Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Tomorrow, Christmas Lent Begins

Silent Night

Viggo Johansen

1891

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We’ve said much about the Lenten periods, yet, once one begins, we hear the same question:

What are we not supposed to do?

The brief answer to that is:

Food is in last place. It isn’t an end-all and be-all; it’s only a means.

The Lenten effort requires five things.

LEARN TO PRAY

Try to add something extra to your routine. If you don’t normally pray, make a brief but regular prayer. If you have a morning and evening rule, read the Psalms, or the daily Gospel reading. If you go to services only on Sunday, try to make it for one of the weekday services.

LEARN TO FIGHT SIN

Look at your repetitive sins… choose the smallest and try to overcome it. For example, do you complain about everything you see or hear? Do you talk about others behind their back? Do you hold an old grudge against a relative (boss, teacher, neighbour, etc)? Overcome this through daily prayer.

LEARN TO REPENT

Choose your most secret sin… the one most hidden from the eyes of others and one for which you’re particularly ashamed. Go to confession and ask how to fight it. Choose an experienced priest to help you with what you need.

LEARN TO DO GOOD

For I was hungered, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came unto me.

Gospel according to St Matthew 25.35-36

At the end of each day, search your conscience and ask yourself, “What good deed did I do today? Who did I comfort, who did I help, and who did I devote time to?” If you didn’t do that, you wasted the day.

LEARN TO BE JOYFUL

Open up to the beauty of God’s world. Meditate on God’s gifts and on the talents that He endows us with. Show manifestations of love, compassion, and mercy, along with reflecting on logic, harmony, and truth. In short, focus on everything that brings us closer to God.

I wish you a salvific and joyful Christmas Lent, my friends!

24 November 2017

Archpriest Vladimir Vigilyansky

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Friday, 20 October 2017

20 October 2017. XMAS IS ON ITS WAY!

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Halloween is almost upon us, which means that commercial Xmas is about ready to begin. It begins right after Halloween, but it really doesn’t pick up steam until Black Friday, the day after American Thanksgiving. I call this day “the Black Mass of American Consumerism”. Everything that’s bad about America and Americans gets put on very public display. Every year, one hears about someone trampled to death or mauled by other crazy shoppers. As for me, I avoid malls until after 25 December… I don’t like the hype, the tension, and the angst on display. It’s not the crowds… it’s not the crass commercialisation of a sacred holiday… it’s the joyless and haunted look on the faces of the people. No one really likes Xmas and its ritualised greed, but it seems that most give in to it. Truly… the canned vapid carols and the goofy decorations don’t bother me. It’s the people… their lemming-like acquiescence in something that they don’t truly want to do. Christmas and Xmas are two different things. Welcome the Christ Child into your home… have a family celebration… yes, give a gift or two (or three). Have a JOYOUS day. You don’t have to give in to Xmas. By the way, Santa’s OK (share a cone with Santa, as Kevin Bloody Wilson sang)… he’s no ogre unless you make him one. We’ll all survive the coming holiday blitz. Have a drink and smile.

BMD

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Moscow Celebrated Despite Coldest Christmas Night “In 120 Years”

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Bitterly cold temperatures didn’t stop worshipers from celebrating Epiphany and Orthodox Christmas. Christian believers across the globe joined in celebrations. Those who attended midnight liturgy at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour had to bundle up for the bitter cold as temperatures in the capital dropped to about -30 (-22 Fahrenheit) on Christmas night. In Moscow Oblast, temperatures dropped below -32 (-26 Fahrenheit). Extremely cold weather hit the whole country, with some regions such as Siberia and Yakutiya recording temperatures of -40 (-40 Fahrenheit). In Moscow, the MChS deployed around 500 emergency personnel to help worshipers. Authorities provided around 200 mobile food tents with hot meals during the Christmas celebrations due to the cold. RIA Novosti quoted a meteorologist from Fobos weather centre:

This Christmas night was the coldest in the last 120 years, although the absolute record was more than 130 years ago in 1881, it was -35 (-31 Fahrenheit).

Frost hits Russia as Christmas Comes for Orthodox Christians (IMAGES)

The Orthodox Church follows the Julian Calendar, which is 13 days behind the Gregorian Calendar adopted by the Catholic Church in the 16th Century. This is why Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on 7 January, and not on 25 December. The Local Churches of Jerusalem, Serbia, Poland, Czechia/Slovakia, and Georgia, as well as the so-called Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (Uniates) and some Protestants, use the Julian calendar, so they also celebrate Christmas on 7 January.

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On Friday, in Serbia, where temperatures dropped below -15 (+5 Fahrenheit), Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas Eve in front of St Sava Cathedral in Belgrade with a traditional oak log fire.

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In Turkey, Orthodox Christians also joined the celebrations despite sub-zero temperatures. On Friday, believers jumped into the Golden Horn strait in Istanbul in a traditional ceremony celebrating the Orthodox celebration of Epiphany, or the baptism of Christ. Traditionally, Orthodox Epiphany is on 19 January, according to Julian Calendar. However, some Orthodox Christians celebrate Epiphany on 6 January as they use the Catholic calendar for fixed feasts.

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Orthodox believers in Bulgaria waded into the icy waters of the Tundzha River and danced the Hora, in a traditional male-only event to celebrate Epiphany. The men dressed in folk costumes and dived into the freezing waters to find a crucifix thrown in by the priest, before handing it to the youngest participant of the dance. The folk belief is that the person who retrieves it will be healthy all year.

7 January 2017

RT

https://www.rt.com/news/372902-orthodox-christmas-frost-celebrate/

Sunday, 8 January 2017

A Christmas Wish from Syria

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Merry Christmas to our Russian Orthodox friends who are defending the roots of Christendom and Normal Muslims in the Middle East.

7 January 2017

This is Christian Syria

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