||FIRST, THE NEWS:
DACIC: DESECRATION OF CHURCH PROVES KOSOVO’S PLACE IS NOT IN UNESCO
from - IN News
(11 Jan) Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on Monday that the desecration of the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Pristina during Saturday’s opposition riots was another sad proof that Serbia had been right to oppose Kosovo’s admission to UNESCO.
Not only are ethnic Albanians incapable of protecting the Serb cultural and religious heritage in Kosovo-Metohija, but they are destroying it systematically, and the culprits do not face any sanctions, the ministry quoted Dacic as saying.
Not only is this impossible to reconcile with UNESCO’s principles, but it deserves a condemnation from all international actors, he added.
Kosovo is the only place in today’s Europe where it is possible to damage, set ablaze and desecrate Christian churches without facing a single word against, or any penalty, Dacic said. [read more...]
HEAD OF RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH BLAMES THE RISE OF ISIS ON THE "GODLESS" WORLD'S ACCEPTANCE OF HOMOSEXUALITY
from - The Independent
(18 Jan) The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has partially blamed an increased acceptance of homosexuality for the rise of ISIS. Patriarch Kirill claimed he was not surprised that some Muslims are flocking to ISIS' quasi-religious state as a way of escaping the "godless civilization" that celebrates events such as Gay Pride. In an interview published on the Church’s official website, Kirill said: "[ISIS] is creating a civilization that is new by comparison to the established one that is godless, secular and even radical in its secularism."
"We can have parades for the sexual minorities - that is supported - but a million French Christian protestors defending family values are broken up by police," he added. Kiril said because the "godless civilization is reaching maturity," it should come as no surprise that those who are opposed to liberal, secular ideas end up joining terror organisations. "If you call non-traditional relationships a sin, as the Bible teaches and you are a priest or pastor, then you risk not only your ability to serve but you may be sent to prison," he said. [read more...]
(11 Jan) In two years, 60-70 parishes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) have joined the Ukrainian Orthodox Kyivan Patriarchate, says Viktor Yelensky, expert in religions, member of the subcommittee on state policy for freedom of conscience and religious organizations of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Culture and Spirituality, EuroMaidanPress with the reference to Radio Svoboda informs. “Of course, it’s probable that some parishes have moved the other way. I can’t say anything at the moment. But this is the tendency now – if a priest expresses anti-Ukrainian sentiments in his parish, parishioners usually move to join the Kyivan Patriarchate.”
he MP denies that the government is applying pressure on the parishioners and priests to switch to either patriarchate. On January 7, 2016, in an interview on Rossiya-1 channel, Kirill, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church stated that “for him, Ukraine is the same as Russia.” He added that he was very worried about churches in Ukraine being occupied by parishioners. He spoke of the conflict between religious communities in the village of Ptychi (Rivne Oblast), where he believes “the court has stood up for the rights of our believers, but the government does not protect these rights.”
The conflict for the church in the village of Ptychi (Dubno District) has dragged on for more than a year, ever since the vast majority of villagers voted to join the Kyivan Patriarchate. Parishioners were outraged by the behaviour of their priest (of the Ukrainian Orthodox Moscow Patriarchate), who often referred to the Russian Patriarch Kirill and called on the faithful to pray for ATO fighters not as soldiers, but as “wandering tourists.” [read more...]
ARCHPRIEST CHAPLIN CENSORED BY RUSSIAN MEDIA SINCE HIS DISMISSAL
from - AsiaNews.it
(13 Jan) The former head of the Synodal Department for Relations between the Orthodox Church and Society, dismissed in December over alleged disagreements with the Patriarch, announces he no longer finds space in the press; for years he was the spokesman of the most intransigent positions taken by the Patriarchate. Since his dismissal last December as head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for Relations between Church and Society, because of differences with the leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin has been denied space to defend his positions on almost all the national media.
In a post on his personal Facebook page Chaplin states that some news sites as Newsru.com. “are trying to avoid any of my statements from being carried on almost all Russian media.” The Archpriest believes that "the highest church leadership may be involved in this (I have the right to assume that the directive was given by the Patriarch himself) and the leaders of President of the Russian Federation." Chaplin backed up his claims with some facts. For example, on December 28 a press conference announced already long ago and that was to be held at the headquarters of the agency Interfax was canceled; December 29, the state agency Russia Today reported his comments in connection with the dismissal - wanted by the Synod – but never published them. On January 5, another pre-recorded interview for Channel Life News, on issues related to the Christmas celebrations never aired. [read more...]
TOO EARLY TO SPEAK OF MEETING BETWEEN POPE, PATRIARCH - RUSSIAN CHURCH
from - Interfax-Religion
(22 Jan) The position of the Moscow Patriarchate on the issue of the possibility of a meeting between the patriarch and the pope has not changed and a meeting is possible, but only after the problems in the relations between the two Churches are resolved. "The hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church have never denied such a possibility in general, but the objective conditions have so far not allowed for its realization. Such a meeting should be well-prepared. There is a need to reach agreements on the main issues in relations between the two churches, which will then be reflected in the joint statement of the patriarch and the pope," Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations, said in an interview with the Serb newspaper Vecherniye Vedomosti, a translation of which was posted on the website of the DECR.
Metropolitan Hilarion said the actions by the Uniates (Greek Catholics) in Ukraine are "the main obstacle" in the dialogue between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches. The hierarch said the Unia was once practiced to convert Orthodox Christians into the Catholic Church and the Uniates took over Orthodox churches in Western Ukraine in the late 1980s and early 1990s, subjecting the clergy and laymen to violence, and have taken part in the civil conflict in Ukraine since the first days of the protests on the Maidan, often "using openly Russophobic rhetoric and attacks, including against the Russian Orthodox Church." As to the Catholic proselytism on the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate, it was a serious problem 15 years ago, but "has now ceased to be an acute problem," the metropolitan said, adding that relations with the Catholic Church in the territory of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and other countries "are developing in the spirit of constructive cooperation." [read more...]
MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE SETS UP NEW STAFF TO DESTABILIZE INTER-CHURCH RELATIONS IN UKRAINE
from - Ukraine Weekly
(22 Jan) The Russian Orthodox Church has set up a new staff in the synod department of external church affairs to blacken the reputation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, to block the Ecumenical Patriarchate from recognizing the Kyiv Church as canonical, and to destabilize religious conditions across Ukraine. In an article on Ukrinform.ru titled “The Moscow Patriarchate as Commissar of Hybrid War,” Kyiv journalist Lana Samokhvalova says that this staff, headquartered in Moscow, seeks to create controversies between the Orthodox Churches in Ukraine so as to be able to complain to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and other international bodies that Ukraine is religiously intolerant (www.ukrinform.ru/rubric-community/1944967-moskovskiy-patriarhat-kak-komissar-gibridnoy-voynyi.html).
Among the groups this new staff oversees are the Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods, the Union of Orthodox Citizens, the Association of Orthodox Citizens and other radical nationalist groups not publicly associated with the Moscow Patriarchate in order to suggest that these conflicts arise within Ukraine and to give Moscow deniability as far as its role is concerned. The chief operative of this Moscow staff in Ukraine is the Union of Orthodox Journalists which, Samokhvalova says, “is in fact neither a union nor does it comprise journalists or Orthodox faithful.” Instead, it is an FSB operation intended to provoke conflicts between the Moscow Patriarchate and the parishes of the Kyiv Patriarchate and then blame them on the latter. [read more...]
OTHER NEWS HEADLINES:
JANUARY 20, 1918 - NINETY-EIGHT YEARS AGO ALL CHURCH PROPERTY IN RUSSIA WAS CONFISCATED
from The Examiner
RELIGIOUS CONFLICTS ARE ABSENT IN UKRAINE-CONTROLLED TERRITORIES OF DONBAS, WHILE ONLY UOC (MP) IS TOLERATED IN OCCUPIED AREAS
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine
CONFLICTS OVER ORTHODOX PARISHES IN UKRAINE WITH MIXED OUTCOMES
from Religia v Ukraine
SOME TWO MILLION PEOPLE ATTEND FEAST OF THEOPHANY, THE BAPTISM OF CHRIST, CELEBRATIONS IN RUSSIA
METROPOLITAN HILARION: DESCENDING INTO THE JORDAN, THE LORD SANCTIFIED THE WATERS BY HIS DIVINITY
from Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate
KGB "CHRISTIANS": PUTIN, STALIN, AND THE KGB’S HISTORY OF MANIPULATING THE ORTHODOX CHURCH
See HOSKEN-NEWS Daily for more of the latest news!
NOW, OUR VIEWS:
Click on this map to see all the places where we've lived and visited in Russia: three years each in the Udmurt Republic and Mari El Republic, eleven years in Moscow, as well as trips to St. Petersburg next to the North Sea and Krasnodar next to the Black Sea. We've visited Estonia and Latvia on the North Sea to get new visas for Russia. We've also lived in the U.S., Germany, Canada, Austria and England, and have traveled to 14 or 15 other countries. But for the past eight years now we've only left the U.S. three times for short visits to Russia and Ukraine. What does the future hold for us? Only God knows!
It is now 25 years since the dissolution of the USSR. Because all flights out of Moscow before Christmas were booked, I remained in Moscow on western Christmas Day, the 25th of December, 1991, watching Mikhail Gorbachiov sign the document that dissolved the Soviet Union, as two CNN journalists were interviewing him at that momentous event. The next day, when I boarded an almost-empty Delta jet to return to the U.S., I noticed a well-dressed couple in the seats right behind me. Making some small talk, I learned that they were the CNN journalists who had interviewed Gorbachiov the day before! When he had reached into his pocket for a pen, he could not find one, so one of these CNN journalists lent him a pen. He showed it to me - the pen that was mightier than the sword, that had dissolved the Soviet Union!
Now we are faced with a Russia re-emerging from the shambles of the economic collapse in those years, in spite of the western sanctions being applied due to Russia's takeover of Crimea and supporting the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Russia's military is also demonstrating strong capabilities in Syria. In the religious sphere, the Russian Orthodox Church has taken a leading role in society, as western-sponsored Christian missions have withered away. Very few western missionaries remain there, compared to the flood of missionaries in the 1990s and early 2000s.
As you see in our sixth news article MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE SETS UP NEW STAFF TO DESTABILIZE INTER-CHURCH RELATIONS IN UKRAINE as well as our other news headline KGB "CHRISTIANS": PUTIN, STALIN, AND THE KGB’S HISTORY OF MANIPULATING THE ORTHODOX CHURCH, it would appear that the resurgence of the Russian Orthodox Church and the withering away of western-sponsored Christian missions is not merely a coincidence.
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OLD THINGS AND NEW
In Matthew 13:52 we find a rather enigmatic saying of Jesus - "Therefore, every scribe who has been made a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a householder who brings out of his treasure old things and new." What does this mean? It comes at the very end of a chapter devoted to "Parables of the Kingdom" - The Sower and the Seed, The Wheat and the Tares, The Mustard Seed, The Pearl of Great Price, and The Dragnet.
Jesus did not abolish the Old Testament Law or the teaching of the Prophets; rather, He fulfilled them (Matthew 5:17). The Apostle Paul was well-versed in the Torah, he was "a Pharisee of the Pharisees." He was able to apply many of the stories and teachings of the Old Testament to the new era of the Gospel of Christ. Thank the Lord that we also have many great Church Fathers who can show us how to correctly apply the Old Testament teachings to the Christian era:
Origen wrote that such a scribe "has been made a disciple to the kingdom of heaven, in every word of the Old Testament and in all knowledge concerning the new teaching of Christ Jesus. He has these riches laid up in his own treasure house — in heaven, in which he stores his treasure as one who has been made a disciple to the kingdom of heaven. There neither moth consumes nor thieves break through and steal."
Cyril of Alexandria also explained this verse in a similar way: "A scribe is one who, through continual reading of the Old and New Testaments, has laid up for himself a storehouse of knowledge. Thus Christ blesses those who have gathered in themselves the education both of the law and of the gospel, so as to 'bring forth from their treasure things both new and old.'”
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Please remember to pray for Christians in the former Soviet bloc countries, and for...
Bob & Cheryl
p.s. I can do something. I cannot do everything, but that doesn't give me the right to do nothing.