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BULGARIAN ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS HONOR ST. IVAN RILSKI
from: novinite.com

St. Ivan Rilski monastery in Bulgaria (19 Oct) The Bulgarian Orthodox Church honours on October 19 Saint Ivan Rilski, honored as the patron of the Bulgarian people. St. Ivan Rilski was the first Bulgarian hermit monk. He was revered as a saint when he was still alive and the legend says wild animals were coming to him and birds were landing on his hands.

His followers founded the Rila Monastery as well as many churches in his honor. One of these churches, "St. Ivan Rilski" was inaugurated in 2008 in the city of Veliko Tarnovo. Also, St. Ioann of Kronstadt took his name from this Bulgarian saint, and his relics are kept at the St. Ioann Rilski monastery in St. Petersburg, Russia. St. Ivan Rilski is honored today as the patron of Bulgarian people and one of the most important saints of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

He died in 946 AD in the seclusion of the monastery, and was canonized right after his death. Remembered for his miracles, he is one of Bulgaria's most influential spiritual leaders. Shortly after the saint's death, his remains, which were thought to have miracle-working powers, were transferred to Sofia during the reign of Peter I.

After Magyar King Bela III conquered Sofia in 1183, Saint Ivan Rilski's remains were sent to the Hungarian capital Esztergom and stayed there for 4 years before being returned to Sofia in 1187. [read more...]


KYRGYZSTAN: MOBS TWICE EXHUME BODY - WITH IMPUNITY?
by Mushfig Bayram: Forum 18 News Service

(20 Oct) On 14 and 17 October, mobs in two different villages of Kyrgyzstan's western Jalal-Abad Region exhumed the body of deceased Protestant Kanygul Satybaldiyeva, a 76-year old member of Jesus Christ Protestant Church. They objected to the burial of a non-Muslim in public village cemeteries. Police and National Security Committee (NSC) secret police officers, as well as local and regional officials, observed the exhumations but did nothing to stop them, Forum 18 has learned.

Amid contradictory official assertions of what they did with the body after the second exhumation, Satybaldiyeva's family as of the evening of 19 October does not know where the body is. "I pray that they did not throw away the body somewhere," Satybaldiyeva's daughter, Zhyldyz Azayeva, lamented to Forum 18 on 19 October. "I hope that we can soon find out where my mother's body is. I continue in my faith in Jesus Christ but I am afraid for my own life, for my 19-year old daughter and 80-year old father," Azayeva added. "I would like to move out of the area, but cannot leave my father behind."

"We just want peace and that we can peacefully practise our faith," Pastor Nurgazy Babanazarov of the local Protestant community told Forum 18 on 18 October. "I don't know whether the Imams are provoking people. Whoever is organising this does it for one purpose: to humiliate in the eyes of society Kyrgyz who became Christian." [read more...]


21ST REGULAR SOBOR OF THE UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA DEVELOPS CHURCH STRATEGY
from: Religious Information Service of Ukraine

(26 Oct) Metropolitan Antony presented the formal greeting from His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I: "as you gather to contemplate ways of spiritual and administrative growth, we encourage you in all you do to keep this standard of love in your hearts. Love for God and neighbor grows in accordance with keeping His commandments – for true love springs forth from LOVE itself – that is, from Christ. Learn to abide in Him so that you may learn to love even more, in order that you may with faith, love and the fear of God, truly draw near to Him ad to each other," reads the letter.

The main topic of the Sobor was the Strategy of the UOC in the USA development. "Our once vibrant Church has suffered from the secularism of our world. We have lost too many of our youth for various reasons, which are not just due to outside influences and societal changes, but, because of how we practice our Faith. How we behave in our parishes and how we treat each other impact how our children view our Faith. Our behavior – in any manner – has consequences in the lives of others. We need to impart a new vigor in to the life of our Church through revival in our individual and collective lives," stated Metropolitan Antony in his sppech.

Metropolitan Antony introduced the Strategic Plan explaining how crucial it is that everyone participate in order for it to be successful. The Plan will be introduced at the parish level over the coming weeks and months when individuals within each parish are sought out as volunteers to coordinate efforts with the goal captains, chairpersons and our hierarchs. [read more...]


KAZAKHSTAN: FINES, WARNINGS, IMPRISONMENTS FOR UNCENSORED CHRISTIAN LITERATURE
by Felix Corley: Forum 18 News Service

(17 Oct) After two young members of a Council of Baptists congregation in Karaganda [Qaraghandy] Region were stopped while offering uncensored New Testaments and other religious literature on the streets, their parents were summoned and threatened. One of the girls was summoned by the psychologist at the College where she is studying and questioned about her faith and whether any other students attend her community. Her father was fined.

he three Council of Churches Baptists were each fined 50 Monthly Financial Indicators (MFIs), 106,050 Tenge (2,600 Norwegian Kroner, 290 Euros or 320 US Dollars). This represents more than a month's average wages for those in formal work, though much more for pensioners or the unemployed.

Council of Churches Baptists follow a policy of civil disobedience, refusing to pay fines for exercising the right to freedom of religion or belief. Many Baptists who refuse to pay such fines are then place on Kazakhstan's exit blacklist, preventing them from leaving the country. Some have property confiscated, such as washing machines or cars. Others have restraining orders placed on property, such as homes, cars or calves, preventing them from selling or disposing of them. Punishment can also include short-term jail sentences. [read more...]


HUNGARIAN AUTHORITIES ALLOCATE FUNDING FOR RESTORATION OF RUSSIAN CHURCH IN BUDAPEST
from: Interfax-Religion

(26 Oct) The Hungarian authorities have allocated 100 million forints (320,000 euro) for the restoration of a tower of the Russian Assumption Cathedral in Budapest. An agreement to that effect was signed by the head of the Hungarian Diocese, Bishop Tikhon of Podolsk, and Minister of State Miklos Soltesz of the Hungarian Ministry of Human Capacities, the Russian Church said on its website.

The hierarch thanked the country's authorities for allocating the subsidy and Prime Minister Victor Orban for "the firm position of preserving the unshakable Christian foundations." The Assumption Cathedral is the oldest Orthodox church in Hungary. It was built in 1791-1801. During the Second World War it suffered serious damage, one of its towers was destroyed. Some restoration work was carried out in 2006-2009, under the then Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria (now head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations), but it was never completed. [read more...]


SERBIAN PATRIARCH: CHURCHES MUST PUT ASIDE WHAT DIVIDES THEM
from: b92.net

Patriarch-Irinej (19 Oct) Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Irinej said while in London last week that Christian churches "must find ways to put aside that which possibly divides us." Speaking during his meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at Lambeth Palace, he also noted that "in today’s times, saturated with confusion and unrest" churches must "seek ways which allow us to approach each other more closely."

"But at the same time to build from within that which is common to us - and indeed there is much in common between you and us, both of us and the Roman Catholics, and, of course, the Protestant world," Irinej has been quoted as saying.

"It is on that foundation that we need to build our common relationships. I trust this is the will of God, and that this is what God expects from us. This is why we need to be servants of the mission, of evangelization in our times and in our world," the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church said.

Lambeth Palace also announced that Archbishop Welby welcomed Patriarch Irinej on the centenary of the visit of St. Nikolaj Velimirovic, who was the first Orthodox Christian to preach from pulpit of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

[read more...]


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES:

KAZAKHSTAN: JUDGES' RELIGIOUS FREEDOM TO BE RESTRICTED?
from
Forum 18 News Service

RUSSIA’S EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE HAS JOINED THE EUROPEAN FAMILY
from
Russian Evangelical Alliance

IN VINNYTSYA REGION A FARMER RENOVATES AN OLD COSSACK CHURCH
from
Religious Information Service of Ukraine

FAMILIES NEEDED TO HOST UKRAINIAN ORPHANS THIS CHRISTMAS.
from
Mission Network News

RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH, VATICAN READY TO BE MEDIATORS BETWEEN CONFLICT PARTIES IN UKRAINE
from
Interfax-Religion

"ORTHODOX LAWYERS" BETRAY 8 PERSONS TO POLICE FOR PREACHING IN TRAINS AND AT YAROSLAVL STATION IN MOSCOW
from
Newsru.com

A NEW FAMILY FOR ALEXEY
from
Mission Eurasia

CHURCH COMPLEX IN MEMORY OF A321 CRASH VICTIMS TO BE BUILT IN ST. PETERSBURG
from
Pravoslavie.ru

PATRIARCH KIRILL: CHURCHES IN RUSSIA, UK SERVED AS BRIDGE BETWEEN OUR COUNTRIES FOR CENTURIES
from
Russia Today

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What is the Problem with Usury?

usury is a crime against humanityFor the course in Christian Ethics that I'm auditing, we were asked to write our thoughts on chapter 7, “That which has been wrung from tears” of the book Usury, the Greek Fathers, and Catholic Social Teaching. It outlines some of the problems associated with usury. In the modern Western world the term “usury” has fallen into disuse, and as the above chapter states, “We are happy to pay 4 percent as long as we can get the holiday pillows that marketing experts tell us we need.”

The card processing companies charge merchants 2% to 3% for debit card purchases and 4% to 6% for credit card purchases. Of course, these fees are added to the purchase price whether a person pays with cash or with a card. Invisible fees such as these drive up prices, but also greatly increase the money supply by the banking system creating “new money” each time a credit card is used, thus driving inflation. Even if one pays off a credit card in full within 30 days, “new money” is added to the money supply.

It also states “people with money to waste consider 'interest' to be a nonissue.” Because most people are motivated by immediate gratification, they ignore such hidden costs and inflation in order to satisfy their craving for the latest fashion, tech toy, or automobile model. But the long-term effects of consumer credit purchases are ballooning consumer credit debt due to compound interest and the devaluation of the U. S. dollar due to inflation.

Retired people who had what seemed like a reasonable amount of savings at age 65 might discover at age 85 that the buying power of those funds, even with accumulated interest, is perhaps one-third to one-fourth of what it was. Inflation destroys the buying power of retirement savings. As long as a person is working, he can hope that his wages will keep up with inflation. But retirees living on a fixed income do not have that hope. In spite of cost-of-living increases, Social Security payments do not keep up with inflation.

Today we consider as “usury” interest rates above what a bank would charge for a 30-year mortgage. Most people are aware that payday loans and overdue credit card charges can quickly multiply the size of loans, but few people understand the effect of compound interest on a 30-year mortgage at a nominal 5% interest rate. In the first six years of such a loan the borrower's payments are actually 74% interest, and the principal is reduced by only 8.6%. The banks and their investors get the lion's share of that money up front, while the dollar is still worth nearly the same as at the outset.

Then the home-”owner” (the holder of the mortgage actually owns the house) often gets a new job that requires moving to another location, so he starts the process over again, buying another house and paying 74% interest to the banks and their investors once again. Thus “the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.” What is the solution to this dilemma? What is the problem with usury?

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Prayer and Praise:   For a daily reminder to pray for the items below, go to My Daily Prayer Guide and click on the "H-N pr." link! For our Daily News & Views, click HERE!

Sun. - Thank the Lord for His servant St. Ivan Rilski, the humble hermit saint of Bulgaria, who left us such an example of holiness.
Mon. - Pray for the family of Kanygul Satybaldiyeva, a 76-year old Protestant woman whose body was exhumed twice and is now missing.
Tue. - Pray that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, suffering from the secularism of our world, to develop a viable strategy.
Wed. - Intercede for the 2 young members of a Council of Baptists congregation in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, who were arrested and fined.
Thu. - Thank God that Hungarian authorities have allocated funds to restore a tower of the Russian Assumption Cathedral in Budapest.
Fri. - Praise the Lord that Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Irinej called for Christians "to build from within that which is common to us."
Sat. - Pray that Christians will understand and avoid the evil of usury and set an example to the world by Escaping Debt Slavery.

Who Are We?   Please remember to pray for Christians in the former Soviet bloc countries, and for...

  Your fellow-servants,

  Bob & Cheryl

  p.s. God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.