“The West is abandoning God,” Patriarch Kirill tells new U.S. ambassador to Russia / OrthoChristian.Com

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met with newly-appointed American ambassador to Russia John Huntsman at the patriarchal residence yesterday to discuss matters of relations between the two countries and of the fate of suffering Christians around the world, reports patriarchia.ru. Photo: RIA-Novosti

The patriarch [noted] that the relationship between believers is one of the human heart, between diplomats—of the mind, and between businessmen—of the stomach. “I don’t think we should exclude the heart from international relations,” His Holiness emphasized.

Source: “The West is abandoning God,” Pat. Kirill tells new U.S. ambassador to Russia / OrthoChristian.Com

“In the patriarch’s view, as he told Ambassador Huntsman, today’s difficulties go beyond the mere relations between states, but involve the differences of values and the different understanding of values. He explained to the diplomat that during Soviet times, the persecuted Christians of Russia had more in common in terms of values with the sincere Christians in America than with the atheists among their fellow Russians. ‘Despite the atheistic propaganda in our country, the religiosity was always very high, and it was, I think, a wonderful basis for the development of relations between the new Russia and USA,’ the primate stated.

“However, what happened in the Soviet Union is now happening in America, as His Holiness observed. ‘The West is abandoning God, but Russia is not abandoning God, like the majority of people in the world. That means the distance between our values is increasing,’ Pat. Kirill said… ‘We would very much like if we could look and find the right answers to the challenges of modern civilization along with the religious American people,’ His Holiness assured the ambassador.”

Once again, this  an outcome devoutly to be wished!

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“How RUSSIA Saved The Union’s Ass In The Civil War” | The Burning Platform

The arrival of the Russian fleet to New York and San Francisco “unleashed an immense wave of euphoria in the North.” “The Russian visit… ended the last chance of European intervention.”

Source: How RUSSIA Saved The Union’s Ass In The Civil War – The Burning Platform

Very interesting indeed! And timely, in light of all the attention Russia is getting these days.

It is only fairly recently (within the last year) that I had become aware that Russia supported the Union at all, and I had no idea how decisively. The unspoken subtext to this article, though, is that even the American Civil War (War Between the States) was part of the “Great Game” between Great Britain and Russia for world dominance.

Wonder if it was a memory of this history that led the US to basically seek to impoverish Britain and end her Empire in exchange for American assistance during the World Wars!

Russian Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev – Aleteia

Participating in a London conference on the topic of “The Christian Future of Europe,” Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, head of the External Relations Departments of the Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate, spoke on September 22 at the Russian Embassy to Great Britain, and his talk was something of a warning to the Churches of the West.

Source: Russian Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev – Aleteia

Excerpts from Metropolitan Hilarion’s speech:

“I would like to remind you all that in Russia before 1917 nobody ever proposed that the collapse of a centuries-old Christian empire would happen and that it would be replaced by an atheistic totalitarian regime. And even when that did happen, few believed that it was serious and for long.

“The modern-day decline of Christianity in the western world may be compared to the situation in the Russian Empire before 1917.

“The revolution and the dramatic events which followed it have deep spiritual, as well as social and political, reasons. Over many years the aristocracy and intelligentsia had abandoned the faith, and were then followed by common people.”

He also added,

“And when half a century after the creation of the European Union its constitution was being written, it would have been natural for the Christian Churches to expect that the role of Christianity as one of the European values to have been included in this document, without encroaching upon the secular nature of the authorities in a unified Europe.

“But, as we know, this did not happen.

“The European Union, when writing its constitution, declined to mention its Christian heritage even in the preamble of the document.

“I firmly believe that a Europe which has renounced Christ will not be able to preserve its cultural and spiritual identity.”

I fear he is correct.

Moscow is our friend. Honest. – The Boston Globe

“Anti-Russia sentiment is deeply anchored in the American psyche” … unfortunately.

Source: Moscow is our friend. Honest. – The Boston Globe

Somewhat surprised to see this, coming from the Boston Globe! But as my dear father used to say, “even a stopped clock is right twice a day.” Of course, the author, Stephen Kinzer, has to take a few digs at the Trump administration. But in general, I think he is pretty squarely on:

“Russia does not threaten any vital American interest. Its policies in Syria and the rest of the Middle East are in line with America’s stated desire to crush militant fanatics. Its wariness of China matches our own. As for charges that Russia intervened in an American election, they are serious and deserve investigation — but hardly the basis for howls of anger from a country that is the world champion in manipulating foreign elections.”

Touché! Kinzer goes on to point out,

“The Russia ‘scandal,’ as we are being told to consider it, plays perfectly into the hands of Washington power. It is the ideal distraction. Republicans love it because as long as it dominates the news, there is less space for coverage of stories like the effect of new immigration policies or the rollback of environmental regulations. Democrats are just as happy, for another reason. Embracing the fantasy that Russian interference cost them the 2016 election allows them to avoid facing the reality that their defeat was really the result of presenting a widely loathed candidate and a set of policies far distant from the concerns of ordinary voters…

“Our interests are to lure Russia away from a possible strategic partnership with China; establish a security architecture in Europe that protects both NATO countries and Russia; and work with Russia to stabilize the Middle East. When emotion and prejudice are put aside, Russia is revealed as a potential partner of ours, not an enemy. In the present political climate, however, making that argument is almost suicidal. Washington’s mighty megaphone has told us that Russia is our greatest global foe. By treating it that way, we create an enemy where none exists.”

Amen!

Ryan Hunter. Profound examples of holiness: the Royal Martyrs in their own words and through the words of those who knew them / OrthoChristian.Com

Source: Ryan Hunter. Profound examples of holiness: the Royal Martyrs in their own words and through the words of those who knew them / OrthoChristian.Com

Today, July 17th, 2017, marks the 99th anniversary of the murder – martyrdom, for the Russian Orthodox Church, and many others as well – of the last Tsar, Nicolas II Romanov, his Empress, Alexandra, and their children: now revered as Royal Martyrs and Passion-Bearers. Please follow the link for my gifted young friend Ryan Hunter’s essay on the Royal Martyrs. Ryan also writes:

Today we remember and commemorate the murder and martyrdom 99 years ago of the Russian Imperial Family – Emperor Nicholas II (b. 1868), Empress Alexandra Feodorovna (b. 1872), and their four daughters and one son – along with several of their trusted servants and friends on 17 July 1918. The Emperor had abdicated the throne under dubious circumstances – with some believing he did so under duress, and others that his very signature was forged – on the Ides of March 1917.

The glorification (canonization) of the Imperial Family as passion-bearers – those who went to their deaths with tremendous fortitude, faith, and courage – took place by the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) in 2000, with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) having taken the step of declaring them as martyrs in 1981.

Today the Imperial Family are for many Russians a symbol of the dignity, beauty, and nobility of soul of Old (pre-Soviet) Russia, and a growing movement of mostly young Russians has expressed support for restoring the monarchy under the Romanov House. Reports estimate some 70,000 Russians and other Orthodox believers made the journey to Ekaterinberg to the memorial church dedicated to them.

The last Russian Imperial Family, especially the Emperor and Empress themselves, were victims of a systematic defamation campaign by Bolshevik revolutionary and later official Soviet communist propagandists. Too often, American and Western European historians and politicians have uncritically regurgitated these tired slanders. Anyone familiar with the warm, beautiful letters to and from the Emperor, Empress, and their children will find themselves in a world in which the highest, noblest Christian ideals were valued, defended, and embodied.

The Empress’ beloved older sister, the widowed Grand Duchess and abbess Elizabeth (“Ella”) – both beloved granddaughters of Queen Victoria – died the day after her, and was also glorified as a saint of the Orthodox Church.

O Holy Martyrs, pray to God for us!

Amen.

Chemical Weapons Attack on Idlib: Why Questions Need to Be Asked

Source: Chemical Weapons Attack on Idlib: Why Questions Need to Be Asked

The war in Syria, a complex, controversial, and oft-tragic conflict involving the government of President Bashar Assad, ISIS, and Islamic militias – both rebels and government defenders, of a wide range of militancy levels – and plenty of atrocities on various sides, continues apace. The most recent major incident is a chemical-weapons attack, apparently utilizing nerve gas, in the embattled Idlib Province, which has been widely blamed on government forces by the mainstream media.

This essay gives us some reasons to hesitate before accepting this account uncritically:

The footage of men, women, and children in paroxysms of agony in the wake of a chemical weapons attack near the town of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib province, should make even the most hardened among us to weep. Such human suffering obliges us to question the very premise upon which we like to consider our world as advanced or civilized.

And it is precisely because of this that when we are witness to such an ontological breakdown in humanity that we must resist the pressure to accept the officially prescribed narrative of responsibility at face value… for pro-government forces to carry out such an attack at this time would constitute an act of political and diplomatic self-harm of near-historic proportions. […]

The Syrian government did not deny that it carried [out] an airstrike in Idlib around the same time footage emerged of such unconscionable human suffering. Their explanation is that they bombed a weapons depot close to the town in which Salafi-jihadi groups were storing chemical weapons. Confirmation that such groups are in possession of chemical weapons came in 2013 from UN special investigator Carla del Ponte, based on a UN investigation carried out concerning previous allegations of their use.

It is true that this account appears on the pro-Russian “Sputnik News” site, and the Russian Federation is a close ally of Syrian President Assad. However, some degree of bias is a fact of life in news reporting, especially in our present age, and there is no more reason to automatically discount this article based on its source than there is to automatically and uncritically accept accounts by mainstream media which are generally (and sometimes reflexively) anti-Syrian and anti-Russian.

In the world in which we live, it is important to weigh the relative merits of various accounts, in the hope of arriving at a reasonable conclusion. That it would do little good, and indeed much harm, to the cause of the Syrian government to unleash a chemical attack at this time seems a logical conclusion. And that chemical agents were spread as the unintended outcome of an attack on a weapons depot (a logical military target) which may very well have contained such weapons seems, also, quite logical.

I’m not on the ground in Syria, and I have no special knowledge of the area. But in weighing the relative merits of a logical explanation versus a hysterical account by media sources known to be biased against both the Syrian government and their Russian backers, the weight of the probability seems to incline, to me, toward the Syrian account being the accurate one. Your mileage may vary…


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Is demonizing Putin and Russia a smart move? (Wow! Forum For 03-06-17 | Stately McDaniel Manor)

Source: Wow! Forum For 03-06-17 | Stately McDaniel Manor

I have heretofore been fairly intentional in trying to keep modern politics out of this blog, with only a few exceptions (Brexit being a major one, but that is very much in keeping with the “Anglophilic” aspect). I am beginning to question whether that position remains tenable.

We live in challenging times, politically, morally, economically, and socially. At present, this blog is my only real “voice” in that discussion (leaving Facebook aside, which I do for a variety of reasons, including that it’s such a chaotic cacophony of voices that it is hard to separate the wheat from the chaff, and also that FB posts have such a short shelf-life).

Therefore, you may be seeing an increase in posts with a political theme here – coming, of course, from the same generally conservative, traditionalist, and pro-British (and more generally, pro-European) perspective this blog has always held.

In any case: lots of good stuff in the linked post. The topic for the day is, “Is demonizing Putin and Russia a smart move?” Unsurprisingly, the contributors tend to agree that it’s not. As I say, quite a number of good points raised! But I am especially glad to see Mike McDaniel, author of the awesome blog “Stately McDaniel Manor” (if you don’t know it, you owe it to yourself to pay a visit), basically echo a point I have made before, in a number of fora:

“Speaking ill of the Russians is, mostly, a no-lose proposition for the Democrats. Sure, it’s insanely hypocritical for the party of Ted Kennedy, who actually sought the aid of the Soviets, an evil empire bent on the destruction of America, to help him sabotage Ronald Reagan. The same party’s presidential candidate, John Kerry, betrayed his fellow military members, and his picture hung, for decades, in the North Vietnamese war museum as a hero of the struggle against America. The dishonor role goes on and on, yet it is the same party now indignant that members of the Trump Administration may have had the slightest contact with the Russian Ambassador, a man whose job it is to have as much contact with Americans as possible.”

In other words, as I have pointed out, it’s the height of irony for a party – and in many cases, some of the same people (those who are still alive) – who appeased, accommodated, and apologized for the Soviet Union during the Cold War to suddenly be all up-in-arms over the Russian Federation now.

That does not mean that our interests will always be congruent with the Russians, or that we should not stand firm when they are not. It behooves us to be as friendly with Russia as is reasonable and prudent, without forgetting that the “Russian Bear” is called that for a reason. But it’s legitimate to wonder why global Communist hegemony was perfectly all right with the Democrats, but Russia actually having national interests of its own is not?