Love in Jesus Christ of Nazareth - God bless you always - susan
 
Russian Orthodox Church

1311. Occurrence given to Raymond Aguilera on 12 April 1999 at 3:07 PM.

The Lord placed in my spirit that the same thing He had said about Rome, He was going to do to the Russian Orthodox Church. (over)

1295. Prophecy given to Raymond Aguilera on 28 March 1999 at 4:55 PM.

Note:As I approached Rome by train, the Lord gave me the following Prophecy.

Roma, Roma, Roma, why have you left me? For so many years I have cared and nursed you. Why, why, have you left me? I have protected you for so many years, but now you must pay also for all you have done against Me. When the hammer falls, you also will fall directly and to the point. You have forgotten like all the rest, Who is God. For this you will feel the Power of My Hand directly and to the point. This is Jehovah, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit speaking with a heavy Heart. (over)



 

JERUSALEM POST - 31 Aug 2000

Swastikas go to Russian church

By Rusell Working

(July 20, 2000) -- Russell Working reports from Vladivostok on the growing antisemitic tendencies of the the Russian Orthodox Church --

It is a muggy Wednesday afternoon in Russia's largest Pacific seaport and as people meander home, a handful of men and boys position themselves around the central square, an asphalt plaza decorated with a monument to the communist revolutionaries who conquered the Far East.

The group's members are wearing black - boots, jeans, shirts, and berets - everything except the armbands, which are red and white and decorated with a bladed swastika. A "Slavic swastika," they will tell you.

They begin distributing a newspaper called Our Fatherland, which leads with a story on Russian President Vladimir Putin's newly appointed regional representatives who oversee the region's governors. Six of the seven are Jews, the paper states in a story headlined, "The shadow of Putin's Yid menorah lies upon Russia."

"Here, show it to your friends," a 16-year-old member tells a passerby.

The group are recruiters from Russian National Unity (RNU), a fascist party so extreme that even this region's strongman governor, who himself has been known to chortle out antisemitic sneers in public, was prevailed upon to ban its inclusion in local elections.

In an interview, RNU members urged the lynching of the nation's political leaders and expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler (a curious sentiment, since Hitler regarded Slavs as subhuman).

What is disturbing is not simply that antisemitism exists in Russia - extremists can be found in any country - but that it has found fellow travelers in parts of the Russian Orthodox Church.

In recent years, antisemitism has been nurtured under the onion domes of many churches, critics contend. To be sure, the hierarchy condemns attacks on Jews, even to the extent of denouncing several synagogue bombings in Moscow last year. But critics say the church has looked the other way, as some clergy have worked hand-in-hand with the RNU and other hate groups.

"The Russian Orthodox Church leadership does nothing to punish bishops, monks or priests who promote antisemitism, even though as a strictly hierarchical organization the ROC leadership does have means at its disposal to bring its people into line," said Nikolai Butkevich, research and advocacy director for the Washington-based Union of Councils for Soviet Jews.

The council has documented a long list of cases in which local churches encouraged antisemitism. Among them:

* The newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported in 1998 that the RNU has close ties to the Kaluga diocese in central Russia and provides guards for local churches, security for Orthodox festivals and workers to restore local churches.

* The church newspaper Pravoslavny Yaroslavl, in the town of Yaroslavl northeast of Moscow, regularly prints antisemitic articles, announcements, and advertisements from the RNU and other extremist parties.

* Vladimir Osipov, the Orthodox head of the Union of Christian Rebirth, co-chairs the Organizational Committee of Russian Orthodox Forces which calls for "the unmasking of the talmudic conspiracy against Russia‚" and "hassidic and satanic sects" that practice "ritual murder." When a group formed in Tula Oblast, near Moscow, deputies from the regional and federal parliaments attended, along with the editors of the local antisemitic newspaper Zasechny Rubezh and the national newspaper Nash Sovremennik.

* In 1998, the leadership of the Orthodox diocese in Voronezh, 600 kilometers south of Moscow, allegedly blessed the swastika banners of the RNU during a regional conference, Butkevich reported. (Reached by phone,  a church spokesmen in Voro- nezh denied this incident took place.)

* In 1998, over 100 RNU members participated in a religious ceremony at the Diveyevo Monastery in the Volga River region of Nizhny Novgorod with the permission of the monastery leadership.

* The headquarters of the RNU's Volgograd branch, in central Russia, are located in an Orthodox church.

* In the Siberian Altai region, the Orthodox newspaper Revnitel ("Zealot") regularly publishes antisemitic articles. Slurs against Jews and Masons are common in the newspaper.

* The official Russian Orthodox Church newspaper of the Ural region's Kemerovo diocese, Pravoslavnye Vesti, is publishing the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" in serialization.

CHURCH officials deny there is antisemitism within their ranks. Reached by telephone in Moscow, Father Vladimir Divakov, head of the church's chancellery, or administrative office, said, "This problem doesn't exist - certainly not in Moscow," and declined to take further questions.

Other church officials bristle at critics' characterizations of antisemitism.

Butkevich said that Pravoslavnaya Gazeta, the official church newspaper in the Siberian town of Yekaterinburg, regularly publishes articles by leading antisemites. It has included articles by the late Metropolitan of Petersburg, Ladoga Ioann, who has expressed his belief in the veracity of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," and Deacon Andrei Kurayev, who has written that, "If there is one religion in the world that is based on racism, it is Judaism."

But reached by phone, Dmitry Baibakov, diocese press secretary and editor-in-chief of Provoslavnaya Gazeta, denied that anything the paper has printed could be construed as antisemitic.

"I think that this problem is artificial," he said. "There is a Jewish community in town. We don't have much cooperation with them, but we don't have much to do with them."

Critics say the worst of it is that church officials simply do not recognize the problem.

"This is a big problem, as antisemitism was historically characteristic of any Christian church, but now it is disseminated in the publicly active part of the [Orthodox] church," said Alexander Verkhovsky, a political scientist with the Moscow-based Panorama Political Research Center who has studied extremism and antisemitism in Russia and is also a Jew.

"There are no statements on the official level, but individual priests do it all the time."

THE RUSSIAN Orthodox Church has often had a dark record when it comes to relations with Jews. In times of trouble, Jews were convenient scapegoats.

As radicalism swept across the Russian Empire in the decades before the 1917 Revolution, monarchist bishops attempted to stem the tide by supporting far-Right organizations.

In 1905, the year of an aborted revolt against Czar Nicholas II, antisemitic attacks by such groups grew in number, the British historian Robert Service states in his book A History of Twentieth-Century Russia.

"They hated the Jews, whom they blamed for all the recent disturbances in the empire," Service writes.

"They helped to form gangs, usually known as the Black Hundreds, which carried out bloody pogroms against Jewish communities in the western borderlands. By stirring up a xenophobic hysteria, they aimed to unite the czar and the Russian people."

Yet after the Revolution, the Orthodox Church, like other religions, suffered in the crucible of Bolshevism as Lenin launched state terror against "class enemies."

From the earliest years of the Revolution, Bolsheviks indiscriminately shot Orthodox bishops, clergymen and ordinary believers. Hundreds of thousands of Orthodox Christians ended up in slave-labor camps. The KGB infiltrated seminaries and bishoprics, and communists co-opted the church under state control.

In emerging from this era, the church gave some early indications that it was willing to take a more tolerant stance than it had in the past.

Patriarch Alexy II, the current head of the church, attempted to reach out to Jews during a trip to New York in 1991, Verkhovsky said. The result was a firestorm in Russia.

"He talked about the close ties between Christianity and Judaism, just banal things," Verkhovsky said. "But there was a big reaction in the Russian church. Some powerful monks stopped mentioning his name during the liturgy.

"There were no official statements, but not mentioning the patriarch's name was almost equivalent to a schism, or a revolt. The old monks, who do not normally get involved in church politics, are very powerful. So, the patriarch never risked giving such a speech again."

NOW, AS extremism has grown in Russia, the Orthodox Church has assumed a leading role in society. In 1997, at the urging of the church, the State Duma, or parliament, adopted a law restricting the practice of religion in Russia, despite constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion.

On the surface, the law permits the practice of Judaism, Islam, Roman Catholicism and other religions that can prove they have been established in Russia for more than 15 years. In practice, there is little guarantee of such protection, and local officials have denied registration to some Jewish, Moslem and Protestant groups, thereby preventing them from legally organizing and collecting funds.

This, in turn, has encouraged discrimination toward groups long regarded as mainstream in the  West, such as Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. (Indeed, priests in the Primorye region, where Vladivostok is located, launched a smear campaign in the local media against Jehovah's Witnesses last year, claiming they encouraged a young man to kill himself; local Witnesses said the youth was not a member of their group, and the group has never been known for encouraging suicide.)

Even a faith as old as Islam, which has a history in Russia that extends back for many centuries, has run into trouble. City officials in Vladivostok seized some land that Moslems had consecrated for a mosque, saying Russian Orthodox officials had objected to its construction because the completed mosque was to stand on a higher hill than any church in town. And local officials in the city of Bryansk used the law to deny registration to a Reform synagogue for two years.

Orthodoxy has become the de-facto state religion in Russia, with priests given free rein to recruit on military bases, participate in public ceremonies and visit the sick in hospitals - benefits not allowed to other beliefs.

In the central Russian city of Vologda, the Bishop Maximilian and the federal tax police signed a joint agreement for the "spiritual and patriotic upbringing of citizens," the business weekly Zolotoi Rog reported in April. Under the agreement, according to the report, priests hearing confessions have agreed to raise a number of questions for their parishioners' spiritual health.

"You didn't lust for the wife of your friend, did you?" priests reportedly ask. "Did you pay taxes? You didn't hide any profit from the state, did you?"

The closeness between church and state manifests itself in other ways, as well.

During a visit in May to Primorye, Alexy II bestowed a medal on Governor Yevgeny Nazdratenko, a strongman who has cultivated a cult of personality around himself and claimed to have received a $1 million award as World Aristocratic Governor of the year.

Nazdratenko also once welcomed the autocratic president of Belarus during a 1998 state visit by sneering about the number of Jews in then-president Boris Yeltsin's administration.

At the local level, Orthodox leaders in Vladivostok say they do not seek conflict with other religions, neither is ecumenism their goal.

"The Orthodox Church in Russia has taken a position of patriotism," said Father Innokenty, spokesman for the church. "We put it simply: It is the cultural and state form of religion for Russia. If this cultural and historical tradition is diluted, it puts the state of Russia in danger."

ANTISEMITISM has emerged in church conflicts over other issues.

In Yekaterinburg, former Bishop Nikon was close to the RNU, which guarded his home church, Butkevich said. This seemed to matter little to the church hierarchy, and he was only dismissed last year after being charged with embezzlement and homosexuality. And as soon as Nikon got in trouble, he adopted an age-old strategy for clinging to power: Blame the Jews.

"Two priests who were battling him were Jews [converts to Orthodoxy]," Verkhovsky said. "Of course, Nikon's supporters used this as a tool. They said that Jews who had become Orthodox priests are not authentic priests."

At his farewell service, a contingent of RNU members attended in black uniforms emblazoned with red-and-white swastikas, Butkevich said.

In Vladivostok, RNU members in the central square initially attempted to present a reasonable face. They claim they have nothing against Jews per se, notwithstanding their fliers filled with antisemitic slurs. But it takes little prodding before they rant about Jews ("their essence is satanic"), Roman Catholics and Masons, or explain that wealthy American Jews secretly funded Hitler's rise to power (another odd charge, from people who admire Hitler).

Like his comrades, RNU leader Vladimir Filippov, a middle-aged man with a chest-length beard, expressed admiration for the Orthodox Church, though Filippov himself is a member of a centuries-old splinter sect, the Old Believers. But he grew enraged at the talk of the current hierarchy, which he perceives as weak toward other religions.

"[Church spokesman] Vsevolod Chaplin - also not a Slavic name - said there was kindness in the Catholic Church, which I think is a sacrilege and a lie," Filippov said.

For extremists such as the RNU, Russia is engaged in a holy war, and Jews are among the enemies. The party's newspaper states, "Everyone who realizes the danger for the existence of Russia's people and purity of the Russian Orthodox Church and is not fighting against Judaism or Masonism, he can't even be called a Christian. He is not even a pagan. He is a slave of Satan, and not a worker for Jesus Christ."

Such talk is dangerous, especially in a nation with a troubled history regarding the Jews. But critics are still waiting for the censure of a priest, monk or bishop who vilifies the Jews.

"Nobody is ever punished for antisemitism," Verkhovsky said.


 

       


The Russian Orthodox Church Today
Fr Alexander Men

This was the last interview Fr Alexander gave. It took place on 5 September 1990, four days before his death. There are grim clues in his answers to the Spanish journalist, Pilar Benet, as to the likely reasons why he was murdered and by whom.
 

What tendencies are now apparent in the Russian Orthodox Church?
The conservative tendency is fairly powerful: it is strongly anti-Western, hostile to all reforms and idealizes the past, taking the harshest models from the past, even I'd say mediaeval ones. This tendency is very popular in certain circles. In Western terms, we could call it 'right-wing', it's a profoundly right-wing trend.
You might ask why this should be so in the church. One of the reasons is the artificial selection which went on over several generations through the merciless suppression of all forces in the church that were alive and ready to experiment. If a bishop displayed any spirit of freedom or independence of thought, or propensity to experiment, he was immediately despatched to the provinces or forcibly retired.

In other words, what happened in the church was a reflection of what was happening in society in general.
Yes, and that's why the most conservative and right-wing elements have been preserved, have survived, and multiplied. They found favour with the functionaries and with the KGB. It is no secret that the authorities liked the church which looked like an ancient relic from the past, a museum.
In the 1960s, there were some independently-minded and forward-thinking individuals among the clergy. They were pushed aside. The bishops were conservative. Today, there are more open-minded people among the bishops, but among the rank and file clergy, there are more conservatives. But even so, the tendency towards protectionism, i.e. conservatism, is prevalent everywhere. Besides, the liberals are a bit afraid of it.

Would you say then that in a sense the liberals are living underground?
Yes. The general trend nowadays is a reaction against the destruction of national values. Since the Communists can't get things done, then let's have a monarchy, an idealized monarchy; since the Party's failed, then let's restore the church just as it was before the revolution. Though we forget that it is precisely because the pre-revolutionary church was the way it was, that the catastrophe happened. But nobody is interested in this any more. It's all nostalgia for the past.


To what extent would you say that this is dangerous?
It causes a great deal of disappointment to people who are weary of the ideological yoke. They looked for open positions among Christians, but instead they've found a new version of the closed society.


Are you not disturbed by the fact that today the Russian Orthodox Church is proving itself to be wholly incapable of renewal? In this respect, the church could really only be compared with the Communist Party, don't you think?
Of course, the only difference is that God helps the church but not the Party.

What is your opinion of the so-called Karlovci Church?
That church is even more conservative than the Russian Orthodox Church and it is a monarchist church, which is what people find attractive. That is all I have to say. In general, religious awakening is a natural thing. Our society is, on the whole, potentially quite religious. When it was deprived of its faith, it transferred its religiosity to the political sphere. Now, disappointment with the old gods has set in and there is a return to tradition.
It is understandable that Communism did not like anything national because it wanted a levelled down society. It wanted citizens, not nations. The communists acted just like the rulers of ancient Assyria. When they conquered a country, they deported the peoples they had defeated and settled people from other subjugated areas in their place.
Why was this done? So that people lost their national identity. So that there was no centre of resistance and all people became mere subjects of the king. Nationalism is a completely understandable reaction, it's to be expected, it's self-defence to keep some form of cultural identity. Nationalism is not a completely normal state of affairs, it's reactionary, but still the reaction is legitimate.

Do you think this is a temporary phenomenon or ... ?
Yes. The fact is that people will tire of it. People cannot spend all their time engaged in a form of cultural narcissism, they'll get fed up. At the end of the day, even the most committed patriots will tire of it.


So is Russia currently living through a phase of narcissism?
No, I'd say it's just beginning. But it's harmful and dangerous because it makes society idealize itself. This is very characteristic also of our clerical circles. They think they're wonderful. When we believers celebrated the millennium of Christianity [1988], there was not a single word of repentance, not a single word about the tragedy of the Russian Church, only triumphalism and self-congratulation.
I understand that every culture, every nation, must to a certain degree love its own identity, but now this has got to the point where we love ourselves and no one and nothing else. Even the Catholics in our country have become nationalists. Take the Greek Catholics in Ukraine. You might think they belong to the one universal international church, but they are behaving like a group of nationalists. The Lithuanian Catholics are also nationalists.
The process of returning to national traditions has started after long years when these were suppressed. We should respect this process. I do respect it and I understand the fact that art in its actual forms has to be national. But, at the same time, it is imperative to avoid the dangers of a shift to the right. You see, the open model is acceptable to those who are sure of their own ground. Those who stand on shaky ground prefer a closed model because it is easier for them.
Around fifteen years ago, a young man at my church started making occasional visits to the Baptist Church. I told him, you are Orthodox, of course you can go there because the church is everywhere, Christ is everywhere, the gospel is everywhere. Do both: go to the Baptist Church and don't forget your own spiritual roots. And when I explained the open model to him, he said, Oh dear, how uncomfortable! He ended up by becoming a Baptist.
That person could only be either a Baptist who did not recognize Orthodoxy, or an Orthodox who cursed the Baptists. He wanted to have a little hole to hide himself away in. Apparently Peter the Great also suffered from a psychological disorder - the fear of open spaces. He built himself tiny little rooms and so on. There is an illness like that - the fear of open spaces. In the history of religion, there is also this fear of open spaces.


Now more and more Orthodox are turning to the Karlovci Church. Is this some sort of shift to the right?
Yes, it is.


What about people looking for something more to the left? Where can they go?
Nowhere. They can stay within the Moscow patriarchate. Some people are trying to go off to the Catholics. Two or three people from my parish have done that.

Have you ever considered this course of action yourself?
No, because I believe that the church is one, so it wouldn't make any sense to me.


How would you describe Pope John Paul II?
Some of my parishioners knew him when he was still a bishop. Everyone liked him. The fact that he is a little strict is perhaps not a bad thing as a counterbalance to the general disintegration. He is criticized for his attitude towards family life, for example, for his views on abortion, but abortion is murder after all, all the more so now when contraception is available.

So, you think contraception is normal?
This is not my own opinion. I have consulted with our bishops and they are of the opinion that a person has a right to practise birth control. Otherwise, they may bring more children into the world than they can support, in which case they will become animals rather than human beings.

Is the conservative tendency in the church reflected in military and political circles?
Yes, our nazis support this tendency and there are many of them. Take 'Pamyat'; it is full of nazis and fascists and their numbers are mushrooming. Why is there anti-ecumenism? Because ecumenism demands that you respect another person's model of Christianity. Instead of this, we have hatred. The word 'catholic' has almost become a term of abuse now, like in the times of Taras Bulba.

Have you witnessed any particular disturbing symptoms recently?
Well, if you don't call the growth of Russian fascism disturbing, what else is! Of course I have! And very many church people are very actively supporting it.
There has been a joining up of Russian fascism with Russian clericalism and nostalgia among church people. It's of course shameful to us believers because society was expecting to find in us some kind of support and instead support goes to the fascists. Of course not everyone shares these attitudes - it's only a tiny percentage. I can't say what that percentage is because I haven't studied the figures. But wherever you go, whoever you meet, this one's a monarchist, this one's an anti-Semite, that one's anti-ecumenist and so on. And people keep putting labels on, even those people who never used to be like this. Do you understand? It's typical, a feature of our times, the era of reaction. When Gorbachev opened the floodgates, reaction as well as democracy poured in. But reaction is always more aggressive.


What is your opinion of Patriarch Alexi?
Well, he's an intelligent man. For example, when he was still metropolitan he was the first publicly to condemn Soviet neo-fascism and anti-Semitism. He was the first and, as far as I know, the only one to do so.

Recently, I visited [the town of] Tyumen' and there I met a priest. I had a conversation with him and he seemed a perfectly ordinary, pleasant person until suddenly he said, 'Well, of course, I do not trust Moscow, it is full of Zionists. There, the church is full of Jews ... '
This fear of Zionism is typical. In 1975, fifteen years ago, I gave an interview which was published in Paris. They asked me then whether there was any anti-Semitism in the church. I said that I hadn't come across any, not on a mass scale. Fifteen years later and the picture has completely changed. I wouldn't say the same thing now. Anti-Semitism has become, unfortunately, one of the distinguishing features of the church.

Are you of Jewish descent?
Yes.

I feel uncomfortable asking you this.
Why should you feel that way?


The point is that you in your position are an ideal target for anti-Semitism.
Of course, that goes without saying. I feel it. I have been a priest for a long time, thirty or so years, but this has only started to happen now. I feel it in the way people behave towards me, in the way they talk to me, in everything.

What do you personally think of the problem of anti-Semitism?
I think this is a question of social psychology. There has to be a category of people who are held responsible for the sins of society. They are the personification of society's own sins.
Instead of admitting that we destroyed our own sacred things, people say that it was Kaganovich who gave the order to destroy the church of Christ the Saviour. If the people hadn't wanted to desecrate it, it wouldn't have mattered who had given the order. They would have killed Kaganovich and saved the church. But the people went and blew up thousands of churches. That means people are to blame. But it's a very difficult thing to admit and so you have to find someone to blame. It's easy to swear at the Jews. A coward will always pick on someone defenceless.


Is it true that, in conservative circles, communists are being identified as Jews?
Yes, but this is artificial because sixty years ago there were many Jews among the Bolsheviks, but my generation does not remember this. I remember the communist authorities being comprised of people of Russian, Ukrainian and Caucasian descent. Kaganovich was the only Jew.

Then the real problem is that the people don't want to admit their responsibility for what took place in this country?
Make a comparative analysis of de-nazification in Germany and de-stalinization here and you'll understand.

What about you personally? How do you view your work in this sense?
I don't. All I do is carry on working. There are people who write history and people who simply live and work in it. I belong to the second category.

Yes, but when you preach, you do put forward certain ideas.
All my ideas can be found in [this book] here!


In the Bible ...
Yes, of course. The gospel is the foundation of life.