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CROATIA: FIVE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCHES BROKEN INTO
from: inSerbia News

Croatia: Five Serbian Orthodox churches broken into (10 Mar.) Five Serbian Orthodox temples in Croatia have been broken into during the past several days, the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) announced on Friday.

Money was stolen, but no major material damage has been done, a statement released by the SPC Eparchy (diocese) of Dalmatia said.

The churches targeted in this way are located in Baljci, Stikovo, Krici, Miocix and Kanjani – in Dalmatia.

The police station in Drnis has ascertained that five Orthodox temples were broken into between March 6 and 8, and found that a small amount of money was stolen, but that there was no major material damage.

The same SPC diocese reported earlier this week that an Orthodox church in this area of Croatia was vandalized with fascist graffiti. [read more...]


RUSSIA: JUSTICE MINISTRY SEEKS COMPLETE JEHOVAH'S WITNESS BAN
by Victoria Arnold: Forum 18 News Service

Forum18 News Service (15 Mar.) With no public announcement, Russia's Justice Ministry lodged a suit at the Supreme Court today (15 March) to declare the Jehovah's Witness Administrative Centre "extremist", to liquidate it, and to ban its activity. If successful, this would ban all Jehovah's Witness activity across Russia.

The liquidation suit, which reached the Supreme Court on 15 March, was handed the same day to Judge Nikolai Romanenko. "Once he has examined the case, the Judge will determine when the hearing will begin and whether it will be open or closed," a Court secretary told Forum 18 from Moscow on 15 March. "All the information will be posted on the court website."

Should the suit succeed, the Administrative Centre's property would be forfeit to the state and all its activity would be prohibited. The local religious communities for which it is responsible would also be dissolved, and their members would be liable to criminal prosecution if they continued to meet for worship. This would end Jehovah's Witnesses' open public life in Russia.

An official of the Justice Ministry involved in an exhaustive inspection in February of the Administrative Centre's entire activity had refused to tell Forum 18 on 11 March if such a suit was imminent. Jehovah's Witnesses claim nearly 172,000 adherents in Russia, with a peak of nearly 300,000 attending their most important annual commemoration, the Memorial of Christ's Death. There are at present 397 registered local organisations and more than 2,500 unregistered religious groups. [read more...]


PATRIARCH FILARET AND CARDINAL LUBOMYR HUSAR ADDRESSED UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT
from: Religious Information Service of Ukraine

Filaret urges uniity among MPs (17 Mar.) His Holiness, the Patriarch of Kyiv and All Rus’ - Ukraine of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate Filaret and Archbishop Emeritus of the Greek Catholic Church, Lubomyr Huzar addressed the assembly. "Ukraine is to achieve the public good when citizens of the country are protected," Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Lubomyr (Husar) was reported as saying in the Parliament by Gazeta.ua.

“We have learned that political activity is one of the high sacrificial ministries. The person to whom the people entrust their fate shall be careful when treating their own calling. This person must comprehend that every citizen of the state should feel secure and through joined efforts attain a state called the public good. I think that the experience we gained. And still recruit enrich themselves. So there is real hope that the great thing true. Where each of us will feel happy in their own country," said the former head of the UGCC Lubomyr (Husar). After these words, the Cardinal was given a standing ovation by MPs and government members.

Patriarch Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyiv Patriarchate urged MPs to unity, not to lose again the state. He outlined his vision of events, particularly in Parliament. In his opinion, the current Parliament repeats mistakes made 100 years ago. “Repeating is not necessary, because one should not contend for seats in parliament, but must fight for the state, where the Parliament is to operate. And if there is no state, tell me please, in what parliament will you sit?” the Patriarch grew indignant.

According to him, we should draw conclusions from the lessons of 100 years ago as statehood was lost because of disunity. “If we do not have unity, we will lose again the state. Today, the key must be the protection of Ukrainian state ... and all the other issues are less significant,” said the Patriarch of the UOC-KP, noting that we should unite around the protection of the state. He also called on all churches in Ukraine to raise joint prayers on April 2. [read more...]


RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OUTSIDE RUSSIA CALLS FOR LENIN’S BODY TO BE REMOVED FROM RED SQUARE
from: Russia Today

remove Lenin's body from Red Square (13 Mar.) The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) has called for Vladimir Lenin’s body to be removed from Red Square as a demonstration of the Russian people’s reconciliation with God. “The liberation of Red Square from the remains of the main tormentor and repressor of the 20th century, as well as the destruction of all monuments dedicated to him, could become one of the symbols of the Russian people’s reconciliation with the Lord,” reads the statement passed by ROCOR’s Arch-Hierarch Synod in connection with the upcoming anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

The address was read in all of ROCOR’s parishes during Sunday services, when priests once again called upon their congregations to contemplate history in order to understand why Russia has faced all of its recent ordeals. At the same time, the address recognized that Western antagonism has been one of the reasons for Russia’s hardships. “Today’s relentless baiting of Russia on the part of Western civilization existed a century ago, and a long time before that – the world hated the Russian Empire as an heir to Holy Orthodox Rus. Nothing could help this – neither loyalty as an ally nor the constant readiness of Russian sovereigns for cooperation,” it read.

The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia is a semi-autonomous part of the Russian Orthodox Church, which was founded after the 1917 Revolution by priests and parishes that had fled the Communist regime and its repressions against religion. In 2007, ROCOR and the Russian Orthodox Church signed a treaty on reunification, restoring the canonical link and marking the event by a joint service celebrated at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow by Patriarch Alexy II of All Russia and Metropolitan Laurus of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. [read more...]


INCLUSION OF WESTERN SAINTS' NAMES ON MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE CALENDAR AIMS TO REMIND OF TIMES OF UNDIVIDED CHURCH
from: Interfax-Religion

Interfax Religion (13 Mar.) The Russian Orthodox Church hopes that its official commemoration of the western saints, who were glorified before the division of the Church, will remind Orthodox Christians of the unity of the Christian tradition during the first millennium. On Thursday the Synod in Moscow resolved to include in its calendar the names of the ancient saints who lived in Central and Western Europe before the Schism of 1054 which saw the Christian Church split into the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox.

"The inclusion on the Russian Orthodox Church calendar of the names of a number of saints of the first millennium of the Christian era, who lived in western Europe, reminds us that during the period of the undivided Church, the ecclesiastical life in the two parts of the Christian world was proceeding in the vein of the common spiritual practice which bred many God-pleasers," Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), who is in charge of inter-Christian relations at the Synodal Department for External Church Relations, told Interfax-Religion.

For centuries Churches in the West were very firm in professing the Orthodox faith, the priest said. For example, the British Isles were considered the true "Northern Thebaid," given the number of monasteries and monks there. "No wonder they were called the islands of the saints. And those were the saints of precisely the Orthodox tradition," the hieromonk said, adding that to this day their names are preserved in dozens of location names across Great Britain. Among the saints the Russian Church will be remembering from now on the most famous are Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, and Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris and Russian emigres. [read more...]


ROMANIA’S CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES DEBATES INITIATIVE AIMING TO CHANGE FAMILY DEFINITION
from: Romania Insider

Romanian initiative to change family definition (07 Mar.) The Judiciary Committee of the Chamber of Deputies voted in favor of a citizen initiative aiming to change the definition of the family in Romania’s Constitution, on Tuesday, March 7.

At present, the Constitution defines the family as the free-willed marriage “between spouses” but the Coalition for Family, a local civic movement behind this initiative, wants to change it to the free-willed marriage “between a man and a woman.”

The Coalition for Family, which comprises 34 local NGOs and associations, gathered three million signatures in support of this initiative last year. Romania’s Orthodox Church has largely supported this project, which would block same-sex marriages.

According to the Constitution, a project or proposal to revise the country’s fundamental law needs to be adopted by the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate with a majority of at least two thirds of the members of each chamber, Adevarul writes. If a mediation procedure leads to no agreement, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate decide, in a joint session, based on the vote of at least three quarters of the numbers of MPs. Such a revision is final after it is approved through a referendum, organized within at most 30 days since the revision proposal is adopted. [read more...]


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES:

FAMOUS RUSSIAN JOURNALIST CALLS PATRIARCH KIRILL TO ACCEPT INDEPENDENCE OF UKRAINIAN CHURCH
from
Religious Information Service of Ukraine

MUSLIM RADICALIZATION THRIVES AMONG BLEAK FUTURES, BUT CHRISTIANS CAN TURN THIS AROUND
from
Mission Network News

THE MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE BELIEVES LENIN'S BURIAL IS UNTIMELY
from
Interfax-Religion

ANOTHER THREE BAPTISTS IN OREL PROVINCE FINED ON BASIS OF "YAROVAYA LAW"
from
Orlovskie Novosti

METROPOLITAN HILARION OF VOLOKOLAMSK SPEAKS AT UN CONFERENCE ON THE DEFENSE OF CHRISTIANS
from
Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate

TRAINING CHRISTIAN LEADERS IN TAJIKISTAN
from
Mission Eurasia

PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW TELLS UKRAINIAN PM THAT CONSTANTINOPLE WILL HELP BUILD SINGLE CHURCH IN UKRAINE
from
Pravoslavie.ru

IS THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH THE NEW KOMSOMOL?
from
EurasiaNet.org

POPE FRANCIS DONATES TONS OF POLITICALLY-INCORRECT FOSSIL FUEL TO HEAT HOMES IN UKRAINE
from
Breitbart News


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The big news this week is the attempt to ban all Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, described in RUSSIA: JUSTICE MINISTRY SEEKS COMPLETE JEHOVAH'S WITNESS BAN. We do not normally cover news items about pseudo-Christian sects such as the Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons. But in Russia, any non-Orthodox religious group is generally considered to be non-Christian. Thus Baptists come under the same condemnation as Jehovah's Witnesses: see ANOTHER THREE BAPTISTS IN OREL PROVINCE FINED ON BASIS OF "YAROVAYA LAW" and IS THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH THE NEW KOMSOMOL? indicating a striving toward ideological conformity with Orthodoxy, on pain of legal harassment.

It is interesting to witness some cracks in the unity between the ROCOR (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia) and the Moscow Patriarchate: ROCOR is calling for Lenin's body and its "Nausoleum" to be removed from Red Square - see RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OUTSIDE RUSSIA CALLS FOR LENIN’S BODY TO BE REMOVED FROM RED SQUARE, while the Moscow Patriarchate says such a move is premature - THE MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE BELIEVES LENIN'S BURIAL IS UNTIMELY. In my humble opinion, a fitting end to Russia's communist era would be to use one of Russia's surplus missiles to cremate Lenin's remains by launching it into the sun. ;-)

This week has seen the publication of Rod Dreher's latest book, The Benedict Option. I pre-ordered it from Amazon.com and actually received my copy one day before the publication date! It's a real intellectual tour-de-force of Christian history in the West and analysis of "a strategy for Christians in a post-Christian nation" - so says the subtitle. In it, Dreher warns Christians in the West against thinking that with the recent election, all our worries are over. Indeed, his columns in The American Conservative make it clear that he's no fan of the current U.S. president, and any slight tacking to the right is only a temporary reprieve. Use the link below to to get your copy from our Amazon store.


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The "You Will Not Die" Lie

(description of photo)Ever since the serpent tempted Eve by saying - "You will not surely die, for God knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:4-5), Satan has been subtly planting in the human subconscious the tempting idea that we can get away with sneakily flouting the commands of God, the laws of nature, or the rules of civilized society.

In Deuteronomy 29:18-20, Moses warned the Israelites - "lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turns away this day from the Lord our God, to go to serve the gods of those nations; lest there should be among you a root that produces bitter poison; and it happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, 'I shall have peace, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart,' so that the drunken and the sober are destroyed together. The Lord will not pardon him, but then the anger of the Lord and his jealousy will smoke against that man, and all the curse that is written in this book shall lie on him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under the sky." This is a clear warning against an individual's harboring an idea that he can calmly and peacefully violate the laws of God, nature, or society, and nobody will know the difference. Instead, Moses said this notion is unforgivable and will bring calamity both on that person or persons and on those around them. Even our most private actions have repercussions on society!

Moses concluded his admonition to the Israelites thusly - "I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore choose life, that you may live, you and your descendants; to love the Lord your God, to obey His voice, and to cling to him; for He is your life, and the length of your days; that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them" {Deuteronomy 30:19-20). Don't fool yourself by thinking that you can outsmart God: the results can be fatal, both for you and for those around you!

Even just a casual, careless action such as leaving a door open can invite bees, mosquitos or other bugs inside that might sting or bite you or others. Yielding to the urge to fill our stomachs every mealtime very easily leads to obesity ("He who indulges... bulges!"), which in turn can lead to diabetes and amputation, cancer, heart attack or stroke, hip or knee failure, etc. This is why the Church encourages fasting - especially during Lent - to tame the stomach's passions. The sensation of a full stomach reaches the brain only after the stomach is full, so the secret is to stop eating while you're still hungry: you won't die: our society has such a great surplus of food that we have to throw away even some of what's donated to charity. So don't worry about dying of starvation! And close the doors!

In chapters 6 and 7 of the book of Joshua, we read about the Israelites marching around Jericho for seven days and capturing the city when its walls collapsed. They were warned not to take any plunder for themselves, but to destroy everything except to consecrate any gold or silver they found to the Sanctuary. Achan, however, cleverly decided he could hide some plunder from God and the Israelites: "when I saw among the plunder a beautiful Babylonian robe, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it" (Joshua 7:21). This caused the tribes of Israel to suffer a humiliating defeat at the hands of an inferior military force. It should be a warning for us not to think that our superior military will protect us even while we violate the laws of God, nature, and civilized society.

The Lord doesn't issue His commandments and laws because He's some kind of spoilsport that doesn't want us to have any fun: the psalmist David wrote about Him - "Who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies; Who satisfies your desire with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's" (Psalm 103:5). He knows what's best for us, and He will satisfy our desire with things that are good for us.

But people persist in yielding to the serpent's temptation of Eve: "You will not die! Go ahead and indulge in illicit sex! Have another drink... and another! You can steal that item while nobody's looking! You can get away with speeding 50 m.p.h. in a 35 m.p.h. zone! You can park next to that fire hydrant, or in some other no-parking zone... just this once, you won't get caught!" And then the results "just happen" - AIDS, a conviction or loss of a job for theft, a car accident, a speeding or parking ticket. Those old laws of God, nature, and society just seem to be so persistent, don't they?

The story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 is another example of people trying to fool God. It didn't work: they dropped dead in front of Saint Peter. Sometimes we have to say hard things to people who are faking their Christianity: Saint Paul had to confront the Christians in Corinth because of incest taking place among them: "For though I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it, though I did regret it. For I see that my letter made you sorry, though just for a while. I now rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you were made sorry to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly way, that you might suffer loss by us in nothing. For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation, which brings no regret. But the sorrow of the world works death" (2 Corinthians 7:8-10).

Note in the above Scripture that St. Paul differentiates between two kinds of "I'm sorry." A person can feel sorry for being caught: it's a form of shame for one's bad deeds being made public. But the good kind of feeling sorry is being "made sorry to repentance." This kind is "godly sorrow [that] works repentance to salvation" - and that's a good thing! We can't fool God by just saying, "I'm sorry," and expect to be forgiven, even when we fully intend to keep on doing the same old thing. Real, godly sorrow is repentance, which means turning away from sinning and toward doing what is good and right.

Lent is a time not only for contolling the passions of the stomach, but all of the passions of the flesh and the spirit, especially the temptation that "You will not die! - you can get away with it just this one time (and maybe the next... and the next). Let us really and truly repent of yielding to those urges, and turn away from them, not just feel sorry about being caught!

YOU CAN ALSO READ THIS at my Hosken-News Blog, and write your COMMENTS there!


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. - Pray that the perpetrators of break-ins at Serbian Orthodox churches in Croatia that were vandalized will be brought to justice.
Mon. - Ask the Lord that peaceful non-Orthodox belief systems, even Jehovah's Witnesses, will be provided legal protection in Russia.
Tue. - Thank God that Patriarch Filaret and Archbishop Emeritus of the GCC Lubomyr Huzar could present their case before Parliament.
Wed. - Pray that Lenin's remains will be removed from their place of honor on Red Square and be properly (or improperly) disposed of.
Thu. - Thank the Lord that the Russian Orthodox Church has decided to include several Western saints in its new 2017 church calendar.
Fri. - Praise God that millions of Romanians endorse marriage as “between a man and a woman.” and not "between [same-sex] spouses."
Sat. - Pray that Christians all over the world will cease from deceiving themselves by believing the "You Will Not Die" lie.

Who Are We?   Please remember to pray for Christians in Socialist countries, and for...

  Your fellow-servants,

  Bob & Cheryl

  p.s. Status: Spending money you don't have, to buy things you don't need, to impress people you don't like.

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