Voices from Russia

Monday, 2 September 2013

Vatican Warns “World Conflict” Could Break Out Over Syria


On Monday, Monsignor Mario Toso, head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, told Vatican Radio that the war in Syria could escalate into a global conflict, a day after Pope Francisco Bergoglio made an impassioned call for peace, saying, “The Syrian conflict has all the ingredients to explode into a war of global dimensions. The solution to Syria’s problems isn’t an armed intervention. The violence won’t subside and there’s a risk of a conflagration that could extend to other countries”. The comments came after the USA and France sought to build support for strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad‘s régime over allegations it used chemical weapons against its own people on 21 August. According to activists, more than 110,000 people died since the Syrian Civil War began in March 2011. On Saturday, Pope Francisco called for a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, calling on Christians, believers of other religions, and non-believers to take part.


Pope Francisco called for a day of fasting and prayer around the world next Saturday for peace in Syria, which would include a vigil on St Peter’s Square. On Sunday, he told a crowd of thousands of pilgrims at the Vatican, “May the cry for peace enter the hearts of everyone so that they may all lay down their weapons”. The pope announced that the prayers would begin with a five-hour vigil in St Peter’s Square, telling the international community it should make “every effort” for peace. His call came as the USA and France were making plans for possible air strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s régime over its alleged use of chemical weapons. Pope Francisco said, “My heart is profoundly wounded in these days by what’s happening in Syria and I’m anxious about the prospect of dramatic developments. I condemn with particular force the use of chemical weapons. I still have in my mind and heart the terrible images of the past days. There’s judgement from God and from history on our actions that no one can escape. Weapons and violence don’t lead to peace, war leads to more war. I hope that a chain of commitment for peace will unite all women and men of good will”.

The pope said that he extended his invitation to push for peace in Syria to all Christians and faithful from other religions, as well as non-believers. He announced that Saturday’s prayers in St Peter’s Square will begin at 17.00 UTC (09.00 PDT. 12.00 EDT. 20.00 MSK. 03.00 8 September AEDT) and end at 22.00 UTC (14.00 PDT. 17.00 EDT. 01.00 8 September MSK. 08.00 8 September AEDT), saying, “With all my strength, I call on the warring parties to listen to the voice of their own consciences, not to close themselves in their own interests, but to look on the other as a brother”. The pope’s comments were his first explicit reference to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. In comments immediately following the claims, the Permanent Observer of Holy See to the UN in Geneva cast doubt on the accusations. Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi CS told Vatican Radio, “What immediate interest would the government in Damascus have in causing such a tragedy? Who does this inhuman crime really benefit?”

1/2 September 2013

Voice of Russia World Service



Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Pope Francisco Enthroned

00 Pope Francisco Bergoglio. 19.03.13


On Tuesday, Pope Francisco Bergoglio was enthroned in the Vatican as the 266th Pope of Rome. After accepting the key symbols of the papacy… the Fisherman’s Ring and the pallium… the pope, former Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio addressed the thousands of believers gathered in St Peter’s Square, many of whom waited hours for the ceremony and a glimpse of the new pope. Pope Francisco, clad in white papal robes, looked slightly embarrassed as he toured the square in his open popemobile, with the usual bulletproof glass screens removed. He gave his greetings to all who approached him. Even at such a time, the head of the entire Catholic world did an amazing thing. Seeing a disabled man, he ordered the car to pull over, and he got out to greet him. The crowd burst into a storm of applause.

Ricardo, a self-described staunch atheist, shared his impressions of the pope’s inauguration with VOR, “I’ve always been remote from religion and faith. However, when the conclave elected Pope Francisco, and when I saw him on television, it deeply affected me. That’s why I decided to come here today… to greet the new pope. For me, it’s a historic moment, and it may even be a turning point in my life”. There were flags of many countries, greetings in hundreds of languages, smiles of joy wreathed every face in sight… then, the gathered crowd began to shout, “Viva il Papa Francisco! (Long Live Pope Francisco!)”. His presence seemed to revive the faith and hopes of all those present on the Square. Firanella, a resident of Venice, was very excited and emotional as she said, “I admire him so much that I don’t have the words to express it. Until now, I was very critical of faith and religion, so, I almost never went to church, but now I’ve decided to come back to faith definitively. Pope Francisco led me back”.

One could watch the entire inauguration in St Peter’s Basilica on large screens installed in the square. One could see the solemn procession of the cardinals, the vesting of the new pope in his papal vestments, and the prayer of Pope Francisco at the tomb of Apostle St Peter. Later, on the square itself, in a modest ceremony, Pope Francisco received the principal symbols of his office… the Fisherman’s Ring and the papal pallium. The Fisherman’s Ring made for Pope Francisco isn’t made of solid gold, it’s fashioned from gold-plated silver. Sceptics dismissed the pontiff’s modesty as an affectation. They said that it was only a sham… done to appeal to the hoi polloi. Others feared that Pope Francisco is a reformer who might try to change Catholic doctrine gradually. However, the majority are convinced that he’s a modest man in actuality, that he’s truly simple and unpretentious. After all, Francisco’s still taken aback by all the adulation directed at him. If believers expect any change, it’s only change for the better.

Louis is a seminarian from the Congo, he’s in Rome for the first time, but he’s not as anxious to see the Eternal City as he is to see the pope, he said, “I’m very happy that Pope Francisco is on the throne. He’s a simple and compassionate person. That’s what our church should be like. I’m sure that Pope Francisco will return the Catholic world to Christian traditions and strengthen our faith in Christ”. Clarissa is from Gabon in Central Africa, and she said, “He’ll continue the tradition of his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI. He won’t allow same-sex marriage, abortion, or euthanasia. That’s impossible… not because the pope doesn’t want it, but it’s impossible because God doesn’t want it. After all, God installed our pope”.

After the inauguration, Pope Francisco served a Holy Mass of Thanksgiving, attended by official delegations from more than 180 countries. His first appeal to believers began with, “Keep Christ in your hearts!” In his inaugural homily, he spoke these words of peace and charity, “To protect Jesus with Mary, to protect the whole of creation, to protect each person, especially the poorest, to protect ourselves… this is a service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out, yet, it’s one to which all of us are called, so that the star of hope will shine brightly. Let us protect with love all that God has given us!” After the end of the liturgy, bells throughout Rome rang out in a cacophonous tribute.

Milena Faustova19 March 2013

Milena Faustova

Voice of Russia World Service



Tuesday, 12 March 2013

12 March 2013. RIA-Novosti Infographics. How a Conclave Elects a Pope of Rome

00 RIA-Novosti Infographics. How a Conclave Elects a Pope of Rome. 2013


On 12 March, at the Vatican, the first meeting will begin conclave to elect a new pope will hold its first session. The election will bring together 115 cardinal-electors, whose average age is 72. The colour of the smoke from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel reveals the result of the voting. Learn more about an election of the Pope of Rome in this Infographic.

On the first day of the conclave, after Mass, the cardinals, dressed in red vestments and capes, over white surplices (liturgical overtunic), gather in the Hall of Blessings of the Apostolic Palace. They process with the cross and the gospel to the Sistine Chapel, singing a Litany of the Saints. On arrival in the chapel, the cardinal-electors pray that God sends down to them the gift of the Holy Spirit, singing the hymn Veni Creator, then, take an oath to reveal nothing that occurs in the conclave. The rules allow journalists and official Vatican press aides to be in the Sistine Chapel to cover this event.

Possible successors to Pope Benedict >>

After the oath, the Master of Ceremonies says, “Extra omnes” (“All others, leave”), and those who aren’t conclave participants must leave the Chapel. Only the cardinal-electors may be in the Chapel during the balloting, so, soon after the distribution of ballots, the Master of Ceremonies must leave, too. Then, one of the cardinal-deacons locks the door behind him with a key.

Who will lead the Vatican? >>

The only valid form of voting is by secret ballot. An election is valid if any of the candidates achieves a two-thirds majority. If the number of electors participating in the conclave is not a multiple of three, the election of a new pope requires a two-thirds majority plus one.

12 March 2013




Conclave Unable to Elect a New Pope in the First Round of Voting

00 The New Pope. 12.03.13


00 The Election of a Pope. Infographic. 12.03.13


Participants in the Vatican conclave, which shall elect the 266th Pope of Rome, failed to elect a pope in the first round of voting… black smoke rose from a chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel of the Apostolic Palace. When the conclave elects a new First Hierarch of the Roman Catholic Church, the world will know it, for white smoke will emerge from the Sistine Chapel chimney.

History of the conclaves to elect the Pope of Rome >>

115 members of the College of Cardinals are taking part in the conclave. They’ve pledged to adhere to rules for the conclave found in the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis (The Lord’s Whole Flock), and to not reveal anything connected with the election of the pope. To win election to the Apostolic See, the next pope will have to win the support of at least two-thirds of the cardinal-electors, that is, he must win at least 77 votes in the conclave election.

Procedure for the election of the Pope of Rome>>

Despite rain in Rome, a crowd of believers in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican awaited the news of the outcome of the first round of voting, which began after 17.30 CET (09.30 PDT. 12.30 EDT. 16.30 UTC. 20.30 MSK. 03.30 Wednesday AEST) and lasted about two hours.

Chronicle of the first day of the conclave to elect a new pope >>

After voting, the cardinals will serve vespers, then, the “princes of the Church” will go to the Domus Sanctæ Marthæ (St Martha’s House), where they’ll rest until tomorrow morning. On Wednesday, and on all following days, the conclave will hold ballots per day until it elects a new Pope of Rome, but there will only be two burnings of the ballots per day (and, thus, two “smokes” per day)… one in morning, and the other in the evening.

12 March 2013

Sergei Startsev

Natalia Shmakova



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