Voices from Russia

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Metropolitan Seraphim Mentzenopoulos of Piraeus Threatens Lawmakers Over Gay Bill

00 Metropolitan Seraphim of Athens. 30.11.13


On Thursday, Metropolitan Seraphim Mentzenopoulos of Piraeus, the port city next to Athens, threatened to excommunicate lawmakers in his diocese who support efforts to legalise civil partnerships for same-sex couples. He described homosexuality as a “terrible sin” and said that it was his duty to expel lawmakers if they support the proposed changes. He called on the church’s governing Holy Synod to hold an emergency meeting on the issue. Earlier this month, the Council of Europe‘s European Court of Human Rights condemned Greece for failing to include same-sex couples in a 2008 civil partnership law. On Thursday, a senior Greek Ministry of the Interior official said that changes to the law to conform to the court decision were “imperative”, but didn’t say when the Hellenic Parliament would consider the legislation.

29 November 2013

Associated Press



Friday, 29 November 2013

Baby Dies After Parents Trade Hospital For Church After Crash

01d Political Cartoons 08.11


A couple in Russia face jail after their religious zeal compelled them to drive their child, injured in a car crash, to church for an urgent baptism, not to hospital. On Sunday, Fontanka.ru said that the two-month-old infant was dead by the time it reached the hands of the priest. The report stated that the boy sustained a brain injury in a minor crash in St Petersburg on Saturday despite being in a child safety seat. The SKP cited the worried parents as saying that they sped him to church because “otherwise, he would be denied the Kingdom of Heaven”. Now, the two parents, both in their forties, are under investigation for “failure to aid a person in danger”, punishable with up to a year in prison. Police confirmed the boy’s death, but gave no details. An Orthodox spokesman told Fontaka.ru, “This is superstition, not religion. They should’ve gone to the hospital, it’s only human”. An SKP source noted, “A psychiatric ward is the best temple for such people”. According to Levada, religious sentiment is on the rise of Russia, where 83 percent of the population described themselves as believers in 2012. In 1991, that figure was just 24 percent.

25 November 2013



Editor’s Note:

These “parents” belong in a loony bin. However, this sort of attitude is all too prevalent in some quarters. There are fanatics amongst us who give believers a “bad name”. Most are konvertsy, but there are some elements amongst “native” Orthodox who’re just as bad, especially, some clustered about Jordanville. You’ve heard it all before… Halloween is pagan… priests are “special”… monks are better than laypeople are… “shunning” those they consider “unholy”… the whole rotten megillah. These people wear “long” faces and exude religiosity… but they lack all sense of what it means to be a follower of Christ. I’ve never seen such backstabbing, tale-bearing, and puffed up pride (of course, under a smarmy veneer of “humility”) as I’ve seen in a particular parish. They follow all the rules to the letter (and make up some that don’t exist) and are “so heavenly-minded that they’re no earthly good”. Beware the “religious”… I’ve found them the most treacherous and nasty individuals that I’ve dealt with in life. The truth will set you free… but only if you let it…


Thursday, 28 November 2013

No Flat Earth Theories, Thanks



Editor’s Foreword:

This punchy editorial encapsulates my editorial philosophy. It illustrates how I view criticism from certain quarters. Of course, reasoned well-founded criticism is quite good; I don’t mind that (it does keep me out of the bog and on the straight n’ narrow)… but the hyperclericalist cheering section (and the konvertsy peanut gallery) can kiss my arse. I like the “attitude” conveyed here… God willing, I hope that I can do likewise…



I think, by now, everyone knows that this newspaper has its share of detractors. Editorials and opinion pages in this publication are under constant attack, particularly in certain quarters. Most of our sworn enemies are of the nattering nabob set of so-called Liberal Oppositionists. There’s hardly a need to elaborate. If one can recognise ducks by their bills… one can size up these folks by their biliousness. One might also add that, often, this sub-set is anyway not difficult to recognise as they fall into a distinct type; it’s hackneyed, perhaps, but it’s worth saying… even though we might repeat ourselves… that if they walk like ducks and quack like ducks, they’re ducks. This caravan moves on despite the curs or other wildlife that we might agitate on the wayside, but it’s also worth considering what separates us ideologically from our detractors. This can be edifying, because it’d show up the qualitative difference between what we seek to do, and what they do.

We, here in these pages, whatever others may accuse us of, don’t offer an echo chamber for the pundits of international media or the purveyors of conventional wisdom. Our credo is that we question things. In the process, we come up with what one might call alternative journalism, almost. In that way, some here at the Daily News were proud when a reader described us recently as being “niche”. Despite our being very mainstream, this means that we aren’t “lamestream”, as progressives in some developed countries refer to their own media. Whatever we do, one thing’s very clear, and it’s that we don’t follow the [prevailing] orthodoxy at all.

This holds true in our approach to local as well as international news. For instance, look at the way many newspapers treated the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination. Most carried articles that either romanticised the so-called Kennedy era in the USA, or treated the issue in a rather airy-fairy scholarly fashion differentiating the Kennedy era positives from the contemporary negatives in US politics. However, in the Daily News, we gave you new “mind-blowing” facts about who might’ve killed Kennedy. Currently, the article is running as a serial in our pages. It goes to the root of many issues other than the simple “who killed Kennedy?” It goes into such matters asking how they affected global politics then and now. In the same way, we’ve sought to challenge those who give us bald statistics, who want us desperately to arrive at certain pre-agreed conclusions about this country, for instance. Take the canard about the 25 Sri Lankan journalists dead since 2005. We deconstructed that and showed that only a very few of these were real journalists, most were LTTE cadres killed in battle.

It isn’t simply a matter of contradicting the facts, however. That’s the easy part. In these pages, we try to keep questioning the unquestioned and probe what so many take for granted. Sometimes, as a result, we might come up with a startling new vision, albeit almost accidentally, besides sometimes presenting startling facts, even though we say this ourselves! For example, we took on the silly notion that one couldn’t call a spade a spade when journalists write about world leaders such as David Cameron. We observed that the Premier’s conduct was buffoonish when he was here in Sri Lanka; then, we proceeded to substantiate minutely the extent of his hypocrisy. Now, we know that there are enough English language writers who’re willing to fairly fall over each other after the fact, saying that Cameron behaved ridiculously and was either rude or bordering on the rude in the general way he treated our leadership, and, by extension, our people.

The result of that was that we might’ve forced some people to remove their blinkers about the “benign coloniser” that could do no wrong, that they considered a force for good! All that our detractors seem to be able to do is to make loud sucking sounds and other snappy noises in response. We may not be faultless, and if anybody points to any mistakes we make, we’d be the first to admit them. However, in contrast to our detractors, who form a chorus line for the tired and effete opinion makers and sundry pundits of the world, we daresay that we don’t accept flat earth theories here in these spaces… and are the happier for it!

28 November 2013

Daily News (Sri Lanka)


Editor’s Afterword:

Note this:

Whatever we do, one thing’s very clear, and it’s that we don’t follow the [prevailing] orthodoxy at all.

That’s what I do here, especially, as far as Church news is concerned. I challenge the “orthodoxy” (with a small “o”) of the OCA/ROCOR First Family narrative, and I’d argue that it isn’t very Orthodox (with a large “O”) at all. Indeed, I only insist they stick to “whole truth and nothing but the truth”… and they don’t. I won’t mince my words… expediency and opportunism reigns amongst us in the American Russian Orthodox diaspora. We need to clear this away… it’s the only way for us to survive, let alone move forward. The conclusion to the above editorial illustrates my own editorial philosophy to a tee:

We may not be faultless, and if anybody points to any mistakes we make, we’d be the first to admit them. However, in contrast to our detractors, who form a chorus line for the tired and effete opinion makers and sundry pundits of the world, we daresay that we don’t accept flat earth theories here in these spaces… and are the happier for it!

We must clear away the First Family lies or we won’t survive here… and that’s that.



RAN Fibre-Optics Researcher Predicts Petabit-Per-Second Data Transfer in Decade

01 hands typing on a computer


On Tuesday, Yevgeni Dianov, head of a fibre-optics institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAN), said that fibre-optic networks would be able to send data at speeds of up to one petabit (1 quadrillion bits) per second within a decade, which would be at least 100 times faster than current networks using quartz-glass cables. He told the RAN presidium that multicore cables are faster; Dianov noted that researchers already reached one petabit per second using a 12-core cable in an experiment last year.

26 November 2013



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