Moscow Patriarchate Church in Ukraine headed toward the dustbin of history, Chapnin says

File Photo of Historic Ukrainian Orthodox Monastery Grounds

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – January 7, 2016) The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is headed toward disintegration, and the only question is whether Moscow will simply watch as this happens or take the lead in organizing this change, according to Sergey Chapnin, who was recently fired as editor of the “Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate.” […]

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Russian bombing of Syria “defensive” and just, top cleric says

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, January 7, 2016) Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill has expressed support for the Russian military operation in Syria. “What is happening today in Syria, which appears to be far away but is in actual fact literally our neighbour [as received], is what the defence of the Fatherland is about,” the patriarch said in the interview […]

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Patriarch Kirill sees no tragedy in current economic crisis

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Interfax – January 7, 2016) Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia has called on people not to despair over the economic problems in Russia. “Problems are now generally relative: people earn a little more or a little less (only God forbid that the economic situation should worsen), but generally there is currently no tragedy in the country,” the patriarch said […]

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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor: “Czarist echo? Russian Orthodox Church drives to restore its political clout. The Russian Orthodox Church sees itself as the spiritual generator of public policy and the ideological bulwark of the state. Under Putin, priests have become fixtures in the military, schools, and other public institutions”

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State vs Art: Russia’s 2015 Crackdown on Contemporary Culture

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – December 31, 2015) “It’s theater. We were just playing.” That’s how Boris Mezdrich, his tone simultaneously apologetic and defiant, described the avant-garde production of Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser that got him fired. “Blasphemy!” – was what the Russian Orthodox activists shouted as they protested outside the State Opera and Ballet Theater in Novosibirsk, […]

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Orthodox Church Receives Majority of Russian Government Grants

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 21, 2015) The Orthodox Church has been the biggest beneficiary of presidential grants given to non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, in Russia over the past several years, a study published Monday revealed. According to the report prepared by the Center for Economic and Political Reforms, the organizations controlled by the Moscow Patriarchate or close to […]

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Russian business falls in love with “Western” Christmas

Merry-Christmas-montage-2

Russian Christmas – celebrated in January – is still a noncommercial family occasion. December is now the main month for holiday shopping. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – December 21, 2015) According to the city’s press services, festivals and fairs, such as the Journey to Christmas, are engines of development for tourism, business activities and […]

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Reclusive Russian Family’s Last Survivor Toughs It Out In The Taiga

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

(RFE/RL – Nick Holdsworth – October 28, 2015) SIBERIAN TAIGA, Russia — Agafia Lykova emerges from the thick forest on the banks of the Abakan River like an image from Russian folklore. Dressed in ragged black sackcloth with a tattered head scarf and a triangular prayer amulet hanging from a beaded cord around her neck, she greets visitors arriving by […]

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Ummah: Islam in the post-Soviet world

Russian Mosque file photo

(opendemocracy.net – Editors of OpenDemocracy Russia – October 19, 2015) oDR introduces a new series devoted to reporting and comment on Islamic life in the post-Soviet space. The Ummah, the worldwide community of Muslims, comprises millions of members across the post-Soviet space. The inhabitants of five republics in Central Asia-Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan-have enthusiastically embraced their ancestral faith […]

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Five facts about Moscow’s new central mosque

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

Ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) on September 23, a new central mosque was thrown open to the public after a special ceremony in Moscow. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Galina Babich, special to RBTH – September 23, 2015) [Photos here asia.rbth.com/society/2015/09/23/five_facts_about_moscows_new_central_mosque_49461.html] 1. One of the largest mosques in Russia The central Moscow […]

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Russian Orthodox Church condemns participation by Ukrainian police in conflicts between religious organizations

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

MOSCOW. Sept 23 (Interfax) – Vladimir Legoida, head of the synodal information department, has condemned the takeover by schismatics in Ukraine of the Church of St. George and called on the administration of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies to investigate police involvement in violence against believers. On September 21, the Day of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, representatives of the Kyiv […]

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Pope Francis Says Russia Is Needed to Solve World Problems

Saint Peter's Basilica

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 23, 2015) Pope Francis has said Russia plays a crucial role in solving the world’s problems, a TASS news agency report said. “Without Russia, not one of today’s most pressing global problems can be solved,” the pontiff was cited Tuesday as telling a TASS reporter aboard a flight to Cuba. The pontiff continued his […]

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Russian Orthodox Activists Who Vandalized Manezh Face Criminal Charges

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – September 15, 2015) Investigators have opened a criminal case against a group of radical Orthodox activists who attacked Moscow’s Manezh exhibition center last month. The suspected attackers from the ultra-conservative group “God’s Will” could face criminal prosecution for the “destruction or damage of cultural property,” Interior Ministry spokesman Andrei Galiakberov was cited […]

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Putin’s ‘New People’ are the Black Hundreds of Today, Golts Says

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

(Paul Goble – Windows on Eurasia – Staunton, August 22, 2015) Vladimir Putin’s “new people,” the lumpen who are prepared to take the law into their own hands in the name of advancing the goals of the Kremlin leader that they think are being undermined by the bureaucracy and oligarchs, are the exact equivalent of the Black Hundreds that carried […]

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Russians fight to keep derelict church from sinking beneath the waters

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

Volunteers from all over Russia are working in the Vologda Region to save a unique monument of 18th-century architecture – the Church of the Nativity in the village of Krokhino – from destruction. For 50 years, it has been surrounded by water after the village was flooded during the construction of the Volga-Baltic Canal in 1964. (Russia Beyond the Headlines […]

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Protesters Against Church Construction Gain Rare Victory

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 4, 2015) Long-lasting protests by residents against building a Russian Orthodox church in a park in northeastern Moscow appear to have resulted in a rare victory for public protests after religious officials said late last week they were ready to consider a different location for it. “The Moscow Eparchy is ready […]

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Russian church spokesman calls for “rotation” of political elites

Archpriest Vsevolad Chaplin file photo

(Interfax – August 4, 2015) There should be a “rotation of elites” in Russia and young people should come to power, Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin has said. He was speaking at a meeting with participants in the II International Interfaith Youth Forum in Izberbash (Dagestan), privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 4 August. “Today we need a […]

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Moscow, Kiev Grapple With Historic Ties to Prince Vladimir

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 29, 2015) Tuesday marked the passage of a millennium since the death of Vladimir the Great. As both Kiev and Moscow honored the occasion with high-profile celebrations, leaders of each took advantage of the opportunity to emphasize the strength of their own countries’ ties to the medieval ruler. Prince Vladimir is […]

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Interfax : Russian patriarch appeals to Putin, Poroshenko over Ukraine conflict

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Interfax – July 27, 2015) Patriarch of Moscow and All-Russia Kirill has written letters to the presidents of Russia and Ukraine expressing deep concern over events in eastern Ukraine, privately-owned Interfax news agency reported on 27 July. “Reaching the peace agreements in Minsk put the escalation of the conflict on hold and inspired hope for a full ceasefire between the […]

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Interfax: “Russian world” not political, wider than Russia, includes Ukraine – church head

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, July 20, 2015) Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has expressed concern over attempts to politicize the notion of the Russian world. “Unfortunately, our opponents use the words ‘Russian world’ as a kind of bogey, as a scarecrow, as they allege that it is a kind of doctrine which serves exclusively the interests of the Russian […]

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IS Boosts Russian-Language Propaganda Efforts

Middle East Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Joanna Paraszczuk – July 6, 2015) The militant group Islamic State (IS) has stepped up its Russian-language propaganda efforts, another sign that its Russian-speaking contingent is becoming more powerful. Though Russian-speaking IS militants have put out their own propaganda for some time, in recent weeks a new Russian-language IS media wing — Furat Media — has […]

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Jews Are Fleeing Russia Because Of Putin

Torah Scrolls

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Roman Super, Claire Bigg – July 3, 2015) Just a year ago, Russian journalist Vladimir Yakovlev was one of Moscow’s most influential media figures. Today, he lives a quiet life in Tel Aviv and has swapped his Russian passport for an Israeli one. Yakovlev, the founder of the respected Kommersant publishing house and the Snob magazine, […]

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Locusts, Spiders, Snakes Plague Russian Regions

Tarantula file photo, adapted from image at usgs.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 30, 2015) Several Russian regions have been plagued recently by locusts, spiders and snakes, media reports and government officials said Monday. Locusts have destroyed large swaths of crops in the republic of Bashkortostan and the Orenburg region, prompting the authorities to declare a state of emergency, Channel One reported. An aircraft was scrambled to […]

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Most Russians Want State to Remain Secular

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jennifer Monaghan – June 25, 2015) The majority of Russians want to live in a secular state but almost half of the population is happy for the church to influence societal morality, a survey by state-run pollster VTsIOM has found. Sixty-four percent of those polled said they were in favor of the continued separation of […]

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Nearly 90% of Russians Oppose Polygamy, Poll Shows

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jennifer Monaghan – June 3, 2015) Weeks after a Chechen police chief took a 17-year-old local girl as his second bride, a state-run pollster has revealed that 87 percent of Russians stand opposed to the practice of polygamy among the population as a whole. The figure, based on a poll conducted by VTsIOM, represents a […]

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Poll: Russian Parents Hope to Raise Doctors, Not Priests

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 2, 2015) Despite the fact that a significant majority of the population identifies as Orthodox Christian, fewer than 1 percent of Russians wish to see their children or grandchildren grow up to be priests, according a survey conducted by independent pollster the Levada Center. Similar polls conducted by the Levada Center over the past […]

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Yoga Journal Celebrates Its First 10 Years in Russia

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtime.com – Lara McCoy – May 28, 2015) To celebrate its 10th anniversary this spring, the Russian edition of Yoga Journal didn’t make plans for a huge party, or even a special yoga retreat. Instead, the magazine marked the milestone by launching an extensive analytical survey of yoga in Russia and its practitioners, which appears in the […]

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Dozens of priests leave Ukraine, 19 churches of Moscow Patriarchate seized – Russian Orthodox Church representative

Church Domes with Crosses file photo

(Interfax – Vienna, May 18, 2015) Dozens of priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP) are leaving Ukraine in fear of persecutions, the head of the sector for interreligious liaisons at the Russian Orthodox Church’s Synodal Department for External Church Relations Priest Dimitry Safonov told on Monday. “There are dozens of priests who had to leave […]

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Russia Needs a Civil Society But Not a Liberal One, Rostov Analysts Argue

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 21, 2015) The West and Russia’s liberal intelligentsia equate civil society with the liberal opposition, but this is a serious error, two Russian analysts say. Instead, civil society need not be an opponent of the authorities but “yet another ‘branch of power’” that can take on itself things that “other branches for […]

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Ukraine conflict must not damage unity of Russian Orthodox Church – Patriarch

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, April 20, 2015) Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill believes the Ukrainian crisis is a challenge to the unity of the Russian church and is opposed to attempts to lend the crisis a religious dimension. “The Ukrainian crisis and the desire of certain political forces to place it in the context of faith are a challenge […]

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Interfax: Great feast of Easter brings joy and hope to millions of Christians – Putin

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

Moscow, April 13, Interfax – President Vladimir Putin has greeted Orthodox Christians and all Russian citizens celebrating Easter, the Kremlin press service reports. “The great feast of Easter brings joy and hope to millions of believers, introduces them to the sources of spirituality and traditions of forefathers,” the presidential message says. “The Russian Orthodox Church plays an enormous constructive role […]

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Moscow Times: Kremlin Reliance on the Russian Orthodox Church May Backfire, Analysts Say

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – April 8, 2015) While the Russian federal government’s burgeoning reliance on the Russian Orthodox Church is a tool aimed at consolidating society, in using it the authorities risk giving the clergy too much power, an issue that may eventually backfire against the Kremlin, experts told The Moscow Times on Tuesday. Recent public […]

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New Orthodox Journal “The Wheel”

The Wheel magazine cover

Subject: new Orthodox journal The Wheel Date: Fri, 3 Apr 2015 From: Andrei Zolotov (andrei.zolotovrp@rian.ru) I would like to forward to you information about a pretty amazing new project – an English-language journal of Orthodox Christian thought, The Wheel, that has been put together by my friends. It seems to me The Wheel, and in particular its first issue on the […]

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Russian Church Leader Says Stalin Fans Need to ‘Sober Up’ to Realities

Joseph Stalin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 7, 2015) A Russian Orthodox Church leader has urged supporters of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin to “sober up” by visiting the mass graves of political dissidents executed under his regime, news reports said. The comments by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk came in response to poll results that showed a growing number of Russians view […]

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Russian church denies filing complaint against controversial opera

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

(Interfax – April 1, 2015) The Novosibirsk diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church has denied having filed a claim against Tannhaeuser opera production at the Novosibirsk State Theatre of Opera and Ballet, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 1 April. In a statement to Interfax-Religion it said: “The Novosibirsk diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church points out that the […]

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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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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

St. Basil's Domes

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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Paul Grenier: “A Conservative Russia? This Means War! (The Tragedy of American Ideology)”

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

Subject: A Conservative Russia? This Means War! (The Tragedy of American Ideology) Date: Mon, 23 Mar 2015 From: Paul Grenier <psgrenier@gmail.com> A Conservative Russia? This Means War! (The Tragedy of American Ideology) By Paul R. Grenier Paul Grenier is an essayist and translator who writes regularly on political-philosophical issues. After advanced study in Russian affairs, international relations and geography at […]

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Fire in Novodevichy Convent bell tower did not damage building

Novodevichy Convent file photo

(Interfax – March 16, 2015) It took firefighters almost three hours to extinguish the fire in the Moscow Novodevichy Convent bell tower. The fire, which affected an area of 300 square meters, did not do any damage to the historical building. “The internal premises were not damaged by the fire and external facing plaster fell off in the places affected […]

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NEWSLINK Fox News: Jews in Baltics fear creep of anti-Semitism

Torah Scrolls

Jews in the Baltics fear a series of disturbing events in the three-nation region of Eastern Europe may be signaling a revival of the Holocaust-era hatred that once nearly wiped out their numbers. Across the countries of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, Jewish leaders say their communities are feeling increasingly uncomfortable as anti-Semitism once again appears to be on the rise. […]

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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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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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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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