One of the most prominent missionaries in Alaska was St Innocent Veniaminov, who, on 15 December 1840, was ordained Bishop of Kamchatka, the Kuriles, and Aleutians. He studied the Aleut language and composed its grammar, translating the Gospel of Matthew, the catechism, and a number of service texts and prayers into the Aleut language. Subsequently, all future missionaries who served in Alaska were required to study the local languages and use them in church services. As a result, Scriptural texts, sermons, and prayers were translated into the languages of all the local peoples. A network of church schools was created and a spiritual seminary was established.

After the sale of Alaska to the USA, despite active proselytising on the part of the Catholics and Protestants, the majority of the native people in Alaska still practise the Orthodox Christian faith. The Holy Governing Synod of the Russian Church established a diocese for the region. In addition, the Church organised parochial brotherhoods and temperance societies in Alaska. Up until 1917, Russia appointed bishops, sent missionaries, and provided financial assistance to the Diocese of Alaska and the Aleutians.

As Metropolitan Kliment noted, one of the major results of the missionary activities of the Russian Church in Alaska was that not only the Russians who remained there after the sale of the territory to the USA, and their descendants, but, the majority of the indigenous peoples “retained a fairly strong link with the Orthodox faith and culture. Moreover, today, in many villages, native Alaskans are proud to say that they are Orthodox and that they remember with glad appreciation the names of the Russian missionaries who worked in their land”.

15 January 2009



Editor’s Note:

If you were to pin me down and ask me which group of Orthodox Christians I had the most respect for, it would be the native people of Alaska, no contest. They live in a harsh, often unforgiving, environment, and are some of the kindest and most honest people I have ever met. My contact with them was, admittedly, slight, but, the memory has stayed with me. May God bless these good people.

To be frank, the rest of the OCA could learn volumes from them. They are REAL.


A Book about the History of Russian Orthodoxy in Alaska shall be presented by Metropolitan Kliment at the RGB


On Thursday, Metropolitan Kliment Kapalin of Kaluga and Borovsk, the Chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate, shall present his book, The Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska until 1917 (Русская Православная Церковь на Аляске до 1917 года in the original Russian), at the Russian State Library (RGB), the press-service of the RGB reported to RIA-Novosti. According to the release from the press-service, the presentation will be attended by Sergei Stepashin, the head of the Russian Audit Chamber, Academician Yuri Osipov, President of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAN), Viktor Fyodorov, General Director of the RGB, the director of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the RAN, Viktor Fedorov, the Vice-Chairman of the Public Chamber, Archimandrite Zacchaeus Wood, the head of the podvorie (representation) of the Orthodox Church in America in Moscow, and other guests.

As described by staff-members of the RGB, the book is an extensive monograph covering in great detail the almost two centuries of the history of “Russian Alaska” from 1741 to 1917. It is divided into two separate parts, in accordance with two periods of history, the “Russian” section, which deals with the time when Alaska was part of the Russian empire, and an “American” section, which began in 1867, [when Alaska became part of the USA]. The book will be of interest to both specialists and all who are interested in the history of Russian Orthodox Church and Orthodoxy in America.

The press-service noted that the choice of subject was no accident for the author, who was the Chancellor of the parishes of the MP in the USA and Canada in the 1980s. At that time, Bishop Kliment repeatedly visited Alaska, he met with the Orthodox residents of the state, and he collected the material that was incorporated in this book. The forewords to the book were written by His Holiness Aleksei Rediger, Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias, and Yuri Osipov, the President of the RAN.

15 January 2009



Editor’s Note:

Interesting time for this book to appear, nicht wahr? It certainly is an interesting way for Kliment to insert himself into the news. As all know, he and his brother Dmitri (the Archbishop of Tobolsk) are neck-deep in the current speculations surrounding the election of a new First Hierarch of the MP. Things are, indeed, getting “interesting”…


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