The Russian Orthodox Church under Patriarch Kirill

Patriarch Kirill file photo

Under Patriarch Kirill, the Russian Orthodox Church has become an integral element of the hegemonic narrative that has been created in Putin’s Russia, to inoculate the country from pernicious outside influences. (opendemocracy.net – Victoria Hudson – March 31, 2015) Victoria Hudson obtained her PhD from University of Birmingham in 2013 for a thesis on contemporary Russian soft power in Ukraine. […]

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Cultural Figures Demand Minister’s Sacking Over Opera Scandal

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – March 31, 2015) Leading cultural figures launched a petition Monday calling for the dismissal of Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, saying his position on a controversial opera production was an attack on freedom of creativity, while the Kremlin said it had the right to influence the content produced by cultural organizations financed by […]

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The Russian politics of multiculturalism

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Anna Alekseveva – March 30, 2015) The relationship between religion and ethnicity on the one hand, and civic assimilation on the other, is far less harmonious than Putin’s magniloquence asserts. Much has been made in the last several years of Vladimir Putin’s close alliance with the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). With charges of corruption, laundering, and a now […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Russian Theater Director Fired for Offending Christians

In the latest skirmish between the Russian Orthodox Church and the cultural elite, the culture minister on Sunday fired the director of a Siberian theater who included a controversial interpretation of the life of Jesus in the Richard Wagner opera “Tannhauser.” The director, Boris Mezdrich, had failed to apologize and to take other steps to mitigate the outcry among the […]

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Wagner Opera Scandal Reflects Deep Divide in Russian Society

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – March 26, 2015) An avant-garde production of a Wagner opera in a Siberian city that has seen conservative Russian Orthodox activists declare war on the liberal intelligentsia is a sign of things to come, some in Russia fear. The production of “Tannhauser” at the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater is accused of […]

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Religious Offense Charges Against Russian Opera Director Dropped

File Photo of Russian Orthodox Church at Kremlin, adapted from defense.gov Image

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Spinella – March 11, 2015) A Russian opera director who found himself mired in legal controversy after he provoked the ire of a local church leader was cleared of a charge of offending the sentiments of religious believers, the theater announced Tuesday via Twitter. Director Timofei Kulyabin had faced administrative charges for offending religious […]

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Russian Patriarch Says Halving Abortions Will Help Solve Population Crisis

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – January 23, 2015) Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, crossed Russia’s shifting line between Church and politics in his first-ever address to the State Duma on Thursday, calling on lawmakers to ensure that traditional moral values are safeguarded in the country’s legislation. The Russian Orthodox Church is known to entertain close […]

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Can Ukraine’s divided church help heal the divided country

Ukraine Map and Flag

(opendemocracy.net – Iannis Carras – January 15, 2015) Iannis Carras is an economic and social historian of the 18th century Balkan and Russian worlds. He is active in Greek NGOs and has been a parliamentary candidate in the Athens region for the Greek Green Party. In hardship, people turn to religion for help. Ukraine today is no exception. But is […]

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Interfax: Making people choose between terror, blasphemy wrong – Russian church official

Archpriest Vsevolad Chaplin file photo

(Interfax – January 14, 2015) Forcing people to choose between terrorism and blasphemy is dangerous, public relations chief of the Russian Orthodox Church Vsevolod Chaplin has said. He was speaking on the Russian Orthodox Church TV channel Spas on 14 January, as reported by Russian privately-owned news agency Interfax. A week after the deadly attacks in Paris, today the French […]

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Putin, Patriarch Kirill Kick Off Orthodox Christmas Celebrations

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 7, 2015) The Russian Orthodox Church’s Patriarch Kirill prayed for peace in Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin attended mass at a village church in southern Russia, as Russia’s Orthodox believers celebrated Christmas on Wednesday. Russian Orthodox Church holidays are marked according to the old Julian calendar, with Christmas falling on Jan. 7, when it […]

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Teaching orthodoxy in Russian schools

(opendemocracy.net – Natalya Yakovleva – December 4, 2014) Natalya Yakovleva is a journalist in Novosibirsk. She writes for the Literary Gazette and the Teachers’ Gazette. Orthodox ideology is being rushed into the Russian school curriculum – in the interests of nationalism. It all happened very fast. In the middle of 2009 Dmitry Medvedev, the then president of Russia, said ‘Let […]

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Russian Government Gives Church $40 Million to Set Up Spiritual Centers

Russian Orthodox Cathedral Moscow file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Shura Collinson – November 29, 2014) The Russian Orthodox Church is to get a total of 2 billion rubles ($40 million) from the federal budget for the creation of spiritual enlightenment centers, a news report said Friday. Deputy Culture Minister Vladimir Aristarkhov said earlier this month that 958 million rubles ($19.4 million) would be allocated […]

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Interfax: Russian church leader calls on people to join forces amid sanctions

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Interfax – November 4, 2014) Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has criticized the West over attempts to play havoc with the minds of the Russian people through the sanctions it had imposed against Russia, Gazprom-owned Russian TV channel NTV reported on 4 November. “One should make the economic situation worse to play havoc with minds. We are now […]

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Russian Orthodox Church Risks Schism Over Conflict in Ukraine

Church Domes with Crosses file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – September 3, 2014) On the last day of summer, a Russian Orthodox priest imposed against his parishioners who had fought in Ukraine’s “fratricidal war” a 20-year ban on receiving communion. Those deemed to have only promoted the conflict raging in Ukraine’s east, either verbally or in writing, will be hit with an […]

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Interfax: Election of Metropolitan Onurfy head of Ukrainian Orthodox Church indicates pro-Moscow tendencies among bishops – “Kyiv Patriarchate”

Church Domes with Crosses file photo

MOSCOW. Aug 14 (Interfax) – The election of Metropolitan Onufry as head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church indicates that the majority of the bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate adhere to “Russian world” ideas and puts an end to the idea of creating a local Church of Ukraine, the self-proclaimed “Kyiv Patriarchate” said. “Despite the hopes for the furthering, especially in […]

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Interfax: Ukrainian military are pressuring Donbas Orthodox Christians – Metropolitan Onufry

Ukraine Map and Flag

MOSCOW. Aug 1 (Interfax) – Metropolitan of Chernivtsi and Bukovina Onufry, the locum of the Kyiv Metropolia, has accused the Ukrainian military of pressuring Orthodox Christians in Donbas. “I have to state violations of the rights and freedoms of believers and interference in the work of parishes of the Donetsk diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church by the militant contingent […]

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Mass Grave in Moscow Suburbs is Among Russia’s Holiest Sites

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Annin – May 7, 2014) On May 10, the Russian Orthodox Church will hold its annual special service in the Church of New Martyrs and Confessors in Butovo, a little-known site that is home to Russia’s largest collection of holy relics. In the forest near old Butovo, about 5 kilometers south of the Moscow […]

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An Easter Tale Of Two Orthodox Babushkas In Ukraine

Ukraine Map and Flag

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – KYIV – April 20, 2014) Lyudmila, 60, a newspaper copy editor, and Yelena Andreyevna, 75, a pensioner, have a lot in common. They have lived most their lives in Kyiv. They are both ethnic Russian. And they are both practicing Orthodox Christians. On Easter Sunday they both prayed for peace and understanding in Ukraine amid fears of […]

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Russian Orthodox Deacon Fears Defrocking After Outing Church’s ‘Gay Lobby’

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Andrei Shary and Claire Bigg – January 9, 2014) A prominent theologian who claims to have outed a powerful “gay lobby” within the Russian Orthodox Church says he now fears being defrocked over his allegations. The allegations by Deacon Andrei Kurayev, a firebrand missionary who taught at the Orthodox Moscow Theological Academy, are potentially damaging and […]

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Fury Over Biographical Stalin Calendar Published by Orthodox Church

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – January 8, 2014) A publishing house run by the Russian Orthodox Church has released a 2014 calendar devoted to Josef Stalin, unleashing a flurry of indignation among Russian bloggers and a discussion about the Church’s ties to the former Soviet dictator. The calendar, published by the Moscow-based patriarchal printing house of the […]

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Interfax: Western model of society is becoming increasingly marginal – Russian Orthodox Church

Archpriest Vsevolad Chaplin file photo

Moscow, January 7, Interfax – The Western model of society cannot cope with modern challenges, head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin has said. “To my mind, Western civilization still cannot realize that its model of social order is shared by the minority of people in the world and is typical of only that […]

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Interfax: Patriarch Kirill finds commercialization of Christmas in West dangerous

Patriarch Kirill file photo

Moscow, January 7, Interfax – Ousting the true sense of Christmas from public space, including its substitution with other names, can have dangerous consequences, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has said. “This is a political action, a purposeful act to oust Christian values, including Christian holidays from the lives of people. This is spiritual disarmament of the masses. […]

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Interfax: Medvedev greets Patriarch Kirill on Christmas, thanks for spiritual patronage

Patriarch Kirill file photo

Moscow, January 7, Interfax – Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has greeted Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on Christmas, the government website reported on Tuesday. “This holiday presents the light of faith, the warmth of love and the happiness of hope. It consolidates the moral foundations of our society helping people to learn Christian values of kindness, mercy and […]

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Interfax: Putin: Christmas serves to unite millions on the basis of common spiritual values and traditions

Russian Orthodox Believers Holding Candles at Cathedral at Christmas

Moscow, January 7, Interfax – President Vladimir Putin has greeted Orthodox Christians, all Russian citizens celebrating Christmas, the Kremlin press service reported on Tuesday. “This lightsome holiday nourishes the kindest of feelings and intensions and serves to unite millions of people on the basis of common spiritual values and historical traditions of which mutual respect and accord, mercy and care […]

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Investigators asked to look into Moscow Art Theater production of An Ideal Husband

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 28 (Interfax) – Requests to conduct an inquiry into the production of the play An Ideal Husband at the Chekhov Moscow Art Theater (MAT) have been forwarded to the Russian Investigative Committee’s Moscow branch, the city police department said on its Twitter page. “Twenty-three requests demanding an inquiry into the Chekhov MAT’s production of An Ideal Husband, which […]

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Number of Orthodox Christians, Muslims grows in Russia, 19% are nonbelievers – poll

File Photo of Russian Orthodox Cathedral with Man in Religious Garb in Foreground

Moscow, December 24, Interfax – Orthodox Christianity is the dominant religion in Russia (68%) and 7% of the country’s population is Muslim. No more than 1% of residents define themselves as Catholics, Protestants, Judaists and others, Levada Center said. There were 50% of Orthodox Christians and 4% of Muslims in the country a decade ago, Levada Center told Interfax, referring […]

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Interfax: Russian Orthodox Church is open to dialogue with Pussy Riot, but without provocations

File Photo of Pussy Riot Members in Courtroom Enclosure, With Man Showing Papers to One While Female Guard Looks On

Moscow/Krasnoyarsk, December 23, Interfax – The Moscow Patriarchate is hoping that the members of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot who have been released from prison today after being amnestied will improve. “Every person has a right to make public statements, honest debates, and competition of ideas. However, when political manipulations and dangerous provocations happen, it’s unacceptable,” Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, […]

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Interfax: Conflicts on former Soviet soil should be settled peacefully – Russian Orthodox Church

Archpriest Vsevolad Chaplin file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 3 (Interfax) – Head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations Vsevolod Chaplin has said that peaceful solutions should be found for conflicts in former Soviet states. “People are predetermined to live side-by-side in peace. Enmity, wars and total conflicts, whether they be controllable or uncontrollable, are always bad. We can see this in many events […]

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Orthodox countries joining EU should not change values – Russian church

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, November 28, 2013) The Moscow Patriarchate has called on Orthodox countries, including Russia, not to allow EU influence to change them as they conduct dialogue, but to suggest the EU itself change. “Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria, as members of a strong and self-sufficient civilization, have a right, when they gain accession to the […]

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Interfax: Too early to discuss time, place of meeting of Patriarch Kirill, Pope Francis – Russian Orthodox Church

Saint Peter's Basilica

MOSCOW. Nov 27 (Interfax) – Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis could meet but only after issues in the relations between the two churches are resolved, the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations said on Wednesday. The unresolved conflict between the Orthodox and Greek Catholics in Ukraine remains the main obstacle – almost all churches were taken from the Moscow […]

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Interfax: Russian church calls for broad debate of idea for special role of Orthodox faith in Constitution

Archpriest Vsevolad Chaplin file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 26 (Interfax) – There is a need for an open and broad public debate on the proposal to reflect in the Constitution the special role of Orthodox faith, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the synodal department on relations between the church and society, said. “Such initiatives, like any public, ideological, and legislative initiatives, can and should be […]

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Interfax: Moscow Patriarchate hopes Putin’s Vatican visit will make Orthodox-Catholic ties stronger

Saint Peter's Basilica file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 22 (Interfax) – The Moscow Patriarchate expects Russian President Vladimir Putin’s upcoming meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican to give an additional impetus to relations between Orthodox people and Catholics. “We would like to hope that President Putin’s meeting with the Pope will help strengthen relations between Russia and the Vatican, as well as relations between the […]

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Interfax: Patriarch Kirill denies accusations of church dictate, says he is anti-clericals’ main target

Patriarch Kirill file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 20 (Interfax) – Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill says he sees no grounds for criticism by those who believe that the church is putting pressure on society and is growing into the state. “Look around you, at what surrounds you, at the TV programs, advertising, lifestyle, full restaurants during Lent. The church is not dragging anyone […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian Orthodox Church, Vatican Ready for Collaboration

Pope Francis Portraits on Four Vatican Stamps

MOSCOW, November 13 (RIA Novosti) ­ The head of the Russian Orthodox Church and a powerful Roman Catholic Church cardinal on Tuesday voiced readiness for collaboration ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the Vatican for a meeting with Pope Francis on November 25. “We live at an epoch when many of our historic differences should stop playing the […]

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RIA Novosti: Putin Gets Orthodox Award for Boosting Russia’s Global Role

Patriarch Kirill file photo

MOSCOW, November 4 (RIA Novosti) ­ The head of the Russian Orthodox Church on Monday awarded Vladimir Putin with a prize in recognition of the president’s policies intended to make Russia a leading world power. The award was established this year by the World Russian People’s Council, a public organization under the aegis of the Russian Orthodox Church. Patriarch of […]

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Bishop: ethnic Russians discriminated against in south Russia

Church Domes with Crosses file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 31 (Interfax) – A senior Russian Orthodox bishop has claimed that Russian speakers “often suffer ethnic and religious discrimination” in regions in Russia’s North Caucasus where they are in the minority. “We are used to thinking that it is only smaller ethnic groups that need protection. That is not true. In many of the republics (of Russia), Russians […]

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Russian Church advises Lenin advocates think about burying him

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

Moscow, October 29, Interfax – The body of Vladimir Lenin, the mastermind of the Great October Socialist Revolution, which lies still in the Mausoleum on the Red Square, should sooner or later be buried, the Synodal Department for External Church Relations’ head Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin said. “Debates on this issue will certainly continue. Probably, some harsh movements may cause rejections […]

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Interfax: Democracy is bigger lie than Communism – prominent Orthodox priest

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW. Oct 24 (Interfax) – Protopope Dimitry Smirnov, the head of the patriarch’s commission on family and protection of mothers and children, believes that democracy is based on lies. “It’s just a lie. Communist is also a lie, but Communism has religious features. Communism seems to take a lot from true religions. The Communists have their own teaching, their own […]

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Russian Orthodox Church calls for solution of vital social problems

Archpriest Vsevolad Chaplin file photo

(Interfax / Religion – Moscow, October 18, 2013) The Moscow Patriarchate has called on people of other religions for dialogue aimed at finding real solutions to social problems. “It is very important not to limit religious dialogue to statements on friendship and peace. We did it all under the Soviets and in the first years after the collapse of the […]

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Denying Putin Wedding, Peskov Says Leave the President Alone

Alina Kabaeva file photo, seated and posturing during gymnatics routine

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Andrew McChesney – September 25, 2013) People should focus on Vladimir Putin’s work as president and avoid prying into his personal life ­ not that he has one because he is so busy with his Kremlin duties, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. Peskov, who made the appeal in a far-ranging interview published Wednesday in Izvestia, […]

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Kremlin Dismisses Putin Church Wedding Rumors

Vladimir Putin and Lydumila Putin file photo

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, September 22, 2013) ­ Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has categorically dismissed online rumors that the Russian president has remarried in a church ceremony at a secluded monastery in central Russia. A Twitter message that swept through social networks on Saturday claimed that Putin, who divorced in June, tied the knot again earlier in the day at the […]

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Slain priest Father Pavel was role model

File Photo of Russian Orthodox Cathedral with Man in Religious Garb in Foreground

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova, Acting Editor-in-Chief – August 12, 2013) Pavel Adelgeim, an outspoken Orthodox priest, was stabbed to death last week. His death was a tragic end to an equally tragic life. Father Pavel, as he was known to many, was the son of parents who suffered grievously from repressions in the Soviet Union. In the […]

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Is Russia Turning Protestant?

File Photo of Russian Orthodox Cathedral with Man in Religious Garb in Foreground

(Voice of America – James Brooke, VOA Moscow Bureau Chief, covering Russia and the former USSR – July 30, 2013) RIO DE JANEIRO ­ In 1990, an American anthropologist wrote a controversial book: “Is Latin America Turning Protestant?” Two decades later, that same provocative question can be asked of Russia. Who will win: The Church of the Golden Domes? Or […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Interview for the documentary film The Second Baptism of Rus

File Photo of Russian Orthodox Cathedral with Man in Religious Garb in Foreground

(Kremlin.ru – July 23, 2013) Vladimir Putin gave an interview to the makers of the documentary film The Second Baptism of Rus, which screened on Rossia 1 television channel on July 22. The Second Baptism of Rus is a full-length documentary film about the resurgence of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia over the last 25 years. The film gives […]

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Interfax: Recognition of same-sex marriages leads humanity to end of world – Patriarch Kirill

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW. July 22, 2013) Head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill regards the recognition of same-sex marriages in Western countries an omen of the end of the world. “Lately we have been facing enormous temptations when in a number of countries the choice of sin is approved and justified by law, and those who do as their […]

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Patriarch Kirill conducts Romanov Dynasty 400th anniversary service in St. Petersburg

Romanov Family Photo

(Interfax – St. Petersburg, July 12, 2013) Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia presided over a religious service marking the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanov at the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg on Friday. Hundreds of worshippers gathered at the cathedral and in the square in front of it for the service, an Interfax correspondent […]

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Orthodox Patriarch Says Russians Having Too Much Fun

Valaam file photo showing Monastery church on wooded island

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – July 11, 2013) Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has urged Russians to have less fun and spend more of their free time in seclusion. On July 11, Kirill said there was “more fun than needed” in the life of Russians. He said people spent a lot of their energy working and should occupy their time in isolated, […]

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Interfax: Russia is fated to become center of Christian world – priest

Archpriest Vsevolad Chaplin file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 1, 2013) Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplain, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Synodal Department for Church and Society, said Russia is moving towards maximum self-reliance and must become the center of global Christianity. “It is not accidental that many see Russia as a defender of Christian ideals and traditional moral values, as a country that provides a real […]

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The Big Chill: Critics Say Kremlin Waging A War On Ideas

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Robert Coalson – July 1, 2013) It’s not a great time to be a freethinker in Russia. Offending somebody’s religious sensibilities could get you prosecuted according to legislation signed this weekend by President Vladimir Putin. Criticizing the wrong person with a snarky comment on a social network could run afoul of a vaguely worded law criminalizing […]

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Putin says Russia needs to look back to move forward

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Interfax – May 25, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that to move forward Russia needs to look back at its traditions and roots, Interfax news agency reported on 25 May, quoting the Kremlin’s website. In a message on the occasion of the unveiling of a monument to Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Germogen (Hermogenes), Putin says: “Today’s […]

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