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Thanks, Alex! Here is a very interesting and, IMO, correct article about the Church-state problem in Russia, by none other than Met. Hilarion Alfeyev: http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2011/01/atheism-and-orthodoxy-in-modern-russia.html

I wonder nowadays though if he has forgotten his own words here.

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Originally Posted by SwanOfEndlessTales
Thanks, Alex! Here is a very interesting and, IMO, correct article about the Church-state problem in Russia, by none other than Met. Hilarion Alfeyev: http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2011/01/atheism-and-orthodoxy-in-modern-russia.html

I wonder nowadays though if he has forgotten his own words here.

Unfortunately, the Metropolitan's views seem to have changed

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From the linked article by Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev:

When 'perestroika' started, the Church was challenged by the very high expectations on the part of the society. Many believed the Church would be able to assume the leading role in the spiritual revival of the nation. One has to admit that this did not happen. The Church started to revive itself by rebuilding monastery walls (which is indeed an important and difficult task) but it did not respond adequately to the need for religious and moral enlightenment of the people. The Church's leaders gained access to the civil authorities, but thus far they have been unable (with some exceptions) to gain direct access to ordinary people, especially to those outside the Church. The Orthodox Church is still closed in upon itself; it is still more occupied with its own internal problems than with spiritual demands of modern society. It turned out that the Western Protestant sects took up the initiative of enlightenment of former atheists, and it is not surprising that, with their direct and somewhat insistent behavior, they are gaining the sympathy of more and more ordinary people.

Russian atheism may well one day die, but this will happen when the country has not only been baptized, but has been enlightened and born again.

The Orthodox Church should play a key role in this spiritual rebirth. But this can happen only after it has become a truly national Church: not the Church of the State (whatever the State is), but the Church, of the nation, of the people. To become such, the Church must come out of its shell, must learn to speak the language that the people speak, must face the demands of society and answer them adequately.

Demographics in Russia (the fact that ethnic Russians don't have children and the Muslims typically have 4 or more children) suggest that in about 2 generations Russia will be a majority Muslim country. And that a secular European Russia (because of its moral weakness) will not be able to stand against Islam. I often wonder if Putin or Patriarch Kyril or anyone in authority in Russia have any inking that the only thing that can save Russia is if the Church (Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, Protestant) actually lives for Christ. Certainly the leaders in Western Europe (political and religious) don't.

I will quickly add that, yes, of course there are pockets of Russian Orthodoxy that are on the right path and growing. But the larger Church seems to still be dormant, and more interested in all things Russian than all things Christ.

People are not dumb. An atheist might be an atheist, but he can still see whether someone who calls himself a Christian actually lives like a Christian. And it is only those who live for Christ who can attract others to Christ. Those who do not live for Christ yet call themselves Christian repel non-believers from Christ.

And so, while Russia does not have a current immigration of Muslims from the Middle East, it already has a sizable Muslim population that is growing and is likely much further along the path of emptying the leftover Christian culture and replacing it with a Muslim one.

I'd be happy to be shown that my observations about Russia are wrong.

On the original topic I will note that the vast majority of the migrants from the Middle East are peaceful people in legitimate need of assistance. It's just that Islam corrupts everything.

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History supposedly teaches us to learn from mistakes of the past. We in the USA should take lessons from the points you mentioned about the ROC not taking the lead in the transition from Communism. They used their resources to rebuild their own church infrastructure.


Relating these events to home, the USA is transitioning from a democratic Christian nation to a narcissist culture that delegates morality and legalistic standards to the federal government. Americans, including Eastern Christians, accept this transition without a fight. I posted on a Byzantine Catholic facebook page a defense of Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses after the Supreme Court declared that homosexual have an equal right to marriage. My defense was overwhelmingly rejected with a lot of negative opinions about the lady.

It appears that we have generally rolled over and played dead, as long as we can go to Church on Sunday morning/Saturday night. Sadly, we haven't seen much support for religious freedom and traditional marriage from Eastern Christian hierarchy.

Isn't life strange?


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With Pani Rose, I agree that if N. America is to be saved it will come out of Africa. It's one of the few places on earth in which Christianity is at all taken seriously.

This is one of those posts in which I can find very little to disagree. Western Society really is doomed first and foremost by a laissez faire attitude towards virtue and a rejection of Natural Law and by a virulent Islam.

I have no intention of giving up but I am dismayed by the general lack of power from the Catholic pulpit.

CDL

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Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Dear Thomas,

However, Putin has stated emphatically that the worst "tragedy" of the 20th century was the fall of the very same USSR that persecuted Christianity.

He has also said that he regards Lenin's body as a "holy relic" like the "relics of the Kyiv Caves Lavra."

Joseph Stalin (who was once an Orthodox seminarian) also went behind the Russian Orthodox Church (and Russian nationalism) in order to oppose Hitler.

Let's be very careful about comparing Putin with the Emperor Saint Constantine.

There really is no comparison, even though Western conservatives may feel inclined to see in him a defender of Christian values.

St John Maximovych of Shanghai and San Francisco always warned against trusting the Soviet Union. That should also go for post-Soviet leaders as well.

Alex

I couldn't agree more!

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RUSSIA AND THE WEST HAVE SWAPPED SPIRITUAL AND CULTURAL ROLES

The subject of this interview is a Danish journalist and theologian who hosted a series of five programmes, entitled “From Russia with Love” on Danish national public service radio, Radio24syv, with the sub-heading “An Unbiased Look at Putin's Russia.”

Inspired by Emperor Constantine, she believes Christianity in the West can be rejuvenated by looking to the East. Iben is aware of the sheer enormity of this task. “Such, alas, is the depth to which Western hatred for Christianity has sunk,” says the theologian, who does not hesitate to defend President Putin, on whom the Western media delights in heaping derision and scorn.

“The Pussy Riot case opened the door to Russia for me,” she explains.

“I understood that Russia is a country that refuses to compromise on Christian values. Russia is not just a country or a nation, Russia is a spiritual concept, a state of mind. Criticism of President Putin was not the crime for which the activists were tried and convicted. Their crime was the invasion of the Christ-The-Saviour Cathedral, the holiest of places, and engaging in a blasphemous act in front of the iconostases.

In the West, freedom of speech is widely deployed for the purpose of desecrating religion, but Russia does not permit crossing the line into blasphemy. That really fascinated me, and so I travelled to Moscow to learn more and this eventually resulted in a series of radio programmes trying to help Danes move beyond the tedious and unhelpful caricature-like clichés and provide them with a nuanced view of Russia.”

What was your impression of Russia?

“I experienced a fantastic energy, a moral energy similar to America in the '50s with the old moral values. I met helpful, poetic and cultured people with a spirit of self-sacrifice I have not seen before. The atmosphere in Moscow is completely different from that of any capital in Europe, and unlike here in the West, I feel much more spiritually free in the East.

“They are familiar with the bitter fruit of atheism and have no appetite for the bleak and barren wasteland it produced”

While the West is deriding and disowning Christianity and Europe revels in self-loathing, Russians are returning to Christianity in a modern and contemporary context. Bear in mind that Christianity was suppressed under Communism, which was atheistic. Russians are familiar with the bitter fruit of atheism and have no appetite for the bleak and barren wasteland it produced.

“The young, the hip, the wise and the wealthy, express their Christianity as a completely natural and straightforward thing”

The interesting thing is, that in Russia, Christianity is associated with being modern and progressive. It is the spirit of the young, the hip, the wise and the wealthy, who express their Christianity as a completely natural and straightforward way of life. Christianity is simply fashionable, but not in the superficial Western pop manner. Christianity’s roots grow deep in the soil of Russian life, and they look with amazement at how we guard, or rather, disregard, our spiritual heritage.

Not only that: They discern in our obsession with political correctness, and the social liberal opinion policing of the general media and academia, a new manifestation of the terror of totalitarianism they counted themselves blessed to escape after 75 terrible years.

After the Cold War, East and West swapped roles spiritually, culturally and morally. Cultural Marxism now holds unrestrained sway in the West.

But Communism and Social Democracy are probably not the same?

“Let me put it a different way. During the rule of Communism, Russia found itself in the grip of a culture of death, but she is returning to life, in the sense of Christian culture with a strong awareness of the historical roots and continuity.”

The situation in the West is the complete opposite. We celebrate death and have surrendered to the satanic view of man in a self-righteous rage and rant against God. We can divorce with ease on-line. We prioritise work and career above family responsibilities especially raising children. We favour euthanasia, abortion on demand, homosexual rights and same-sex marriage while our cities are submerged in Islam and growing segregation.

“Russians perceive activists like Pussy Riot as latter-day Bolsheviks”

Russia has chosen a completely different direction, and it is one of the reasons that many Russians perceive activists like Pussy Riot as latter-day Bolsheviks. They invade and desecrate the sanctity of the church, a holy place. The West celebrates this as progress and prosperity. Russians are reminded that the spirit of communism is still alive. It merely assumes new forms and takes up residence in the West, where liberals and progressives love and adore Pussy Riot.

Today, the spirit of communism shows itself in western worship of human rights, freedom of speech and the elite’s utopian notions of so-called open societies. We are headed for the very wasteland that the Russians were relieved to leave behind. Patriarch Kirill has warned the West: “Do not take the path we took. We tried it and it leads to destruction!”

Recently the Russian military held an exercise based on the scenario of an attack on northern Norway, Aaland, Gotland and Bornholm. Do we just turn the other cheek?

“Well, that's not the true way to look at it. The Russians hold such an exercise because of the geopolitical pressure that NATO creates by deploying hostile military forces along the Ukrainian border and in the old Warsaw Pact countries.

Russian foreign policy has long been demonized. Russia is compelled to respond to a situation it did not create, which is not the same as aggression. Why should Russia accept being cut off from access to the sea, from Saint Petersburg to Vladivostok? Such a thing is unthinkable. With bald-faced hypocrisy, the West makes it look like Russia is our new enemy. The truth is exactly the opposite. The West is its own worst enemy.

Russia Insider

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/82006.htm


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Originally Posted by Alice
“An Unbiased Look at Putin's Russia.”

Heh.

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In the West, freedom of speech is widely deployed for the purpose of desecrating religion, but Russia does not permit crossing the line into blasphemy.

There are a few other lines you don't want to cross either, if you don't want to disappear or sip polonium tea.

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“I experienced a fantastic energy, a moral energy similar to America in the '50s with the old moral values.

I love it when people look back to the era of Jim Crow and McCarthyism as the good old days. It says a lot about them and their so-called Christian values.

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“They are familiar with the bitter fruit of atheism and have no appetite for the bleak and barren wasteland it produced”

A national state ideology with religious trappings is not the opposite of Soviet atheism. In fact, there is a lot of continuity.

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I love it when people look back to the era of Jim Crow and McCarthyism as the good old days. It says a lot about them and their so-called Christian values.

The article was written by a Danish journalist, not by me or any other American.

Racism still exists, but political correctness does not allow us to admit that.

In the 50's, there was a more homogenous society in the U.S. with common values and morality being the norm, whether or not individuals deviated from them.

In such case, sins of all kinds were usually secret for fear of being ostracized and judged rather than exalted and celebrated as today.

In the 50's and a good part of the 60's, society tended to be a great deal more civil than it is today. Crass language, overt sexuality and promiscuity, love of violence and gore for entertainment, and lack of decency and decorum in dress were not things which were tolerated.

Self respect was evident in many ways, from body language (erect sitting for instance and good posture), to children addressing adults in a respectful manner and title befitting them, to dress (from maids to executives, one dressed and groomed in a way that spoke respect for oneself and for others).

Television entertainment was wholesome, safe to watch for children, and usually had a moral to the story.

Most people believed in God and went to houses of worship every week.

No matter how much huffing and puffing many who were not born or lived in those eras do, there can and will be no comparison to today, despite the inevitable 'bad' that always exists in all times and places. I rather take the bad of the past in a country that believed in God to today's bad in a country that has become largely devoid of the virtues of morality, as well as atheist, agnostic, and secularist.

I grew up in the 60's and I thank God for that wonderful gift, and you can question my 'Christian values' all you want for saying that and believing that, but it does not change a thing.

Wishing you a blessed feast day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross,
Alice

Universal Exaltation of the Venerable and Life-Giving Cross
September 14
Apolytikion:
Lord, save Your people and bless Your inheritance, granting our rulers to prevail over adversaries, and protecting Your commonwealth by Your Cross.

Kontakion:
Lifted up on the Cross by Your free will, Christ God, grant mercies to the new commonwealth that bears Your name. Gladden our faithful rulers by Your power, giving them victories over their adversaries. May Your alliance be for them a weapon for peace, an invincible standard.

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Originally Posted by Alice
In the 50's, there was a more homogenous society in the U.S. with common values and morality being the norm, whether or not individuals deviated from them.

In such case, sins of all kinds were usually secret for fear of being ostracized and judged rather than exalted and celebrated as today.

In the 50's and a good part of the 60's, society tended to be a great deal more civil than it is today. Crass language, overt sexuality and promiscuity, love of violence and gore for entertainment, and lack of decency and decorum in dress were not things which were tolerated.

[img]https://ionemichiganchronicle.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/images_riot_real.jpg?w=444&h=299[/img]

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Preach on, Sister Alice. You got it right! While there was never a perfect society and will never be, what you said about civility, decency of dress and behavior are spot on. In my last year of teaching before retirement, my middle-school students and I read of conditions in ancient Rome before the fall. I was amazed the students were able to draw parallels between then and what is happening now in the U.S. And they think kids are not smart.

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Contemporary America is more moral and more decent than the 50's ever were. Which isn't saying much, since the 50's were a cesspool of hypocrisy, white supremacy, and brutal colonialism, and thing are still pretty terrible now, but it's absurd to pretend that we are actually worse off now. The fact that certain things were not allowed to be done in the open does not cover up the numerous enormities which were openly promoted then and which are not tolerated today. The fact that you feel less secure in your little homogeneous bubble does not cancel out the substantial improvement in the lives of millions of others. And if the continued disintegration of white supremacy means the end of America, then may it die.

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I don't know how old you are, but I went to elementary and middle school - they were called junior high schools then - during the 1950's. They were nowhere near as bad as you portray them. There were problems, and always will be. The primary problem I remember is that it wasn't the best of times economically. The economy didn't pick up until the 60s and safety nets for the poor were not in place. Other than that, it was a fairly peaceful and happy time, just not ideal - it never will be. Hypocrisy and brutal colonialism? Always with us and has been worse in earlier times. Sounds to me like your history is getting confused with your politics.

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Look, if you really are so nostalgic for your "whites only" segregated childhood, and you feel that Putin's Russia reflects your values better than contemporary America, perhaps you should consider moving there rather than wait around here while the great American empire collapses from its moral decadence.

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Originally Posted by SwanOfEndlessTales
Look, if you really are so nostalgic for your "whites only" segregated childhood, and you feel that Putin's Russia reflects your values better than contemporary America, perhaps you should consider moving there rather than wait around here while the great American empire collapses from its moral decadence.

You must have grown up in a hateful place. I don't know where you grew up, but it wasn't like that where I live. We were among the first to drop "whites only" and in practice were integrated long before it became fashionable. I remember when blacks wanted in the theaters. They were allowed in with the advice from many whites to save their money - the movies were not that good and cost too much. ;-) They quickly came to the same conclusion. What in H does Putin have to do with anything? Are you drinking that liberal Kool-Aid again? LOL.

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