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Old March 29th, 2019 #21
Alex Him
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His Holiness Patriarch Kirill chairs session of the Supreme Church Council



20 March 2019 - 11:22










On 20 March 2019, a session of the Supreme Church Council of the Russian Orthodox Church took place at the Supreme Church Council’s Hall of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour under chairmanship of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.




















































At the beginning of the session His Holiness addressed those gathered and dwelt on the preparation of the seminary students for married and family life. The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church called the ruling bishops for paying attention to the married and family life of the priests. Then His Holiness presented other agenda items.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5398635.html






Metropolitan Hilarion meets with a representative of the Syrian Parliament



21 March 2019 - 18:50







Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations (DECR), met with Ms Maria al-Betaar Shehadeh, a member of the Syrian Parliament, National Security Council and Russian-Syrian Friendship Committee, on sidelines of the Second National Inter-disciplinary Congress with international participation devoted to the theme ‘Physical and Rehabilitational Medicine in Paediatrics: Traditions and Innovations’.

The archpastor and Ms. Maria al-Bataar discussed the project for aid to children in the Middle East realized, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, by the DECR with the participation of Poznanie and Linia Zhizni Charities and the Research-Practice Children’s Psycho-neurology Center of the Moscow Municipal Healthcare Department. His Eminence informed the Syrian MP about the current state of the project under which work is carried out with various Russian and Syrian partners, including the Church of Antioch, and about the plans for broadening the project.

Metropolitan Hilarion suggested that Syrian representatives offer the full range of problems to be solved through common efforts. It is necessary to have a clear idea of what tasks the planned rehabilitation center is to fulfill, His Eminence noted. He said that it should be understood that prosthesis and psychological aid demand different things.

On her part, Ms. Maria al-Betaar thanked the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian authorities for aid given to children affected by the war in Syria. She noted that in addition to hostilities, Syria is suffering from sanctions that affect the economy and life of the Syrian people. As a result of the sanctions, the country cannot purchase new medical equipment and even medicines and children nutrition. With new territories liberated with the help of the Russian Army, there appear new people who need help, she said.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5398681.html






Metropolitan Hilarion speaks on aid to children in Syria at the congress on Physical and Rehabilitational Medicine in Paediatrics: Traditions and Innovations



21 March 2019 - 19:34







On March 21, 2019, the Second National Inter-disciplinary Congress with international participation took place in Moscow. It was devoted to the theme ‘Physical and Rehabilitational Medicine in Paediatrics: Traditions and Innovations.’

Assembled to the congress were over two thousand medical specialists, representatives of parents’ organizations, social workers, children’s psychologists, economists and state officials. The aim of the event was to exchange experience and develop a common concept of the rehabilitation of children and youth in today’s world.

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations (DECR), spoke at the opening of the congress. In his welcoming speech, he expressed gratitude to Russian paediatricians for their work and informed the congress about the project for aid to children in the Middle East, which is being implemented, with a blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, together with the Poznanie and Linia zhizni Charities and the Research-Practice Children’ Psycho-neurology Center of the Moscow Healthcare Department.

‘We are working together under a program for rehabilitation of Syrian children injured in the course of the armed conflict. You are aware that a war has been going on in Syria for already a long time. Among the victims of this war are many children: some lost limbs in bomb explosions or tripped a mine, others were blinded, still others suffered from other mutilations. We are working together to help these children’, His Eminence said.

‘Some say: Why should we help someone else’s children?’ he remarked speaking about the charity project, ‘I think every one of you will agree that there are no someone else’s children’.

Ms. Maria Al-Betaar Shehadeh, a member of the Syrian Parliament, speaking at the opening of the congress, expressed gratitude to the Russian government, the Russian Church and personally to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, Metropolitan Hilarion and Ms T. Batysheva, director of the Children’s Psycho-Neurology Center.


***


The project for aid to children affected by armed conflicts in the Middle East is a program which was launched in May 2018 and which is implemented, with the blessing of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches of Antioch and Russia, by governments and medical specialists in Russia and Syria as well as charities throughout the world. With the help of this program, injured children are brought to Moscow not only for prosthesis but also for a full course of rehabilitation. The program also includes trips of Russian medics to Syria for an exchange of experience and broadening cooperation, round-tables, international and inter-church conferences at the highest level.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5398685.html






Russian Orthodox Church representatives attend conference of compatriots in Shanghai



21 March 2019 - 20:38







On March 19-20, 2019, the 13th regional conference of Russian compatriots’ organizations in Asia ‘Russian-Speaking Diasporas for Cooperation’ took place in Shanghai. It united representatives of Russian compatriots’ organizations in China, Mongolia, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, Nepal and the Republic of Korea.

The Russian Orthodox Church was represented by Archimandrite Alexander (Zarkeshev), rector of the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Teheran, Iran; Rev. Ioann Shelokov, rector of the Orthodoxy community in Shanghai; and D. Petrovsky, Department for External Church Relations (DECR), Moscow Patriarchate.

The participants discussed the preservation of spiritual values and cultural identity in the situation of integration into the society of their countries of residence, further consolidation of Russian-speaking communities, work of youth movements and associations, cooperation with civic societies, as well as work to support the Russian-speaking environment and Russian culture among compatriots, preservation of historical memory and opposition to attempts to distort history.

Among the attendees were also members of the Russian Council of the Federation, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials, Russian consuls in Asian countries and diplomats.

The next conference is planned to take place in 2020 in India.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5398689.html
__________________
Where should they dig the Very Deep Pit?
Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.
(c) Alan Alexander Miln
 
Old March 29th, 2019 #22
Alex Him
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Primate of Greek Orthodox Church attends reception given by Russian embassy in Greece on the Triumph of Orthodoxy



22 March 2019 - 15:33







On March 18, 2019, the traditional annual reception was given by the Russian embassy in Greece on the occasion of the feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, which was celebrated the day before. Present at the reception were His Beatitude Ieronymos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece; Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs M. Bolaris; members of the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church, and Greek clergy.

In his speech of greeting, Russian Ambassador to Greece Andrey Maslov pointed out the joint contribution made by the Russian and Greek Orthodox Churches to the development of Greek-Russian relations and expressed the conviction that new possibilities for strengthening inter-church dialogue will open up during the Year of the Russian and Greek Languages and Literature to be held in 2019-2020.

His Beatitude Ieronymos thanked for the warm reception and noted that the Greek and Russian peoples and the Greek and Russian sister Orthodox Churches are bound by the feelings of love and mutual understanding based on the solid foundation of the common faith and historical journey.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5398771.html






Church representatives take part in round table conference on ways to strengthen relationships between peoples of Russia and Belarus



22 March 2019 - 20:04







On 22 March 2019, a round table conference on Church, Power, People: New Challenges to Brotherly Peoples and to Global World took place at the President Hotel in Moscow. The meeting was organized under the auspices of the Civic Chamber of the Union State of Russia and Belarus.

The conference brought together various scholars, writers and cultural figures from both countries. Taking part in the meeting were also representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church: Archpriest Sergy Zvonarev, secretary for far abroad countries of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations; Archpriest Feodor Povny, rector of the Church of All Saints in Minsk; Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, rector of the Church of St Theodore the Studite in Moscow; and Priest Roman Bogdasarov, staff member of the Synodal Department for Cooperation with the Armed Forces.

The participants in the meeting emphasized the necessity to strengthen multifaceted ties between the brotherly peoples of Russia and Belarus, especially in the face of external threats, and noted an important role of spiritual heritage and culture based on the traditions of Orthodoxy. Concrete projects and propositions were put forward, aimed at consolidating the two nations.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5400695.html






Primate of Ukrainian Orthodox Church, addressing Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko: This is not the path that will lead to unity



22 March 2019 - 20:18







On 21 March 2019, the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine, took part in a meeting of the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko with members of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations. The meeting was organized on the initiative of the state leader.

Accompanying His Beatitude were Metropolitan Antony of Borispol and Brovary, chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, vice-chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

In his address Mr. Petro Poroshenko noted the necessity to uphold principles of religious freedom. “As President, as guarantor of constitutional rights I will do all I can to defend the religious freedom in Ukraine. The religious freedom should be an object of our joint activities,” he said and added that “violence can never be a means of problem solving.”

Taking the floor, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine thanked the head of the state for the meeting and said the following:

“In this blessed season of Lent the Church calls for repentance, self-restraint, prayer and reconciliation with our neighbours. The task of the Church is to take care of things spiritual, moral, to lead people to God, to preach love, forgiveness and peace. The task of the state is to take care of the material dimension of human life, to enforce laws, etc.

“However, during this Lenten season, as well as during a long period preceding it, in our country such developments have been taking place in the religious sphere that grieve us. I mean seizures of church buildings, interference of government officials in church affairs and other offences.

“In particular, heads of village councils, city councils and administrations, as well as deputies convene meetings of territorial communities and initiate unlawful votes to change subordination of a religious community. It directly contradicts the law of Ukraine No.2683 (bill No. 4128-d) that says that only a religious community, not a territorial one, can do that with a two-thirds majority. As a result, our church buildings are being forcibly seized, our communities are being driven out. Our communities are forced to gather for prayer at houses in village. For instance, our communities gather for worship at houses in the Volyn region: in the villages of Nichegovka, Krasnovolya, Telchi and Godomichi (Manevichi district); in the villages of Zhidichin, Klepachi, Berestyanoye and Kulchin (Lutsk district); and in Berestechko, Peski, Zvinyache and Skobelka (Gorokhov district). Even for the Volyn region this is not the comprehensive data. There are many such cases in various regions. Often the police does nothing – just passively observes.

“I want to emphasize that it is not we who seize our churches, it is not our communities that cut off locks of their own churches, as mass media sometimes allege. People, alien to the Church and not churchgoers, come and do that.

“One of the recent outrageous incidents occurred in Baranovka town, Zhitomir region, where on the Forgiveness Sunday a deputy of the Radical Party, Oleg Kovalsky, convened “veche” and sent some 400 people to seize the Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. As the result, the crowd poured into the church. Some 150 parishioners who were inside were beaten up, thrown down the church stairs and pushed out beyond the church fence.

“And for such illegal actions, for inciting interreligious enmity, for trying to seize church buildings none of the officials is held responsible. Instead, a priest of our Church who defends our churches and upholds the rule of law (I mean Archpriest Viktor Zemlyanoy from the Rovno diocese) has come under pressure: criminal proceedings have been brought against him. He is said to be suspected of breaching articles No. 161 (part 1) and No. 300 (part 1). All the accusations are artificial. Besides, attempts are being made to impose a pre-trial restraint on him. As we have known, pressure is being put on our priest by the order of Vasily Bedriya, head of the administration of the Security Service of Ukraine for the Rovno region.

“Similar criminal proceedings have been opened in other regions of Ukraine as well. We regard them as corrupt ones, as a means of placing pressure on the clergy and faithful of our Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and deem such persecution in a democratic society inadmissible and violating the right to the freedom of religion.

“The mass media are being spreading false information about the transfer of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s religious communities (some 450 parishes). However, according to our data, only 42 parishes decided to move to the OCU, and nine of them did it without their priest. The rest 55 of the so-called “voluntary transfers” were in fact seizures, with locks cut off and believers beaten up. One hundred and thirty-seven cases were registered, when a territorial community voted for the transfer to the OCU against the will of a religious community. In such cases our faithful with their priests stay and gather for worship in their churches, while local authorities report that the “transfer” of the community has taken place.

“Facts of threats and intimidation of clergymen of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, of pressure being exerted on them, as well as of discrimination and other violations of the rights and freedoms of our Church have already drawn attention of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and published in his report of 12 March 2019.

“All that is now going on in villages in various regions of Ukraine has a negative impact on the authority of governing bodies and on the authority of the President.

“Therefore I would ask you, Pyotr Alexeyevich, to give instructions to local officials to stop artificially initiating changes in subordination. It will put an end to conflicts between people.

“It is my conviction that all the developments affecting our Church and the Orthodox Christians in general are not the path which we should follow. It is surely not the path that will lead us to unity. It is necessary to admit the fallacy of this path, to learn from mistakes and seek other ways of church unity. Seizures and “dragging” of parishes only throw the process of unity back, to what it was decades ago. We already endured the same in the early 1990s. Therefore, if we cannot completely rectify the situation, we should at least start with not aggravating it.

“Mr. President, I want you to get me right. We, that is our Ukrainian Orthodox Church, are pro-Ukraine, we are supporters of an integral and unified state, tranquility, peace, mutual understanding and unity between our people. We have always defended and declared it. All that I mentioned above only harms the state. Make sure that it stops. I believe that it is within your power!”

In response to the address of the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Mr. Poroshenko said that neither he nor any district state administration gave instructions at a local level concerning transfers of churches from one confession to another. The head of the state advised to file lawsuits in the aforementioned cases and proposed to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry to hold a separate meeting to discuss these critical issues.

His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry handed over to the President a list of seized churches and a document describing other offences against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The state leader charged his assistants to examine the situation and take measures in each specific case.

When the official part was over, Mr. Poroshenko held a brief personal meeting with His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the Information and Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church reports, citing the UOC DECR website.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5400699.html






Russian edition of the book on the bringing of St. Nicholas’s relics from Bari to Russia is presented in Moscow



23 March 2019 - 11:07







On 22 March 2019, the presentation of the Russian edition of a book entitled “The Bringing of the Relics of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker from Bari to Russia (May 21 – July 28, 2017)” took place at the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR).

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the DECR chairman, presented the book. Taking part in the presentation also were Metropolitan Sergy of Singapore and Southeast Asia and representatives of the Roman Catholic Church Msgr. Francesco Cacucci, Archbishop of Bari-Bitonto; Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Apostolic Nuncio to the Russian Federation; and Rev. Hyacinthe Destivelle of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The publication was prepared through joint efforts of the DECR, the Archdiocese of Bari-Bitonto and ‘Poznaniye’Publishing House. The Italian edition was presented at the Basilica of St. Nicholas in Bari on December 19, 2018.

In the core of the book are addresses and homilies delivered by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia during divine services celebrated at the relics of St. Nicholas. The forewords were written by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk and Archbishop. Francesco Cacucci.

Metropolitan Hilarion greeted the participants and guests and said that this presentation gives a wonderful opportunity to recall one of the major recent church events. Suffice it to say that according to official statistics 2 million 392 thousand people venerated the holy relics during their stay in Russia. He added that the bringing of St. Nicholas’ relics was the first in the history of relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Moscow Patriarchate event which attracted attention of different strata of our society. This event became possible thanks to the meeting of Pope Francis and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill in Havana in February 2016.

Metropolitan Hilarion continued to say: ‘In his homily delivered during Divine Liturgy celebrated at the Trinity Cathedral of the Laura of St. Alexander Nevsky in St. Petersburg, which the delegation of the Roman Catholic Church with Cardinal Kurt Koch at the head, Patriarch Kirill underscored that the bringing of St. Nicholas’ relics had been conducive to the rapproachement between our Churches more that all church diplomacy. ‘Metropolitan Hilarion expressed gratitude to His Holiness Pope Francis, Archbishop Francesco Cacucci and all those who helped arrange the bringing of the relics.

In his address Metropolitan Hilarion noted that St. Nicholas’s relics were brought from Bari to Russia in the year that marked the centenary of the revolutionary upheavals, when the Russian Church and the Russian people had embarked on the Calvary path.

‘The Russian Orthodox Church and Orthodox Christianity in the world are undergoing difficult times due to the hard political and church situation in Ukraine, where secular authorities subject bishops and clerics of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to persecution, trying to induce them to join the new structure which consists of schismatics. We need help of this great saint who is the heavenly patron of those on journey and endure hardships and adversities. The historical path of the Churches and nations is also a kind of journey in time with its trials and temptations. We believe and hope that St. Nicholas would not leave our Churches without his aid and intercession,’ Metropolitan Hilarion said.

He mentioned that the book contained the lines about the place of St. Nicholas in the life of the Church and about his importance for Christian unity written by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Cardinal Kurt Koch and Archbishop Francesco Cacucci. Metropolitan Hilarion underscored: ‘I do hope that the book will be another contribution to the deepening of mutual understanding between our Churches.’

Also speaking at the presentation were Archbishop Cacucci and Archbishop Celestino Migliore. Rev. Destivelle read out a letter of Cardinal Koch, in which the President of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity noted that the bringing of the relics, sometimes called ‘the second translation’ has become possible after the meeting of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill and that it took place 100 years after the Revolution of 1917. ‘Who could imagine thirty years ago that millions of pilgrims will venerate the relics accompanied by an honour guard. ‘The triumph of St. Nicholas after one hundred years of persecutions testifies to the victory of people and reveals God’s mercy.’

Metropolitan Hilarion thanked all those present and wished them St. Nicholas’ prayers accompanying them throughout their lives.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5400705.html






DECR chairman meets with President of Lebanon



26 March 2019 - 11:17







On March 25, 2019, Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations (DECR), met in Moscow with President of Lebanon Michel Aoun.

The high guest was accompanied by Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Gebran Bassil, Ms. Mireille Aoun, special adviser to the president, Mr. Rafik Chlala, presidential media adviser; and other officials.

Taking part in the talk was also Metropolitan Niphon of Philippople, representative of the Patriarch of Great Antioch and All the East to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

From the DECR there were Archimandrite Philaret (Bulekov), DECR vice-chairman, Archpriest Sergiy Zvonarev, DECR secretary for the far abroad; and Deacon Andrey Titushkin, DECR secretariat for the far abroad.

‘It is a long-expected visit’, Metropolitan Hilarion said addressing the head of the Republic of Lebanon, who has come to Russia for an official visit. The metropolitan stated that Mr. Aoun is the only president in the Middle East and through the Arab world, who confesses Christianity. His Eminence noted that he had a joyful occasion to meet with the president of Lebanon repeatedly during his visits to that country.

Metropolitan Hilarion greeted Michelle Aoun on behalf of the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, noting that ‘His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia was unable to meet with you personally but asked me to convey to you his best regards and wishes’.

The sides discussed the situation of Christians in the Middle East. Metropolitan Hilarion spoke in detail about the efforts of the Russian Church to defend Christians in the Middle East, also using international platforms. These problems are discussed at meetings of the Supreme Church Authority with state leaders, high representatives of international organizations and religious leaders.

Pointing out that the Republic of Lebanon is the only country in the Middle East to fix the rights of Christians in its Constitution, the DECR chairman expressed hope that joint peacemaking efforts of the Russian Orthodox Church and Christians in Lebanon will help preserve and strengthen Christian presence throughout the Middle East.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5400709.html






Chancellor of Ukrainian Orthodox Church supports rectors of churches seized by schismatics in Volyn region



27 March 2019 - 14:03







On 26 March 2019, at the Kiev Lavra of the Caves, with the blessing of the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Antony of Borispol and Brovary met with rectors of parishes located in the Volyn diocese, whose church buildings had been seized by schismatics, the archpastor reported on his Facebook page.

The priests told the Chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church about the situation in the parish communities which were left without their church buildings and had to find other places to celebrate divine services.

The hierarch thanked the rectors for their firmness in faith and diligent pastoral service at a time of hardships. As Metropolitan Antony noted, God always supports and will support those who serve Him and His Holy Church, no matter what oppressions and persecutions face them.

To conclude the meeting, Metropolitan Antony of Borispol and Brovary presented the Volyn region parishes affected by the schismatics’ actions with necessary church utensils.




The source of information - http://www.patriarchia.ru/en/db/text/5400715.html
__________________
Where should they dig the Very Deep Pit?
Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.
(c) Alan Alexander Miln
 
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