Tag Archives: Russian Orthodox Church

Ukrainian Catholics flee Crimea

Archbishop Shevchuk speaks during news conference in RomeThe politics regarding the Crimea are not that complex to comprehend; the history is muddled because there is a severe allergy to facts. There is only so long you can lie about your history. Just as there is a rise in the Muslim world of the notion of a caliphate, so is there a push in many sectors of the Putin government for a “new Tzar.” The mentality of extending and exerting political control supposed Russian lands. There is a not so subtle push by some members of the Russian Orthodox Church to act as the Third Rome (with all the negative aspects of this notion). In recent days the reality of Christian-on-Christian persecution has surfaced in Crimea. What a scandal to the beauty of the Good News of Jesus Christ!

Jonathan Luxmoore of Catholic Herald UK posted his article, “Priest: Ukrainian Catholics flee Crimea to escape threats of arrest.

The Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Byzantine Church Shevchuk has asked priests to dedicate Ukraine to Mary’s protection on April 6, to help calm “hearts filled with anxiety for the future.”

There is a service of prayer scheduled here in CT for Peace and Democracy in Ukraine

Principal Celebrants:
The Most Reverend Leonard P. Blair
His Excellency Bishop Paul Chomnycky

Church of the Sacred Heart
158 Broad Street
New Britain, Connecticut

SUNDAY, APRIL 6, 2014 
6 p.m.

Please join clergy and laity from the Ukrainian, Polish, Greek, Armenian, Lithuanian
and other communities in solidarity and prayer for the future of Ukraine.

Co-sponsored by
The Archdiocese of Hartford
The Ukrainian Catholic Diocese of Stamford
Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church and
The Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation

Knights of Columbus Museum presents Orthodox Christianity in Early Russia: the Formation of a Tradition

Holy Theotokos and childFor the better part of the past year the Knights of Columbus museum has had an exhibit on Russian icons, “Windows into Heaven.”

There is a forthcoming lecture to open up the windows into heaven even more, “Orthodox Christianity in Early Russia: the Formation of a Tradition”  The lecture is presented by Paul Bushkovitch Ph.D.

Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, @ 2 p.m.
Free admission and parking

Knights of Columbus Museum
1 State Street, New Haven CT 06511
kofcmuseum.org | 203-865-0400

Orthodox Christianity has been Russia’s pre-eminent religion for more than a millennium and is integral to the nation’s history and culture. Yale University history professor Dr. Paul Bushkovitch will discuss the origin and foundation of Russian Orthodoxy, which has endured attacks and repression throughout the past, most notably during the preceding century. Dr. Bushkovitch earned degrees from Harvard and Columbia Universities and has studied in Russia. He has been a member of the Yale faculty since 1975 and has published and lectured extensively on Russian history.

The Knights of Columbus Museum’s exhibition of Russian icons, Windows into Heaven, runs through April 27, 2014. The museum is open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Russian Patriarch gives interview on Orthodox presence in England

Pontifical characters are giving interviews and responding to personal questions these days: Pope Francis, Pope Benedict, the Ukrainian Major Archbishop and now the Russian Patriarch, Kirill of Moscow.

Patriarch Kirill answers questions about the Orthodoxy in Great Britain, Christian life after the Great Schism of 1054, the sainthood of Edward the Confessor, the presences of Russians in England today, and the supposed interest of Prince Charles in Orthodoxy.

Indeed, an interesting interview. The Patriarch was far more neutral than I would’ve thought, especially around history and the question of conversion to Orthodoxy. His Holiness washes over how Catholics and Protestants come into communion with Orthodox Church.

As a point of fact, the “conversion” of Catholics to Orthodoxy is unique to each Orthodox diocese; some bishops handle the situation as the early Church handled schismatics (e.g., Donatists), and others look to the way Peter Mogila handled various denominations in 16th century Russia. As friend said, generally speaking, Oriental Orthodox come in through confession, Catholics come in through a profession of faith, Trinitarian professing Protestants come in through chrismation, and everyone else comes in through baptism and Chrismation. Plus, it is noted, some liturgical books have different formulas of things people have to renounce and accept for different types of Christians converting. So, for example, a Catholic would have to renounce the authority of the Pope, but a Methodist would not.

The interview is in Russian with English subtitles. At least one era is noted: Christians don’t worship saints, they venerate (honor) them.

Watch the 18 minute video.



Russian Patriarch losing popularity at home, and in the Ukraine

One doesn’t point to the failures of others in a mean-spirited way. No one likes it done to himself, but more importantly, it isn’t Christian. Nevertheless, we need to get to the heart of certain issues.

An article by Andriy Skumin, “Mission: Impossible” published today online on the international edition of  The Ukrainian Week raises a lot of questions about how the Orthodox see themselves as they observe 1025 years since receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Patriarch Kirill, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church is facing lots of difficulties these days in places like the Ukraine, some of his own making, and some he’s been made to face from outside the Church.

Whether Skumin’s article is completely objective may be debated. But what needs to be studied are the ways by which the Christian Church’s ability to proclaim the gospel is effective today given certain cultural, political and religious factors. Also, whether the Christian Church is Orthodox or Catholic, both ecclesial communities face similar issues in their milieu; reality is crucial to acknowledge and work within. Hopefully, Patriarch Kirill will be able to service the Gospel and not his own ideology. And I would say the say for the Catholic Major Archbishop in the Ukraine.

At this time Christians are celebrating 1025 years of the reception of sacrament of Baptism of the Rus; and in particular, the Kyian Rus. I happen to think that the Russian Orthodox Church is a bit too imperialistic in their own circles but also in forcing others to follow them. They are often economical with the truth when it comes to common history.

Locally, the Catholic bishop of the Stamford Eparchy of the Ukrainians, Bishop Paul Chomnycky, had a Moleben in thanksgiving to God for the gift of baptism.

Do the Russian Orthodox consider Francis to be “Pope hypocrite”?

Hilarion and Francis.jpg

Some things don’t translate well. Plus, you can trust everything you read in the media, except what you read here on the Communio blog! Apparently, following the election of the Jesuit Cardinal of Buenas Aires as bishop of Rome has caused the Russian media to interpret what the word “Jesuit” means for the public. The word “iezuit” as it is used in some of the media outlets carries with it a derogatory connotation, and some would say restoring an older definition. Derision seems to have a currency. The words “Jesuit Pope” is translated into Russian as “Papa iezuit” which sounds like “Pope hypocrite.” But you can’t fall off the floor.

Dostoevsky popularized the word “iezuit” as inquisitor, monster and cunning in his novels; and during Soviet era the text books used the word as such, carrying the legacy with the inclusion of Jesuit as Vatican spy. All this is not lost on the Russian Orthodox Church, who, it is reported, one of the bishops publicly said on TV that Dostoevsky’s definition fits well with Jesuits and that the Spiritual Exercises are incompatible with the spiritual tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church.

I hope this thinking is not going to be a “new way” forward in relationships with Moscow and Rome.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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