||FIRST, THE NEWS:
RUSSIAN COURT ORDERS DEMOLITION OF UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH (KP) IN MOSCOW OBLAST
from: Euromaidan Press
(06 Oct) The Moscow Regional Court has ruled that the Holy Trinity Church of the Bohorodsk Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyiv Patriarchate in the city of Noginsk (a Moscow suburb) must be demolished, announced hieromonk Svyatoslav (Merkuriy) Skorokhod on his FB page: "The lawsuit against the UOC-KP was filed by the Noginsk City Administration, but hieromonk Svyatoslav Skorokhod believes it was probably instigated by the Moscow Patriarchate."
The court ruled that the Ukrainian Church of the Holy Trinity was to be demolished in four months at the expense of the Ukrainian diocese. Hieromonk Svyatoslav Skorokhod also remarked that: "before the hearing, lawyer Tatiana Goryunova, who was defending the interests of the UOC-KP, was brutally attacked. Unidentified persons in a passing vehicle opened fire on Ms Goryunova." She also received death threats over the phone if she continued to support and defend the Ukrainian church publicly in court.
Metropolitan Adrian Starina noted: “Unfortunately, anything related to Ukraine is being cleaned out and systematically destroyed. Today we saw the decision regarding demolition of our church; yesterday it was the forced closure of the Ukrainian library and banning of a single centralized Ukrainian organization – The Ukrainian Congress of Russia.” [read more...]
UZBEKISTAN: CONTRADICTORY "EXPERT ANALYSES," FOUR PEOPLE FINED
by Mushfig Bayram: Forum 18 News Service
(04 Oct) Uzbekistan arrested four men, confiscating a book a government "expert analysis” stated was permitted. Adventist Pastor Andrei Ten was later shown a second "expert analysis” banning the book and fined 100 times the minimum monthly wage, the other three being each fined smaller amounts. Police and National Security Service (NSS) secret police on 2 August arrested four men riding in a taxi in Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent. They then confiscated copies of a religious book, The Great Controversy, which the Religious Affairs Committee had in writing stated that after "expert analysis” was allowed to be imported and distributed in Uzbekistan.
On 8 August one of the men, Pastor Andrei Ten of the registered Seventh-day Adventist Church, was summoned to a police station and asked to write a statement that he gave out copies of the book. He was only then shown a second "expert analysis” in which the Religious Affairs Committee contradicted itself banning the book. Pastor Ten was on 19 August fined 100 times the minimum monthly wage, the other three men being each fined five times the minimum monthly wage.
Many similar cases take place in Uzbekistan against physical and electronic religious literature held by people of many beliefs, often involving sometimes very large fines and jail sentences. In some cases, rape threats and physical abuse has been used by male officials against female religious believers. [read more...]
PARLIAMENT REGISTERS BILL ON SPECIAL STATUS OF RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS OF AGGRESSOR COUNTRY
from: Religious Information Service of Ukraine
(12 Oct) Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on culture and spirituality, MP of People's Front Mykola Knyazhytskyy has proposed to Parliament to approve the draft law on the special status of religious organizations, whose headquarters are located in the state recognized as aggressor country by Ukraine’s Parliament.
Draft law No. 4511, which Knyazhytskyy suggests as a basis, provides for granting special status to religious organizations whose headquarters are located in the aggressor country. It is also proposed to envisage a special procedure for registration of the statutes of religious organizations and put into practice signing of contracts (agreements) between the government and the leadership of these religious organizations.
In addition, it is proposed to coordinate with a competent state authority the invitation of foreign citizens for outreach activities in Ukraine. It also provides that in case of systematic violation of the law of Ukraine, establishment of the fact of collaboration with “representatives of militant and terrorist groups... the competent state authority initiates termination of this religious organization in Ukraine.”
The objectives of the bill include timely identification of possible manifestations of external influence and interference “on the part of the aggressor country through the religious factor in the church-state and inter-confessional relations in Ukraine and in the course of social and political processes in the country.” '); }
HEAD OF RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH PATRIARCH KIRILL BEGINS UK TRIP
from: BBC News
(15 Oct) The head of Russia's Orthodox Church is beginning a four-day visit to Britain, in which he is expected to meet the Queen and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Patriarch Kirill is the first head of the Russian Church to visit the UK. The Orthodox Church says it hopes the visit will help Russia and Britain "strengthen mutual trust." But BBC Moscow Correspondent Steve Rosenberg, said that at the moment "mutual distrust" characterised the relationship between the countries.
This week UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he would like to see a protest against bombings of the Syrian city of Aleppo, which are being blamed on Vladimir Putin's forces. But Moscow, which denies the claims, accused him of "Russophobic hysteria." The northern Syrian city of Aleppo has become the most high-profile battleground in the country's five-year civil war. A UN relief convoy was attacked from the air last month - an action widely blamed on Russia, an ally of President Bashar al-Assad. [read more...]
RUSSIAN SPIRITUAL AND CULTURAL CENTER IN PARIS WILL OPEN ON OCTOBER 19 WITHOUT PUTIN'S OFFICIAL VISIT
(12 Oct) The Russian Spiritual and Cultural Center in Paris will begin working normally without an official opening ceremony, Mikhail Shvydkoy, the Russian president's special representative on international cultural cooperation, told Interfax. "It will be working normally, an official opening ceremony will take place when there is an official delegation. It is normal, such things happen, too. The center will be working, just the official opening ceremony will be postponed," he said. Shvydkoy did not specify the exact date of the opening.
It was reported on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had cancelled his visit to Paris, which had been scheduled for October 19. Russian presidential press officer Dmitry Peskov said Russia will wait for a convenient time and President Putin will again consider the possibility of paying such a visit in the event that such an issue is on the agenda. [read more...]
PRISTINA: ORTHODOX CHAPEL TURNED INTO PUBLIC RESTROOM; BISHOP: LACK OF BASIC NORMS OF CIVILIZATION
(04 Oct) A recently renovated and cleaned cemetery chapel in Pristina was turned into a public restroom and garbage dump, and several orthodox graves are overgrown with weeds, said the Dioceses of Raska and Prizren. Such a situation exists despite the fact that municipal community service is allegedly in charge of taking care of the cemetery and that a paid cemetery guard is provided, says the Diocese.
“During the course of the visit of the Orthodox cemetery in Pristina, priest Sasa Mitrovic encountered a sad and sickening picture. The recently renovated and cleaned cemetery chapel was turned into a public restroom and garbage dump, and several graves are overgrown with weeds,” says the Diocese’s statement.
These photographs show a situation similar to that in the Temple of Christ the Savior in the city center, where the Diocese of Raska and Prizren has recently decided to clean its temple, to which the municipality of Pristina responded and sent an inspection (without a warrant) which banned further cleaning of the temple. [read more...]
OTHER NEWS HEADLINES:
THE CONTINUING JOURNEY IN OPPOSING DIRECTIONS: ON THE PRESENT CLIMATE AMONG RUSSIA’S PROTESTANTS
from Russian Evangelical Alliance
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM FOR UKRAINE: THE CONTRIBUTION OF KESTON COLLEGE (1969-89)
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine
FAMILIES NEEDED TO HOST AN ORPHAN THIS CHRISTMAS
from Mission Network News
POROSHENKO IS ASKED TO BAN EUROVISION OPENING AT KIEV'S ST. SOPHIA CATHEDRAL
COMMEMORATION OF 140TH ANNIVERSARY OF TRANSLATION OF BIBLE INTO RUSSIAN; REVISION IS SUGGESTED
from RIA Novosti
SHARING GOD’S WORD IN GEORGIA
from Mission Eurasia
AZERBAIJAN: PAPAL PR PAYS OFF
PUTIN'S PURITANICAL PIETY: THE IDEOLOGICAL WAR AGAINST THE WEST
from Gatestone Institute
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(14 Oct) It appears that Russia may be preparing for a further move against Ukraine at about the same time as the inauguration of the next U.S. President just after mid-January next year, according to Paul Felgenhauer in the article PUTIN LIKELY TO EXPAND RUSSIAN INVASION OF UKRAINE IN JANUARY. The occupied Donbas area in eastern Ukraine has recently seen a buildup of a huge tank army manned by Russian mercenaries, according to the article. And the likely targets would be the lightly-defended western cities of Kherson and Odesa on the Black Sea.
This may explain the demolition of a UOC(KP) church in Noginsk, a suburb just north of Moscow, as well as other efforts to erase in Russia the concept of an independent Ukraine, as outlined in our first news article RUSSIAN COURT ORDERS DEMOLITION OF UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH (KP) IN MOSCOW OBLAST. If Russians no longer think of Ukraine as a separate country, it would be easier for Russia to "take back what is really ours anyway." The proportion of ethnic Russians in the population of Kherson and Odesa is high, and Russia has stated its policy of protecting Russians outside its borders. This was one of the justifications for the crypto-Russian invasion of Crimea and eastern Ukraine by "little green men" in unmarked uniforms and vehicles in 2014.
A further indication of increasing tensions between Russia and Ukraine is indicated by our third news article PARLIAMENT REGISTERS BILL ON SPECIAL STATUS OF RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS OF AGGRESSOR COUNTRY: if Ukrainian authorities discover collaboration by foreign citizens representing religious organizations whose headquarters are located in "the aggressor country" - i.e. Russia - with “representatives of militant and terrorist groups" then those religious organizations in Ukraine will be prosecuted.
There was a flurry of press releases from Interfax-Religion this week about Russian President Putin's official visit to Paris for the grand opening of the newly-completed Russian Spiritual and Cultural Center there, as described in RUSSIAN SPIRITUAL AND CULTURAL CENTER IN PARIS WILL OPEN ON OCTOBER 19 WITHOUT PUTIN'S OFFICIAL VISIT. First, Putin was coming, then another high Russian official would take his place, then the grand opening was postponed, and finally the grand opening would take place but without Putin. We can only wonder what sort of diplomatic kerfluffle was taking place between Paris and Moscow.
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The First Christians Were Not Like Those Who Came Later
(← click) For the course in Christian Ethics that I'm auditing, we were asked to write our thoughts about a rebuttal to the article mentioned in our last issue of Hosken-News, so here are mine:
My response to “On Wealth and the Bible, The First Christians Were Not Like David Bentley Hart” by Dylan Pahman at http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2016/10/17950/ should be obvious by the above title. To eloquently bemoan the fact that Christianity has matured over the centuries, as Dr. Hart and Mr. Pahman do, is to merely belabor the obvious: of course Christian teaching and practice have grown with time and experience. There have been clarifications by the Church Fathers, but there have also been errors and even heresies. The danger lies in going to extremes, which it seems both Hart and Pahman do for the sake of argument.
Pahman introduces his article with the following statement: “Neither the New Testament nor the writings of early Christians support the idea that material wealth is intrinsically evil.” But neither is wealth intrinsically good because acquiring wealth so often leads to the passion of greed or covetousness. The Lord Jesus Christ taught in the Sermon on the Mount:
"Don't lay up for yourselves treasures on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves don't break through and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can't serve both God and Mammon.” (Mat. 6:19-24)
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Please remember to pray for Christians in the former Soviet bloc countries, and for...
Bob & Cheryl
p.s. Be fishers of men: you catch them - He'll clean them.