Welcome to , 27 Apr 2014
Fortnightly Report on Christianity in Former Soviet Bloc Countries,
by Dr. Robert D. Hosken
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FIRST, THE NEWS:

UKRAINIAN, RUSSIAN CHURCH LEADERS TRADE ACCUSATIONS ON PASCHA (EASTER)
from
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Patriarch Kirill (20 Apr) As millions of Christians around the world began celebrations for Easter, the heads of the Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox churches made critical statements over the crisis in Ukraine. It is the first time in many years that Easter - the day on which Christians believe Jesus was resurrected - occurs at the same time for both Catholics and Orthodox followers.

In Kyiv, the head of Ukraine's Orthodox Church condemned Russian "aggression" during his Easter message to the church's followers and said Moscow's "evil" will be defeated. Patriarch Filaret said there has been aggression against "peace-loving" Ukraine, which "voluntarily gave up nuclear weapons." Filaret's comment referred to the 1994 Budapest Memorandum in which Russia, the United States, and Britain gave security assurances to Kyiv in return for it giving up its nuclear arsenal. Ukraine accuses Russia of failing to uphold its pledge after it seized and annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula last month.

In Moscow, Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill said during Easter eve services in the Christ the Savior Cathedral that God should put "an end to the designs of those who want to destroy holy Russia." He added that Ukraine is "politically" separate but is "spiritually and historically" one with Russia. Kirill said he prayed that Ukraine could benefit from government officials who are "legitimately elected." Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev took part in the service. [read more...]


UKRAINIAN LEADER MEETS POPE, LEAVES ROME EARLY
from
Journal Review Online

Yatsenyuk and Pope Francis(26 Apr) Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Ukraine's acting prime minister, was at the Vatican and met with Pope Francis. Yatsenyuk was in Rome to attend Sunday's canonization ceremony for Popes John Paul II and John XXIII, but escalating Ukrainian-Russian tensions prompted him to return home instead of staying for the sainthood ceremony on Sunday.

Members of Yatsenyuk's delegation told journalists he was returning to Ukraine later Saturday. The Pope was meeting with foreign leaders arriving for the ceremony Sunday that will raise Popes John Paul II and John XXIII to sainthood. Francis gave Yatsenyuk a fountain pen, telling him, "I hope this pen will sign the peace." Yatsenyuk replied: "I hope so, too." [read more...]


UZBEKISTAN: "THOSE WHO ACCEPTED OTHER RELIGIONS MAY NOT BE BURIED IN THE SAME CEMETERY WITH MUSLIMS"
by Mushfig Bayram,
Forum 18 News Service

(25 Apr) When Protestant Christian Gayrat Buriyev died on 9 April in a village near Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent, the local Imam - backed by the head of the district administration - refused to allow him to be buried in the state-owned village cemetery because he was not a Muslim, the imam and officials confirmed to Forum 18 News Service. "The cemetery is state property, but is under the management of the local Mosque, and if the Imam is against the burial then it will not take place," officials told relatives.

In two similar cases in Karakalpakstan Autonomous Republic in northwestern Uzbekistan, officials forced the families of two Protestant women who died in February to bury them in the local Russian Orthodox cemetery after the imam blocked their burial in the state-owned cemetery. "Those who accepted other religions may not be buried in the same cemetery with Muslims," a local official told Forum 18. Authorities in Karakalpakstan in particular have made burial difficult for deceased non-Muslims, or even for deceased Muslims who have non-Muslim close relatives. They have also used the threat of burial denial to deter individuals from joining non-Muslim faiths. [read more...]


CRIMEA BECAME A PART OF RUSSIA ON THE DAY OF THAT PENINSULA'S HEAVENLY PROTECTOR
from
Interfax-Religion

(19 Apr) Russian President Vladimir Putin, the State Council Chairman, Crimean Parliament Chairman Vladimir Konstantinov, Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksionov and the city of Sevastopol executive Alexey Chaly have signed an agreement on the inclusion of Crimea, including Sevastopol, into Russia on the day when the Orthodox Church commemorates the finding of the relics of the peninsula heavenly protector Archbishop Luka (Voyno-Yasenetsky). On these days all churches and monasteries of the Crimean Diocese lifted up prayers before the icon of Archbishop Luka for multiplying love and peace on the peninsula.

Archbishop Luka (born Valentin Felixovich Voyno-Yasenetsky) was born in Kerch in1877. After graduation from the higher school he decided that he should be involved only the activities "useful for suffering people," and chose medicine and later became a priest. He carried out his ministry in Soviet period, so he had to face many hardships. The archbishop went through arrests, trials and spent 11 years in exile. Archbishop Luka was a ruling bishop of Crimea from 1946 to 1961. He received the Stalin reward for his book on surgery in 1946. [read more...]


KAZAKHSTAN: BAPTIST DENIS YENENKO JAILED OVER EASTER
by Felix Corley,
Forum 18 News Service

(22 Apr) Denis Yenenko was due out of prison in Sergeyevka in North Kazakhstan Region n 23 April. The 31-year-old Baptist, who is married with three young children, will have completed a six-day prison term - which included his Easter. He was imprisoned to punish him for refusing to pay an earlier fine for exercising the right to freedom of religion or belief, according to court documents seen by Forum 18 News Service. Yenenko is the eighth known Council of Churches Baptist to be given a prison term in 2014 so far.

Council of Churches Baptists refuse on principle to seek state permission to be able to meet for worship. As many as 33 of the 39 known administrative fines handed down in the first ten weeks of 2014 to punish individuals for exercising the right to freedom of religion or belief were on their members. The oldest of those fined, Yegor Prokopenko, was aged 87 and three months. They also have a policy of civil disobedience, refusing to pay such fines. [read more...]


UOC-KP ARCHBISHOP OF CRIMEA APPEALS TO PUTIN TO ENSURE UKRAINIANS IN CRIMEA ARE FREE TO WORSHIP
from
Religious Information Service of Ukraine

(24 Apr) The Ukrainian community of Crimea and Sevastopol is concerned over actions to obstruct the functioning of places of worship of the Eparchy of Crimea of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP). According to Archbishop Klyment of Simferopol and Crimea of the UOC-KP, in Sevastopol the Church of Martyr Clement of Rome, which operated on the navy training base, has stopped functioning. All the efforts of Archbishop Klyment to meet with representatives of the current government in Sevastopol have failed.

In addition, in the village Perevalne the Kyivan Patriarchate eparchy is experiencing psychological pressure from representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate, and most recently, on Palm Sunday, young men in camouflage tried to start a conflict. In this regard, Archbishop Klyment intends to appeal to the President of the Russian Federation to ensure ethnic Ukrainians in Crimea are free to worship. According to the press service of the Kyivan Patriarchate, in March of this year, adviser for the Crimean Cabinet of Ministers Crimea for defense and security, Colonel Strelkov, signed a document under which all government bodies of Crimea are to stop attempts to seize property and obstruct the activity of the churches of the UOC-KP in Crimea. The letter, according to Strelkov, was approved by Patriarch Kirill. [read more...]


WEEPING WITH THOSE WHO WEEP - HOT AND COLD SHOWERS IN UKRAINE AND RUSSIA
from
Russian Evangelical Alliance

(21 Apr) A meeting between the Russian and Baptist unions in Kiev on 8 April, which included a closing communiqué, was described as both euphoric and "fantastic." Only two days later, a much larger gathering of Russian and Ukrainian Protestant leaders on the visa-free and neutral territory of Israel resulted in a major let-down. On 15 April, Bishop Eduard Grabovenko (Perm), head of Russia's traditional-Pentecostal "Russian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith" wrote of "pain, grief and resentment. I returned home with a heavy heart." No joint communiqué was issued.

The press speaker of Sergey Ryakhovsky, leading bishop of the Charismatic "Associated Russian Union of Christians of Evangelical-Pentecostal Faith" (ROSKhVE), explained on 17 April: "The gathering in Israel was extremely complicated. There are cases in which one needs to remain silent." The difference might be that in Kiev both sides were confessing their sins to each other. In Israel though, both were essentially demanding repentance from the other party. It was also unusual that Ryakhovsky headed a delegation intending to mend bridges, for he is known as the most outspokenly pro-Kremlin of Russia's Protestant leaders. [read more...]


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES:

END MANDATORY RELIGIOUS GROUPS' REGISTRATION, UN EXPERT URGES KAZAKHSTAN
from
EcuNews.com

KYRGYZSTAN: LENTEN SERVICE RAIDED, OTHER RAIDS, WARNINGS OF "ILLEGAL ACTIVITY"
from
Forum 18 News Service

KREMLIN EMPHASIZES NEED FOR DIALOG BETWEEN AUTHORITIES, RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS
from
Interfax-Religion

UKRAINE-RUSSIA CONFLICT IS A SPIRITUAL BATTLE
from
Mission Network News

COUNCIL OF CHURCHES IN DONETSK REGION ASKS AUTHORITIES TO STOP SEPARATISTS' XENOPHOBIC AND ANTI-SEMITIC MANIFESTATIONS
from
Religious Information Service of Ukraine

1,500 PARISHIONERS OF VARIOUS CHURCHES PRAY FOR UNITY OF UKRAINE IN CITY OF KHARKIV
from
UNIAN

RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PASCHA IS CELEBRATED IN CHINA
from
Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate

THE NEED IN UKRAINE FOR SCRIPTURE IN A TIME OF TURMOIL AND UNREST
from
Russian Ministries

RUSSIAN SCHOLAR UNCOVERS SOVIET-ERA HISTORY
from
Mennonite World Review

See HOSKEN-NEWS Daily for more of the latest news!


NOW, OUR VIEWS:

Select to see full-size!This "Life Has No Remote" photo recently appeared on my Facebook feed. I don't normally make plugs for that website, but this particular photo intrigued me. It speaks to a symptom of our modern society: everything should be automatic, nice and easy. People should get along with each other, and not get worked up about their differences. Just sit back, "chill out" and relax!

Sure, we might feign concern about what's going on in the world: Ukraine is being torn apart, a Malaysian jet airliner with almost 300 people onboard disappears, a South Korean ferry with about 400 people capsizes and most of them - including hundreds of school children - perish: "Oh, how terrible!" - we sigh. But soon the TV news cycle moves on to other breaking news stories, and we conveniently forget about those horrific incidents. After all, it doesn't affect us directly, does it?

Yes, it does! "When one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. Or when one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually" (1 Cor. 12:26-27). Most Ukrainians are Christians, as are many in Malaysia and South Korea. We can't say, "I have no need of you" (v. 21), because "there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another" (v. 25). What is going on in Ukraine affects us because we are members of one body! So we need to get up from our soft couches and take action to support them.


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Let's keep the comments coming! When you've finished reading, leave your COMMENTS in our Hosken-News Blog below. Thanks!


Prayer and Praise:

Sun. - Pray that
Russian and Ukrainian churches will stop fighting over real estate and start loving each other.
Mon. - Ask God that Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew will take an active role in solving Ukraine's crisis.
Tue. - Pray for Baptist Denis Yenenko who was jailed over Easter for practicing his religious belief of separation.
Wed. - Intercede for churches in Crimea that are not being allowed to function now that Russia controls this area.
Thu. - Pray for reconciliation between Russian and Ukrainian Pentecostal and Charismatic Christian denominations.
Fri. - Ask the Lord that Christians will repent of only feigning concern for the suffering in the world today.
Sat. - Pray that Christian parents will practice real Christianity, not merely Moralistic Therapeutic Theism.

Select to see full-size!   Please remember to pray for Christians in the former Soviet bloc countries, and for...

  Your fellow-servants,

  Bob & Cheryl

p.s. Unless I love God with all my being and my neighbor as myself, all my ideals, health & wealth "ain't wuth a hill o' beans!"


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