Welcome to , 08 Jun 2014
Fortnightly Report on Christianity in Former Soviet Bloc Countries,
by Dr. Robert D. Hosken
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FIRST, THE NEWS:

METROPOLITAN HILARION SAYS UKRAINE'S EASTERN CATHOLICS ARE PLAYING A "DESTRUCTIVE ROLE"
from
CatholicCulture.org

Metr. Hilarion (04 Jun) Speaking in Belarus, Metropolitan Hilarion, the chairman of the Russian Orthodox Church's Department of External Church Relations, told the European Orthodox-Catholic Forum that "the Greek Catholics have played a very destructive role" in the current Ukrainian crisis. "Unlike the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has been able during these difficult months to unite people of various political persuasions, including those who have found themselves on both sides of the barricades, the Uniates have ostentatiously associated themselves with only one of the belligerent forces," said Metropolitan Hilarion, referring to members of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the largest of the Eastern Catholic churches.

"The aggressive words of the Uniates, actions directed at undermining the canonical Orthodox Church, active contacts with schismatics and the striving to divide a single multinational Russian Orthodox Church have caused great damage not only to the Ukraine and her citizens, but also to the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue," he continued. "All of this has put us back a great distance, reminding us of the times when the Orthodox and Catholics viewed each other not as friends but as rivals."

Metropolitan Hilarion also denounced the Union of Brest, in which Orthodox bishops around Kiev reconciled with the Holy See: "Today once again it has been all the more obvious what the Orthodox knew - that the Unia was and, unfortunately, remains a special project of the Catholic Church aimed at undermining canonical Orthodoxy. It was here, in the country of Byelorussia, that the notorious 'Union of Brest' of 1596 was concluded and which brought untold suffering to the Orthodox population of these lands." [read more...]


AZERBAIJAN: "THE BANNED BOOK THE OLD TESTAMENT WAS CONFISCATED"
by Felix Corley,
Forum 18 News Service

(03 Jun) Following the detention in mid-May of two women and a 14-year old girl talking about their faith to others, a court in Gakh [Qax] in northern Azerbaijan dismissed an administrative case against one of the women. No prosecution of the second adult occurred, despite police threats to bring a case. However, police confiscated an Azeri-language copy of the Old Testament insisting that it is "banned."

In another case, three women convicted in southern Azerbaijan in May under the Code of Administrative Offences of meeting for religious purposes without state permission are challenging their convictions, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. The women - two of whom were heavily fined after the meeting was raided by police - have lodged appeals to Shirvan Appeal Court. No dates for hearings have yet been set. Police also confiscated Bibles and other religious publications. [read more...]


WEST IS MOVING AWAY FROM RUSSIA AS THE COUNTRY RETURNS TO ORTHODOXY, LAVROV BELIEVES
from
Interfax-Religion

(05 Jun) Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov states that Russia returns to traditional spiritual values and it is one of the reasons why the West distances from it. "Surprisingly, they start operating [on] the thesis that the Soviet Union with its Communist doctrine at least stayed in the system of ideas worked out in the West, while modern Russia returns to its traditional values rooted in Orthodoxy and thus becomes even less understandable," Lavrov said at his meeting with members of the Russian International Affairs Council in Moscow.

According to him, the contradiction "between objectively strengthening multipolarity and the USA and historical West striving to keep their usual dominating positions, between the modern world's cultural and civilization diversity and its attempts to impose on everyone a Western system of values." [read more...]


KYRGYZSTAN: COMPLAINING TO LOCAL AUTHORITIES ABOUT BURIAL VIOLATIONS IS "USELESS"
by Mushfig Bayram,
Forum 18 News Service

(06 Jun) In a region of Kyrgyzstan which relatives do not wish to be named for fear of reprisals, the authorities failed to intervene when a local imam refused for three days to allow the burial of a deceased Protestant woman in a village cemetery. The imam permitted the burial to go ahead only after the woman's Protestant husband was forced to publicly renounce his Christian faith and declare that he is a Muslim, a family member and local Protestants who attended the funeral told Forum 18.

The family member commented that the other reason the imam allowed the burial to go ahead was that he was coming under pressure from villagers to allow the burial. However, friends and neighbours were afraid to identify the woman as a Christian as a further reason why the imam should not either interfere in the family's burial of their relative, or forcibly convert the grieving husband.

Also, in January in the villages of Oktyabr and Zherge-Tal, in Suzak District of the north-western Jalal-Abad Region, local imams interfered in the conduct of funerals. In Oktabyr the imam barred the burial of a Protestant woman in the village cemetery, and in Zherge-Tal the imam stopped a Protestant pastor from participating in the funeral of his Muslim brother. In Kyrgyz culture it is extremely important that a brother take a central part in the funeral of a sibling. [read more...]


METROPOLITAN ALEXANDER: "ORTHODOX MILITIA OF DONBASS" HAS "NOTHING IN COMMON" WITH THE ORTHODOX FAITH
from
Religious Information Service of Ukraine

(02 Jun) The self-defense forces in southeastern Ukraine do not have broad support and are "separatists," Metropolitan Alexander (Drabinko), secretary of the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, said. "It was generally believed that people in the southeastern regions oppose European integration. However, it became obvious in the past few months that the rumors of 'Soviet mentality' of these regions are very exaggerated. No matter how much the outside forces want it, it is virtually impossible to divide Ukraine because the separatists are actively supported only by a minority even in Donetsk and Lugansk," the metropolitan said in his video blog.

He said the "Orthodox Militia of Donbass" has "nothing in common" with the Orthodox faith. The metropolitan also believes that in this new historical situation the Church should give up "the utopia of Orthodox civilization" and stop thinking of itself as "part of the state body." He also recalled that the church canons do not envision a one-time and mechanical change of its canonical status due to changes of the state border. At the same time, the metropolitan said the history of Orthodox faith indicates that "the creation of politically and culturally complete statehood, as a rule, leads to the formation on its territory of a canonically self-sufficient church structure." [read more...]


METROPOLITAN HILARION PROPOSES HOLDING SERVICES IN RUSSIAN LANGUAGE IN SOME CHURCHES
from
Interfax-Religiia

(03 Jun) The head of the synodal Department of External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, stated that he is not a proponent of the russification of the divine liturgy, but he thinks that exceptions may be made in this matter. "I think that in the end a compromise resolution should be found. If, let's say, there are 100 churches in a city, why not conduct the liturgy, at the request of believers, in Russian in ten or in three of them, at least in part? After all such a possibility exists," the metropolitan stated on his program "Church and World" on television channel Rossia-24.

At the same time, he emphasized that he is not an advocate of the russification of the divine liturgy: "I think that the Slavonic language in the form in which it has been preserved in liturgical books and in the liturgical practice of our church should be maintained and carefully preserved by us. After all it is the heritage of Saints Cyril and Methodius, which unites us even with other Slavic peoples," the hierarch declared. He recalled that the majority of Slavic Orthodox churches have already switched to their own national languages. For example, in Serbia the liturgy is performed, as a rule, not in Slavonic but in modern Serbian, and in Bulgaria, in modern Bulgarian. [read more...]


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES:

UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH MAY BECOME SEPARATE FROM MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE - SECRETARY OF HEAD OF UOC-MP
from
Pravoslavie.ru

KAZAKHSTAN: DRINK VODKA - YES, WATCH FOOTBALL - YES, PRAYING - NO
from
Forum 18 News Service

MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE TO SET UP INFRASTRUCTURE FOR DISABLED PEOPLE IN ITS CHURCHES
from
Interfax-Religion

RUSSIA'S BAPTIST UNION HAS A NEW "NUMBER TWO"
from
Russian Evangelical Alliance

UKRAINIAN REFUGEES RECEIVE HELP FROM THE CRISIS EVANGELISM FUND
from
Mission Network News

ALL-UKRAINIAN COUNCIL OF CHURCHES WISHES NEW PRESIDENT WISDOM IN PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND PEACE-BUILDING
from
Religious Information Service of Ukraine

RUSSIAN BAPTIST CONGRESS APPROVES PUTIN'S ACTIONS, RENOUNCES SOLIDARITY WITH UKRAINIAN BAPTISTS
from
Portal-credo.ru

THE ROLE OF SECULAR AND CHRISTIAN VALUES IN CONTEMPORARY MULTICULTURAL EUROPEAN SOCIETY
from
Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate

REFUGEE CRISIS IN UKRAINE: MINISTERING TO THE "LEAST OF THESE"
from
Russian Ministries

100-YEAR-OLD BEGGAR CELEBRATED AS LIVING SAINT IN BULGARIA
from
The Rakyat Post

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


NOW, OUR VIEWS:

In our first news article, METROPOLITAN HILARION SAYS UKRAINE'S EASTERN CATHOLICS ARE PLAYING A "DESTRUCTIVE ROLE", it is difficult to see how the ROC-MP is taking a neutral position regarding the current events in Ukraine. He stated - "the Greek Catholics have played a very destructive role," and used the code-words: "a single multinational Russian Orthodox Church," equating "the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church" - the ethnic Russians in Ukraine (and other ex-soviet states) - with "the canonical Orthodox Church," i.e. the Moscow Patriarchate. [Of course, he didn't mention that the Moscow Church received its patriarchate status by holding the Greek Patriarch hostage until the latter granted it when he came to Moscow begging for aid against the Turks.]

Why would Metropolitan Hilarion make such divisive statements at an Orthodox-Catholic Forum? Shouldn't this be a forum for seeking peace? We must understand that the Moscow Patriarchate needs to bear in mind all of its various constituencies and audiences: the conservative Orthodox, the Russian nationalist nominal Orthodox, the spiritually devout Orthodox, as well as those outside the Orthodox Church, both domestic and international audiences.

This article appeared in the Russian-language "Interfax-Religia" but was not translated by that agency into English, indicating it was intended for a domestic constituency. A Catholic agency, though, recorded the speech and translated it... perhaps to the international embarrassment of the ROC-MP. Russia wants to avoid a rapprochement between Ukraine's Orthodox and Catholics that might lead to a unified Christian Church outside of Moscow's control, unless it can remote-control a unified Orthodox Church in Ukraine - see UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH MAY BECOME SEPARATE FROM MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE - SECRETARY OF HEAD OF UOC-MP.

Our news article METROPOLITAN ALEXANDER: "ORTHODOX MILITIA OF DONBASS" HAS "NOTHING IN COMMON" WITH THE ORTHODOX FAITH illustrates the viewpoint of this same young ROC-MP hierarch in Ukraine, who disowns the activities of the Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. Will this view land this young metropolitan in hot water, or does it presage what is to come with these separatists? The Russian political expert Paul Goble reports in WINDOW ON EURASIA: KREMLIN WILL ULTIMATELY DISOWN AND SUPPRESS THOSE FIGHTING FOR IT IN UKRAINE TO SAVE ITSELF, MITROKHIN SAYS that the FSB may well arrest these separatist fighters when they return to Russia, just as Stalin executed those soldiers who fought for communism in Spain against General Franco's Fascist regime during the pre-WWII Spanish Revolution when they returned home.

Another illustration of the attitude toward change in the ROC-MP is our news article METROPOLITAN HILARION PROPOSES HOLDING SERVICES IN RUSSIAN LANGUAGE IN SOME CHURCHES. Metropolitan Hilarion himself brought up the suggestion of having some parts of the Liturgy in modern Russian as early as in December 2007: DIVINE SERVICE FRAGMENTS TO BE READ IN MODERN RUSSIAN. The Orthodox Church is naturally resistant to change: when we were living in Moscow and I was working on a revision of the official Russian Synodal Translation of the Bible, during my visits with various people at the Russian Bible Society I was told that the ovewhelming majority of Russian Orthodox believers would resist any change to the Russian Synodal Translation.

And yet, the RST has been revised multiple times in the past, and is undergoing a revision right at the present. But the Liturgy and other church services are still conducted in Church Slavonic, which is even less comprehensible to common Russians than the archaic words in the RST Bible. This runs counter to the practice of Saints Cyril and Methodius who over 1,000 years ago translated the Bible and the Liturgy into Old Slavonic, which was then the common language of the Slavs. And it is against the canons of the Orthodox Church, which state the Liturgy and other church services should be in the language of the people.


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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!


For a daily reminder to pray for the items below, go to My Daily Prayer Guide and click on the "H-N pr." link!


Prayer and Praise:

Sun. - Pray for a return to
peaceful, brotherly relations between Russian Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches.
Mon. - Ask God that the confiscated "banned" Azeri-language copy of the Old Testament will be returned to its owner.
Tue. - Pray to the Lord that Russia would truly return to its traditional values rooted in Orthodox Christianity.
Wed. - Intercede for Christians in Kyrgyzstan where relatives are unable to find burial plots for their deceased.
Thu. - Thank God and pray for for Metropolitan Alexander who has denounced the "separatists" in eastern Ukraine.
Fri. - Praise the Lord that some Russian Orthodox churches may begin holding services in modern Russian language.
Sat. - Ask God that His name would be kept holy, His Kingdom would come and His will would be done on this earth.

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. This life is preparation for eternity. When we fully grasp this fact, we will live only for eternal values.


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