Voices from Russia

Monday, 14 December 2009

He’s Checking His List…


This is the entrance to the one-and-only official and true Ded Moroz House in Veliki Ustiug in the Russian Federation. Let’s see… it’s 10 days to Western Christmas, 17 days to the New Year, and 24 days to Orthodox Christmas. Phew! Ded Moroz, Snegurochka, and all their helpers are caught up in that purposeful whirl of holiday preparation… just as we are!

Listen for those bells on the harness of Dede’s troika… he’s coming for you!


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Russian Cathedral in Jerusalem Defiled with Anti-Christian Graffiti

Vandals defiled the Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem. During the night of 10 to 11 December, unknown intruders wrote in large red letters in Hebrew on the walls of the porch and the altar, “Death” and “Death to Christians”, as reported by Fr Feofan, a spokesman for the Mission, and according to the Mission’s official website. The mission filed a criminal complaint with the police in Jerusalem, but, the police say there is little chance of finding the guilty parties, as the church had no video security cameras. Fr Feofan said that the Mission was always refused permission whenever they asked the authorities if they could build a fence around the cathedral compound. “I hope that this incident will serve as an argument for it”, he said. As noted on the website, recently, Russian clergy, both Orthodox and those from other confessions, received similar threats repeatedly, both in public and in private. Yobbos threatened Christians, giving them an ultimatum: leave the country or we’ll “cut” you.

14 December 2009



Official website of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem


Voice of Russia World Service


Here is an interesting article on similar incidents in the Jewish Daily Forward:


Anti-Semitic Demonstration in Chisinau on the Eve of Hanukkah

Statue of Ştefan cel Mare şi Sfânt in the Central Park in Chișinău 


On Sunday, several dozen people took part in anti-Semitic demonstrations in Chișinău (formerly, Kishinyov). The protesters, who identified themselves as “Orthodox Christians”, stated that they would not allow “Jews to rule” Moldova. Participants in the rally chanted anti-Semitic slogans in a square in the central park of Chișinău. They tore down Jewish symbols and items installed in the park two days earlier, on the eve of Hanukkah. They tore the menorah off its pedestal and threw it down before the monument of the 16th century Moldovan King Ştefan cel Mare şi Sfânt. At the rally, which lasted about an hour, several people dressed as priests took part. The police did not intervene to counter any action of the demonstrators, although several patrols were there to keep order. After the demonstration ended, a group from the main police station in Chișinău  arrived with a delegation from the Israeli Embassy to Moldova.

A spokesman for the Association of Orthodox Experts believes that the anti-Semitic rally in Chișinău was the action of a marginal group. “According to media reports, these actions were committed by the Society of St Matrona of Moscow. This organisation has a ‘pro-Diomid’ {This refers to the deposed Bishop of Anadyr and Chukhotka, Diomid Dzyuban: editor} and ‘anti-INN’ (The INN is the Russian equivalent of the SSN or SIN: editor} orientation”, the association said in a statement received on Monday by Interfax-Religion. They believe that the organisers of the rally in Chisinau represent anti-Russian elements. The document went on to say, “There are those who believe that the modern passport is a ‘satanic instrument’. It’s easy to manipulate such people. So, let’s ask ourselves, ‘Who profits from this senseless extremist action, which some are inflating as a “new Kishinyov pogrom”’ {This is in reference to the 1903 Kishinyov Pogrom: editor}?” The Association believes that the riot benefited the “new authorities in Chisinau, who needed a new ‘Reichstag fire’ as a pretext for repressing pro-Moldavian and pro-Russian elements in society and exert pressure on the Moldovan Metropolia of the MP”. The statement noted that the new authorities in Chisinau were amenable to elements in the Romanian Church that wished to take over the canonical territory of Moldavia by saying that its claims were “normal”, whereas the claims of the “Moscow Church” were “irregular and extremist”. “Incidents such as the one in Chisinau are proof of the need of a communal church effort to revitalise its mission and spiritual education so that we can overcome marginal tendencies in church circles”, the Association’s document summed up.

14 December 2009




Editor’s Note:

This does not “smell” like an ordinary outburst of anti-Semites, wretched as such sorts are. Normally, the cops would wade into the crowd and use their truncheons and water cannons until the idiots got tired of it and went home. Moldova is not the PC USA, after all. Cops can still slap a criminal silly without being hauled into court. The police stood motionless on the sidelines. They didn’t allow the riot to spread… but, they didn’t stop it, either. The police got orders from Somebody… you know, someone got a phone call from The Centre. Nobody wrote anything down, but, there was no confusion as to the meaning. The Jews and Hanukkah were only a pretext. Although, of course, part of it is that the Chișinău authorities who are “on the take” are going to demand a larger bite from Jewish businessmen, or, “God alone knows what can happen”.

Note well the statement that we “need… a communal church effort to revitalise its mission and spiritual education so that we can overcome marginal tendencies in church circles”. We need such here too. We’re not trashing Jewish symbols in a park… that’s minor in comparison to what SVS is doing. They laugh at the Holy Mountain at the instigation of a Uniate and invite a heterodox schismatic to speak on the Philokalia. That makes the desecration of a menorah look picayune. However, don’t get me wrong… those who ripped down the menorah deserve some good hard time in the slammer or a good “come to Jesus” thrashing from the cops. We don’t need to prove our “superiority” by ripping down other folks’ symbols. Would He have done that?


Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev Defended Women Who Come to Church in Trousers

Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk (1966- ), the head of the MP Department for External Church Relations

Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk, the head of the MP Department for External Church Relations, urged parishioners to take a more tolerant attitude concerning the clothing worn by fellow worshippers. Speaking on the air during a segment of The Church and World (Церковь и мир: Tserkov i Mir) broadcast by the Vesti (News) network, Vladyki Hilarion pointed up with regret to cases of young people in informal clothing and girls in trousers that came to church in order to “find understanding and compassion, but, instead of that, they encountered abuse and swearing”. Furthermore, he went on to say, “We must fight this disease”, the official website of the DECR reported on Monday. Archbishop Hilarion noted that, in both Russia and the West, pantsuits for women have been around for more than 80 years, so, it’s an absurdity to say that trousers are purely an article of male apparel. “The Lord looks at the heart of man, not at his clothes”, he emphasised.

He also addressed the topic of clergy education; encouraging priests to follow the official position of the Church closely, as set out in its documents, in their pastoral activity. “Every priest should know the official teachings of the Church. Unfortunately, we still find priests who are either insufficiently educated or who knowingly put their opinions above the whole Church”, Vladyki Hilarion acknowledged. In his opinion, such people should “complete their education in the seminaries or work on themselves”.

14 December 2009



Editor’s Note:

The issue of proper clothing at services sometimes takes a larger role than it should. My view is simple; we should be more concerned about the immodesty of clothing rather than its particular style. That is to say, a woman wearing trousers and a buttoned-up blouse is much more modest than one wearing a mid-thigh minidress with a plunging neckline. Anyone of good sense would agree with me, I am sure. In any case, immodesty proceeds from the interior to the exterior, not the other way around (in fact, I would say that there is more than one immodest person flitting about in a monastic riassa… looks DO deceive).

As for myself, when I go to the liturgy to pray, I don’t dress to show off. Normally, I choose a frock or skirt that is at least knee-length and I always wear a hat. There are “scarf people” and “hat people”… I’m of the latter camp; my preference is for a béret, as it doesn’t hinder the proper veneration of icons, block people’s vision, et al. It also very easy to tuck a béret into one’s handbag, so, one is prepared to enter a church at any time.

By the way, it’s not our place to hector other people at the services. I’m there to pray to Almighty God, not to look at everyone else. It’s not for me to lecture others on proper attire… the Church has not given me the warrant to pastor. I’d say that we should inspect those who make such loud complaints closely… all too often they are gossips, ignorant louts, or the self-righteous. Be especially leery if the comment issues forth from a baby konvertsy of less than seven years’ standing… they haven’t learnt “a cat sat on a mat” and they’re condemning others! Lordy!

If the Church tells us that we must lovingly tolerate those Orthodox who mistakenly use the papist calendar for the fixed feasts in the hopes of bringing them back to proper Orthodox practise, then, it’s easy to accept a gal in slacks. Don’t forget that St Paul was more concerned about whether a woman’s head was covered at prayer… he said nothing about the rest of her attire (except, of course, that it be modest goes without saying). Let’s show a sense of proportion.

A word or two concerning Hilarion Alfeyev is in order. There is much made of him in pseudo-intellectual circles, as he echoes their prejudices, preconceptions, and small-mindedness in so many ways. Priests are not independent actors… a friend of mine in the MP who is a canonist told me that, and it “sounds right”. Bishops make priests… not the other way around. Priests are the servants of the bishops and follow their orders. These so-called “pastoral documents” have their place, but, if a priest has a question on how to proceed, if the situation is in any way murky, he should consult his bishop. Then, he is on solid ground.

“Education” is far overrated; in my observation, too much of it leads to overweening pride and self-absorption. Don’t forget that HA is a leader of a faction, often, he does NOT speak for the Church; he only speaks for his clique (in fact, he is not as close a confidant to KMG as Fr Vsevolod Chaplin is, and Fr Vsevolod is much more adept in navigating the central apparat… HA merely looks nicer). In the above, when he spoke on dress in Church, he echoed the Mind of the Church; when he spoke on clergy education, he gave his personal opinion. One should attend to the former with some care; one must take the latter with a large block of salt in HA’s case. Caveat lector.


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