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METROPOLITAN MEFODIY, HEAD OF THE UKRAINIAN AUTOCEPHALOUS ORTHODOX CHURCH, DIED
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine

Metropolitan Mefodiy (24 Feb) On February 23, Metropolitan Mefodiy (Kudriakov), head of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church died after a long illness. Metropolitan Mefodiy was born 11 March 1949, in the Ternopil region. In 1981 he become a priest and was among the clergy of the Lviv and Ternopil diocese of the Ukrainian Exarchate - Moscow Patriarchate. In 1995 he became a bishop of the UOC(KP) but later switched jurisdiction. On 16 October 2000, at the Church Sobor of the UAOC, Metropolitan Mefodiy was elected Primate of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. He is the successor of Patriarch Dymytriy (Yarema).

The next day, according to the RISU follow-up article PATRIARCH FILARET CALLED ON UAOC CLERGY TO UNITE, Patriarch Filaret of Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine expressed his condolences to the hierarchs, clergymen and faithful of Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, relatives and friends of the reposed Primate Metropolitan Mefodiy. The Primate of the Kyiv Patriarchate also urged the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church to resume dialogue on church unity.

“I want to call on the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, who will gather to discuss the future life of the Church they lead under their Statute. In the context of foreign Russian aggression the internal unity of the Ukrainian people is of critical importance. Fruitful dialogue on achieving unity between our Churches, overcoming existing differences and unification of all supporters of autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, can be a significant contribution to our common struggle of the Ukrainian people for a better future,” said the UOC-KP Patriarch, addressing to the clergymen of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. [read more...]


LEADING ORTHODOX PRIEST GIVES RUSSIANS ONE MORE THING TO WORRY ABOUT
from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Aron Shemaiyer (26 Feb) The Russian literary world barely batted an eye when a little-known writer, Aron Shemaiyer, published a dystopic e-novella, "Machaut and the Bears," last year. But interest is now picking up, with the revelation that Shemaiyer is the nom de plume of Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the influential spokesman of the Russian Orthodox Church. Suddenly, the plot of "Machaut" -- which describes the apocalyptic destruction of Moscow in the year 2043 at the hands of Islamists, Ukrainians, and gays -- seems less like the ravings of a lonely keyboard warrior and more like a well-informed window on what scares the Kremlin most.

"The press secretary to the president of the Moscow Confederation and Assembly of Revolution Leaders, Tasho Pim, has warned that people who fail to comply with the new ban on intolerant thinking will be subject to involuntary euthanasia," a news report announces in the opening scene, followed shortly by an ad for a "happiness generator" called the HaHaHa 25.0. (The full text of the novella is available in Russian here.)

What follows is a chaotic world Chaplin himself characterizes as a "liberal hell" -- vegan breakfasts, dreadlocked African legionnaires, "intergender" ad executives who go by the personal pronoun "it," and, considering the author, a curiously detailed hookup involving graphic language and a "sex-generation belt." By the end of the story, the Moscow Confederation has fallen amid fighting between Free Russia fascists, Caucasus militants, and Ukrainian nationalists. In appropriately Biblical style, the once-great city has been reduced to rubble by nuclear bombs. [read more...]


ARCHPRIEST’S STORY ABOUT MOSCOW’S LAST DAYS IN 2043 REFLECTS PATRIARCHATE’S DEEPEST FEARS
from Window on Eurasia

(23 Feb) In a short story written under the pseudonym Aron Shemaier, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, a close advisor to Patriarch Kirill, describes the end of Moscow in 2043 when “the Moscow Confederation” is attacked by “fascists from ‘Free Russia,’ Islamists from the Caucasus, and rightwing figures from Ukraine” at one and the same time. Moscow’s end becomes possible, according to Chaplin, because it has become “the antithesis of traditional morality” with Krasnaya (Red) Presnya renamed “Blue” to honor homosexuals, the Church having disbanded itself, and “the new social order inspired by the ideals of ‘the Great Sexual Revolution' and maintained by African legionnaires.”

At least three things are worth noting about this story besides the light it sheds on the thinking of people close to the top of the Moscow Patriarchate who have more than a little influence on Russian President Vladimir Putin. First, it is a remarkable recognition by such circles of just how fragile the Russian Federation now is. Second, it underscores the increasing divide between Moscow, on the one hand, and the rest of the country, on the other. And third, following from this, it contains a virtual invitation for those beyond the ring road to attack some of those living inside it, in the name of saving Russia and the Russian values Chaplin and those who follow him prefer. [read more...]


BELARUS: SLANDER AND OBSTRUCTION TO KEEP FOREIGNERS OUT
by Olga Glace, Forum 18 News Service

(20 Feb) Catholics responded vigorously to accusations by the senior state religious affairs official that foreign Catholic priests working in Belarus often break the law, Forum 18 News Service notes. "They don't like our country, our laws and authorities. In such cases we don't prolong their stay in our country," Plenipotentiary for Religious and Ethnic Affairs Leonid Gulyako had declared in presenting his annual report for 2014.

He accused unspecified priests of conducting services outside the regions where they had been given state permission to serve, not understanding either of the state languages (Russian and Belarusian) and drunken driving. Both Gulyako and his deputy refused to explain his accusations to Forum 18, which Catholics described as "slander." It was only with difficulty that Polish priest Fr Roman Schulz' permission to remain in his Mogilev parish was extended for a further six months until 20 June 2015, Catholics told Forum 18.

A Protestant seminary failed to get permission for foreign religious lecturers. The Pro-rector of Minsk's Baptist Theological Seminary, Yakov Timofeyev, pointed out that sometimes foreign professors they have invited, especially from the United States, are denied visas to Belarus. "We try not to make a problem out of it and look for other professors," he told Forum 18 on 26 January. He said they can invite foreigners for short seminars. [read more...]


PATRIARCH KIRILL CALLS FOR WORLD ORDER BASED ON CHRISTIAN VALUES
from Interfax-Religion

(24 Feb) A just world order is impossible without relying on Christian values, says Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. "This tug of war cannot go on forever, at the expense of belittling other countries, nations and groups of people. The logic of life in this globalizing world actualizes the importance of the Christian message because there is nothing else that we can use as a foundation for the co-existence of billions of people so different in their culture and many other respects," the Patriarch said at an annual award ceremony organized by the International Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Nations last Friday.

Persecutions against Christians, ethnic and religious conflicts, aggressive secularism and offensive attacks on religious shrines, propaganda of moral relativism and consumerism have become a reality again in the early 21st century, he said. "Present-day extremism and terrorism using, among other things, religious rhetoric, often thrive on the intolerance and provocative behavior of the secular world," the Patriarch said. He then called on world rulers and mass media "to assert peace, develop cooperation and dialogue, show care and attention towards neighbors." [read more...]


TURKMENISTAN: PROTESTANT PRISONER AMNESTIED
by Felix Corley, Forum 18 News Service

(18 Feb) Umid Gojayev, a 32-year-old Protestant imprisoned on charges of hooliganism was freed under amnesty from the general regime labour camp in Seydi in eastern Turkmenistan yesterday (17 February), his fellow believers told Forum 18 News Service. After his release, Gojayev boarded a train for the two-day journey via the capital Ashgabad [Ashgabat] to return to his wife and three young children in the northern city of Dashoguz.

Gojayev was freed under a prisoner amnesty to mark Flag Day on 19 February. President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov signed a decree initiating the amnesty on 16 February, the government website noted the same day. Gojayev was arrested in April 2012, and was serving a four year prison term imposed by a Dashoguz court in May 2012. His arrest followed an argument with neighbours, and local Protestants insist the criminal charges were brought disproportionately because of his religious beliefs. [read more...]


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES:

PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE IS READY TO HELP ESTABLISH A UNIFIED LOCAL CHURCH IN UKRAINE
from
Religious Information Service of Ukraine

PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM: WE MUST GATHER AND SEEK WAYS TO UNITE CHURCHES IN UKRAINE
from
Religious Information Service of Ukraine

UKRAINIAN "SCHISMATIC" LEADER DIES
from
Interfax-Religion

DARK DAYS, TENUOUS PEACE IN UKRAINE
from
Mission Network News

PATRIARCH JOHN X OF ANTIOCH’S SERMON IN MOSCOW ON FORGIVENESS SUNDAY
from
Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate

POPE FRANCIS MAY VISIT UKRAINE IN NEAR FUTURE
from
Portal-credo.ru

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


NOW, OUR VIEWS:

The big news story this week is the death of METROPOLITAN MEFODIY, HEAD OF THE UKRAINIAN AUTOCEPHALOUS ORTHODOX CHURCH and Kyiv Patriarch calling on the UAOC (Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church) to unite with the Kyiv Patriarchate. The question is: Under what terms? The UAOC comes under the Patriarch of Constantinople, and thus is a canonical Orthodox Church, recognized by nearly all other Orthodox Churches... except the Moscow Patriarchate, which calls the UAOC "schismatic".

Our second news article LEADING ORTHODOX PRIEST GIVES RUSSIANS ONE MORE THING TO WORRY ABOUT describes the Ending of Christian Russia, a novel depicting the dissolution of modern Russia. Written under a pseudonym by a leading Russian Orthodox spokesman, it conveys what is worrying many in Russia: will it fall to Western liberalism, or to Muslim extremism? Consciously or unconsciously, all of us worry about our final ending: see the essay below.

Both the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Patriarch of Jerusalem are calling for a "United Ukrainian Orthodox Church." The passing of Metr. Mefodiy presents Christians in Ukraine an opportunity to bring this about: as the article TARAS KUZIO: TREMENDOUS BLOW IF PUTIN LOSES UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH (MP) in our last issue states, "Patriarch Filaret should step down, lots of baggage" -- if Patr. Filaret were to cede his position to a bishop of the UAOC and merge the UOC(KP) with the UAOC, the UAOC could be renamed the "United Ukrainian Orthodox Church," and the newly-merged body would be canonical.

As also mentioned in our last issue, I've been making thousands of changes to our websites, and they are now "live" and online:

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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. - With the death of Metropolitan Mefodiy, pray for an opening to unite all the Orthodox Churches in Ukraine.
Mon. - Ask God that the theme of the novel "Machaut and the Bears," the destruction of Moscow, won't come to pass.
Tue. - Pray for a genuine Christian awakening in Russia that will reverse its spiritual and population decline.
Wed. - Ask the Lord that foreign religious workers will be granted residence visas so they can remain in Belarus.
Thu. - Thank the Lord that Patriarch Kirill has called for a just world order based on Christian values.
Fri. - Praise God that Umid Gojayev, a Protestant, was freed from the labor camp in Seydi in eastern Turkmenistan.
Sat. - Pray that we Christians will prepare for "A Christian Ending to My Life" - for ourselves and others.

Map of former USSR   Please remember to pray for Christians in the former Soviet bloc countries, and for...

  Your fellow-servants,

  Bob & Cheryl

 
p.s. Thank God for the gift of each day: that's why it's called "the present."