Patriarch Kirill against Independent Ukraine Church

July 30, 2009

patriarch kirilWith regard to independent church in Ukraine, Patriarch Kirill says “I’m against it.”

By MARIA DANILOVA

The Associated Press

Monday, July 27, 2009; 1:06 PM

KIEV, Ukraine — The head of the Russian Orthodox Church rejected calls from Ukraine’s president to create a local Orthodox church that would be independent from Moscow, saying he firmly supports the status quo.

Patriarch Kirill arrived in Ukraine for a prolonged visit, which observers say is aimed at reasserting Moscow’s religious and political influence over this predominantly Orthodox nation of 46 million, which is trying to integrate with the West.

President Viktor Yushchenko has led a campaign to win recognition of a separatist church that broke away from the Moscow Patriarchate in the 1990s.

“The main aspiration of the Ukrainian people is to live in a united, self-governing Apostolic Orthodox church,” Yushchenko said in a speech, standing alongside Kirill.

Kirill was quick to stress that the dominant Orthodox church in Ukraine, which answers to Moscow, is the only legitimate church here.

“This church, Mr. President, already exists,” Kirill said. “If it didn’t exist today, Ukraine wouldn’t exist either.”

“But wounds have formed in this church and these wounds must be healed,” he said.

The two leaders made the statements after laying flowers at a memorial commemorating the victims of a 1932-33 famine that killed millions which was engineered by Soviet authorities to abolish private land ownership.

Yushchenko is also leading a campaign to win recognition of the famine as an act of genocide; Moscow counters that the campaign was not aimed specifically at Ukrainians.

Kirill said that he mourns the tragedy and prays for all those who perished, but stressed that other ethnic groups, including Russians, also suffered.

The Russian Orthodox Church, as well as the Kremlin, worry about losing dominance in Ukraine.

The mainstream, Moscow-aligned church claims about 28 million believers, while the separatist Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kiev Patriarchate claims about 14 million followers. Opinion polls show the splinter church’s popularity is growing.

Earlier Monday, Kirill led a service on St. Volodymyr Hill in central Kiev near the statue of Prince Volodymyr, who launched the Slavic world’s conversion to Christianity in 988. Kirill called for friendship, brotherhood and unity.

Yushchenko, who has sought to break free from Russia’s centuries-old political dominance and integrate with the European Union and NATO, has appealed to the spiritual leader of the world’s 250 million Orthodox believers, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, to recognize the separatist church.

Bartholomew, who visited Kiev last summer, has not given a clear response.

Kirill is to visit a number of Ukrainian cities during a prolonged visit that his office says is devoted strictly to pilgrimage. But observers note that his trips to such strongholds of pro-Russian support as the eastern coal-mining city of Donetsk and the port of Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula have clear political undertones.

Before Kirill led the prayers, a group of nationalist activists shouting “Moscow priest get out!” briefly scuffled with his supporters near the St. Volodymyr Hill. The scuffle was broken up by police.

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Servant of God, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

June 25, 2009

Archbishop Fulton SheenServant of God, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Today isn’t an important date in the life, death or Cause for Canonization of Fulton J. Sheen; he’s topical only because I found a copy of one of his books at a thrift store so am reading Life is Worth Living, a book published in the 50’s from transcripts of his show one season. I haven’t even finished it yet, but am impressed with the relevance of his topics in today’s political climate. He talks about various things, such as Communism and the Constitution and while he’s talking about the USSR, so much of it resonates with current events in the US.

He invokes Article 2 of the Constitution, in which we find the establishment clause, namely, our First Amendment rights; Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Many of these rights are currently under fire.



Save the Matrushka!

May 31, 2009

matrushka

Russia’s nesting dolls are in distress due to the economy.

These have fascinated me from childhood. My first encounter with one, was a doll similar in style to this one, probably 3 or 4 inches tall. It was a set of three. My dad bought it for me at an art museum’s annual festival.

At the time, they were difficult to find in the USA. She was alone for many years. I have about 30 of them now, some of which were gifts from my mother who encountered them at the Ukrainian Gift Shop, others of which I bought during a school year abroad, in Slovenia.

While I don’t need an unlimited collection thereof, I’m sad that the manufacturers are in distress.


More Yemeni Than Russians?

November 22, 2008

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“The fragmentation of Islamic civilization. With birthrates in Muslim societies more than double the European average, Islamic countries are bound to put pressure on Europe and the U.S. in the years ahead. If, as is forecast, the population of Yemen will exceed that of Russia by 2050, there must be either dramatic improvements in the Middle East’s economic performance or substantial emigration from the Arab world to senescent Europe. Yet the subtle colonization of Europe’s cities by Muslims does not necessarily portend the advent of a new and menacing “Eurabia.” In fact, the Muslim Read the rest of this entry »