Voices from Russia

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Archbishop Ieronymos Liapis Sez: “Greeks aren’t Cheats”


On Monday, the Church of Greece indicated that the debt-wracked nation was being stereotyped, whilst urging greater solidarity among the states of the European Union. Archbishop Ieornymos Liapis, the First Hierarch of the Church of Greece, said during a meeting of world Church leaders in Athens, “Greeks aren’t cheats or lazy”. Ieronymos also condemned a recent attack on the German Consul in Thessaloniki, but went on to voice scepticism about Berlin’s role in the Eurozone debt crisis, saying, “My question is simple… is this a fight for a European Germany or for a German Europe?”

19 November 2012




Gay Jesus Play Charged With Blasphemy in Greece

THIS image is far more blasphemous than Corpus Christi is… reflect on the fact that some konvertsy bishops and priests want to ally the Church with crackbrained “Evangelicals” who create such rubbish. That being said, Corpus Christi isn’t healthy… truly, it’s counter-factual, isn’t it? All things have “levels”… the above is WORSE than Corpus Christi because it pretends to be “Christian“… interesting, that, no?


After weeks of protests by Greek Orthodox clergy and Greek rightwing groups, the public procurator‘s office in Athens filed charges of blasphemy against the actors and the director and producer of an American play that depicted Jesus Christ and his Apostles as gay. According to Reuters, the team behind Corpus Christi, a 1997 play by American playwright Terrence McNally, faced charges of “insulting religion” and “malicious blasphemy”, based on a lawsuit by Metropolitan Seraphim Mentzenopoulos of Piraeus against those involved in the play. Albanian-born director Laertis Vasiliou said, “What I see is that there are people who’ve robbed the country blind who aren’t in jail and the prosecutor turns against art”, referring to tax evaders and others blamed for driving Greece to near-bankruptcy. On Friday, police had the task of identifying production and cast members. If proven guilty, the defendants could face several months in prison.

Reuters reported that when the play opened at the Hytirio Theatre in downtown Athens last month, demonstrators, including members of Greece’s Neofascist Golden Dawn party, blocked the entrance and clashed with police. The party opposes immigration and calls for deportation of anyone who isn’t Greek-born. The play’s organisers said in a statement, “It wasn’t our intention to provoke ‘religious sentiment’ or to create tensions”. The Greek Reporter said that critics were comparing the attacks on the play to the prosecution of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot for staging an anti-Kremlin protest in Moscow’s main cathedral. The co-ruling Democratic Left party described Greek blasphemy laws as “anachronistic” and called for their revision.

Reuters quoted Petros Constantinou, head of the United Against Racism and Fascist Violence Movement, as saying, “It’s the bullies and the neo-Nazis clashing outside the theatre who should be put on the stand and not the actors. The government’s panicking, and it’s looking to the far-right for crutches”. Constantinou described the decision as a “glorification of the Dark Ages“. Written in 1997 and first staged in New York in 1998, the play depicts Jesus and the Apostles as gay men living in modern-day Texas. In the play, Judas betrays Jesus because of sexual jealousy, and Jesus administers gay marriage between two apostles.

17 November 2012

Anugrah Kumar

Christian Post


Hollande Under Pressure Over Paris Russian Orthodox Cathedral… Plans Suspended for Russian Cathedral in Paris


According to reports, François Hollande is under growing pressure to approve plans for a Russian Orthodox cathedral and cultural centre near the Eiffel Tower or risk straining diplomatic relations with Moscow. The plan to build the whitewashed cathedral, complete with five golden domes reaching up to 85.6 feet (26 metres) high, was meant to “promote Russian civilisation”, and comes “directly” from President Vladimir Putin. However, the design caused controversy in Paris, earning some strong criticism from President Hollande’s ally and mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, who described it as “an ostentation” of “pastiche architecture” and “mediocre”.

As the deadline for approving the cathedral building contract approaches on 29 November, pressure’s been mounting on Mr Hollande, who has the final word. According to the Journal du Dimanche, his cabinet held a special meeting without the mayor last week; Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev will visit Paris two days before the deadline. Nevertheless, officials in the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs said, “We hope the project will move forward”. In what appears to be an attempt at compromise, the French Ministry of Culture said it was holding, “discussions with the Russian state and the Orthodox Church to define adaptations and improvements to the project, to permit its construction”. Russia purchased the 45,692 square foot (4,245 square metres. 1.05 acres. 0.4 hectare) property for 70 million Euros (£56 million) two years ago from France, as part of a French programme to sell off little-used, state-owned buildings to help reduce debt.

11 November 2012

Devorah Lauter

The Daily Telegraph (London UK)



The French government said that Russia suspended its bid for a permit to build an Orthodox church with five domes on the Seine riverbank in Paris after the mayor of the world’s most-visited city labelled the project a showy eyesore. Ahead of a Paris visit next week by Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, France’s culture and foreign ministries said in a joint statement that Moscow agreed to review the plan, which is close to President Vladimir Putin’s heart, noting, “The Russian Federation has decided a provisional suspension of its request for a construction permit”. Wary of diplomatic sensitivities, a government official insisted that the parties involved would reach a compromise.

In Moscow, the Kremlin‘s property management department said that it’d study ways to make the planned building “harmoniously fit the surrounding landscape”. Then-President Nicolas Sarkozy endorsed the project to build a church and cultural centre in central Paris was in 2010, but at the time, the design was only in an embryonic stage.

Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë described the final plans, with five golden domes and a wavy glass roof that would share the skyline with the nearby Eiffel Tower, as “ostentatious” and unsuited to a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Russia bought the land for the church and cultural centre in 2007, a 4,000-square-metre (0.4 hectare. 1 acre. 43,000 square feet) plot less than a kilometre (0.62 mile) from the Eiffel Tower and overlooking the Seine. Paris already has a Russian Orthodox church, the St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, but it reports to the Patriarch in Constantinople, outside the control of the MP.

Putin has been pushing to increase the MP’s influence abroad, especially in areas with large expatriate Russian communities. He viewed the reunification of the New York-based Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) and the MP in 2007 as one of his biggest achievements as a Russian leader. Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow came under criticism in Russia after he openly sided with Putin during his recent presidential campaign, calling his rule “a miracle of God”.

Public opposition to the church’s increasing political engagement culminated in an anti-Putin performance by the feminist punk band Pussy Riot inside the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. Two band members are now in jail. With 165 million members, the Russian Orthodox Church (sic) is the second largest in Christianity after the 1.3-billion strong Roman Catholic Church. Its profile has risen both at home and abroad since the end of Soviet communism in 1991.

22 November 2012

Vicky Buffery

Gleb Bryanski

John Irish



Editor’s Note:

It’s rather simple and straightforward. Delanoë is openly gay… he’s attacking the project because he supports both gay activists and anti-government oppositionists in Russia. Any questions? I didn’t think so…



Chagall’s Biblical Message

The Creation 

Marc Chagall



Adam and Eve and the Forbidden Fruit

Marc Chagall




Marc Chagall



The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

Marc Chagall



The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden

Marc Chagall



The Face of Jacob (Israel)

Marc Chagall



At present, Marc Chagall’s Bible illustrations from Irina Stezhka’s private collection are on display at the International University in Moscow. Art collector Irina Stezhka told VOR that the exhibition features the Chagall’s lithographs created at the Fernand Mourlot atelier in 1960, saying, “These are top-quality works, they’re perfect”. Later, the artist destroyed the lithograph stones that he used, whilst the prints appeared to be scattered across the world’s major libraries, including the Library of Congress. Stezhka noted that although Chagall is very popular in Russia, his illustrations for the Bible aren’t that well-known; this makes the exhibition exceptional, as this is the first presentation of the lithographs in Russia. The Bible always inspired Chagall; he called it, “The greatest source of poetry of all time”. Each of Chagall’s Old Testament illustrations is part of his Biblical message. The artist worked on the project for decades.

Chagall first had an idea for the Bible illustrations idea in the 1920s, supported by the famous art dealer Ambroise Vollard, who ordered a series of illustrations from the artist in 1930. Vollard sponsored a trip by Chagall trip to Palestine, as Chagall said he couldn’t work without feeling the Holy Land. Chagall later told a friend that Palestine gave him “the most vivid impression he’d ever received” and inspired the lithographs. However, Vollard’s death and the beginning of World War II halted the project and the lithographs were ready only in the late 1950s. According to Chagall, the illustrations reflected the integrity, continuity, and microscopic nature of our existence. Chagall wrote in 1960, “Since I started using a pencil, I’ve sought for this certain something that could spread like a stream toward unknown and alluring shores. When I held a lithographic stone or a copperplate in my hand, I thought I was touching a talisman. It seemed to me that I could put all my joys and sorrows in it…”

25 November 2012

Armen Apresyan

Voice of Russia World Service



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