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Source: Voice of America ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA —  The director of a museums’ association has urged the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church to recall its bid to take control of St. Petersburg’s landmark cathedral, a move that has inflamed public passions in Russia. Several hundred people rallied outside St. Isaac’s Cathedral earlier this month. The cathedral is technically a museum, and critics of the plan fear that its transfer from city authorities to the church may inhibit public access. Another protest is set for the weekend despite church officials seeking to assuage protests by vowing that access won’t be…

Source: Pravoslavie.ru Moscow, January 17, 2017 The St. Petersburg Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church is calling upon all faithful to sensibly approach Theophany “bathing” in fonts, pools, creeks, and ponds, neither for sport nor for forgiveness of sins. “There is a belief that if you immerse yourself in a font, you will wash away all your sins. I hasten to disappoint you,” says Fr. Bogdan Polevoi of the Joy of All Who Sorrow podvoriye of the Holy Trinity-Zelenesk Monastery, “but this is absolutely not true. If you led an indecent life for a whole year, allowing yourself anything, and…

Source: Fox News MOSCOW –  The Russian Orthodox Church is expanding its influence in what was once an officially godless state — and President Vladimir Putin appears eager to harness that resurgent power of faith to promote his own agenda. Long consigned to society’s margins in the Soviet era of “scientific atheism,” religious activists in today’s Russia can get theater performances banned and exhibitions closed. Their next target is to end state funding for abortion in a land where nearly half of all pregnancies end in termination. Putin has condemned recent attacks on art exhibitions and efforts to hound performers…

Source: Religion Dispatches BY KATHERINE KELAIDIS SEPTEMBER 27, 2016 The Russian government’s shutdown of the country’s top LGBT website, BlueSystem, is just the latest entry in its gruesome record with respect to LGBT rights. While the time for passive concern by all parties has long past, it is a matter of utter amazement that American Orthodox Christians—even the most conservative—are not more vocally horrified about events in Russia. The complicity of the Russian Orthodox Church and Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow in Russia’s systematic persecution of its LGBT citizens speaks to a deep crisis in Orthodoxy’s encounter with the modern world.…

Source: Pravoslavie.ru Every year hundreds of tourists visit the canyon of the Bolshoy Zelenchuk River in order to admire the magnificent tenth century Christian temples built on the site of the ancient settlement of Nizhny Arkhyz. Most scientists identify this ancient settlement with Maghas, or Maas – the capital of the large kingdom of Alania which existed in the Middle Ages. The city grew and prospered because strategic routes of the Silk Road passed through it. Alania flourished the most in the mid-tenth century when the kingdom’s nobility embraced Christianity. It was then that over twenty churches were erected in…

Source: The Christian Post BY BRANDON SHOWALTER , CP CONTRIBUTOR Russia’s so-called “anti-extremism” law that restricts evangelism and missionary activities went into effect on Wednesday, and religious freedom advocacy groups say they are starting to assess the impact it will have on Christians in the country. “For Christian advocates inside the country, there are challenges and risks,” the American Center for Law and Justice’s Gene Kapp said in a statement to The Christian Post on Thursday. “Our team at the Slavic Centre for Law and Justice [ACLJ’s Moscow affiliate that has argued against the law] is in the process of evaluating…

Source: AMERICA – The National Catholic Review Paul L. Gavrilyuk Russia’s influence seen behind the scenes During the week of June 19, the leaders of the self-governing Orthodox churches worldwide gathered in council on the island of Crete. As the first global Council of the Orthodox Church in more than 1,000 years, this historic event promised to usher in a new era of conciliarity. I had a rare privilege of serving as an external correspondent for the Press Office of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, under the leadership of the Rev. John Chryssavgis. Together with other members of our team, I…

Source: The National Herald By Associated Press ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians on Wednesday said a historic meeting of church leaders — the first in more than a millennium — will take place despite a pullout by Russia, the fourth Orthodox church to say it won’t attend the June gathering in Crete. Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, who ranks as “the first among equals,” said he hopes the Russian church and three others who have chosen not to come will change their minds. The weeklong Holy and Great Council, which is to begin…

Source: Sputnik Moscow and the Holy See are working together on the issue of moral values and persecuted Christians. This cooperation is beneficial for both parties, from a diplomatic and political viewpoint, the French newspaper Le Figaro wrote. According to Le Figaro, since the end of the Cold War, the Vatican has always been willing to hold a dialogue with Moscow. “Russia has become one of the centers of a new polycentric world order, an empire in the process of establishment, which one should offer one’s hand,” political expert Canstance Colonna-Cesari said cited by the newspaper. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the relations between Moscow and the Vatican were characterized…

Source: Balkan Insight The Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro has urged the authorities to organize a referendum on NATO membership after Russian clerics and political leaders voiced their opposition. by Dusica Tomovic – BIRN – Podgorica The Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro said that it was its “pastoral and civic” duty to ask for a referendum on NATO membership – a call which echoed demands made by Russian politicians and clerics after the Western military alliance invited Podgorica to join last month. “It is our duty in the name of the Church that gave birth to Montenegro… to say that it is…

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