Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

95 Percent of Believers in Russia Belong to Traditional Religions per the Editors of an Interactive Map of Religious Communities

Filed under: intellectual,religious,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

Professor Roman Silantyev (1977- ), sociologist, Islamocist, Director of the Human Rights Centre of the World Russian People’s Council, editor of new interactive map of the religious communities of Russia

At least 95 percent of all believers in Russia are members of traditional religious organisations. The developers of the first interactive map of Russian religious communities came to this conclusion after studying all the available sources, especially information on registered religious organisations in Russia. “The traditional religions of Russia are increasingly influential in our society according to our comparative analysis of the data on registered religious communities from 2004 to 2009. I believe that this process shall continue”, Roman Silantyev, the editor of the map and an associate professor at MGLU, said on Tuesday at a presentation of the project in the central office of Interfax in Moscow.

Orthodox (MP) showed the most dynamic growth in the number of communities over the past five years, the proportion of its parishes and organisations in the total number of religious communities increased from 53.2 percent to 55.1 percent. Muslims are in second place, the proportion of their communities grew from 16.3 percent to 17.1 percent. There was no change in the proportion of communities of Buddhists, Jews, Charismatics, and Neo-Pagans, being 0.8 percent, 1.3 percent, 7.2 percent, and 0.1 percent respectively. Overall, the total proportion of communities in all four traditional religions in Russia, Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism, is 75 percent of the total number, and the proportion of their followers is 95 percent of the aggregate total, which shows their absolute domination of the religious field.

“New religious movements such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Moonies, and Mormons, by contrast, showed a sharp decline, their share decreased from 5.8 percent to 3.1 percent”, Professor Silantyev said. There was also a slight drop in the proportion of Catholics and Old Ritualists, their communities now make up 1 percent and 1.2 percent of the total respectively.

8 December 2009




Members of the Romanov Family Expressed Concern that the Remains of Tsarevich Aleksei and Grand Princess Maria Remain in Storage

Filed under: history,politics,Revolution/Civil War,Romanovs,Russian,saints — 01varvara @ 00.00

Tsar Martyr St Nikolai Aleksandrovich the Passion Bearer (1868-1918)

Grand Prince Dmitri Romanovich Romanov, a great-grandson of Tsar Nikolai I in the junior male line, expressed concern that the remains of Tsarevich Aleksei and Grand Princess Maria remain unburied. “This question has long unsettled my brother, Nikolai Romanovich. We feel that this is not Christian… that the remains are still unburied. Every religion, be it Buddhism or Islam, has its different traditions of burial, which we must carry out”, Dmitri Romanovich told Interfax. In his view, the remains found in July 2007 during survey work on the Old Koptyakovskoy road near Yekaterinburg are those of Grand Princess Maria and Tsarevich Aleksei, and, therefore, “We simply can’t store them in a refrigerator”. He said he hoped that the Orthodox Church and the Russian government would move the process forward promptly. Previously, he noted that the members of the Romanov Family Association resolved that the burial of the remains should be at Ss Peter and Paul Cathedral in St Petersburg. “However, if it is decided to bury them in Yekaterinburg, then, we will support that”, Grand Prince Dmitri emphasised.

In July 1991, an amateur archaeologist unearthed the remains of Tsar Nikolai II, members of his family, and some of his entourage from under an embankment near Old Koptyakovskoy road. During a forensic investigation, the Office of the RF Procurator General confirmed the identity of all the remains. On 17 July 1998, these remains received burial in Ss Peter and Paul Cathedral in St Petersburg. In July 2007, another amateur archaeologist found fragments of two human bodies with signs of a violent death near the Old Koptyakovskoy road. Research based on DNA analysis confirmed the hypothesis that the remains belong to Tsarevich Aleksei Nikolaevich and Grand Princess Maria Nikolaevna.

7 December 2009



The Silence is Deafening…

Can YOU hear anything… anything at all?


We have a very interesting situation unfolding in Moscow. JP landed there on Saturday, according to oca.org, and there’s been no word of his doings or whereabouts since. This is highly unusual, for it is usual to announce a forthcoming trip at least a month in advance, if not more, and JP normally travels with a much larger entourage. Indeed, the only person accompanying him is his cell-attendant, and no major figure, either clerical or lay, from the OCA is party to this VERY sudden trip. A priestly friend of mine in the MP who knows Fr Vsevolod Chaplin said the following in an e-mail to me:

Metropolitan Jonas is in trouble. He’s been called to account for himself. However, I doubt if the Greeks are involved. This is internal.

I agree. The silence on oca.org is deafening. There was no itinerary issued, there was no list of stops on the visit, and there was only an EXTREMELY thin reason given for the trip. If this was what Syosset claims it is, that is, a trip to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the OCA Representation in Moscow, then, Syosset would’ve announced it weeks ago and Lyonyo Kishkovsky would go as well, for he is the head of the OCA DECR, after all. None of that happened. The only question is whether Moscow shall allow JP to “save face”. As it stands, The Centre summoned him abruptly and peremptorily, so that the entire world could see that JP is nothing but a creature of Moscow. This proves, even for the slow learners, that the so-called OCA isn’t an Autocephalous Local Church in reality. Is KMG going to lift the Tomos? I’ve no idea whatsoever; your guess is as good as mine is. Nevertheless, JP received a summons from His Nibs Himself and he HAD to attend to His Master’s Voice or else. KMG snapped his fingers and JP came running… as any good subordinate would, I’d add.

There’s one thing of a certainty. Moscow has destroyed the cred of the OCA totally and utterly. It’s now clear that it’s nothing but Moscow’s hack dependency and that its claims to autocephaly are specious and without substance. I looked at the Russian press for any mention of this trip… for instance, the secular media in Russia loved Vladyki Laurus, and they give Metropolitan Hilarion Kapral a good press, too. There was no mention of JP or his trip to Moscow. NONE. Trust me, both Laurus Škurla and Hilarion Kapral aren’t unknown figures to the Moscow media… why the silence? There should be at least a small mention on Interfax-Religion… and there was none. Things are getting curiouser and curiouser, but, as the silence is deafening, we should wait for some actual news. I wonder how long it’s going to take. Shall KMG allow JP a face-saving gesture, or, is he is going to make JP slink home with his tail between his legs? Do recall that this month’s session of the MP Holy Synod has the topic of the diaspora on its agenda… interesting, no?

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Albany NY

Editor’s Postscript:

An interlocutor attempted to shoot down my thesis. Well, Moscow has given JP a fig leaf (actually the Alfeyev faction in the MP did so)… hmm… they are giving him a little “face saving”. I should mention that all bishops have schedules, which they all post on their websites, I might add. I stand by my analysis. JP did not go to Moscow for a “fifteenth anniversary”… he went to get the third degree from KMG or the MP Holy Synod. The OCA website is silent… of course, as Matushka Nina pointed up to me on Sunday night, they’re running out of money. In short, no sale. JP is still in the deep kimchi. After all, HA is not only the “foreign affairs” expert in the MP… KMG has seen to that. Checkmate to my interlocutor.


A Warrior of Christ: Archpriest Mikhail Shuvar (+13/26 September 2009)

Editor’s Foreword:

This is longer than usual, but, please, do attend to this in its entirety. It refutes completely the indifferentist notion peddled by Vassa Larina and Andrei Psaryov (can you believe, on the official website of the ROCOR) that there’s an “Orthodoxy of fear” and that anyone who disagrees with their thesis is ignorant and benighted (that smells very much like SVS… birds of a feather?). We may choose to emulate a saint who bore on his body wounds suffered for Christ’s sake… Fr Mikhail Shuvar… or, we can choose to follow two airy and fatuous eggheads with logorrhoea… Vassa Larina and Andrei Psaryov. The choice is yours… but, please, do read this first.



Mitred Archpriest Mikhail Shuvar (1958-2009), New Martyr for the cause of Orthodoxy in Galicia, Fearless Preacher and Fighter against the Godless Unia


On 26 September 2009, Mitred Archpriest Mikhail Shuvar died, according to the website of Holy Myrrh-bearers Russian Orthodox Church in Venice. From 15 January 2007, with the blessing of Archbishop Innokenty Vasiliev of Korsun, Fr Mikhail was rector of Nativity of the Mother of God parish of the MP in the town of Pescara in Italy. Archpriest Mikhail Shuvar was born 26 February 1958 in the village of Bovshev in Galich Raion of Ivano-Frankovsk Oblast into a working-class family. From 1 November 1977 to 18 December 1979, he served in the Soviet Army. After his demobilisation from the forces, he worked as an artistic director in the Galich District Department of Culture from February 1980 to May 1981. In August 1981, he entered Leningrad Theological Seminary and graduated in 1983. In that same year, he started the first-year course of the Leningrad Theological Academy. On 4 December, on the feast of the Presentation of the Mother of God in the Temple, the rector of the Leningrad Theological Academy and Seminary, Archbishop Kirill Gundyaev (now Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias), ordained him into the diaconate, and, on 25 December of that same year, Archbishop Meliton Solovyov of Tikhvin ordained him to the priesthood. In 1988, he graduated from the Leningrad Theological Academy with a kandidatura in theology, and served at the Protection of the Mother of God parish in Babukha in the Diocese of Ivano-Frankovsk. In 1989, with God’s help, he registered and opened a new parish in Konyushkov and began building a new church. In late 1989, Uniates began to spread all over Galicia. In April 1990, Uniate thugs took over the Protection of the Mother of God church in Babukha, as they had earlier stolen the church that was under construction in Konyushkov in September 1989. Most of Fr Mikhail’s parishioners remained faithful to the Mother Church, and he continued to serve, first, at the cemetery, later, in a wooden chapel. In 1993, he began to build a church dedicated to St Michael the Archangel for the Orthodox faithful.

In 1990, together with his brother, Archpriest Vladimir Shuvar, he organised Orthodox self-defence groups not only in the Diocese of Ivano-Frankovsk, but, also, all over Galicia. At the same time, he also engaged in other ministries in the Diocese of Ivano-Frankovsk. In 1991, the brothers held a hunger strike in the city of Ivano-Frankovsk in a former kindergarten building that was now a chapel (молитвенный дом). In 1992, they defended the diocesan administration building from an assault launched by a unified gang of Uniates and schismatics. From 1991 to 1997, Fr Michael was the rector of the cathedral chapel (молитвенного дома) and served at the parish in the village of Konyushkov in Rogatyn Raion. From 1992 to 1999, he was secretary of the diocesan administration of the Diocese of Ivano-Frankovsk. In 1994, Archpriest Mikhail received a cross with decorations, and, in 1996, His Beatitude Metropolitan Vladimir Sabodan awarded him the right to wear a mitre. From 1988 to December 2006, he was a clergyman of the Diocese of Ivano-Frankovsk diocese, the rector of St Michael the Archangel parish in Konyushkov, and he completed the construction of the new church building, which is the only Orthodox church in Rogatyn Raion in Ivano-Frankovsk Oblast. When he went to serve in Italy, Fr Mikhail spent all his efforts in building up the community and obtaining a building for the parish church. The lingering effect of the injuries inflicted upon him by radical Uniate thugs, as well as the many afflictions that he suffered in the defence of Holy Orthodoxy in the Western Ukraine, led to his sudden death on the morning of 26 September. Fr Mikhail left a widow and four children who’re students. The funeral will be on 29 September in the town of Pescara in the Church of Cristo Re, at Via del Santuario 160, Pescara. Then, the coffin with the body of Fr Mikhail shall be shipped home to Ivano-Frankovsk, where he’ll be buried. May the Lord give rest to the soul of the newly-reposed Archpriest Michael in the mansions of the righteous!

Вечная ему память! Eternal be his memory!

Those wishing to assist Fr Mikhail’s family financially should go to this link.

28 September 2009

Седмица.RU: Церковно-Научный Центр «Православная Энциклопедия» (Sedmitsa.RU: Church-Scientific Centre “Orthodox Encyclopaedia”)



Patriarch Kirill noted the Role of Archpriest Mikhail Shuvar in Defending Orthodoxy in the Western Ukraine

Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias expressed his condolences on the passing of Archpriest Mikhail Shuvar in Pescara in Italy. “Fr Mikhail Shuvar was a zealous pastor and confessor of the faith who did much for the protection of Holy Orthodoxy in Galicia, and he was loyal to the Mother Church even in the darkest years”, said a telegram sent by His Holiness to Archbishop Innokenty Vasiliev of Korsun, the ruling archpastor in the region. Patriarch Kirill noted that, in the last years of his life, the late Fr Mikhail served in Italy at a newly-formed parish, “where, thanks to his efforts, he created a wonderful community, bringing together hundreds of Orthodox believers”, the press office of the patriarch reported.

1 October 2009




It’s easy to understand the sacrifices of the early Christians. Reading their biographies, we truly experience their suffering. They’re close and understandable to us modern Orthodox Christians. If someone were to ask us, then, perhaps, everyone would respond that if we found ourselves in such a situation, we’d gladly follow the example of the martyrs. Maybe, that’s true. However, now, this situation seems not to be (God forbid, let’s hope it doesn’t occur!). Simply put, the Enemy of Mankind is so refined in his temptations that he constantly invents new tricks to dupe and swindle people, to block them from the path of salvation. His traps are often so cunning that he catches many unwary souls; they’re stuck tightly, not noticing that it’s a con job. Only those with great spiritual discernment can detect these shady tactics of the Evil One. The devil’s too refined to make a man abandon the Church of Christ outright. He uses devious paths and ways, which, at first glance, seem to be oh-so-principled. He invokes belief, logic, and politics, and frequently appeals to our national consciousness. People are foolish, confused, and weak in spirit, so, they become easy prey. Then, he gathers them in a pack and impels them to seize the churches. This happened in the Ukraine.

One of those who saw through it all, understood it, and fought against it, was Archpriest Mikhail Shuvar. His name became well-known in the early 90’s, when Uniates, and, after them, schismatics from the so-called “Patriarchate of Kiev” commandeered and vandalised Orthodox churches. He, along with other clergy and laity attempted to defend the cathedral and the diocesan administration building of the Diocese of Ivano-Frankovsk. Brutal Uniate thugs beat Fr Mikhail, dragged him by the hair, and beat him with irons taken from the cathedral fence. After that, Fr Mikhail suffered permanent disability and served on the diocesan staff. In recent years, he served in Italy ministering to Ukrainian workers. However, the effects of the injuries inflicted by Uniate thugs led to his early death on the morning of 26 September. It’s difficult for us to be firm in the faith in the face of propaganda for so-called “tolerance” and “ecumenism”. All too often, we take cover behind the words of Christ about humility and turning the other cheek. However, that same Book tells us, For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul (St Matthew 16. 26)? Moreover, one’s soul and the faith are worth fighting for.

29 September 2009

Православный мир (Pravoslavny Mir: Orthodox World)



An Interview with Fr Mikhail Shuvar

Vladislav Dyatlov

Father Mikhail, can you tell us about the beginning of the persecution of our Church in Galicia in 1989?


The Church of the Transiguration in Lvov in the Western Ukraine, taken over by Uniate intruders on 29 October 1989.


Fr Mikhail Shuvar

The conflict began in the autumn. At the time, my brother Vladimir was ready to graduate from the Leningrad Theological Academy, I did so in 1988, he finished a year later. It all erupted in Lvov, when the Uniates seized Transfiguration Church. Its rector, Fr Andrei Gorak, who, later, unfortunately fell into the Denisenko schism, declared a hunger strike in protest, but, it didn’t help, because, after the incident, the local authorities sided with the Uniate occupiers. The Uniates, in fact, were well-equipped and they were ready to wage war, not with words, but they used cherry bombs, iron sticks, salt, sand, etc. This started a real reign of terror, which hit the Ivano-Frankovsk area in late December. On 22 December 1989, a mob of about six to seven thousand people milled around the city cathedral right during the liturgy. Some burst into the church and began to mess about with the singing and shouted insults at the priests, they did this right before the sanctuary. The intruders were mostly rural people brought into the city from the villages. I would say that 20 percent of them were teenagers. A gang of young toughs appeared be the instigators. Demonstrators protested in front of the cathedral for an entire week. During this time, many of our priests received physical “encouragement” from the rabble. Archbishop Makary of Ivano-Frankovsk and Kolomyia declared a hunger strike and demanded that the terror cease. Seeing the events unfold, at first, the authorities were hesitant, but, a week later, they officially handed over the cathedral to the Uniate mob. Then, the protesters threw out our priests from the cathedral into the street, which became a signal for other extremists to grab other churches in the city and oblast.

The motivation behind this wasn’t a burning desire to reinstitute Uniatism. Our people weren’t interested in it anymore; its power was spent. However, intelligence agents did their agitation behind the façade of ordinary people. There’s evidence that shows that some of the extremists were paid. How did we find that out? During the siege of the cathedral, one of our young parishioners went amongst the crowd and, not being recognised, heard the question, “Have you been paid yet?” “Not yet”, he replied. Then, calmly, he went on to say, “What about you?” “Yeah, they give us five bucks a night, as long as we’re here”. Then, because prices were already rising, people were insecure. So, people took the money and took the bait. Everybody wanted to get rich quick. My word, no one wanted to miss this “movement”, so, the Unia gained impetus. There were none of the original Uniates left in the area, over the years, most got money and moved abroad. Here’s a fact that everybody in Ivano-Frankovsk knows… at that time, the local Rukh activists promised to give the local communists the White House near the Children’s Hospital, but the building’s still owned by government officials and they’re not letting go of it.

I think that another reason that the Uniates succeeded is that the local population of Galicia was confused about its Orthodox identity due to the fact they were once under Catholic Polish and Austro-Hungarian rule, well before the Soviet period. Under the Communists, there were Orthodox churches, legitimate priests, and grace-filled sacraments, but, there wasn’t enough preaching, and many people didn’t know what it means to be truly Orthodox. In 1988, when we had to rebuild almost everything from scratch, the enemies of Orthodoxy slunk in the shadows and lied to the people. They said that all of the priests were Chekists, that we all carried guns, that we came here from beyond the Urals, that we only served Moscow, and that’s why the Ukraine is so wretched. Only about 2 to 3 percent of the population were active in this campaign, but, they managed to deceive many others. They cooked up scandal about Orthodox priests, they sent outside agitators to entice the villagers into putting pressure on the priests. When this happened, my brother and I answered that not only did we grow up up in Galicia, but, also, we didn’t collaborate with the KGB, we weren’t even Octobrists when we were kids.


Soviet illustration of Little Octobrists (Октябрята: Oktiabriata) from the 1970s. Little Octobrists were seven to nine-years-old, they then moved on to the Young Pioneers.


Vladislav Dyatlov

How did you manage to avoid becoming Octobrists?

Fr Mikhail Shuvar

Our father was a deeply religious man. He asked our family a question… whom do we serve, the Prince of this world or Christ? Perhaps, it was easier to deal with the consequences of such a stance as we lived out in the sticks, but, we did have some difficulties when we were growing up. For refusing to let us become Octobrists, the cops picked up pop, gave him the third degree, and beat him up; they accused him of political opposition to the Soviet authorities. Nevertheless, he stood his ground, and since he was a stand-up guy, he gave a clear and pithy answer to the bosses, “No, this has nothing to do with politics. My kids believe in God, they aren’t atheists”. Lordy! I can’t remember how many times pop lost his job! He didn’t last long anywhere because every door slammed just as it opened. It happened to him more than once! However, he overcame it all with patience. In school, they nicknamed my brother and me “sectarians”, because the sectarians’ kids weren’t allowed to be Octobrists either. When we went to church on weekday feastdays and came to school late, our teachers would have a fit. As for the KGB, one time, they offered to “help” me. The officer asked me what people said to me in confession. However, I cut that conversation short. For doing that, they called me a “psycho”. When I graduated from the Academy, it took me six months to get a parish.

Vladislav Dyatlov

How did events develop in Ivano-Frankovsk, after the fall of 1989?

Fr Mikhail Shuvar

Orthodox residents of the city remained without a church, which forced them to hold services in the diocesan administration building, which dates from 1961. Surprisingly, it was through the Grace of God, I am sure, the thugs did not take the building at that time, although they could have done it without difficulty. Throughout the oblast, the Uniates grabbed church after church. Some priests, who were pressured by villagers and threatened with violence by thugs, went into the Unia, and many left the area, not because they didn’t want to be traitors, but they feared that thugs would kill them. A murder could happen so easily, and the local authorities would hush up the matter. In the summer of 1990, we asked the authorities to provide us at least one of those Orthodox churches that they used for secular purposes. However, the authorities only gave us old Catholic churches, that is, those not in use by Catholics or sectarians. True, there was one Jesuitical exception. The authorities told us that we could make use of an Orthodox church currently utilised by the Oblast Archives. When we raised the question of the release of the building for worship, they told us that there wasn’t any prospect of moving the archives into another building, and, then, they called us enemies of national culture with no respect for such a valuable archival institution. It was our property “on paper” for some six years, but, when “Patriarch” Philaret Denisenko of the so-called “Patriarchate of Kiev” visited Ivano-Frankovsk, he found common cause with the authorities in connection with that church building, and they immediately found a way to move the archives…


Town Hall in Ivanovo-Frankovsk


Our walk through the corridors of power turned into a continuous fight against a propaganda campaign that portrayed us as fanatics who wished the return of the “time of occupation”. Finally, we couldn’t take it anymore and we staged a hunger strike right in the building of the city executive committee. We sang and prayed; we were so hungry that we often fainted. Orthodox people came from as far away as the Khmelnytsky and Poltava Oblasts to support us. Our hunger strike started in the autumn of 1990, and we reached our goal in February 1991. The city authorities allocated to us a kindergarten for use as a church. It was a small, but sound, building in the city centre. Until 1998, I happened to be the rector of that church and I was concurrently, since 1992, the Diocesan Secretary. During this time, the authorities repeatedly tried to take away the kindergarten building, but we managed to keep it in our hands. The authorities didn’t allow us to build a proper church here in the city. They only allowed us a plot with a 93-metre (305-foot) frontage in town; then, for two more years they played bureaucratic games with us, we weren’t allowed to cut any trees down to create a building site, in the hopes that we would get tired of fighting for our rights, to discourage us. We placed a small chapel on the site and began to worship, we organised a separate Orthodox community. We filed the necessary documents for registration, but the authorities refused to register us. One sees Uniate parishes on every corner in Ivano-Frankovsk, but, the authorities consider a second Orthodox parish in the city as ridiculous.

In 1998, the authorities tried to sign over the deed to the kindergarten building to the “Patriarchate of Kiev” seminary, and drew up the relevant documents. We stirred up a noise, even in Moscow. Orthodox Muscovites staged a picket outside the Ukrainian Embassy. Anxious staff rushed to call Kiev, “What did you do to rile up these folks?” As a result, at the time, they left the kindergarten in our hands, but, they tried to pressure the ruling bishop to stop using the building as the diocesan administration centre and get him to leave the city, as well as kick me out as rector and Secretary of the diocese. With four children, I didn’t have an apartment in Ivano-Frankovsk and we didn’t have enough to live on, so, I hoped for a new situation outside of the oblast. However, I remained rector of St Michael church in the village of Konyushkov in Rogatyn district, that’s where I live, and my parishioners and friends support me.

Today, the situation we have another tense situation brewing up over the kindergarten. Once again, our community asked permission to build a church, and we received the answer that when our lease ends on the premises, they’ll evict us and use it for commercial purposes. Don’t forget… the authorities never allowed us to build a real church in the city. Obviously, they just wanted to squeeze us Orthodox out of the city and our hopes of creating an environment where we Orthodox could realise our rights to freedom of conscience in the region grew fainter. We said that the many years that we served the Divine Liturgy in it consecrated the kindergarten, this place was sacred, we couldn’t allow its desecration; the canons tell us that we can attach only a chapel or cemetery to a church building. It is doubtful whether the authorities really want to rezone our property for business; we have information that the Uniates bought a large house across the street near the hotel, and they are thinking of establishing one of their parishes in our building.

Our position in the oblast is grim. There’s a discernable pattern to the way that they run Orthodox out of town. Two or three people come to a village throwing money around, they look for willing “business partners”, so they tell their stooges that there’s going to be no more poverty for them; it’s in the past. They tell everybody that they should take part in the revival of Ukrainian statehood and spirituality, to transform their “moskalsky” {“Moskal” is demeaning slang used by Uniates for Russians: editor} parish into one that is “national-oriented”. The village becomes a battlefield. The government steps in and declares, “See, the people want an independent church”. If you ask about discrimination against the communities of the canonical Church, they will answer, “No, everything is normal, everyone has equal rights!” Just understand, they would say that the priest of the community violated one rule or another, or, that there were discrepancies in their documents. One priest applied for legalisation of a district organisation, The Orthodox Way, and the head of the district administration immediately summoned him and said, “If you want to have a quiet life in your parish… it’s your choice”. The Uniate fanatics and the zealots of the “Patriarchate of Kiev” run rampant in the villages.

Vladislav Dyatlov

Today, what’s your parish life like?

Fr Mikhail Shuvar

It’s hard, but God gives us strength, and the people don’t let us down. Moreover, I won’t stop and, although it’s slow, I continue to build a new church, even though it’s taken us eight years already. We serve in the same wooden chapel that we nailed together back in 1991. In the summer, you can hardly breathe, and you freeze in the winter. However, the people come to pray. Most are locals, but, many come from Rogatyn, Burshtin, and other places. In addition, there are those who come to Orthodoxy from the Unia. Moreover, most importantly, all these people are already established in the faith, they see themselves as Orthodox Russians, the spiritual descendants of Grand Prince St Vladimir, the Fathers of the Kievo-Pechersky Lavra, and all the saints who worked in Holy Russia, including Galicia. Therefore, for this reason, we’re even more obliged to be firm in our preservation of Orthodoxy in the province, because we remember and we know how false and how truly unpopular the Unia is.

Украина православная (Ukraina Pravoslavnaya: Orthodox Ukraine)



Cardinal Lyubomir Husar (1933- ), chieftain of the Ukrainian Uniates, he doesn’t condemn the tactics of the thugs underneath him… therefore, he’s responsible for the early death of Fr Mikhail… shame on this unrepentant schismatic and heretic!


Editor’s Note:

Let’s recall the words of Vassa Larin:

Let me first comment on the fear of the non-Orthodox that appears to have inspired the comment of our clergyman. It seems that some of our faithful experience Orthodoxy first and foremost as fear, while their faith remains largely uninspired, uncurious, and hence uninformed. Such an Orthodoxy often has no idea about its own tradition, about the wealth of history behind the liturgy one attends every Sunday, or even about scripture itself. At the same time, a fearful Orthodox is often willing to spend hours in the Internet, feeding on church politics and dulling the theological senses all the more. To such a culture of ignorance and fear, even the most brilliant non-Orthodox scholars of our Byzantine liturgy are seen as threats, rather than a humbling admonishment to our own negligence of Orthodox tradition.


Metropolitan Hilarion… shall you have this meretricious rubbish removed from the official website of the ROCOR? It makes it look as though you agree with the Renovationist fanatics of SVS and New Skete (as I know that you don’t). Listen to the words of Fr Mikhail Shuvar… listen to the words of Vassa Larina. There’s a difference, isn’t there? The one confesses Orthodoxy; pure and simple… the other confesses God alone knows what… syncretistic indifferentism? It’s rather vague, formless, and without any intellectual rigour. “Such an Orthodoxy often has no idea about its own tradition, about the wealth of history behind the liturgy one attends every Sunday, or even about scripture itself”. I’d say to Vassa Larina, “I do beg your pardon, missy! Who told you that? Robert Taft? I’ll tell you how REAL Orthodox go about finding out who’s naughty and who’s nice. We ask, ‘With whom are you in communion with?’ This is the only question that counts in the end. For instance, Robert Taft is in communion with the Pope of Rome, he’s a rabid papist who believes in papal infallibility and the immediate jurisdiction of the Pope over all the church. That’s NOT Orthodox, Ms Larina, and the priest who castigated you for being so foolish as to be following a Uniate was correct and he was he being kind and loving to boot. He didn’t want you to stomp on a fresh cow-pie. He saw it, he said something about it, and all that you did was to throw a hissy fit and denigrate him”.

Fr Mikhail Shuvar carried the cross for Christ; he refused to compromise with the Uniate and schismatical attackers of Christ’s Church. Vassa Larina (and Andrei Psaryov, for defending her) spat on Fr Mikhail’s podvig by her open, unashamed, and obsequious fawning upon the Jesuit Uniate Taft. There’s NO such thing as “our Byzantine liturgy”, dear. “Byzantine” is a noxious 16th century German papist neologism that grounded Orthodox should avoid. You’re not speaking to an ignoramus here, Ms Larina. I’m no theologian; I did not study it. I DID study history… I can speak to that. No contemporaneous documentation uses the word “Byzantine”… NONE. Moreover, there’s no “Eastern Church and Western Church”, there’s no “breathing with two lungs”, or any other such rot. There’s the Church of Christ, which is coterminous with the Local Orthodox Churches, and there are the heterodox confessions, which aren’t a part of the Body of Christ in the strictest usage of the term. Get your mind right.

I do NOT advocate hatred or violence towards the heterodox; rather, we should leave them in peace (for argumentation shall do nothing of use). If there are political or social causes of common interest, why, we should lend our hands to the effort, why not? You call people like me “fearful”, Ms Larina. I find that’s not only false, I find it offensive. I find it repulsive that you sat in a hall where people giggled at the Holy Mountain at the instigation of an unrepentant Uniate and you kept your silence. It’s ghastly that you commend people to follow Uniates… the blood of the many martyrs who refused to bow their knee to the Pope of Rome condemn you… the example of Fr Mikhail Shuvar puts you to shame. What are you? Are you an Orthodox Christian or are you a fluffy and mindless academic? If you’re the latter, at least, do not presume to speak for the Church. I don’t… this is my opinion, my viewpoint, my take on the situation, based on my education, knowledge, and experience.

I’d say to Metropolitan Hilarion, “My Nicky often says, ‘A bishop has to know how to bish’. I’ve no doubt that his meaning is clear to you. It’s one of those times to ‘bish’ right now, sir. You really should either remove Vassa Larina’s article from the ROCOR official website or attach a label to it announcing that it is her opinion only, not the teaching of the Church. You see, I have no doubt that YOU honour Fr Mikhail’s podvig… show it by showing such pro-Uniate ideas the gate. Only then, Mother Vassa may understand that her stance is repellent to most Orthodox Christians”. Fr Mikhail’s blood cries to heaven… shall we listen?


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