April 19, 2014

Ukrainian Church ‘rent by divisions’

On the Get Relgion blog, Terry Mattingly describes a trip he made to Kiev to speak to Ukrainian journalists "about the challenges of covering religion news in mainstream press." He looks at the divisions among Orthodox Churches in the Ukraine, which is set against the long running antagonisms that exist between that country and Russia. "You see, right now almost anything can create tensions between Ukraine and Russia," Mattingly writes. "A ceremony with clergy linked to Moscow would create tensions in some circles. A ceremony without clergy linked to Moscow would create tensions in others. The symbolism has political content either way." He also writes about his trip to Kiev for his Scripps News column. Here's how he begins: Merely saying the forest's name -- Bykivnya -- can cause strong emotions for millions of Ukrainians. This is where the secret police of Soviet strongman Joseph Stalin buried 100,000 of their victims between 1937 and 1941 in a mass grave northeast of Kiev. … [Read more...]

The Church of New Martyrs

Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and Gallich

The Orthodox Church today commemorates St. Gregory the Theologian, Archbishop of Constantinople, famed for his "lofty eloquence and ... wondrous breadth of learning." In Russia, today is also the feast day of the New Martyrs, the millions of faithful Christians who perished under the Communist terror. Among them was the holy New Martyr Metropolitan Vladimir (Bogoyavlensky) of Kiev and Gallich, the first bishop to be tortured and slain by the Communists at the time of the Russian Revolution. The Church was an immediate target of the Bolsheviks who saw the faithful as "a threat from the opposing political force." On January 23, 1918, during the battle for Kiev, the Bolsheviks seized the Kiev Caves Lavra, and the monks were taken out into the courtyard to be stripped and beaten. A few nights later, according to one account, five armed soldiers and a sailor came looking for Metropolitan Vladimir. The hierarch was tortured and choked in his bedroom with the chain of his cross. They … [Read more...]