Церковные ВѢХИ

Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. Outside the Church there is no salvation, because salvation is the Church. For salvation is the revelation of the way for everyone who believes in Christ's name. This revelation is to be found only in the Church. In the Church, as in the Body of Christ, in its theanthropic organism, the mystery of incarnation, the mystery of the "two natures," indissolubly united, is continually accomplished. -Fr. Georges Florovsky


§ 20. For our faith, brethren, is not of men nor by man, but by revelation of Jesus Christ, which the divine Apostles preached, the holy Ecumenical Councils confirmed, the greatest and wisest teachers of the world handed down in succession, and the shed blood of the holy martyrs ratified. Let us hold fast to the confession which we have received unadulterated from such men, turning away from every novelty as a suggestion of the devil. He that accepts a novelty reproaches with deficiency the preached Orthodox Faith. But that Faith has long ago been sealed in completeness, not to admit of diminution or increase, or any change whatever; and he who dares to do, or advise, or think of such a thing has already denied the faith of Christ, has already of his own accord been struck with an eternal anathema, for blaspheming the Holy Ghost as not having spoken fully in the Scriptures and through the Ecumenical Councils. This fearful anathema, brethren and sons beloved in Christ, we do not pronounce today, but our Savior first pronounced it (Matt. xii. 32): Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. St. Paul pronounced the same anathema (Gal. i. 6): I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another Gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. This same anathema the Seven Ecumenical Councils and the whole choir of God-serving fathers pronounced. All, therefore, innovating, either by heresy or schism, have voluntarily clothed themselves, according to the Psalm (cix. 18), ("with a curse as with a garment,") whether they be Popes, or Patriarchs, or Clergy, or Laity; nay, if any one, though an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. Thus our wise fathers, obedient to the soul-saving words of St. Paul, were established firm and steadfast in the faith handed down unbrokenly to them, and preserved it unchanged and uncontaminate in the midst of so many heresies, and have delivered it to us pure and undefiled, as it came pure from the mouth of the first servants of the Word. Let us, too, thus wise, transmit it, pure as we have received it, to coming generations, altering nothing, that they may be, as we are, full of confidence, and with nothing to be ashamed of when speaking of the faith of their forefathers. - Encyclical of the Holy Eastern Patriarchs of 1848

За ВѢру Царя И Отечество

За ВѢру Царя И Отечество
«Кто еси мимо грядый о нас невѣдущиiй, Елицы здѣ естесмо положены сущи, Понеже нам страсть и смерть повѣлѣ молчати, Сей камень возопiетъ о насъ ти вѣщати, И за правду и вѣрность къ Монарсѣ нашу Страданiя и смерти испiймо чашу, Злуданьем Мазепы, всевѣчно правы, Посѣченны зоставше топоромъ во главы; Почиваемъ въ семъ мѣстѣ Матери Владычнѣ, Подающiя всѣмъ своимъ рабомъ животь вѣчный. Року 1708, мѣсяца iюля 15 дня, посѣчены средь Обозу войсковаго, за Бѣлою Церковiю на Борщаговцѣ и Ковшевомъ, благородный Василiй Кочубей, судiя генеральный; Iоаннъ Искра, полковникъ полтавскiй. Привезены же тѣла ихъ iюля 17 въ Кiевъ и того жъ дня въ обители святой Печерской на семъ мѣстѣ погребены».

Friday, November 26, 2010

Patriarch's meeting with Pope getting nearer - Metropolitan Hilarion

Moscow, November 26, Interfax - The meeting between the Moscow Patriarch and the Pope is getting nearer each day, the Russian Orthodox Church said.

"Each day brings us closer to this meeting between the Pope and Patriarch," head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, told journalists in Moscow.

"Right now we are not prepared to make known the date, nor are we engaged in any concrete preparations for the meeting, but we are certainly getting closer to it. It is a calendar and astronomical fact," he said.

The work carried out by the Russian Church with the Catholic Church is aimed "improving the general climate and achieving a higher level of mutual understanding," he added.


Russian missionary: Moldavian marginal Orthodox believers are part of Western project
Kishinev, November 25, Interfax - Professor of the Moscow Theological Academy Protodeacon Andrey Kurayev believes the marginal Society of Blessed Matrona of Moscow led by Archpriest Anatoly Chibrik is backed by the Western political circles.

"The "society" headed by Anatoly Chibrik has no Moldavian focus. This is an instance of a large-scale project aimed at pursuing schism in the Orthodox Church. The project counts several dozen years. It is sponsored by a Western source," Father Andrey said in an interview published Thursday in the Moldavian issue of Argumenty i Facty weekly.

According to him, if the American intelligence is capable of fostering such anti-Western movement as the Taliban, "it is no wonder that such extreme schismatic groups in the Orthodox community may interest the same customers."

"To prevent the Orthodox Church from becoming an alternative to the American way of "globalization", it should look ridiculous, marginal and broken down. The American Pentecostals have spread the word about the "Number of the Beast" in bar-codes and the alleged reign of the beast," Father Andrey said.

In early October, Father Chibrik, who is currently tried by the Church court, started a fight at Fr. Andrey's lecture delivered in Kishinev. Several dozen aggressive followers of Fr. Chibrik rushed into the lecture hall with threats, beat down the faculty dean and smashed Fr. Andrey in the face.

Late last year, this group members held the anti-Semitic riot in the city center stating that they would not allow Moldavia to "governed by Jews" and tore down Jewish symbols, which were put up in the park two days before to celebrate Chanukah.


Moscow rejects U.S. allegations about religious inequality
Moscow, November 22, Interfax - Russia's Foreign Ministry rejected allegations by the U.S. State Department that there exists inequality between religious communities representing different faiths in Russia.

The State Department made its allegations in the 2010 Report on International Religious Freedom.

"The authors of the State Department report were unable to ignore positive trends in our country relating to religious freedoms," the ministry spokesman said in a statement.

However, "the American experts tried to dilute this impression by listing hackneyed complaints about the 'persecution' of totalitarian religious sects and the allegedly privileged status of the Russian Orthodox Church," he said.

If the Orthodox Church enjoys a privileged status in Russia, "one should speak about the same status of the Catholic Church in Italy or Poland, the Muslim [community] in Turkey or Jordan, or the Buddhist [community] in India or Japan," the spokesman said.

"The crux of the matter is apparently not privileges but social status. Such status above all depends on what proportion of the population wants to join a specific church. The Orthodox Church in Russia has traditionally commanded the largest flock, and the State Department report mentions it, by the way," he said.

"The Muslim denomination is second in our country in terms of the number of believers, etc.," the spokesman said.

"Consequently, different denominations and religions may have different representation in civil society institutions. But that is a human factor," he said.

"Legally, the various denominations are equal in status in our country. The growth of the number of registered religious communities, of which there already are 23,500 in Russia, is evidence of this," the spokesman said.

"Interdenominational peace and harmony is an invaluable asset of Russia, something that we treat very carefully, making all necessary efforts to preserve it," he said.


Russian Church is ready to help USA compile more objective reports on international religious freedom

The USA Department of State has recently published its annual report on international religious freedom. Many Russian religious experts believe that its section on Russia lacks objectivity and analytical depth the same as in previous years.

Deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Hegumen Philipp (Ryabykh) tells Interfax-Religion correspondent Alexey Sosedov about strong and weak sides of the report and things that can be done to make it more objective in the future.

-Father Philipp, please share your impressions on the report
- Annual reports of the USA Department of State on religious freedom have long ago become an informational event for many experts and politicians in Russia. I think that such external view on religious freedom in Russia and other countries can be useful for international discussion over models of interaction between religion and society. Representatives of the Russian Church constantly participate in such discussion on the world arena and in certain countries, for example when registering our parishes and dioceses abroad or when discussing norms adopted by international organizations in this field.

Report 2010 has one essential advantage: it gives rather detailed and reliable description of legal norms, state and public measures taken to provide religious freedom and also some events in the country's religious life. The statistic data cited in the report mentions perish of Orthodox priests and damage inflicted to Orthodox churches.

However, an external view presented in the report has a significant defect that is difficult or perhaps even impossible to overcome. And we always have to consider this serious deviation when we read such reports and discuss them. I hardly believe that representatives of any country that openly declares its national interests will ever base their evaluations on real interests of the society whether it is the Russian society or society of any other country they try to analyze.

- With what particular things do you disagree in the analysis of the religious situation in Russia made by the USA authorities?
- First of all, the report absolutizes religious freedom and its provision at the expense of other important freedoms and values of public life the society can't do without. The report leaves an impression that democracy and prosperity in the country depend only on the society's ability to provide comfortable conditions for religious minorities or even micro groups of various kinds. Freedoms of other part of the society, security, preservation of original national, spiritual and cultural tradition fade at this background. The report considers it least of all that's why it criticizes a 15-year term for obtaining registration or the expert council at the Justice Ministry which was set up to find signs of extremism in religious literature.

The situation with religious education is covered absolutely tendentiously. It refers to lessons of Orthodoxy in schools, but keeps silence over the fact that in Islamic and Buddhist regions foundations of corresponding religious culture are taught. There are schools where Jewish tradition is in the curriculum. Results of the religious educational experiment held in the country's 19 regions sound strange. The report claims that majority of parents have choosen secular ethics for their children and at the same time it mentions that representatives of the Russian Church press on the parents to make them chose Orthodox culture. Is it logical? These conclusions don't match. If Russian church representatives pressed then, according to the report logics, rather significant percent of parents should have chosen foundations of Orthodoxy. Authors of this analysis ignore the fact that today some regional officials of low rank try to influence the parents and make them chose secular ethics. We know such cases and it's strange that reporters who claim to keep the dialogue with all religious organizations in the country do not know such examples or haven't reflected them in the report.

Besides, information that the Russian Church urged to stop Darwinism in schools is presented in a negative way. It's evident there was a US Democratic Party representative among the report authors as there is a wide discussion in America over covering various attitudes to world and human origin at school curriculum. It's worth mentioning that in the past the United States gave an opportunity to priests on Freedom Radio to expose scientific dogmas of the Soviet system and Darwinism in particular. And when the situation in Russian has changed and the country obtained an opportunity to give people religious education basing on their free choice, there appears such unexpected criticism in the field.

The report overemphasizes importance of some scientists and students' protests against presence of religion in Russian educational system. It points out to the student performance in St.Petersburg University in 2009 at a conference on religion and international relations, it says it was demonstration of public opinion. I participated in the conference and I can say that three-four students took part in the action and no one in the congress hall supported them and after the conference majority of students said they didn't accept such actions. It seems that the reporters don't want to see that the model when religion is present in educational system rules out pressure and secures the right of citizens to bring up their children in compliance with their world outlook.

- Major part of the report is dedicated to giving back the property...
- Unfortunately, actions of the government taken to overcome consequences of Soviet times and injustice to religious organizations, and support given to these actions by traditional religions are presented negatively. The report cites strange arguments similar to the report of the previous year that the Russian Church did not own churches and monasteries before 1917, but it doesn't mention that Orthodoxy was a state religion with all ensuing consequences. Current situation has dramatically changed, the state is secular. Thus even if before revolution religious property belonged to the state, the Church was then built in the state system, while today due to secular character of the state such objects should be transferred to religious organizations in ownership or use.

Surprising is an example of the Novodevichy Convent transferred to exclusive ownership of the Church. When examining various violations of religious rights the reporters cite international law, but when speaking about the convent they say nothing about important norms of international laws that regulate preservation of cultural objects enlisted as UNESCO world heritage when religious organizations own or use such objects. UNESCO in such cases stands up to protect rights of the believers and make religious organizations freely use such cultural sites.

At the backgrounds of critical attitude to the actions of the state taken to return expropriated property, the reporters selectively back up rights of the Russian Jewish community on returning Schneerson library and refer to international agreements. Support of some religious communities and creating negative image of other ones also arouse mistrust to the report.

There is one important remark as to the report methodology. It focuses on securing rights of religious minorities. The Russian Church believes that state and society should secure rights of all citizens and not only some of them. Minorities' rights shouldn't be secured at the expense of majority's rights. It often happens that minorities obtain permission for such activity that directly violates rights of the other part of the society.

For example, the report blames Orthodox public organizations for their criticism against actions of religious minorities. However, it doesn't mention that the latter sometimes have very critical or even aggressive position against the Russian Church, it's enough to analyze speeches of some religious leaders of the country. But such speeches are not mentioned in the report and it also makes us doubt fairness of the reporters' evaluations.

The report stresses that equality of religious organizations before the law is an important element. At the same time, it critically says that the Russian Church have more opportunities to reach the society and cooperates with the state. In this connection we should say that such situation in the country doesn't violate the principle of religious organizations equality before the law. Even the reporters say that about hundred million Russians call themselves Orthodox. Thus to secure rights of these citizens more work of the authorities is needed and the Russian Church needs to cooperate with the society to secure rights of these citizens. It is impossible to cooperate with religious minorities to the same degree as it will be out of proportions to their presence in the society and infringe rights of the citizens who adhere to the religion of majority.

The report expresses concerns over the growth of the Russian Church political influence and it is presented as violation of religious freedom. It points out to the cooperation with the United Russia party, other political parties and institutes of the country. But it makes me wonder why such interaction is evaluated negatively: in the United States political forces actively cooperate with religious organizations, politicians speak at religious meetings and it is a democratic process when the country's major political forces build a dialogue with religious organizations. According to the Constitution, Russia stands for pluralism of world outlooks and the duty of any political party is not to ignore the country's religious communities.

The Department of State believes that another example of religious freedom violation is the fact that Christmas is a state holiday and the new memorial date - Day of Russia's Baptism was introduced in the calendar and the Day of Slavic Scripture and Culture is widely celebrated. However, it only vaguely mentions that main Islamic feasts are officially celebrated in some Russian regions. Such information is not full as for example some Buddhist regions celebrate Buddhist feasts. The system adopted in Russia corresponds to democratic requirements as various groups of the society have an opportunity to celebrate main religious feasts.

Besides, such attitude to Christmas is absolutely unclear as this feast as well as some other Christian feasts is a state holiday in the States. Celebrations of such dates in Europe, America and Russia emphasize the importance given to the country's main religious tradition. At the same time, the state doesn't make people go to churches on these days, people spend their free time as they like.

-What would you wish to future State Department reports?
- I'd like to wish that in the future the report will have truly equal, friendly attitude to various religious organizations and will avoid selectiveness so that religious situation is reflected more fully and different points of view are presented - not only claims of religious minorities to the state or to the religious organizations of the majority, but the opinion of the Russian Church as well. We are ready for consultations, for the dialogue on a standing basis. Such a dialogue will help overcome all mentioned defects of the report.

- Have representatives of the USA external political department tried to set up dialogue with the Russian Church Department for External Church Relations, especially when preparing such reports?
- The USA Embassy turns to us when they want to clear out church position on some questions, but it usually happens once a year when the report is prepared and certainly it is impossible to touch upon all the problems during a one-hour talk. I think that representatives of the Department of State should hold consultations with various structures of the Russian Church depending on the questions they are interested in as well as with regional organizations of the Moscow Patriarchate. Sometimes there is an impression that such meetings are very formal, needed only for record and in fact position of the Orthodox Church is not examined and considered. Sometimes there is an impression that USA colleagues are not truly interested in our position and in reflecting it in the report.


People’s Assembly of Georgia expresses no confidence in Saakashvili

TBILISI, November 25 (Itar-Tass) -- The congress of the People’s Assembly of Georgia closed on Thursday by adopting a resolution of no confidence in the authorities. According to organizers, the congress, which took place in the square in front of the Parliament of Georgia and Rustaveli Avenue gathered about 15 thousand demonstrators. During the congress the avenue remained closed to traffic.

The congress’s resolution declares "lack of confidence in the president and the country's authorities."

"The nation-wide assembly is empowered to call upon the people to fight for a peaceful, legal replacement of the current authorities and spearhead the work for achieving this goal,” the document says. “In all regions and cities committees will be set up to prepare for a national civil disobedience campaign.

The congress voted for a "verdict of no confidence in President Saakashvili and the Georgian authorities", which states that "the president has lost the confidence of the people, carried out the monopolization of state power, established an authoritarian regime in the country and ignores the principles of law and justice."

"The people of Georgia expresses its readiness to conduct new fair elections in order to decide their political future," the document says.


Putin regards Russian base in Tajikistan as factor of stability

DUSHANBE, November 25 (Itar-Tass) -- The Russian military base in Tajikistan is an important factor of stability in the region and proof of mutual confidence between the two countries, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin declared at Russo-Tajik talks on Thursday.

"Cooperation between the defence departments of the two countries and the presence of a full- format, fully-fledged Russian military base in Tajikistan on a long-term basis is a serious sign of mutual confidence between the two countries," Putin stressed. "This is an important factor of stability in this region, taking into account difficult processes continuing in Afghanistan," Putin said.

"All of us should do big work in Central Asia so that people could feel confident, be calm and reliably protected there," the Russian prime minister said.

Putin praised successful development of trade and economic contacts which were badly damaged as a result of the world economic and financial crisis, but which have been steadily revived in recent months. Putin also reminded of a number of joint projects Russia and Tajikistan had realized together or are implementing at present, including the construction of the Sangtuda-1 hydropower plant , which is the most important project underway at present.


Putin calls to set partnership with Kyrgyzstan on business course

DUSHANBE, November 25 (Itar-Tass) -- Russia and Kyrgyzstan should bring their partnership to a normal, business course, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin declared at a meeting with Kyrgyz President of the transitional period Rosa Otunbayeva on Thursday. "We welcomed the Kyrgyz parliamentary election, and hope that the work on the formation of a new government will be completed soon," Putin said.

"In times of hardships in Kyrgyzstan Russia did everything possible to support Kyrgyzstan and its people. We rendered all the necessary, prompt assistance and gave humanitarian support to Kyrgyzstan," Putin said.

"Russia and Kyrgyzstan should bring their relations to a normal, business course and bring their day-to-day activities to a normal regime," Putin declared.

For her part Rosa Otunbayeva said that Kyrgyzstan appreciates Russia’ s assistance. "We heard Russia’s voice during those "hot" days and received Russia's support, which was vitally important," Otunbayeva said.


Poland welcomes Russia’s Duma Katyn statement

Polish politicians have welcomed a draft statement on the Katyn massacre being discussed by Russia’s State Duma.

Polish sejm speaker Grzegorz Schetyna believes this to be an important step towards strengthening bilateral relations.

A deputy from the Polish Peasant Party thinks that the bill should be highly assessed by Poland as a gesture of rapprochement.

Russia’s State Duma has proposed to recognize the Katyn massacre as a Stalin regime crime.

In 1940, thousands of Polish officers were executed in the Katyn forest near the city of Smolensk.


Medvedev hands over Poland Katyn massacre documents

Prior to the WWII celebrations, Russia’s president Dmitry Medvedev has handed over official papers from the investigation into the Katyn massacre to the acting President of Poland, Bronislaw Komorowski.

The acting Polish president, in turn, expressed his gratitude to the Russian government for the move, which is widely viewed as a step towards improving the countries’ relation.

"We thank you for what you have said and done. We consider it to be the beginning of further work to untie this Katyn knot," Komorowski said.

"The truth about Katyn is a common test that both the Polish and Russian people have endured. This truth could be a good basis for the development of relations between the two countries," he added.

Bronislaw Komorowski has come to Moscow to take part in the Victory Day celebrations this weekend. Dmitry Medvedev thanked the acting president for his willingness to attend the festive events.

The documents, which have also been published online, show that the killing of over twenty thousand Polish officers and prisoners of war in Katyn in 1940 was approved by Soviet leaders led by Stalin.

First acknowledged by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the massacre has become a major strain in Russian-Polish relations in recent years.


Romanovs' correspondence archives to be auctioned in Geneva

Correspondence archives of the last Russian imperial family will be put up for sale in Geneva on December 6.

More than 2,000 letters, drawings, photographs, cable messages and postcards from Grand Dukes George and Mikhail and Grand Duchesses Xenia and Olga to their Swiss tutor Ferdinand Thormeyer will be auctioned along with a silver cigarette-case and a sapphire – a gift to Thormeyer from Crown Prince Nicholas and Grand Duke George.


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