Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Poll Shows More Orthodox Christian Believers in Russia

01j Orthodox people


A new survey by the independent Levada Centre showed that the proportion of Russians self-identifying as Orthodox Christians rose four-fold in the past 24 years. Today, two out of three Russians regard themselves as Orthodox Christians, compared to just one in six in 1989, in the last days of the USSR. The poll of 1,603 people found that 68 percent said that they were Orthodox Christian, up from 17 percent in 1989. The proportion identifying as Muslim also rose from about 1 percent in 1991 to 7 percent today. The number of Russian Catholics and Protestants remained roughly the same, at about 1 percent. About one in five Russians, or 19 percent, stated that they weren’t religious, compared to 75 percent in 1989, when atheism was the official state ideology, and 53 percent in 1991, after the Soviet collapse.

Most Orthodox believers aren’t regular church-attenders, with only 4 percent saying that they attended services once a week. Some 35 percent said that they never went to church, whilst 17 percent said that they went to services a few times a year. Some 62 percent of Orthodox Christians and Catholics also said that they never received Communion, down from 83 percent in 1991, whilst 8 percent said that they took part in the sacrament a few times a year. Levada ran the poll on 15-18 November 2013 in 130 cities, towns, and villages across 45 Russian federal subjects. The statistical margin of error was +/- 3.4 percent. After decades of repression and official disapproval, Orthodoxy gained greatly in influence in the past 20 years. Besides that, there’s been a major programme of church-building across the country to serve believers’ spiritual needs.

24 December 2013




Monday, 11 November 2013

11 November 2013. A Point to Ponder… It IS the Big Tent

Ilya Glazunov. Golgotha. from the triptych 'The Legend of the Grand Inquisitor'. 1983


(From the triptych The Legend of the Grand Inquisitor)

Ilya Glazunov



He STILL owns the House!


One of the Cabinet shared this with me:

We all have our preferred corners, but we must remember that we’re still in the house with others. Moreover, we DON’T own thе house!

Indeed… one must be leery of those who draw the boundaries of the Church too narrowly. It’s NOT our House… its Christ’s House. He’s the Master of the Manse… He decides who’s in and who’s out. Most definitely, He doesn’t exclude people on “political” grounds. That’s why we must oppose creepos like Paffso and Reardon with all our powers. They DO exclude people if they don’t parrot their oddbod rightwing shibboleths, and, sad to say, it’s all too prevalent amongst konvertsy in general.

I’m tired of people picking on Mark Stokoe… yes, he’s a complete and utter twit; he thinks much too highly of himself… but he’s an Orthodox Christian. Vladyki Job threw his mantle of protection over him, and that’s that. The ignoranuses who attack Mark for being gay don’t have a clue what the Real Church teaches… the Real Church doesn’t excommunicate homosexuals… it merely says that active homosexuality is a sin… a sin not as serious as adultery… or simony… or greed (according to Scripture, the Mother of All Sins). In fact, I’d observe that most konvertsy are puffed up with Pride… and that one makes homosexuality look downright innocuous.

I say that there’s room in Christ’s Church for all sorts of people… we shouldn’t tut-tut if a bishop offers the oikonomia of the Church to this one or that one. After all, the konvertsy who attack oikonomia are all fans of Dmitri Royster and Seraphim Storheim… methinks that their “gaydar” is FUBAR.

We DON’T own the house! (Hat-tip to the Cabineteer who sent me that one!)



Thursday, 7 November 2013

A Meeting Between Pope Francisco and President Putin Could Help Mend Catholic-Orthodox Relations



On Thursday, a Vatican spokesman said that Pope Francisco Bergoglio would receive President Vladimir Putin on 25 November, an encounter that could help mend strained relations between the Vatican and the MP. Since the 1991 breakup of the USSR, Russian-Vatican relations were troubled, with Moscow accusing the Roman Catholic Church of trying to poach Orthodox believers, a charge that the Vatican denies.

Putin is the first Kremlin leader since the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution to profess religious faith publicly (he’s an Orthodox Christian). Several times, he’s advocated ending the long feud between the two major Christian churches. Diplomatic sources said that Putin, who also met the two last popes, could invite the pope to visit Russia. Popes Benedict and John Paul had standing invitations from the Russian government, but they couldn’t go because they received no matching invitation from the MP. Francisco would need the same to go to Russia.

Another dispute between the churches concerns the fate of Uniate properties confiscated by Soviet leader Iosif Stalin. Uniates worship using an Orthodox liturgy, but owe allegiance to Rome. Stalin gave the Catholic property to the MP, but after the fall of communism, the Uniates took many sites, leading to a rise in tensions. The MP, which saw a resurgence since the collapse of the USSR, has some 165 million members in former Soviet republics, including Russia and other states.

Francisco is the first non-European pope in 1,300 years. His predecessors came from countries… Italy, Poland, and Germany… caught up in the 20th century’s two global conflicts as well as in the Cold War that followed World War II. Diplomats said that Francisco, an Argentine with no European political baggage, would have a far better chance of improving ties with the MP.

There have been signs of a general warming between the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity. On 20 March, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Archontonis became the first worldwide spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians to attend a papal inaugural Mass since the Great Schism split Western and Eastern Christianity in 1054.

7 November 2013

Philip Pullella



Editor’s Note:

Typical Western misunderstanding… but don’t be harsh, virtually all Westerns share this failing. They truly don’t “get it”. Bart isn’t the “Orthodox Pope”; they don’t comprehend the complexities of the Unia (there are THREE Unias in the Ukraine, not one (the Unia of Brest was merely the first one)… I can unravel this ball of wax later… it’s much more convoluted than this writer even knows). Will the Westerns be disappointed? One hopes that Francisco’s realistic enough not to hope for much… for he won’t get much. There’ll be a grand photo op with much smiling on both sides… and little much else.

Be kind. Remember the old dictum, “Send us no more letters on doctrine; send us letters of friendship only”… now, THAT’S the ticket.



Saturday, 5 October 2013

World’s Orthodox Christians Estimated at 260 Million

00 Malankara Orthodox. 26.11.12


The MP quoted America’s Pew Research Center as estimating the number of Orthodox Christians around the world at more than 260 million. More than 54 percent of them live in Russia, the Ukraine, and Belarus, where Orthodoxy has the most numerous flock. The MP also has parishes in dozens of other countries, including China and Japan. The Pew Center says some 6 billion of the world’s 7 billion people follow an organised religion. There are 2.2 billion Christians of all sorts, 1.6 billion Muslims, and 0.5 billion Hindus.

1 October 2013

Voice of Russia World Service


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