Voices from Russia

Sunday, 21 March 2010

21 March 2010… Random Ruminations From Your Editor

Filed under: Orthodox life,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

Spring has sprung, yet again, and all normal and decent human beings have “spring fever”, and want to be out of doors in the glorious weather. At least here in Albany, it’s nice… I won’t vouch for anywhere else. The last few days have been gorgeous, and I certainly have had the itch to be out in it. Of course, as this is my third year of running this site, I’ve gotten a handle on the seasonal variations in readership. Does it surprise me that when the sun came out, the readers took off? No! If it happened the two past springs, why shouldn’t it happen now?

Some of you are quite miffed at me for not being “spiritual” enough. Izzat so? I’m supposed to stick to “positive” stories and say nothing nasty about any clergyman… they’re our teachers, dontcha know? I’ll give you one word why I refuse to attend to such Pollyannas… GNOSTICISM. That’s right, the Gnostics focused so much on the “spiritual” that they hated the physical and material. Most American konvertsy are infected with this to some extent or other. I’ll stick to Our Lord’s teaching… By their fruits, ye shall know them. Trust me; if the fruit is sweet and luscious, I’m gonna say it loud! If the fruit is wormy and sour… I’m not gonna be quiet to suit this or that clergyman (or layman, for that matter). If we are silent in the face of manifest corruption… then, we shall answer for it on the Last Day.

Another thing that I have been doing is giving a makeover to my art site, Art and Faith. I’ve been editing images and text, and I’m done down to April ’08, which means that I’m almost done with the job. This work is my offering to God, His Church, and to you, my readership. Therefore, it’s going to be as good as I can make it. In short, in order for me to be “honest to God”, I must not only be frank in my writing, I must also attend to the graphics and images used, to see that they are as good as is humanly possible.

In the news, the most important item that has come out of Russia is that His Holiness is stressing UNITY. Another thing that he mentioned during his recent trip to Armenia was that he felt sorry for the people in the diaspora (that’s us, folks). I believe that Patriarch Kirill wishes to bring together all Russian Orthodox people around the world under the banner of the MP. That is manifestly good and God pleasing. To do this, the OCA must die, the sooner, the better. The need for a unified Russian Orthodox Church in the Americas is clear. Anyone who talks of pan-Orthodox unity is talking sheer lunacy and we must silence them. There is no basis for such, I am afraid. However, we can unite Russian Orthodoxy here. I saw the earnest of that at the Unity Service at St Nick’s in ’08. If SVS and New Skete wish to spout their Living Church rubbish… let them… outside of the Church. It’s time for all decent people to gather under Moscow’s wing… it’s the only route open for healthy growth. Otherwise… you know what the Lord said about the house built on the shifting sand.

It’s time to finish up some of my housework… the laundry, to be precise, and the work week starts again tomorrow. Be good… Easter’s on its way in two weeks!

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Sunday 21 March 2010

Albany NY

RF Gosduma Adopted a Bill Allowing the State to Assist Religious Organisations

Russian girls from an Orthodox orphanage in Yekaterinburg… now, if the RF Gosduma would pass a law outlawing foreign missionaries and their phoney “aid” (especially from American Proddies), that would put the cherry on top of the sundae, to be sure. We don’t want your “Jesus as my personal Saviour”, thank you very much… we have the Lord Christ… that was good enough for baba and dede, and it’s good enough for us!

On Friday, the RF Gosduma passed on its second reading a bill on presidential support for socially oriented non-profit organizations. “In preparation for the second reading, we received almost 60 amendments. We adopted only two of them. The most important relates to the fact that religious organisations were included in the list of socially oriented non-profit organisations”, Sergei Popov, the head of the RF Gosduma committee for public associations and religious organisations, told Interfax-Religion. He told us that the original version of the document did not grant such status to religious organisations. Mr Popov said, “The vast majority of religious organisations in Russia such as the Orthodox Church, the Muslims, and others, are actively engaged in a broad range of social activities, all of our major religions have special projects and programmes that help many children, the homeless, and people with difficulties in life. This work of religious organisations is very comprehensive, multifaceted, positive, and certainly requires support from the state. Therefore, it would be unwarranted, in deciding on the forms and methods of support for non-profit organisations, to forget about religious bodies”, he emphasised. Mr Popov said that the law assumes that the state would offer various forms of support, such as financing, property, information, and advice.

Following the adoption of a basic law, RF subjects and local authorities could draft comprehensive legislation. In particular, they could define lists of movable and immovable property, which they could pass as an aid to govern matters relating to benefits for businesses that provide financial assistance to religious organisations for their social activities. Mr Popov presupposed that the Gosduma would enact amendments to the laws governing charity and the tax code in the light of the new law’s provisions. “The law should encourage local authorities to set aside funds in budgets to support all socially-oriented NGOs, not only religious ones. There is much work to do before we find a comprehensive solution to all these points. This bill is an indicator, it defines the main directions and prospects”, he said. Mr Popov pointed up that before the enactment of the bill, “For example, a local government would have liked to provide some assistance to a religious organisation, but there was no legal basis for this, but the adoption of this bill provides such legal grounds”. He also emphasised that NGOs “would not receive automatic designation as socially oriented organisations, they would have to meet specified criteria under appropriate procedures using defined registers”.

19 March 2010



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