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The Pskov lands are often called the “western outpost” of Russian Orthodoxy. The neighboring Baltic countries, the majority of whose population professes either Catholicism or Protestantism, for centuries was a “missionary service territory” for the Russian Orthodox Church. And in the last century, during the Great Patriotic War, Pskov residents (according to many historians – not by accident) for a few years became one of the strongholds of Orthodox revival, which had virtually been defeated in the Soviet Union by that time. This revival concerns the Pskov mission that existed from 1941-1944. In Soviet times,...

05.08.2009
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Religion

Stalin unexpectedly broke his silence.  “Why don’t you have the resources?” he asked as he removed the pipe from his mouth and looked closely at his conversation partners. Alexy and Nikolai were confused, for everyone knew that their “resources” were sitting in the camps. But Metropolitan Sergiy was not confused at all. The old man replied, “We don’t have the resources for a variety of reasons. One of them is that we were training a priest, and he would become Marshal of the Soviet Union.” A satisfied smile appeared under the dictator’s whiskers, and he said, “Yeah, yeah, I was...

20.06.2009
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Religion

The Russian Orthodox Church in Search of a New Missionary Role. Last week at the World Russian People’s Council, Patriarch Kirill gave a clear indication of how the church’s missionary policy would change. Predictions that under the new patriarch the church will strive to play a more noticeable role in addressing societal problems have proven valid.  The new head of the Russian Orthodox Church not only confirmed the church’s policy but also indicated where efforts would be directed. The church’s policy toward youth is not some kind of new initiative.  Recall that at last year’s World Russian...

31.05.2009
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Religion

The main intrigue has been resolved. Everything happened as predicted. On January 27, 2009, a new head of the Russian Orthodox Church was elected. That Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad would be chosen was predicted long before the Church Council convened, although it only became clear once the vote tally was announced. The doubts expressed concerning the victory of Metropolitan Kirill were weakly based on the idea that his main competitor, chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Kliment of Kaluga and Borovsk, would be able to unite the church opposition around himself. The uncertainty about the outcome was due to...

28.01.2009
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Religion

The death of Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia closes a truly landmark page in the history of the Russian Orthodox Church. Very different assessments of this phase of church history, its features and trends will likely be forthcoming for some time. At least in part, they will be based on those disputes that are taking place in Russian society today. Yet hardly anyone will deny that the position of the Russian Orthodox Church in society changed dramatically under Alexy II. The church became a formational part of modern Russian reality and was able to influence many of its important characteristics: social attitudes toward religion,...

05.12.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Religion

“They say that it’s forbidden to visit a cemetery on Easter,” my grandmother told me recently. How should I respond? Of course, the Church teaches us to remember the deceased on Radonitsa, the ninth day after Easter, but it views Easter visits to the cemetery as something of a Soviet-era holdover. The practice does not contain anything specifically Soviet, however. More likely than not, it reflects on a rather archaic layer of human consciousness, an echo of the “people’s Christianity” that the government found so difficult to control. My grandmother has been going to the cemetery for more than 70 years....

28.04.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Religion

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