Voices from Russia

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Greek Couples Opt For Cheaper Weddings

Most European countries require civil marriages, a church ceremony isn’t seen as legal. The Church accepts civil marriages as true marriages (most priests prefer to have a religious service, as well, though); we do NOT agree with the papist position on this (just as we don’t agree with their position on divorce). However, it’s not a good sign to see people forgo a church ceremony… it’s not simply a ritual gesture, after all.

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Since the onset of the financial crisis earlier this year, an increasing number of Greek couples are opting for civil weddings rather than expensive religious ceremonies, and even those who decide to splash for a church service are cutting back on the trimmings. An official at Piraeus City Hall told Kathimerini that municipal authorities had seen a surge of interest in civil weddings. “There’s definitely an upward trend”, he said. “Many couples decide to do the civil ceremony first with the aim of having a religious wedding afterward, but they don’t usually follow through with the second stage of the plan”, the official added. A spokesman for the Municipality of Ilion, western Athens, reported the same trend. “Civil weddings are up by 10 percent”, said the head of the weddings department. “After a period of one to three years, not even half of these couples will have a religious ceremony”, the official added.

It’s clear that financial concerns are behind the shift, officials say, as a civil wedding costs much less than a religious ceremony… just 50 euros (2,046 Roubles 66 USD 42 UK Pounds) to cover the fees of both spouses and the publication of the marriage notice. A spokesman for the municipal authorities in Maroussi, northern Athens, said that some couples used to opt for civil weddings to acquire a mortgage on more favourable terms. Fewer couples are seeking to buy properties in the current climate, however, the official said, noting that those asking for civil weddings now appear to be doing so to save money. Many couples going ahead with religious ceremonies are also reportedly cutting back on costs. According to the priest in charge of organising marriages at a church in Maroussi, couples ask for “only the absolute basics. They no longer want all the trimmings, the choirs, red carpets, and trinkets for guests”, he said.

4 December 2010

H Kaθhmepinh/ekathimerini.com

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_politics_2_04/12/2010_121619

A Photo Essay. A Girl’s Orphanage at the Pokrovsky Convent in the Moscow Oblast

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What with all the publicity on the crank children’s shelter in Vladimir Oblast, it’s good to know that there are legit Church orphanages on the up and square. Here’s one… the photos do NOT come from an official site, so, they’re probably squared away and straight. I should mention that I don’t like using “official” sources, as there as too many instances of “cooked books”… and clergy can be pressured into writing what some apparatchik wants, rather than the truth. So… if you read something oddball from a rank n’ file priest… cut him some slack; probably, some clerical bureaucrat twisted his arm (priests aren’t totally free agents, dontcha know).

To take a real-world instance, disbelieve it when someone says that Vitaly Ustinov resigned due to ill-health… but don’t attack any priest who writes that; the “resignation” story is the current party-line, and the apparatchiki attack anyone who says otherwise… just accept it as the “pinch of incense” that the poor fellow had to throw on the altar. Sometimes, that’s what necessary… it’s wasn’t just in the Soviet Union that priests had to make such choices… they happen today, unfortunately… and it shall continue until we set the Church right again.

BMD

A Photo Essay. The 2010-11 Christmas Craft Fair on Ploshchad Revolutsii…

Filed under: Christmas,domestic life,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

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THIS is where the rubber hits the road, kids… when popular Christmas observances such as this one take place, it shows that the idea of Christmas (and Christianity) has taken root amongst the people, at least. Don’t listen to loudmouthed former Episkies and Sectarians… the level of observance amongst Russian Orthodox is no worse than it is amongst other Orthodox, and that’s at the same level (basically) as that found in American Catholicism, that is, 15 to 16 percent of the total are “active” members, who go to services at least once a month. Of course, the churches are mobbed on Easter, but that’s true of Catholics and liturgical Proddies, as well.

Don’t listen to those who have “sectarian” standards… the Church is more inclusive and tolerant than that. More people showed up for this fair than did those who came out for two minor protests in Moscow (they only drew a couple hundred participants, out of a population of over ten million). The Western press pumped up the protests and ignored the Christmas celebrations… I think there’s some “spinning” going on here!

As for me, I’d be at the fair… as for the protests, it was some loud pseudo-intellectuals watched over by some bored OMON Black Berets (betcha that the Western press outnumbered the demonstrators)… I hope that there was a coffee shop nearby so that the cops could recharge their thermos bottles (and get a warm). Life’s never boring, is it?

BMD

12 December 2010. A Point of Unity…

Filed under: Christian,cultural,inter-Christian relations,religious — 01varvara @ 00.00

Yes… there’s much that separates the Church from the other Christian confesssions… but there’s also much that separates Christians in general from Sectarians such as JWs, Mormons, Pentecostalists, SDAs, and “Evangelicals” (I don’t mean real Evangelicals… that is, Lutherans). Indeed, there’s much that Legit Christians do share despite their very real divisions… it’s so obvious that even a child can see it! Whether you call it “liturgy” or you call it “mass”… the Eucharistic service is not “three–songs-and-a-sermon”. Bowing before Our Lord’s Presence is NOT the same as Pentecostalists rolling about in the aisles… it’s REAL, whereas the other is a disgusting imposture of the worst order.

Here’s one of the things that Legit Christians all share in common… the very place of Our Lord’s resurrection in the Holy City of Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Yes… the holy does subsist in things as much as it resides in people. Richard, shall you take my hand? It’s one of the things that ties us together, does it not?

My good wishes to all of you in this hectic (but, fun) holiday season. Don’t forget, a shot of brandy in your evening coffee does wonders for it and for you…

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Sunday 12 December 2010

Albany NY

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