April 20, 2014

Orthodox Churches Object to National Identity Cards

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First of all, let's dispense with the pejoratives: Conservative and nationalist wings within the churches have held demonstrations in Athens and Moscow and claim that the cards will compromise national and religious identity. Many have gone so far as to say that identity numbers such as 666 are the "mark of the beast" from the Book of Revelation, the final book of the New Testament. Archimandrite Iannuarii Ivliev, a professor of biblical studies at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy told the May edition of Neskuchny Sad, a Russian Orthodox magazine, that the obsession with symbols such as 666 are the result of a primitive interpretation of the Book of Revelation. All that might be true, but it is beside the point. Let's examine instead the salient point: Patriarch Kirill II of the Russian Orthodox Church told a meeting of the Bishop's Council of the Russian Orthodox in February that "the church understands the position of people who do not wish to be subject to control … [Read more...]

Pat Kirill: Paschal Message 2011

Pat. Kirill

Source: Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church Beloved in the Lord archpastors, all-honourable presbyters and deacons, God-loving monks and nuns, dear brothers and sisters! From my heart filled with gratitude towards God, I proclaim to all of you the great and saving news: CHRIST IS RISEN! With each year the Church testifies through this Paschal exclamation to the event of universal significance which happened almost two thousand years ago. It was then that early in the morning the myrrh-bearing women came to the burial site of their Teacher and saw that the tomb was empty. The divine power of Christ had triumphed over the law of death. He had risen, testifying to all of humanity that death was not the end of life, that death was overcome by the power of God. Christ’s resurrection, in being a unique event in world history, became by God’s intention the beginning too of our own personal resurrection. It was precisely for this that the … [Read more...]

Pat. Kirill’s Book to be Published in English

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Source: Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church | HT: Byzantine, TX (mospat.ru) - On 11 April 2011, the English edition of the book “Freedom and Responsibility. A Search for Harmony – Human Rights and Personal Dignity” written by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia will be presented at the London Book Fair. This is the first book by the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church translated into English thanks to successful cooperation between the “Darton, Longman & Todd” British Publishing House and the Publishing House of the Moscow Patriarchate. Deacon Michael Lomax of the Russian church in Brussels acted as translator. Bishop Richard Chartres of London wrote the introduction, calling the book a best example of modern religious thought. Patriarch Kirill’s book is not the first publication of the Orthodox authors issued by “Darton, Longman & Todd.” They published the works by Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh in the 1970s, and … [Read more...]

Russian Orthodox Church raises fears over pro-gay Protestant Churches

Virtue Online Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has told the head of the World Council of Churches of his concerns over the position of some Protestant Churches towards homosexuality. WCC General Secretary Dr Olav Fykse Tveit met the Patriarch in Moscow today as part of his first visit to the Russian Orthodox Church since taking up office last September. According to the WCC, Kirill expressed a "serious concern" about some of the challenges facing ecumenical dialogue in view of what he termed the "new positions of some Protestant churches" on several important moral issues, including their understanding of homosexuality. … [Read more...]

Russian bells ring in Egypt

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Russian bells ring in Egyptian Monasteries The peal of Russian bells will shortly spread in the neighbourhood of the Egyptian capital, Cairo. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill presented a group of bells to an ancient Greek, which were especially cast for this purpose by the smiths of the old Russian city of Voronezh. “Let the sounds of these bells remind people about our brotherly love and our unbreakable ties with the Orthodox Church in Alexandria, emphasized Patriarch Kirill. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church traditionally visits local Orthodox churches after he is enthroned. Here are more details from Milena Faustova. The Alexandrian Patriarchate is one of the oldest local Orthodox churches in the world. It was founded by the Apostle and Evangelist St. Mark in 42 A.D. According to legend, St. Mark became the first Bishop of Alexandria. Full article at The Voice of Russia. Patriarch Kirill intends to open Russian parishes and build churches … [Read more...]

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s statement on terrorist acts at the Moscow Metro

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia made the following statement on the terrorist acts at the Moscow Metro on 29 March 2010. My heart pains over the terrorist acts at the Moscow Metro this morning. I am praying for the rest of the victims’ souls, for consolation of their near and dear, and for the soonest recovery of the wounded. I beseech the Lord to help the rescuers, medical workers, and all who are trying to alleviate the consequences. I have instructed clergymen to visit the injured persons in hospitals. Unfortunately, this terrorist act is not the first committed in Russia in recent months. We see clearly that peril is lying in wait for all of us at any minute. However, we should not respond to it by fear, panic, or animosity. Let our response by the unity of our people, their strong will to stop the terrorists and those who support, finance, or justify them. God’ retribution will come to them. I believe that human justice will not be a long time … [Read more...]

Faith to Faith: Russian Patriarch ending landmark Armenia visit

Patriarch Kirill and Catholicos Karekin II laying flowers at the Genocide Memorial.

ArmeniaNow.com Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill is completing today his three-day visit to Armenia during which he and his Armenian counterpart accentuated the strong bonds between the two churches and peoples. As part of the visit staged at the invitation of the Catholicos of All Armenians, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church took part in several events, including a visit to Russian soldiers’ memorial, a meeting with Armenia’s Orthodox faithful and honoring the 1915 Armenian Genocide victims at Tsitsernakaberd. His Holiness Karekin II, and Patriarch Kirill signed an agreement for relationship and cooperation between the two cities of Vagarshapat (Etchmiadzin), Armenia, and Sergiyev Posad, Russia. The cities have been declared sister cities under the two patriarchs’ auspices. Speaking about the spirit of Christian brotherhood and cooperation present in relations between the two churches, Catholicos Karekin II stressed the warm feelings of gratitude of … [Read more...]

Russian church leaders defend marriage, speak out on family crisis

Pat. Kirill

Russian Orthodox Church leaders called on Christians on Thursday to be firm in defending traditional marriage and lamented the family crisis in the country. According to some estimates, over half of the marriages in Russia end in divorce. Women in the 140-million-strong country undergo some 1.5 million abortions annually. "We, Christians of different denominations, should profess the inviolability of the evangelic norms on the holy matrimony between man and woman," Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said in a welcome message to participants of an inter-Christian forum for former Soviet republics held in Moscow. Christians, he said, should "openly testify that deviation from the God-given fundamentals of marriage cannot contribute to forming a healthy individual." Another top church official, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk who heads the Russian Orthodox Church's external relations department, criticized today's morality. "Today the scale of priorities for … [Read more...]

Pat. Kirill on Chambesy

Patriarch Kirill: Every manifestation of Orthodox unity is our common glory, common joy, while a want of unity and every tension, every conflict in the global Orthodox family is a common pain and common defeat The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church pointed to the support of fraternal relations within the family of Local Orthodox Churches as one of the most important tasks of his Patriarchal ministry. ‘We should remember: the Holy Orthodox Church is one as the Lord is one. All the Orthodox nations comprise it’, he said in his address to the Bishops’ Conference on 2 February 2010 at the Church of Christ the Saviour, ‘The administrative borders of Local Churches are necessary of course for ensuring a proper canonical order but they cannot divide into parts the one body of the Church of Christ’. … [Read more...]

Russian Orthodox Church Sets Out To Be ‘First Among Equals’

Pat. Kirill

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty H/T: St. Andrew House Discussion Forum Is the Russian Orthodox Church set to launch a "new crusade" -- at home and abroad? Father Daniel Sysoyev, a prominent Russian missionary, recently urged the opening of an Orthodox "base" in Kyrgyzstan from which to launch a proselytizing "offensive" across mostly Muslim Central Asia. Speaking at a forum in Moscow on February 17, Sysoyev said the church should open theological faculties in Bishkek universities and "use Kyrgyzstan as a base for all of Central Asia, Afghanistan, Tibet, and China." Central Asia, he said, could prove fertile ground. After all, since 1992, a half-million Central Asians have become Protestant converts. And Catholic missionaries, the priest added, successfully set up a Kyrgyz diocese in just a few years. Bakyt Murzubraimov, chairman of the theology department at Osh State University in Kyrgyzstan, dismisses Sysoyev's … [Read more...]

Catholic Herald: In Russia, the path to unity is defrosting

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Roman Catholic reporting about union between Rome and Orthodoxy tends to be over optimistic. The Catholics seem to want union much more than the Orthodox do. A clearer assessment might be that Moscow sees cooperation with Rome as necessary to re-Christianize Europe, to help Europe rediscover its moral and religious moorings. Nevertheless, a significant thaw is occurring. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Neville Kyrke-Smith has visited Eastern Europe for the past 25 years. Now, he believes the end of the schism with the Orthodox is in sight "The Lefebvrists, the Anglicans... will it be the Orthodox next?" asked one slightly bewildered Catholic priest recently. Pope Benedict XVI is turning out to be ecumenically audacious. For this he has faced criticism, misunderstanding and accusations of insensitivity. But Pope Benedict and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church seem now to be making progress in preparing the ground to overcome the Great Schism of 1054. When I … [Read more...]

Patriarch Bartholomew Will Visit Russia in May

It's no secret that Moscow doesn't take kindly to Pat. Bartholomew's claims of universal authority (see: A Letter To The Ecumenical Patriarch Concerning The Situation Of The Diaspora by Patriarch Alexios written in 2005) so the sentence below “within the canonical order that was installed over centuries of church tradition" (quotes in Russian original) undoubtedly references this difference in ecclesiological understanding. This should be interesting. ++++++++++++++++++++ On 20 May, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is scheduled to arrive in Russia for an official visit. At a press conference in Moscow on Tuesday, Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk, the head of the Department of External Church Relations of the MP, said that Patriarch Bartholomew, in particular, intends to visit Moscow, St Petersburg, Vladimir, and Suzdal. In July 2009, Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias went to Turkey, his first official visit to another Local Orthodox Church as the … [Read more...]