Voices from Russia

Sunday, 16 December 2012

16 December 2012. A Point to Ponder. THIS is What the Republican Party Wants… DO YOU?

00 This is the face of 'Economic Freedom'. 16.12.12


John Boehner speaks of “reforming” Social Security. That’s rightwing-speak for “reducing benefits to ordinary people so that the Affluent Effluent can party on without a care”. Quite frankly, Jim DeMint, Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Grover Norquist, Paul Ryan, Willard Romney, et al are all unpatriotic self-centred pigs at the trough who want to kick the weakest amongst us so that they have more swag in their sacks (so that they can stash it offshore and spend it here). THIS is what they want. Take a GOOD look. They want to kick your parents and grandparents in the teeth so that the idle rich can continue to enjoy the lowest tax levels in the developed world. That’s EVIL.

We’re Christians… that means that we believe in a communitarian religion. We’re not Evangelicals or Mormons, who’re nothing but apologists for power and  money. You can have Christian sharing n’ caring or you can have Evangelical greed and hypocrisy. God or Mammon? You can’t have both…




16 December 2012. A Picture IS Worth a Thousand Words… “For-Fee Schools… The Shame of Russia”

00 KPRF. For-Fee Schools... The Shame of Russia. 16.12.12


This is a KPRF-led student demonstration against tuition and school fees. Let’s keep it simple… at present, the only criterion for getting into many universities and institutes (VUZs) is ability to learn, NOT ability to pay. Of course, there are those who use blat to get in, but they’d thrive in a for-pay scheme as well… perhaps, they’d do even better, sadly enough. The Western style of paying for one’s education out of one’s own pocket is a blatant attempt to keep the better venues of education solely for the Affluent Effluent (or for those judged sufficiently pliable and “thankful”). There’s no need of that in Russia. However, I think that the corner’s been turned, and Russians are sceptical of anything Western. In any case, the Church is more at ease with a Soviet-style state educational system than with an oligarch-run private educational corporation. You see, most commies are believers; most moneygrubbing zapadniki aren’t… that’s a no-brainer for the Church. Keep education open for all… that’s fair in the social sense and god-pleasing in the religious sense. As for Russian analogues of English “public schools”… the less said, the better…


Challenges in Syria and Lebanon Await Next Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch

00 Syrian Christian Girls Easter


Confronting the challenges facing Syrian and Lebanese Christians will top the agenda of the new Greek Orthodox patriarch, who’ll be elected this month to succeed Patriarch Ignatius Hazim. At least 18 bishops from Antiochian Greek Orthodox dioceses around the world will meet at Balamand Monastery near Tripoli before Christmas to elect a new head for the Church. According to officials familiar with the meetings taking place between the bishops, the unrest in Syria, its negative repercussions on the Syrian Christian community, and plans on how to face the current crisis, would carry significant weight during the talks. Metropolitan Saba Esper of the southern Syrian regions of Bosra-Houran, Jabal al-Arab, and the Golan was elected as patriarchal locum tenens at a meeting last week devoted exclusively to the organisation of a patriarchal election.

At his residence in Rabieh, Metropolitan Archbishop Antonio Chedraoui Tannous of Mexico and Central America told The Daily Star, “No doubt, there are great difficulties in Syria today. What happened in Lebanon during the Civil War is taking place in Syria. The new patriarch will be elected soon and the new patriarch will lead the Christmas celebrations”. Chedraoui said that all bishops were aware of the present challenges and the difficulties facing Christians in the Middle East, stating, “All the bishops are ready to face these challenges in the proper way”. Chedraoui, 80, has been Mexico’s bishop for the past 46 years; he said that he had no intention to leave the Americas and become patriarch, noting, “The Mexicans are part of my life. The diocese I serve is part of my life and leaving them isn’t easy, but I’m a soldier in the Church. If the Church’s decision is to appoint me as patriarch, then, I have to abide by the decision. What’s important for us is the interests of our religion, the interests of the Church, and the difficulties the region is going through”.

Officials said that many favour Saba, a Syrian, to succeed Ignatius, who was laid to rest in Damascus earlier this week after serving 33 years as the Church’s First Hierarch. Nineteen bishops from Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, and Europe will meet in Balamand Monastery to elect the new patriarch. Each will nominate three bishops to succeed Ignatius. In the second round of voting, the patriarch will be elected from amongst the three bishops who receive the highest number of votes from the first round. The contest is mainly between two groups of candidates… Saba and George Khodr of Mount Lebanon on one side, and Damaskinos Mansour of Brazil and Boulos Yazigi of Aleppo on the other. However, according to one official, the electors could reach a compromise by choosing another bishop as patriarch. Metropolitan Archbishop Philip Saliba of North America, who won’t take part in the election for health reasons or Mexico’s Chedraoui could be elected as a compromise measure.

Meanwhile, in Beirut, a group of Greek Orthodox Lebanese issued an open letter to the next patriarch, calling on him to tackle the serious dangers facing the community in the country. The Orthodox Gathering called on the church’s next patriarch to develop a framework that would allow the patriarchate’s religious and lay figures to share decision-making, stating, “There are clear imbalances in the relation between religious and lay persons … Fixing these imbalances requires active participation from both sides to make us one body under one church”. The statement added that the patriarchate was about to enter a dangerous phase that could affect the future of many Greek Orthodox Lebanese.

Chedraoui said, “Patriarch Ignatius succeeded in bringing peace into the Church after all the disputes and disagreements … He united everyone in one person”. The bishop added that the Church would continue its productive mission despite Ignatius’s passing, observing, “He’ll certainly be missed, we’re all affected, but the Church isn’t dependent on one person; all the bishops form one family. History has shown that a patriarch’s death doesn’t mean the end of the Church’s continuity”. Asked about the fate of Syrian Christians after the collapse of the embattled Syrian régime, Chedraoui said that the Christian presence is in decline in the entire region, not just in any particular country, saying, “Look at Jerusalem, how many Christians are still in Jerusalem? Look at Iraq, how many Christians have left Iraq in the past decade? The Christian presence is in decline in the entire region, and that’s why we need to remain in our lands and not give up on them … This happens by bringing the Church and the people closer to each other. We came from the East, so, we need to preserve our presence whatever the costs are”. Criticising those who use violence in the name of religion, Chedraoui said, “Those who hate have no religion. I’ve said before, and I say it again, we should be religious because being religious ensures love and forgiveness, not hatred and sectarianism, as some claim. Religion can’t be used for destruction or murder, but only for building love and unity”.

14 December 2012

Van Meguerditchian

The Daily Star (Lebanon News)


Archbishop Ieronymos Against Plan for Sunday Opening for Shops



On Tuesday, Archbishop Ieronymos Liapis, the First Hierarch of the Church of Greece, joined the debate over whether retail stores should open on Sunday. The government put to public consultation a draft law that’d allow some stores to open on Sundays. Archbishop Ieronymos expressed concern about the plans, saying, “We’re constantly focused on numbers and we forget our souls. When will traders see their children, when will they see their families, when will they rest and gather strength?” Ieronymos spoke to journalists after holding a meeting with Minister of Labour, Social Security, and Welfare  Yiannis Vroutsis to discuss the Church’s social work.

11 December 2012




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