Voices from Russia

Saturday, 16 June 2018

16 June 2018. A Friend Inspired Me

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Thank you for getting the creative juices flowing. You know who you are… take my hand, the times aren’t good, but friendship is still powerful…

BMD

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Sunday, 29 May 2016

Putin… the New Orthodox Tsar… “He Who Restrains”

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The Abbots of Mount Athos insisted that President V V ‪Putin stand where the Emperor of New Rome stood; they’re right. As a man, Putin is a truly devout ‪Orthodox believer; as a statesman, Vladimir Vladimirovich devotes himself to the security (not physical expansion) of his country. He’s the head of the most powerful Orthodox country. By this, they sent out a powerful message. The Athonite Fathers know what sort of man they look at… the Defender of ‪Holy ‎Orthodoxy.

29 May 2016

This is Christian Syria

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Editor:

By this, the Athonite Fathers aren’t only making a political statement… they’re making a theological one as well. Only the Christian Emperor can call an Ecumenical Council. No Patriarch can do so… no local synod can do so… no assemblage of bishops, clergy, or lay believers can do so. Only the Christian Emperor can do so according to our practise. Thorough this, I think that the Athonite Fathers commented upon the upcoming “Council”  in Crete (really, nothing but a talk-shop meeting) and about him who called it. If only the Christian Emperor can call a Council, and V V Putin is the current “emperor”, what does that say about the legitimacy of the upcoming meeting? After all, VVP didn’t call it and he’s the only person who can do so, according to our customary usage.

The Mountain speaks… shall we listen? Shall we attend to their advice and standpoint? I think that the MP and its allies shall… they have the Mountain on their side. What does that tell us about the EP and its machinations? Nothing good, I’d warrant…

BMD

29 May 2016. A Photo Essay… Putin and HH Go to Athos to Mark Millennium of Russian Monasticism on the Mountain

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St Panteleimon Monastery… the Russikon… the seat of Russian monasticism on the Mountain for 1,000 years

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HH and VVP with the Brotherhood of St Panteleimon Monastery… most of them are younger men now

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President Putin standing in a place of honour during services

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HH and VVP on the monastery grounds

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President Putin speaking inside the monastery katholikon

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Greek President Prokopis Pavlopouos and VVP with Athonite fathers

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President Putin and HH went to the Mountain to celebrate the millennium of the Russian presence there. The holy fathers greeted VVP enthusiastically, as they did on his earlier visit in 2005. Methinks that they prefer Russia to the USA in the current imbroglio over the “Ukraine”. It’s also clear that they don’t share the POV of the Washington apparat that Putin is a “peckerwood” (even more reasonable members/former members of the apparat have to repeat that line chapter-and-verse… typical Anglo bullshit, no?). Like it or not, HH and VVP are the leaders of the Orthosphere… most Orthodox (both Oriental and Eastern) accept them as such. It’s the old New Roman duopoly reestablished. Emperor and Patriarch stand together, each in their own sphere, each wielding their own power, holding the other up. The so-called “monarchists” amongst us are chock fulla shit. Vladimir Vladimirovich is a tsar in all but name… labels don’t interest him (he’s the polar opposite of such prancing poseurs as Chilly Hilly and Trump the Chump).

As late as ten years ago, the majority of pilgrims to the Mountain were Greek. Now, Russians make up 50 percent of those coming. The Russikon has built a new guest hostel with 500 beds… Russia has put right the post-1917 disrepair, as the photos testify. It sure looks like that the Pre-Revolutionary situation is returning to the Mountain… that is, the majority of the monks and pilgrims will be Russian in due course. The Phanar has little actual control over the Mountain… it’s clear from the photos what the Mountain thinks of the Centre’s place in Orthodoxy. This wasn’t just celebrating the millennium of Russian monasticism on the Mountain, it was a gambit in the continuing Great Game between the MP and the EP… it sure doesn’t look good for the Phanar from this vantage point…

America hates both VVP and HH and wants to take them down… for they stand in the way of American crapitalist hegemony. I stand with VVP and HH… NOT the Washington/Western media apparat. I’m not alone…

BMD

Monday, 18 August 2014

The Magical Mountain

17-Alfons Maria Mucha. Mount Athos, The Holy Mountain. The Orthodox Vatican (from the Slavonic Epic, nr 17). 1926

Mount Athos, The Holy Mountain: The Orthodox Vatican

Alfons Maria Mucha

1926

from The Slavonic Epic, nr 17

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Mount Athos is truly a magical mountain, not in the Thomas Mann sense of the term, but rather as a blessed holy place that speaks volumes to Greeks. I don’t believe that I’ve ever felt the way I did in the early morning hours, listening to hymns, watching the elderly monks on the benches, observing the younger monks artfully and patiently lighting candles in the chandeliers, in an incense-scented scene of absolute and disciplined beauty. Leaving aside the natural beauty and the few unique interlocutors who leave an indelible mark on visitors, the Mountain is a source of inspiration offering an opportunity for recollection.

Mount Athos is various worlds in one. One part, rightly or wrongly, is identified with all the backward elements of modern Greek thinking, ranging from conspiracy theories to the most primitive perceptions of the modern world. However, whilst backward-looking people look and listen to all that matches their bias and theories, those in search of their own balance vis-à-vis a complicated world will find solace in the landscape, the early dawn services, and the discussions. Athos also demonstrates the art of survival. The Church is the oldest political organisation in the country and Mount Athos is living proof of how it’s managed to overcome historical adversity and catastrophes, as well as more ephemeral situations, such as government and régime changes. A friend visited one of the barest, most primitive, monasteries and saw a photograph of dictator Ioannis Metaxas there. He asked the abbot, “How come you still have a portrait of Metaxas hanging on the wall?” The monk replied, “He was a benefactor to our monastery. Sometimes, we take longer to hang portraits of rulers, but, more importantly, we take even longer to bring them down”.

Stories of survival and the tactics of those in charge are passed on by word of mouth, from one generation of monks to the next as they continue to support and maintain their traditions. I remember an elderly monk explaining that his monastery had been able to expand thanks to the good-will of the Byzantine (sic) emperor’s high-ranking secretary, “What today’s young politicians fail to understand is that they’ll disappear in a few years, but the monastery will still be here long after they’ve gone”. The self-assurance rendered by tradition and survival in the face of adversity is invincible and, clearly, Mount Athos teaches this unique art. Athos is a unique heritage that we must protect and safeguard for centuries to come. In the meantime, its current representatives are walking a tightrope as they are called on to distinguish between what’s necessary for survival from business and traditions of obscurantism.

17 August 2014

Alexis Papachelas

Kathimerini

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite3_1_17/08/2014_542177

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