||FIRST, THE NEWS:
CHRIST IS RISEN!
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine
"O death, where is thy sting? O Hell, where is thy victory?
Christ is Risen, and you. o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Let the heavens rejoice in a worthy manner and be glad,
and let the whole world, visible and invisible, keep festival,
For Christ our eternal joy is risen!"
- the Paschal Sermon of St. John Chrysostom.
(12 Apr) Let the light of hope for salvation shine in your homes, direct your work, fill our lives with meaning! May you have a joyous celebration! CHRIST IS RISEN! read more...
In another article we read: This year, Pascha, the Resurrection, is celebrated on 12 April according to Julian calendar. This holiday is the most ancient and joyful holiday of all the great feasts of the church year. Pascha marks the end of Lent, a forty-seven-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance. The last week of the Lent is called Holy Week, and it contains Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Pascha is a moveable feast, meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. It occurs in March or April; the method for determining the date of Pascha Sunday is complex, based on lunisolar calendar. Pascha is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar.[read more...]
KREMLIN RELIANCE ON THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH MAY BACKFIRE, ANALYSTS SAY
from The Moscow Times
(7 Apr) While the Russian federal government's burgeoning reliance on the Russian Orthodox Church is a tool aimed at consolidating society, in using it the authorities risk giving the clergy too much power, an issue that may eventually backfire against the Kremlin, experts told The Moscow Times. Recent public scandals have cast into the spotlight relations between the Church, society and governments at both the regional and federal levels.
Most recently, the Church and its faithful activists have pitted themselves against members of Russia's cultural elite on a number of occasions, from a controversial rendition of a classic Wagner opera in Novosibirsk, to the drama presently unfolding around a popular rock festival in Kaliningrad. Addressing these recent incidents, analysts interviewed by The Moscow Times said that any time the state sides with the Church, it exacerbates rifts in Russian society, and in doing so, inevitably bolsters and provokes opposition-leaning members of the cultural elite. [read more...]
UKRAINIAN EVANGELICALS READY FOR MINISTRY
from Mission Network News
(6 Apr) Ukraine seems to be disappearing from the news headlines. While the ceasefire continues, sporadic fighting continues in Eastern Ukraine. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has forced more than 1.2 million Ukrainians from their homes. They’re internally displaced: they have nowhere to go. They’ve lost everything.
The stories are horrifying. Some of the refugees sustained broken arms or legs in the invasion. Others have shrapnel wounds from mortar shells. Some have post-traumatic stress from seeing the horrors of war: bullet wounds, amputated limbs, and other mutilated bodies–victims of a war perpetuated by Russia and her supporters. However, Mission Eurasia is reaching out to these victims, and it’s more than what humanitarian groups are doing. Mission Eurasia is assisting local Ukrainian evangelicals who are rescuing victims both physically and spiritually, through the help of the local church.
As Orthodox Easter – celebrated on April 12 in Ukraine–approaches, President of Mission Eurasia Sergey Rakhuba says they’re stepping up their efforts to assist those in need. “The national church is trying to get involved in helping these refugees. The number of refugees, or internally displaced people, is still growing. They’re pouring out of that area of Luhonsk and Donetsk. They call this new area ‘New Russia,’ or Nova Ruscia.” [read more...]
RUSSIA CONTINUES TO RAISE QUESTION AT U.N. OF PROTECTION FOR CHRISTIANS WORLDWIDE
(3 Apr) Russia will continue raising the issue of the protection of Christians in the UN, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. "No one was going to ignore this issue [of Christians' protection]. It was raised in the meeting of the [UN] Human Rights Council and a statement was adopted, which was signed by 65 countries. It was initiated by Russia, Lebanon and the Vatican with Armenia's support," he said responding to a question about the possible support by Russia of the initiative to protection Christians in the light of the situation in Kenya. "This issue was raised in the UN. Specific mechanisms should be used when working on it, including the Human Rights Council and a whole number of other structures, specifically those preventing discrimination," Lavrov said. [read more...]
Another article reports - "In Western Europe, the U.S. and other countries there is an increase in various religious phobias, including an increase in the persecution of Christians, who are being pressured to give up their ideas or are being prevented from demonstrating their Christian faith. There is an increase in anti-Semitism and Islamophobia," Russian Foreign Ministry envoy on human rights, democracy and supremacy of law Konstantin Dolgov said on the program Church and the World on Rossiya 24 television. [read more...]
PATRIARCH IRINEJ URGES BELIEVERS TO PRAY FOR PEACE
from in News
(9 Apr) Patriarch Irinej and bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church wished all believers who celebrate the biggest Christian holiday, Pascha, according to the Julian calendar that it may bring them faith, hope, love and eternal life. In his Pascha message, the Serbian Patriarch urged the faithful to pray that “peace may return to everywhere where it has been expelled from; first of all, to our hearts and into our homes.” He urged the faithful to pray for their brothers and sisters in Kosovo-Metohija who celebrated “the victory of good over evil and of life over death” together with them on Pascha.
The Patriarch said that “the true freedom of man is the one freedom that frees him from the tyranny of transience and death.” Pointing to man’s eternal responsibility for conception and procreation, he urged for preservation of the sanctity of marriage, which was “the foundation of a sublime, healthy and virtuous Christian family.” [read more...]
PASCHA, ORTHODOX EASTER, 2015: THREE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE EASTERN CHRISTIAN CELEBRATION
from International Business Times
(10 Apr) Orthodox Christian churches from Russia to Egypt are preparing to celebrate Easter, also known as Pascha to many Eastern Christians, this Sunday. The celebration, which comes one week after most Christians around the world marked the holiday on April 5, similarly commemorates the resurrection of Jesus and shares fundamental similarities with the Western Christian celebration. However, there are also notable differences between the two celebrations, from when they are observed to what they are called.
Easter vs. Pascha: While some English-speaking Orthodox Christians may refer to the holiday as Easter, many do not, opting instead for the traditional name Pascha. It is no coincidence that Pascha, transliterated from the Greek word, sounds like the Hebrew word for Passover, "Pesach" because the Greek word is actually derived from the Hebrew, both etymologically and historically. The Jewish holiday of Passover is the “prototype” for Pascha, said the Rev. Alciviadis C. Calivas.
“The first Christians were Jews and obviously conscious of the Jewish festal calendar,” Calivas wrote in a commentary for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. “It would be hard to imagine that the Christians of the first century would not have projected and connected in some new and significant way their weekly celebration of the sacred events of Christ's death and resurrection on the annual observance of the Passover.” [read more...]
OTHER NEWS HEADLINES:
BULGARIA PATRIARCH LEADS "SECOND RESURRECTION" SERVICE IN CAPITAL CITY
from Focus Information Agency
KOSTROMA ADMINISTRATION BANS GAY PRIDE PARADE, SIX OTHER LGBT EVENTS
CHURCH LEADERS' PASCHAL MESSAGES TO UKRAINIANS
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine
MAJORITY OF POPULATION OF UKRAINE IDENTIFY THEMSELVES WITH KIEV PATRIARCHATE
from Religiia v Ukraine
UKRAINIANS STARVING IN THE EAST: CHRISTIANS FEED THE HUNGRY, PHYSICALLY AND SPIRITUALLY
from Mission Network News
PASCHAL MESSAGE BY PATRIARCH KIRILL OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA
from Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate
HELP RESTORE MORE LIVES IN UKRAINE TORN APART BY HATRED AND VIOLENCE
from Mission Eurasia
HOLY FIRE ARRIVES IN BULGARIA AT AROUND 8 P.M. SATURDAY
from Focus Information Agency
See HOSKEN-NEWS Daily for more of the latest news!
NOW, OUR VIEWS:
Most of the above news items in this issue tell of Christ's Resurrection. Why? Today the Eastern Christian world - Orthodox, Catholic and many Protestants - celebrates the Resurrection of Christ, called "Pascha" from the first Christian century onward because of the Lamb of God's crucifixion being the fulfillment of the Hebrew Passover... at precisely the same time that the Jews were slaughtering their Paschal lambs. Only much later did the western Christians take over the pagan's rite of spring named after their fertility goddess Astarte and rename the holiday as "Easter." Don't you agree it's about time that all Christians start calling this most Holy Day by its Biblical name?
Also from the first Christian century the Church has taught that unless we match our religious observances - fasting, prayers and attending worship services - with our works of mercy for the poor and suffering people all around us, those religious observances will only condemn us.
As a reminder - Christians are called to help "the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind." As you know, we teach six online courses to train them in this! How do we best help the poor - by simply giving them food, clothing and shelter? No! This may be needed in crisis situations, but in the long run it creates dependency and a disincentive to work. We can best assist the chronically poor by helping them find employment! So please check out our upcoming free course... then share this with your Christian friends:
"Vocational Rehabilitation" teaches how to assess the interests and skills of the unemployed to prepare them for returning to the workforce. It was written by my wife Cheryl, who has an M.S. in Psychology of Vocational Rehabilitation, and while working in this field she had the highest return-to-work ratio in the State of Wisconsin. Please go to www.Agape-Biblia.org/index04.htm and login as "guest" with the password "TryMe" (without the quotes). Then click on "Start Here" to enroll, or on "Course 500" to view the course.
Enrollment ends at midnight on Thursday, April 16, and the course begins on Monday, April 20. It runs six weeks, to May 31. There are three online assignments each week that should take less than an hour each, and two short tests. We've taught these courses at accredited universities and seminaries, so they are worth taking... and you can't beat the price!
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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. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. - George Washington