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Archive for the ‘Religion & Spirituality’ Category

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says Moscow aims to improve ties with Vatican

Posted by Kris Roman on July 5, 2009

Russian president: We want better Vatican ties

Tensions between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches over property disputes and other issues have so far made it impossible for any pope to visit Moscow.

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Russian president: “We want better Vatican ties”

Posted by Kris Roman on July 5, 2009

Russia’s president says Moscow plans to improve its ties with the Vatican.

Tensions between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches over property disputes and other issues have so far made it impossible for any pope to visit Moscow.

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President Dmitry Medvedev congratulated Orthodox Christians on Easter Sunday

Posted by Kris Roman on April 19, 2009

The message reads, in particular:

“The great holiday of Easter symbolises spiritual renewal, the celebration of life and high moral ideals. On these beautiful spring days, the hearts of people are filled with special joy and love for their nearest and dearest, and with great hopes and a sincere desire to do noble things, good deeds.

This holiday brings together millions of believers across the country and our compatriots abroad. All Orthodox believers share its eternal values and respect its history and cultural heritage.

It is very important that today the Russian Orthodox Church continues its tradition of responsible ministry, helping people discover their faith and become familiar with spiritual origins. The Church is actively and creatively involved in public life, does a great deal to strengthen moral principles and traditional family values, and to cultivate moral values in younger generation.”

Mr Medvedev and his wife attended the midnight Easter service at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour led by Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill.

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Maslenitsa: Russia’s taste-fest

Posted by Kris Roman on March 2, 2009



European Friends of Russia

The tradition of Maslenitsa dates back to pagan times, when Russian folk would bid farewell to winter and welcome spring.

As with many ancient holidays, Maslenitsa (the stress being on the first syllable) has a dual ancestry: pagan and Christian.

On the pagan side, Maslenitsa was celebrated on the vernal equinox day. It marked the welcoming of spring, and was all about the enlivening of nature and bounty of sunny warmth.

On the Christian side, Maslenitsa was the last week before the onset of Lent (fasting which precedes Easter), giving the last chance to bask in worldly delights. Once Lent itself begins, a strictly kept fast excludes meat, fish, dairy products, and eggs. Furthermore, parties, secular music, dancing and other distractions from the spiritual life are also strictly prohibited.

In the eyes of the church Maslenitsa is not just a week of merrymaking, but a whole step-by-step procedure to prepare oneself for a long and exhausting fasting, which, if observed properly, may be a real challenge.

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Pagans in town! Russia celebrates Maslenitsa

Posted by Kris Roman on March 2, 2009



European Friends of Russia

As the traditional week of feasting in Russia, called Maslenitsa, is drawing to a close, celebrations are culminating throughout the country.

Time-rich in customs, Maslenitsa celebrates the end of winter. Initially a pagan rite, it’s been included into Orthodox tradition as a time of preparing for the Great Lent.

On Sunday, people gathered across Russia to enjoy traditional pancakes as well as to participate in a number of activities connected with the Feast, such as fist-fighting, a type of wrestling, and pole-climbing.

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Western world attacks Russia’s new Patriarch for his anti-Western remarks

Posted by Kris Roman on February 1, 2009

Sergei Balmasov


Foreign media outlets discuss the election of the new Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church. Western journalists are not so much interested in the election per se as in the persona of the new patriarch. The foreign press tries to analyze both his previous statements and deeds and forecast his future steps and decisions. Opinions vary from groundless accusations to low-key praise.


There is nothing surprising about the fact that the anti-Russian media did not refuse from their typical orientation in the estimations of Russia’s new Patriarch. Some newspapers wrote that Metropolitan Kirill won the title owing to his close relations with the Russian administration: Kirill was often spotted in the company of Vladimir Putin, they wrote. The New York Times said that the battle for the throne of the patriarch was like a political struggle and that Russian glossy magazines provided celebrity-like reports about the candidates.

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Posted in Religion & Spirituality, Russia against Washington-Brussels-Tel Aviv | Leave a Comment »

Orthodox Russians celebrate Epiphany

Posted by Kris Roman on January 19, 2009

orthodoxe-priesterThe Epiphany – one of the twelve main Orthodox holidays – is celebrated by Russia’s Orthodox Church and believers throughout the country. Churches bless the waters and the more valiant take a dive into holes in the ice.

Late Patriarch Aleksy II’s temporary replacement,Metropolitan Kirill, will perform a Holy liturgy and a great blessing of waters in Moscow’s Epiphany Cathedral where Aleksy II was buried.

And thousands are attending church services all around the country which are on this day followed by the Procession with the Cross.

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Orthodox Christmas in full swing

Posted by Kris Roman on January 7, 2009

metropolitan-kirillBelievers at home and abroad are celebrating Orthodox Christmas Day – one of the major festivals in the Church calendar.

Late on Christmas Eve, a special Mass was held at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in central Moscow, led by acting head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Kirill.

About 3,000 churchgoers came to the service, also attended by the Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and his wife Svetlana. The Metropolitan blessed the Russian leader and wished him spiritual strength in tackling the economic crisis.  

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Moscow Patriarchate Floats Idea of “Orthodox Militia,” Opponents Warn of Possible Vigilantism, Inter-Religious Conflict

Posted by Kris Roman on November 24, 2008

The Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church has proposed setting up “Orthodox militias” (druzhiny) in order to “keep order” on the streets, according to a November 20, 2008 report by the Sova Information-Analytical Center. Church spokesman Father Vsevolod Chaplin pitched the idea to the MVD, which is reviewing the proposal. He argued in a recent radio interview that: “We have a lot of people and groups who could… bring order in the places where they live, and through that bring order to all of Russia.” Valery Girbakin, an MVD official, seemed to discourage the idea (though he did not rule it out categorically) by pointing out that there are no laws governing the use of druzhiny, a concept developed in the late Soviet period that involved local citizens, some armed with clubs, helping police, though usually not getting directly involved in the apprehension of criminals. Whether such a concept could lead to vigilante justice in the more unstable and violent climate of post-Soviet Russia is an open question.


At least one predominantly Muslim organization, the Russian Congress of Peoples of the Caucasus, blasted the initiative, expressing worry that it could lead to even more inter-religious conflict. 

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Russian Patriarch urges Orthodox Church unity

Posted by Kris Roman on July 28, 2008

The Orthodox Church unity under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate is no obstacle to the sovereignty of countries that are successors to Kievan Rus, Russian Patriarch Alexy II said on Sunday.

Alexy II made this statement following an appeal by Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko to the patriarch of Constantinople on Saturday to give his blessing to the country’s plans for a national church independent of Russian Orthodoxy.

“The Russian Orthodox unity cannot hinder a full-fledged life of the sovereign states that are successors to Kievan Rus. Our church respects their sovereignty and is interested in the strengthening and prosperity of their peoples,” Alexy II said after a divine liturgy served in the Ukrainian capital to mark the 1,020th anniversary of the adoption of Orthodox Christianity in Kievan Rus.

A rival Ukrainian church was formed after the breakup of the Soviet Union. However, only the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchy, is recognized in Eastern Orthodoxy.

Kiev Patriarchy officials have recently stepped up contacts with the Church of Constantinople, also known as the Ecumenical Patriarchate, seeking “to return Ukraine to the Mother Church.” The drive has been actively backed by President Yushchenko and the country’s other top officials against a backdrop of tensions in relations with Russia.

The Christianization of Kiev dates from late 988, when Prince Vladimir the Great was baptized at Chersonesos, in the Crimea. He then baptized his family and people in Kiev and destroyed wooden statues of Slavic pagan gods.

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Moscow accuses Ukraine of disrespect for Russian Church

Posted by Kris Roman on July 26, 2008

Ongoing nationwide religious celebrations in Ukraine have shown an element of disrespect for the Russian Orthodox Church and its millions of members, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

Ukraine is marking this week 1,020 years since Christianity was adopted in Kievan Rus, with church services, processions, and other events to mark the anniversary.

The ministry said the Ukrainian ambassador to Russia was summoned to the ministry on Friday, where he discussed the issue with First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov.

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Posted in International bankers around Russia: Ukraine, Politics, Religion & Spirituality | Leave a Comment »

Slavic idol worshipers reject modern life

Posted by Kris Roman on May 12, 2008

A group of Russians have set up a village where they live on their home-grown food and practice pre-Christian Slavic traditions. Their lifestyle is just a short train ride away from Moscow.


The people in Popovka village have traded modern civilisation for age-old traditions and the mercy of nature. They welcome the summer with an ancient Slavic rite, and feed idols with bread, milk and oil to ask for plentiful harvest.

Svetlana and Aleksey, a young couple who used to live in Moscow, say they are happy heating their house with wood and drawing water from the well.

“You know, I have lived in Moscow while studying at a university. I had enough. The big metropolis destroys our communication with nature,” says Aleksey.

The community was formed 20 years ago by Olga Toropova, together with a few followers.

“We live here as we like. We don’t want to impose anything upon anyone, we are just restoring old Slavic holidays,” says the villagers’ spiritual leader.

The community lives on what they grow in their fields and gardens. They also keep bees and a couple of cows.

Tourism is becoming another source of income.


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Russian Orthodox Protesters Call for Jihad on Dan Brown, Da Vinci Code

Posted by Kris Roman on May 30, 2007

Russian Orthodox Protesters Call for Jihad on Dan Brown, Da Vinci Code Hundreds of Russian Orthodox Christians took the streets today to oppose The Da Vinci Code and burn posters from the movie, in their best impersonation of the angry Muslims who torched Danish flags in response to the Mohammed cartoons. “That’s how the heretic things are burned!” exclaimed one ecstatic spokesman for the demonstrators. While the posters were burning, Moscow cops stood aside. Officers had been briefed by their supervisors not to intervene in these “religious things, unless there’s an open physical fight”. Many Russian Muslims are also outraged by the film, because Jesus is esteemed as a prophet in the Koran, they view The Da Vinci Code’s claim that Jesus slept with Mary Magdalene as an attack on their religion as well as Christianity. The protestors were praying for the hearts and souls of moviegoers and shouting the slogan “Buy a movie ticket – sell Jesus Christ!” A handful of young Russian girls who witnessed the protest decided that now they “must see that movie”. The spokesman for the protesters added that, “We’re burning the heretic posters, we’ll burn the heretic books and we’d love to throw Dan Brown and the actors into the furnace as well, in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen!” Several hundred copies of Dan Brown’s novel will be burned tomorrow at 2 pm, in Pushkinskaya Square in downtown Moscow.

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