||FIRST, THE NEWS:
UKRAINE'S ORTHODOX CHURCH OF KYIV PATRIARCHATE MARCHES THROUGH KYIV STREETS
from: Ukraine Today
(28 Jul) About 15,000 Ukrainians from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate) celebrated the 1028th anniversary of the Christianization of Kyivan Rus. People from all over the country gathered in Kyiv to take part in the solemn march through the capital and hold prayer service at the Saint Volodymyr Hill. President Poroshenko addressed the crowd at the beginning of the event.
Patriarch Filaret earlier called on representatives of different confessions to participate in the march to consolidate Ukraine. At least 15,000 believers answered his call and marched through Kyiv, Ukrainian Interior Minister said. The Christianization or Baptism Day of Kyivan Rus took place in 988 under Kyiv's Prince Volodymyr the Great. Kyiv was the first city in ancient Rus to adopt Christianity.
In an earlier press release, KREMLIN-BACKED RELIGIOUS PROCESSION BARRED FROM MARCHING IN KYIV, it was reported that Ukraine's law enforcement officers barred the religious procession organized by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow's Patriarchate) from passing along Kyiv's streets, Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said.
"In the morning, we discovered dummy mines and real grenades alongside the planned route of the procession, which left no doubt that threats and provocations are real. The safety of citizens is above religious rituals," Avakov wrote on Facebook. But the Moscow-supported procession continued anyway. Both processions met in downtown Kyiv, chanting against each other and barely being separated from each other by police. [read more...]
KAZAKHSTAN: GOVERNMENT CONTRADICTS UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE
by : Forum 18 News Service
(22 Jul) The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee has criticised Kazakhstan for, among other things, its "broad formulation" of "extremist" offences and called for laws to be brought "into full compliance" with its international human rights obligations. It also added that Kazakhstan should ensure that "rights to a fair trial and access to justice are respected." Adventist prisoner of conscience Yklas Kabduakasov was convicted last year under Criminal Code Article 174, Part 1.
But in direct contradiction to the Committee's recommendations, Kazakhstan is currently preparing even harsher "extremism" punishments in changes to six codes and 18 laws, including the Religion Law. Confusingly, some of the manifestations of freedom of religion and belief the government has announced it will ban are already banned. Human rights defender Yevgeni Zhovtis, of the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, has commented that "instead of a normal partnership and mutual respect, the authorities begin to intimidate society". He noted that "experience shows that such measures mainly ‘hit' not the extremists and radicals, but law-abiding citizens, at the same time reducing their loyalty and civic sense."
At the 19 July meeting of government ministers and senior officials, Culture and Sport Minister Arystanbek Mukhamediuli outlined tighter legal controls on exercising freedom of religion or belief set to be introduced as part of the amendments. He billed such amendments as part of the need to counter "religious radicalism." Parts of the proposed amendments affect the Religion Law. They are being prepared by the Legal Department of the Religious Affairs Committee, which is part of the Culture and Sports Ministry. The proposals it produces will be reviewed by other "relevant structures," including the Interior Ministry, the National Security Committee (KNB) secret police and the Prosecutor's Office, a Legal Department official told Forum 18 in June. [read more...]
(29 Jul) The President of Ukraine had a meeting with Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Archbishop Job Getcha of Telmessos. The Head of State expressed gratitude for the attention of the Mother Church of Constantinople to the issue of single national Orthodox Church in Ukraine, informs Presidents press office. The President drew special attention to the fact that the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople had established a special commission for consideration of the Ukrainian Parliament’s application on the provision of the Tomos of Autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The President is hopeful that the commission will not delay its work given the situation in Ukraine.
Poroshenko assured that the Ukrainian authorities are united in their aspiration to have single national Orthodox Church and noted that the given issue is becoming increasingly relevant against the backdrop of global challenges. “We should help the believers implement their aspirations on the single church,” Petro Poroshenko said. The Honourable Representative of His All-Holiness Bartholomew Archbishop Job of Telmessos conveyed greetings from His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the entire Mother Church of Constantinople. He assured that the Ecumenical Patriarch wants to help Ukraine.
The parties discussed the role of state and church in the prevention of the use of the religious factor for destabilization of the situation in Ukraine. According to the President, the task of the government was not to give opportunities to provoke inter-religious and inter-confessional conflicts and expressed satisfaction with the recent work of the law enforcement bodies. Petro Poroshenko congratulated the Ecumenical Patriarchate on successful holding of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church. “I think it has approved and strengthened the authority of His All-Holiness in the Orthodox world,” the President said. [read more...]
PATRIARCH KIRILL REGRETS THAT UKRAINIANS WHO PRAYED FOR PEOPLE'S UNITY DURING CROSS PROCESSION WERE SUSPECTED OF POLITICAL INTENT
(28 Jul) Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said he is hoping that the big cross procession held in Ukraine will mark the beginning of true reconciliation of the people. "I hope to God that this cross procession will mark the beginning of a true process of people's reconciliation in Ukraine so that the people understand that those who do not share their political, cultural and even religious views are not enemies, that today's world, if it wants to stay united, and any country, let alone Christian, if it wants to stay united, should not wipe off the road people who are disliked and do not share the views of those have power at this moment using force, terrorism and suppression, but that true conciliarity, which they talk about often in Ukraine, true unity should be based on peace, mutual respect and love," the patriarch said after a liturgy held in the Epiphany cathedral in Oryol.
He said the cross procession indicates that "the Church has only one way and one method of causing people to reconcile: it's prayer and love. We heard that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church called the great cross procession to be able to pray for the unity of their people, for the reconciliation of the enemies. People came with icons, holy things, they walked hundreds and hundreds of kilometers just praying, but it was hard to see when someone, wishing to take the hell they had in their own soul to others, began accusing those innocent people of political intentions, of planning coups, of threatening national security, and God knows what else," the patriarch said. [read more...]
PRESIDENT POROSHENKO: WE PRAY FOR THE LIBERATION OF UKRAINIANS FROM FOREIGN INVASION
from: Religious Information Service of Ukraine
(28 Jul) In the course of the festivities on the occasion of the Day of Christianization of Kyivan Rus’ - Ukraine, President Petro Poroshenko thanked the Ukrainian churches and religious organizations for supporting the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the war unleashed by Moscow against “Golden-Domed Kyiv” more than two years ago, the press office of Petro Porosheko informs. “I do not accept palliative forms such as an abstract 'armed conflict' or 'armed confrontation.' This is a non-Ukrainian voice of strangers. What is happening in the East is called a 'foreign invasion.' It is not difficult to find an analogue to this Ukrainian phrase in the Church Slavonic language,” the Head of State emphasized.
The President expressed gratitude to the churches and religious organizations that support Ukrainian defenders with the Word of God, prayers and humanitarian aid, and help alleviate the suffering of civilians caused by Russian aggression and pro-Moscow gangs. The President urged the holy fathers to continue prayers for the fallen Ukrainian soldiers and those who are defending Ukraine now. The Head of State noted that despite the international support, the victory depended on Ukrainians. “And the main spiritual weapon of our victory is our unity,” the President stressed. [read more...]
NUMBER OF KYIV PATRIARCHATE'S ORTHODOX CHURCH MEMBERS GROWS BY 14.5% IN SIX YEARS
from: Ukraine Today
(19 Jul) The number of church members who attend the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate) grew by 14.5% from 2010 to 2016, while the members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) shrank by 5.8%, according to a poll conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS). "Eighty percent of the polled identify themselves as Christians, 12% say they do not belong to any religion, but claim to be religious. At the same time, 44% of the respondents say that they have prayed at home at least once in the past week and 62% did this in the past month," the poll said.
"Social and demographic characteristics of the members of Ukraine's two most numerous churches - the Orthodox Churches of Kyiv and Moscow Patriarchates – are largely similar (there is no statistically significant difference in age, residence (rural and urban), while a difference in education, income, the use of language is quite significant with a probability between 0.95 and 0.99). Despite the differences in the distribution of macroregions, the vast majority of the members of both churches identify themselves as a Ukrainian only (without combination with Russian or other nationality). Namely it concerns 90% of the members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate) and 76% of the members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)," the KIIS said. [read more...]
OTHER NEWS HEADLINES:
PATRIARCH FILARET: “THE LOCAL ORTHODOX CHURCH WILL EXIST IN UKRAINE, WE WILL PURSUE THIS GOAL TOGETHER WITH THE STATE”
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine
ONLY PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW CAN HELP ORTHODOX UKRAINIANS UNITE - POROSHENKO
HOLY SYNOD OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH EXPRESSES ITS POSITION ON THE COUNCIL HELD IN CRETE
from Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate
STREET EVANGELISM IN ZAPOROZHYE
from Mission Eurasia
APPROVAL FOR THE INITIATIVE OF THE 3 MILLION ROMANIANS CONCERNING THE TRADITIONAL FAMILY
GEORGIA: GATHERING PITS LGBT COMMUNITY AGAINST 'PRO-FAMILY' EVANGELICAL SUPPORTERS
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH TO GET ITS OWN INSTANT MESSAGING SERVICE
from Russia Beyond the Headlines
ARCHBISHOP ANDREW MAKLAKOV: PUTIN GOES TO WAR WITH RUSSIA’S FREE CHURCHES
See HOSKEN-NEWS Daily for more of the latest news!
NOW, OUR VIEWS:
(30 Jul) From all appearances, it seems that Ukraine is moving further and further out of Moscow's orbit. Moscow's attempt to keep Ukraine under its wings by invading Crimea and starting a proxy war in eastern Ukraine has had the opposite effect. And as our third new article PRESIDENT POROSHENKO HELD MEETING WITH REPRESENTATIVE OF ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE indicates, the Ecumenical Patriarchate is taking notice. Kyiv was under the Ecumenical Patriarchate from the time Prince Vladimir accepted Christianity in A.D. 988 for hundreds of years, up to 1458. Then Moscow rose and took over Kyiv, holding the Ecumenical Patriarch, threatened by the Turks, hostage until he named the Metropolitan of Moscow as Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus' including Kyiv. The history is long and convoluted, with the Uniates taking control of part of Ukraine in 1596, but now President Poroshenko and the Kyiv Patriarch are asking to come back under the Ecumenical Patriarch.
In our last news headline ARCHBISHOP ANDREW MAKLAKOV: PUTIN GOES TO WAR WITH RUSSIA’S FREE CHURCHES we read of a non-Moscow Patriarchate Archbishop decrying Putin's new law severely limiting all forms of Christianity and Islam in Russia except the Kremlin-approvied varieties. This law came into force on 20 July as part of an "anti-terrorism" and "anti-extremism" package. But I have confidential info that even before that date, Russian police raided and shut down an Evangelical summer camp. It appears that "anti-terrorism" and "anti-extremism" are easy umbrellas under which to hide persecution of non-conformist religious believers.
Recently I've received replies to my Social Media posts from an Orthodox layperson and an Orthodox priest that it's good and right for Orthodox countries to ban "sectarians" ...conveniently forgetting that at one time their countries were pagan and banned Orthodox Christianity! If it is proper for Orthodox countries to ban "sectarians," then why is it not proper for non-Orthodox countries to ban Orthodoxy? You can't have it both ways. That's why we need freedom of religious expression. Otherwise "anti-terrorism" and "anti-extremism" can and will be used against both Evangelicals and Orthodox Christians, both in the East and in the West. A close reading of both major U.S. political parties' platforms indicates this is on the way.
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Freedom of Religion, Not Freedom From Religion
The U.S. Constitution had the Bill of Rights, ten Amendments, added so that all of the states would accept the new federal form of government. The First Amendment begins: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Then it specifies freedom of speech and freedom of the press, which are impossible without freedom of belief. The framers of the Constitution, especially James Madison, believed that "a republic without religious freedom was impossible. Religious freedom was essential for political freedom and academic freedom."
My ancestor Roger Sherman was the only man to sign all four founding documents of the United States: the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, U.S. Constitution, and Bill of Rights. Madison, Wisconsin, where we lived and raised our family, is named after James Madison, who is also my ancestor. So I'm historically very much inclined to favor the free exercise of religious liberty.
Many people today have a distorted view of religious freedom. Some think it only means the freedom to attend whatever church, synagogue, mosque, etc. you choose. But this view omits "the free exercise thereof." If we are only able to listen and agree to a pastor's sermon, but not exercise in public what we believe, the supposed religious freedom is hardly any freedom at all. And recent laws against pastors mentioning any particular political position in their sermons undercut even further our free exercise of religion. When the state claims control over every social institution - education, healthcare, the press, etc. - then everything becomes "political," and thus to say anything that is "politically incorrect" becomes illegal. Other people have the opinion that...
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Please remember to pray for Christians in the former Soviet bloc countries, and for...
Bob & Cheryl
p.s. Live your life so that the preacher won't have to lie at your funeral.