~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After my death our beloved Church abroad will break three ways ... first the Greeks will leave us as they were never a part of us ... then those who live for this world and its glory will go to Moscow ... what will remain will be those souls faithful to Christ and His Church. ~St. Philaret of NY

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St. John quotes about churches


St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco 
On June 19 / July 2, 2010, the Orthodox Church commemorates St. John, Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco, the Wonderworker 

EXCERPT FROM A SERMON 
BY ST. JOHN OF SHANGHAI AND SAN FRANCISCO 
Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house...” 


Church is a sanctified place, Holy, where the Grace of God is eternally present.

* * *
Building a church is an offering to God, choosing a parcel of ground for Church services, donating to God one’s own riches, but most importantly offering Him one’s own love and diligence.  Churches were erected in different circumstances; during joyous or sad events, becoming like a beacon, from all the people on the face of their beloved land. 

* **
Churches are needed not for God, Whose throne is the sky and below Him the earth, but for us.  Our donations and offerings to Churches are likewise beneficial to us, but the Lord accepts not so much the material gift, as our zeal.  Christ approved the poor widow’s two mites and said that she hath cast more into the treasury than anyone, though the rich cast in much of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living (Mark 12:43-44).  Our offerings made in name of God are accepted by God Himself.  Spiritually, our offerings become Heavenly treasures, where no one can take them away, but if anyone dares to take church property, then he steals from God Himself and will be punished by God Himself.

* ** 
Thus acted devout Russian people, giving their few pennies to grey-haired wanderers who collected donations for churches.

** * 
At every church service the builders of churches are commemorated.

** *
Building churches here on earth, we are erecting for ourselves eternal abodes in Heaven.  Decades will pass, our bodies will decompose and maybe even nothing will be left of our bones; but our souls will live for- ever.  Blessed is he who prepared an abode for his soul in Heavenly Mansions.  Even if the erected churches are destroyed, the name of their benefactors will be recorded in God’s eternal books where the resounding prayers will be indelibly imprinted. 


Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house, and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glo- rified, saith the LORD. ...I am with you saith the LORD. (Haggai 1:7-8, 13) 

A Shameful Anniversary

A Shameful Anniversary
written by Vladimir Moss (I'm not sure what is his present jurisdiction.  Best guess is RTOC.  I know he did not go with Lesna into the Serbian TOC.) 

     On May 26, 2017, at the consecration of a new cathedral to the Resurrection of Christ and the Holy New Martyrs of Russia in the Monastery of the Meeting of the Lord in Moscow, Putin gave a speech celebrating the supposed reunification of the Russian Orthodox Church when the Russian Church Abroad was united to the Moscow Patriarchate ten years before.  This speech is on YouTube :

Let us examine its main thesis.

There was no division between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Church Abroad during the civil war years (1918-1921).

     Putin calls the division between the Churches before 2007 “tragic”, but refuses to examine the causes and nature of the division, apart from a brief reference to persecutions and the civil war.  The irony is: there was no division between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Church Abroad during the civil war years (1918-1921), when all Russian Christians acknowledged the leadership of his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon.  The division came later, in 1927, after the acting head of the Russian Church, Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky), issued his notorious “Declaration” in which he committed the Moscow Patriarchate to serve the ends of the antichristian Soviet state, counting its joys as the Church’s joys and its sorrows as the Church’s sorrows.

      This apparently unimportant difference in dates is actually extremely important.  For it was not Bolshevism, nor the persecutions of the Bolsheviks against the Church, nor even the Civil War between the Bolsheviks and the Whites, that caused the division in the Russian Church.  As long as the Church refused to serve the interests of the Bolshevik state and its ideology, it remained united – and no amount of persecution could divide it.  It was divided only when the majority surrendered to the Soviet Antichrist, while the minority refused to surrender.

     Moreover, it must be emphasized – this is a point that Putin and the MP deliberately gloss over – that most of those who rejected Metropolitan Sergius’ Declaration lived inside Russia.  They included most of the senior and best-respected bishops of the Russian Church, who formed what was called the Catacomb Church or the True Orthodox Church of Russia.  Most of them were shot or perished in the Gulag in the 1930s, but their successors live on today – and reject the union of 2007 just as they reject the Declaration of 1927.

     They reject it because it justifies Sergius’ Declaration, and justifies the total enslavement of the MP to the most evil and antichristian power in history.  For it was not the MP that united with ROCOR after repenting of its apostasy, but the other way round.  It was not a reconciliation in Christ, in the Truth, but in Beliar, in the lie – the great lie that it is possible to serve Christ while simultaneously serving the Antichrist.

     The process that led to the surrender of ROCOR to the MP began properly on November 13, 2001, when President Putin met Bishop Gabriel, secretary of the ROCOR Synod, and invited him and Metropolitan Laurus, the new first-hierarch, to visit Moscow.  He must have agreed this invitation with Patriarch Alexis (KGB Agent “Drozdov”).  So with the blessing of the KGB leaders of both Church and State, the real negotiations on union, a process that was called “structuring”by its supporters, could begin.

     “In 2003,” writes Sergei Chapnin, “Vladimir Putin met the hierarchs of the Church Abroad and in effect showed them that their union with the Moscow Patriarchate was viewed by him not only as an internal church matter, but also as a political task to which the state was not indifferent…”[1] Indeed, the KGB under Putin’s direction played a very active part in the whole process. This was acknowledged officially in a letter of gratitude addressed to Putin by the Synod of ROCOR-MP on June 14, 2017.[2]

 For eighty years, ROCOR had exposed the great lie while the KGB desperately tried to silence her witness.  Finally, in 2007, it succeeded; the voice of truth fell silent; 

     After some years of pointless “negotiations”, in which ROCOR surrendered all its positions, union with the MP took place in May, 2007.  For eighty years, ROCOR had exposed the great lie while the KGB desperately tried to silence her witness.  Finally, in 2007, it succeeded; the voice of truth fell silent; the liars graciously agreed to be reconciled with the truth-tellers – but on their terms, without repenting of any of their lies, but rather making their own version of history the official one for both Churches.  Now there was no major voice to rebuke the MP not only for its Judas-like betrayal of the Holy New Martyrs, but also for its joining – under orders from the KGB – the World Council of Churches, that Babylonian cesspool of every heresy. 

     Now only the voice of blood still cries out, like Abel’s, from the earth – the blood of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia.  That is why the celebration of this anniversary is so shameful and so blasphemous – because it celebrates, not a great spiritual triumph, the triumph of the holy new martyrs to whom this new cathedral in Moscow is dedicated, but the opposite: a terrible spiritual defeat and apostasy, the renunciation of the right confession of the holy new martyrs, and therefore of Orthodoxy itself.  And presiding over the whole ceremony, as over a latter-day Belshazzar’s feast, are President Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kyrill Gundiaev, those latter-day Pharisees, of whom the Lord says: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees!  Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up then the measure of your fathers’ guilt!” (Matthew 23.27-32).

*

     But if the content of Putin’s speech is an obvious lie, what of the man himself?  Is he the new St. Constantine, as so many Orthodox Christians seem to think?  Or something altogether more sinister? 

     Martin Sixsmith writes: “In December 1999,… Vladimir Putin went to celebrate his election victory with his old comrades at the FSB.  When the toasts came round and Putin proposed they should drink ‘To Comrade Stalin’ there was a shocked silence followed by a loud cheer.  Putin opened his celebratory speech by jokingly telling his former colleagues: ‘The agent group charged with taking the government under control has completed the first stage of its assignment.’…”[3]

     There is no reason to believe that since then Putin has changed his admiration for Stalin or his fundamental loyalty to the KGB-FSB – the organization that has killed more Orthodox Christians than any other in world history.  As he said himself: “Once a chekist, always a chekist”… The fact that he now professes to be an Orthodox Christian means nothing – except that he is trying to win the electoral support of Orthodox Christians, to be “all things to all men” and the Tsar of all the Russias.  KGB agents are trained to lie – and lie convincingly.  Nor does he have to lie about his KGB sympathies insofar as KGB’s propaganda machine has managed to convince the Russian people that black is white and that the KGB, like Stalin himself, was actually a force for good in Russian history.  If the Patriarch and all the bishops of the MP are KGB agents – as was revealed by a Russian parliamentary commission in 1992, and has not been denied by the bishops themselves – then why should he pretend to be any different?

     Nor, probably, would he want to deny that he is quite happy to serve both God and Mammon… Unfortunately, however, the Lord makes it quite clear that “You cannot serve God and Mammon.” (Matthew 6.24).  These words alone should be enough to convince any Christian who knows anything about Putin to understand which side he is on.  For there is no question which master Putin serves.  He is probably the richest man in the world with cash assets totalling over $200 billion according to informed estimates…[4]

     But it is not his wealth as such that makes his motivation and truthfulness so suspect: it is his obvious loyalty to the Soviet Antichrist…

     Of course, Putin admits that there were “mistakes” and “excesses” in the Soviet past: after all, we’re all human – even Stalin!  But he will not allow anyone, on either side, to make more than the briefest, most anodyne references to the horrors of Soviet rule.  Nor will he accept – in spite of declaring in his speech that “nothing must be covered up” – that these “excesses” were more than minor blips in the glorious history of Soviet statehood.  Thus right at the beginning of his reign Putin declared that the fall of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the twentieth century.  He followed this up with many acts of devotion to Sovietism: the return of the melody of the Soviet national hymn, and of the red flag to the armed forces, the resurrection of the pioneers, etc.  And, especially, the mythology of the “Great Patriotic War”, which has been pumped as never before (not even Stalin used it, because of its nationalist connotations).[5]  He is faithfully followed in this faithfulness to Sovietism by the MP: already in 2009 Patriarch Kyrill (KGB Agent “Mikhailov”) declared that the “glorious victory” of the (officially antichristian) Red Army in 1945, when Stalin supposedly “trampled down death by death”, supposedly wiped out all the sins of the 1930s purges...[6]


    Indeed, Dmitri Volchek writes: “’One Russia’ [Putin’s Party] proposes imprisonment for people who spread false information about the activity of the USSR during the war.

     “A final version of a bill forbidding the rehabilitation of Nazism is ready.  It was worked out by the ‘One Russia’ fraction in the Duma.  The coordinator of the patriotic platform of OR, the president of the Committee for Security Irina Yarovaia, considers it necessary to punish people for ‘denial of fact’ and approval of crimes established by a sentence of the International Military Tribunal, as well as the distribution of knowingly false information about the activity of the USSR during the Second world war connected with accusing people of committing crimes established by the publicly determined sentences of the International Military Tribunal.

     “Yarovaia proposes punishing such crimes with a fine of up to 300,000 roubles or imprisonment up to three years. It is proposed that the same actions carried out with the use of one’s service status or of the media should be punished with a fine of up to 100,000 – 500,000 rubles or a prison term of up to five years. In previous editions of the bill there was no mention of the USSR; it was a matter only of banning the declaration of the actions of the anti-Hitler forces as criminal. ‘Criticism of the USSR is threatened with prison,’ warns the newspaper Vedomosti. ‘If the bill is passed, will not historians occupied with the investigation of the crimes of Stalinism find themselves on the bench of the accused?’[7]

     Putin likes to blame his predecessor Yeltsin for corrupting the wonderful faith and morals of the Soviet period.  Before Yeltsin, as he argued in 2012 in a speech to the Federal Assembly, Soviet society had been distinguished by “charity, compassion and sympathy” (!!!).  “Today,” however, “Russian society has an obvious deficit in spiritual bonds, a deficit in everything that made us at all times stronger, more powerful, in which we always prided ourselves – that is, such phenomena as charity, compassion and sympathy… The situation that has been created is a consequence of the fact that some 15 to 20 years ago ‘the ideological stamps of the former epoch’ were rejected…”

     Unlike Yeltsin, Putin has never clearly renounced communism.  As he said in 2016 to the Pan-Russian People’s Front: “You know that like millions of Soviet citizens – over 20 million – I used to be a member of the CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union), and not just a regular member: for almost 20 years I worked for the organisation called the Committee for State Security of the Soviet Union [KGB].  This organisation derives from the Cheka, which was then called the armed unit of the Party.  If for some reason a person left the Communist Party, they were immediately fired from the KGB.  I did not join the party simply because I had to, though I cannot say I was such a dedicated communist, but I treated this with great care.  As opposed to numerous party functionaries, I was not one of them; I was a rank-and-file member.  As opposed to many functionaries, I did not trash my membership card, I did not burn it.  I would not want to criticize anyone now – people had different motives and this is their own business.  The Communist Party of the Soviet Union fell apart; my membership card is still out there somewhere.  I have always liked communist and socialist ideas.  If we consider the Code of the Builder of Communism that was widely published in the Soviet Union, it strongly resembles the Bible.  This is not a joke; it was actually an excerpt from the Bible.  It spoke of good things: equality, fraternity, happiness.  However, the practical implementation of these ideals in this country had little in common with what the utopian socialists Saint-Simon or Owen spoke about.  This country had little resemblance to their Sun City.”[8]

     Andrei Melnikov writes:“Vladimir Putin’s words to the effect that the communist ideology is ‘very close’ to Christianity, were uttered in a documentary film ‘Valaam’ that was shown on January 14 of this year [2018] on the television channel ‘Russia 1’.  They elicited a strong reaction even in spite of the fact that the Russian president had expounded similar views earlier.  The head of the government’s thought has probably sounded particularly clearly now in view of the beginning of the presidential campaign.  Let us not note that the maker of the film was the journalist Andrei Kondrashov, who was recently appointed head of Putin’s pre-election campaign headquarters.  The president visited Valaam monastery in June, 1917, and he has been there before. 

     “’Faith,’ said Putin on the television screen, ‘has always accompanied us.  It has become stronger when our country was suffering particularly intensely during the most God-fighting years, when priests were killed and churches destroyed.  But at the same time, you know, they created a new religion’ – the communist ideology, - which ‘is very akin to Christianity’.  ‘Freedom, brotherhood, equality, justice – all these are invoked in the Holy Scriptures, it’s all there.  And what of the ‘Law Code of the Builder of Communism’?  This was a sublimation, a primitive excerpt from the Bible, they didn’t think up anything new there’.

     “Let us recall that the president said similar things earlier.  For example, during his speech in 2016 before the activists of the Pan-Russian People’s Front – a structure that had played the role of locomotive in the preceding electoral campaign of the acting president.  ‘I very much like and to this day I still like communist and socialist ideas,’ said Putin then.  ‘If we look at the ‘Law Code of the Builder of Communism’, which was published in large quantities in the Soviet Union, we see that it is very reminiscent of the Bible.  This is no joke, this is in fact an extract from the Bible.’ ‘ But the practical incarnations of these remarkable ideas in our country were far from what the socialist utopians expounded.  Our country was not like the City of the Sun’, explained the head of the Russian state to the PPF activists.

     “However, this time Putin added one more ‘burning’ topic – the fate of Lenin’s body in the Mausoleum.  The past year was marked, in connection with the 100th anniversary of the revolution, by a sharpening of the discussion over the burial of the leader of the world revolution.  One of those who expressed himself in favour a ‘normal’ burial of Lenin was the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, after which he had a bit of a quarrel with the president of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Gennady Ziuganov.

     “’Look,’ said Putin, ‘they put Lenin in the Mausoleum. In what does this differ from the relics of the saint?  For the Orthodox, or simply for Christians?  When they tell me: there is no such tradition in the Christian world, how come?  Go to Athos and look.  There they have holy relic.  Yes, and her (on Valaam) there are also holy relics, those of Sergius and Herman.’ ‘In essence, the authorities at that time thought up nothing new.  They simply adapted what humanity had already long ago invented to their own ideology,’ explained the head of the state.

     “These words on ‘relics’ received a stormy reaction from the State Duma Deputy Natalya Poklonskaya, who in the course of the past year, in unison with Kadyrov, spoke out for the burial of Lenin.  ‘In my view, it would be incorrect and a consciously self-interested distortion, for political or other motives, to use and interpret ‘in one’s own way’ the words of the president on a certain parallel between the dead body of Ulyanov in the Mausoleum, on whose conscience are millions of murdered people, and the holy relics in the monasteries and churches.  The opinion he voiced is not about that, but about government regimes and the attempt to create a false religion at a definite stage of history,’ wrote Poklonskaya in her account on Facebook.

     “However, the words on the Mausoleum were received with rapture by the communists headed by Gennady Ziuganov. On the one hand, this is understandable: Ziuganov has himself expressed analogous idea about the similarity between the moral imperatives of communism and those of Christianity. ‘If you take the Moral ‘Code of Law of the Builder of Communism’ and the Sermon on the Mount of Jesus Christ and put them side to side, you will be surprised: the texts coincide completely,’ declared the leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation in 2012 in an interview on the same ‘Russia 1’ channel. On the other hand, the rhetoric of compromise addressed to the older generation, who are not indifferent to their memories of the Soviet past, contributes to the rising popularity of Pavel Grudinin, a candidate for the presidency from the CPRF.

     “If all this is understandable for the communist electorate, there remains the question: to what extent do the thoughts of the president chime in with the point of view of the church? If we are to take the opinion of Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow and All Russia as the official position of the ROC, then it is impossible for us not to register the striking consonance between his sermons and the speeches of Putin on the issue in question, with the exception, perhaps, of his words on Lenin. On April 6, 2011 in Kiev the head of the ROC said: ‘Even the years of life in the conditions of unbelief did not root out in us that very programme which was laid as a certain Code of development of our Orthodox peoples. And in this sense the unbelievers of the Soviet period were in a rudimentary way Orthodox Christians – they remained in the same system of values… At that time atheist ideology wanted to reform the system of values, but did not encroach on morality. Take the very ‘Code of Law of the Builder of Communism’ – it was dictated from the Bible. Without God, but the same morality.’ However, with regard to the burial of Lenin, the representatives of the Church in 2017 more than once said that it was necessary to wait with that.

     “’Putin’s real ideas about Christian values are hidden from us,’ thinks the leader of the Centre for the Study of Problems of Religion and Society at the Institute of Europe RAN, Roman Lunkin. ‘The president has not spoken about fulfilling the Gospel commandments or about his parish life.’ ‘For Putin the important things in public are formalities – his baptism in childhood, Orthodoxy as an element consolidating society, his principled visits to a simple church service at Christmas and more officially – at Pascha,’ said the religious expert of ‘NGR’. 

     “A leading expert of the Centre for Political Technologies, Alexei Makarkin, pointed to the fact that ‘in his interview Putin did not say that this was Christian tradition in its pure form, that would have been strange: he spoke about copying tradition, and the striving of the essentially antichristian party to borrow something.’ ‘In this way each auditorium can read what it wants,’ explained the political expert. ‘The main auditorium – nostalgic Russians – can read in it the main thing that Putin is against – that Lenin should be take out of the Mausoleum, at any rate now. At the same time there is another variant for people holding other views, in the first place believers: who, from the point of view of the believers, will copy Jesus Christ? He will be copied by the Antichrist, who will try to make out that he is Jesus, being in actual fact his most terrible enemy. For the Christians there could be the following interpretation: since the president recognizes that the communists can copy certain Christian traditions, that means that everything is in fact like that – the enemies of Christ are trying to copy, while at the same time distorting, ‘ said Markarkin of the ‘NGR’.” [9]

     This article goes a long way to answering the question: is Putin’s regime a reincarnation of the antichristian Soviet regime, or something new (and supposedly better)?  If the former, then it lies under the same anathema of the Moscow Council of 1918 that fell on the obviously antichristian Soviet regime and all those who cooperated with it. If the latter, then it does not fall under the anathema and is acceptable and legitimate.

     However, this “either/or” formulation of the question is misleading; it fails to take into account the possibility that Putin’s regime is worse than the Soviet regime, being antichristian in a different, more subtle and more profound manner.

     The word “Antichrist” has a dual meaning.  The preposition “anti” in Greek can mean either “against” or “in the place of”. The Soviet regime was clearly “against” Christ – it murdered millions of Christians, and persecuted the faith in word and deed.  However, it did not pretend to “take the place of” Christ or God. For how could it take the place of a being that, according to communists, does not exist?

     But the Soviet regime came to an end in 1991, and with it so did the open persecution of Christians.  There was nobody left in Russia who was openly “anti” – in the sense of “against” – Christ.  There were still very many atheists and heretics, but no more “God-fighters”; all the surviving former God-fighters were living on their pensions; “God-fighting” was no longer legal or in any way approved.

     But in 2000 Putin came to power.  Now Putin was director of the FSB (KGB), the executive branch, as it were, of the Soviet government’s war against God.  For such a man to become president was therefore a profound shock and a stern warning for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.  It was as if the head of the Inquisition had become head of the World Council of Churches, or Himmler – the president of Germany after the war.  Nothing similar would have been even tolerated in a western country.  But it was tolerated in Russia, first, because, as surveys showed, most Russians still considered the Soviet Union to be their native country, and Lenin and Stalin to be heroes; and secondly, because the West clung on to the stupid belief that over seventy years of the most terrible blood-letting in history – far longer and far more radical than Hitler’s twelve years in power – could be wiped out and reversed without any kind of decommunization, without even a single person being put on trial for the murdering of innocent people in the name of the “collective Antichrist” of Soviet power.  The tragic farce has reached such a stage that the KGB has become a hero of Russia literature cinematography, with its own church in the middle of its chief prison, the Lubyanka in Moscow – not, as it might be thought to commemorate the martyrs who suffered so terribly within its walls, but for the executioners!  The West concurred with this filthy whitewash; the official Orthodox Church (itself ruled by KGB agents) concurred; the masses of the Russian people concurred by voting Putin into power repeatedly. 

     And then the “rebirth” took place: without repenting in the slightest of his communist past, and while gradually reintroducing more and more Soviet traditions and symbols, Putin underwent a conversion to Christ!  Or rather, from being part of the body of the Soviet Antichrist, which was “anti”, that is, “against” Christ, he is now preaching a form of Communist Christianity that, as Makarkin puts it, “copies” Jesus Christ, placing its own ideas “in the place” of Christ’s and passing them off as His.  And if the “copy” is a poor one – just as Lenin’s mummified body is a very poor imitation of the relics of the saints, and the “Code of Law of the Builder of Communism” is a very poor imitation of the Sermon on the Mount - this does not matter, so long as the masses are taken in by it, or, if not taken in by it, at least convinced that Christ and the antichristian state are now on the same side...

     So the Russian revolution has mutated from one kind of Antichristianity to another, from Lenin’s Antichristianity that was openly against Christ, to Putin’s Antichristianity which pretends not to be against Christ but to copy Him and take His place…

    There can be no doubt that this new, more sophisticated kind of Antichristianity is more dangerous than the former – and closer to the kind that will be practised by “the personal Antichrist” himself at the end of time.  For of that Antichrist the Lord said: “I have come in My Father’s name and you do not believe Me: if another shall come in his own name, him you will believe” (John 5.43).  In other words, you have rejected the real Christ, and as a direct result you will accept an imposter, a man-god, for the real thing, the God-Man.

     But we must not be deceived, remembering Putin’s words: “Once a chekist, always a chekist…”

June 15/28, 2018.
St. Lazar, Martyr-King of Serbia.

[1] Sergei Chapnin, “Kak RPTs demontiruiet tserkovnoe nasledie russkoj emigratsii”, Moscow Carnegie Center, November 18, 2016.
[2] “АрхиерейскийСоборРусскойЗарубежнойЦерквинаправилприветствиеПрезидентуРоссииВладимируВладимировичуПутину”, http://www.synod.com/synod/2017/20170620_soborputin.html.
[3]Sixsmith, The Litvinenko File, London: Macmillan, 2007, p. 302.
[4]Putin’s wealth was estimated in 2007 at about $40 billion. See Luke Harding, “Putin, the Kremlin power struggle and the $40bn fortune”, The Guardian, December 21, 2007, pp. 1-2. But in 2013 the Sunday Times estimated it at $130 billion, twice that of Bill Gates (http://artemov-igor.livejournal.com/227037.html). In 2012, the former Kremlin adviser Stanislav Belkovsky revised the estimate upwards (Rob Wile, “Is Vladimir Putin secretly the Richest Man in the World?” Money, January 23, 2017, https://uk.news.yahoo.com/vladimir-putin-secretly-richest-man-171217146.html). Businessman Bill Browder has revised it upwards again: “Is Putin the world's real richest man? After 17 years in power, Russian leader has a '$200 billion fortune, 58 planes and helicopters and 20 palaces and country retreats”Daily Mail, February 20, 2017, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4242718/Vladimir-Putin-200-billion-fortune.html#ixzz4ZKELKhAz.
[5] See Shaun Walker, The Long Hangover. Putin’s New Russia and the Ghosts of the Past, Oxford University Press, 2018, chapter 2.
[6] See V. Moss, “1945 ГОДИБОГОСЛОВИЕПОБЕДЫВМОСКОВСКОЙПАТРИАРХИИ”, https://www.academia.edu/10213748/1945
[7] Volchek, “Kvazireligia Velikoj Pobedy” (The Quasi-religion of the Great Victory), Radio Svoboda, February 7, 2014, http://www.svoboda.org/a/25255849.html.
[8] http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/page/130.
[9] Melnikov, “Valaamovo otkrovenie dlia chetvertogo sroka” (A Valaam Revelation for a Fourth Term), N-G Religia, Putin Interview reported on Russia Today, 2018

CORRECTED LINK Muslims and KGB

circa 2013

Made in Moscow Terrorism
Communists and Muslims:
The Hidden Hand of the KGB
By Konstantin Preobrazhensky

If you missed this paper the first time around, you can still read it now.

Prayer for Non-Orthodox

This post is my response to learning that in their continuing apostasy the ROCOR-MP is now offering a Requiem Service for Non-orthodox served by a priest



from the book: Soul After Death by Fr. Seraphim Rose

APPENDIX II
Prayer for Non-Orthodox

THE PRAYER OF ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE DIED OUTSIDE THE CHURCH

How the Orthodox Church prays for its faithful children who have died is set forth above (Chapter Ten).  But what of those who have died outside the Church?  In general, the Church follows the principle well expressed by Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow: "The non-Orthodox by the very fact of their non-Orthodoxy have cut themselves off from communion of the Mysteries of the Orthodox Church.  To this there corresponds the absence of their commemoration at the Mystery of the Eucharist."  Thus, at the Divine Liturgy the Church does not make particular commemoration of the non-Orthodox, and especially of the dead who can no longer be joined to the Church.  

How, then, can an Orthodox Christian express the impulse of his Christian heart to pray for relatives and friends who have died outside the Church?  The answer of the Church to this question is both strict and compassionate, as may be seen in the following article, the last part of a longer article setting forth the reasons why the Church does not pray for the non-Orthodox at the Liturgy, by one of the great Orthodox hierarchs of our own century, one of the founding fathers of the Catacomb Church of Russia in the 1920's.  He was a hieromonk when this article was written; it is here translated from the Russian periodical Soul-Profiting Reading, 1901.


MAY ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS, AND HOW MAY THEY, PRAY FOR NON-ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS? 
By Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd

Speaking of the strictness of our Orthodox Church with regard to the commemoration of wrongly-believing Christians, we do not wish to say that our Holy Church commands us, her children not to pray for them at all in any way.  She only forbids us arbitrary prayer – that is, to pray however we wish or think.  Our Mother, the Orthodox Church, instructs us that among us everything, and also prayer itself, should be done decently and in order (I Cor. 14:40).  

And so we pray at all our church services, usually without knowing or understanding it ourselves, for all peoples of various nationalities and for the whole world.  We pray precisely in the way our Lord Jesus Christ instructed His Apostles to pray in the prayer given to them: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!  This all-embracing petition includes in itself all the needs of ourselves and those of one blood with us, even though they be our wrongly-believing brothers.  Here we entreat the All-good Lord also for the souls of departed non-Orthodox Christians, that He might do with them what is pleasing to His holy will.  For the Lord knows immeasurably better than we to whom and how to show mercy.  

And so, Orthodox Christians!  Whoever you might be, layman or priest of God, if during any church service there should come to you a fervent impulse to pray for some "Carl" or "Edward" close to you, then, when the Lord's Prayer is read or sung, sigh for him to the Lord and say: May thy holy will be done in him, O Lord!  And limit yourself to this prayer.  For thus you have been taught to pray by the Lord Himself.  And believe that this prayer of your will be a thousand times more pleasing to the Lord and profitable to your soul than all your arbitrary church commemorations.

Now let us say a little about private prayer. More than one example is known in our Orthodox Church of the private prayer of a pleaser of God helping the souls of the departed of another religion, even pagans.  Thus St. Macarius of Egypt related of himself...*

From this account of the blessed Father, first of all we see that his prayer for the pagans suffering (in hell) was not the public prayer of the Church, but private prayer.   It was the prayer of a solitary desert-dweller praying in the secret closet of his heart . . . Then, this prayer can serve in part for us Orthodox Christians also as an inducement to pray for the non-Orthodox, living and dead, in our private prayer at home; but it is only an inducement, and not at all a model – for the Saint did not tell us how he prayed for the pagans and did not teach us how to do this . . . In one respect only it can serve for us as an example: in that St. Macarius prayed for the pagans not with an arbitrary prayer, but in the way the Spirit of God Who dwelt in His pure heart instructed him.  This Spirit not only instructed, but compelled him to pray for the whole world – for all men, living and dead, as is usual and characteristic for the loving hearts of all pleasers of God, as also the holy Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians: Our heart is enlarged; ye are not restricted by us (11 Cor. 6:11). 

Thus, we can now agree that Orthodox Christians may pray for non-Orthodox Christians, living and dead, in private prayer at home; but – let us remind again and again – not with arbitrary prayer, not as we think and desire (so as not to draw upon ourselves the wrath instead of the good-will of God), but according to the instruction of people experienced in spiritual life.

There was an incident in the life of the Optina Elder Leonid (Leo in schema) who died in 1841.  The father of one of his disciples, Paul Tambovtsev, died an unfortunate, violent death – by suicide.  The loving son was deeply grieved by the news of this, and so he poured out his sorrow before the Elder:  "The unfortunate death of my father is for me a heavy cross.  Yes, I am now on the cross, and these pains will go with me to the grave.  I imagine eternity, terrible for sinners, in which there is no more repentance, and I am tormented by the prospect of the eternal torments which await my father, who died without repentance.  Tell me, Father, how can I console myself in my present grief?"

The Elder replied:  "Entrust both yourself and the fate of your father to the will of the Lord, which is most wise and almighty.  Do not pry into the wonders of the Most High.  Strive by humility of wisdom to strengthen yourself within the bounds of moderate sorrow.  Pray to the All-good Creator, fulfilling thereby the duty of love and the obligation of a son."

To the question:  "In what way should we pray for such ones?" the answer was:  "In the spirit of virtuous and wise men, pray thus:  Seek out, O Lord, the lost soul of my father, if it be possible, have mercy!  Unsearchable are Thy decrees.  Do not account this my prayer as a sin; but may Thy holy will be done!  Pray simply, without testing, giving your heart over into the right hand of the Most High.  Of course it was not God's will that your father should have such a grievous death; but now he is entirely in the will of Him Who can cast both soul and body into the fiery furnace, and Who both humbles and exalts, gives over to death and brings to life, sends down to hell and raises up.  And at the same time He is so merciful, almighty, and filled with love that the good qualities of all those born of earth are nothing before His Most High Goodness.  Therefore you should not grieve excessively.  You will say:  'I love my father, and therefore I grieve inconsolably.'  This is just.   But God loved and loves him incomparably more than you do.  And so it remains for you to leave the eternal fate or your father to the goodness and mercy of God, Who if He wills has mercy, but who can withstand Him?"

 And so, this private prayer to be said at home or in the cell, given by Elder Leonid, experienced in spiritual life, to his disciple, can serve for an Orthodox Christian as an example or model of prayer for any non-Orthodox Christian close to one.  For example, one may pray in this way:  Have mercy, O Lord, if it be possible, on the soul of Thy slave (name) who has departed into eternal life in separation from Thy Holy Orthodox Church!  Unsearchable are Thy decrees.  Do not account this my prayer as a sin, but may Thy holy will be done!
_________________________________
* In the "Alphabetical Collection" of saying of the Desert Fathers, under "Macarius the Great," we read:  Abba Macarius said, 'Walking in the desert one day, I found the skull of a dead man, lying on the ground.  As I was moving it with my stick, the skull spoke to me. I said to it, "Who are you?" The skull replied, "I was high priest of the idols and of the pagans who dwelt in this place; but you are Macarius, the Spirit-bearer. Whenever you take pity on those who are in torments, and pray for them, they feel a little respite." The skull further instructed St. Macarius concerning the torments of hell, concluding: "We have received a little mercy since we did not know God, but those who know God and denied Him are down below us." 



Also see:  

Sticky


Forum 18 complaint about religious oppression in Belarus inadvertently reveals that MP intended for MP priest to serve in a Roman Catholic parish in Belarus.  

R-fragment RTOC plans to Anathematize Darwinism


  Reader Daniel Sharing:
  Internet Sobor:

Comments   
# RE: RTOC: Report on the meeting of the Synod of 2018 - Metropolitan Agafangel 11.06.2018 14:08
I read this, and do not believe in my eyes ...

# RE: RTOC: Report on the meeting of the Synod of 2018 - Hieromonk Nikandr 11/06/2018 17:34
And here is another heresy is such - idiocy, also awaits to be anathematized.   :)

Islam is illegal in Russia


8 June 2018
RUSSIA: Longest known prison term for religious study
By Victoria Arnold, Forum 18

A Muslim in Dagestan has received the longest yet known prison term for meeting to read the works of late Turkish theologian Said Nursi. Ilgar Aliyev was sentenced on 28 May to eight years jail and two following years of restrictions for leading and involving others in the study of Nursi's books. 

Fr. Paul Iwaszewicz Case Closed

Actualización de la petición

Victory!

pablo iwaszewicz
San Francisco, CA
2 de jun. de 2018 — Peace to all of you!
My case is closed. The Court issued the long-awaited clean background certificate! Glory to God and thanks to all of you!
Paz a Todos Vosotros!
Mi caso está cerrado. El Juzgado emitió el tan esperado certificado de antecedentes limpio! Gloria a Dios y agradecimiento a todos Vosotros!
Toribio siempre los recuerda con mucho amor! Sigue siendo el travieso de siempre!
Миръ всемъ!
Дело мое закрыто. Суд выпустило свидетельство о неподсудности. Слава Богу и благодарение всем Вам!
Торибио споминает с любовью всех! Не перестает шалить!

STING: faked murder exposes Moscow plot

Kremlin critic turns up alive at televised briefing about his 'murder'
video on website:



KIEV/MOSCOW (Reuters) - A dissident Russian journalist reported murdered in Kiev on Tuesday dramatically reappeared alive on Wednesday during a televised briefing by Ukrainian state security about the killing, which they then said they had faked. Authorities said Arkady Babchenko was shot dead at his flat and found by his wife in a pool of blood. 
But he took to the podium before stunned reporters and said he had been part of a Ukrainian operation to thwart a Russian attempt on his life and expose those behind it. 
“I would like to apologize for what you have all had to go through,” said Babchenko, who looked on the verge of tears. “I’m sorry but there was no other way of doing it. Separately, I want to apologize to my wife for the hell that she has been through.” 
His reappearance elicited gasps, then cheers and applause from journalists at the briefing. 
Babchenko, 41, is a critic of President Vladimir Putin and Russian policy in Ukraine and Syria. 
His reported murder sparked a war of words between Ukraine and Russia. The two countries have been at odds since a popular revolt in Ukraine in 2014 toppled a Russian-backed government in favor of a pro-Western one. 
It also produced a flurry of condemnations from European capitals and Washington, and sent shivers through the journalistic communities in both countries. 
This was in part because several prominent Russian journalists critical of Putin’s policies have been murdered in recent years. Opposition groups and human rights organizations say the Kremlin is behind the killings. The Kremlin denies this. 
But there were signs of a backlash against Ukraine. Some media organizations said the staged plot undermined the credibility of journalists. Others said it had handed the Kremlin a propaganda gift. 
Babchenko praised the operation, however, and thanked the Ukrainian Security Service, the SBU, for saving his life. He said the most important thing was that what he called other big acts of terror had been thwarted. 
He later took to Twitter, promising to die “when I am 96 after having danced on Putin’s grave”. 

STING PLOT 

The SBU said it received information about a plot to kill 30 people in Ukraine, including Babchenko, but had thwarted it.







Former Hierodeacon MP agreed to become Babchenko's killer
video on website:

The killer who undertook to "kill" the Russian opposition journalist Babchenko was the disillusioned former hierodeacon first of the Moscow Patriarchate, and then of the Kiev Patriarchy, writes the publication Texts.org.ua
A volunteer monk and volunteer of the ATU Aleksey Tsymbalyuk, who took tonsure in 2006 in the Iversky monastery in Odessa and retained the monastic name Aristarkh, said that he is the person who was ordered to kill the Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, after which he applied to the Security Service of Ukraine .
At 4.20 minutes the video of the former Hierodiacon states that 90-95 percent of the episcopate of the Moscow and Kiev Patriarchate are homosexuals. The Catholics, in his words, in this respect, things are even worse.