Voices from Russia

Thursday, 4 March 2010

The Internet Is a Test for the Human Race According to Patriarch Kirill

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

Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias sees the Internet as a test for the human race, for not only has the web become a laboratory forming individuals, but it also constitutes a threat of destruction. “Nowadays, the Internet is a kind of laboratory where we should form our individuality and where we should sharpen our character”, Patriarch Kirill said during a meeting with Moscow students. He also said the Internet has become “a test of our authenticity, an enormous challenge to our strength, as in that space one can easily indulge in depravity, lies, vulgarity, and the desire to lash out with aggression and impunity. Just like the nuclear bomb, [the Internet] may lead the human race to collapse or protect it”. In February, Russian communication service providers agreed to protect Internet users from child pornography by using all legal means, as well as fighting against child pornography production, storage, and trafficking on the web.

4 March 2010

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20100304/158092800.html

Editor’s Note:

There is a current discussion in certain Orthodox circles in the Russian cyberspace on the morality of using “usernames”. It is heated, to say the least. As for me, I agree with the position that says that one must discount all “anonymous” postings. I find it cowardly and beyond the pale. Yes, by using my real name, it means that the mean-spirited will find it easier to attack me… that’s true. Thems the risks you takes… that’s my point of view. I find that signing my actual name (or using my initials on a note) makes me think twice. I should add that most of the profane, scurrilous, or slanderous comments in my commbox (I spam such… so should you) are “anonymous”.  Vladyki Kirill spoke the truth when he said, “one can easily indulge in depravity, lies, vulgarity, and the desire to lash out with aggression and impunity”. The truth shall set you free… if you are willing to pay the price… for freedom ain’t free.

BMD

Patriarch Kirill reminds us that the Moral principles of Christianity Cannot Be “Reformed”

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

Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias stated categorically that it is impossible to “reform” the moral principles and long-held values of Christianity. “The Orthodox Church in the 21st century is the same Church [as it was in the first centuries of Christianity]. By its very nature, the Church is conservative. She received the faith from the Apostles, and that faith can not be changed”, His Holiness said on Thursday at MEPI in answering a question concerning reforms in the church at a meeting with students, graduate students, and faculty. In his opinion, God is the ultimate source of the faith transmitted by the Apostles, and the task of the church is to bring those values into different eras, “in different cultural contexts”. At the same time, the patriarch acknowledged, “We must keep our expression of our values up to date, otherwise they will become museum pieces. Almost always, difficulties in the history of the church resulted from a violation of the balance between actuality and conservatism”, he said. His Holiness thinks that the Reformation in the West “started as an attempt to actualise the message of Christianity, to clear from it layers of accumulated incrustations… that was correct. However, what was wrong was that they encroached on the core [of the Faith], which must be preserved under all circumstances”.

His Holiness believes that Protestantism changed the very essence of the Gospel message, tailoring it to the philosophy of modernity. He cited an example of following such fashionable and ephemeral trends when he said, “The female priesthood is a result of aping feminism. Today, they wish to ‘reform’ the moral principles of Christianity”. Patriarch Kirill says that this is evident in the blessing of homosexual “marriages” and in the promotion of abortion. “If the church loses its strength, it’s like the salt losing its savour… it‘s thrown out”, he added. Patriarch Kirill also spoke of what he saw happening in Anglicanism in the UK. “There is a terrible crisis in the Anglican Church, one sees empty churches. Many Anglicans have converted to Catholicism, and some are looking at the Orthodox faith”, he said. However, the patriarch acknowledged that, sometimes, there are delays in the actualisation of the Church, in particular, in Russia, this manifests itself in questions involving theological education, the level of the priesthood, and attempts to drive a wedge between intellectuals, the arts, and the church. Patriarch Kirill reiterated, “We will do everything we can to prevent such a wedge being driven between the arts and the church”.

4 March 2010

RIA-Novosti

http://www.rian.ru/religion/20100304/212183684.html

Paralympic Flame Lit in Ottawa

Filed under: Olympics,sport — 01varvara @ 00.00

A Paralympic torch relay will get under way in Canada on 3 March. After the Paralympic Flame is lit in front of the House of Parliament in Ottawa, about 600 torchbearers will carry it through Québec, Esquimalt, Whistler, Litton and other cities before bringing it to Vancouver for the 10th Winter Paralympics’ opening ceremony, due on 12 March. Since an established tradition for this ceremony does not exist, the Canadian organisers developed their own ritual. Representatives from the Algonquin people lit the fire in the bowl. At each stop on the way to Vancouver, the flame will be lit up repeatedly. Ashes from all 10 Paralympic fires will be laid at the base of the main Olympic flame when it reaches Vancouver. About 1,300 Paralympians from 43 countries will be contesting medals in mountain and cross-country skiing, biathlon, curling and sledge hockey. Russian Paralympians hope to make a strong showing. At the previous Paralympics in Turin, the Russian team scored the biggest number of “golds”.

3-4 March 2010

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2010/03/03/5000340.html

http://english.ruvr.ru/2010/03/04/5023456.html

http://rus.ruvr.ru/2010/03/03/5019070.html

The Visit of President Medvedev to Notre Dame was an Unforgettable Event

Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk (1966- ), Head of the MP DECR… don’t let his title fool you… he only has authority over one parish in Moscow… that’s all… he’s ambitious to a tee, never turn your back on ‘im.

Recently, the head of the Department for External Church Relations of the MP, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk returned from France after taking part in the opening ceremonies at the Louvre for the exhibition Holy Russia. The Presidents of Russia and France opened the exposition jointly. Vladyki Hilarion gave us his impressions of the trip, as well as the prospects for a dialogue of the Russian Church with the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and about why he failed to serve the liturgy at the Cathedral of St Aleksandr Nevsky on Rue Daru in Paris in an interview with our Interfax-Religion website.

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Interfax:

Your Eminence, you’ve just returned from Paris as part of an official Russian delegation headed by President Dmitri Medvedev. What are your impressions of this trip?

Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev:

The strongest impression of the trip came during a visit by the President and his wife to Notre Dame and their veneration in the main sanctuary of the cathedral of the crown of thorns of the Saviour. It was a memorable and touching event. The last Russian head of state that went to Notre Dame was Tsar St Nikolai. Dmitri Anatolyevich entered the cathedral to the same music that the organist played during the visit of the last Russian tsar in 1896. The President and his wife attended a brief Orthodox molieben that I served together with a group of students from the Paris Orthodox Theological Seminary. Then, we all venerated the crown of thorns, a particle of the True Cross, and one of the nails that fastened the Saviour to the cross.

Amongst the most noteworthy highlights of the trip, I would note the meeting with the mayor of Paris and the President’s speech at City Hall, the dinner with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace, and the visit of the two presidents to the Louvre, where they opened a unique exhibition entitled Holy Russia. This exhibition features masterpieces of Russian icon painting and applied art from the Tretyakov Gallery and other Russian museums. The opening of the exhibition stimulated a broad response in the public and gave a good start to the Year of Russian Culture in France, which has scheduled more than 400 events.

Interfax:

Were there any meeting with French officials to discuss details of the project to build a Russian church on a site at Quai Branly? When will construction on the project begin?

Metropolitan Hilarion:

This project was mentioned, in particular, in a conversation between Dmitri Anatolyevich and the Mayor of Paris. Most people assume that the construction of the new cathedral will begin in 2012. The French meteorological service, Météo-France, who currently occupy the site, have until then to release it. Probably, by that time, the planners will complete the design work.

Interfax:

When you were in Paris, did you meet with Orthodox hierarchs who serve other Local Churches?

Metropolitan Hilarion:

No. Metropolitan Emmanuel of France of the EP, with whom I have quite close contact, in particular, in connection with the preparation of the visit of Patriarch Bartholomew to Moscow, was not in Paris at the time. I was looking forward to serving in the Cathedral of St Aleksandr Nevsky on Rue Daru; I agreed to serve Divine Liturgy there at the invitation of Archbishop Gabriel. However, a week before the appointed time, I received a letter from Archbishop Gabriel that informed me that my visit to the cathedral had to be postponed until better times. He pointed to the decision of a French court on the transfer of the cathedral and property in Nice in to the Russian Federation as a reason for this. This decision caused aggravation amongst some members of his Diocesan Council, which indicated to him the impossibility of my visit to the cathedral at this time.

Interfax:

However, the Church wasn’t involved in the trial; it was the Russian state, wasn’t it?

Metropolitan Hilarion:

That’s right. This court decision doesn’t apply to inter-church relations; it’s purely a property dispute. The Russian imperial family built the cathedral, and the court recognised that the Russian Federation is the successor to the Russian Empire. Therefore, the RF owns the cathedral and the surrounding real estate, and the French court decision confirmed that. This decision in no way infringes on the rights of parishioners who are currently worshipping in the cathedral. The Russian government formally proposed that the present parish, which is under the EP, could continue to use the cathedral. However, the Parish Council rejected this proposal, insisting that, in addition to usage rights, the parish should have ownership rights of the building and adjoining property.

Interfax:

Vladyki, how do you assess the prospects for relations with the EKD after the resignation of Margot Kässmann as the President of its Council? Shall we resume our theological dialogue with them?

 

 

Metropolitan Hilarion:

In May, I planned to visit Germany. I suggested to Bishop Martin Schindehütte, who is responsible for inter-Christian relations in the EKD, that we could use this visit to meet and discuss the prospects for further cooperation. In response, I received a letter stating that such a meeting is possible with the following condition… I must give a written guarantee that my meeting with Herr Schindehütte will prepare a meeting between Frau Kässmann and the Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias. Of course, I couldn’t give such a guarantee, as I believe that such a meeting is impossible. I had already started to prepare a response when word came of the incident with Frau Kässmann, and, then, the news of her resignation. As of today, I believe that their demand for a guarantee has lost its relevance.

With regard to the resumption of dialogue, I think it would be better to discuss this matter after the election of the new president of the Council of the EKD in November. I would like to note that the election of Frau Kässmann was, in a sense, just the tip of the iceberg. As pointed up by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, speaking at the last Archpastoral Council, we fundamentally disagree with the liberalisation in the fields of theology, church life, and morality that we observe in many Protestant communities, including the EKD. We must ask a question directly… what is the point of dialogue, if it doesn’t bring us closer to each other? Certainly, we have many opportunities for interaction, and we must maintain the enormous positive momentum that has built up over 50 years of dialogue. However, should we continue to cooperate using the format of an inter-church dialogue, or, should we look for some other form of interaction? I think that we can answer this question only when the EKD elects a new President of its Council, and when it becomes clear how seriously the leadership of the EKD treats our concern with the situation.

Interfax:

Vladyki, your work schedule is chock full to the brim. What are some of the places that you are going to in the near future?

Metropolitan Hilarion:

On 5-7 March, I’m going to St Petersburg to attend the meeting of the Holy Synod. Then, on 10-11 March, I plan to visit Vilnius at the invitation of Chairman of the Seimas. The ruling bishop of the Diocese of Lipetsk and Yelets, Vladyki Nikon, invited me to address students and academics on 12-13 March. After that, I will accompany his Holiness Patriarch Kirill on his trip to Armenia on 16-18 March. During the period from 19 to 24 March, I plan to visit several dioceses in the Ukraine and Moldavia. A meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul is set for 26-27 March. On 30 March, I should be in Dnepropetrovsk. That’s all before Easter. After Easter, I must assist during the visit of His Holiness Patriarch of Alexandria, and then travel to Ireland, Germany, Italy, and other countries.

4 March 2010

Interfax-Religion

http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=interview&div=255

Editor’s Note:

After one reads Hilarion Alfeyev’s fulsome condolence message to the Plas family, one gets a suspicion that there is now bad blood between HA and the Paris gang. There is a reason that the Paris bunch won’t accept the compromise that the RF is offering them on the Nice property. You see, if they only have worship rights, they would no longer get the revenue from the tourist coaches that visit this beautiful attraction. Gabriel could no longer skim this money for his cabal and for their scurvy seminary, St Sergius. To put it bluntly, it could doom the Paris gang. I think that HA floated this proposal to Gabriel, and the Parisians turned it down. That was dangerous. HA is an ambitious little weasel, and he’ll bulldoze anyone in his path, including former friends. He is the living embodiment of “Paris is worth a mass”. If it comes to that, he’ll put a PM to the heads of Gabriel and his bunch (figuratively, of course) and squeeze the trigger with no compunction whatsoever. “It ain’t personal, it’s business”. Don’t forget how SVS goes to the wall for the Parisians. This puts them in a quandary. Support their friends and get the chop from Moscow, or, throw their friends to the wolves and be Moscow’s puppet. HA would lower the boom on them just as easily… he has fewer scruples than a Borgia pope and makes Louis XIV look like Brother Juniper… what would he say, “L’Église, c’est moi!” Don’t let his excellent English and pretty website fool you… this man gives me the willies… and I’m old enough to know a phoney when I see one.

BMD

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