July 24, 2014

Archbishop Hilarion on social problems

From the Moscow Patriarchate, Nov. 12, 2009: During his meeting with foreign journalists on 11 November 2009, Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk answered questions concerning urgent problems of society today. Asked about the Church’s view of some problems of bioethics, especially the use of artificial life-support systems to prolong the life of a patient, he said, ‘It is a very complicated issue. We in the Orthodox Church do not believe that one’s life should be certainly prolonged by artificial means. We believe a human being is born when it pleases God and dies when it pleases God. Complications arise when artificial life-support systems are used in a critical situation when there is a hope for one’s survival and return to normal life. But then one’s organism as if adjusts itself to these machines without one’s regaining consciousness. One continues to live in a vegetative state and here a complicated dilemma arises indeed: who can switch off these machines thus actually … [Read more...]

Stalin, Russianness and Orthodoxy

stalin

AsiaNews, the Roman Catholic news service, looks at how some elements in Russian society are working to rehabilitate Stalin's reputation and sees the Russian Orthodox Church "co-opted" into this process. The makeover of Stalin’s image and the Soviet Era go together with an attempt by Russian rulers to restore the country’s cultural identity, an impossible mission without the cooptation of Russian Orthodoxy. The Moscow Patriarchate, in spite of itself, is much involved in this issue, and has often been accused of playing right into the Kremlin’s hands in order to gain cultural supremacy in Russian society. Aleksandr Cipko, a philosopher and editorial writer, from the pages of Nezavisimaja Gazeta on 15 September slammed the operation to revive the myth of Russia’s supremacy over the West. For him, there is a danger that Stalin will be seen as the embodiment of the original Russian project rather than Communism. The philosopher is angered by self-styled “true patriots” who … [Read more...]

‘Stalin’s Ghost Still Walks’

Writing in History Today, Catherine Merridale examines "competing versions of Russia's troubled past in the light of present politics." The excerpt below from "Haunted by Stalin" discusses the decline of interest in the Soviet past, and especially the work of Memorial, the research organization dedicated to keeping the memory of Communism's victims alive. For some Russians, Merridale observes, "the steady flow of soul-searching and criticism began to smell of treachery." In her conclusion, she writes that, "Stalin’s ghost still walks, in other words, and, though it is easy to condemn the Kremlin’s new occupants for invoking it in their pursuit of power and wealth, the strategy could work only because a large proportion of Russia’s people was ready to welcome the old villain home with open arms." Memorial ... was reporting increasing harassment. The St Petersburg branch was raided in December 2008 and electronic data from its archive seized. Although the raid was later … [Read more...]

Archbishop Hilarion: Stalin a ‘Monster’

HT: ONet blog Russian archbishop's censure of Stalin as “a monster” makes waves By Sophia Kishkovsky Tuesday, 04 August 2009 23:00 MOSCOW (ENI) -— Comments by a senior official of the Russian Orthodox Church condemning Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, accusing him of genocide, shortly before a European security forum equated the crimes of Stalin and Hitler, have stirred heated debate in the Russian media and blogosphere. "I think that Stalin was a spiritually-deformed monster, who created a horrific, inhuman system of ruling the country," Archbishop Hilarion had said in a June interview with the news magazine Ekspert. "He unleashed a genocide against the people of his own country and bears personal responsibility for the death of millions of innocent people. In this respect Stalin is completely comparable to Hitler." … [Read more...]

Interview: A Mission in the World

The Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate distributed "A Mission in the World," an interview of Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk by Expert Magazine (Issue No. 23 (661) June 15, 2009). Expert Magazine Your Eminence, one hundred days have passed since the enthronement of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. What has changed in church-society relations since? Have any new tendencies emerged? Archbishop Hilarion The man who ascended to the throne of the Moscow Patriarchate is one who has been known for many years for his focus on mission and his capacity to shed light on matters. He has long been in active co-operation with all parts of the society, hosting a TV programme of his own and making regular appearances in the print media. Even before he was elected Patriarch, he was known and loved by millions of Russian Orthodox faithful throughout the world. He has gained authority in broad public circles. Metropolitan Kirill accumulated a unique … [Read more...]

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 and the Terror State

Priests, archbishops and a metropolitan imprisoned in the Solovetsky labor camp (1926). Solovetsky, a thriving monastery before the Bolshevik takover, was returned to the Russian Church in 1990. Source: Tomas Kizny

The Moscow Times reports on the funeral of Russian Patriarch Alexy II: Candles flickered and white-robed elders chanted prayers as the country bade farewell Tuesday to Patriarch Alexy II, who guided the country's dominant Russian Orthodox Church through its remarkable recovery after decades of Communist-era repression. Nuns, believers and government officials looked on as prayers filled the soaring Christ the Savior Cathedral at a six-hour funeral service for Alexy, who died Friday at age 79. He was buried later Tuesday at the Epiphany Cathedral across town in a ceremony closed to the public and media, the church said ... "We are burying a great man, a great son of our nation, a beautiful holy fruit grown by our Russian church," Reverend Dmitry Smirnov, a Moscow archpriest, said in an address at the funeral, which was broadcast live on state-run television. "Our whole nation has been orphaned." The BBC has a clip from the very moving funeral service here. I published "The … [Read more...]