||FIRST, THE NEWS:
RUSSIAN CHURCH OFFICIAL ACCUSED OF TREASON OVER 'UKRAINE LEAKS'
from The Telegraph
(10 Feb) A public relations officer for the Russian Orthodox Church has been charged with treason and spying for allegedly passing secret information to agents recruited by US intelligence services. Russian media reported that Yevgeny Petrin was arrested in June but his case – which is “linked to Ukraine” - only became known on Monday when a court in Moscow extended his detention until April.
The suspect himself claims he is innocent and that he is actually an officer with Russia’s FSB (Federal Security Service) who was working undercover inside the church’s department for external church relations. The Russian Orthodox Church is closely linked to the Russian state and Patriarch Kirill, its leader, is a supporter of Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president. During the Soviet era many Orthodox clergy were recruited by the KGB as informers.
Mr Petrin was born in Siberia and moved to work for the church in Moscow before being sent to one of its offices, in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. “The investigation supposes that in the process of his work the man came across some agents whom he suspected of working for the United States,” said the Life News website, which has ties to Russian law-enforcement authorities. “In order to gain their trust, Petrin started to leak them information about the Russian Orthodox Church… he worked for American intelligence.” [read more...]
ORTHODOX CHURCH'S POWER-PLAY IN CRISIS-STRICKEN RUSSIA
from Yahoo! News
(5 Feb) Moscow, Russia - "Your Holiest" is the term one has to use when addressing Kirill, Russia's Orthodox Patriarch. A namesake to the Byzantine monk who brought Christianity to Slavs, Kirill heads the Moscow Patriarchate, the most powerful of more than a dozen Orthodox Churches scattered from Egypt to Romania. His church claims more than 100 million people in Russia and former Soviet republics as its flock, although polls show only a fraction are observant Christians.
In late January, for the first time in the millennium-old history of Russian Christianity, Kirill addressed the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, in a speech that used to be a presidential prerogative. The address epitomised his church's post-Soviet efforts to boost its clout in Russia's politics, economy and even education. These efforts have long been criticised as increasingly isolationist, ultra-conservative and contradictory to the constitutional division of religion and state. Russia is home to sizable Muslim, Buddhist and Jewish minorities, a handful of other Christian denominations and tiny groups of pagans that often feel threatened by the church's aggressive agenda. [read more...]
UOC(MP) KYIV PRIMATE CALLS FOR END TO WAR
(12 Feb) Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine has called on all sides to the conflict in eastern Ukraine to stop the bloodshed. "On behalf of the one-thousand-year-old Ukrainian Orthodox Church, I am urging everyone, who calls himself a Christian, to stop killing one another immediately. Because dozens of totally innocent civilians, women, elderly people and, most horribly, sinless children become victims of hostilities on a daily basis," the metropolitan said in an appeal released on the occasion of the anniversary of the events at Maidan Square in Kiev (February 18-21, 2014), and posted on the UOC(MP) website.
The Church, together "with thousands of widows and orphans and inconsolable mothers of the best sons of Ukraine who were killed in the east of our country; together with all the needy and the maimed, together with everyone who lost their homes" is praying God for wisdom and Christian love for everyone "who have the power to stop this terrible bloodshed," the primate said. "We are tirelessly praying for God to bring long-awaited peace to the Ukrainian land," Metropolitan Onufry stressed.Given the current domestic situation, the UOC(MP) has canceled all festive events traditionally held during the week of Maslenitsa (Mardi Gras) which falls on February 16-22 this year. [read more...]
TARAS KUZIO: TREMENDOUS BLOW IF PUTIN LOSES UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH (MP)
from Kyiv Post
(9 Feb) Taras Kuzio, senior research associate for the Canadian Institute for Ukrainian Studies, gave a speech at the University of Toronto, Canada, on Feb. 6 that was recorded by UkeTube. He made the following points in the video:
- Sometimes solutions to difficult problems can be very simple
- Proposal to the Ukrainian government: Demand a reregistration of religious parishes, churches in Ukraine, to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
- Moscow Patriarchate should be reregistered as the Russian Orthodox Church because it is a fake Ukrainian church
- Opinion polls show more people support the Kyiv Patriarchate opposed to the Moscow Patriarchate. It will lose members, clergy.
- Tremendous national security improvement in Ukraine
- There are more Orthodox parishes collectively in Ukraine than Russia. Should Russia lose the Ukrainian Church it would be a tremendous blow to Putin and to the Russian church.
- Patriarch Filaret should step down, lots of baggage [read more...]
US CONCERNED OVER RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES OF UKRAINE
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine
(6 Feb) On the eve of the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, a roundtable discussion on religious persecution in the occupied territories of Ukraine was held in the building of Congress. The event was organized with the support of Eurasia Christian mission and the organizers of permanent Round Table on International Religious Freedom, Institute of Religious Freedom. The meeting was attended by experts and politicians from the Ukraine and the USA, including Congressman Trent Franks of from Arizona, Members of Ukrainian Parliament and German Bundestag, pastors and ministers of the Evangelical Churches of Ukraine, Central Asia and the USA.
Oleksandr Zayets, Chairman of the Institute of Religious Freedom shared his impressions: “The fact of a round table discussion on restraint of religious freedom and the denial of the rights of believers in the Crimea and certain territories of Donbas controlled by militants, shows that these issues will be given attention and support at the international level.” During his speech, the head of the Institute for Religious Freedom cited facts motivated persecution of believers by separatists in eastern Ukraine, and explained what problems faced Ukrainian churches in occupied Crimea. [read more...]
UKRAINE CRISIS: CHURCH LEADERS CALL BELIEVERS TO NOT STAND ASIDE
(12 Feb) The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, that unites around 90-95% of religious communities of Ukraine, called believers to participate in defense of their country. It is said in the statement, published on the webpage of the Institute for Religious Freedom, reports The Christian Telegraph. "As heads and representatives of Ukrainian churches and religious organizations, we are trying and will do everything that depends on us, to stop the bloodshed, establish lasting peace, and overcome hatred among people and nations. At the same time, we recognize the rights of person and country to defend itself from aggression, from those who illegally take weapons in hand, conceive evil, sowing death, grief and tears in the Ukrainian land of Donbass," the statement notes.
"We call believers to participate in defense of their homeland, according to their religious beliefs. For the sake of a common victory, let one go to the army, another one works, helping the army as a chaplain or volunteer in hospitals, let one help the families of soldiers, civilians from Donbass and refugees," the statement underlines. The members of the council also stated that the consolidation of all government branches, political parties and civil society organizations needed to overcome aggression and establish peace: "For the sake of freedom and our future, nobody should stand aside during the struggle for peace, independence and the freedom of our country." [read more...]
OTHER NEWS HEADLINES:
ORTHODOX CHURCH VANDALIZED IN WEST UKRAINE
"LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOURSELF" - OFFICIAL RUSSIAN BAPTIST STATEMENT ON UKRAINE
from Russian Evangelical Alliance
UKRAINE CEASEFIRE WILL ALLOW AID AND THE GOSPEL TO FLOW
from Mission Network News
CHAPLAIN WENT TO THE TERRITORY CONTROLLED BY TERRORISTS TO TAKE THE BODIES OF UKRAINIAN SOLDIERS
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine
NATIONALIST MILITANTS PRESSURE ORTHODOX TO JOIN KIEV PATRIARCHATE
from Interfax Religia
MOSCOW THEOLOGICAL ACADEMY DONATES BOOKS TO UNIVERSITY OF SKOPJE
from Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate
BELARUS WANTS FOREIGN CATHOLIC PRIESTS OUT
from Belarus Digest
See HOSKEN-NEWS Daily for more of the latest news!
NOW, OUR VIEWS:
You are doubtless aware that another cease-fire in Ukraine has been declared as of 12:01am today. I have an extremely uneasy feeling about the prospects of a lasting peace and about the Western European leaders thinking they have bought "peace in our time" by selling out Ukraine for some barrels of oil and pipelines of natural gas. As you can see by the above news articles and headlines, each side is painting itself as the God-inspired defenders of the faith, truth and freedom. At the same time, each side sends thousands of young men to the front to kill and be killed, in addition to the thousands of innocent elderly folks, women and children - all in the name of God and liberty!
This isn't an argument for moral equivalency - it should be quite apparent which side is the agressor. But it is not the leaders of the agressors nor the leaders of the opposite side who are being killed. They still live in their warm and comfortable mansions, drive luxury cars and feast on fine foods. But the common people shudder in the cold and suffer hunger because of sanctions, or because their homes have been damaged or destroyed, and they risk their lives to venture out to the markets trying to find something to survive on... unless a stray rocket, artillery shell or bullet should end their miserable existence on this planet. All the while, the dueling Patriarchs of "true-believing" Orthodox Churches on each side continue to call for God's support for their side, while both live in luxury and neither one is without moral reproach. Lord have mercy!
Please help me! In 1996 I began constructing the www.Agape-Biblia.org website for our Russian Agape-Biblia using "frames" - sub-windows within each main window, and gradually expanded it to include five more Bibles in various languages, six online courses in Russian and six in English, an online Harmony of the Gospels in Russian, our Hosken-News newsletter and more. But "frames" are forbidden under the new HTML5 standard, developed not just for computers but for tablets and smartphones as well, by now the majority of computing devices being sold.
So this weekend I've uploaded a major HTML5 revision to our "test" website for testing, and I need several people to try it out, help find "bugs" that I've overlooked and suggest how it could work better. Please help me beta-test these changes, sending a good description of "what and where" - what exactly happened and where - the address of the specific web page where you find a problem or can suggest an improvement. I'm planning to release it on March 1 to the general public, so please lend a hand, and let's make it look nice when it goes live! Here are the /test links:
www.Agape-Biblia.org/test/ - our home page
www.Agape-Biblia.org/test/biblia00/ - Hebrew-Greek Bible
www.Agape-Biblia.org/test/biblia01/ - Russian Agape-Biblia
www.Agape-Biblia.org/test/biblia02/ - World English Bible
www.Agape-Biblia.org/test/biblia03/ - Spanish Biblia Reina Valera
www.Agape-Biblia.org/test/biblia04/ - German Luther-Bibel
www.Agape-Biblia.org/test/biblia05/ - French Bible de Louis Segond
www.Agape-Biblia.org/hosken-news/ - Hosken-News home page
There should be a "slider" (mini-hamburger) three-bar menu button in the upper-left corner of each web page, except our "Practical Ministries" and "Prakticheskie Sluzhenia" courses - I haven't revised those pages yet. Pressing each "slider" menu button should display links that take you to several other pages with sub-menus, and each sub-menu should display links that take you back to where you started from. The point of creating these "slider" menus is that they will slide away and not take up screen space on smaller screens, and to eliminate "frames."
Also, the web pages that previously used "frames" now use "objects" which contain the same info that those old "frames" contained, and you can re-size the objects by pressing the "Refresh" key (F5 in Windows) when the screen size or orientation (horizontal or vertical) changes. So the web pages should display reasonably well on all modern computing devices: PCs, Macs, Chromebooks, Linux, as well as on tablets and larger-screen smartphones. And please let me know if you'd like to have an online Harmony of the Gospels in English. Thanks for your help!
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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!
Please remember to pray for Christians in the former Soviet bloc countries, and for...
Bob & Cheryl
p.s. Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.