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Found 9 results

  1. The Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church is about to convene within the next few days. A group of hierarchs allegedly led by Metropolitan Daniel of Chiatura and Sachkhere is up to discuss the recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), which was established in Kiev in December 2018, and received autocephalous status from the Ecumenical Patriarch. Constantinople is especially interested in the recognition of the OCU. If recognized, “Metropolitan” Epiphany and his organization can augment the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s power in the Orthodox world, weaken the Moscow Patriarchate’s influence and allow the Patriarch of Constantinople to make decisions on extremely important matters for Orthodoxy by sole authority. Local Churches are in doubt: Despite pressure, none of them has recognized the OCU yet. How could autocephaly have been granted to the Ukrainian Church if it still lacks unity, and some parishes seize the churches of other parishes? Why was autocephaly granted solely by Patriarch Bartholomew, without any discussion with the other Local Churches, in total disregard of the existing canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church? Why there was so much haste with the Tomos, why did it happen shortly before the electoral campaign of Ukraine’s former president Poroshenko? Could Ukrainian autocephaly cause a schism in the Orthodox world? These and other questions were addressed to Constantinople delegations by Local Churches before and after the OCU was established. Some Local Churches have opposed Patriarch Bartholomew’s policy—including the Patriarchate of Antioch, which once granted autocephaly to the Georgian Orthodox Church; and the Patriarchate of Serbia, which claimed that the OCU hierarchy has no canonical succession. Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus and Archbishop Anastasios of Albania asked Patriarch Bartholomew to convene a Synaxis of Primates but he firmly refused. The OCU’s future is uncertain; the relations between the groups that formed it are unstable. Even now there is a conflict between Philaret Denisenko, the “honorary patriarch” of the OCU, and its formal head Epiphany. This conflict undermines the OCU’s unity and can lead to its breakup in the nearest future. If the Georgian Orthodox Church recognizes the OCU, it won’t be able to independently deal with its own issues. Abkhazians have already asked to be allowed to join the Ecumenical Patriarchate and receive the status of autonomy. Metropolitan Emmanuel of France once hinted to the Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia at the fact that the Abkhazian plea could receive a positive answer if the Georgian Church doesn’t support Constantinople. But now Constantinople pretends to have the right to grant autocephaly anywhere across the world. If we recognize the OCU, we will let Constantinople into the canonical territory of the Georgian Church. During the previous meeting of Constantinople hierarchs with Ilia II in Tbilisi, one of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s representatives, Metropolitan Amphilochios of Adrianopolis, is said to have begun his speech with the words: “There is an opinion that the Orthodox Church is led by Jesus Christ. But in fact the Church is led by the Ecumenical Patriarch.” The Catholicos-Patriarch seems to disagree with this statement. Those Orthodox hierarchs who are famous for their spiritual experience and the purity of their edifying life disagree with that also, for example, Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, who restored his Church after communist repressions and who is already considered to be saint by many Greeks. The Orthodox Church has never followed after the Roman Catholics. But those of spiritual clarity understand that the Orthodox Church is facing a new large-scale threat, and the Ukrainian issue is only a part of it. http://orthochristian.com/121558.html?fbclid=IwAR346GxnYyy2ZmMjxgg8cj7JHC0S6U3pcP5s3l20ZfZb6Z2mluDKTOHG4YE
  2. According to an order from Ukrainian Minister of Culture Evgeny Nischuk, the Uniates will be allowed to serve the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of St. Sophia, one of the most ancient Orthodox churches in the city, on the feast of the Annunciation on March 25/April 7. The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics Svyatoslav Shevchuk announced the upcoming service during a service on February 17. As has been stated before, the common goal of the schismatic church and the Uniates is to create a single Kiev Patriarchate that will be recognized by both Rome and Constantinople. And on January 17, Shevchuk stressed his belief that no one church can lay claim to St. Sophia’s, but that it is “a meeting place for all descendants of the St. Sophia Church of Kiev.” The church currently belongs to the Ukrainian government. However, not everyone is happy with these plans. Philaret Denisenko, the “Patriarch” of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) and “Honorary Patriarch” of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” the ideological leader of the Ukrainian schismatic-nationalist movement, is concerned about how Ukrainian Orthodox will react, and, resorting to his typical Russophobia, about the possibility of provocations from the Kremlin. In an address to Shevchuk published on the KP website, Denisenko asked him not to serve in St. Sophia’s because “it’s like if one of the Orthodox primates celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of the Holy Apostle Peter in Rome.” The Ministry of Culture seems to have waivered in its decision following the statement by the ideological schismatic leader. In his message, Philaret calls the Uniate plans to celebrate Annunciation in the Orthodox cathedral “unusual,” because, he says, the Ukrainian Uniates have never served there, and he recalled that the enthronement of “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko, the primate of the schismatic church, was recently held there. Uniates contend, however, that St. Sophia’s was transferred to them for a time beginning in 1596. According to Orthodox ecclesiology and canons, it is forbidden for non-Orthodox to serve at an Orthodox altar, though Denisenko focuses only the possibility of negative reactions. He stresses that if the Uniates serve there, “it will cause resistance from Orthodox Ukrainians… At a time when there is a war for the independence and integrity of Ukraine in the eastern part of our country, we are called to testify and maintain peace and unity in society.” Moreover, the “Patriarch” fears, as he often does, how the Kremlin will respond: “There is a danger that this situation can be used by Russia to carry out provocations to harm the Ukrainian people.” Thus, Philaret urges Shevchuk to give up the idea of serving in St. Sophia’s and expresses hope that the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” and the Uniates will continue to develop good relations. Interestingly, following the publication of Denisenko’s letter, the Ministry of Culture posted a message on Saturday that the Uniates were not allowed to serve in St. Sophia’s, as that would harm the great UNESCO monument, though the message was soon removed, reports the Ukrainian site Strana, with a screenshot of the removed message. Many Ukrainian leaders, including the Minister of Culture himself, and the Parliament Speaker Andrei Paruby, are Uniates. Yesterday, the Information Department of the Uniate church reported that they respect the opinions of their “Orthodox brothers,” and thus a meeting between Shevchuk and Dumenko will be held to resolve the issue. http://orthochristian.com/119564.html?fbclid=IwAR0FaVLey2T8b86_8yocmgt2NkSMgcwQxl-GkyM6fwgsKA7olXZyTeyESow
  3. An article from the latest issue of the Greek Orthodox gazette “Orthodox Tipos.” The author, Demetrios Anagnostou, is a well-known theologian and publicist. The practice of Church Tradition in the fight with heresies and schismatics that threaten the unity of the Church is never just protest and a canonical fight with cunning theories and schismatic (anti-canonical) actions, but at the same time, the condemnation of those Church actors who support them and act accordingly. [Note: Of course, today, after an entire century of ecumenist propaganda beginning with the release of the infamous Patriarchal encyclical of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1920 “To the Churches of Christ Everywhere” (where heretical communities are first called the “Church of Christ”!), which is considered the charter for ecumenism, led by the Ecumenical Patriarch, we have reached the point where for us “conciliarity” and “pan-Orthodox” have imposed the abolition of the terms “heresy” and “heretics” in the Church-Synodal lexicon, whereby any document condemning delusions and confirming the existence of other churches beyond the bounds of the Orthodox Church are considered unnecessary! (see the decisions of the Crete “Council”)]. It is significant that in Church history it often happens that corresponding heresies and schisms are fixed under a name not only from the content of the relevant theories (for example: Monophysites, Theopaschites, iconoclasts, papists, etc.), but also from the names of their inspirers, leaders, and creators (for example: Arianism, Nestorianism, Paulicians, etc.). In the twentieth century, for the first time in Church history, this traditional practice was successfully artificially neutralized in respect to the emergence and development of the modern heresy of ecumenism, which, according to the great Serbian dogmatician St. Justin (Popović), is a pan-heresy. It happened and continues to happen mainly because this heresy (undeclared, despite the obviousness of it) is still allowed (if not protected) by the majority of the Local Orthodox Churches. Moreover, it’s connected with the fact that in several cases, the bearers and supporters of this particular heresy are themselves the heads of the Local Orthodox Churches. The most significant of these cases and the most serious and dangerous precedent is the example of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who is not only a bearer of the modern pan-heresy, but also its leader, main patron, and guide. This is not a subjective assessment and not a private opinion, but a common conviction that is proven and unconditionally confirmed on the basis of the official and public actions, statements, and texts of this patriarch—the primate of the once glorious and Orthodox See of Constantinople. Thanks to his office, Patriarch Bartholomew has managed to remain untouchable for a long time, avoiding canonical confrontation and accusations, although he often provokes the feelings of all the Orthodox faithful (pastors and flocks) by his clearly anti-Orthodox and anti-canonical actions and purely heretical beliefs. He is himself (according to his own statement) a faithful continuer of the line of his predecessor—the Mason, Patriarch Athenagoras, who was dedicated to syncretism and pan-religion. This line is treasonous to Orthodoxy. Day by day it becomes clearer and more obvious that Patriarch Bartholomew is striving for the proclamation of and his actual appointment as the second (Eastern) Pope, and for the transformation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople into a super-Patriarchate recognized on the international political and Church level—the new Eastern Vatican (of course, in the worst case scenario)! Recently, this open leader and defender of the Church-fighting pan-heresy of ecumenism, after the traumatic (for him) experience of attempting to subjugate world Orthodoxy by the sadly infamous “Holy and Great Council” organized by him and convened two years ago on Crete, chose a “new way” for the spreading and strengthening of his power, and, accordingly, his theories about an “Eastern Pope.” Bartholomew now follows the tried and tested method of “divide and conquer” (including causing a schism in the body of the Church), such that he himself and his plans are weakened in the short term but in the long term undermine the power and influence of those who dared to hamper the realization of his great dream, the convening of the first Ecumenical (ecumenistic) Council, the purpose of which was to synodically legitimize the pan-heresy of ecumenism in a pan-Orthodox fashion. In particular, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, known for his vindictive character (as the Greek Church has learned from bitter experience), has carried out his plan for an indirect schism in the flock and the ecclesiastical (jurisdictional) dissection of his Church “opponents”—those who oppose his ambitions to become a super-Patriarch and to make the Patriarchate of Constantinople the Eastern “Vatican.” These opponents, besides the Moscow Patriarchate, are the ancient Antiochian and Serbian Patriarchates. For the sake of his own interests and in connection with his obligations and service to the well-known political superpower (the U.S.), the ambitious Patriarch could (as we will probably see in the near future) “lead” two more dioceses of other Patriarchates (after Ukraine) to “autocephaly” and turn them into Phanar satellites. Here we are talking about Montenegro (a metropolia of the Serbian Patriarchate) and the dioceses beyond the borders of Syria (in neighboring states), which belong to the jurisdiction of the Antiochian Patriarchate! After the political events connected with the so-called “Macedonian” issue, the candidate for “victim” in the Phanariot’s plans is also the so-called “Macedonian Church” (canonically referred to as the Ohrid Archdiocese), which is also the canonical territory of the Serbian Patriarchate and has for many years been in a state of schism, isolated and not recognized by the Orthodox world. Positioning himself as a faithful keeper and scrupulous defender of the historical rights of the Patriarchate of Constantinople (as he fancies himself), he completely ignores the rights of the rest of his brothers, and is prepared, putting on the guise of defender of the autonomy and fighter for the independence of Local Church administration and structures, to miraculously restore schismatics, to unconditionally recognize them, and to sow ecclesiastical controversies and schisms (clearly violating Orthodox ecclesiology and introducing, despite his own assurance to the contrary, ethnic and secular-state criteria in the sphere of Church decisions). In view of the above, given the “tomos of autocephaly” recently presented to the schismatic formation of the new “church” of Ukraine (circumventing the one and only canonical Orthodox Church that exists there, against the will of the Moscow Patriarchate, which has canonical authority there), the thesis that Patriarch Bartholomew has become a real threat to the Orthodox East is confirmed. We should not forget that this threat continues to corrode Orthodoxy and undercut the unity of the Orthodox Church, and it ultimately serves to prepare the majority to recognize the pseudo-council of Crete, which is the completion of a fruitless theological dialogue with papists and the restoration of full communion with those who have from of old deliberately fought against our faith and our family! This threat, aimed directly at the Orthodox faith and the unity of the Eastern Orthodox Church, should be canonically neutralized as quickly as possible by Orthodox hierarchs around the world located in the lands of those who preserve the right faith, esteeming themselves as pastors of the Church, who have vowed to pass on the inviolable covenants and to observe the sacred rules and statutes of the holy Orthodox Church of Christ. May God grant it! Demetrios Anagnostou 2/18/2019 http://orthochristian.com/119398.html?fbclid=IwAR15IBYhBZu2rh68u-dzAOSUqoq9dizPUbWfhqZ-2I2HQMMXuCdFuaX09TM
  4. Naišao sam na ovo nešto što ne znam šta će tačno biti, ali htedoh da podelim ovde sa ljudima. Možda nekom bude interesantno. https://mobile.twitter.com/OrthoBroProject
  5. His Eminence Metropolitan Cornelius of Tallinn, the head of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, has reposed in the Lord, Sputnik reports. He was 94 years old. Met. Cornelius (Vyacheslav Vasilievich Jacobs in the world) was born on June 19, 1924 in Tallinn into the family of a Royal Army colonel. He graduated from high school in 1943 and preserved as a chanter in the Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos in the Estonian capital. He was ordained as a deacon on August 19, 1945, and as a priest on February 8, 1948, being appointed as the rector of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Haapsalu. He graduated from the Leningrad Theological Seminary by correspondence in 1951. He was arrested by the Vologda Region KGB on February 27, 1957 for “anti-Soviet agitation,” and was sentenced to 10 years in political camps in Mordovia. The sentence was later reduced to 5 years, and on September 7, 1960 he was released early on parole. He returned to Estonia in November 1960 and was appointed as the rector of St. John the Baptist in Tallinn. He was appointed as the bishop of Tallinn and vicar to His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II on July 20, 1990. He was tonsured as a monk at the Pskov Caves Monastery on August 21, 1990 with the name of Cornelius. He was elevated to the rank of archimandrite on September 6 and consecrated as a bishop on September 15 at the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Tallinn. He thereby became the primate of the Estonian Orthodox Church which was simultaneously granted autonomy by the Moscow Patriarchate. He was elevated to the rank of archbishop in 1995, and to that of metropolitan on November 6, 2000. Before his death he was the oldest bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church. May his memory be eternal! http://orthochristian.com/112373.html
  6. After I became convinced by the historic claims of Christianity concerning the person of Jesus, I started looking for a church to call my own and as I did, I quickly became confused by the disorienting variety of teachings and practices among different denominations and this forced me to confront questions about the divisions that exist within Christianity. I started studying Church history and I quickly narrowed my focus to the division between Catholicism and Protestantism. Eastern Orthodoxy didn’t, at that time, register as a contender for one very simple reason. I’m an English speaking white dude in a British commonwealth country. There is a universality to Catholicism that doesn’t exist in the Eastern Orthodox churches. For me to become Eastern Orthodox, I’d have to join a Church with a very specifically ethnic or national identity. When people ask me why I’m not Eastern Orthodox, I’m tempted to get into a theological throw down, but the easiest way to answer that is by pointing out that I’m not Russian, Ukrainian, Greek, or any other ethnicity that the Eastern churches in the city I live in serve. A point of contention at all the major divisions in Christianity has been the focus on authority. So, the East West split focused on the authority of the Pope vs. other bishops and patriarchs. The protestant reformation was about the authority of the Church and the Pope vs. the exclusive authority of scripture, and the English reformation was about the authority of the Pope vs. the authority of the King. So, as you might guess, authority, how it’s defined, and where it resides, seems like a pretty essential component of the faith. So in the case of the East West schism, there were a number of controversies that they were stuck on, but arguably, the most significant one was the disagreement over the authority of the bishop of Rome vs. that of the other patriarchs and bishops. Rome insisted that the bishop of Rome had a unique and universal authority over the entire Church, without which there would be no universal Church, as inherited from the authority of Peter. The Eastern Orthodox side was arguing that the bishop of Rome was a first among equals but only in an honorific way which meant that he had the same authority as the other patriarchs. So that was their position going into the controversy. OK, how true were they to their positions after the controversy had led to an actual division and schism? Well, the West still maintained the conviction that the bishop of Rome had a universal authority over the whole Church. But the East, did not continue to treat the Bishop of Rome as a first among equals. In fact, they excommunicated him which seems like a clear violation of their own claim that no autocephalous patriarch has authority over another. The honor of first among equals has since been designated to the Patriarch of Constantinople. Jesus wanted his followers to be one as a sign of his divinity to the world. Between East and West, from what little I know of it’s history, I only have ever seen major attempts from the West to realize that unity. Through the councils of Lyon and Florence, the East’s bishops conceded Rome’s position on Papal Supremacy, the Filioque, and purgatory, but the unity that was struck fell apart when the Eastern delegates went home and succumbed to political pressure there. Rome has always been the initiator of ecumenical dialogue, from what I’ve seen. It was at the first Vatican Council that the mutual excommunications of 1054 were lifted. It was the second Vatican council that made ecumenism a high priority for the Church moving forward which paved the way for the joint theological commission of East and West. It was Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI who recited the Nicene Creed with Eastern patriarchs without the filioque. It was the bishop of Rome who first visited the East. It wasn’t until 1995 when the Patriarch of Constantinople finally visited Rome. Last week I made a video about why I never became Eastern Orthodox and it got a lot of reaction, which is great, but that reaction was quite polarized and there seemed to be a lot of misunderstanding about what I was trying to say in that video, so I wanted to take some more time to address some of the feedback as well as the misunderstandings from the previous commentary. The first thing I’d want to point out and re-emphasize is that the perspective I’m trying to share on this topic is more personal than anything else. Some people complained that my presentation of the history and theology of the great schism was too one sided. And that’s completely true. It’s the same criticism or disclaimer I made about it at the beginning of the video by saying that it wasn’t supposed to be an apologetic about why Catholicism is right and Eastern Orthodoxy wrong. It was about my reasons for not being Catholic as opposed to Eastern Orthodox which is going to be inherently one sided. Ultimately, I’d hate for people to think that I’m positioning myself in an adversarial way towards Eastern Orthodoxy because the honest fact is, I do find the peculiarities in Eastern Christianity extremely attractive. I like a lot of the simplicity of it, I like icons, I absolutely LOVE eastern architecture. I love how you’ve been so steadfast against the aberrant currents of modernism, and I could go on. So let me try to dispel what I think is the biggest misunderstanding from the last video which is that some people thought I was criticizing ethnic or national churches which is definitely not what I was trying to say. I think it’s great that there are particular churches that express the theology, liturgy, and spirituality of a particular heritage. The point I was trying to make about the universality of the Church, is that there needs to be a way for those national churches to express their communion and universality with one another. So in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, from what I understand, they would say that their universality is expressed in their common theology… their orthodoxy. But the question for me has always been, how is that common theology defined? How do you make sure that as new difficulties and controversies arise the entire Church responds to address them? Well, if there’s no one final authority, like we have with the Pope, then you’d need an ecumenical council where all the patriarchs and bishops gather to define doctrines and settle controversies. But for the Eastern Orthodox, as they are known today, there hasn’t been an ecumenical council in over 1000 years. And meanwhile, Rome never stopped calling and hosting ecumenical councils through the centuries. So there seems to be something, to me, about the Eastern Orthodox Churches that keeps them frozen and unable to reaffirm the universal aspect of our faith because there isn’t one unifying voice to bring them together in an ecumenical way. In evaluating the East West schism, I tried to find a similar easy to identify and understand argument. Something that made one of the positions self refuting and I felt like I found it in the Eastern position and that’s what I was trying to emphasize in my last video. I was interested in trying to discover which Church stayed true to the very thing they were contending in the division itself. The Eastern bishops maintained that the Bishop of Rome was the first among equals but not supreme in authority. But after the schism, they excommunicated him and haven’t once shown him that kind of honor since, so they’ve betrayed their own position. Now some people responded to that by saying, the Pope excommunicated the patriarch of Constantinople too, which is true. But in so doing, he was acting in accord with the argument that the West was making which is that he had universal authority. The East was saying that the authority of those ancient sees ended there. Constantinople couldn’t tell Rome what to do and vice versa. But in, excommunicating the Pope, they were contradicting themselves and their own arguments. So, I hope that provides some more clarity for what I was trying to say in my last video and again, don’t take my word as some kind of authority because I’m not. Based on my comprehension level, these are the points I found persuasive. You should go do your own research because it matters, and it’s pretty interesting. The Wikipedia article on the East West schism is actually a great resource so, I’ll link it in the description.
  7. On August 31, the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church His Holiness Patriarch Kirill will celebrate the glorification of the newly-proclaimed saints the Roslavl elders Theophan and Nikita in the Dormition Cathedral in Smolensk, reports the site of the Smolensk Diocese. During the December 27, 2016 meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church a report was heard from the chairman of the Synodal Commission for the Canonization of Saints, Bishop Pankraty of Troitsk, regarding the petition received from Metropolitan Isidore of Smolensk and Roslavl about the local canonization of Schemamonks Nikita and Theophan, desert dwellers of the Roslavl Forest (Journal no. 126). The Holy Synod decided to canonize Schemamonks Nikita and Theophan, desert dwellers of the Roslavl forests, for local veneration in the Smolensk Diocese. The memory of Venerable Nikita is to be kept on March 29/April 11, the day of his departure to the Lord. The memory of Venerable Theophan—June 15/28, the day of his departure to the Lord. On the same day, Pat. Kirill will celebrate a moleben for the beginning of the academic year, after which, a memorial to the holy Prince Vladimir Monomakh will be consecrated on Cathedral Hill. The patriarch will be in his native Smolensk for the celebration of the 880th anniversary of the establishment of the Smolensk Diocese by the holy Prince Rostislav, according to Metropolitan Isidore of Smolensk. “The memorial, which His Holiness Pat. Kirill will consecrate, is timed to this event so important for our region, inasmuch as Prince Vladimir Monomakh brought the wonderworking Hodigitria Icon and installed it in the Dormition church, as the chronicles testify, and his grandson Prince Rostislav of Smolensk officially established our Smolensk Diocese,” the diocesan head stated. *** The future Schemamonk Nikita was born in Orel in 1695. When and by whom he was tonsured into monasticism is unknown. As a young man he departed from his family’s home and relocated to one and a half miles from the Beloberezhsk Hermitage (now the Bryansk Diocese), attending services at the monastery. There he remained into old age. In 1780 Schemamonk Nikita moved to a cell he built in the Roslavl forests, on the south side of “Monk’s Ditch,” near the village of Akimovka. There the elder spent no less than ten years in monastic podvigs known only to him. Then he again moved to the Beloberezshk Hermitage, but before death, in 1792, he wanted to return again to his desert. His disciple Dositheus, receiving the blessing of the Beloberezshk Hermitage, took Nikita to the Roslavl forests. There Nikita died on March 29, 1793. The body of the reposed Schemamonk Nikita was buried in the ditch near his cell. Because there was constant water in the ditch, within a few years Dositheus dug up Nikita’s coffin to move him to another place. The coffin was intact and Nikita’s body and clothes were incorrupt. They moved his body into a new coffin and, having served a Panikhida, buried him on a hill on the northern edge of the ditch. One sick monk attended the burial, suffering from a stomach sickness. Drinking some water from the coffin, he was healed from his sickness. Fifteen years after Fr. Nikita’s death his grave was again opened: as before his body remained incorrupt. From the time of his death the faithful have honored the memory of Fr. Nikita. As many as 5,000 people gather at his grave on his name’s day. The grave of the elder is revered to this day and has witnessed many instances of healing. Not far from the burial of Fr. Nikita is the grave of another ascetic—Schemamonk Theophan. Little information has been preserved about his life—it is mainly the following recollections of Archimandrite Moses, the venerable Optina elder. “Fr. Theophan, a native of Vladimir, served in the Black Sea Cossack army; before his tonsure he was called “Cossack Theodore Talunin.” At first he lived in the Sophroniev Hermitage, then he left for Moldavia, where he stayed with Elder Paisius [Velichkovksy—trans.]. Upon his death he returned to Russia and entered the brotherhood of Optina Pustyn in 1800. He labored in extreme non-acquisitiveness, in meekness of spirit, in the active virtue of fasting, prayer and prostrations with fervent zeal. < … > The Elder departed to the Lord on June 15, 1819. A few minutes before his death I asked him: ‘Is your soul calm? Don’t you fear anything in the hour of death?’ He replied: ‘I joyfully desire to be delivered from this life.’ And his end began immediately: he raised his hand to make the Sign of the Cross and gave his soul into the hands of God. He was buried in the wilderness.” The venerable Optina elder Anthony, in the arms of whom Elder Theophan died in the Roslavl forests said that he forgot to beseech his prayers before his death. On the fortieth day the reposed appeared to him in a dream and promised to pray for him. Fr. Anthony said the following about Fr. Theophan: “In life this elder had such a face shining with grace that I lacked the spirit to look him straight in the eyes, but only secretly looked at him from the side.” The grave of Schemamonk Theophan is revered by pilgrims in modern times. http://orthochristian.com/106069.html
  8. St Petersburg's governor, Georgy Poltavchenko, has announced that St Isaac's Cathedral — officially a museum — will be handed over to the Russian Orthodox Church. Russia’s TASS agency has reported that the Orthodox Church will receive the 49-year lease free of charge, citing a statement by St Petersburg’s Property Affairs Commission. Nikolay Burov, director of St Isaac’s Cathedral Museum, assures that during the transfer period, which could last up to three years, the museum will continue to take responsibility for all maintenance costs. Among the biggest changes will be the removal of a charge for entering the cathedral, which currently costs 150 — 250 rubles ($2.5 — $4.5), while paid tours will continue. “Nobody charges people for entering a church,” Orthodox Church spokesman Vladimir Legoyda stated yesterday at a press conference. The decision to transfer the cathedral to the Russian Orthodox Church has been met with considerable opposition. This is largely due to fears that the organisation will be unable to adequately maintain the building — partly because of the huge expense of maintaining it, the building has always been the property of the government. St Isaac’s Cathedral is an iconic landmark and one of St Petersburg’s most popular attractions, welcoming 3.5 million tourists every year. The building, which was completed in 1858, is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and is the world’s fourth-largest cathedral. http://www.pravmir.com/st-isaac-s-cathedral-st-petersburg-transferred-orthodox-church/
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