Voices from Russia

Sunday, 26 July 2015

26 July 2015. Fret Not Thyself Because of Evildoers

00 Vyritsa. RUSSIA. Psalm 36. 260715


This is the Christian’s response to Mark Maymon and those of his scurvy ilk. The psalmist said it so much better than I could. The choice of the image wasn’t serendipity… all conscious Russian Orthodox people know of St Serafim Vyritsky… this was his home. His grave is here and is a special attraction for Orthodox pilgrims. St Serafim prayed for the victory of the Red Army and for the deliverance of his town from Fascist occupation… he’s a saint for our time and for our Church here in the diaspora, no? We too suffer “occupation”… do think on that one…


Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Levada Centre sez More and More Russians Embrace the Meaning of Lent, But Only 2 Percent Intend to Follow It Strictly

00 RIA-Novosti Infographics.  Replacement Ingredients in Lenten Periods. 2012


Levada Centre specialists spoke to Interfax concerning their research into the depth of Lenten observance in the Russian population. This year, sociologists found that a record number of Russians (26 percent overall), intend to observe the traditional Lenten discipline in one way or another. During an all-Russian poll, 21 percent of respondents confirmed that they’re going to observe a partial fast this year… for example, giving up meat or alcoholic beverages. Over the past five years, this category has increased by six percent (it was 15 percent in 2008, a 40 percent rise in the period studied).

In particular, the respondents in this category were executives/supervisors (31 percent), disabled (27 percent) women (28 percent), Russians over 55-years-old (67 percent), college-educated (29 percent), upper-middle class (29 percent), residents of rural communities (24 percent), and citizens of small cities (less than 100,000 population) (23 percent). According to the survey, this year, as before, 3 percent of respondents are going to follow all the rules of fasting only during Holy Week, and 2 percent shall follow the fast strictly for all seven weeks of Lent.

Pensioners, women, and Russians over 55-years-old all had the highest proportions of those who intend to follow a strict Lenten rule, either in full, or during Holy Week alone. In 2008, 79 percent of Russians stated they that wouldn’t modify their diet during Lent; in March of this year, that figure fell to 69 percent. The groups that most often reported that they don’t intend to modify their diet are schoolchildren and college students (87 percent), business owners (82 percent), housewives (81 percent), men (79 percent), Russians under 25 (83 percent), those with secondary education only (77 percent), upper-middle class (77 percent), and citizens of medium-sized cities (100,000-500,000 population) (72 percent).

27 March 2013



Editor’s Note:

Break out the bubbly! The above figures are FANTASTIC. As Fr Vsevolod Chaplin observed, in 1985, virtually no one kept the Lent. A quarter of the total Russian population intends to keep at least some part of the Lent, which means that about a third of all Orthodox Christians in Russia shall observe the Lent in one way or another. That’s great… and the growth is gradual and natural, not forced-draft and phoney (as one sees amongst the konvertsy in the USA). That’s the way REAL Orthodoxy operates… one person at a time giving the “good contagion” to another… as St Serafim Sarovsky put it, “Save your own soul, and thousands will be saved about you”. We don’t need “crusades”, “mission conferences”, “witnessing”, or marching in political parades… we need good old-fashioned self-forgetful religion.

God blesses the one and doesn’t bless the other, that’s clear. We should follow the podvigs of Patriarch Sergei Stragorodsky and St Serafim Vyritsky… not the notional fancies of Victor Potapov, James Paffhausen, Gleb Podmoshensky, and other such pied-pipers… after all, real-deal Christians don’t make demands with a lawyer in tow, do they? Let God see and judge…


Monday, 25 July 2011

25 July 2011. St Serafim Vyritsky… A Saint of Soviet Times

St Serafim Vyritsky (1866-1949), ascetic of the Soviet era… he gave us two prophecies… one of a renewed Russia… one of a broken Russia… it’s our choice…


Primarily, St Serafim is known for his astounding feats of asceticism during the VOV in supplication for the USSR. He climbed onto a rock and knelt in prayer with uplifted hands for 1,000 days and nights in supplication for the victory of the Red Army in the Second Great Patriotic War. During the most critical moments of the VOV, Stalin would stop and ask, “Have we sent bread to Fr Seraphim? Be sure to send him bread!”

St Serafim on the Soviet Authorities:

Some say the USSR isn’t Holy Russia. They hate her and wish her ill. I say, She IS Holy Russia! Yes! She’s naked in her sin, but these sins existed before 1917. Only now, they’re openly exposed. If Russia, all exposed, will confess and repent, and, then, cover herself in robes of repentance, no one will ever conquer or stop her! Pray for our great Country! Don’t hate her! Don’t join in league with those who, at her critical moments, abandoned our Holy Russia!

St Serafim on the Vlasovtsy:

I’ve heard some deluded fools have gone over to Germany thinking that by betraying the Soviet Union they will somehow “save” Holy Rus. Fools! Deluded ones!  They’ve betrayed Holy Russia and dug their own graves! The Mother of God doesn’t bless their treason!”

It’s interesting to note that sources in English on St Serafim are bowdlerised and selective. For instance, oca.org doesn’t mention his great feat of intercession in the VOV (or his support of the Red Army), and Potapov’s parish in the District mentions his prayer on the rock, but not his support for the Red Army or his cursing of the Vlasovtsy (not surprising, condsidering Potapov’s Vlasovtsy family ties). In short, they try to make him look anti-Soviet! These folks have an agenda… they hate united Great Russia (and its coming renaissance in a new USSR); they bow down in front of the American Neoliberal “conservative” Moloch; they’re grovelling minions hoping for scraps from their master’s table. It’s clear to everyone that a new Soviet Union is in its embryonic stages… and America’s its unwitting midwife. Through its blustering grasp at world hegemony, the USA has wakened all of the old Soviet peoples and made them see what they lost. I believe that there’s going to be a concurrent spiritual flowering and a new Soviet state cleansed of state atheism. Yes… godly communists will guard the Church… after all, Gennady Andreyevich is right… “Christ was the first communist”. Christ and the Red Banner… they’re compatible… Christ and the Almighty Dollar… they’re implacable foes. Yes, we DO have a choice… we can have the Red Banner of Cooperation and Common Ownership, or, we can have the Black Banner of Corporate Anarchy and Ownership by a Ruthless Few…

St Serafim made TWO sets of prophecies… do remember what prophecy is (as compared to “clairvoyance”, the knowledge of the future). Prophecy tells us what “could” be, if we don’t mend our ways. It’s the “Sign of Jonas”, as Thomas Merton put it so well. Also, all too many take “prophecy” as something “literal”, when it’s more “literary”. Prophecy is much like what Scrooge said to the Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come, “Tell me that these are the shadows of what could be, and not what will be!” Remember St Jonas in Nineveh… he preached the destruction of the city, but since the Ninevites repented of their sin, the destruction didn’t occur.

Repentance or degeneracy… that’s the choice facing Russia… and us. St Serafim pointed up what could happen in either case. What happens in future is our call… God DID give us Free Will. We’re NOT marionettes manipulated by a Divine Puppeteer… we’re NOT automations following the dictates of a “god” “who has a plan for your life”. We’re free men and women, endowed by their Creator with the OBLIGATION to choose. That’s how much God loves us… He allows us the COMPLETE freedom to choose our fate. That’s scary to so many… that’s why they find either Materialism or Sectarianism comforting… they down Ol’ Scratch’s cheap spiritual vodka in order to blind themselves to Christ’s Reality. However, a hangover ALWAYS follows a toot… and that goes for spiritual drunkenness as well. Ponder that, if you would…

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Monday 25 July 2011

Albany NY 

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