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Source: Religion News Service Why those removed from the world should refrain from declarations on marriage and family. By John Chryssavgis (RNS) — In the Orthodox Christian world, few places are better known or more lovingly venerated than Mount Athos, the 10th-century Greek monastery legendarily dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Composed of 20 citadels scattered over a peninsula of exceptional beauty in northern Greece, boasting magnificent manuscripts and icons, Athos is home to some 2,000 monks. Among them, as in every society, there are saints and sinners, sane and strange. I have visited countless times and have been blessed to engage…

Source: Spirit of Abilene By PHILIP LeMASTERS The centrality of peace to the worship and spiritual vision of Eastern Orthodox Christianity magnifies the tragedy of the invasion of Ukraine.  Petitions for peace abound in Orthodox services, including for deliverance from “the sword, foreign invasion, and civil war.” The Church prays regularly for “the peace of the whole world,” as well as for the liberation of captives and for people “in exile, in harsh labor, and…in every kind of affliction, necessity, or distress.”  Every Sunday service includes a petition for God to grant peace “to all civil authorities, to our armed…

Source: Catholic News Agency By Luke Coppen London, England, Jun 7, 2022 / 08:20 am Metropolitan Hilarion has been released from his position as the Russian Orthodox Church’s chief ecumenical official, it emerged on Tuesday. The 55-year-old had served as chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate since 2009. The theologian, Church historian, and composer is one of the most internationally visible figures in the Russian Orthodox Church. In the role sometimes described as the Moscow Patriarchate’s “foreign minister,” he met with Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. The Moscow Patriarchate’s official website said on June 7 that the Holy Synod of the…

Source: Get Religion by Terry Mattingly This was a very important weekend in the history of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Ukraine and Russia — for those (including journalists) who believe that religious traditions and symbols matter as much as statements by government officials and headlines in Western media. At the center of the drama, of course, was the city of Kiev, as it is known in to Russians and many Ukrainians, and Kyiv, as it is known to many Ukrainians, as well as officials in the United States and the European Union. Here’s the quotation I keep thinking about, drawn…

Source: Orthodox Times At a special ceremony this morning Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was proclaimed an honorary citizen of the municipality of Thermaikos at the municipal premises of Neoi Epivates. Bartholomew made an extensive reference to St. Paraskevi Epivatini, the ancestor of the current inhabitants of Neoi Epivates – whose skeleton is now in Iasi of Romania and is venerated with devotion by thousands of believers -, stressing that it had been granted by the Ecumenical Patriarch Parthenios I in 1641 through the mediation of a ruler of Danubian Principalities, because he had benefited the Patriarchate. And on the occasion of…

Source: Christianity Today Possible manufacture of holy oil a signal of declaration of independence from Moscow patriarchate, while still opposing rival breakaway church. by JAYSON CASPER After 93 days of war, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) has definitively broken with Russia—maybe. In a council decision taken May 27, the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC)–affiliated body declared its “full self-sufficiency and independence,” condemning the three-month conflict as “a violation of God’s commandment: Thou shalt not kill!” Such a condemnation was not new. The day the invasion began, UOC-MP Metropolitan Onufriy called it a “repetition of the sin of Cain.” But in dry ecclesial language,…

PRESS RELEASE WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., April 28, 2022 — The Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL) denounces the horrific and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by the Russian military under the orders of President Putin and the attempt to bestow religious legitimacy to the war by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow. The indiscriminate and unjustifiable bombing of innocent civilian population centers including schools and hospitals, the rapes, mass executions and war crimes committed by Russian soldiers have shocked the entire world. Millions have been forced to flee their homes as refugees from a brutal war in which Orthodox Christians have been ordered by…

Source: Christian Post Did President Putin have a legitimate, legal, or moral basis for invading Ukraine beginning on Feb. 24, 2022, and going on to date? Was Putin’s aggression against Ukraine as a nation and its people justified under the “casus belli” laid down by Hugo Grotius in his book, On the Law of War and Peace, in the 16th century? Or was Putin’s actions in killing indiscriminately Ukrainian people and razing entire cities in Ukraine morally justified under Thomas Aquinas’s philosophy of war? It is a fact that the Ukrainian government did nothing to invite the genocidal acts of Putin.…

Source: The Washington Post Patriarch Kirill has angered many priests by echoing the language Vladimir Putin uses to justify the Ukraine invasion By Jeanne Whalen He leads his flock from a soaring, gilded cathedral built to celebrate Russia’s victory over Napoleon, where week after week the powerful head of the Russian Orthodox Church is working to ensure that the faithful are all in on their country’s invasion of Ukraine. Whether warning about the “external enemies” attempting to divide the “united people” of Russia and Ukraine, or very publicly blessing the generals leading soldiers in the field, Patriarch Kirill has become one…

Source: National Catholic Register COMMENTARY: That Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople would travel to Warsaw to stand alongside a Catholic bishop to call out the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill is altogether remarkable. by Father Raymond J. de Souza The aftershocks of the “ecclesial earthquake” were not long in coming. On Friday, Pope Francis consecrated Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. On Sunday, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople was in Warsaw. What connects the two events? Neither the Bishop of Rome nor the patriarch of the “New Rome” — Constantinople — take into account any longer possible objections from…

Source: National Catholic Reporter by Christopher White This article appears in the War in Ukraine feature series. View the full series. ROME — For four weeks, the Vatican has offered to serve as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine, and for four weeks, such overtures have been ignored by Russia. As Russia’s war against Ukraine rages on, Pope Francis has incrementally escalated his rhetoric against the invasion, condemning it as an “unacceptable armed aggression,” while refusing to directly name President Vladimir Putin or Russia as the aggressors. The diplomatic tightrope has been defended as consistent with longstanding Vatican neutrality, necessary for protecting Catholics in both Ukraine and Russia and…

Source: Daily Beast by A. Craig Copetas Beneath the gold onion domes of the Danilov Monastery a few miles south of the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin’s chief shaman explains why Russia is hell-bent on destroying Ukraine. “If we see [Ukraine] as a threat, we have the right to use force to ensure the threat is eradicated,” Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill recently preached to his church’s 90 million faithful followers. “We have entered into a conflict which has not only physical but also metaphysical significance. We are talking about human salvation, something much more important than politics.” The wartime coalition between Putin and his patriarch is called symphonia,…

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