CWN - Having seized control of the Crimea, Russian officials have placed new restrictions on churches there, the Forum 18 news service reports.

Religious communities in Crimea are being ordered to re-register under Russian law. Priests of the Ukrainian Catholic Church who are not natives of Crimea will be allowed to serve in ministry for only three months at a time before leaving for a month and re-applying for admission. Catholics in Sebastopol, who had hoped for the return of their cathedral (which had been confiscated under Soviet rule), now doubt that the building will be returned.

The new restrictions are not targeted solely against Ukrainian Catholics. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kiev patriarchate, which challenges the dominance of Orthodox body loyal to Moscow, has found that the “rent” for its cathedral in Simferopol, the capital city of Crimea, has been dramatically raised.

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Protection of the Mother of God

Protected by your coming, O Mother of God, * the faithful people celebrate today with splendor, * and, gazing at your most pure image, * we say with compunction: * "Shield us with your precious veil * and deliver us from all evil * imploring your Son, Christ our God, to save our souls.” (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Today the Virgin stands forth in the Church, * and with the choirs of saints she invisibly prays to God for us. * The Angels worship with the hierarchs, * and the apostles exult with the prophets, * because, in our behalf, the Mother of God entreats the pre-eternal God. (Kontakion - Tone 3)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God on October 1st.