Voices from Russia

Monday, 14 June 2010

A Photo Essay. He Made Us Laugh: The 60th Birthday of Slava Polunin

Slava Polunin at his 60th birthday party…


Slava Polunin in 1968, beginning his career in pantomime…


Slava Polunin as his most famous character, Asisyai, in 1985…



Slava Polunin and Sergei Keft (left) in a vignette in a film in 1986…


Slava Polunin  in Slava’s Snowshow



Slava Polunin as Asisyai in recent years…


Slava Polunin on stage… he loves doing new things, but the audience wants the old faves, too…


Vyacheslav Polunin (1950- )… clown extraordinaire… he made us laugh… the world is a better place for his being here…



Here’s a Good Example of REAL Russian Press Reportage on Catholicism: RIA-Novosti on “The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Catholicism”

Interior of a papist church in Poland


Editor’s Foreword:

After Rod Dreher’s little contretemps, I post the following to show the actual Russian attitude towards the papal confession. It is what it is.



On 11 June, Catholics around the world celebrate Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a holyday dedicated to the worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ. It is noted on a Friday, falling eight days after the Feast of Corpus Christi, and on the twelfth day after the Feast of the Holy Trinity. The Heart of Christ is a symbol of God’s love to mankind; the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, thus, reflects the gratitude to God for his love and freely given gift of salvation.

The origin of the holyday goes back to the 11th and 12th centuries. This Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus marked the beginning of the veneration of the Wounds of Christ, which became widespread in the 13th century, when [Catholic] monks devoted special prayers to Christ’s wounds, especially to the pierced side of the Saviour. The original impetus for the modern development of the veneration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was a vision of the French nun Margaret Mary Alacoque, of the Visitation Convent of Paray-le-Monial, where Jesus Christ expressed the desire that people worship His Heart in a special way. However, this wish remained unfulfilled for a long time; many theologians doubted the need for a new universal devotion. In the 1600s, notably due to the Jesuits, the cult of the Sacred Heart of Jesus reached its climax. In 1672, with the permission of his bishop, Fr Jean Eudes, the confessor of Sr Margaret Mary Alacoque, served, with permission from his bishop, the first Holy Mass to the Heart of Jesus.

For a hundred years, the Catholic church lingered over the official establishment of the new holiday. In 1765, Pope Clement XII Corsini gave the first permission to celebrate this holyday to the Polish [Catholic] episcopate. It was celebrated worldwide by the 19th century. In 1856, Pope Pius IX Mastai-Ferretti made the liturgical celebration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus mandatory for the whole Church. Leo XIII Pecci deepened the understanding of the Sacred Heart devotion, illustrating the relationship between this devotion and the salvation of the world. In 1956, Pope Pius XII Pacelli, in his message on the hundredth anniversary of this event, gave the veneration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus solid dogmatic foundation.

On this holyday, Catholic worship recalls the passages of Holy Scripture that speak of Christ as the Good Shepherd, who sought out the lost sheep through the warmness of His Heart. A portion from the Gospel of St John about the pierced side of Jesus is also read on this day. During this feast, the Holy Gifts are exhibited on the altar for the veneration [of the faithful]. After Communion, a prayer to the Heart of Jesus is read, to ask that the world discover the true nature of God, and to teach people to see Christ in their brothers. The Heart of Jesus was pierced on the cross, becoming the source of the Sacraments of the Church. From it came out blood and water, pointing to baptism and the Eucharist, without which it is impossible to maintain a righteous life and to be one with God. On the day after this Feast, on Saturday, Catholics honour the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which was the perfect image and likeness of the Heart of her Son.

10 June 2010



Editor’s Note:

Two things prompted me to post this. One was Rod Dreher’s juvenile and uncalled-for rants against his former confession. Another was Jonas Paffhausen’s intent to speak at the so-called Lumen Gentium conference. Both are deviations from the Orthodox norm. The former is an ignorant konvert who is egged on by other konvertsy (including JP) and the Renovationist crowd at SVS. He’s relatively harmless… he’s just a mewling toddler who deserves to have a “sock stuffed in it”. I have no doubt that there are many good Catholics queuing up for the honour… let’s sell lottery tickets for it… we’ll retire all our debts. The latter is more serious. How would I describe JP and the SVS lot to a Catholic? Ah, yes… think of what Catholic church life would be like if its guiding lights were Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Hans Küng, and Edward Schillebeeckx … and that the Pope of Rome was Charles Curran. I am NOT saying that I would welcome such… I am asking you to imagine such. That is how off the beam such people are. We grounded Orthodox offer criticisms of this theological rubbish equivalent to the critique that Étienne Gilson and Dietrich von Hildebrand offered of Catholic Modernism.

The Church’s way is clear… we should not offer gratuitous and nasty commentary on another confession in “ecumenical” venues. I apologise for Mr Dreher’s irresponsibility. In like manner, if we receive an invitation to participate in things such as this Lumen Gentium conference, we should decline to do so, respectfully and privately, of course. One CAN send an observer… to observe… NOT to participate, NOT to be part of common photos, and NOT to give the impression that the event is “of the Church” (for it is not). We must show the Love of Christ to the outside world… and both Dreher and JP do wrong by obscuring that.

The Church is what She is… those outside of Her are what they are… they are in God’s Hands, which cannot be a bad thing. I confide that grounded Catholics would agree with me. Let’s have friendship and amity… there shall be no false union. The above post shows that Russians do not hate Catholics… but we are different, and the sooner we realise this, the better off we all shall be.


Patriarch Kirill Greeted Patriarch Bartholomew on His Angel Day

Patriarch Bartholomew Archontonis of Constantinople New Rome (1940- ) (left) with Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias (1946- ) (right) on Trinity Sunday at the St Sergius-Holy Trinity Lavra in Sergeyev Posad.

Editor’s Foreword:

This post shows the only proper time to put a bishop’s name in all caps with a cross… that is, when it stands in for the hierarch’s signature. Any other use of this form is offensively (and ignorantly) “hyper-correct”, and all the konvertsy who indulge in it (especially “John”, “Gavriil”, Owen, and Mark Stokoe), should cease it immediately. The people named should hang their heads in shame… lecturing others when they haven’t learnt “a cat sat on a mat”. In any case, my dear ones, “shooting the messenger”, argumentum ad hominem, the genetic fallacy, and appeals to emotion are not techniques utilised by decent and well brought up people. DO notice who uses these methods… it’s not a minor thing, is it?

I apologise for the saccharine tone of the communication below… it’s the only example of this usage to surface in the press recently.



On the Angel Day of His Holiness Bartholomew Archontonis, the Patriarch of Constantinople, the First Hierarch of the Patriarchate of Moscow and all the Russias, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev, sent the following congratulatory message. It read:

His Holiness Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch,

Your Holiness, Dearly beloved in the Lord Fellow Labourer!

I warmly congratulate you on the feastday of your heavenly patron saint, St Bartholomew the Apostle of Christ. Sacred Scripture and the Tradition of the Church give us essential evidence about his vocation to the apostolate, his pastoral work, and his courageous death, which illustrated the character of a true worker in God’s vineyard, a role model for us all. With special affection, I remember your recent pastoral visit to Orthodox Church in Russia, during which we experienced the joy of joint prayer before the throne of God, we concelebrated the Divine Liturgy, we worshipped at Orthodox holy places in Russia, and we held brotherly conversations on various topics of church life. You gave us the evangelical greeting, “Christ is in our midst!” Holy Rus, from all quarters, responded enthusiastically, “He is, and ever shall be!” Your sincere and warm words still echo in our hearts, “We are true brothers, born of the same mother, fed from the same milk, unanimously preserving and practising with one mouth and one heart the Holy Faith given to us“. Your Holiness! I sincerely wish you good health, peace, a blessed long life, and the help of Almighty God in your responsible and laborious Patriarchal ministry for the benefit of the Holy Church of Constantinople.

With brotherly love in the Lord,


Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias

12 June 2010

ANN News


Editor’s Afterword:

There one has it… the one and only place where this usage is acceptable. Do note well who abuses it and who does not. It shall tell you who the informed people are, and who are the ignorant dolts… and that’s no small matter, is it? As for the communication itself… it’s conventional boilerplate… signifying nothing and meaning less. I posted it as an example of the ONLY instance that we put a bishop’s name in caps and use a cross. This is so minor that I’m ashamed to have to mention it… it means that the clergy supervising these toddlers either are not doing their jobs or they’re just as ignorant. The latter is a scary thought, isn’t it?

I shall repeat it… the fulsomeness of this is nauseating. It’s rather “too much of a muchness”… a truly brotherly communication would be more simple, direct, and touching. This is a mere piffle, useful only as an illustration of a point of usage.


Pope of Rome Defends the Institution of Priestly Celibacy

Filed under: Christian,moral issues,religious,Roman Catholic — 01varvara @ 00.00

Benedict XVI Ratzinger (1927- ), the Pope of Rome

Benedict XVI Ratzinger, the Pope of Rome, spoke in defence of celibacy for Catholic clergy. Speaking to about 10,000 priests in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican, the pontiff acknowledged, “For a world in which there is no God, a vow of celibacy is a phenomenon doomed to extinction”. At the same time, he emphasised, celibacy is “an act of faith and fidelity” to God, the Russian Service of the BBC said on Friday. In his address, the Pope of Rome did not explicitly mention the mushrooming scandal involving accusations of paedophilia amongst the Catholic priesthood in recent months. However, he noted that a proper understanding of the vow of celibacy would prevent “secondary scandals caused by our sins and our failures”, and the pontiff promised to pray for deliverance from such “secondary scandals”. Benedict XVI also added that much criticism of celibacy “looks rather questionable, [at a time] when it is increasingly fashionable to reject family ties”. Earlier, the head of the MP Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk, stated that he believed that, sometime in the future, Catholic priests would be allowed to marry and start a family. He pointed up that, in the ancient Church, priests, and even bishops, were married. In his opinion, a married priesthood “would minimise the problems that exist, and are more acute today than ever, amongst Catholics.

Recently, dozens of Italian women who have had close relations with Catholic priests and monks living in the world wrote an open letter addressed to the Pope of Rome, Benedict XVI, urging him to lift the requirement of mandatory celibacy for priests. In March, this question imposed itself on the agenda of the Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, who claimed that the abolition of celibacy would help reduce the incidence of sexual abuse by priests. However, then, Benedict XVI spoke in favour of the “principle of holy celibacy”. In turn, the famous Swiss Catholic theologian Hans Küng, in the spring of this year, accused the Catholic church for its “unbending” attitude toward sex, noting that although sex scandals take place in schools and families of other faiths, the Catholic church, with its mandatory imposition of celibacy on the priesthood has the “most prevalence” of sexual abuse involving priests. He quoted from the First Letter of Apostle Paul to the Corinthians, “To avoid fornication, every man must have his own wife and each woman her own husband”. Herr Küng noted that Peter and the other apostles were married, but this did not interfere with their ministry. He also reminded us that thousands of priests protested in the 11th century, when the Catholic church introduced mandatory celibacy [for the clergy].

11 June 2010



Editor’s Note:

As for Hans Küng being a “Catholic theologian”, that’s what the original said… that’s what I translated. After all, it called him a “famous theologian”, not a “correct”, “approved”, or “authoritative” one. Herr Küng is the papist equivalent of Aleksandr Dmitrievich Schmemann… there is much similarity in their thought and praxis… with the difference that ADS had the opportunity to put his notions into practise… the disastrous current situation in the OCA is the result. If the papists were foolish enough to admit Herr Küng’s speculations as the basis for real action in the real world, the outcome would be just as disastrous. I somehow think that they are not going to be so stupid… they didn’t hang around for nearly a millennium after 1054 by indulging in folly. The Vatican knows what it’s doing… this present situation is nothing compared to such crises as the “Reformation”, the Cathars, and the collapse of the Papal States in 1870.

As for Alfeyev lecturing the papists on clerical celibacy, firstly, it’s in extraordinarily poor taste. It’s not our dispute… we don’t have a dog in this fight. All it shall do is to alienate some of his friends in the papal confession, which leads me to the conclusion that he was “forced” to issue his remarks, for Alfeyev, as an accomplished politician, knew that many would see his words as offensive meddling, even his friends. The Boy Wonder gets a Big Green Weenie for his statement… it was a classic illustration of the term “dumb as dirt”. What else would you expect from a semi-Renovationist, though? I’ll say this… if you think that he’s your friend… do think again.


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