Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Levada Centre sez More and More Russians Embrace the Meaning of Lent, But Only 2 Percent Intend to Follow It Strictly

00 RIA-Novosti Infographics.  Replacement Ingredients in Lenten Periods. 2012


Levada Centre specialists spoke to Interfax concerning their research into the depth of Lenten observance in the Russian population. This year, sociologists found that a record number of Russians (26 percent overall), intend to observe the traditional Lenten discipline in one way or another. During an all-Russian poll, 21 percent of respondents confirmed that they’re going to observe a partial fast this year… for example, giving up meat or alcoholic beverages. Over the past five years, this category has increased by six percent (it was 15 percent in 2008, a 40 percent rise in the period studied).

In particular, the respondents in this category were executives/supervisors (31 percent), disabled (27 percent) women (28 percent), Russians over 55-years-old (67 percent), college-educated (29 percent), upper-middle class (29 percent), residents of rural communities (24 percent), and citizens of small cities (less than 100,000 population) (23 percent). According to the survey, this year, as before, 3 percent of respondents are going to follow all the rules of fasting only during Holy Week, and 2 percent shall follow the fast strictly for all seven weeks of Lent.

Pensioners, women, and Russians over 55-years-old all had the highest proportions of those who intend to follow a strict Lenten rule, either in full, or during Holy Week alone. In 2008, 79 percent of Russians stated they that wouldn’t modify their diet during Lent; in March of this year, that figure fell to 69 percent. The groups that most often reported that they don’t intend to modify their diet are schoolchildren and college students (87 percent), business owners (82 percent), housewives (81 percent), men (79 percent), Russians under 25 (83 percent), those with secondary education only (77 percent), upper-middle class (77 percent), and citizens of medium-sized cities (100,000-500,000 population) (72 percent).

27 March 2013



Editor’s Note:

Break out the bubbly! The above figures are FANTASTIC. As Fr Vsevolod Chaplin observed, in 1985, virtually no one kept the Lent. A quarter of the total Russian population intends to keep at least some part of the Lent, which means that about a third of all Orthodox Christians in Russia shall observe the Lent in one way or another. That’s great… and the growth is gradual and natural, not forced-draft and phoney (as one sees amongst the konvertsy in the USA). That’s the way REAL Orthodoxy operates… one person at a time giving the “good contagion” to another… as St Serafim Sarovsky put it, “Save your own soul, and thousands will be saved about you”. We don’t need “crusades”, “mission conferences”, “witnessing”, or marching in political parades… we need good old-fashioned self-forgetful religion.

God blesses the one and doesn’t bless the other, that’s clear. We should follow the podvigs of Patriarch Sergei Stragorodsky and St Serafim Vyritsky… not the notional fancies of Victor Potapov, James Paffhausen, Gleb Podmoshensky, and other such pied-pipers… after all, real-deal Christians don’t make demands with a lawyer in tow, do they? Let God see and judge…



27 March 2013. Вечная память! The 45th Anniversary of the Death of First Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in a Training Flight in 1968

00 Heroism NEVER Dies Out... Castro and Gagarin


Forty-five years ago, Yuri Gagarin, the first man to enter outer space, died in an accident during a routine training flight from Chkalovsky Air Base; he and flight instructor Vladimir Seryogin died when their MiG-15UTI crashed near the town of Kirzhach. After a state funeral, their ashes were entombed in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis on Red Square.

Heroism NEVER dies… it just transfers to another dimension, that’s all…

Вечная память, Юрий Алексеевич…


Tatar Mufti Touts Social Action as Antidote to Islamic Extremism

00 Muslim Woman Praying. Mufti Alban Krganov. Russian Muslim. 09.12


On Wednesday, Mufti Ildar Bayazitov, Deputy Mufti of the predominantly-Muslim Republic of Tatarstan, said that Russian Islamic organisations should get young Muslims involved in socially-oriented and charitable activities to shield them from radicalisation and extremism, pointing up that “socially useful” activity could also help alleviate social tension. He noted that we should give priority to helping drug addicts, prison inmates, disabled persons, large or broken families, elderly people, and orphans, saying, “The focus in official Muslim homiletics in our country should not be on political issues related to Islam, but on its socially useful potential”, adding that radical antisocial dispositions among religious youth often stemmed from unresolved social problems and a perceived lack of social justice.

Last October, the National Antiterrorism Committee said that there’s been an increase in the number of extremism-related crimes in the Volga Federal District, which contains Tatarstan, as well as a rise in the level of latent interethnic and interreligious tension. Committee representative Dmitri Muryshov said, “There’s a trend toward the expansion of radical Islam in heavily-Muslim settlements in the Volga Region”. Many view Tatarstan as a model of interethnic and inter-faith harmony in an ethnically-diverse Russia. However, attacks on moderate Muslim leaders last July, which left Tatarstan Mufti Ildus Faizov severely injured and his former Deputy Valiulla Yakupov dead, were a further troubling indication that radical Islamism is spreading beyond what people consider as its “traditional” borders.

27 March 2013



Pope Francisco Refuses to Live in Spacious Papal Apartment

00 Pope Francisco Bergoglio. 16.03.13


On Tuesday, citing his spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi, the BBC reported that Pope Francisco Bergoglio opted to stay at a modest two-room residence instead of moving to the grand papal apartment on the top floor of the Vatican‘s Apostolic Palace. Pope Francisco decided to stay in the Domus Sanctæ Marthæ hotel-style residence inside Vatican City, where he lived with other cardinals during the conclave that saw him elected earlier this month. The BBC quoted Lombardi as saying, “This morning, he let his fellow cardinals know that he’d keep living with them for a certain period of time”. Lombardi explained the pope’s decision as a desire for “a simple life” and said that Pope Francisco would live there for “a certain period of time”. In refusing to move to the palatial penthouse apartment with more than a dozen rooms, staff quarters, and a large terrace, Pope Francisco broke an over-century-old tradition. On March 13, a conclave of cardinals elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires the 266th Pope of Rome, becoming the first Latin American to lead the Catholic Church.

27 March 2013



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