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Source: Eastern American Diocese (ROCOR) His Holiness Kyrill, Patriarch of Moscow & All Russia, released an epistle to the entirety of the Russian Orthodox Church in connection with recent events in Ukraine. With the blessing of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, the attached special petitions and prayerare to be read at all divine services for Meatfare Soul Saturday and Sunday in the parishes and monasteries of the Eastern American Diocese.  Reverend archpastors and pastors, dear brothers and sisters – children of the Church! It is with dismay, pain, and alarm that I have followed…

Source: Daily Mail Shootings happened at main cathedral on the island of Sakhalin Nun and churchgoer killed, while six others were wounded Suspect believed to be employed as private security guard Killings happened at a time when Russian security forces on high alert for the Winter Olympics in Sochi But officials say there is no apparent link to the Games By SHARI MILLER A man employed as a private security guard opened fire in a Russian Orthodox cathedral on the island of Sakhalin, killing a nun and a churchgoer and wounding six others. The shooting occurred on Sunday at a time…

Source: Reuters BY ASTRID WENDLANDT Paris (Reuters) – Russia has begun building what is likely to be one of its most high-profile Orthodox churches abroad on the banks of the River Seine in Paris, near the Eiffel Tower. The church, to be built in limestone and glass, topped off by traditional Russian golden domes, reflects the resurgence of Russian Orthodoxy – the world’s second-largest Christian church – since the fall of Soviet communism in 1991 and the emergence of new leaders keen to extend its presence at home and abroad. The grounds will include a cultural centre and a primary school for 150 pupils. The…

Source: ABC News By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV Associated Press In a regretful letter penned a few months before his death, Mikhail Kalashnikov, the designer of the AK-47 assault rifle, asked the head of the Russian Orthodox Church if he was to blame for the deaths of those killed by his weapon. The Russian daily Izvestia on Monday published the letter, in which Kalashnikov, who died last month at 94, told Patriarch Kirill that he kept asking himself if he was responsible. The AK-47 is the world’s most popular firearm, with an estimated 100 million spread around the world. “The pain in…

Source: Blog of Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov ST. HERMAN’S ORTHODOX YOUTH CONFERENCE, MULINO, OR 22-26 DECEMBER 2013  INTRODUCTION A curious phenomenon can be observed in the interactions between pastors and their parishioners at the beginning of each major fast of the Church. Pastors attempt to call their parishioners’ pious attention to the spiritual heights of fasting: the fighting against sin, the conquering of passions, the taming of the tongue, the cultivation of virtues. In turn, parishioners pester their pastors with purely dietary questions: when fish is allowed, whether soy milk or soy hotdogs are fasting, whether adding milk to coffee is breaking…

Source: RIA Novosti MOSCOW, September 13 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s dominant Orthodox Church said Friday it would discuss a draft document that will “heal” a schism with some of the smaller Russian Christian denominations known collectively as Old Believers. An expert on religions in Russia hailed the document as a “timely” effort by the increasingly powerful Russian Orthodox Church, but some of the Old Believers rejected the initiative, claiming it will not redeem centuries of persecution. The Old Believers split from the mainstream Russian Orthodox Church after a reform initiated by Moscow Patriarch Nikon in the 1650s. The reform sought…

Source: RIA Novosti MOSCOW, December 18 (RIA Novosti) – The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church presented the nation’s answer to Frank Sinatra with a top award on Wednesday for his public service, adding to the flamboyant now-lawmaker’s already glittering array of decorations. Patriarch Kirill awarded Joseph Kobzon, who has in the past been denied a US visa over his purported links to organized crime, the Order of Glory and Honor second degree for the crooner’s work in “developing national culture and the moral and patriotic education of his contemporaries.” Kobzon, who turned 76 in September, was a hit singer…

Source: CatholicCulture.org Addressing the World Council of Churches, the Russian Orthodox Church’s leading ecumenical official questioned the effectiveness of the ecumenical body and warned that Christians must face the challenges of secularism and radical Islam. “The World Council of Churches today remains a unique instrument of inter-Christian cooperation that has no analogy in the world,” said Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk. “However, the question arises as to how effective this instrument is … While we continue to discuss our differences in the comfortable atmosphere of conferences and theological dialogues, the question resounds ever more resolutely: will Christian civilization survive at all?”…

Source: Vatican Insider Defending Middle Eastern Christians has become a strategic asset for Putin and is in perfect harmony with the Patriarchate of Moscow’s mission GIANNI VALENTE ROME The Kremlin is about to consider granting citizenship to about 50 thousand Syrian Christians in the region of Qualamun after they issued a collective request to Moscow’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In statements issued in the past few days, the spokesmen for President Putin and the Ministry confirmed that the request is being examined by the highest Russian authorities. “This is the first time since Christ’s birth that we, the Christians of…

Source: The Moscow Times A bronze statue of Jesus Christ, taller than the famous Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, has appeared in war-torn Syria. The statue, titled “I Have Come to Save the World” was apparently the brainchild of Yury Gavrilov, a 49-year-old Muscovite who runs an organization in London called the St. Paul and St. George Foundation. The project was backed by both the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian government, which takes an active interest in Syria, as seen in recent events. Russia also has a navy base on Syria’s Mediterranean sea coast. Despite the statue’s Russian connection, it was cast in Armenia and made by an Armenian…

Source: The Economist IT IS not every day that a publication of America’s foreign-policy establishment, which generally reflects the liberal sensibilities of think-tanks, law practices and college faculties, publishes a sort of defence of the public role of Russian Orthodoxy. Yet that, with a big qualification, is the position taken by Nadieszda Kizenko, a history professor at the State University of New York, in the latest edition of Foreign Affairs, the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations. The qualification? She is referring not to the church’s top hierarchs, but to a broader community of people, including scholars and public intellectuals. When the…

Source: Slate By Atlas Obscura From the scorching deserts of Sinai to the frozen tundras of Siberia, Orthodox Christianity has a history of building its churches and monasteries in inhospitable places. But only a few can rival Trinity Church on King George Island. The southernmost Orthodox church in the world, Trinity was built near Bellingshausen Station, Russia’s permanent outpost in Antarctica. In the mid-1990s Patriarch Alexius II of Moscow gave his blessing for this audacious project. The church was constructed in Russia and transported by a supply ship to its present location. One or two monks from Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra — considered…

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