||FIRST, THE NEWS:
RELIGIOUS LEADERS IN CRIMEA FACE EXPULSION BY RUSSIA
from Church Times
(07 Nov) Churches in the Crimea peninsula of Ukraine, annexed by Russia, are set to lose their religious leaders after a new law passed by the Kremlin stripped all Ukrainian registered entities of their legal status. Under the law, all visas and resident permits issued by Ukraine will cease to have effect; and all organisations registered in the Ukraine must register instead with the Russian authorities or lose their status. The Kremlin annexed Crimea in March despite condemnation from the Ukrainian government in Kiev and the international community.
Fr Piotr Rosochacki, a Polish national who has been the Roman Catholic priest of Simferopol parish for five years, has already had to leave Crimea; and that "all other Catholic priests and nuns will have to leave by the end of 2014," when the law takes effect. The Russian authorities refused to extend Fr Rosochacki's Ukrainian residence permit, which expired on 24 October. The Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the Most Revd Sviatoslav Shevchuk, told Forum 18 that four of its five Crimean parishes were now without priests.
Elsewhere in Ukraine, tensions are rising again in the breakaway eastern regions after separatist leaders held elections last weekend, which were won by pro-Russian candidates. The Minsk Agreement, which paved the way for a ceasefire between the separatists and the Ukrainian government in September, contained provisions for limited autonomy for Donetsk and Luhansk, with elections - organized by Kiev - planned for December. Last weekend's elections have been roundly condemned by the European Union and the United States. The British Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, issued a joint statement with his counterparts in the Visegrad Group - the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia - describing the elections as "illegitimate." Russia, however, welcomed the elections. [read more...]
CRIMEA: GUNS, WEAPONS, DRUGS - AND RELIGIOUS LITERATURE
by Felix Corley, Forum 18 News Service
(29 Oct) Crimea's Russia-backed acting Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov has ordered a moratorium on raids, searches and literature confiscations until 1 January 2015. Before it there were many raids on libraries, schools, political organisations, homes, etc., Forum 18 News Service notes. Fines for possession of religious literature were also imposed. There do not seem to have been any raids and religious literature seizures since the moratorium. The government-appointed human rights Ombudsperson's office told Forum 18 that no action would be taken on the raids and literature seizures.
Crimea's Education, Science and Youth Ministry has ordered education departments and educational institutions to remove and destroy any such literature. The Ministry official who drafted the order told Forum 18 that officials "should recycle them, use the paper again". Asked why some religious books should be destroyed, she replied: "I understand you, but the law is the law. I will answer for my role before God." [read more...]
GREEK CATHOLICS SHOULD BREAK OFF FROM ROME, UOC(MP) FROM MOSCOW, UOC(KP) PATRIARCH BELIEVES
(06 Nov) The Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church should stop subordinating itself to Rome and unite with Orthodox believers, the leader of the Kiev Patriarchate Filaret Denisenko believes. "The first and the main goal: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate should separate from Moscow. Then nothing will prevent us from uniting in one Church. All other Orthodox Churches will recognize us. In result, the UGCC will separate from Rome," Denisenko said in his interview posted by the Gazeta.ua website.
According to him, thus Orthodox and Greek-Catholics "will become one autocephalous Orthodox Church. TheGreek-Catholic Church was established because Ukrainians did not have their own state. Today this reason is eliminated, we have an independent Ukraine. There is no reason for divisions," the UOC(KP) leader said. [read more...]
KYRGYZSTAN: CONTRADICTORY COURT DECISIONS, ARBITRARY OFFICIAL ACTIONS
by , Forum 18 News Service
(30 Oct) Some officials in Kyrgyzstan appear unwilling to act on their domestic and international legal obligations, Forum 18 News Service notes. Commenting on a UN Human Rights Council recommendation to "remove all restrictions incompatible with article 18 of the Covenant [of Civil and Political Rights]," State Commission for Religious Affairs (SCRA) lawyer Zhanibek Botoyev told Forum 18 News Service: "Go and bring some order to your own countries and Norway. We are a sovereign country here, and you cannot command us what to do or what not to do."
In relation to a Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court ruling on where a religious organisation may operate, in regard to one case, Botoyev claimed that the ruling did not mean what it clearly states it does. The SCRA has also forced a Russian Orthodox Church catechist, Vakhtang Fyodorov, to leave the country; also, the State Property Fund is continuing to try to confiscate a Protestant church's building. [read more...]
ORTHODOX, CATHOLICS AND PROTESTANTS IN UKRAINE TODAY ARE MORE UNITED THAN EVER BEFORE - HEAD OF THE UGCC
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine
(23 Oct) This is the opinion that Patriarch Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) the UGCC expressed on October 23, during a briefing on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of legalization of the UGCC. The head of the UGCC also commented on yesterday’s words of Patriarch Filaret that someone wanted to put at odds Greek Catholics and Orthodox of the Kyiv Patriarchate. The reason for that was the spreading by the media of the UGCC Patriarch’s words taken out of context that referred to “canonicity” of the Orthodox Churches in Ukraine.
In an interview with The Catholic Channel Patriarch Sviatoslav said: “Today it is no secret that the only canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine, that is the one in full communion with World Orthodoxy is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. There are other Orthodox religious communities, which have emerged since the time of Ukraine's independence, at different times and for different reasons, and have dissented from this Patriarchate; other Orthodox Churches consider them non-canonical.” [read more...]
BERLIN WALL LOST ITS GRIP 25 YEARS AGO
(07 Nov) A frenzied crowd danced on the wall separating East Berlin and West Berlin 25 years ago, celebrating a long-sought victory for freedom. Bit by bit, men and women, children and youth, proletarian and elite, joined the protesters to literally pick the wall apart piece by piece with chisels and axes and bloodied fingers. Nov. 9, 1989, harkened a new era of democracy and freedom from communist repression - and hope for a more peaceful and democratic world.
For Christians, however, this day meant so much more than political change. The crumbling wall represented a spiritual victory and an opportunity to take the light of Christ into the darkness that had been cloaking Eastern Europe for decades. For the first time, an entire generation of Central Europeans was able to hear the Gospel and respond without fear of persecution. "The wall was an outward symbol of an inward reality. Communism had erected a spiritual barrier with its incessant denial of God's existence and its cycle of cruelty. Spiritually, we eagerly took up a hammer and chisel to work against that greater barrier," said Mark Edworthy, who stood at the remains of the wall a few months later with a hammer and chisel, eager to do his part in dismantling the barrier. [read more...]
OTHER NEWS HEADLINES:
UZBEKISTAN: PRISON DEATH RESULT OF ACCIDENT, ILLNESS, TORTURE, NEGLECT?
from Forum 18 News Service
GEORGIAN PATRIARCH URGES RAPPROCHEMENT WITH RUSSIA
UKRAINE: WAR-TORN, WEARY, AND NEEDING HOPE
from Mission Network News
ALL-UKRAINE COUNCIL OF CHURCHES CONCERNED ABOUT VIOLATION OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN CRIMEA
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine
SUPPORT FOR MOSCOW-ORIENTED UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX SLIPPING
METROPOLITAN HILARION OF VOLOKOLAMSK AT THE RUSSIA–USA FORUM OF CHRISTIAN LEADERS
from Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate
CHALLENGING YOUNG CHRISTIANS IN EURASIA TO SHARE CHRIST THROUGH THEIR PROFESSIONS
from Mission Eurasia
KYRGYZSTAN PROPOSES TO TIGHTEN RESTRICTIVE RELIGION LAW
See HOSKEN-NEWS Daily for more of the latest news!
NOW, OUR VIEWS:
This issue of Hosken-News is delayed by one week because last weekend my wife Cheryl and I were at our church's camp for an important meeting with our Bishop Gregory of Nyssa concerning our plans for Agape Restoration Centers. This delay puts today's issue precisely on the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down, a huge historic event and one I was personally involved with in ways that I can't describe over the Internet. The Wall's and the Iron Curtain's collapse was led mainly by Central European clergymen - yes, the overthrow of communism there was largely a spiritual phenomenon!
This proves St. Paul's assertions: "the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the throwing down of strongholds, throwing down imaginations and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" ( 2 Cor. 10:4-5) and "our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world's rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places" (Eph. 6:12). We must keep on keeping on, expositing the spiritual truths of following Christ, and exposing the lies of the Devil.
Frankly, I must say that sometimes I don't feel like keeping on: I feel like the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel whose messages weren't "warm fuzzies" - not the kind of message people like to hear. Our fleshly human nature would rather enjoy the comforts of a middle-class lifestyle, avoiding disease, areas of poverty and danger. We see and hear enough of that on the news, thank you, and keep it at a distance! But if you're trying to "walk in the Spirit and not fulfil the lusts of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16), please take a minute to leave your COMMENTS below. Thanks!
Today, the ninth of November, is also International Day of the Orphan. One of our goals with our Agape Restoration Centers is to provide adoptive families and homes for orphans. Please pray for the millions of orphans in the world, and consider supporting them!
Please support Agape Restoration Society by e-check or credit/debit card: click on the "Donate" button there.
Let's keep the comments coming! When you've finished reading, leave your COMMENTS in our Hosken-News Blog below. Thanks!
Please remember to pray for Christians in the former Soviet bloc countries, and for...
Bob & Cheryl
p.s. Democracy can only survive until the people find their way to the public purse. - Plato
Socialism can only survive until it finally runs out of other people's money. - M. Thatcher