Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

9 February 2016. Molodost Dagestana… Dancing from the Kavkaz

00 Islam in Russia 17. 12.01.15

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Saturday, 5 April 2014

“Events in the Crimea Greatly Changed People”

00 Crimean referendum 03. 16.03.14

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Mitred Archpriest Georgi Polyakov is rector of the St Nicholas Memorial Church in Sevastopol. For a long time, Fr Georgi did a great job in taking care of the spiritual needs of the Black Sea Fleet and in keeping the memory of the Eastern War alive. Since 1991, he led pastoral work in the Black Sea Fleet, including eight voyages on warships to the Mediterranean Sea. In 1999, he participated in the landing of VDV troops in Kosovo; he was a chaplain to the Naval Infantry in Dagestan and Chechnya. He wrote Russian Military Clergy and For Faith and Fatherland. St Nicholas Memorial Church is in the military cemetery of the heroes who fought to defend Sevastopol in the Eastern War (1854-55), where tens of thousands of glorious defenders of the motherland lie buried. We talked with Fr Georgi on the importance that the recent return of Sevastopol and the Crimea has for Russia and the role the people of Sevastopol played in these events.

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00 Unknown Artist. Stand for Christ with the Martyrs Cross. Russian. 2000s

Icon of the Mother of God “Stand for Christ with the Martyr’s Cross”

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Interviewer

Before the all-Crimea referendum, many icons of the Mother of God streamed myrrh, and the Crimea rejoined Russia on the day of the finding of the relics of St Luka Voino-Yasenetsky. Do you think that these miracles were just lucky coincidence? Could we say that the Lord blessed this event?

Fr Georgi Polyakov

The uncovering of the relics of St Luka Voino-Yasenetsky the Confessor was a great spiritual event, not only for our diocese here in the Crimea, but for the entire Orthodox world. However, Metropolitan Lazar Shvets of Simferopol and all the Crimea was the one who did it, so, it’s best to ask this question to His Eminence. However, certainly, these earthly events had a heavenly cause. After all, we have many new saints and martyrs, not all of them Russian, and the Lord still has more to show us! The events in the Crimea were a vivid milestone; it saw the Crimean and Russian peoples reunite, yet, not all these people were Orthodox believers. It really was a miracle; yesterday, they were ready to kill each other, but today they’re united, they forgot their feuds, and they shouted “Hosanna” in unison. One can’t do such through human effort alone, so these events reflect a great change in the inner human condition. When our people defeated the Nazis in the Great Patriotic War, many who lost loved ones forgot their grief, now, the same thing happened in the Crimea.

Interviewer

In the Ukraine, one sees persecution of the MP . They’re forcing priests from canonical church to join the schismatics. What do you think will happen to the UOC/MP?

Fr Georgi

We had something like it in the 90s, when the schismatics beat MP priests and stole our churches, so, people remember that, and won’t allow such events again. Then, after the collapse of the USSR, people were still confused, there were few believers, but now, many people are believers, strengthened in faith.

Interviewer

Can you say what happened in the Crimea was a spiritual event?

Fr Georgi

Look at the happy faces in the Crimea, and look at those who spew blasphemy! Undoubtedly, there’s a struggle of the forces of light and darkness in the Crimea. Above all, this is a spiritual struggle and our prayers to the Lord give us strength in this struggle.

Interviewer

Did you experience anything like this before?

Fr Georgi

We’ve had lesser events, but all of them added up into one big victory. For example, the opening of churches in Sevastopol created Orthodox communities, which led to more believers. All of these small victories led up to the present large victory now celebrated in the Crimea; it awakened something good in the soul of everyone.

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00 Patriarch Kirill. 12.02.14

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Interviewer

Do you think that the Russian revival has begun?

Fr Georgi

Revival is already underway, but it’s not always easy. In Sevastopol, historical memory is alive, passed on from grandparents and parents. Even if modern Ukrainian textbooks blotted out the first defence of Sevastopol in the Patriotic War of 1812, they know about it, because they live amongst the heroes who defended the city; at every turn, you see their monuments. For example, St Nicholas Church is in a unique military cemetery, with the graves of many soldiers of all ranks… admirals and generals, officers, common soldiers and sailors. This is holy ground, as these men carried out Christ’s Commandment… there is no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  When people ask me about the cemetery, I always send them to look at the soldiers’ graves. Then, when they come back, they’re changed; they’re wiser, they lose controversy and wickedness, because those graves put them in contact with eternity. It’s the largest military cemetery in Sevastopol, immediately after the end of the siege, they buried over 60,000 soldiers here, but when there was urban development in Sevastopol, they brought the remains of soldiers from other cemeteries here, so, no one knows exactly how many soldiers’ graves are here now.

Interviewer

What helped Sevastopol become the vanguard of the struggle for the Crimea? Did the memory of these soldiers buried here in mass graves have anything to do with it?

Fr Georgi

Sevastopol people grow up and live amongst heroes, in Sevastopol you bump into them wherever you go, starting with Primorsky Boulevard, and ending up on any hill, you’ll find some monument dedicated to our hero warriors. Sevastopol people aren’t like other people; they’re no better or no worse, but they’re different. People who come here are sure to soak up Sevastopol’s élan. In Sevastopol, almost everyone has sailors in the family or sailors in past generations or relatives who served the Russian fleet in different ways. This is what grounds us, our history reflects this; our sailors fought for the faith and for our motherland, they were the glory of Holy Rus. From time immemorial, we turned to the words of the Righteous Admiral St Fyodor Ushakov, “Don’t despair! These terrible storms will turn to the glory of Russia”.

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00 Donetsk. Ukraine. 23.03.14

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Interviewer

What can you say to our brothers, the Orthodox in Kiev and in the south-east of Ukraine?

Fr Georgi

Firstly, we need to unite, because if the forces of evil unite, then, the forces of good need to do likewise. If we unite, it’d be hard to crush us; if we joined forces, if we were with the Lord, the Lord wouldn’t allow disaster to befall us. For example, we must pray for the repose of the souls of those who died on the Maidan; they died for a brighter future, they didn’t die for the junta in power now. They wanted a better life, for all people, for their loved ones.

Interviewer

How can deal with the junta in Kiev?

Fr Georgi

You can see that the Lord has a purpose. A month ago, who thought that the Crimea would rejoin Russia, but the Lord so arranged it so that everything was as it should have been. Prayer is an enormous spiritual power, it is as the Lord told us… pray in all faith and it shall be done unto to you.

Interviewer

Will this be a permanent recovery and will we keep this winning spirit?

Fr Georgi

Everything depends on us, on how we behave, because if we all now stopped doing what’s right, the angels would turn away from us, but if we pray for one another and help each other, if we call for love, not for murder and violence, then, we’d have prosperity, both in our households and in the state. Only love can create, but hatred only brings the gnashing of teeth, sadness, and desolation. Let’s find the word of love, let’s learn to forgive… Lent is a great time for this.

Interviewer

How is the national spirit that we see now the Crimea different from the nationalistic spirit of the Maidan?

Fr Georgi

The basis of the nationalist spirit is pride, not love. Pride is the root of sin. No other sin is equal to pride. It turns men into demons… into brazen blaspheming liars. A proud man strikes for base reasons, not for higher ones, from contempt of the poor, from love of money, from ambition and lust. For example, when heard the speeches of [President Putin] and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all the Russias, I didn’t hear any hatred, only words of love and respect to the Ukrainians and Tatars, to Belarusians, Russians, and Chechens. Without love, you are nothing. Remember the words of the Apostle St John, “People love on another, this is a great mystery”. These are not mere words. Let’s learn to love each other… it seems so easy, but it’s so hard. He who loves knows how to forgive. We must learn to forgive, to love, and to suffer, and we have Lent as a time to learn.

Interviewer

Can Banderovtsy and other carriers of nationalist evil repent and become Christians?

Fr Georgi

With God, nothing is impossible.

Interviewer

Why isn’t this happening?

Fr Georgi

Why not?! You see, miracles happen. I wouldn’t be surprised if they repent. St Ioann Kronshtadtsky taught us, “Fight against every evil with the weapons given you by God… the holy faith, divine wisdom, truth, prayer, piety, the cross, and courage”.

Editor:

Here are the most important takeaways:

Everything depends on us, on how we behave, because if we all now stopped doing what’s right, the angels would turn away from us, but if we pray for one another and help each other, if we call for love, not for murder and violence, then, we’d have prosperity, both in our households and in the state. Only love can create, but hatred only brings the gnashing of teeth, sadness, and desolation. Let’s find the word of love, let’s learn to forgive… Lent is a great time for this.

Pride is the root of sin. No other sin is equal to pride. It turns men into demons… into brazen blaspheming liars. A proud man strikes for base reasons, not for higher ones, from contempt of the poor, from love of money, from ambition and lust. … Let’s learn to love each other… it seems so easy, but it’s so hard. He who loves knows how to forgive. We must learn to forgive, to love, and to suffer, and we have Lent as a time to learn. You see, miracles happen.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they repent. St Ioann Kronshtadtsky taught us, “Fight against every evil with the weapons given you by God… the holy faith, divine wisdom, truth, prayer, piety, the cross, and courage”.

This is why Russia will prevail… God wills it, but will only grant it if Russia stays faithful and doesn’t succumb to the amorality and greed of the West (both feed on the other… “conservative” greed reinforces “liberal” licentiousness, and vice versa). Reflect on this… the worst sorts in the West spout religious rhetoric (and “praise Jayzuss”) as they smash their boot into the faces of the poor, promiscuously impose the death penalty, and call for aggressive war in foreign parts. They call themselves “Christians”… compare them to real Christians like Tsar Aleksandr Aleksandrovich, who routinely commuted all death sentences (save for crimes against the state). There’s no comparison, is there? Trust no one who praises biznessmeni and their covetous money-centred mindset (such as “Liberty University”… the name’s oxymoronic, isn’t it?).

Keep that in mind when you vote this November. None dare call it blasphemy…

BMD

3 April 2014

Pravoslavny Vzglyad

http://interfax-religion.ru/?act=radio&div=2105

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