Voices from Russia

Saturday, 15 December 2012

15 December 2012. How an Excursus in the Commboxes Led to My “Take” on Marriage

01 civil wedding in Italy


It all started with a comment in the commboxes on another site… I looked at what I wrote, and realised that, with a little editing, it’d pass muster as the centrepiece of a post. I want you to do two things:

  • Attend to what the Church actually teaches, not the opinion of loud sorts such as Josiah Trenham, Paffhausen, Freddie M-G, or Rod Dreher (or any other self-appointed konvertsy guru)
  • Think on what separation of Church and State truly entails

In Christianity, marriage was originally a legal contract under state auspices. The Church had nothing to do with it. In fact, what the Church did was to BLESS marriages, not make them. Even today, clergy who “marry” people are acting as agents of the state legally. That’s the long and the short of it… the Family Research Council is chock fulla shit, but they’re full of ignorant Evangelicals… as C S Lewis put it, legal marriage isn’t a sacrament, and the Church shouldn’t intrude on it, as the state’s legislating for non-religious people (or, at least, people outside of the Church’s ambit). We should show knowledge and good sense… in any case, the Church can’t use the state as a bludgeon to enforce its notions… that’s my view, any road.

Let’s keep it focused. None of the US jurisdictions that have legalised “gay marriage” forces any religious body to perform them against their will. Full stop. All such laws have conscience clauses. Beware wanting the state to step into moral issues. The communist persecution of religion from 1918 to 1941 did have a primary cause… the fact that the Orthodox Church was a virtual state ministry and received state support. The Church learned from that, ergo, it doesn’t want to be that close to the state ever again. It’s the same as with “tithing”… what appears “right” on superficial examination proves to be, on closer examination, deadly nightshade. If the state props up the Church, it can also tear it down. It’s a double-headed axe.

State-regulated marriage is a contractual arrangement for the economic and legal protection of the people involved in it. It has NOTHING to do with the sacraments or God. By the way, the Church recognises legal marriage as “marriage”… we don’t share the papal notion that legal marriage isn’t sufficient. That being said, most priests would prefer to see people have both… that is, a state marriage to safeguard the legal rights of the couple and a sacramental marriage to bring the blessing of the Church upon the union.

Be especially mindful of anything that you hear on so-called Ancient Faith Radio or of anything that you read on a site called Monomakhos. Both are full of recent arrivals with little (if any) actual Orthodox formation and/or knowledge (the worst are “clergy” such as Josiah Trenham). There be cowpats just waiting out there for the unwary…



Russians Offer Sympathy for School Shooting Victims in Connecticut

00 flowers on grave. 18.11.12


Russians continue to offer expressions of sympathy to Americans over the Connecticut school shooting, in which a mentally-deranged young man, Adam Lanza, killed his mother and 26 people, including 20 children, at a Newtown CT elementary school. People in Moscow brought toys and flowers to the American Embassy. They also lit numerous candles. On Saturday morning, US President Barack Obama received condolences from his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Reports from Newtown say the killer turned his gun on himself after winding up his shooting spree.

15 December 2012

Voice of Russia World Service


 Editor’s Note:

This points up the need to have three things in re gun control:

  • A ban upon the carrying of concealed handguns by civilians in public places
  • Strict nationwide federal uniform laws on handgun sales… with especial enforcement attention paid to rightwing regions such as the Southeast and Texas (there are too many Timothy McVeighs there)
  • Regularly-maintained databases of convicted criminals and psychos

However, at the same time, one must realise that hunters and their long arms aren’t part of the problem. To speak plainly, handguns are inaccurate beyond about 10 metres (@33 feet)… they’re only good for committing crime… they’re not rifles or shotguns, which are a necessity in rural areas. I say, “Regulate handguns to the max, as they have few (if any) legit uses… be more lenient with long arms, as rural people need them for varmint control and legal hunting”. I think that most would agree with this, save for the slobbering rightwing gun nutters.

That is, have a virtual ban on handguns in public places and a comprehensive database of handgun owners… however, have toleration for hunting arms and ammunition (and understanding for those who use them… most of them AREN’T gun nutters). I think that’s reasonable. How many more of these tragedies do we need? It’s time to put the “cowboys” in their place…


Vishenvskaya… A Name that’ll Always be Remembered



Final Scene of Yevgeni Onegin, with Georg Ots


This is Tchaikovsky‘s romans Колыбельная (Kolybelnaya: Cradle Song)


Casta Diva from Bellini‘s Norma


 On Friday, the celebrated Russian opera singer Galina Vishnevskaya, who died on 11 December at the age of 86, was buried in Moscow. The burial ceremony began at 13.00 MSK at Novodevichy Cemetery. Vishnevskaya’s grave is near that of her husband, the great cellist Mstislav Rostropovich. By Orthodox tradition, before the funeral, the farewell ceremony was in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Before she died, the singer wanted to donate to the cathedral a treasured icon of St Nicholas the Wonderworker, but she didn’t do it. On the day of the farewell ceremony, her daughters Olga and Yelena did it for her.

Well-known opera singer Lyubov Kazkarnovskaya said, “The legendary couple of Vishnevskaya and Rostropovich will be remembered for generations as a symbol of devotion to Art. A fabulous generation, which knew how to serve Music and Theatre, and which knew the price of every single note, is leaving. She lived at the limit of love for her art”. Rostropovich and Vishnevskaya set the bar high, not only in their art, but also in their social life. In the 1970s, without hesitation, although they understood that they’d pay a price for it, they supported writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, when the authorities were harassing him. Solzhenitsyn’s widow Natalya said, “I highly value the close friendship between our families and I’ll always be grateful to Mstislav Rostropovich and Galina Vishnevskaya, as they helped Aleksandr in the most difficult period of his life”.

In their irksome exile, Vishneskaya wrote a book entitled Galina. She said, “I found salvation in it. I needed to tell people what happened to us and why”. The singer turned out to be an excellent storyteller. In later life, she also became known as a brilliant dramatic actress; she played the main role in the film Aleksandra by Aleksandr Sokurov. She played a common middle-aged Russian woman, who came to visit her grandson, who was an officer who serving in Chechnya. The film’s producer, Andrei Sigle, recalled, “She didn’t hesitate to go on location shooting, even though it was still a rather dangerous time there. It was also very hot, 56 degrees (133 degrees Fahrenheit), and it was very windy. However, she was very strong and set an example for us”.

The renowned composer Rodion Shchedrin came to Moscow to celebrate his birthday, but unfortunately faced this great loss, saying, “To me, Galina Pavlovna’s passing is a personal loss as we were very close friends throughout our lives. It’s a very bitter loss. Like the poet Voznesensky said, ‘We’re leaving, and this edict is everlasting’”. The Centre of Opera Signing, established by Vishnevskaya in Moscow ten years ago, has already brought up many talented singers. One of them was Badri Maisuradze, soloist of the Bolshoi Theatre, who said, “The generations of singers who were guided by her and Mstislav Rostropovich will never forget them. They’ll always be remembered”.

14 December 2012

Voice of Russia World Service


15 December 2012. Sergei Yolkin’s World. Obamadon gracilis

Sergei Yolkin. Obamadon gracilis. 2012

Obamadon gracilis

Sergei Yolkin



American palaeontologists named a newly-discovered species of extinct lizards in honour of American President Barack Obama. This isn’t the first case of this sort… recently, scientists named a new type of small freshwater fish after the President of the United States.

12 December 2012

Sergei Yolkin



Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.