Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Metropolitan Filaret Vakhromeyev of Minsk and Slustsk Blessed Monument to Patriarch Aleksei Ridiger in Vitebsk

00 Cathedral of the Assumption. Vitebsk. 2011. 09.04.13

Cathedral of the Assumption in Vitebsk, completed 1777, destroyed 1936, rebuilding completed 2011


00 Monument to Patr Aleksei Ridiger. VItebsk. 09.04.13


On 7 April, Metropolitan Filaret Vakhromeyev of Minsk and Slustsk, Exarch of all Belarus, on the feast of the Annunciation, blessed a monument to Patriarch Aleksei Ridiger on the square before the Cathedral of the Assumption in Vitebsk. Metropolitan Filaret spoke at the ceremony, saying, “Now, as we stand before the walls of this church, we should remember how, in September 1998, His Holiness Patriarch Aleksei laid a capsule in the cornerstone of this cathedral and blessed the first stone for its restoration. Indeed, the deep faith and unwavering love of this great cleric remains imprinted in our hearts; he embodied a whole era… a time that saw the renaissance of faith and of the Church of Christ in our Motherland”. The MP official website reported that Metropolitan Filaret said that the monument wasn’t only a token in memory of Patriarch Aleksei, it symbolised the “spiritual unity of the Slavic peoples“. Believers, clergy, and government officials, including Governor Aleksandr Kosinets of Vitebsk, attended the ceremony. The erection of the monument was under the sponsorship of the Diocese of Vitebsk and with the support of the Ss Constantine and Helen Foundation. Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias blessed the concept, design, and layout of the memorial.

8 April 2013




Thursday, 3 January 2013

3 January 2013. Happy Holidays from Belarus… With an Excursus on What “Holiday Season” Means…

00a Happy Holidays. Belarus Style. 03.01.13. Ded Moroz. Snegurochka

A Ded Moroz/Snegurochka parade in Minsk (Minsk Urban District) BELARUS


00b Happy Holidays. Belarus Style. 03.01.13. Wedding Couple

A New Year couple marries in Minsk (Minsk Urban District) BELARUS


00c Happy Holidays. Belarus Style. 03.01.13. Ded Moroz. Snegurochka.Vitebsk maternity home

Dede and Snegurochka give over a baby daughter to her parents at a maternity home in Vitebsk (Vitebsk Oblast) BELARUS


00d Happy Holidays. Belarus Style. 03.01.13. revellers. Vitebsk

New Year’s Eve revellers in Vitebsk (Vitebsk Oblast) BELARUS


I’m saying “holiday season” with malice aforethought. It’s not just Christmas, kids… for instance, the “Holiday Season” in the USA begins after Thanksgiving, goes through Catholic Christmas, and ends on New Year’s Day. In Canada, it’s similar, but it begins in the last week of November, as Canadian Thanksgiving is more of a proper Harvest Thanksgiving, so, it’s in October. That’s the Secular Holiday Season, and, yes, “Season’s greetings” is quite appropriate.

Catholic Christmas is broke into two seasons… Advent and the Twelve Days of Christmas. Advent centres on the four Sundays preceding Christmas; it’s a season of preparation. The Christmas season proper begins on 25 December and runs until Epiphany on 6 January. St Nicholas Day on 6 December and Secular New Year’s on 1 January overlap this period.

Orthodox Christmas, like Catholic Christmas, has a Lenten period preceding it. For forty days before the Nativity on 7 January/25 December, Orthodox prepare for the feast. After the Nativity, comes the Svyatki (Holy Days), which are equivalent to the Twelve Days of Christmas. The Christmas season ends with Epiphany on 19/6 January. Like Catholic Christmas, St Nicholas Day (19/6 December) and Secular New Year’s overlap the season.

If that’s not enough, the Russian New Year Period begins on New Year’s and ends on 10 January, three days after Orthodox Nativity. To add further spice to this already simmering slumgullion, Jewish Hanukkah season overlaps the holiday period, and the Islamic Ashura and Islamic New Year can overlap the period (the Islamic calendar is lunar and the dates “wander”… as does the Jewish calendar, but not as badly).

Whew! There’s a whole lot of partying going on, for all sorts of reasons, all overlapping the same season. Ergo, “Happy Holidays”… Christmas isn’t the only game in town… and Christians aren’t the only ones celebrating.

BMD barbara-drezhloBarbara-Marie Drezhlo

Albany NY

3 January 2013

Saturday, 29 September 2012

29 September 2012. From the Russian Web. A Photo Essay. Felines at the Front, or, Pack Up a Kitty in Your Old Kit Bag, and Smile, Smile, Smile…

French Army soldier in a bunker on the Western Front, Argonne Sector. FRANCE. early 1916 in the winter


French Navy anti-submarine trawler. 1940


French Navy Training Ship Théodore Tissier. 1940


The ORIGINAL “Puss n’ Boot”. Kitty in German Luftwaffe Fallschirmjäger (Paratrooper) boot. Crete. GREECE. 1943


German Wehrmacht Oberfeldwebel (Sergeant Major). The two stripes on his sleeve indicate a VERY senior NCO… an old sweat, indeed. YUGOSLAVIA. 1943


Evacuation in the winter of 1943-44. Vitebsk BYELORUSSIA


French Army topkick feeds his kitten tinned milk. INDOCHINA. 1956. This is masculine tenderness incarnated… and don’t you dare laugh… Sarge will still kick your arse all over the camp, troop…


French Army Légion étrangère trooper with… a kitty in his cargo pouch… well, waddaya know… INDOCHINA. 1956


French soldier in Kosovo. 2001.


I was thinking of my dear departed Poochie… he woulda liked hanging with this bunch… it’s going to take a little while to work through it all…


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

12 June 2012. We Gotta Protect the World From Those Nasty Ol’ Byelorussians! We Gotta Put SANCTIONS On ‘Em!


The above image is from a recent parade in Vitebsk in Byelorussia. It certainly looks rather normal and innocent to me. It doesn’t seem to pose a threat to anything… except for the local pols being on the far side of bad taste… but they share that trait with most of their Western counterparts, so, what’s the big deal? In fact, you could swap out the Byelorussian local pols and the Western local pols, and you’d see no difference at all. They’d be equally self-important, jealous of their small prerequisites, and small-minded… no one would notice the difference. As I told my daughter when she was small, “That’s City Hall… it’s where the crooks live”.

Lighten up and pass the jug. Byelorussia’s an achingly NORMAL place… don’t fall into the trap that the propaganda spinmeisters set… it’s SO obvious…


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