Voices from Russia

Friday, 27 November 2009

Patriarch Kirill Opposed the Decision of the Strasbourg Court to Ban Crucifixes from Italian schools

Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev (1946- ) of Moscow and all the Russias

Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias expressed his solidarity with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in regards to his opposition to a recent court ban on the display of crucifixes in Italian schools. “The Christian heritage of Italy and other European countries should not become a subject of dispute in European human rights institutions”, the letter of Patriarch Kirill to Signore Berlusconi stated, as published on the official website of the MP. This was the official response of the MP to the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights on 3 November on a suit brought by an Italian citizen, which argued that the presence of crucifixes in public schools violated her human rights.

“The presence of Christian religious symbols in European public places is part of a pan-European identity. Why, if they were gone, we could not conceive of either the past or the present or the future of the continent. We should not install an anti-religious ideology using as a pretext the secular nature of the state. That explicitly violates societal tranquillity by discriminating against the religious majority in Europe… who are Christian”, Patriarch Kirill said. He declared his “full and unconditional support” of the Italian government’s intention to appeal this decision to the Large Chamber of the European Court. “European democracy should not encourage Christianophobia, imitating theomachistic regimes of the past”, His Holiness emphasised. In addition, he said that the MP intends, in cooperation with the Catholics, to bring to the attention of the European and world public its “categorical rejection of such decisions”, as well as “to stimulate discussion of the practises of the European Court of Human Rights in various venues”.

26 November 2009




Congrats to Mums and Grandmas: 29 November is Mother’s Day

Filed under: domestic life,Russian,social life and customs — 01varvara @ 00.00

A Mother Tucking Children into Bed (Norman Rockwell, 1921)

In Russia, we celebrate Mother’s Day on 29 November. On this day, we pass on our good wishes to mothers and pregnant women. There is a real significance for this holiday; we should pay tribute to all women, because they are why life continues on this planet. In 1998, Mother’s Day became an official holiday on the initiative of several female Deputies of the RF Gosduma. After President Boris Yeltsin signed a decree, we now celebrate Mother’s Day annually on the last Sunday in November. Of course, most Russians are more familiar with another holiday honouring women, International Women’s Day on 8 March.

Nobody would argue with the fact that Mother’s Day is, perhaps, the oldest holiday on Earth, because the tradition of honouring our mothers goes back to the very genesis of the human race. Indeed, it exists in some form in almost all countries. In the USA, since 1907, the second Sunday in May marks Mother’s Day, and, since 1914, it has been an official holiday. Finland, Estonia, and the Ukraine also use that date for Mother’s Day. There are different dates in many countries for this celebration. In Bahrain, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates, Mother’s Day is 10 May, and in Greece, it is 9 May.

No doubt, our mother is the most important person in our life. What does being a mother mean to a woman? I decided to ask Moscow women of different ages what they felt on the matter.

“It’s both passionate love and demanding work”, said thirty-something Larissa, the mother of three children, the eldest of whom is ten years-old and her youngest is only five months-old.

Marianna, forty-something and the mother of a son, also believes that the main thing needful is love, and, yet, she says, a mom must learn to understand and to forgive. “First of all, of course, you anticipate your child and love him, even though he’s not born yet. The first feelings that you sense when he’s born are kindness and tenderness. You try to raise him in such a way that he grows up to be a good and noble man. Then, you begin to understand that being a mum… it means being able to forgive. Yes… you forgive often. Ah, of course, you must love, always love. Love is the most important thing”, she said.

Fifty-something Irina has a son and a daughter. She said simply that being a mum, in her opinion, means that she’s a happy person.

The Russian state supports mothers in their hard work. Since 1 January 2007, Russia has implemented a special state programme to aid mothers. A woman who gives birth to or adopts a second child receives a state grant, the so-called “mother’s capital”. The amount issued undergoes annual review. If there is inflation, the allowance goes up. This year, it amounted to 300,000 roubles (10,198 USD 6,810 euros 6,180 UK pounds). However, to use the money, the mother must wait until the child turns three years-old.

27 November 2009

Tatiana Filippova

Voice of Russia World Service


“Free Hugs” in Moscow on 28 November

A flashmob entitled “Davaite Obnimat’sya!” (“Let’s hug!”) will assemble Saturday at Pushkin Square in central Moscow. It will be part of a series of such actions around the world, designed to give a warm greeting to people on the street, organisers of the rally said. Several years ago, an Australian, John Mann, came up with the Idea to hug passers-by on the street. At a difficult moment in his life, he wrote the two words “Free Hugs” in marker on a large sheet of paper and went out. First, people shunned him, but, then, began to approach him and accepted the hugs, RIA-Novosti reported. In Mr Mann’s own words, everybody seemed a little happier after he hugged them. John’s example inspired many people, and, for several years, all over the world, there have been hundreds of such actions. Organisers think that 100 to 150 people will take part in the Moscow action.

27 November 2009

Voice of Russia World Service


“Gad, Sir, We’re the REAL Romans… Byzantines? … GIVE ME A BREAK!”

A soldier of the Varangoi… the Varangian Guard of the medieval Roman Empire… made up of Norsemen, Russians, and Anglo-Saxons… they were the bravest of the brave… the fiercest fighters under the double-eagle standard of the Orthodox Roman Emperor (most of them perished gallantly in battle against the treacherous papist aggressors in 1204). May their memories be eternal!


There are some oddball notions circulating out there, not only amongst konvertsy, but, in pseudo-intellectual circles, as well. Some of them actually believe in such fantastic and lunatic fancies as “the Eastern Church”, or, “Byzantine” this and “Byzantine” that. It’s utter insanity if the person indulging in such claims to be Orthodox (if such issues forth from a Uniate, they’re just spouting papist propaganda, so, one expects it).


Here’s Fr Tikhon’s Byzantine Lesson with English-language dubbing… look at the right-hand side of the page for the other parts of this film… there are nine videos in this series. IF you have trouble accessing any of them, click here, and look for “How to DISTROY a state: The lessons from the fall of the Byzantine Empire“… there’s a list of eight vids to follow. The ninth vid is below.


Conclusion of the Byzantine Lesson


Firstly, where did this daft term “Byzantine” come from? It didn’t originate in New Rome, that’s for sure. Contemporary accounts all speak of “the Empire of the Romans” (Greek: Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων (Vasileia ton Rhomaion), Latin: Imperium Romanorum). This state is also called Rhomania (Ῥωμανία) or Rhomais (Ῥωμαΐς) in records dating from the time. Its people proudly called themselves the Rhomaioi… the Romans. The distortion “Byzantine” first appears in the 16th century in Germany (!), was picked up in France in the next century, but, it only picked up currency in the 19th century. Thus, it is NOT ancient or correct usage. I’ll state frankly and baldly what it is (and people shall call me hateful and nasty for doing so)… “Byzantine” is nothing but lying papist propaganda of the worst and most noisome sort, and we should stop its use IMMEDIATELY. One should note that contemporaneous Persian, Islamic, and Orthodox Slavic sources all use “Rome” and “Roman”, never the perverted usage “Byzantine”.


Soldiers of the medieval Imperial Roman Army… an archer, a katafraktos (armoured cavalryman), and an infantryman.


You see, if we speak the truth about Christian Rome, it destroys the entire papist edifice and the myths that sustain it. There was NO fall of Rome in 476 AD. The western provinces of the empire fell to barbarian invaders… that’s all that happened. The empire continued, for Emperor St Constantine the Great had moved the capital to Constantinopolis Nea RomanaOld Rome was a provincial backwater (albeit with snotty pretensions). New Rome was the centre of early medieval Europe, it was the most powerful and richest city of all Europe (which is why the papist Crusaders lusted to loot and rape her in her later years). New Rome was the shining beacon of Apostolic Orthodox Christianity; Old Rome after its final fall to northern barbarians in the 8th century was nothing but an illiterate bunch of unwashed Teutons in comparison to the educated and civilised Romans in the Empire. It is why such non-Christian and quasi-pagan notions as papal infallibility and papal monarchy (and the inevitable distortions of ancient Christian theology and practise that followed such in due course) took root there. Note well that the Patriarch of New Rome was never a secular ruler. The vasileos was still on his throne, and the clergy were kept in their proper place (this is one reason why Orthodox are much more relaxed with their clergy than are the Western heterodox… the clergy were always a subordinate social class (especially the married parochial clergy)).


A contemporary re-enactor in the garb of a medieval Roman katafraktos (armoured cavalryman) of the Imperial Army.


If the above shall have me hated and vilified in certain quarters, what I’m about to say is even more provocative. I say such because it’s true… and one must speak the truth in love… come what may.



Anyone who uses the terms “Byzantine Christian”, “Byzantine Church”, or “Byzantine” anything spits on Christ and His Church (for the Church is the Body of Christ… an attack on the Church is an attack on Our Lord Christ Himself. QED). It’s quite that simple. There’s Orthodoxy and there’s heterodoxy. It matters nothing if some of the heterodox ape our practises and rituals. Uniates are nothing but papists. They bow before their Vicarius Christi (Substitute for Christ) and believe in his infallibility and his immediate and absolute monarchy over his confession. THAT’S what they wish us to emulate. Please, God, spare me from such sacrilegious blasphemy and profanity. People such as Robert Taft are not Orthodox Christians and we should NOT treat them as such (the fact that they have an academic “reputation” matters not at all in this regard… Orthodox fooled and misled by such are sad cases). What would St Hilarion Troitsky the New Martyr have said of such? For that matter, what would Metropolitan Vladimir Sabodan of Kiev say of such (don’t forget how the Uniates attack him and attack the Church in the Ukraine today… pray for him!)? I care nothing for windfests such as Balamand… it wasn’t a binding council of the Church and it hasn’t been accepted by many legitimate Orthodox authorities.


Contemporary re-enactors portraying the Varangoi. Note well that they carry Christian icons, as did all units of the army of the Christian Roman Emperor.


There’s no supporting evidence for the term “Byzantine”… NONE. Let me repeat that, so that it sinks in, even for the slow learners. There’s absolutely no evidence whatsoever in contemporaneous documentation for the usage of the term “Byzantine” to refer to the Empire of the Romans, or to the Rhomaioi, or to the Imperial army or civil service, or to any aspect of the Church of New Rome. It’s a noxious papist neologism… if the papists wish to use it, so be it. We can’t control what others do and say… we’re not PC hooligans. However, if we’re Orthodox Christians, we should stand for what’s true and right. The usage of “Byzantine” isn’t true and right, therefore, we should abandon it directly. I don’t care about the opinion of those who are influenced by papists such as Taft… we really should put such people to the test… what do you want? Do you stand for Christ, or, do you stand for the pope? If it’s the latter, do become a Uniate… that’s honest, at least. It has nothing to do with being “fearful of outsiders”… those who came up with that one should truly go back to kindergarten. Let’s ask simple and straightforward questions! Mr Taft… do you accept the Pope of Rome as the head of the church? If so, go with God… I shan’t argue with you… it’s pointless to argue with such sorts. As for the Orthodox who associate with such sorts for the sake of worldly academic “recognition”… shame on you! Their arguments are flimsy in the extreme and one should kick the arguments aside (not the people… the arguments) without any compunction or mercy. Intellectuals love windy talk… there are times when the only response is to give such talk the tip of one’s boot. “Fearful of the outside world”… what have we come to? I’ll check into Bedlam with Mr Scrooge!


The flag of the Empire of the Romans… Byzantine Empire? Don’t be blasphemous!


What’ll we do with those who refuse to abandon the use of such terms? Firstly, determine the depth of your interlocutor’s knowledge. Most people who use such aren’t educated or educated in some other field than history… we can either ignore or tolerate them. As for certain loud intellectuals (I’m thinking in particular of Vassa Larina and Andrei Psaryov), I’d say that it’s proper to counter and check them at every opportunity… they know better… they truly do. Orthodoxy is what it is. Heterodoxy is what it is. You can’t make a false union by writing of a fictive and notional “Byzantine Church” or “Byzantine Christians”. Where are St Mark of Ephesus and Professor Aleksandros Kalomiros when we need them? All Orthodox Christians have the binding OBLIGATION to counter the papal supremacist claims wherever they pop up, no matter who spouts them, in whatever form. We also have the DUTY to debunk the Western myth of “The Fall of Rome“… that’s only a apologia for papal claims and innovations. Let’s not be coy. We’re the proud heirs of Christian Rome… of the Christian Empire… of the Apostolic Christian Faith… of the unbroken line of Confessors from St Photios the Great to St Maksym Sandovich to Blessed Gavriil Kostelnik to Fr Mikhail Shuvar. Rome did NOT fall… it not only lived on in New Rome… it lives on still… embodied both in our hearts and in Christian Moscow, the Third Rome.

Christian Rome… yes, indeed! Gad, sir, we’re the REAL Romans. “Byzantine?” … GIVE ME A BREAK!

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Friday 27 November 2009

Albany NY

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