Archive for Religion

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

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

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

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

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

Tolstoy’s Canadian Doukhobors Return to Russia Over 100 Years After Fleeing

Leo Tolstoy file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – YASNAYA POLYANA, Tula Region – October 3, 2014) When they were in their 50s, Elaine and Alfred Podovinikoff packed up their lives in their native Canada and emigrated to a muddy, provincial Russian settlement with a single paved road and freely roaming chickens. The Podovinikoffs resettled just

RIA Novosti: Fears of Radicalization Among Muslim Youth Rising in Russia

Russian Mosque File Photo

MOSCOW, October 1 (RIA Novosti) – There is an increasing risk of radicalization among Muslim youth in Russia, Russian News Paper Kommersant reported on Wednesday. A large group of Muslim youth attacked a police bus on September 26, as the police arrested a man, who drove into an officer, after being told to move his

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,

Interfax: Far-right groups threaten Kyiv region priest with reprisals

Church Domes with Crosses file photo

MOSCOW. Aug 15 (Interfax) – Members of far-right groups disrupted a religious service being conducted by Priest Volodymyr Navozenko at the Church of the Holy Intercession in the village of Chervona Motovylivka outside of Kyiv. A video posted on YouTube shows several dozen people entering the church holding Ukrainian flags and symbols of the far-right

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

Ferapontov Monastery

Ferapontov Monastery file photo, adapted from wikimedia commons image at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ferapontov_Monastery_020509.jpg, posted by Enotovidnii

Subject: Ferapontov Monastery Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2014 From: William Brumfield <william.brumfield@gmail.com> My current article for Russia beyond the Headlines is devoted to the radiant frescoes created at  in 1502 by the artist Dionisy and his two sons. The monastery and its frescoes are on the UNESCO World Heritage list: rbth.com/travel/2014/08/08/ferapontov_monastery_sublime _beauty_in_the_russian_north_38893.html For best results

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

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

RIA Novosti: Anti-Semitism at a minimum level in Russia, says report

File Photo of Torah Scrolls

(RIA Novosti – April 28, 2014) Russia remains one of a group of countries with a minimum level of anti-Semitism, said the head of the European Jewish Congress, Vyacheslav Moshe Kantor, commenting on the results of the annual report on the level of anti-Semitism in the world for 2013. Russia remains one of a group

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

NEWSLINK: Russians Return to Religion, But Not to Church

Church Domes with Crosses file photo

[“Russians Return to Religion, But Not to Church” – Pew Research – pewforum.org  – February 10, 2014 – http://www.pewforum.org/2014/02/10/russians-return-to-religion-but-not-to-church/] The Pew Forum examines data on Russian religious trends.  The number of Russians declaring an affiliation with the Russian Orthodox Church and other faiths has risen, but church attendance is low. Over the past two decades,

On Mark Adomanis in JRL #28 [re: Russian Religiosity, Pussy Riot

Church Domes with Crosses file photo

Subject: On Mark Adomanis in JRL #28 Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2014 12:48:37 -0600 From: David Stone <stone@ksu.edu> Mark Adomanis’ piece from Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/sites/markadomanis/2014/02/09/why-pussy-riot-failed-in-one-chart/) that you included in JRL 28 uses Russia’s increasing religiosity to explain Pussy Riot’s failure. I don’t buy it. Adomanis refers to a study from the Levada Center (http://www.levada.ru/24-12-2013/rossiyane-o-religii) which measures

What is it like to be a Muslim in Russia?

Russian Mosque File Photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – February 3, 2014) RBTH talks to Muslims in Russia and searches for the reasons behind the country’s apprehensive attitude toward Islam. Muslims are the second largest religious denomination in Russia, and they have peacefully coexisted with Orthodox believers over many centuries. However, in recent

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

Moscow Police Hunt Quran Burners

Russian Mosque File Photo

MOSCOW, January 9 (RIA Novosti) ­ Police in Moscow are investigating a video that shows alleged football fans burning a Quran and attacking Muslims in retribution for recent suicide bombings in Volgograd. The video, uploaded on YouTube on January 5, depicts a group of young men in the dark, burning a Russian translation of the

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

Moscow Celebrates Russian Orthodox Christmas With Giant Apple Pie

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 7, 2014) This year’s warm temperatures meant believers in Moscow celebrated a red and gold, rather than white, Orthodox Christmas. Moscow confectioners baked a giant apple and cherry pie in celebration of Russian Orthodox Christmas, which is marked on Jan. 7, based on the old Julian calendar. The 100

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

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

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

More Ethnic Russians are Converting to Islam and a Few are Becoming Terrorists

Russian Mosque File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 2, 2013) Official identification of one of the terrorist bombers in Volgograd as an ethnic Russian from Mari El who converted to Islam and fought on the side of the militants in Daghestan has attracted attention to a trend that most Russians have been reluctant to

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

Topless FEMEN activist climbs altar in Cologne cathedral during Christmas Mass

EU Map

KYIV. Dec 25 (Interfax) – An activist of the feminist movement FEMEN has disrupted a Christmas mass in Kolner Dom, the main cathedral of Cologne, Germany. “The activist climbed the altar of the cathedral in the presence of thousands of people to protest the Vatican propaganda for the criminalization of abortion. The words ‘I AM

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,

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,

‘Vladimir Putin as a Religious Type’

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking At All-Russia Popular Front Gathering

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 18, 2013) A century ago, the Russian religious thinker Sergey Bulgakov wrote a seminal essay entitled “Karl Marx as a Religious Type” in which he outlined the ways in which that self-proclaimed atheist was in fact someone profoundly affected in his thinking by the religious tradition

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

Interfax: Russians still trust president, church the most – poll


MOSCOW. Dec 3 (Interfax) – The president and the Orthodox Church are still the most trusted institutions and structures in Russia. Over 60% of the respondents surveyed in an express poll conducted by Romir in November said they “fully trust” or “tend to trust” the rating leaders. The poll surveyed 500 respondents aged from 18

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

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

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

Putin and Pope Swap Gifts, Talk Syria During Visit

Pope Francis Portraits on Four Vatican Stamps

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 26, 2013) President Vladimir Putin presented Pope Francis with an icon of Our Lady of Vladimir during a brief visit to the Vatican on Monday afternoon, which some observers hope could improve ties between the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches. Putin and the pope spoke privately for 35 minutes

Interfax: Patriarch Kirill opposed to any forms of convergence of church and state

Patriarch Kirill file photo

SMOLENSK. Nov 25 (Interfax) – The Russian Orthodox Church will advocate its independence, its head Patriarch Kirill has said. “The church is defending its freedom because it is sure that only its independence gives it the possibility of being a full-scale spiritual authority. Any form of convergence of the church and state is dangerous for

Putin to Meet Pope Francis as Church Relations Warm

Pope Francis Portraits on Four Vatican Stamps

(Moscow Times – moscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – November 25, 2013) President Vladimir Putin will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday as part of his state visit to Italy, an encounter that could help fuel further warming in relations between the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches. Since the election of Pope Francis

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

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

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

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

Interfax: Patriarch Kirill: Biryulyovo events demonstrate government unwillingness to solve excessive migration problem

Patriarch Kirill file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 31 (Interfax) – The latest events in Moscow’s Biryulyovo district show that only the forces seeking to destroy Russia will gain from further disregard of the opinion of the Russian majority, said Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia. “The latest clashes in the Moscow Biryulyovo district demonstrated that a deaf ear turned

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

Russia not interested in tensions between West, Islamic world – Putin

Russian Mosque File Photo

(Interfax – Ufa, October 22, 2013) The voice of Russian Muslim figures should be heard better both on the international arena and in the international Islamic community, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “Tensions between the West and the Islamic world are increasing today. And someone is trying to gamble on this theme by adding firewood

Russian Suicide Bomb Spurs Terror Alert as Putin Meets Muftis

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer and Ilya Arkhipov – October 22, 2013) Russian investigators probed yesterday’s suicide bombing that killed six bus passengers in Volgograd as the southern region was placed on high alert hours before President Vladimir Putin met Muslim clerics. The suspected female suicide bomber arrived from the capital of the mainly

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

Interfax: Expert says there are about one million Islamists in Russia

Map of European Portion of Former Soviet Union

(Interfax – October 11, 2013) Some one million Russian Muslims are radicals, Roman Silantyev, deputy head of the expert council for the state theological review under the Justice Ministry, has said, as reported by privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax on 11 October. “On the whole, the number of Islamists in Russia may be approximately estimated

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

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