Welcome to , 24 Aug 2014
Fortnightly Report on Christianity in Former Soviet Bloc Countries,
by Dr. Robert D. Hosken
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FIRST, THE NEWS:

UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC LEADER BLASTS RUSSIAN ORTHODOX STATEMENTS, SAYS CHURCH IS BEING OPPRESSED
from
CatholicCulture.org

Select to see full-size!(22 Aug) In a letter to bishops and political leaders around the world, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church said that the Catholic Church is being oppressed in eastern Ukraine. "For nine months Ukrainians, have been on an arduous pilgrimage from post-Soviet fear to freedom and God-given dignity," Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk said in an August 21 letter. "With patience, endurance, and great human sacrifice they overcame in February the brutal regime of Viktor Yanukovych. This moral triumph was answered in March by Russia's territorial annexation of Crimea. Now, for months the country endures foreign-supported destabilization, separatism, and terrorist activity in the Donetsk and Luhansk Regions."

"All of the Churches and religious organizations of Ukraine stood together against the violence of the Yanukovych regime, the annexation of Crimea, and the division of the country," he continued. "In annexed Crimea and in the eastern war zone, some of the churches and religious communities have been targeted for discrimination, enduring outright violence. In Crimea the most exposed have been the Muslim Tatars. The existence of Greek and Roman Catholics' ministries, Orthodox parishes of the Kyivan Patriarchate, and the Jewish community in Crimea [have] been variously menaced."

Listing specific incidents of anti-Catholic persecution, the Major Archbishop wrote that - "Amidst the horrors of war the tiny Ukrainian Greek and Roman Catholic minority experience oppression on the territories controlled by the 'separatists.' Three Catholic priests were kidnapped: Pawel Witek and Wiktor Wosowicz (Roman Catholic), Tykhon Kulbaka (Greek Catholic). The latter was kept in captivity for 10 days and deprived of medicine he needed. The episcopal residence of the Greek Catholic bishop in Donetsk was robbed and sealed, depriving him of his chancery and all documentation. The Cathedral yard was hit by 'separatist' rocket fire damaging the building and windows with shrapnel. The bishop and almost all Greek Catholic priests were forced to leave the environs of Donetsk. Armed representatives of separatist regime entered the church and desecrated the sanctuary. They 'allowed' priests to stay and conduct services but put them on travel restrictions. Terrorists blackmail the clergy by threatening to harm their parishioners." [read more...]


PATRIARCH KIRILL DEMANDS INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION OF ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS IN UKRAINE
from
Interfax-Religion

(20 Aug) Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has written to the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, setting out instances of discrimination against members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) amid the armed conflict in southeast Ukraine. "The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church has called on the UN, CoE and OSCE leaders to raise their authoritative voice in support of the Orthodox Christians in Eastern Ukraine," the Synodal Department for External Church Relations said in a statement.

The patriarch expressed the Russian Church's concerns over "attempts by the Uniates and schismatics to cause damage to the canonical Orthodox religion in Ukraine, taking advantage of the difficult situation resulting from hostilities in the southeast of the country," the statement said. In his letter, the patriarch mentions the tragic deaths of several UOC clergymen who became victims of the armed conflict, and draws international attention to violence against clerics and the ongoing attempts to oppress and intimidate representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox clergy. [read more...]


HEAD OF DELEGATION OF ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE DID NOT CONCELEBRATE AT ENTHRONEMENT OF PRIMATE OF UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
from
Religious Information Service of Ukraine

(18 Aug) According to the author of Religion in Ukraine Mykola Lakhno, yesterday, August 17, before the Divine Liturgy in the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra and the enthronement of Metropolitan of Kyiv Onufry as head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate, there was a scandal: Metropolitan Emmanuel Adamakis, head of delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate had no place to concelebrate. As a result, he took off his vestments and did not concelebrate.

Mykola Lakhno explains that in accordance with the common Orthodox diptychs, the pre-eminent place among the hierarchy of the Orthodox Churches belongs to the See of Constantinople, which involves leadership in concelebration with hierarchs of other local churches. But Metropolitan Emmanuel was put after the bishop of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) and Metropolitan of UOC Agafangel (Savin), what made it impossible for representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to concelebrate. [read more...]


RUSSIA: EUROPEAN COURT REPEATS CALLS FOR RELIGION LAW CHANGE
by Victoria Arnold,
Forum 18 News Service

(05 Aug) The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has ruled against Russia in two freedom of religion or belief cases, Forum 18 News Service notes. In one, a Pentecostal centre in Chuvashia liquidated for alleged violations of educational, fire and sanitary regulations both won their cases. Liquidation as a registered religious organisation is not a complete ban, but makes it difficult to do much more than privately meet for worship and to study texts.

The ECtHR also ruled that Russia must bring the Religion Law into line with both the country's international obligations and with the case-law of the Russian Supreme and Constitutional Courts. One ECtHR judge stated that "any additional delay would be unforgivable." Current changes to the Religion Law now in the Duma appear to have stalled. The proposed changes removed the 15-year registration waiting period, but human rights defenders have expressed concern about an apparent attempt to make registration of all religious groups compulsory. [read more...]


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES:

OPINION PIECE: WHAT DOES PATRIARCH KIRILL REALLY WANT?
from
Portal-credo.ru

UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH URGES GUNMEN IN EASTERN UKRAINE TO LAY DOWN ARMS
from
Interfax-Religion

MOSCOW-LINKED UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH CALLS FOR CRIMEA'S RETURN TO KYIV
from
Religious Information Service of Ukraine

UKRAINE UPDATE: MINISTRY CONTINUES DESPITE RISING VIOLENCE
from
Mission Network News

METROPOLITAN ONUFRY OF KIEV AND ALL UKRAINE ENTHRONED AT KIEV MONASTERY OF THE CAVES
from
Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate

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


NOW, OUR VIEWS:

Last week we were on vacation, so this issue of Hosken-News comes out a week later than usual. Also, other news sources seem to be taking a break, which means we have a somewhat smaller than usual number of articles and headlines to report.

Our first news article: UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC LEADER BLASTS RUSSIAN ORTHODOX STATEMENTS, SAYS CHURCH IS BEING OPPRESSED details the violence by Russia-backed separatists against Catholic clergy in eastern Ukraine. In previous issues of Hosken-News we have reported the murders of protestant ministers, the arrest and kidnapping of UOC-KP and Greek Catholic priests and other violent acts by these separatists in Ukraine. Yet, in our second news article: PATRIARCH KIRILL DEMANDS INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION OF ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS IN UKRAINE we read how Patriarch Kirill is appealing to the UN, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe for legal support of the Russian-backed Ukrainian Orthodox Church, mentioning several acts of violence against them, but failing to mention the much more numerous acts of violence by Russia-backed separatists against clergy and churches of other Christian groups.

Our first "other news headline": OPINION PIECE: WHAT DOES PATRIARCH KIRILL REALLY WANT? begins with - "The more RPTsMP supports the aggressor, the fewer chances it has for the future. And not only in Ukraine." This article indicates how the tide of public opinion even in some sectors of Russian society is turning against the blatant agression taking place in Ukraine. Even clergy in the UOC-MP are urging an end to the fighting and the return of Crimea to Ukraine - see our second and third "other news headlines" - because they can foresee the danger to the Russian Orthodox Church and the risk of separatism in Russia itself if this undeclared war continues.

Our third news article: HEAD OF DELEGATION OF ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE DID NOT CONCELEBRATE AT ENTHRONEMENT OF PRIMATE OF UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH tells how the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was "demoted" by the UOC-MP and then refused to participate in the ceremony when they put the representative of the Moscow Patriarchate ahead of him. This is a serious breach of protocol required by church canons, and clearly indicates that the Moscow Patriarchate considers itself the leader of world Orthodoxy, ahead of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Russia is struggling to retain its position in Ukraine but appears to be losing ground, which portends serious loss of parishes and prestige for Moscow and its Patriarch.


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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 peace and independence in Ukraine,
an end to all killing, fighting between churches in this country.
Mon. - Ask the Lord that international agencies such as the UN will take a stand for peace and justice in Ukraine.
Tue. - Pray that the serious breach of church protocol at Metropolitan Onufry's enthronement will be reconciled.
Wed. - Ask God that the European Court of Human Rights' decision on religious freedom will be observed by Russia.
Thu. - Pray that the Russian Orthodox Church, the state and Russian society will realize the dangers lying ahead.
Fri. - Praise the Lord that ministry to war refugees in Ukraine is continuing, despite the turmoil in the area.
Sat. - Ask the Lord that Western Christians will wake up from the "instant gratification and sanctification" delusion.

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. There are two kinds of pain: the pain of discipline, and the pain of regret. The choice is yours.


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