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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…

Source: Virtue Online By Ralph H. Sidway, guest contributor Scarcely a day goes by now where we do not read of yet another in a constellation of initiatives being undertaken by both the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian government on behalf of persecuted Christians and other victims in Syria, Egypt, and elsewhere in the world. For instance, on July 31 it was announced that a charitable drive launched at the end of June by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia had raised US$1.3 Million to assist victims of the Syrian armed conflict. That these funds will be distributed…

Source: RIA Novosti MOSCOW, August 8 (RIA Novosti) – The funeral of Pavel Adelgeim, the Orthodox priest stabbed to death in the northwest Russian city of Pskov earlier this week, took place Thursday in the presence of about 1,000 mourners at the Church of the Myrrh Bearers, where he served for the last decades of his life. A religious dissident who lost a leg during a three-year stint in a Soviet prison camp, Adelgeim was one of only a handful of priests willing to publicly criticize the modern Orthodox Church. He was killed on Monday evening by a man, reportedly…

Source: RIA Novosti MOSCOW, July 29 (RIA Novosti) – Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, will reportedly no longer be appearing at Russian Navy Day celebrations because the Orthodox Church, the strongest religion in the country, has protested against pagan characters at such events. Offending religious believers is a crime in Russia since last month. Violators face up to three years in prison. Pagan beings that were not aboard Noah’s Arc do not belong “at a celebration of an Orthodox Christian navy,” a Church representative told the armed forces branch, according to a military spokesman cited by Russian media.…

Source: Sobornost MOSCOW, July 25 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday praised the role of Orthodox Christianity in the country’s history and congratulated the heads of the world’s Orthodox churches on the 1025th anniversary of the Christianization of Kievan Rus, a medieval state comprising parts of modern-day Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. “The adoption of Christianity became a turning point in the fate of our fatherland, made it an inseparable part of the Christian civilization and helped it turn into one of the largest world powers,” Putin said in a message addressed to participants of a commemorative celebration…

Source: AFP BB News SAINT-PETERSBURG (AFP) – Around 65,000 people have queued for hours in Saint Petersburg to see a religious relic brought from Greece, officials said Saturday, in the latest sign of the Russian Orthodox Church’s influence in post-Soviet Russia. The cross of Saint Andrew — said to be a relic of the X-shaped cross on which Andrew the Apostle was crucified — was placed in Saint Petersburg’s Kazan Cathedral on Thursday after arriving from its historic home in Patras in Greece. In just the first days of its display, there were some 65,000 visitors and the numbers are…

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