Voices from Russia

Monday, 9 December 2013

9 December 2013. There’s GOOD NEWS Out There Too! Sheppton PA Church Could See New Life

00 Russian Orthodox church building. Sheppton PA USA. 09.12.13


Editor’s Note:

Here’s something, a GOOD CAUSE worth a fin or two (or three or four). It’s on the up and square. E-mail Fr John at otch@icontech.com for contact information. These guys are on the straight n’ narrow… give ‘em a hand if you can!



One of the Cabinet sent this:

I put up an article about the Russian Orthodox church in Sheppton PA near Hazleton PA; its cornerstone says 1891. Bishop Herman Swaiko closed the church many years ago and the OCA sold the property. Apparently, the parish just died out. A couple bought the property in the early 2000’s intending to demolish the church building so that they could build a house. Then, they walked into the church and it looked like Liturgy just ended, people closed the doors, and left! The robes were still there, the candles were still in the candle stands, and the iconostas was intact. The couple got in contact with Fr John Sorochka, as they didn’t want to destroy the church. St John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Mayfield PA ended up buying the property and church in 2003, and we’ve been slowly renovating it.


A shuttered church could get new life in Sheppton PA. A Russian Orthodox congregation in Mayfield PA bought a historic Russian Orthodox church in Sheppton that closed years ago. They plan to make it usable sometime in the future, possibly, for a Russian Orthodox parish. The church is on West Market Street in Sheppton and, according to East Union Township resident John Biros, there’s been no services there in more than 20 years. Biros said he and his wife, Ann, purchased the church with the intention of perhaps building a house on the property, but once inside, something told him not to demolish the old church because it was so beautiful. He said, “It wasn’t heated but it somehow withstood the elements after it went out of service and it was preserved. It was just amazing how beautiful it was inside”.

Schuylkill County records indicate that Biros purchased the church in 1999 for 5,000 USD (164,000 Roubles. 5,300 CAD. 5,450 AUD. Euros. 3,050 UK Pounds) and sold it for 30,000 USD (982,000 Roubles. 31,900 CAD. 32,800 AUD. 3,650 Euros. 18,250 UK Pounds) in 2003 to the St John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Mayfield PA. Fr John Sorochka of Mayfield used those same words to describe what he saw when he went inside with then-owner Biros. He’d contacted Biros about his parish wanting to buy the church, and the good state of preservation of the building amazed him, seeing as how many years had passed. He said, “We were very much surprised how beautiful the inside of the church was”. The Mayfield parish and some local volunteers intend to restore the church so that they could conduct services in it from time to time, Fr John said.

About five years ago, Fr John, 71, and a few volunteers put a new roof on the church to stop any rain or water from leaking into the structure and he said that the outside needs a new coat of paint, saying, “The inside needs some cosmetic work, but it’s a very solid church. Outside, the church looks rustic”. He noted that they found some paper print icons inside with “vibrant” original colours that are more than 100 years old. Fr John said, “There’s a chandelier missing, but the altar is there, and, again, it’s surprisingly in good shape considering the years that have passed since a service was held inside it”.

According to Fr John, Biros bought the church 14 years ago, and his only stipulation in selling was that it remain a church. The parish didn’t hesitate to buy it. Fr John noted, “Just from a historic aspect, it’s believed to be one of the first, if not the first, Russian Orthodox churches in the area, it’s very important. The cornerstone of the church is marked 1891”. County records show that the official date for the church’s building was 1894.

St John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Mayfield has almost 800 parishioners, and it’ll celebrate its 125th anniversary in two years. The congregation might investigate having the Sheppton church added to the Schuylkill County Historical Register. Fr John said, “Our position is that we want to get the Sheppton church in usable condition, to where it can have a service once a month. It’s cost a few dollars, so far. The roof was most expensive and, you know, the cosmetic things, like the grass has to be cut and maintained each year. Its part of the history of that town, so, for that reason alone, in addition to the spiritual aspect, this is the actual motivation to restore a landmark church in Sheppton”.

9 December 2013

Thomas Ragan

Hazleton (PA) Standard-Speaker




Secretary Ban Appeals for Safety of Missing Orthodox Christian Nuns in Syria

00 Syrian nun in Ma'aloula. 08.09.13


Today, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed for the safety of 12 nuns who went missing from a convent in the Syrian town of Ma’loula and all those who might be detained against their will in the strife-torn nation. Mr Ban’s spokesman said in a statement that the Secretary-General remains “deeply troubled” by the targeting of places of worship and religious representatives in Syria’s conflict. He said, “These concerns are most recently underscored by the situation of the 12 nuns who went missing from Mar Tekla Orthodox Convent in Ma’loula. The Secretary-General joins in the appeals for their safety and well-being, and that of all persons detained against their will in Syria. The UN rejects any targeting of persons based on their religion, community, or ethnic affiliation. Civilians throughout Syria are at risk and must be protected”. Media reports say that opposition fighters took the nuns by force a week ago from their convent, whilst a Syrian opposition activist said the rebels took them away for their own safety. The violence in Syria continues unabated since fighting first broke out in March 2011 between government forces and opposition forces seeking the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad. Already, the conflict has claimed over 100,000 lives and driven over 6 million people from their homes.

9 December 2013

UN News Centre


Editor’s Note:

Reflect on this… both the neocons and humanitarian interventionists support the scummers who kidnap nuns, burn churches, and kill Christians. What does that tell us about those in our ranks who support such political sludge (on the grounds that they’re “Pro-Life“)? It’s skewed priorities of the worst sort… our brethren in the Orthosphere bleed, their houses burn, and they must flee for their very lives… and some amongst us (especially konvertsy) support those who arm the persecutors, due to badly-thought-out “family values”. It’s enough to make me hurl… what about the Syrian families brutalised by those armed by “Pro-Life” politicians? I guess that they don’t count… “They’re only backward wogs“… they don’t have enough money to count (nor do they live in the “right” suburb). Our silence on this as “Church” is disgusting. It’s time that we raised our voices and condemned the US government for all of its rogue actions since 1991 (especially, in how it’s attacked our kin in the Orthosphere)… and get rid of those in our ranks who support such. Remember the Easter bombing of Belgrade… “democratic” and “peace-loving” America brought you that one. I rest my case…


BREAKING NEWS… Leaked: Amnesty to Free Pussy Riot and Greenpeace Activists

get out of jail free community chest


Editor’s Note:

Many thanks to the Cabineteer (you know who you are) who got to this to me tout suite. I can’t find everything on my own… I don’t deserve such good friends…



Media sources say that an amnesty dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution would free members of the Pussy Riot punk band, Greenpeace activists, and Bolotnaya Square demonstration protesters. The amnesty initialled by President Putin would free some 25,000 people. Interfax quoted Vladimir Vasilyev, deputy speaker of the RF Gosduma, “We’ll release around 1,300 people from prison, and relieve 17,500 people of non-custodial sentences. In addition, we’re terminating criminal proceedings against nearly 6,000 people”.

Several Russian media outlets, including Izvestiya and Vedomosti, obtained a copy of the draft amnesty, submitted to the Federal Assembly by President Vladimir Putin on Monday. They said that the participants in such high-profile cases as the Pussy Riot Cathedral protest, Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise boarding of an oil rig, and the Bolotnaya Square riots would all get amnesty. Vasilyev pointed up that the upcoming amnesty wouldn’t apply to those who committed crimes that posed a serious danger to society, adding that the amnesty would give preference to convicts in vulnerable social categories and people who’d served the country. Preference would go to all minors, mothers with small children, pregnant women, women over 55, men over 60, the disabled, Chernobyl cleanup workers, and military veterans.

According to Vedomosti, the draft amnesty covers three articles of the criminal code “as an exception”, which means that those convicted under them would be freed or relived from punishment regardless of age, sex, or social status. The first such is Article 213 “Hooliganism”, which means that two Pussy Riot members… Mariya Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova… as well as the Greenpeace activists awaiting trial in Russia, would walk free. Three members of the Pussy Riot punk band each received a sentenced of two years in prison after staging a protest in Moscow‘s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in February 2012, although one member of the band later gained release on appeal. Currently, the 30 Greenpeace activists are on bail and awaiting trial after trying to board a Russian oil platform in the Prirazlomnaya oil field in the Barents Sea this September.

The second exception was for Article 2012 Part 2 and 3, “Participation in Riots and Incitement of Same”. This would allow nine participants of the Bolotnaya trial not accused of using force against police officers to avoid prosecution. The authorities detained the so-called Bolotnaya prisoners following riots on Bolotnaya Square in central Moscow in May 2012. The third exception deals with those convicted of violating traffic regulations with severe consequences to people’s health. Meanwhile, Izvestiya said that those who committed economic crimes wouldn’t receive pardons, as there’s already been an amnesty for this category of prisoners earlier this year, with 1,431 people released. This means that former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner, Platon Lebedev, would stay behind bars.

A high-ranking source in the Gosduma told Izvestiya that the government would adopt the amnesty before the end of the year and carry it out within the next six months. Russia celebrates the 20th anniversary of its Constitution on 12 December. Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the RF Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights, expressed his satisfaction with the draft amnesty bill, expressing hope that it wouldn’t suffer excessive revision by the Gosduma. He told RIA-Novosti, “I’m sure that there’ll be some Deputies who’d try to widen the amnesty bill and those who’d push to narrow it. In the end, I hope that it’d remain as it was when the President submitted it”.

However, Oleg Orlov, one of the heads of Memorial human rights centre, called the draft amnesty bill a disappointment. He told Interfax, “Even in its current form, I welcome the document. At least, it’d release some people. However, the part of Russian society that advocated an amnesty understood it in a broader sense, so, of course, we’re disappointed”. President Putin tasked human rights activists with putting together a draft bill for an amnesty dedicated to the 20th anniversary of Russia’s current Constitution in late September. In mid-October, the Presidential Council for Human Rights approved a draft bill proposing to pardon around 100,000 prisoners.

 9 December 2013



Hundreds Mark Anniversary of Fatal Police Shooting in Athens

00 Greek protestors. Athens. 09.12.13


Editor’s Note:

All the usual suspects in the Western media “blame Greece” for its present predicament. No one mentions the crook politicians from ND and PASOK who’re getting off scot free. No one mentions the Greek oligarchs with billions in offshore accounts. The amount of theft by politicians and tax evasion by the Affluent Effluent was overwhelming, even by the lofty standards set by the US Congress (the world champs of corruption, bar none, for decades, with no challenger yet in sight). Of course, the rich partied… the ordinary folk foot the bill… that’s the way of it in crapitalism. It’s soulless and corrosive godless greed of the worst possible sort… often, winked at by clergy, sadly enough. The support of “Free Enterprise” by the Lukianovtsy and the Potapov circle isn’t godpleasing… God DOES see and He DOES judge. The mill of Divine Justice grinds slowly, but it grinds exceedingly fine, indeed.

“They killed little Sara. This is what the Troika means”. If you support Austerity for the Little Folks, the Tea Party, or Free Market Crapitalism, you spit on the Lord Christ… no two ways about it. “They all had faces… they all had names. No one is forgotten… nothing is forgotten”… remember Sara every time you hear a rightie gasbag bloviate… close your heart to pity, close your ears, and oppose them with all your might. Such slimers don’t deserve the time of day…



On Friday, police clashed with demonstrators in central Athens as thousands attended rallies to mark the fifth anniversary of a fatal police shooting of a teenager… a killing that triggered major riots in Greek cities for three weeks. Police sources said that the clashes on Friday injured four cops; they arrested 17 people for causing public disturbances, and detained a further 184 people for questioning. Several hundred youths hurled rocks and petrol bombs at police, burned two cars, and set fire to piles of garbage, after about 5,000 protesters held two separate marches. Police used tear gas, pepper spray, and stun grenades against the rioters. Alexis Grigoropoulos, 15, died on the night of 6 December 2008, when a policeman fired his gun following an argument in the centre of the capital. Within hours of the boy’s death, thousands of youths took to the streets across the country. The riots that ensued were Greece’s worst in decades, seeing buildings and shops on major streets burned and looted in the capital. The riots occurred a year before Greece plunged into financial crisis, and protesters at anniversary events opposed the government and the “troika” of bailout inspectors from the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF. Police remained on alert in several cities across Greece, including Athens, where they expect more protests Friday night.

In Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, demonstrations coincided with the funeral service for a 13-year-old Serbian girl… known only by her first name, Sara… found dead over the weekend. That happened after her unemployed mother tried to use a barbecue grill to heat their home, after they had their electric service disconnected. A medical examiner said that the girl died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Protesters gathered outside the church where the service was held, and chanted, “They killed little Sara. This is what the Troika means”.

6 December 2013

Elena Becatoros

Florent Bajrami

Associated Press



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