Voices from Russia

Sunday, 16 February 2014

16 February 2014. All Around the Orthosphere: Bob Marley… Orthodox Christian

00 Bob Marley 02. 16.02.14




00 Bob Marley 03. 16.02.14




00 Bob Marley 01. Mausoleum. 16.02.14


Many of you know my of my neologism, the “Orthosphere“… that is, the lands where Orthodoxy (both Eastern and Oriental) maintains either a majority or strong presence. The Orthosphere is a sociological/philosophical/intellectual/cultural construct… it’s NOT merely religious. Ergo, people not “in communion” in the religious sense ARE “in communion” in a cultural sense. Confused? Let’s make it murkier, kids… Uniates “look” Orthodox, but they’re NOT part of the Orthosphere. That’s because they’ve sold out completely to the papist mindset. Ergo, even though we’re not “in communion” with Copts, Armenians, and Ethiops, we ARE part of a unified Christian worldview with them, neither Papist nor Protestant. Even though the Uniates “look like us”, they’re NOT of us… they’ve sold out to the West and to its blandishments. Remember our history… how Russia aided the Assyrian Christians in World War I and how Russian officers served alongside Ras Makonnen in whipping the Italians (especially, Nikolai Leontiev of the Kuban Cossack Host).

Bob Marley joined the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church before his death… that makes him “one of us”. Here are some images from his museum in Nine Mile (Saint Ann Parish), Jamaica, his hometown. The Orthosphere is our true “home”… and it’s all ours… or none of it’s ours. Keep it focused…


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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

21 January 2014. Now, For Something Entirely Different… It Was Epiphany in Tver

00 Epiphany in Tver. Orthodoxy's for EVERYBODY... 21.01.14


The above isn’t Photoshop… it’s an actual Epiphany (and here) icehole in Tver. The only question for me is, “Is the coloured guy an African convert or is he a lifelong Ethiopian Orthodox in Russia for university studies or military training (they be part of the Orthosphere, dontcha know!)?” If the latter, it’s proof of the ties that bind Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, despite the lack of communion (we Russians are close to our Oriental brethren, much more so than the Greeks are… we’re particularly chummy with the ArmeniansHH and Catholicos Karekin are big-time pals). Remember, Orthodoxy‘s the “Party for Everybody“.

The Orthosphere is REAL…


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Friday, 27 September 2013

Ethiopia Celebrates Meskel, a Christian Holiday All Its Own, With Yellow Flowers and Blazing Bonfires

00 Ethiopia. Meskel. Orthodox Christian with cross. 27.09.13


On Thursday night, a massive bonfire blazed in the central square of Ethiopia‘s capital city, Addis Ababa. However, by Friday morning, they swept the mess away, leaving nothing but a giant spot of soot on the asphalt. Thousands of people flocked to the arena, called Meskel Square, to watch the ceremonial lighting of the fire for the eve of Meskel, a national holiday also known as the Finding of the True Cross. Ethiopians from across the country… and visitors from around the world… carried yellow daises, wooden crosses, and wax candles as the pile of wood burned down to the pavement.

After sunset throughout the city, people lit smaller bonfires in backyards and on street corners, and celebrations continued throughout the night. On Friday morning, the square was still buzzing; Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, many with soot on their foreheads in the shape of a cross, congregated at Meskel Square or paid a visit to the nearby Estifanos Church. After the spectacle of Meskel eve, the holiday itself is a time for rest, family togetherness, and feasting… however, since 27 September fell on a Friday this year, a fasting day, Orthodox Christians had to abstain from meat. Johannes, 34, who’s pursuing his Master’s degree in Addis, said, “Families come together for the ceremony. It’s a celebration to join people together, hand to hand. For the people, for God, for the government, and for prayer”.

Legend has it that on this day around 330 AD, St Helena… known as Nigist Eleni in Ethiopia, the mother of Rome’s first Christian emperor, Constantine… found the cross on which the Romans crucified Jesus. In accordance with a revelation she’d had in a dream, Helena burned a giant pile of wood and frankincense. The smoke rose into the sky and then arced back down to earth, showing her the spot where the cross was buried. One can find fragments of the cross in churches around the world, and one found its way to Ethiopia, where it’s now said to be buried under Gishen Mariam Monastery on the mountain of Amba Geshen in the northeastern Debub Wollo Zone. Ethiopia, which has one of the most devout Orthodox communities in the world, is the only country that celebrates the finding of the cross on a national level.

The Meskel festival is about 1,600 years old, but Ethiopians didn’t always celebrate it this grandly. During the 1970s and 80s, when Ethiopia was ruled by the Derg, a Marxist faction, religion took a backseat to politics and the giant bonfire was banned from Meskel Square. During that time, the government often killed those suspected of supporting the resistance. Johannes himself was only 16 when the Derg arrested him and threw him into prison for one year. He said, “At that time, there was no religion”. The Derg fell apart as the USSR, its biggest benefactor, withdrew from the world stage during the late 1980s. Ultimately, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, or EPRDF, a coalition of rebel groups that’s since become the present ruling party, defeated it. Today, 63 percent of Ethiopians identify as Christian, two-thirds are Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox, and worshippers pack churches on holidays like Meskel.

Even non-Christian Ethiopians have reason to rejoice on Meskel; the festival marks the end of the rainy season in Addis Ababa. Since June, the city… which sits at an altitude of more than 7,000 feet (2,133 metres), much higher than the rest of the country… was cloudy, wet, and cold. Yet, sure enough, the sun shined brightly all day Friday, and people expect to keep shining for nine more months until the rains come again. It’s also the time of year for Meskel daisies… bright yellow blossoms bloom all across the country. Families collected them all this week in anticipation of the festival; they used the flowers to decorate stacked wood for the bonfires, and women and children all over the square on Friday carried little bouquets to celebrate the changing of the season.

As the only country on earth to celebrate Meskel, Ethiopia’s petitioning UNESCO to register its annual celebration in Addis Ababa as a cultural heritage experience. The Foreign Ministry said that the holiday “deserves this designation because of the ancient nature of the celebration, its colour, and significance, and the attraction it has for a growing number of tourists, as well as the enormous participation of society and of people of all ages, which adds to its inimitable quality”.

 27 September 2013

Jacey Fortin

International Business Times


Saturday, 14 September 2013

14 September 2013. A Reply from the Cabinet on the Old Rite and the Church

00 Ivan Kulikov. An Old Ritualist Elder at Study. 1911

An Old Ritualist Elder at Study

Ivan Kulikov



One of the Cabinet sent this on:

Actually, theologically, our Church puts Uniates and Old Rite Schismatics virtually on the same level. Notice how the Church receives repentant Old Ritualists… the same way it receives Uniates! We see Uniates as “captured” Orthodox. So Latins… seen as heretics… are often baptised into the Church. Metropolitan Ioann Snychyov of Leningrad (later Petersburg) did this. The Greeks in Greece INSIST on it. Those teetering towards Rome in Istanbul run from this fact! However, Copts, Armenians, Syriacs, Ethiopians, Eritreans, and often, many Old Catholics, are NEVER baptised, but the Church receives them via simple chrismation.

Read n’ heed, I’d say…



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