Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

The ‘Pooter is in the Lair of the Geeks

Filed under: humour/wry/"people are funny" — 01varvara @ 00.00

Well… it’s time for annual cleaning and there’s a minor glitch or two to be repaired. So, it’s off to the lair of the local geeks, where a consilium of certified and actual techies will put it everything right… God willing, without breaking the bank account.

God willing, it won’t be long. Yes… I’ll admit it… I’m a cyberspace junkie, but, I do have a real life… which is why posts have been down recently… I heard rumours about a holiday or two…

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Wednesday 30 December 2009

Albany NY

The Death of a Missionary: The Murder of an Orthodox Priest Shook Russian Society

The hand of a mother…

Fr Daniil Sysoev, the rector of St Thomas church in Moscow, was killed on the evening of 19 November right inside his church. Fr Daniil was a well-known and active missionary in the MP. He established missionary courses in several Russian cities, which prepared Orthodox preachers to work amongst people of other beliefs such as Muslims and Protestants of various denominations. Recently, before his death, he conceived the idea of developing extensive missionary activity in Kyrgyzstan, which many regard as a “springboard” for the evangelisation of Central Asia and China.

The death of Fr Daniil Sysoev created a wide resonance within both the Church and society in general. “We must keep firmly in mind and know that confession, and, yes, even martyrdom, is always a possibility when we serve Christ and His Church. The tragic death of Fr Daniil should not plant fear and cowardice in our hearts or weaken our zeal to do God’s work“, said Patriarch Kirill’s statement on the death of Fr Daniil. On the eve of the funeral, on the day of his burial, and on the ninth day after his tragic death, there were processions in his memory held in different parts of the capital.

To date, the crime is still under investigation and the police still search for the killer of the priest. There are different speculations on what happened. Fr Daniil Sysoev had many enemies, both open and covert, because he spared no harsh words for, in his words, “heretics and schismatics”, when he referred to the heterodox in his blog on Live Journal. Neopagan fanatics could have pulled the trigger on Sysoev because he declared Russian Neopaganism evil, as it led to extreme nationalism. In his sermons, he fiercely denounced nationalism, as it is in conflict with the traditional values of Christianity, for in Christ there is “neither Hellene nor Jew”. A radical from the far-left of the political spectrum could have been the murderer. “Satanic envy is the root of all evil. Some hide it under the pretence of social justice”, he said in speaking of the fundamental values of some leftist ideologues.

However, the public believes the Islamists are the main suspects. Fr Daniil’s writings and his active preaching amongst Muslims irritated followers of Islam, both the non-violent and the more militant. Witness at least these lines, “The Word of God is mightier than the sword, as was shown by the tens of thousands of martyrs who revealed the insane teachings of Muhammad through their sufferings” (from the article, Can the Koran Claim that it is the Word of God?). Daniil Sysoev defended the truth of the faith as vehemently as if he had lived in the 7th century, during the time of St John of Damascus, even though the latter was very tolerant towards Islam and, at one point, even served as an advisor to the Caliph, earning universal esteem and respect. Sysoev also insulted the innermost feelings of Muslims, knowing what an emotional outburst even a cartoon of the Prophet caused in the modern world, not to mention the denial of the very foundations of Islam. He exhorted all to live the Gospel, but, he seemed to have forgotten the words of Scripture that he who sows the wind reaps the whirlwind.

30 December 2009

Независимая Газета (Nezavisimaya Gazeta: The Independent Newspaper)

As quoted in Interfax-Religion

http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=print&div=10799

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin said, “It is not enough for a Christian to be just a good man, he must be perfect”

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin (1968- ), the head of the Synodal Department of Church-Society Relations

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the Synodal Department of Church-Society Relations, said that Christ set us the task of becoming perfect men, but, we cannot achieve it solely through good deeds and moral qualities. “It is not sufficient for a man to be good, he must be perfect. God’s grace can accomplish this in us, for it is not by our own merits, but, through His grace that we are worthy of salvation. God saves us; we do not save ourselves. This is one of the mysteries that make up the Christian answer to the question about who may actually enter into the Kingdom of God”, Fr Vsevolod said, during an Orthodox lecture last night at the Polytechnic Museum in Moscow. In his view, God’s expectations of us greatly exceed the standards set in the Old Testament, and they exceed “the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees”, that is, “the best example of those who are without God’s grace, who live solely in the light of the law. The scribes and Pharisees were not fiends; they were the moral authorities in a society governed by the laws of Old Testament ethics. These people were smart, conscientious, educated, very religious, and not prone to vice”, he also pointed up that the Christian should surpass them.

Fr Vsevolod emphasised that the moral ideal that Christ gave was “very radical”, so much so that it cannot be fulfilled purely through human effort. “Christian ethics do not primarily concentrate on the education of the will, or on self-improvement, or on doing good deeds; it focuses on the impact of God’s grace on a man’s soul, which transforms a person so radically that the very thought of sin becomes impossible”, Fr Vsevolod said. In his belief, without God’s grace, without the sacraments of the Church, “a man cannot become moral in the sense of the word used in the Sermon on the Mount. Indubitably, our effort is required as well; first, we must make a free-will choice in favour of the good. But, the thing that makes a person worthy of holiness and of the Kingdom of God does not come from our own will, any humanly based ascetic heroism (подвиг) and self-cleansing are pragmatic notions, nothing but an arithmetically calculated list of good deeds. They are not as efficacious as God’s grace”, Fr Vsevolod summed up.

30 December 2009

Interfax-Religion

http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=33606

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin and Mufti Shafig Pshihachev Thanked Interfax-Religion for Its Assistance

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin (1968- ), the head of the Synodal Department of Church-Society Relations. He is seen here serving at the Pannikhida for Fr Daniil Sysoev.

On Monday, at a press conference at the central offices of Interfax, spokesmen from traditional Russian religious groups congratulated Interfax-Religion on its fifth anniversary of operations. “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Interfax-Religion on its fifth anniversary, over which time it has developed greatly. Five years of operation for an information service relating to news and media monitoring is quite a long time. During this period, it achieved much”, said Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the Synodal Department of Church-Society Relations. On behalf of the MP, Fr Vsevolod attested, “Interfax-Religion always paid the proper amount of attention to the activities of our church. It conscientiously highlighted the work of the late Patriarch Aleksei, and it gives the proper emphasis to the work of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill with equally good faith and vigour. At difficult and critical moments, when things were in flux, we always felt we had your support in the media, and this is also an occasion for gratitude”.

Fr Vsevolod noted, “It’s encouraging that Interfax-Religion gives due and commensurate attention to all religious communities in the former Soviet space, with a focus on the traditional Russian religious communities. They depict the entire palette of our religious life and the secular processes that are relevant to the religious sphere, as well as news concerning the public authorities, the activities of public organisations, and speeches of famous people. From my point of view, this is precisely how journalists in the secular media should write about religion. The characteristics that such media organisations should have are goodwill to all, openness to the different currents in church life, and an ability to analyse these phenomena and the secular trends that surround them. Over the past five years, Interfax-Religion has consistently followed such a path”.

Mufti Shafig Pshihachev

Mufti Shafig Pshihachev, the plenipotentiary representative of the North Caucasus Muslim Coordination Centre in Moscow, also congratulated Interfax-Religion on its fifth anniversary. He said, “I can say a lot of nice things about the team that works at Interfax-Religion. Let’s say that I pass on some information to them. Naturally, I’m not a journalist. However, they get right down to the heart of the matter and give their readers the main points… I express my profound gratitude to the staff and management of this collective. I pray for their success and I pray for their health, long life, and cooperation. May God bless you!”

28 December 2009

Interfax-Religion

http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=33567

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