Ecclesiastic scene undergoing rapid upheaval

All over the world there are political problems, whether the civil war looming in Sudan with its ramifications involving Germany, the UN and China or the Egyptian elections which will again effect Israel.

We have really neglected the ecological global catastrophe, but the internet is full of examples where in many parts of our world the lifestyle is drastically changing for many whose habitat is now temperate where it once was Arctic. Animals as well as humans are affected by this drastic and dramatic climate change. Each country is affected in some way.

The ecclesiastic scene is also undergoing rapid upheaval, especially the relationship of the Russian Orthodox Church with the Roman Catholic Vatican. Note the following:
Patriarch Kirill is a theological conservative in the mould of Pope Benedict. Both see religion as the wellspring of culture. Both understand that Europe cannot escape a final capitulation to tyranny if it does not rediscover its Christian roots.”

Russian Orthodox church
Russian Orthodox church (Photo credit: bdearth)

Since his enthronement, Patriarch Kirill has offered his voice of clarity and authority to the growing Catholic and Orthodox critique of the decline of moral values and the hostility of the contemporary culture toward the Church. He openly decries the growing rejection of Christian influence throughout the world. He warns of the dangers that such a rejection present to civilization and authentic freedom.

Patriarch Kirill has repeatedly called upon Orthodox Christians to be actively involved in reclaiming the culture with the values informed by the ancient faith. Shortly after his selection, the Patriarch noted that, “in the Vatican and not only in the Vatican but all over the world, Catholics understand that Orthodox (people) are their allies. And Orthodox (people) are more and more coming to understand that Catholics are their allies in the face of hostile and non-religious secularism.”

There is a growing recognition that there is more that joins theologically faithful Catholics and theologically faithful Orthodox than that which separates us. The urgency of the cultural decline compels our collaboration in Christ. It is also leading us to a growing mutual respect which may pave the way toward some form of restored communion.  Catholic Online 24-Apr-12]

While the European and Russian churches are forming an allegiance, Russia has a long-time plan to re-establish affiliations with Kazakhstan and the Ukraine.

For Russia, the recreation of a union is a strategic necessity. As Putin put it, the fall of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical catastrophe. Russia needs the economic integration, particularly given the new economic strategy of post-Soviet Russia, which is the export of raw materials, particularly energy.
Aligning with states such as Kazakhstan in energy and Ukraine in grain provides Moscow with leverage in the rest of the world, particularly in Europe. As important, it provides strategic depth.
The rest of the world knows that an invasion of Russia is inconceivable. The Russians can conceive of it. They remember that Germany in 1932 was crippled. By 1938 it was overwhelmingly powerful. Six years is not very long, and while such an evolution is unlikely now, from the Russian point of view, it must be taken seriously in the long run — planning for the worst and hoping for the best.

Therefore, the heart of Russian strategy, after resurrecting state power in Russia, is to create a system of relationships within the former Soviet Union that will provide economic alignment and strategic depth but not give Russia an unsustainable obligation to underwrite the other nations’ domestic policies. Unlike the Russian Empire or Soviet Union, Putin’s strategy is to take advantage of relationships on a roughly mutual basis without undertaking responsibility for the other nations.  [Stratfor 24-Apr-12]

We can see that, with the discovery of large quantities of oil by Israel in the Mediterranean and shale oil in Israel itself, allowing Israel to plan for the supply of vast amounts of energy to Europe, Russia will do all it can to suppress such a plan.

The immediate future will be ‘interesting.’ The long-term could be catastrophic for those unaware of the Plan of God for this world – with Israel in particular.

“You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” [James 5:8]

In our Master’s service,

Art Wright

“Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”  Amos 3:7

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  • Forbes Publishes Anti-Russian Screed by Snotty Greek-American Harvard Prince… Here It Is… Read It for Yourself… What a Buncha Maroons! (02varvara.wordpress.com)
    After an outcry from conservative Orthodox believers and clergy, particularly after the politically-influential Patriarch Kirill weighed in with an angry and rather un-Christian denunciation of their conduct, three members of Pussy Riot were arrested and charged with “hooliganism”, which carries a maximum prison sentence of seven years.
    +
    President-elect Vladimir Putin saw fit to apologise to churchgoers and priests for what Pussy Riot perpetrated. His apology appeared neutrally worded, but the two detained women remain in jail pending trial despite the fact that they both have small children. A poll of 1,633 Russians in 130 cities, taken by the Levada Centre in mid-March, showed that 46 percent of those who had heard of the “punk service” believed two to seven years in prison to be a proper punishment for the women. Only 35 percent considered it too harsh.
  • Orthodox Church under attack-Russian Patriarch (dailystar.com.lb)
    The head of the Russian Orthodox Church warned tens of thousands of believers on Sunday they were “under attack by persecutors” on a nationwide day of prayer intended to heal divisions over a protest at the altar by a women’s punk band.

    Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, top right, addresses to believers outside the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, April 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
    Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, top right, addresses to believers outside the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, April 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    At least 40,000 people came to hear Patriarch Kirill lead them in prayer at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow, where Pussy Riot performed a “punk prayer” on Feb. 21 deriding the Church’s close relationship with President-elect Vladimir Putin.

  • First Among Estates (latitude.blogs.nytimes.com)
    As many as 65,000 people gathered in front of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow on Sunday. Judging by the large number of buses parked nearby, they’d been brought in from various parts of Russia. This was not another anti-Putin protest; it was not even a protest: it was a huge communal prayer. Some of the participants were members of the clergy, dressed in gaudy gold-on-red church garb. But most appeared to be ordinary churchgoers who’d heeded the clergy’s call to come pray in defense of the church. Its leaders say it is under attack.
  • Russians rally support for Orthodox church over Pussy Riot controversy (guardian.co.uk)
    The church maintains that desecration of icons and other acts of vandalism have become more frequent since the punk protest. As the patriarch led a procession around the cathedral, priests carried a crucifix and an icon that had been damaged in attacks elsewhere in Russia this spring.
  • Naval Cathedral, St. Nicholas of Kronstadt, reopened! (russianreport.wordpress.com)
    The Naval Cathedral of Saint Nicholas in Kronstadt is the main temple of the Russian Navy, founded in 1902 by decree of Emperor Nicholas II in honour of the 200th anniversary of the Russian Navy by Peter the Great. In 1929 the Cathedral was closed and desecrated by the Communists.

    In 2009 a board of trustees was established to restore the cathedral which is expected to be fully restored in time for the 100th anniversary of its first consecration, which will be celebrated in 2013.

  • Thousands show support for under-fire Orthodox Church (scotsman.com)
    “This series of acts of vandalism … it’s because the Church now backs the state very strongly and this wave is mostly against the current authorities,” said Anastasia Pavlukhova, 20, a theology student, who made an 800-mile journey to the event from the southern city of Pyatigorsk by bus with her parish.”
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    Alexei Makarkin, of the Moscow Centre for Political Technologies, said: “Within the Church itself, opinion has been divided over what was worse: The ‘punk prayer’ or the Church’s reaction to it.”
  • 22 April 2012. You Can’t Make Shit Like This Up Department: “Aiding and Abetting the Moscow Patriarchate” by “Bishop” Paul Peter Jesep (02varvara.wordpress.com)
    Ukrainians don’t need someone else’s permission to have their own Church. I’ve said it. I’ve written it. And now I’m repeating it for the umpteenth time. Metropolitan Yurij of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Canada is aiding and abetting the Moscow Patriarchate. His inhospitable attitude toward the visit of Patriarch Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyiv Patriarchate is misguided. Independent of the lack of Christian hospitality, it gives the Moscow Patriarchate legitimacy and greater leverage to interject itself in the social, political, and religious life of Ukraine.
  • You Stink at Photoshop (ronscoffeeandchocolates.wordpress.com)
    Russian bloggers are incensed with how extremely wealthy the Russian Orthodox Church with its ties to the Russian government has become.  With all the corruption in the Russian government you don’t often hear of the official church making any comment about it.
  • Russian Patriarch Calls Putin Era a ‘Miracle From God’ (disclose.tv)
    Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has made no secret of his support for Putin, whom he regards as the guarantor of the country’s stability. “You have played an enormous personal role to set the course of history in our country,” Kirill told Putin last month during a meeting with other religious leaders. “I would like to thank you.”

  • Russian Patriarch Calls Priests Who Opposed Prayer Service ‘Traitors’ (eurasiareview.com)
    The cathedral, built by former Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov after being destroyed by Stalin, has become a symbol of that relationship.

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church warned tens of thousands of believers on Sunday they were “under attack by persecutors” on a nationwide day of prayer intended to heal divisions over a protest at the altar by a women’s punk band.

At least 40,000 people came to hear Patriarch Kirill lead them in prayer at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow, where Pussy Riot performed a “punk prayer” on Feb. 21 deriding the Church’s close relationship with President-elect Vladimir Putin.

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