Voices from Russia

Thursday, 22 December 2011

The Kingdom of Thailand: Between Orthodoxy and Buddhism

Architectural drawing of the new MP church on Phuket Island  THAILAND


There’s a new MP church in Thailand. The church of the Holy Life-Giving Trinity on Phuket Island is the fourth parish in the country…

Construction of the new church on Phuket Island took several years. in an interview with VOR, Archimandrite Oleg Cherepanin, the senior MP cleric in Thailand, said, “Originally, we planned for it to be the first Orthodox church in the Kingdom, but history decreed otherwise. In May 2009, Orthodox believers on Phuket started a project to build an Orthodox church. However, it wasn’t so easy. At that time, the Orthodox Church just received state registration here. Then, they bought land for the construction of a building, but the economic crisis intervened. Because of that, many of those who wanted to donate to help build this church had to give up such plans. As a result, progress in building a church went slowly. In the meantime, we’ve founded a new parish in Pattaya and built two churches in different parts of the country. The new parish actively helped us to fund the construction of this church, and, together, we finally finished it”.

Today, the Phuket church is the largest Orthodox building in the Kingdom. Built in the best traditions of Old Russian architecture, it catches the eye from afar with its golden domes and white walls. Not only locals come to gawk at this architectural miracle, but also tourists from around the world, regardless of their confessional or religious affiliation. The church won’t be empty, because Thailand has a sufficiently numerous Orthodox community, numbering several thousand. Archimandrite Oleg told us, “It’s customary for Orthodox believers of all backgrounds to come to the MP’s parishes in Thailand, including members of the local population. Our parishes are multinational, including Russians, Ukrainians, Bulgarians, and Romanians, along with French, Americans, and even Africans. Of course, the number of Orthodox Thais is constantly increasing. Generally, the locals are very sympathetic to Orthodoxy, despite the fact that Thailand’s a Buddhist country. I’d remind you that most Thais profess Theravada Buddhism, which is the most original and oldest form of Buddhism, which they compare with Orthodoxy. Therefore, when Thais consciously decide to convert to Christianity, a priori, they’re drawn to Orthodoxy, as they consider it one of the most ancient and original dogmatical expressions of the Christian Faith”.

The MP has only been in Thailand for a little more than a decade. The first MP parish opened in the Thai capital in 2000. At the same time, Archimandrite Oleg arrived in Bangkok. He was the first Orthodox cleric in the country and translated many of the books of Holy Scripture into the Thai language. This helped locals to have an understanding of Christianity. In early 2011, in Ratchaburi Province, an Orthodox monastery opened, which not only has a spiritual mission, but it’s also a large-scale cultural and educational centre. In the near future, the MP plans to build three more churches. One of them, to the south of Pattaya, is an indigenous Thai parish. Another will open on Koh Samui Island and a second church will rise in the heart of Bangkok. The consecration of the new church on Phuket, dedicated to the Holy and Life-Giving Trinity, will be in mid-February 2012. During a pastoral visit to Thailand, Archbishop Mark Golovkov of Yegorevsk, the head of the MP Department for Foreign Institutions, will serve the liturgy blessing the new building.

20 December 2011

Milena Faustova

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

Is the Blunder in His Nibs’ Doghouse? Lately, things that were once his responsibility were taken over by Archbishop Mark and by Fr Vsevolod. Is he on the outs? Perspirin’ minds wanna know! Note well that you DIDN’T hear of that from Sophia Kishkovsky… she pumps up the Blunder and tries to make him look greater than he actually is. For instance, she wrote recently that the Blunder’s department dealt with AIDS cases. That’s a lie, big-time. Bishop Panteleimon Shatov deals with AIDS in Church contexts, and everybody “in the know” is aware of that fact. In short, she was lying to you to pump up the Blunder, probably, at the behest of her Langley handlers (Serge Schmemann’s their probable go-between, as he’s been fingered as a spook for years).

You can trust the reports in the Russian secular media on the Church. Ms Faustova is typical of the journalists who cover the Church beat… their reporting is professional and without a hint of hyperclerical hagiography or bum-kissing “respect”. Note well that Russian secular media outlets often cover religious news, more often, in more depth, and more competently than the US media does. Compare Milena Faustova and Sophia Kishkovsky… there’s NO comparison. One of these things is NOT like the other! Ponder well the fact that incompetent blowhards like Ms Kishkovsky are TYPICAL of First Family cronyism and corruption (Serge Schmemann got Ms Kishkovsky her job, whilst Lyonyo got Anne Schmemann a position at the CFR… mutual bum-scratching, no?). There’s a spectre haunting the First Families, though… it’s called the Centre, and it’s coming here, too. God willing, let it be SOON…


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