Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

17 April 2012. Video. A Little Cossack Music…

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Four Cossack songs

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White Day

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Kuban Cossack Chorus

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17 April 2012. It Happened in Macedonia…

Editor’s Foreword:

There was a case of miraculously-renewed icons, this time in Macedonia. It even made The Economist (I post the short piece from it below). These eleven images are of the icons and the church where they’re located…

BMD

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Stir It Up

It’s a miracle! Just before Orthodox Easter this weekend, thousands of Macedonians flocked to a church in Skopje, the capital, in which, reportedly, the frescoes of saints began to gleam in a heavenly manner. Across the nearby Ottoman-era Stone Bridge, which spans the Vardar River, crowds relax in packed cafés. Albanians, who make up about a quarter of Macedonia’s population of 2.1 million, are part of the throng.

That’s another miracle of sorts. Between January and March, inter-communal violence rocked the country. A Macedonian policeman killed two Albanians in a dispute that may or may not have been ethnically-based. A village carnival that mocked Muslims and Greeks elicited angry responses from both sides. People burned flags in public, and sectarian chanting broke out at football matches. To some, these events revived unpleasant memories of 2001, when Albanian guerrillas led by Ali Ahmeti fought pitched battles with the Macedonian security services, and the country came close to civil war. Nevertheless, it stepped back from the brink… and Mr Ahmeti’s party is now in government. The cause of the recent surge in violence is a mystery. It stopped as suddenly as it started. , a local analyst, suggested that somebody wanted to “show off their capacity for destabilisation”. Some predicted that armed conflict was around the corner.

Nevertheless, a well-placed diplomat disagreed, insisting, “We aren’t going back to 2001”. The problem, he said, is that Macedonians don’t feel they’re moving towards a better future. That can change only if the country resolves its 20-year-old quarrel with Greece, which argues that Macedonia’s name implies a territorial claim to a Greek region of the same name. The row has blocked Macedonia’s accession to both NATO and the European Union. However, Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki lamented that Greece’s other problems mean that the name issue “isn’t among their top thousand priorities”. In the meantime, Macedonia must deal with high unemployment. Silvana Mojsovska, an economist, stated that macroeconomic stability hasn’t led to job creation. Macedonia needs more miracles.

14 April 2012

The Economist

http://www.economist.com/node/21552606

17 April 2012. A Busted Clock is Right Twice a Day… Love BT Gets it “Right” on “Tithing”

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Recently, Love BT posted the following on Monomakhos (not the greatest venue, but that’s where it was:

Ten percent isn’t a Mystical, Holy, or Sacred rate, even though the Scriptures mention it, along with circumcision and other practises. Of course, Christ only had one standard for everything… perfection. His standard was the widow who gave everything, and the requirement that the rich young man (besides “not leaving the others undone”) should give EVERYTHING. He said, “Be ye perfect”; He didn’t say, “Be as perfect as much as you can be”. The goals the Church sets before us shouldn’t be “minimum requirements to be a respectable Christian”. In addition, charity shouldn’t be secondary to institutional well-being and functionality in priority.

Nevertheless, they are, are they not? Don’t we approve of that? For those who’re concerned with accountability and transparency, He seems to have encouraged us to be opaque about our fasting, no? We’re supposed to PRETEND we aren’t fasting. With the coming of Grace, it seems wrong to revert to the Old Dispensation and its oikonomia and limits. The tithe is neutral. Requiring it is approving a standard that‘s lesser than the one Christ proposed. As I previously mentioned, my copy of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (an old one… from the 60s) has a large article on tithing that concludes with the information that the Eastern Orthodox Churches have never practised tithing.

Also on the same blog:

Tithing was a 20th Century innovation in ANY Orthodox Church, or, at best, a re-formulation, and Orthodox who landed in Protestant America instinctively perceived it as such. I realise that many converts may have felt that tithing was an obviously virtuous practice that, astonishingly, “cradle” and “old world” Orthodox, found to be innovative and even radical, but that we, having all kinds of experience in the game called “stewardship” based on a Gospel account of a steward, would be able to improve this aspect of Orthodox life, thus, perhaps, at last, showing them all that an American Orthodoxy must be and truly is, an Improvement! Take the list of the ancient Patriarchates and the Local Churches whose hierarchs are in their dyptichs and tell me which one EVER practised tithing.

There are SINGULAR and MEMORABLE instances of the extraordinary practice, for example the “Church of the Dime (or Tithe)” in Russia, which was famously and so UNIQUELY funded by a tithe that this became the source of its fame. I know, some will say, “There goes crazy, deluded Tikhon (excuse me, it would be, of course “+Tikhon”) again, being the Arch-Conservative among us, not allowing a more liberal attitude toward Tradition. Why, he even defines something as Tradition only if it has been actually transmitted, passed on to us in the Church. He always claims that the ending of a practise in the history of the Church is as much an indicator of Tradition as its continuation!

However, of COURSE, we can revive dead customs and call them “the original tradition!” If we decide (in a conciliar way, of course) that circumcision of males (the “Original Tradition” before the Apostolic Council) is a good thing, we can restore it… its fully Orthodox. Moreover, since St Paul says a bishop must be the husband of one wife, that must mean that SOME had two or three or more, in other words, “polygamy” was… you’ve got it, an “Older Tradition!” Even if the Orthodox Churches never EVER required their members to tithe, we can have a Council, pass the measure, and thereby have the Holy Spirit inspire the practise!

There are holes in both of the above… but Tikhon Fitzgerald is right on this, the tithe isn’t part of our Orthodox heritage. The unknown commenter is also right in that we shouldn’t be mucking with Tradition, even in mundane matters. However, neither caught the main reason why the Church shies away from tithing. Of necessity, tithing sets up a “two-tier” membership. That is, those who do tithe, and those who don’t do so. Well, what do you do with those who can’t, won’t, or refuse to tithe? What’s the “stick” of the “carrot and stick?” Are you going to emulate the Mormons, deny such people Communion, and deny them the right to attend their children’s weddings? Are you going to keep records of who gives what, so that the Church meeting knows precisely who gave what? The latter was one of the banes of the Metropolia. It was one of the dark spots of that period. To require tithing would make things even worse than that was (and it was quite bad enough).

In short, prelest would walk in wearing Size 12s and proceed to stomp true religion to death in short order. There’s already a grave problem with hubristical konvertsy, who believe that their level of religiosity is higher than that of the Church Fathers. If I were to name the three besetting sins of this group, it’d be linking faith and politics, quoting the Fathers and Canons out of context… and tithing. These three are the sources of the juvenile rot we see spewed about us. Indeed, we need to put out the fires that they’ve caused. Whatever we do, any solution won’t be easy, brief, or congenial. We can put things right, but it’ll be a job of two generations to do properly. It’s easy to rip things down… it’s much harder to build them back up. We’re paying dearly for Schmemann, Grabbe, Bloom, Podmoshensky, Meyendorff, Metropoulos, and all the other paladins of the 1960s Church, both OCA/Metropolia and ROCOR. We need to go “home”… but shall we?

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Albany NY 

17 April 2012. Some of My Favourite Things… Sofia Rotaru… Full Birthday Concert from Moscow, Two Hours Worth!

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