Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

A Photo Essay. The Many Faces of Piter: A Stroll Through the Northern Capital

Filed under: popular life and customs,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

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Patriarch Kirill Spoke on the MP’s Autonomous and Self-Governing Churches and Parishes in the Diaspora at the Archpastoral Council

“The recent history of our Church has shown the need for the establishment within the MP of bodies with varying degrees of self-government, such as autonomous exarchates and self-governing metropolias. Practise shows us that we shouldn’t base the foundation of such establishments upon short-term considerations, but on grounds that are ecclesiologically, canonically, and historically sound. Each of these discrete entities within the MP contributes significantly to the overall life of the whole Church”, Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias emphasised in his report to the MP Archpastoral Council on 2 February 2011.

“The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is first as far as the magnitude and significance of its contributions goes, it was also the seat of the ancient state of Kievan Rus, it has wrought worthy and righteous deeds in the annals of our all-Russian Church history. I made three pastoral visits to the UOC/MP in 2010”, His Holiness said, noting that his pastoral visitations to the Ukraine marked a qualitatively new stage in the development of church-state relations in that country. “I would like to speak also about the situation of the Byelorussian Orthodox Church, which continues to carry out its ministry consistently, including a meaningful dialogue with the authorities. We pray for the stabilisation of the social situation in Moldova. The overall situation in that country affects, of course, the situation of the self-governing Orthodox Church of Moldova. The actions of the uncanonical self-proclaimed ‘Metropolia of Bessarabia’ compound the division in society”.

In general, the internal life of the Orthodox Churches in Latvia and Estonia under the MP is steadily developing. However, in Estonia, the questionable grant of title by the Estonian state to a group under the jurisdiction of the EP to church property complicates the Church life of the Estonian Orthodox Church/MP. Vladyki Kirill said, “This situation is contrary to agreements that we reached with the EP 15 years ago, and efforts continue to ensure that justice is done”. His Holiness referred to the 40th anniversary of the bestowal of autonomy to the Japanese Orthodox Church by the MP, which was celebrated last year. He said, “Orthodoxy in Japan has a deeply rooted tradition, and it’s an outstanding example of the fruitfulness of the mission work of the Russian Orthodox Church”. In the People’s Republic of China, there were positive shifts in the position of the Orthodox faithful as compared to the previous year, where a number of parishes reopened for the first time in many years, resuming normal parochial life with the full consent of the authorities. “All this gives grounds for hope that we shall see a gradual normalisation in the life of the Chinese Orthodox Church”, the Patriarch said.

There was a continuing evolution in the presence of MP parishes in the diaspora, in late 2009, the transfer to the Russian Federation of the pilgrimage complex in Bari in Italy was a remarkable event in the life of the Church; the MP has free use of the facilities there. In 2010, Russia acquired land in the heart of Paris, upon which it plans to build a Russian Orthodox spiritual and cultural centre and cathedral. Vladyki Kirill said, “It’s been almost four years since the historic signing of the Act of Canonical Communion between the MP and the ROCOR. During this time, many positive developments have become commonplace. The main one is that we are one as bishops, clergy, and laity of a united Russian Church. I am particularly heartened by the interaction that I see amongst young people from different countries. Many ROCOR parishes have parishioners who have emigrated from our canonical territory. We do our best to help the ROCOR; we help their clergy and monastics wherever they have difficulties. We work together in solving problems relating to the restoration of churches and in equipping them with the proper church goods. Working together, we can significantly improve the efficacy of our witness”.

In 2010, the MP continued the practise of taking relics from their locales to other areas so that people could venerate them. Therefore, in the summer, the wonderworking icon of the Mother of God “Look Down with Humility”, from the Vvedensky Monastery in Kiev, came to Moscow, and, in the late autumn, the Serafimo-Diveyevsky icon of the Mother of God “of Tenderness” went to the Ukraine, normally, it resides in the chapel of the Patriarchal working residence in Moscow. Last spring, the main wonderworking icon of the ROCOR, the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign”, visited the Ukraine and Russia.

2 February 2011

Patriarchia.ru

Official MP Website

http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/1399487.html

A Photo Essay. It’s Groundhog Day in the USA! As Seen Through Russian Eyes…

Filed under: animals,popular life and customs,social life and customs,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

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Here’s an iconic American event… as seen by two Russian websites. I seem to find that Russians are more informed about America than Americans are informed about Russia. That points up the difference between the oligarch-controlled US media (especially Fox News) and the more open Russian media. The so-called “dissidents” prominently featured in Western media reports are so sparse that you could fit ’em all in an old-fashioned red telephone box with room to spare. THIS is what you find on REAL Russian websites… don’t buy into the hate purveyed by Fox News, Rush Limboob, and the Republican Party. Join hands with our Russian friends and smile at Groundhog Day… that’s the ticket, no?

BMD

Groundhog Day in USA… Punxsutawney Phil Sees Shadow… Early Spring? Well… Wait and See!

Filed under: animals,popular life and customs,Russian,science,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

Today, it’s Groundhog Day in the USA. Punxsutawney Phil, the official groundhog in Pennsylvania, despite the powerful snowstorm that hit the state in the early morning, bravely came out of his burrow, and didn’t rush back into it. According to local legend, this means that spring is just around the corner. We must assume that this fact greatly pleased and encouraged Pennsylvania residents, as weather forecasters predicted increased snowfall and deteriorating weather conditions in the short term. Therefore, many don’t know whether a formal ceremony will take place or not. By tradition, the groundhog wakes up from hibernation and leaves its cosy burrow at exactly 07.30 EST (04.30 PST 12.30 UTC 15.30 MSK). If he gets out of his burrow and doesn’t see his shadow… there’ll be an early spring this year. However, if the groundhog sees its shadow, is scared by it, and scampers back into his hole… then, winter will last, according to popular belief, another six weeks. Despite the early morning timing of the event, thousands of people gather for the ceremony. The formal Groundhog Day celebration began 1887.

Several areas all around the USA fete these furry rodent forecasters. The most famous is Punxsutawney Phil from Pennsylvania, whose projections are 90 percent accurate. He became famous; Hollywood made a movie about him. Phil’s main competitors are Wiarton Willie from Ontario, Staten Island Chuck from New York City, Shubenacadie Sam from Nova Scotia, Balzac Billy from Alberta, Stormy Marmot from Colorado, and General Beauregard Lee from Georgia. Over 124 years, there have been fluctuations in the accuracy of the rodents’ forecasts; however, tradition says that the predictions have come true only slightly more than half the time.

Every year, environmentalists protest Groundhog Day, as they believe that to wake the hibernating animal and chase it out of its burrow is cruel. They also think that the all the fuss and the glaring lights from the TV cameras gives the groundhog even more distress. True, the alternative they offer to this favourite holiday is rather dubious… they want to replace the groundhog with a stuffed animal or a robot. How can a scarecrow or a robot be afraid of his shadow and thus predict the onset of spring? This is something that the “defenders of nature” don’t explain.

Even though they are less well-known, other lands hold similar events to those held in America. Thus, in the Old World, hedgehogs foretell the approach of spring. Indeed, they’ve celebrated Hedgehog Day in Italy since ancient Roman times. In Russia, we have animal “forecasters” too. Thus, in the Nizhny Novgorod “Limpopo” Zoo, Olesya the Groundhog does the honours. Incidentally, last year, Olesya gave a spot-on prediction… no one could lure her out of her burrow, and, according to her “forecast”, spring came only in late March. Finally, let’s talk about another weather forecaster from the animal world, this one in Moscow. As reported by the Kuzminki-Lublin Ecocentre Park, the most responsive animals to the weather in the capital are the Himalayan brown bears. The signs of the approaching spring awaken them from their hibernation at the Moscow Zoo. According to a zoo spokesman, the bears give the most accurate forecast of the arrival of spring. “If the bears wake up and beg us for food, that means that spring has really arrived”, they told ITAR-TASS. So far, the weather hasn’t woken up the bears, but any warming can wake them up early.

Oh, by the way, spring is coming early this year according to Punxsutawney Phil. Today, he didn’t see his shadow, which means that we’ll see an early spring this year. However, scientists say that Phil has been making off-beam forecasts recently.

2 February 2011

Voice of Russia World Service

http://rus.ruvr.ru/2011/02/02/42449638.html

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/02/02/42524659.html

Editor’s Note:

Did you notice the cold water that the VOR people tossed on the protests against Groundhog Day? Some sorts don’t know when to shut up, and such “environmentalists” are near the top of the list. By the way, REAL conservationists and environmentalists are too busy actually doing things to save the environment to become embroiled in such schmutz.

It DOES take all kinds…

BMD

 

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