||FIRST, THE NEWS:
ANCIENT TRANSYLVANIAN CHURCHES BRUTALLY REVAMPED AT COST TO EU TAXPAYERS
from The Telegraph
(02 Aug) The imposing Franciscan monastery of Maria Radna in Romania is nearing the end of a costly makeover that should have restored it to full Baroque splendour, but instead it looks like a Disney castle built on a bomb site. Old stones and roof tiles lie shattered in piles around the base of the building, while any materials in good enough condition to be of value are said to have been removed from the site and sold in Germany. Concrete blocks have replaced the stone, while bright red industrial tiles glow from the roof, each inscribed with the name of a German multinational.
Maria Radna is one of dozens of ancient Transylvanian churches, castles and fortresses that have been brutally revamped in this fashion over the past five years, all funded by the European Union’s Regional Development programme at a cost of well over €100 million to the European taxpayer. Almost everywhere, the pattern is the same: old materials are ripped out and replaced with industrially made materials churned out from local factories. The workers are invariably young, low paid and inexperienced: in the case of a 13th century fortress in the city of Deva, workers were taken from a local prison and forced to do restoration work. Meanwhile, the money circulates between the beneficiaries and companies run by their friends.
Perhaps worst hit of all is the “German Saxon” region of central Transylvania, an area that the Prince of Wales has come to love and where he has bought and renovated properties. Following a visit to the region in June, Prince Charles wrote a letter to the Anglo-Romanian Trust for Traditional Architecture, in which he praised the local architecture and craftsmen, but lamented: “It is deeply dispiriting when the essential integrity of a street or entire village, or valley, is impaired by the unsympathetic rehabilitation of traditional buildings, for example with brightly coloured, machine-made tiles.” "In Romania, there is a unique opportunity to modernise, and yet still to preserve the beauty of your stunning landscapes and townscapes." The Prince, whose great-grandmother Queen Mary was from Romania, owns two properties there, including a seven-bedroom "cottage" he offers for rent. [read more...]
KAZAKHSTAN: "WHAT RIGHT DO AUTHORITIES HAVE TO SCARE OUR CHILDREN?"
by Mushfig Bayram, Forum 18 News Service
(13 Aug) Some 20 police officers, Prosecutor's Office officials and Education Department officials raided a church-run children's summer camp near Kazakhstan's commercial capital Almaty on 30 July. Officials frightened the children and "behaved like they were detaining some criminals," Pastor Sergei Li of Kapshagai Baptist Church complained to Forum 18 News Service. Questioning went on from morning until late in the evening. Lieutenant Colonel Bayken Shalkarov, Deputy Head of Kapshagai Police, defended the raid. "The Church taught children religion in violation of the Law," he claimed to Forum 18.
He said police are preparing administrative prosecutions, but refused to say for what "offence". Asem Suttibayeva of Kapshagai Education Department told Forum 18 that law-enforcement agencies required young specialists of her Department to participate in the raid. Asked why her Almaty TV channel and its subsidiary Almaty News attacked the Baptist Church, Deputy Chief Editor Tatyana Lisitskaya responded: "The authorities gave us the materials for broadcast." [read more...]
UOC(MP) ASKS CONSTANTINOPLE NOT TO INTERFERE IN CHURCH AFFAIRS IN UKRAINE
(13 Aug) The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) has criticized officials of the Constantinople Patriarchate for interfering in church affairs in Ukraine. "Unfortunately, we see that hierarchs of the Constantinople Patriarchate, who have recently visited Ukraine and communicated with representatives of state authorities and representatives of unrecognized church structures, in fact ignore the Ukrainian Orthodox Church," UOC(MP) chancellor Metropolitan Antony of Borispol and Brovary said in his interview posted on Thursday at the UOC(MP) website. He pointed out that the UOC(MP) is the major confession in Ukraine. As to the number of communities, this Church is one of the most numerous in the world.
"So, we believe that our Church should be compulsory included in all possible negotiations on overcoming church schisms in Ukraine," the metropolitan stressed. Thus, he commented on the recent visit to Ukraine carried out by the two Constantinople officials, when one of them backed up the idea to set up a local Orthodox Church in the country. Metropolitan Antony emphasized that, according to the church canons, bishops of a local church can officially visit the territory of the other church only when it is approved by the church hierarchy working in the territory of the visit. Officials of the Constantinople Patriarchate did not coordinate their visit with UOC leaders. [read more...]
UZBEKISTAN: LARGE FINE FOLLOWS POLICE BULLYING OF CHILDREN
by Mushfig Bayram, Forum 18 News Service
(06 Aug) Pastor Sergei Rychagov of Grace Presbyterian Church near Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent was heavily fined for violating the Religion Law on missionary activity, "illegal" religious teaching and violating the procedure for holding religious meetings. However, he learned of the fine only in June, Protestants told Forum 18 News Service. Police bullied children from a local orphanage who had been attending the church into writing statements against him, they added.
The officer who brought the case insisted to Forum 18 that Rychagov had violated the law, while the judge who fined him refused to explain why he had done so. In Urgench, Anti-Terrorism Police accused a local Baptist of "teaching religion illegally." Police have already seized religious literature and the man’s car. Asked by Forum 18 why other Baptists are being questioned to incriminate him, Anti-Terrorism Police Major Shavkat Bekchanov responded: "Who are you and why should I discuss the case with you over the phone?" [read more...]
REPRESENTATIVES OF CHRISTIAN CHURCHES IN ZAPORIZHIA OPPOSED THE NEW CONSTITUTION BECAUSE OF THREAT TO FAMILY
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine
(12 Aug) On August 10, 2015,the third Interreligious meeting took place at the Shrine of Merciful God the Father, bringing together more than 20 representatives of Christian Churches and communities of Zaporizhia. At this meeting, representatives of these Christian associations signed a separate appeal to the President of Ukraine and head of the Supreme Council, demanding to prevent amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine, prepared by the Working Group on Human Rights of the Constitutional Commission.
As emphasized by representatives of the Churches, Article 51 of the current Constitution of Ukraine defines marriage as a union of men and women (Article 51. Marriage is based on free consent of a woman and a man), while these concepts were obliterated in the proposed amendment (Article 27 Right to marriage, to create a family is guaranteed by law). As such, the new version does not define sex and number of partners in marriage.
In addition, the statement says, Article 35 proposes an amendment regarding the sexual orientation and the prohibition of discrimination on this ground. Thus, it will be prohibited to call a sin a sin and all who would do this will become violators of the law. The above plans to change the constitution on these issues pose serious threats to the family institution in Ukraine, creating a foundation for the legalization of same-sex partnerships unacceptable to the moral health of society and prosecution of morality based on God's commandments. [read more...]
UKRAINE: GAY PRIDE MARCH BANNED AFTER CHURCH LEADERS' PROTEST
from Christian Today
(14 Aug) A gay pride march in the Ukrainian city of Odessa has been banned after protests from Church leaders, though organisers say they will go ahead anyway. The 'Equality March' was due to take place on 15 Aug. However, the Odessa City Council backed by the local court ruled against it, arguing that it was a controversial demonstration carrying a "high likelihood of violence" against it. The court said the march "may pose a real danger and a threat to public order in the city, to health and lives of its participants and other citizens and guests of Odessa."
Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant Church leaders had protested against the march in a letter to the city's mayor. They stated a traditionalist position of hostility to homosexuality, saying that such events "blur the clear distinction established by God, undermining the foundation of the family and marriage and destroying the biblical family institution." Their statement said that a society which accepts homosexuality is "doomed to extinction," that it "kills true love and gives rise to hatred," "leads to inevitable degradation" and is responsible for incurable diseases. It continues: "We understand that the views of the LGBT community are their personal choice. However, promoting and imposing antibiblical and antitraditional views is unacceptable and leads to the destruction of our society." [read more...]
OTHER NEWS HEADLINES:
UKRAINE'S BORDER GUARD SERVICE REPORTS DETENTION OF PRIEST ALLEGEDLY INVOLVED WITH MILITIA BATTALION IN DONBASS
TEENAGE ORPHANS IN RUSSIA FIND HOPE AMIDST DARKNESS
from Mission Network News
UOC(MP) SOURCES EXPLAIN WHY VOLUNTEERS ENJOY THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF CONFIDENCE AMONG UKRAINIANS
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine
MAJORITY OF RUSSIANS PLACE FEELINGS OF BELIEVERS ABOVE FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND EXPRESSION – POLL
FOUNDATIONS OF ORTHODOXY INCLUDED IN 5TH-GRADE CURRICULUM IN 30 MOSCOW SCHOOLS
RESTORATION COMPLETED AT THE CHURCH OF ST ALEXANDER NEVSKY IN WUHAN, CHINA
from Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate
BATTLING FOR THE SOUL OF EVERY CHILD
from Mission Eurasia
REBIRTH OF PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW: PUTIN’S POLITICS IN HARMONY WITH ORTHODOX CHURCH – ANALYSIS
from Eurasia Review
See HOSKEN-NEWS Daily for more of the latest news!
NOW, OUR VIEWS:
Let's keep the comments coming! When you've finished reading, leave your COMMENTS in our Hosken-News Blog below. Thanks!
Our first news article ANCIENT TRANSYLVANIAN CHURCHES BRUTALLY REVAMPED AT COST TO EU TAXPAYERS describes the seemingly careless "renovation" of ancient religious landmarks - churches, monasteries, etc. It appears that there is more involved than merely architectural preservation: certain businessmen with connections are profiting handsomely by this work. Strict control of religious activities in Kazakhstan, especially related to training children in the faith, as our second news article KAZAKHSTAN: "WHAT RIGHT DO AUTHORITIES HAVE TO SCARE OUR CHILDREN?" illustrates, reminds us of the darkest days under communism. Similar mistreatment of unfavored religious groups in Uzbekistan is illustrated in our fourth news article UZBEKISTAN: LARGE FINE FOLLOWS POLICE BULLYING OF CHILDREN.
Meanwhile, our third news article UOC(MP) ASKS CONSTANTINOPLE NOT TO INTERFERE IN CHURCH AFFAIRS IN UKRAINE describes the ongoing battle of wills between Moscow, Kyiv and Constantinople concerning who should rule over the Orthodox churches in Ukraine. The Moscow Patriarchate cites canon law, but it seems Kyiv and Constantinople are giving more weight to the reality of the situation: Ukraine has now been independent of Russia for over 25 years and needs to be in charge of its own destiny. Our other news headlines indicate that the temperature of the conflict there, although still simmering, may be coming down. Continue praying for peace in this area of the world!
Please support Agape Restoration Society by e-check or credit/debit card: click on the "Donate" button there.
The Paganization of America
The open military conflicts around the world, especially in Ukraine and the Middle East, distract us from the very real if invisible spiritual-ideological struggle taking place in America and other western countries. The idea of freedom or liberty has become an absolute replacing God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The notion that every person including the smallest child should be free to choose one's own way of life has permeated our society so thoroughly that you are scorned and ridiculed if you dare to speak out and say there are objective standards of right and wrong, good and evil, truth and falsehood. Making liberty the absolute, the highest value in society, leads only to debauchery and bondage, as St. Peter wrote:
For, uttering great swelling words of emptiness, they entice in the lusts of the flesh, by licentiousness, those who are indeed escaping from those who live in error; promising them liberty, while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a man is overcome, by the same is he also brought into bondage. For if, after they have escaped the defilement of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the last state has become worse with them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. (2 Peter 2 18-21)
As the Apostle Peter wrote, it would be better if those people had never lived in a culture permeated with Christian values where the Gospel has been openly preached for centuries, than after being exposed to it, to reject it and turn back to paganism. Their last state of these neopagans will be worse than the state of the old pre-Christian pagans. How did all this come about?
Continue reading in our Hosken-News Blog.
Please remember to pray for Christians in the former Soviet bloc countries, and for...
Bob & Cheryl
p.s. There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and trying to make them equal. - F.A. Hayek