EDITORIAL: The End of Freedom of Religion in Russia

EDITORIAL

The End of Freedom of Religion in Russia

The latest act of barbarism against Russian democracy being committed by the nation’s so-called “parliament” is a statute called The Law on Religious Activity proposed by the prosecutor’s office and soon to be enacted into law.  It’s just one more heartbreaking step down the road towards establishing a Holy Russian Empire, a road Putin has been following since his first days in office.

The Moscow Times reports that under the provisions of the new law “ordinary believers will face fines for sharing their faith with strangers in the metro or on the street.”  It will, in other words, become a crime for anyone not specifically authorized in writing by the Kremlin to discuss religion with another person. The MT reports:

Some Protestant groups said Wednesday that the amendments were a violation of Jesus’ call in Matthew 28:19 to “go and make disciples of all nations.”

“Missionary activity is part of the Christian religion, and these proposals target not only our church but the Christian religion itself,” said Elder Mikhail Fadin of the Moscow Central Church of Evangelical Christians-Baptists.

In other words, Russia is making the final push to wipe out all religion other than the Orthodox Church, which is run by the same sort of KGB spy who rules the secular world in Russia.

Paul Goble quotes Kommersant characterizing the new law as follows:  “The right to profess [religious ideas] is given only to leaders of religious organizations or to persons having special trust from the leadership of their church. All others are prohibited from propagandizing religious ideas, even though today for this no permissions are required.”

Yikes.  What we are seeing here is actually worse than what occurred in the USSR.  At least the USSR attacked all religions equally; now, the Russian Orthodox church is working hand-in-brass-knuckles with the Kremlin to make itself a monopoly religion which the Kremlin can use as a pretext to further bludgeon and control the Russian population.

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30 responses to “EDITORIAL: The End of Freedom of Religion in Russia

  1. hmmmm….wonder what the world of islam is going to have to say about this. And how is this going to tie in with the recent disclosure of closer ties and relations with the Vatican? (The last from Raymond Aroyyo (sp) from ‘The World Over’ EWTN) Sorry LR I don’t have a link-heard this on radio, but if you wish to look up I’m sure its available.

  2. A reminder to all: this new law in the RF is aimed not only at non-Orthodox Christian religious entities, but it is most especially aimed at dissident anti-MP, FREE Russian Orthodox believers and their church structures, to (further) weaken and plunge them into and under the KGB controled state-‘church’, which is largely, a tool of the Kremlin. Their fabricated ‘Moscow Patriarchy’ was created by Joseph Stalin in 1943….as his instrument in gaining the loyalty of the Russian masses, to fight Hitler’s invasion. But the end game of the communists has always been, the eventual total eradication of ALL religion. Later on, and over the ensuing years, this ‘religious’ monstrosity, has become a hodgepodge jumble of MOSTLY subservient lackies of the Kremlin, who always parrot the party-line from the pulpit, most especially of their higher ‘bishops’ (virtually ALL specially trained KGB agents, pure and simple!) and mid-level clergy of that pseudo-‘church’, who are afraid to speak out, as then they will have no jobs and cannot feed their families, etc.
    We who are fighting for a free Russian Orthodoxy, know these painful truths, all too well.
    Day by day, we hear of a growing government persecution of anti-MP Russian Orthodox believers in the RF. This seems to be a backward massive move to the past, ‘glory days of the Soviet Union’. Of course, the ‘Russian Constitution’ guarantees religious freedom! (ha!ha!ha!)
    Just my observations-

  3. Sadly, too many uninformed American Orthodox Christians still believe that Putin is some sort of ‘Savior’ of the Church and Faith. It’s a difficult delusion to counter.

  4. Dear psalomschick,

    Very well said. Thank you. Also, you also stated:

    This seems to be a backward massive move to the past, ‘glory days of the Soviet Union’.

    BACK TO THE FUTURE:

    Renowned Soviet-era statue back in view

    MOSCOW (AP) — A gigantic sculpture that is one of the most admired examples of Soviet socialist realism is back on view in Moscow after six years of restoration.

    The stainless-steel sculpture, called “Worker and Collective Farm Woman,” was unveiled Friday in a nighttime ceremony with fireworks attended by thousands.

    The 24.5-meter (80-foot) sculpture depicts the two figures striding forward purposefully, their raised arms holding a hammer and sickle to replicate the Communist symbol. The worker’s sash and the woman’s skirt float behind them, as if they were moving at high speed.

    The 72-year-old sculpture by Vera Mukhina stands on a new 34.5-meter (112-foot) pedestal, which is to house a museum, at an entrance to the All-Russia Exhibition Center, itself a renowned collection of Stalin-era buildings.

    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/12/04/world/AP-EU-Russia-Soviet-Sculpture.html

    Photo of statue at:

    http://www.kyivpost.com/news/russia/detail/54412/

    Sincerely,

    LES

    PS Do you have any links amout the MP church “attacking or destroying” other Orthodox churches? I remember reading about it a while ago, but I did not save the links.

    • Dear Les and all, Here is one interesting link, of ONE of the numerous currently persecuted free-and anti-MP Russian Orthodox churches, centered inside of the Russian Federation, this English site of The Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church:
      http://www.roacusa.org/churchesbeforeafter.html
      This clearly shows photos of the numerous formerly ruined and despoiled churches, (originally wrecked by the communists in the revolution) mainly in Suzdal, and NOW how they look (as they have been recently seized) which these dissident believers have renovated and transformed by their own blood and sweat and devotion and labours and monies, only to have them recently, seized by the Putin government (via pretend ‘legal’ means)….and then HANDED over to the state-‘church’, the KGB-run Moscow Patriarchy! with the believers thrown out into the street! Even the valuable and sacred contents of these dissident Russian Orthodox churches, were also forcibly taken from these poor people, and GIFTED to the hated MP state-‘church’, because, it is, ‘the legal sole Russian Orthodox Church…of Russia’, etc. (and other such rubbish and lies and distortions).
      This one dissident church, is but one of many, which does not recognize the current
      ‘Patriarch Kyrill’ as legitimate, or his phony Kremlin controled pretend ‘church’, and is struggling to maintain it’s existence, against the ever-growing official persecution from Moscow and it’s local representatives.
      This pattern of increasing persecution of anti-MP Orthodox in the RF, is widespread, and is ever increasing, day by day. And this is directed at, Russians.
      So, it is not only the other religions in the RF which are under the gun (literally), but especially Russians, who will not submit to the official state-controled
      ‘church’. And who, outside the RF will speak up for these dissident Russians, in the so-called ‘international community’?
      They are like the early persecuted Christians, in the first century. Many are preparing to die for their faith.
      Some have already paid the price.
      Memory Eternal to the new holy martyrs!

  5. Theocracy is the road to salvation.

    • KGB comrade's informer

      Sorry old chap, it looks like your trashy comments to upset the commenters are being ignored. Maybe people would converse with you if you had something to say.

    • And this has been shown by things like the extremely costly holy wars, millions of dead, the erosion of the scientific process, and the inherent corruption and intolerance that theocracies (by their VERY NATURE) tend to create. I assume?

  6. Putin marks birthday with writers, church praise
    October 07 at 23:00 | Reuters

    Among other congratulations 57-year-old Prime Minister received “Ode to Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin”

    MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s most powerful politician Vladimir Putin marked his 57th birthday on Wednesday in the company of literary luminaries, lauded by the Orthodox Church (MP) for his wisdom, viewed askance by critics sensing a nascent personality cult.

    The “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” daily published an “Ode to Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin” written in a style typical of poems devoted to former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

    The former KGB spy has become a devout believer since the collapse of communism and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill was among the first to congratulate Putin on his birthday.

    “Wisdom based on rich political experience, typical for you, is a guarantee of stability in our state,” Kirill wrote in a congratulatory message carried by Russian news agencies.

  7. A most important line is crossed by this new law
    as stated:

    The right to profess [religious ideas] is given only to leaders of religious organizations or to persons having special trust from the leadership of their church. All others are prohibited from propagandizing religious ideas, even though today for this no permissions are required.”

    Individual freedom is seriously reduced,
    this legal framework for greater State control
    telegraphs the mindset of the Kermlin and
    the Orthodox Church giving the whole thing
    a very czarist and totalitarian flavour. I can
    see the real Christians once more passing
    through the fire of persecution. My great-great
    Grandfather left Russia because of this in 1903.

  8. ‘The Day I Killed The Soviet Union’

    December 1 is the happiest day of my life. On this day I killed the Soviet Union.

    I never liked the Soviet regime. From early childhood one had to learn to be a liar, a hypocrite, to stop being oneself in order to make a career or even to survive. But it was not the kind of regime one bravely stood up to, as you would to a foreign occupation.

    As most young people, I had a thirst for belief. But the communists destroyed religion. They replaced it with a caricature, Marxism-Leninism, in which even its secular priests, party leaders, failed to believe.

    It is up to an individual now to recollect that he or she is God’s creature with free will, who can act in a moral way because it is right. Isn’t that a good foundation for happiness?

    http://www.rferl.org/content/The_Day_I_Killed_The_Soviet_Union/1892467.html

  9. RUSSIAN BISHOPS’ COUNCIL HAS ENDED
    by Peter Semenov

    Nezavisimaia gazeta, 22 February 1997

    Yesterday the sessions of the bishops’ council of the Russian Orthodox church, which ran from 18 to 21 February, came to an end. The period to 23 February for the 138 hierarchs, including 115 ruling diocesan bishops, 17 vicar bishops, and one retired bishop, will be devoted to a visit to the Saint Sergius Holy Trinity lavra and a joint supplicatory service in the cathedral of Christ the Savior.

    The church public anxiously awaited the council. Sensational exposes, particularly about the so-called “tobacco affair,” timed according to the opening of the council, created a pessimistic mood. Many expected a change in the leadership of the Moscow patriarchate. The attack on the Department of External Church Relations (OVTsS), headed by Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, was expected to cause embarrassment for Kirill and lead to his replacement. Rumors about a conflict within the church leadership, in particular about the charge from the chief of staff of the Moscow patriarchate, Archbishop Sergius of Solnenchnogorsk, about attempts by OVTsC to “boycott” the plans for the council, led to expectations that the council would be stormy.

    However the pessimistic predictions were not justified. On the first day of the council Metropolitan Kirill and Archbishop Sergius sat side by side, calmly conversing for the television cameras.

  10. Over the past decade, suspicions, accusations and counter-accusations have arisen about the status of the Church. Some critics claim that in the past decade the Moscow Patriarchate has sacrificed some of its spiritual authority in the pursuit of political power and commercial success. Roman Lunkin of the Keston Institute, which studies religion in the former Soviet Union, says the church has “turned into an authoritarian and totalitarian structure.”

    A priest who condemned the 2005 conviction and imprisonment of former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a leading foe of then-President Vladimir Putin, was defrocked and appointed to guard a church store in 2006. Orthodox leaders said the decision was not political, but had to do with the priest’s “discipline.”

    Bishop Diomid of Chukotka, who lambasted Alexy II’s alleged subservience to the Kremlin, found himself demoted to the rank of a monk last year. The church accused Diomid’s supporters of planning to seize power in the Patriarchate.

    A church council excommunicated Gleb Yakunin, a priest and former lawmaker, in 1997 after he headed a government commission that concluded that most top clerics, including Patriarch Alexy and his future successor Kirill, were KGB informers.

    “Unfortunately, Orthodox Christianity is antidemocratic and hails authoritarian rule,” said Yakunin, who spent years in the gulag for criticizing Soviet religious policies, during an interview in his Moscow office. Today, the 74-year-old priest leads the Apostolic Orthodox Church, a splinter group that is harassed by authorities in Russia and Belarus.

    Despite the Russian constitution’s legal separation of church and state, President Boris Yeltsin and his successor Vladimir Putin forged a political alliance with the Orthodox Church — an alliance that has continued under Putin’s successor, Medvedev. Kirill is escorted around Moscow by a cavalcade of Kremlin security guards and was listed No. 6 on the government’s list of state dignitaries.

    http://directionstoorthodoxy.org/n/russian_orthodox_church_a_growing_political_force.html

  11. RPTs RECALLED A TRADITIONAL RELIGIOUS RITUAL

    Segodnia, 21 February 1997 (complete text)

    The bishops’ council of the Russian Orthodox church postponed the question of the canonization of Emperor Nicholas II. Before adding to the list of holy martyrs it was decided to purge the church of living “heretics.”

    Yesterday the bishops’ council excommunicated the head of the Kiev patriarchate Filaret (secular name, Mikhail Denisenko) and the form priest of the RPTs, the well-known rights defender Gleb Yakunin. Filaret was excommunicated for schismatic activity. In 1992, while he was the patriarchal exarch for Ukraine, he left the jurisdiction of the Moscow patriarchate and formed an independent Ukrainian Orthodox church–Kiev patriarchate (UPTs-KP). The reason for Gleb Yakunin’s excommunication was not stated in the official communication from the secretariate of the bishops’ council. According the Interfax news agency, the occasion for the excommunication was the political activity of Father Gleb. In 1993 the Holy Synod of RPTS unfroced him for participate in State Duma elections. Then Gleb accepted the jurisdiction of UPTs-KP. It seems that by its decision the bishops’ council has turned a new page in contemporary Orthodoxy. After excommunication from the church of the writer Leo Tolstoy, this ritual went out of use ini the RPTs.

    Those who disagreed with Orthodox doctrime, for example V.I. Lenin, as a rule independently removed the crosses they wore. In 1918 Patriarch Tikhon tried to issue an anathema against bolsheviks, but after his confinement to house arrest he cancelled this decision. Nevertheless the struggle with heretics in RPTs is fortunately different from similar actions in several other confessions. Filaret and Gleb Yakunin were denied “eternal life,” but, for example, the Muslims of Iran tried to deprive the writer Salman Rushdie of earthly life.

  12. December 08, 2009
    Putin’s Own Worst Enemy

    Though he is no longer even officially “president” of the country, Putin still has the ability to hire and fire local officials like governors and mayors, to populate and depopulate the national parliament, to name the pontiff of the Orthodox Church, and to discharge justices of Russia’s supreme court at will.

    If there were any institution more untouchable by politics than the constitutional court, one would think that would be the church, but Putin has rolled his virtual tanks across that territory as well. He has a new bill moving rapidly through the Russian parliament which will make it illegal to discuss religion unless in possession of a Kremlin-issued permit. Instead of wiping out all religion as in Soviet times, Putin has instead co-opted it; he’s installed a KGB operative as pontiff of the Russian Orthodox Church and is now moving swiftly to simply wipe out his competition.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/putins_own_worst_enemy.html

  13. MOSCOW – Russia’s highest court on Tuesday upheld a ruling halting the activities of a regional branch of Jehovah’s Witnesses and banning dozens of its publications in what the group deplored as an unfair move.

    Russian Supreme Court spokesman Pavel Odintsov said it rejected the group’s appeal of September’s ruling by a regional court in Rostov-on-Don. That ruling outlawed the group’s activities in the region, seized its assets there and labeled 34 of its publications as extremist.

    The group said the list of books includes a children’s book of Bible stories, and its signature magazine, The Watchtower.

    He said that the group will appeal the Supreme Court’s verdict to the European Court for Human Rights, arguing that the Russian courts misinterpreted the law. The law on combating extremism that served as a basis for the verdict has been widely criticized by many rights groups, which said its loose phrasing allowed authorities to stifle dissent.

    A 2004 ruling by the Moscow City Court prohibited Jehovah’s Witnesses branch in the Russian capital from engaging in religious activity in the Russian capital.

    Sivulskiy said there are at least 160,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia.

    http://www.kyivpost.com/news/russia/detail/54577/

  14. Religion is a GUIDE to live responsibly. A free people cannot remain free without personal self restraint.

    Government was established to protect one individual from anothers tresspass. When government involves itself with a group, or collective, it is already corrupted.

    Stories from the bible are easy to enterpret if you have a critically thinking mind. I believe collectivists cannot understand them for this very reason.

  15. The collaborating MP continued to praise the Soviet government and offered no protection to the persecuted priesthood. ….

    Patriarch Alexi …. Issued an order banning these two priests from service in the church….

    An agent of the KGB….

    It was an obvious KGB slap against a priest…

    Take Russia away from Cain, and give her God, for Abel’s blood cries out from the earth…

    http://www.regels.org/humanright.htm

  16. [Father Gleb Yakunin, Deputy of the Russian Federation Supreme Soviet and a member of the Supreme Soviet Committee on Freedom of Conscience, was interviewed by Keith Armes, Editor of Perspective, on October 14, 1992, in Tacoma Park, Maryland.]

    Essentially the security organs and the army are out of control. The parliamentary Committee on Security and Defense has no real power. In practice, it is unable to supervise the KGB or the army. It has no power to ensure implementation of its policies. Some members of the committee work for the KGB. The committee chairman himself, [Sergei] Stepashin, is a deputy minister with the Ministry of Security (MSRF) and head of its St. Petersburg division. It’s difficult for him to work effectively–how can he be supposed to supervise his own boss?

    http://www.bu.edu/iscip/vol3/Yakunin.html

  17. Dear psalomschick,

    Thank you for the link. I always said, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”, and the before and after photos clearly show that the babushkas, and others, gave their time , life energy, and money to restore what the secular SAVAGE uncivilized PAGAN barbarians in the kremlin (and KGB) did to churches decades ago; the people restored the churches because of their love of God. I studied the before and after photos, for about an hour, and they touched the soul.

    Now the kremlin (and the MP) again steal, without regard to the ten commandments of God, the churches and the churches’ lands. The MP has been in bed with the kremlin for centuries, to control the russian sheeple.

    http://larussophobe.wordpress.com/2009/12/03/russian-gps-snafu/#comment-62431

    I wanted to post this comment on the above link, but it is more appropriate here; the first sentence in the above link was:

    Late last month Moscow celebrated the birthday of Father Frost, the Russian iteration of Santa Claus, with a new-fangled announcement: Father Frost’s retinue would move through the holiday skies aided by Glonass, the Russian answer to GPS.

    When I went to Ukraine several years ago, on TV I saw a clown jumping around and singing a monotonous song with the words “did moroz” constantly repeated. This is what I learned:

    The kremlin has replaced Jesus Christ and Saint Nicholas with “did moroz” for about a century. On new years day, the kremlin would demand that the people place a “Frosty the Snowman” under a pine tree and leave presents. This was the kremlin’s way of destroying the souls of the people that they enslaved.

    Growing up, I found chocolates and candy under my pillow on December 19th. When I woke up on the morning of Christmas eve, I saw a Christmas tree, with Christmas presents under it, and a manger with Jesus Christ in His crib, and all of the other little Statues. Sviatyi Mykolai (Saint Nicholas) brought these to celebrate The Birth of Jesus Christ. These are old Ukrainian traditions that the savage pagan barbarians in the kremlin tried to bastardize with their pagan idols.

    When they closed the churches in Ukraine, the kremlin turned many of the churches into “town halls”, and destroyed the Holy Icons. They forced the villagers to go to meetings every evening and where the Holy Icons were on the walls in the past, the kremlin put posters of lenin and stalin. The people were then lectured how great lenin, stalin, communism and moother roosha were, and the people should not worship Holy Icons.

    Instead, the kremlin created a pagan holiday, with a pagan doll to place under a pine tree to make the people forget the values and traditions of their ancestors, and to destroy their culture.

    The savages in the kremlin [and KGB kirill (MP)] still teach their russian sheeple to worship their pagan idols.

    The literal translation of the name would be Grandfather Frost. However, English-speakers traditionally translate his name as the alliterative Father Frost.

    Ded Moroz is accompanied by Snegurochka (Russian: Снегурочка), or ‘Snow Maiden,’ his granddaughter. The image of Snegurochka personifies frozen waters. She is a unique attribute of the image of Father Frost – none of his foreign colleagues has a similar companion.

    Strange as it is, initially Father Frost used to be a wicked and cruel sorcerer who liked to freeze people. He took after the Old Slavic gods: ‘Pozvizd’ – the god of wind and good and bad weather, ‘Zimnik’ – god of winter, and the terrifying ‘Korochun’ – an underworld god ruling over frosts. The peculiar character of those pagan gods determined the initial disposition of Ded Moroz – at first he stole children and brought them away in his gigantic sack. To ransom the kids, their parents had to give him presents. {Please note that the secular SAVAGE PAGAN uncivilized barbarians in the kremlin had no problem with replacing Jesus Christ with a pagan criminal kidnapper of children.}

    In 1928 Ded Moroz was declared “an ally of the people”. {Life Has Become More Joyous, Comrades: Celebrations in the Time of Stalin, Indiana University Press, 200, ISBN 0-253-33768-2} The image of Father Frost took its final shape in the USSR: he became the main symbol of the New Year’s Holiday that replaced Christmas as the most favorite.

    The color of the coat that Ded Moroz wore was changed several times. So as not to be confused with Santa Claus, it was often blue. Joseph Stalin ordered Palace of Unions’ Ded Morozes to wear only blue coats. During the times of the Soviet Union’s dominance over Eastern Europe, Ded Moroz was officially introduced in many national traditions, despite being alien to them. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, there have been efforts to revive local characters, outside of russia, but in russia they still “worship” him.

    There are equivalents of Ded Moroz and Snegurochka all over the former USSR, as well as the countries once in the so-called Soviet bloc and in the former Yugoslavia.

    Belarus

    Dzied Maroz (Belarusian: Дзед Мароз, Dzied Maróz, literally “Grandfather Frost”) is the Belarusian analogue of Russian Ded Moroz.

    Unlike in Russia, in Belarus Dzied Maroz is not a traditional character and is never mentioned in national folklore. This character was introduced during Soviet times in order to replace the traditional Śviaty Nikałaj (Saint Nicholas), whom the anti-religious Soviet government considered inappropriate. Unlike Śviaty Nikałaj, who arrived at Christmas, Dzied Maroz was a New Year guest. All his habits and looks were borrowed from Russian traditions, with Belarusian ones being abandoned.

    Although some people are making attempts to bring Śviaty Nikałaj back, Dzied Maroz remains a popular winter holiday character, mainly because most people are familiar with Soviet customs, and know almost nothing about older Belarusian national traditions.

    Former Yugoslavia

    In socialist Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia the person who brought gifts to children was called “Grandfather Frost” (Croatian: Djed Mraz, Bosnian: Dedo Mraz, Macedonian: Дедо Мраз (Dedo Mraz), Serbian: Деда Мраз (Deda Mraz), Slovenian: Dedek Mraz). He brought gifts for New Year as celebration of Christmas was discouraged by the Communist regime.

    Croatia

    After breakup of Yugoslavia, Djed Mraz was labeled communist and Djed Božićnjak (literally: Grandfather Christmas) was introduced. In mass media and advertising Djed Božićnjak took place of Djed Mraz, except for the timing of gift bringing: Djed Božićnjak brings presents on Christmas. In many families Djed Mraz still brings gifts on New Year.

    In Croatia, children also get presents on December 6. The present are brought by a traditional figure called Sveti Nikola (Saint Nicholas) who is also very close in resemblance to Djed Mraz and Djed Božićnjak, except for the fact that he is accompanied by Krampus who takes misbehaving children away.

    In some religious families, Little Jesus brings gifts on Christmas instead of Djed Božićnjak.

    Slovenia

    In Slovenia the name was translated from Russian as Dedek Mraz (literally, ‘Grandpa Frost’). He is slim, wears a grey leather coat, which has fur inside and is decorated outside, and a round dormouse fur cap based on traditional imagery, especially as depicted by Maksim Gaspari. Initially he was said to live in Siberia, but with the Informbiro crisis and the schism between Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union his home was relocated to Mt. Triglav, Slovenia’s highest peak. The notion of Father Frost was ideologically useful because it served to reorient the December/January holidays away from religion (Saint Nicholas Day and Christmas) and towards (secular) New Year. After the demise of the Communist regime at the beginning of the 1990s, two other “good old men” (as they are currently styled in Slovenian) reappeared in public: Miklavž (Saint Nicholas) brings presents on December 6, and Božiček (Santa Claus) on Christmas Eve. St. Nicholas has had a strong traditional presence in Slovenian ethnic territory and remained celebrated in family circles throughout the Communist period.

    Bulgaria

    The traditional local name of Santa Claus in Bulgaria is Дядо Коледа (Dyado Koleda, “Grandfather Christmas”), with Dyado Mraz (Дядо Мраз, “Grandfather Frost”) being a similar Russian-imported character lacking the Christian connotations and thus popular during Communist rule. However, he has been largely forgotten since 1989, when Dyado Koleda again returned as the more popular figure.
    {In the Ukrainian language, the word Koleda means Carol – as in Christmas Carol.}

    Poland

    While there is no traditional analog of Ded Moroz in Polish folklore, there was an attempt to introduce him as Dziadek Mróz during the communist period. In the People’s Republic of Poland the figure Dziadek Mróz was used in propaganda, since the traditional Święty Mikołaj (Saint Nicholas, the Polish Santa Claus) was determined to be “ideologically hostile”, as part of the campaign against religion, which included elimination of Christmas in favor of New Year. Often officials insisted on using the figure in Polish schools and preschools during celebrations and events for Polish children, instead of Santa Claus in order to give impression of traditional cultural links with the Soviet Union. Despite those efforts, Dziadek Mróz never gained any popular support among the Polish people, and after the fall of communism he disappeared from Poland.

    Christmas holidays could not be eliminated even during the Stalinist period of the Christmas tree, which at the end of 1949 and 1950 stood at offices, factories and schools dayrooms. It did not resemble the Christmas trees, to which Poles were accustomed to. In accordance with the instructions of the Central Committee Propaganda Department, the branches hung models of steel mills and mining cranes, symbols of gears, miniature cars and locomotives, and even cut out of cardboard silhouettes of tanks and cannons. Colorful paper chains replaced with mock-ups of electric traction, the bombkach appeared propaganda slogans “Peace,” “Friendship”. Instead, of the star of Bethlehem being placed on top of the fir tree, a red star was placed. Appropriating Christmas by the communist government began in 1944, in Poland.

    http://www.wprost.pl/ar/?O=71301&C=57

    Romania

    Moş Gerilă was, in Communist Romania, a replacement of Father Christmas (Moş Crăciun), being part of the Communist offensive against religion. His name is a Romanian language adaptation of the Russian Ded Moroz.

    In 1948, after the Communists gained power in Romania, it was decided that Christmas should not be celebrated in Romania. 25 December and 26 December became working days and no official celebrations were to be held. As a replacement of Moş Crăciun, a new character was introduced, Moş Gerilă (literally “Old Man Frosty”), who brought gifts to children on 31 December.

    Officially, the New Year’s Day celebrations began on 30 December, which was named the Day of the Republic, since it was the day when King Mihai I of Romania abdicated in 1947.

    After the Romanian Revolution of 1989, Moş Gerilă lost his influence, being replaced by Moş Crăciun.

    Ukraine

    Saint Nicholas (Sviatyi Mykolai) is one of the most popular saints of the Eastern and Western churches. Little is known about him except that he was bishop of Myra (now in Turkey) in the 4th century, and that he was probably born in Patara (near modern Kalamaki, Turkey). Legends of his charity, especially toward children, and of miracles associated with him, soon spread throughout Europe. In Ukraine, Saint Nicholas was probably introduced by Bishop Yefrem (according to some sources, a metropolitan of Kyiv ca. 1089–98), to whom a popular manuscript on the miracles of Saint Nicholas is attributed. According to chronicles a church in Saint Nicholas’s honor had already been built in Kyiv during the reign of Prince Ihor (d 945).

    In Ukrainian folk tradition there are two figures known as Saint Nicholas. One, ‘warm Nicholas,’ was celebrated in the spring, on 22 May (9 May OS), and the other, ‘old Nicholas,’ was commemorated in the winter, on 19 December (6 December OS). The warm Nicholas was considered to be the patron saint of agriculture. He was said to walk the land, examining the freshly sown fields, ‘drying places over-damp, and dampening those over-dry’ after the winter. On the festival, householders would lead their horses into the fields for the first night’s grazing, shear sheep, and sow buckwheat. Saint Nicholas was called upon to protect livestock from wolves, and his name frequently appeared in shepherds’ prayers. He was also a patron of youth, particularly of orphans and poor girls. The latter he was said to assist in preserving their chastity and in seeking a husband.

    In the Kyiv region and Podilia a feast known as nykol’shchyna was held on 22 May. Ukrainian Cossacks considered Saint Nicholas to be patron of the seas. When venturing out to sea the Cossacks would hold a church service in his honor and would carry icons with his likeness. They would pray to these icons for salvation if caught in violent storms, and there were numerous sailors’ tales about their miraculous powers.

    According to folk tradition the old Nicholas brought the first snow ‘by shaking his beard.’ He was considered the patron of spinning, and yarns and thread were often brought to church on his festival ‘to add to his beard.’ In Western Ukraine gifts were given to children on the eve of his feast day. The Ukrainian Catholic church encouraged the development of ritual plays and games depicting Saint Nicholas, an angel, and the devil (in appropriate masks and garb), which exhorted children to do good deeds. These plays, some of which were written by professional authors, were often staged by amateur theaters.

    Saint Nicholas often appears in carols and legends. In Ukraine icons with his image were greatly cherished and found in virtually every home. His icon was also placed in an important position in iconostases, usually flanking Jesus, the Mother of God, or the patron saint of the church. In Ukraine Saint Nicholas was so popular that over time the ‘functions’ of other saints (such as Saint Michael the Archangel, Saint Andrew, Saint George, and Saint Barbara) were ascribed to him.

    During the Princely era, according to Yevhen Onatsky, Ukrainians conducted pilgrimages to the relics of Saint Nicholas in Bari in southern Italy (where they had been taken in 1087 by Italian sailors). This tradition was revived in 1953 by Ukrainian émigrés on the initiative of Archbishop Ivan Buchko.
    M. Mushynka

    Icon_Saint Nicholas last quarter 16th_century Galicia.jpg

    Sincerely,

    LES

    PS In the nineteenth century, the “bolshevik/communist congress” had a convention. They decided to CREATE a national secular holiday with “did moroz” – to bastardize the culture and traditions of the nations {PRONOUNCED – HUMAN BIENGS} that the secular SAVAGE PAGAN uncivilized barbarians in the kremlin wanted to ENSLAVE and russify OR ETERMINATE!

    PPS For those of you that celebrate Christmas by the Gregorian calendar, I wish you all a Merry Christmas. I will be making a conscious effort to wish everyone A Merry Christmas this year – my way of saying that I am celebrating The Birth of Jesus Christ. Maybe we can prevent one more American tradition from being lost in the sea of “Political Correctness”.

    • Typo:

      PS In the nineteenth century, the “Bolshevik/communist congress” had a convention. They decided to CREATE a Bolshevik/communist secular holiday with “did moroz” – to replace the celebration of the birthday Jesus Christ with a pagan criminal kidnapper of children; and, to bastardize the culture and traditions of the nations {PRONOUNCED – GOD’S CHILDREN} that the secular SAVAGE PAGAN uncivilized barbarians in the kremlin wanted to ENSLAVE and russify OR EXTERMINATE!

  18. I recieved an e-mail with a photo of a big pine tree in moscow. Under the photo, the caption was:

    Moscow celebrates Christmas according to the Russian Orthodox calendar on Jan. 7. For weeks beforehand, the city is alive with festivities in anticipation of Father Frost’s arrival on his magical troika with the Snow Maiden.

    He and his helper deliver gifts under the New Year tree, or yolka, which is traditionally a fir.

    • Ukraine has many old traditions during christmas. We always celabrated the many days of Christmas. I remember the 12 course meal that my Mother made.

      The ‘holy supper’ on Christmas Eve is a meal of 12 ritual meatless and milkless dishes. The order of the dishes and even the dishes themselves are not uniform everywhere, for every region adheres to its own tradition. In the Hutsul region, for example, the dishes were served in the following order: beans, fish, boiled potato dumplings (pyrohy or varenyky), cabbage rolls (holubtsi), dzobavka or kutia (cooked whole-wheat grains, honey, and ground poppy seeds), potatoes mashed with garlic, stewed fruit, lohaza (peas with oil or honey), plums with beans, pyrohy stuffed with poppy seeds, soup containing sauerkraut juice and groats (rosivnytsia), millet porridge, and boiled corn (kokot).

      The same e-mail had the real meaning of the 12 days of Christmas – I didn’t know that…

      There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me.

      What in the world do leaping lords, French hens,

      swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won’t come out

      of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?

      This week, I found out.

      From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were

      not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone

      during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics.

      It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning

      plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each

      element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality

      which the children could remember.

      -The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

      -Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

      -Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.

      -The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

      -The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

      -The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

      -Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit–Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

      -The eight maids a-milking were the eight be atitudes.

      -Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit–Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness,

      Gentleness, and Self Control.

      -The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.

      -The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

      -The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.

      So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol…so pass it on if you wish.’

      Merry (Twelve Days of) Christmas Everyone

  19. The Interfax News Agency says a total of 26 Orthodox priests have been murdered in Russia since 1990. Many others have been assaulted. They include Vitaly Zubkov, who was kicked and beaten last month, just days after the murder of his friend, Father Daniil Sysoyev in Moscow.

    The head of the Religion and Law Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Roman Lunkin, told VOA many Russians call themselves Orthodox Christians but have no idea about the obligations required by organized religion. He says Russian spiritual leaders themselves often set the wrong example by mixing church-state relations.

    Lunkin says church leaders send a signal that to call oneself an Orthodox, it is enough to maintain close ties with the state or government officials and to participate in official ceremonies. He says this reveals an absence of true faith, adding that priests often begin with the construction of a church building, instead of first organizing a community of believers.

    Lunkin recalls an incident several years ago when a priest began building a church in the Ivanovo region north of Moscow and arrived one morning to find that local residents had dismantled the structure for its bricks because there was no organized community in that village and no one knew what Orthodoxy was. He adds that local hooligans who killed the priest considered themselves to be Orthodox.

    Russia’s Islamic community has also been rocked this year by several high-profile killings of Muslim clerics in the Caucasus. They include Akhmed Tagayev, deputy mufti of Dagestan, and Ismail Bostanov, rector of the Islamic Institute in the southern Karachai-Cherkessia region.

    Gizatullin says people in Russia do not know how to listen to one another, to give others the right away on the road, or to understand the foundations of spirituality and religion. This, he concludes, leads to current situation, which follows 70 years of alienation from the spiritual roots and traditions of Russia. He says people now fail to realize that members of the clergy and all others are protected by the Almighty and by the law.

    He says the kremlin also made the mistake of focusing on the construction of buildings at the expense of community.

    Gizatullin says Soviet authorities wanted to construct more living space for people, but toilets and other communal structures were forgotten. He says there was no time, no energy, and no resources for such things, and now Russia is reaping those elements of Soviet life.

    Murders of prominent Russians are not limited to the clergy. Investigative journalists and political activists have also been victims. Most of the killers remain at large.

    http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/europe/Wave-of-Clergy-Killings-in-Russia-79996257.html

  20. Christmas According to Marx and Lenin, by Ronald Reagan

    In an effort to resist Christians, Communist leaders secularized a favorite Ukrainian Christmas carol, “Nova Radist Stala” (Joyous News Has Come to Us). The original song began with these words: “The joyous news has come which never was before. Over a cave above a manger a bright star has lit the world, where Jesus was born from a virgin maiden, …” Communists feared the public outcry that would follow a complete ban on Christmas, so they began to slowly secularize the holiday. The first rewrite of the song began: “The joyous news has come which never was before, a red star with five tails has brightly lit the world.” The second rewrite went further: “The joyous news has come which never was before. Long-awaited star of freedom lit the skies in October [the month of the Revolution]. Where formerly lived the kings and had the roots their nobles, there today with simple folks, Lenin’s glory hovers.”

    The former Soviet Union eventually began banning Christmas commemorations. St. Nicholas was replaced with “Did Moroz,” or Grandfather Frost. This Stalinist creation wears a red cap and long white beard of Santa Claus, but he delivers gifts to children on New Year’s Eve. Christmas trees were also banned, but people continued to trim their New Year’s trees. Communism folded all Christmas celebrations into a New Year celebration.

    Christians in the former Soviet Union exhibited bravery and courage in confronting Communism’s anti-Christmas campaign. One person recalled how the young people would go out in the streets and sing Christmas carols, knowing that if police heard them, they would be arrested. In Communist Romania, Rev. Geza Palffy, a Roman Catholic priest, delivered a sermon in 1983, protesting against the fact that December 25th had been declared a work day instead of a holiday. The next day he was arrested by secret police, beaten, imprisoned and died. Inside and outside the Iron Curtain, Ukrainians never stopped singing: “We beg you our Lord, we pray to you today. Grant us freedom, return glory to our Mother Ukraine.” Mr. Reagan ended his broadcast: “I guess we all hope their prayer is answered.” Indeed it was.

    http://www.earnedmedia.org/libc1201.htm

  21. The assumption behind the headline is that, at some unspecified time in the past, there were freedom of religion, the rule of law, or democratic rights in Russia. At no time since the creation of the Grnd Duchy of Muscovy have such things existed, except briefly in a fragmentary form.

    Hence the ease with which the Bolsheviks seized power and crushed all more libertarian forms of socialism. Hence the collapse of the brief shoots of liberty seen during the era of glasnost and perestroika. Hence the incomprehension and unhelpful advice of American and Swiss advisers who imagined that their own rights were the default desire and condition of humanity, so that they could be established from scratch without difficulty.

    The Tsars before Peter I did not admit Jews and Catholics into the country. The new regime does not allow all religions and Christian denominations to cooperate freely. Instead, we see the rabid nationalism, anti-semitism and lust for power of the Orthodox hierarchy infecting once more the whole country. They have even reached out their hand, with the help of the new kleptocrats at home and abroad, to crush the liberal and educated Orthodox of Britain and France.

    When the Communist Party was dethroned, the Orthodox Chuch was one of the three major power groups. Now, as under the KGB Patriarchs and the Tsars, the Orthodox Church is again a close ally of the state.

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