Voices from Russia

Saturday, 23 March 2013

“Today, on Forgiveness Sunday, I Must Confess to You”: Letter of Repentance by Boris Berezovsky, Forgiveness Sunday, 2012



The Lord sent a prophecy via Holy Prophet Jeremiah, “Now, one and all should turn from their evil ways, and correct their ways and their deeds”. As today is Forgiveness Sunday, I must confess to you. My years of exile allowed me to look at my life, and at the life of my motherland; I increasingly realise that without repentance, without the recognition of past mistakes, and without the courage to build the future, there can be no progress. I haven’t done this; neither have you, and neither has our country.

I’ve lived a long and colourful life. Along the way, many of the things that I did were inevitably wrong. I committed unrighteous deeds consciously, and I committed many more not knowing what I was doing. It was the penitential prayer states, “whether in knowledge or in ignorance, whether willingly or unwillingly”. I know that the people of Russia, to which I belong, condemn many of my actions; the Lord, in His wisdom, gave me the destiny of carrying out a certain role.

I repent and ask you to forgive me for my greed. I craved wealth, not understanding that I was hurting others by that. I covered up my sin by saying that it was due to a “historic moment”, or my “brilliant methods”, or that it was due to “stimulating prospects”; however, I forgot about my fellow man. It doesn’t justify me to state that I wasn’t alone in thinking and doing such.

Forgive me.

I repent and ask you to forgive me for having trampled on your freedom of speech. I justified myself by saying that I had to save Russia from a “redbrown” plague; I established a centralised information policy that dumped democratic values. My actions began the destruction of independent journalism. Yes, I wasn’t alone in that, but such a defence doesn’t justify me.

Forgive me.

I repent and ask you to forgive me for having enabled the government of Vladimir Putin. At the time, he was what we thought was needed, but I was unable to see in him the future greedy tyrant and usurper, a man who trampled on freedom and who halted human development in Russia. Many of us didn’t recognise it then, but that doesn’t justify me.

Forgive me.

I accuse myself before Russia; my guilt is great, it isn’t small. I understand that repentance isn’t just words, but that it involves action. I assure you that it’s coming.

Boris Berezovsky

26 February 2012

23 March 2013




Sunday, 17 March 2013

Forgiveness Sunday: The Last Day Before the Beginning of the Easter Lent

prosti menya forgive me


Sunday, 17 March, is Forgiveness Sunday, which Orthodox Christians all over the world observe on the last day before Lent. Lent will continue for 49 days until Easter Sunday, when we celebrate the Glorious Resurrection of Christ, which falls on 5 May this year. The term “Forgiveness Sunday” traces its origin to the first centuries of Christianity. Then, to prepare spiritually for Easter, Egyptian monks would retire into the desert for 40 days before the feast. Before doing so, they’d call on their friends and ask their forgiveness, and they’d gladly forgive all those who’d offended them. After all, no one could possibly tell whether any of them would survive that self-imposed solitary trial. As it was then, so it is now… right before Lent starts, people say “Forgive me”, expecting in return the reply, “God forgives”.

Archpriest Maksim Kozlov {also a professor at the MDA: editor} of the Church of St Seraphim of Sarov on the Krasnopresnenskaya Embankment in Moscow told VOR, “Before a Christian enters Lent, which is a period of repentance, one must realise that it’s impossible without reconciliation with God, but this is unachievable without reconciliation with our neighbours. Besides, we must follow the direct command of the Saviour, who said that if we forgive people their sins, then, our Heavenly Father would also forgive us”. Archbishop Mark Golovkov of Yegoryevsk said, “There’s a special Orthodox liturgy for this day. It mentions the Biblical story of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise. It reminds us, on the eve of the Lenten season, of the fall of our foreparents Adam and Eve, and prompts us to feel our own lapses of virtue, over which we should pray to God to ask Him to accept our repentance”.

In pre-revolutionary Russia, Forgiveness Sunday was one of the most revered and cherished days in the Church Year. Even the tsar asked forgiveness of his subjects, irrespective of their social standing. Forgiveness Sunday is the last day of the Maslenitsa folk-festival. In Old Russia, people burnt a straw effigy symbolising winter, engaging in all sorts of fun and merrymaking. However, the Church has a sceptical attitude to all that. Archpriest Maksim explained, “Today, it’s nothing more than folklore, it doesn’t exist as living tradition. In modern Russia, people revived this tradition for the purely commercial purpose of attracting people to public amusements. What used to be, in previous centuries, a form of dual-belief, the remnants of paganism in the minds of common people, now, is transformed into a commercial amusement”.

According to a VTsIOM poll, more than 80 percent of the respondents… both Orthodox believers (about 94%) and non-believers (82%)… observed Maslenitsa week by eating traditional pancakes, went out to see their relatives, or invited them to a merry home party. Today is the last time until Easter that you can eat food made from animal products; however, the Church doesn’t allow the eating of meat during Maslenitsa week {Patriarch Pimen Izvekov DID explicitly allow seminarians and church workers to eat fish during Lent… bear in mind, that Lenten abstinence isn’t a end in itself… remember, you’re not allowed to follow strict monastic rules, in any case: editor}. At least one-third of Russians intend to observe Forgiveness Sunday as the climax of Maslenitsa. Nevertheless, priests advise that the best way to spend this day is to spend it in prayerful preparation for the coming Lent.

Milena Faustova17 March 2013

Milena Faustova

Voice of Russia World Service



Friday, 1 March 2013

Gorky Park in Moscow will have Maslenitsa Events Featuring Blini, Contests, and Prizes

01f Maslenitsa 2011. Rostov


The Moscow Department of Culture announced that the city’s parks of culture and rest would hold traditional festivities and celebrations during Maslenitsa, from 11 to 17 March. Most of the events are due on 16 and March 17. In particular, Gorky Park of Culture plans two days of festivities with blini, contests, and prizes. At 18.00 on both days, popular artists will present a concert. Sokolniki Park will have a Maslenitsa Alley all week long, and blini, rides, and traditional amusements will be available in Fonntanoi Square. On Forgiveness Sunday, the parks will host a burning of the effigy of Marena. Maslenitsa events shall occur in Izmailovo, Krasnaya Presnya, Hermitage Garden, Taganka, Kuzminki Forest, Perovo, Lianozovo, Babushkinsky, Svernoe Tushino, Fili, Bauman Garden, and Muzeon Parks.

1 March 2013



Editor’s Note:

The old pre-revolutionary Maslenitsa is back… by popular demand! That tells you that the revival of Orthodoxy is on track better than the perusal of church attendance figures does. I’ll tell ya a secret… the contemporary commies are 100 percent behind it all… they’re believers (as are Zyuganov and Simonenko, their leaders), after all (the rightwing pro-American Free Marketers are godless… reflect on that one, kids). We should keep this tradition… and revive it where it’s fallen into disuse (often, due to modernist clergy). In any case, it’s FUN… and God does want you to enjoy the good life that He gave you. One of the questions He’s going to ask you is, “Why didn’t you enjoy the legit pleasures that I made for you?” Now, that’s something to mull over…


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