Voices from Russia

Saturday, 12 November 2016

12 November 2016. From the Russian Web… Friends for Life!




Friday, 28 September 2012

28 September 2012. The Beasts and God: What Can We Say?

The Lord God made them all…


A friend sent me this:

Sounds like Poochie went out in a Christian way… painless, blameless, peaceful, and with a good defence before the dread judgement seat of Christ.

I sent this:

He lived in a Christian home, didn’t he? There’s a lot of thought there… I’m thinking of writing “800 good words” on animals and God, on how we should “pray with the animals”, not for them. After all, they must have a relationship with God, but what, I don’t know. We must have a care for the “zhivotne” (the word for “animal” in Russian comes from the Slavonic word for “life”) who share our lives.


Here’s a post of mine well-worth repeating:


Editor’s Foreword:

I’ve received a good response from my Some of My Favourite Things post that I put up today. Therefore, here’s a reprise of an item that I posted over two years ago. It’s one of my personal faves. Fr Serapion has a point to make, and he makes it well. My belief is that we shouldn’t anthropomorphise animals, but, on the other hand, we should remember that the beasts are God’s Creatures too, and we should act accordingly.



Hieromonk Serapion Mitko, the head of the Diocese of Yaroslavl Missionary Department, whose house was set on fire by unknown arsonists late last week, saved his three little kittens from the fire. As he told our Interfax-Religion correspondent, he bought the kittens just a few days before the accident. “When the walls started burning, the kittens were sleeping in the kitchen rolled into a multicoloured ball, as usual. As I was leaving the house, I asked my driver to get them out of the house. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if those little critters had perished in the fire”, Fr Serapion said. Then, he remembered the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “You are responsible, forever, for what you have tamed”, and God’s instructions to Adam to preserve this world and all the animals he had named.

“I’ve always reflected upon the theological status of animals. We know that everything that breathes praises the Lord, but people can’t understand how these creatures feel the Creator. This lack of understanding witnesses to our narrow minds and to the grandeur of God’s mystery of creation”, he said. Fr Serapion, who defended a thesis on ethics for his theological degree, reflected that one of the fundamental ethical problems is the suffering of animals. “We know that human suffering may help a person to achieve moral purification, but, we don’t know why animals suffer. From our human standpoint, the suffering of animals is senseless, which makes it even more terrible”, he believes. Fr Serapion called to mind the words of Russian poet Marina Tsvetayeva that the Lord didn’t exile animals from Paradise; they just followed man out of the Garden. He is convinced that “they live in quite a different dimension, where sin hasn’t penetrated yet or penetrates only through our fault. If we, people, expose animals to suffering through our sins, then, we must save them. We should treat animals in the same way we treat people, so that people wouldn’t treat each other like animals”.

3 December 2008



Editor’s Afterword:

We should treat animals in the same way we treat people, so that people wouldn’t treat each other like animals.

That makes me think of the recent shenanigans of Whiteford and Lebedeff on a certain internet forum. It was on a par with the actions of Velencia and Karlgut. Just why are priests of the Church “treating people like animals?” If this isn’t a sign of advanced rot, I don’t know what it is. We have a Church to rebuild… but we can’t do it until we remove the squatters camping in the ruins of the old OCA and ROCOR. After all the nastiness of the Church War in the 70s and 80s, after all the accusations that they hurled at one another, today, we can see that its main protagonists were identical under the skin… “We few are going to tell you many what to do… and you shall NOT complain… we’re the gatekeepers to the Church, and if you displease us, we’ll plague you until you leave”. I think that there’s something horridly wrong with this picture… I seem to think that most of you agree with me!





To pray “with the animals”… I haven’t the foggiest notion what that means in its fullness, but I’ve a good idea of what it’d look like. It’d be like St Serafim Sarovsky so One with God’s Creation that all the animals could sense it, so, they came up to him willingly. All Russians know the famous icon of St Serafim with the bear… who doesn’t? One has to accept the animals for “what they are”… not anthropomorphised treacly cutouts, but real living breathing creatures with their own personalities, natures, and instincts. For example, look at this post on Knut the Polar Bear… Knut was God’s creature, as much as we are, and as mortal as we are.

Each animal has their unique and irreplaceable personality, just as people do. No doubt, we’ll get another male cat, but it won’t be Poochie (who could hear a slice of cheese being unwrapped at all hours and be there in a flash… he was a “cheese cat”). It’s like us; when we’re gone, our uniqueness is gone, too. It’s one of the reasons that I’m a believer despite all the prelest and shit from poseurs like Fathausen, Freddie, Dreher, Reardon, Mattingly, et al. Poochie was the “spark plug” of our little cat “family” (we also have two female cats, Moo and Tulip). He miaued the most, he was the most playful, and the one most likely to jump up next to you and nuzzle you when you got back from work. He loved to sit next to the window, looking out at the world. He liked being held by “Mommy”, but he’d make it clear when he wanted to get away, too. Now that he’s gone, our other two cats are subdued and quiet. They must KNOW, in some way, what happened.

Billy Graham said, “God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in Heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I’ll believe he’ll be there”. I agree with that. There are long-faced prunish sorts out there who say, “Animals have no souls; they have no part of Heaven”. Note well that the ones who say that are often also the ones who attack this one and that one, judging who’s going to end up justified, and who’s going to end condemned. Well, in Our Father’s House, there are many mansions… and St Peter will tell all decent people as we pass one of them, “Be quiet! These jabronies think that they’re the only ones here” (it has a separate entrance, so as to not upset these sorts that the rest of us are there, too). In my heaven, there’ll be dogs and cats and rabbits and bears… for I believe that God will sanctify ALL of His Creation. Why would He create it, if He were just going to destroy it all in a snit fit, in an act of imperious disdain? That wouldn’t be Divine, but all too human, wouldn’t it? He’ll sanctify all people of good intention and good heart… even if they denied Him on earth (when you see the antics of some hierarchs, clergy, and others of the  self-appointed “spiritual élite”, you can understand why people reject such a “faith”). Shall he condemn all evil-doers and their enablers and sycophants to hell-fire? I’m not God… I can’t say. However, Our Lord Christ, the Church, and the Scriptures are clear on the rich, the respectable, the “rugged independent”, and their lackeys, “They have their reward”… that’s not comforting, especially, if you’ve screwed people to get ahead.

None of the above is “The Teaching of the Church”… it’s simply the reflections of a good Orthodox Christian on an observable natural phenomenon. Poochie’s death has left a hole in our house and in my heart that’ll take a little while to heal. Didn’t Nicky have a big heart in taking him in thirteen years ago? That’s why I won’t EVER be unfaithful to him…

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Friday 28 September 2012

Albany NY

Sunday, 8 April 2012

8 April 2012. “Well, Dog My Cat!” Cheetah Mtani and Lab Casey Best of Friends


A year ago, some zookeepers in Florida decided to run an experiment, they raised a lab puppy and a baby cheetah together to see what would happen. As the great sage Jed Clampett would say, “Well, dog my cat!” Cheetah Mtani and Lab Casey are the best of friends… who woulda thunk it! Good stuff, I say… pass the jug and SMILE…


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