||FIRST, THE NEWS:
WAR ON RELIGION: ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN PRIESTS, CHURCHGOERS FACE THREATS IN UKRAINE
from Russia Today
(14 Oct) The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate has been receiving threats, including that of violence against the clergy, as radical nationalist movements try to take over churches and force them under the Kiev Patriarchate. Using both the years-long strife between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and its breakaway Kiev branch, as well as allegations of the Moscow-tied Orthodox priests particularly supporting anti-government fighters in eastern Ukraine, radical activists have distributed leaflets with alarming threats addressed to the clergy and parishioners.
One such flier, which RT has obtained, starts with the words, “Glory to Ukraine, glory to heroes” and then goes ahead to list direct threats against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate and its priests, calling for an “ATO [‘Anti-Terrorist Operation’] against Moscow priests” on October 14. This coincides with the Church’s celebrating of the Feast of the Intercession, as well as with the founding date of the Ukrainian Partisan Army (UPA), usually commemorated by nationalist marches. “Every coin given to the Moscow Patriarchate Church is a bullet for a Ukrainian soldier,” the leaflet reads. “Every candle burnt in a Moscow Church is your citizen burnt alive.”
As the fliers have been widely distributed, the Security Service of Ukraine has issued a warning, saying that citizens should not “fall for this primitive provocation.” Some Ukrainian mass media went as far as saying that “Russian special forces” were behind the distribution of the leaflets. [read more...]
KAZAKHSTAN: "NEW FORMS OF COUNTERING RELIGIOUS ACTIVITY BY NON-TRADITIONAL RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS"
by Felix Corley, Forum 18 News Service
(17 Oct) Nurlan Bizhanov, Deputy Prosecutor of East Kazakhstan Region, warned local officials in mid-September about the "activity of non-traditional religious movements which is not declining." Bizhanov identified Grace Church, New Life Church, the Baptists and Jehovah's Witnesses. He insisted that "new forms and methods of countering religious activity by non-traditional religious movements need to be prepared and implemented, based on the coordination of efforts by all local executive, law-enforcement, special and plenipotentiary state organs, together with civil society institutions."
The instruction came in a secret mid-September letter - seen by Forum 18 News Service - though officials categorically denied to Forum 18 that the letter exists. Meanwhile, police in Pavlodar Region appear to be trying to close down a Protestant-run rehabilitation center which they raided in July. In that instance, the authorities used the government's public health service to declare that the rehabilitation center was unsafe. Kazakhstan's human rights record will be scrutinised at the United Nations in Geneva on 30 October. [read more...]
SERBIAN AMBASSADOR CRITICIZES THE WEST FOR LACK OF ATTENTION TO THE PROBLEM OF DESTROYING CHURCHES IN KOSOVO
(14 Oct) Ambassador of Serbia to Russia Slavenko Terzic criticizes the West as Kosovo shrines are still being destroyed. "The tragedy of the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metokhija is taking places before Europe's eyes, the USA and the whole world are eye-witnesses of it. The Western Christian world keeps silent about destroyed shrines, not only Serbian, but also other Christian medieval monasteries. It witnesses to the lack of Christian solidarity," the ambassador said on air during the Tserkov i Mir (the Church and the World) program on air Rossia-24 TV-channel.
According to him, Kosovo and Metohija are the cradle of Serbian identity, the capital of the Serbian Church; its historical center - the Pec Patriarchate - is still located there. There were several capitals of Serbian kings and tsars. There are hundreds of churches and monasteries on this territory. Terzic reported that since NATO aggression started, over 150 churches and monasteries have been destroyed in Kosovo and he called it "a cultural genocide." [read more...]
KAZAKHSTAN: FOURTEENTH KNOWN 2014 SHORT-TERM PRISON TERM
by Felix Corley, Forum 18 News Service
(08 Oct) On 18 August, Council of Churches Baptist Nikolai Novikov became the 14th individual known to have been given a short-term prison sentence in Kazakhstan this year for refusing to pay an earlier fine imposed to punish him for refusing to seek state permission to exercise the right to freedom of religion or belief, Forum 18 News Service notes. He served five days in prison in West Kazakhstan Region, a month after a fellow Baptist in East Kazakhstan Region served a ten-day prison term on the same charges. Meanwhile, a husband and wife are the latest individuals known to have been fined for talking to others about their faith without the compulsory state permission.
Administrative prosecution of members of a Pentecostal church in Pavlodar for unregistered religious activity related to a rehabilitation center seem likely. The moves appear to be part of a behind-the-scenes official campaign against communities regarded as "non-traditional," especially those running social projects, as revealed in a September letter from East Kazakhstan's deputy regional prosecutor, seen by Forum 18.
In two letters to the United Nations Human Rights Council, Kazakhstan's government has vigorously rejected any criticism over its punishments for exercising the right to freedom of religion or belief. It also justified its restrictions on exercising the right to freedom of religion or belief, claiming they "fully meet international standards of human rights and freedoms." [read more...]
HISTORICAL PATHS OF THE UOC (MP) AND THE ROC ARE TO PART: BELIEVERS FROM VOLYN SEND A LETTER TO METROPOLITAN ONUFRIY
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine
(10 Oct) The St. Demetrius of Thessaloniki Orthodox Church community of Vyshneve Village in Volyn wrote an open letter to the Primate of the UOC (MP) Onufriy (Berezovsky). The believers express dissatisfaction with the attitude of their church leadership towards recent political developments in the country. They call hierarchy of the UOC (MP) to abandon the practice of remembering Patriarch Kirill during worship and to take a course on autocephaly of the UOC (MP). Parishioners of St Demetrius church also believe that the church should anathematize Vladimir Putin as he has unleashed a war against Ukraine
“The thing that is often called fratricidal confrontation here should be called war, and not a civil one. Participation of political leadership, intelligence services and even regular troops of Russia in the war is undeniable to anyone who wants to see and understand. Although the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has consistently advocated the idea of the wholeness and indivisibility of Ukraine, the Ukrainians have not heard a strong official condemnation by the Church of the occupation of the Crimea and the attempted separation of other regions of Ukraine,” goes the letter.
The authors reminded Metropolitan Onufriy of his appeal to Putin in which the hierarch called the President of the Russian Federation an ‘Orthodox Christian’. “It was an unjustified exaggeration. Mr. Putin should be anathematized instead as the culprit and the person responsible for the current war and for crimes against humanity,” they said. [read more...]
PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: THE WAY TO THE LORD AND CHURCH
(07 Oct) The President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko said that he was brought to the Church and God because of great sorrow - the death of his mother. He said this to TV channel 1+1, reports The Christian Telegraph in reference to "Religion in Ukraine." "Oh Lord, we are all sinners, and of course when you go to the church for confession, you confess your sins, including neglecting prayer, keeping the fasts. I think it's quite natural for every Christian. It is important that a man would find his own way to God, his own way to the temple, his way to prayer and church, at least on Sunday," said Poroshenko.
Few people know that the Ukrainian President came to God as a result of great sorrow, says the telecast. "Every person comes to God because of some of their personal life circumstances. For me, it was the death of my mother and I just felt the need. When I spent the night in the temple of God, at the grave of my mother, something changed inside of me. I just felt an urgent need to go to church, pray and ask God for support," noted Poroshenko.
The President added that he adheres to all Orthodox fasts and every day talks to God - his morning prayer takes about 15 minutes. In addition, he donates money to the church and he built more than 20 churches in Ukraine. [read more...]
OTHER NEWS HEADLINES:
KAZAKHSTAN: TEN DAYS' IMPRISONMENT FOR "EXTREMIST" BOOK JESUS: MORE THAN A PROPHET
from Forum 18 News Service
ORTHODOX HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATE SUGGESTS APPOINTING OSCE CURATOR ON RUSSOPHOBIA
TENSIONS RELAXING IN EAST UKRAINE, CONDITIONS GRIM FOR REFUGEES
from Mission Network News
PRESIDENT YATSENYUK SAYS THE GOVERNMENT WILL NOT ALLOW STIRRING RELIGIOUS HATRED IN UKRAINE
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine
UOC(MP) PRIESTS USE FORCE TO TRY TO TAKE BACK UOC(KP) PARISH
METROPOLITAN HILARION SPEAKS AT PLENARY SESSION OF THE SYNOD OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS IN VATICAN
from Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate
CHRIST IS CLEANSING UKRAINE, SAYS CATHOLIC CHURCH LEADER
See HOSKEN-NEWS Daily for more of the latest news!
NOW, OUR VIEWS:
RIA Novosti reports that over 100 people have been injured and 25 have been killed just in the past week of fighting, as of 18 October. This news source is from Russia, so of course its reporting is colored by the words "independence supporters" that Ukrainian sources such as RISU call "terrorists" and "rebels."
But the stark facts are that nearly 4,000 people from both sides - including many innocent bystanders such as a pregnant Evangelical Christian woman shopping in the market and her unborn child - have been killed. This woman laid on top of another child to protect her, sacrificing her own life. The destruction of churches - Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant - as well as airports (see photo), apartment buildings, schools and government offices is breathtakingly appalling. Why? Because people who call themselves Christians are trying to grab other Christians' land and property. Lies and provocations fly in both directions. What shameful behavior by those called Christians!
Our first news article, WAR ON RELIGION: ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN PRIESTS, CHURCHGOERS FACE THREATS IN UKRAINE, details the destruction of a Ukrainian Orthodox Church belonging to the Moscow Patriarchate and threats to its priests. The church is St. John of Kronstadt Orthodox Church in Kirovskoe, Donetsk Region. St. John of Kronstadt is my patron saint, and I can picture him weeping over this awful desecration. The Ukrainian side claims that pro-Russian forces set up their artillery in church courtyards so that returning artillery shells will hit the churches.
Our fifth news article, HISTORICAL PATHS OF THE UOC (MP) AND THE ROC ARE TO PART: BELIEVERS FROM VOLYN SEND A LETTER TO METROPOLITAN ONUFRIY, tells of a Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) congregation writing their Metropolitan, calling for "autocephaly" (self-rule) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and anathematizing of Russian President Vladimir Putin. This is rather strong language, and is not the first time that people in the UOC (MP) have expressed the desire to be free of the Russian Patriarch's control.
On a personal note, here's a new podcast on our current ministry: http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/infocus/orthodox_free_clinic. Cheryl serves as a registered nurse in FOCUS+Pittsburg's free health clinic, and she and I work with the homeless, ex-convicts (murderers, thieves, drug dealers, etc.), psychologically disturbed and poor people, helping them get housing, write resumes and search for jobs. FOCUS+Pittsburg's free health clinic is the first Orthodox free clinic in the U.S., and is a model for more to come. Please pray for the many ministries of FOCUS+Pittsburgh!
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Please remember to pray for Christians in the former Soviet bloc countries, and for...
Bob & Cheryl
p.s. It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible. - George Washington