William Yoder – The Fellow with His Finger in the Dike. Sergey Ryakhovsky turns 60

M o s c o w – On 18 March, Moscow’s Sergey Vasilevich Ryakhovsky, Senior Bishop of ROSKhVE, the “Associated Russian Union of Christians of Evangelical-Pentecostal Faith”, turned 60. Despite his many detractors in Ukraine and the West, Russian evangelicals have reason enough to thank Ryakhovsky for his efforts in the public and political realm. Russian nationalists have long wanted to prove that evangelicals are foreign, pro-Western half-spies, the lengthened arms of Western governments reaching over and beyond the political divide. The Bishop and his cohorts are doing what they can to keep the nationalists from winning the day. He’s the Dutch boy plugging the dike with his finger, keeping the onslaught from turning into a deluge. He is attempting to keep the public presence of Russia’s Protestants afloat by proving that Protestants are loyal servants of their societies even when they find themselves beyond the reach of NATO and the European Union. Left to their own devices, the West’s pro-Maidan evangelicals would in my view virtually prove the claims of Russia’s nationalist movement.

In an interview published by “Moskovsky Komsomolits” on 21 March, the birthday kid claimed: “I will not hide the fact that the members of our denomination are active in all branches of government.” Yet he also admits in the article that not all of these feel free to express their religious allegiances openly. Publicly, the Bishop tries hard to be up-beat and constructive; he likes to claim that accusations of sectarianism are becoming a thing of the past. In the interview he states: “Let me remind you that I have been a member of the ‘Presidential Council for Cooperation with Religious Organisations’ since 2002 and a member of the ‘Public Chamber’ since 2005. My membership would be cancelled within seconds if the federal government changed its attitude towards Protestants.”

After Ryakhovsky famously posed with President Putin and the heads of Russia’s largest religious faiths in Red Square on 4 November 2014, an “Itar-Tass” press release listed his Pentecostal denomination among the “leading traditional Russian confessions”. “Fortunately”, the Bishop’s location on the right edge of the photo allowed him to be cropped off by some agencies, but the press release itself was sufficient cause for heart attacks on the part of Russia’s nationalist faithful. Continue reading “William Yoder – The Fellow with His Finger in the Dike. Sergey Ryakhovsky turns 60”


William Yoder – A Commentary on Evangelist Franklin Graham in Moscow

franklin graham
Franklin Graham

Note of the blogger: The text below proves, again, what an embarassment the foolishnes of Franklin Graham is to his illustrious father. Read for yourself (I have undelined certain passages, for out help). I need to say no more. (D.M.)

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God: Big Enough to Stomach Us Both

M o s c o w — Rev. Franklin Graham’s visit to Moscow from 28 October to 1 November was surely the most “politically incorrect” visit of a Western church leader to Eastern Europe in decades. A foreboding of things to come had arisen when Graham assured at the outset that he was praying for Vladimir Putin. Franklin Graham, chairman of the “Billy Graham Evangelistic Association” had previously only visited Russia in 1984 along with his famous father. Franklin did hold evangelistic campaigns in Ukraine in July 2007 and June 2014.

Ukrainian Baptists had ridiculed the “Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists” for a statement on 30 May 2014 which lauded the divorced Russian leader for “protecting and strengthening spiritual and moral values”. Graham repeated the transgression in his meeting with RUECB leadership on 28 October by assuring that Putin “defends Biblical values from the attacks of secularism”. On the basis of his statements in Moscow, Graham sees Putin as a major defender of the historic Christian faith. Barack Obama on the other hand is “without a Christian worldview” and “promotes atheism”.

Mainstream media – the “Washington Post” for ex. – have repeated branded Putin a “fascist”. Yet Graham insisted in Moscow that millions of simple Americans would like to see Vladimir Putin candidate for the office of US President. God has given Putin the wisdom necessary to “lead a massive country, which God has blessed”. Graham met personally with the Russian president for 45 minutes during the Moscow sojourn. Continue reading “William Yoder – A Commentary on Evangelist Franklin Graham in Moscow”

William Yoder – Report on A Visit in Slaviansk and Kiev

Smolensk – The express train from Kiev to Konstantinovka storms toward the front lines at up to 100 mph – Konstantinovka, located to the west of Donetsk, is the present end station. War-damaged Croatia left a different impression two decades ago. Back then, I experienced aged busses on detours chugging slowly up mountain passes.
In Slaviansk, Eastern Ukraine looks remarkably robust. Since the “rebels” departed on 5 July of last year, the city has been busy hammering and sawing. War damage is now only apparent on the fringes of the city; schools, hospitals and municipal offices are working full steam. Innumerable street potholes still point to the events that transpired a year ago.
The city’s three large Charismatic-Pentecostal churches have been major players in the rebuilding process. These are the churches now up on top in Slaviansk. Peter Dudnik reported on 1 April that helpers associated with his congregation had repaired 112 of the 1.500 damaged private dwellings and built four new ones from the ground up.
The humanitarian efforts of Dudnik, the second head pastor of the large „Good News“ congregation, have made him a household name throughout Ukraine. His congregation has major connections and sports a constant steam of construction and humanitarian workers arriving from western Ukraine, Germany and the US. In the office of his congregation, representatives from the local government and military are frequent guests. Continue reading “William Yoder – Report on A Visit in Slaviansk and Kiev”

Mykhailo Cherenkov – ‘Orthodox Terrorism’

Building of Donetsk Christian University,
occupied now by pro-Russian terrorists

Long before Russia’s annexation of Crimea and unproclaimed war in the Donbass, Ukraine had become a religious battleground. Despite the warning of Yurii Chernomorets, Cyril Hovorun, and other observers, none of the leading Ukrainian and Western politicians foresaw the threat posed by an increasingly aggressive form of Orthodox Christianity being promoted by Moscow. As events in Ukraine have now shown, Orthodox fundamentalism is no less aggressive than Islamic fundamentalism, and the “Russian Spring” is no less bloody than its Arab counterpart.

The facts speak for themselves: Greek Catholics and Kiev-patriarchate Ukrainian Orthodox churches have become de facto ­il­legal entities in the annexed Crimea; in the Donbass region, an “Orthodox army” is active; dozens of Protestant ­churches have been seized; there have been cases of kidnapping, torture, and killing of pastors; ­Moscow-patriarchate priests openly bless terrorists and refuse to pray over deceased Ukrainian soldiers; Patriarch Kirill of Moscow predicts the downfall of Ukraine as a “kingdom divided against itself.”

Russia’s war against Ukraine has exacerbated a series of international, interethnic, and interconfessional conflicts. It is the religious aspect of the conflict that may prove to be the most significant, because Moscow Orthodoxy has been presented as the thing holding the “Russian world” together, and thereby as the main actor in the bloody Russian Spring.

Putin has justified the annexation of Crimea by saying that it has “sacred meaning for Russia, like the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for Jews and Muslims.” He calls it “the ­spiritual source of the formation of the ­multifaced but monolithic Russian nation. . . . It was on this spiritual soil that our ancestors first and forever recognized their nationhood.”

Continue reading “Mykhailo Cherenkov – ‘Orthodox Terrorism’”

William Yoder – The Protestants of Ukraine and Russia Have A Spiritual Problem

NOTE: American Baptist correspondent William Yoder continues to manifest in his newsletters a definite pro-Russian and anti-Ukrainian position, concerning the Russian aggression in Eastern Ukraine. He should know better.

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M o s c o w – The Mennonite Harley Wagler, a US-American who has spent the last 21 years in Nizhny Novgorod/Russia, describes the difference between Ukrainian and Russian Baptists as a theological one. He writes: “Many Russian evangelicals are now being pilloried by the Ukrainian ones, who say they are ‘stooges’ of Putin. But the difference is theological. The Russians, generally speaking, say the church should honour the government, even if it is imperfect, since the church represents another kingdom. Even in the worst Stalin years, Baptist leaders never directly criticized the government, simply asserting that they followed a higher calling. One should recall the Baptist Alyosha in Solzhenitsyn’s ‘One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich’. That remains the Baptist position.”

“In Ukraine however, many evangelicals have taken the opposite position. They now say they must support the new government, that this is their patriotic duty. Even the president of Ukraine, for several months, was a Baptist lay minister (Oleksandr Turchynov). He has gained notoriety as the ‘bloody pastor’ because of his thundering and militaristic, anti-Russian pronouncements. Which position is closer to the Biblical one?”

This Russian assessment of Turchynov is harsh, and the Russian Baptist Union did briefly stick its head above the trenches and into politics when its statement from 30 May 2014 questioned the theological justification for support of the Maidan revolt. (See our article from 24 July.) Continue reading “William Yoder – The Protestants of Ukraine and Russia Have A Spiritual Problem”

EBF Response to Russian Baptist Union Statement on Ukraine


Baptist Brothers and Sisters in Christ in Russia

Peace be with you!

Thank you for sending a copy of your Statement to ‘friends in Christ primarily in North America’, on the day of US Secretary of State, John Kerry’s visit to Kiev.  Of course these issues regarding a political stance towards Ukraine are also there for western European nations and the European Union, as the presence this week in Kiev and Moscow of the German Chancellor and the French President confirms.

You graciously invite us to respond to the Statement, and as President and General Secretary of the EBF we take this opportunity to do so.

We are sure that all in the European Baptist Federation would share with Russian Baptists the overwhelming strong desire for a peaceful, negotiated settlement to end the violence, bloodshed and driving out of people from their homes in Eastern Ukraine.  Together we believe in Christ who ‘came to bring peace’ (Ephesians Ch 2) between those who are estranged from one another.   Continue reading “EBF Response to Russian Baptist Union Statement on Ukraine”

EBF appeals to Russian/Ukraine Baptists

News | European Baptist Federation (EBF).

The European Baptist Federation reminds Russian Baptists that they are called to play a prophetic role in their country and not just blindly endorse the militaristic policy of the Kremlin.

Roundtable/Consultation on Religious Persecution in Occupied Territories of Ukraine

Ukrainian delegation

Dear Friends and Ministry Partners,

I am writing to request your urgent prayers for a strategic Roundtable/Consultation on Religious Persecution in Occupied Territories of Ukraine that Mission Eurasia is hosting today in Washington, D.C. in partnership with the International Religious Freedom Roundtable (USA). The goals of this special Roundtable/Consultation are to create awareness about the state of religious persecution in Ukraine—that now includes abduction, torture, and even murder—and to mobilize the US Congress and global Christian community to support and advocate on behalf of those in Ukraine who are suffering for their faith.  Special reports and presentations will be made by religious leaders from Kiev and eastern Ukraine as well as by other experts in the fields of religious freedom and human rights.    Continue reading “Roundtable/Consultation on Religious Persecution in Occupied Territories of Ukraine”

Why Russia’s Evangelicals Thank God for Putin | Christianity Today

Why Russia’s Evangelicals Thank God for Putin | Christianity Today.

Mark Elliott, editor of East-West Church & Ministry Report, writes about the large support that Putin militaristic policy strangely enjoys among evangelicals in Russia.
A case study about the lasting effects of Soviet brain washing.

Philip Jenkins – The 160-Year Christian History Behind What’s Happening in Ukraine

The 160-Year Christian History Behind What’s Happening in Ukraine | Christianity Today.

This text, written by historian Philip Jenkins, from Baylor University, could help us understand the historical background of the current conflict between Ukraine and Russia. And, yes, this is, again, about Russian exceptionalism, apocalipticism and imperial drive, all clothed shrewdly in the Eastern Orthodox garments of the ‘Third Rome’.

Anastasia Taylor-Lind – Fighters and Mourners of the Ukrainian Revolution

“Men fight wars, and women mourn them,” says documentary photographer Anastasia Taylor-Lind. With stark, arresting images from the Maidan protests in Ukraine, the TED Fellow shows us intimate faces from the revolution. A grim and beautiful talk.

Anastasia Taylor-Lind is a documentary photographer who works around the world on issues relating to women, birth rights, depopulation and post-conflict regions.

My Ukrainian Friend’s Comment on My Text About Russian Baptists

Russia invaded Eastern Ukraine

You may find HERE the article on my blog to which my Ukrainian friend responds.
* * *
Dear Dr. Manastireanu!
Thank you for your article on Russia-USA Christian Leaders Forum. I totally agree with your evaluation of the situation. We also had a number of critical articles and posts of Ukrainian church leaders about this “forum”. Here we have been involved in informational war with Russia (including Russian Christians) for already a year. But it seems that many “Christians” in Russia believe more in “Holy Russia” than in Holy Trinity.
By the way, one interesting fact. One of quite influential pastors in Ukraine just before this forum wrote in FB about a dream he had in which Hilarion with a group of Russian protestant leaders came to the US Congress meeting with US senators trying to persuade them that Putin is the last and only hope against moral decay of the world. Famous US Christian media (i.e. CT) were broadcasting this event and all believed them. Later he saw as all the members of the group had small portfolios on which it was written: “unblessed peacemakers” and Ezek. 13:9-14. Then he woke up…

Continue reading “My Ukrainian Friend’s Comment on My Text About Russian Baptists”

Russian Baptists Fail to Assume Responsibility for Their Shameful Support of Putin Invasion in Ukraine

Orthodox Metr. Hilarion addressing the forum

Relationships between Russia and the US are deteriorating rapidly because of the aggressive neo-Soviet imperialism promoted by Putin, primarily in Ukraine, but, in fact everywhere in the world where he has interests. This unavoidably affects Russia’s image in the world. Not that Putin cares very much about that – it was not care for the world that made him a KGB spy and then president of Russia. However, such image deterioration has economic consequences, and that really hurts (not so much the Russian people, who really do not count, but the interests of the oligarch’s who support the Russian dictator). Thus, the new Russian ‘tsar’ started sending around his ‘slaves’ to try saving what they can.

This is the context for the so-called ‘Russia-USA Forum of Christian Leaders’, in which a delegation of Russian Orthodox, led by Metr. Hilarion Alfeyev, in charge of foreign affairs for the Moscow Patriarchate, and of Russian Evangelical leaders, mostly Baptists and Pentecostal/charismatics (nota bene, there were no Catholic leaders involved), have met with a number of Protestant/Evangelical American leaders, in an attempt to clean up the tarnished face of ‘mother Russia’. The convenor of this religiously dubious and politically misguied meeting was the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, more precisely, its constantly embarassing president, Franklin Graham. Continue reading “Russian Baptists Fail to Assume Responsibility for Their Shameful Support of Putin Invasion in Ukraine”

A Call to Prayer for Donetsk Christian Unicerzity

Donetsk Christian University

Dear  Friends and Colleagues in the Kingdom of God and in the field of theological  education,  greetings.  I  would like to share with you a word  from  Oleksii  Melnychuk,  the  president  of  Donetsk Christian University  (Ukraine),  which  was  occupied  by  the  armed  group of Pro-Russian separatists.

Since  Slavyansk,  Kramatorsk and other cities north of Donetsk have been  freed  from  pro-Russian  separatists,  Donetsk has become the stronghold of the separatists bands of armed soldiers in the region. A  group  of  approximately 2,000 armed soldiers entered the city of Donetsk  and  have occupied the dormitories of universities, schools and hotels.

On  July  9  a  group  of  armed  individuals  from  the separatists Pro-Russian   group,   named  “Oplot”,  came  to  Donetsk  Christian University  (hereafter known as DCU) and demanded that we vacate the university’s  student dormitory for their use. By the end of the day they  brought a written directive from the their leader stating that they  are  taking possession DCU building(s) for temporary use to be given back to DCU when the war ends. Continue reading “A Call to Prayer for Donetsk Christian Unicerzity”

Kseniya Simonova – Sand Animation

This is absolutely stunning!

From ‘Ukraine Got Talent’

28 March – Day of Prayer for Ukraine

Winter 2014 has become the most tragic period in Ukraine’s history of national development. For more than three months, there has been a very aggressive confrontation between the people of Ukraine and government special police forces. Demonstration lost its peaceful character after people were killed, and the 19th of February was a horrible day, marked by close to 900 injured people and 77 dead due to gunshot wounds. Prayer is much needed for families of those who lost their loved ones. May the Lord protect their hearts, minds, and souls from hatred and aggressive decisions.

Continue reading “28 March – Day of Prayer for Ukraine”

Dan Wooding – Exclusive Interview with Acting President of Ukraine





Olexandr Turchynov, talking to Victor Hamm, from BGEA

Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST Ministries, writes in this news piece about the exclusive inyerview given by acting Ukrainian President, Olexandr Turchynov, to Victor Hamm, vice-president of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). The interview will apear in a special issue of Ukraine or the BGEA magazine Decision.

Hamm, who was born in a Societ labour camp, writes Wooding, ‘has led 15 crusades in Ukraine between 1994 and 2006 as a BGEA associate evangelist’ and met with Turchynov at the request of ‘BGEA President Franklin Graham, who preached in Kiev in 2007’.

Here are a few of the things declared by Turchynov (his own words in italics), as recorded by Wooding. (Thanks to Rev Colin Chapman for sending me information about this.) Continue reading “Dan Wooding – Exclusive Interview with Acting President of Ukraine”

Malkhaz Songulashvili – Ukraine in Europe – 7. Building European Values

Three main factors are decisive for the establishment of European values in the post-Soviet space: experiential, linguistic and religious.

The experiential factor implies people traveling to the Western world and acquainting themselves with the values and rules of societies there, becoming convinced that our compatriots in the post-Soviet space are much more oppressed than in the West. People in the West are much freer, have opportunities to receive good education, quality medical care and social services. They also see that a westerner has same abilities as an easterner. The difference, however, is that the easterner does not have the possibility to fully realize his/her abilities, whereas the westerner does. This happens because an individual person and his/her welfare has superior value in the West. The more intensively people travel to the West, the clearer they will understand Western values if, of course, they want to – I have seen many Eastern Europeans in the West who have failed to understand why Western values are so different from Soviet ones. The state of affairs in this regard is much better among Ukrainians. Ukrainians can cross over into Western Europe in the morning and be back in Ukraine the same evening. They can use cheap transportation to travel to the West and can easily familiarize themselves with Western culture and values. Continue reading “Malkhaz Songulashvili – Ukraine in Europe – 7. Building European Values”

Malkhaz Songulashvili – Ukraine in Europe – 6. Hope for Post-Soviet Countries

In evangelical circles it is customary, as a sign of intercommunion, to ask foreign guests: how can we pray for your country? I have often joked, especially after the Russia-Georgia war of August 2008 that one does not need to pray for Georgia; it is Russia that badly needs to be prayed for today. It needs prayers to be freed from that rancor that chokes it and makes it hostile, not only towards the Western Christian civilization, but also towards its co-religionists of Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus and Moldova. Co-religionism is both a noose and a stick in its hands. This clearly has nothing in common with either Christianity or love towards Jesus. Unfortunately, the Russian Orthodox Church is a steadfast implementer of the Kremlin’s politics in this area. It seems that the hierarchs of the Russian Church are not concerned about the fate of their people and country. The only thing they are concerned about is maintaining the “superpower.” This is very regretful, but that is how it is. Continue reading “Malkhaz Songulashvili – Ukraine in Europe – 6. Hope for Post-Soviet Countries”

Malkhaz Songulashvili – Ukraine in Europe – 5. In Search of Freedom

An Orthodox priest between police and protesters in Kiev

I was observing this milieu in amazement, thinking to myself that these people definitely deserve to be free and to live in the European environment.

What has been happening over the past three months or so in the capital city of Ukraine is a clear expression of the will of the freedom-loving Ukrainian people. The Ukrainian people wish to link their fate not only to the European Union and the West, but also to those values which Western civilization is built upon.

Every civilization has its positive and negative sides, and the West is no exception. The virtue of the West is that human beings and the universe they live in are considered the most important phenomena. Continue reading “Malkhaz Songulashvili – Ukraine in Europe – 5. In Search of Freedom”

Malkhaz Songulashvili – Ukraine in Europe – 4. A Meeting with the Synodals

Ukrainian Orthodox priest on the Maidan

I will now go back to my visit to Kiev this January: the Synod ended and the bishops of Synod (the Ukrainian Synod comprises 10 bishops out of a total 30) went out of the room. The Patriarch met me with the same warmth as before, but it was easy to discern that he was worried. On that day, government forces had killed three demonstrators and used tear-gas against the protestors. Among the injured in Kiev’s central square, the Maidan, was a Crimean bishop who, along with us, was also waiting for the end of the Synod.

Both Synodals (that’s how the bishops in the synod are called) and those who were waiting in the lobby were hungry, so we moved straight to a dining hall. A modest but delicious dinner awaited us there: hot borscht, fish and fruit. The Patriarch blessed the food and we sat at the table. The dinner of the Patriarch was quite a scene. Once we sat at the table, the bishops and metropolitans immediately took out their iPads and iPhones – all of them were rushing to learn about what was happening on the barricades. One after another, they read out the news while having dinner. Continue reading “Malkhaz Songulashvili – Ukraine in Europe – 4. A Meeting with the Synodals”

Malkhaz Songulashvili – Ukraine in Europe – 3. An Historical Excursus

Vladimir the Great, the grand prince of Kiev

Today, the Kiev Patriarchate is in a similar state as the Georgian Orthodox Church was in the period between 1917 and 1943, before Joseph Stalin came to its defense and forced the Russian Church to recognize its autocephaly. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church had no such defender to help restore its autocephaly. The former President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, tried to defend it and turned to the Patriarchate of Constantinople for help. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople subsequently arrived in Kiev and was ready to conduct negotiations with the Kiev Patriarchate, but the Kremlin got involved and, by means of the Turkish government, dissuaded the Patriarch of Constantinople, whose residence is located in Istanbul, from assisting the Kiev Patriarchate.

For almost 20 years now, the Moscow Patriarchate has successfully blocked the foreign relations of the Kiev Patriarchate. It wants the Kiev Patriarchate to be isolated from any Orthodox Christian Church and from the Christian world in general. Continue reading “Malkhaz Songulashvili – Ukraine in Europe – 3. An Historical Excursus”

Malkhaz Songulashvili – Ukraine in Europe – 2. Creation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate

Patriarch Filaret of Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kiev Patriarchate

Patriarch Filaret is an exceptional person. I first met him during the Orange Revolution, together with Deacon Basil Kobakhidze and Father Zaza Tevzadze. We three arrived in Kiev to express our Christian solidarity with Ukraine’s religious communities, which each supported the revolution to a greater or lesser extent. The three of us were thus walking about Kiev’s streets, each sporting orange shawls around our necks. Father Zaza Tevsadze was holding a Georgian flag fixed to the top of a rod. Father Basil Kobakhidze was wearing his cap and any time he wanted to smoke, he folded up his vestment to hide it under his coat. I was wearing a black cape and sandals on bare feet. I am sure it was quite a scene, these three eccentric Georgians on the streets of Kiev. At times, all three of us got very cold. Father Zaza Tevzadze even turned blue from the cold, but he did not let go of the Georgian flag atop of the rod in his hand.

If memory serves me well, we were on our way to a meeting with Filaret when a passer-by asked in surprise: “Why is this Armenian priest holding a Georgian flag?” This provoked heavy laugher among us.

This year, Patriarch Filaret turned 85 years old and I scheduled my visit to Kiev to coincide with this anniversary. Before the recent revolution in Kiev started, the Church of Ukraine drew up a plan for holding large-scale festivities to mark the birthday of the Patriarch, but because of the ongoing revolution, Filaret cancelled all festive events and also refused to receive an award dedicated to the date from the country’s president. Continue reading “Malkhaz Songulashvili – Ukraine in Europe – 2. Creation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate”

Malkhaz Songulashvili – Ukraine in Europe – 1. Russian Orthodox Imperialism

Ukraine in Europe

In January 2014, I was sitting in the lobby of the Patriarch of Kiev along with other bishops, waiting for the Synod to end so that I could meet with Patriarch Filaret. It was snowing and freezing outside and the revolution was well underway in the country!

It was 2011 when I last met Patriarch Filaret, I was accompanying a delegation of the Anglican Church on a visit to Kiev. The delegation included the Bishop of Wakefield, Stephen Platten, the Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Jonathan Goodall, and a renowned Anglican canonist and expert of orthodox liturgy, Hugh Wybrew. The Patriarch was very pleased about our visit. He treated us well. He awarded me and the Rt Revd Stephen Platten with the Order of Saint Vladimir, whilst Jonathan Goodall and Hugh Wybrew received the Order of Saint George. He also gave Panagias to me and Stephen Platten. When handing a Panagia to me he turned to the other attendees and, with sparkling eyes, told them: “the Rt Revd Malkhaz Songulashvili is the Orthodox Baptist.” Back then, the Patriarch was in high spirits.

That visit to Kiev drove the Moscow Patriarchate mad. Letters of condemnation were immediately sent to Lambeth Palace, the official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury. One letter was written by Metropolitan Hilarion, the chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, whilst another was authored by a British Orthodox Christian Metropolitan who falls under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Both metropolitans did not mince their words in criticizing the Church of England and its leader, rebuking the Archbishop for daring to send a delegation to Ukraine without first seeking the consent of the Patriarchate of Moscow. Rowan Williams, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, sent the irritated metropolitans a stern response, doing so calmly, without emotion. After this incident, Bishop of Wakefield Stephen Platten continued his relations with the head of the Ukrainian Church as usual, as well as with his representative to Great Britain, Abbot Kirion Inasaridze.

(To be continued.)

Peter Kuzmic – Ukraine “Crucified” Between the East and West

Peter Kuzmic

I dispatch this column from Kiev, the capital of this country, which approaches its collapse, being “crucified” between Brussels and Moscow. For already three days, I have closely monitored the situation which is extremely dramatic and beyond any control. At times, all this traumatically reminds me of what we had seen in Vukovar in the Fall of 1991 and in Sarajevo several months later. Bloody street fights take place, the buildings are set aflame, the snipers shoot at the innocents from rooftops, Molotov cocktails and bombs burst all around. Some hotels are turned into improvised hospitals, and the Ukraine Hotel on the Independence Square downtown functions as a mortuary wherein the dead are being identified and death toll is being summed up.

It is difficult to predict how and when this uncontrolled sowing of death will end and how many victims will succumb before the Ukrainian people welcome a pro-European liberty it desires and the extreme nationalists on both sides are disarmed. The Ukrainian colleagues and friends (there are some Russians among them, too) claim that I should not believe in official reports and already terrifying statistics on the number of dead and wounded, for the figures of sufferers are quite larger than the ones reported by the media. My former Osijek students (there are totally 50-odd of them in Ukraine) that have experienced a sanguine drama of Yugoslavia’s collapse together with us compare their Yanukovych to Milošević, hoping for a rapid and efficacious intervention of Europe and America. Continue reading “Peter Kuzmic – Ukraine “Crucified” Between the East and West”

I Am An Ukrainian… Too! Are You?

My maternal grandfather was called Serediuc. Get it? I, too, have Ukrainian blood.

However, even if I would not, I would still consider myself an Ukrainian these days.

Please remember Ukrainian in your prayers.

To see more of the Maidan and the people who are protesting there, please visit this website.

Robert Dilday – Ukrainian Baptist Appeals for Prayer as Violence Spreads

A protester wearing Ukraine state flag colors faces a massive fire set by protesters to prevent police forces from crossing a barricade line in Kiev. (Photo by Wikimedia Commons)

Pavel Unguryan, a Baptist leader in Ukraine, says only prayer will stop growing violence and bloodshed in his country, where security forces are attempting to put down protesters calling for Ukraine’s president to resign.

A Ukrainian Baptist leader is appealing for prayer as two months of increasingly violent demonstrations in his country have pitted security forces against protestors calling for the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych.

“Today, as never before, Ukraine desperately needs prayer,” said Pavel Unguryan, a Baptist who was a member of parliament from 2008-2012. “In light of recent events, we realize that only Almighty God can reconcile the conflicting parties and stop the violence and bloodshed in the country.” Continue reading “Robert Dilday – Ukrainian Baptist Appeals for Prayer as Violence Spreads”

CNN – Yanukovych lost control over 7 cities, 5 are blocked by protesters

Yanukovych lost control over 7 cities, 5 are blocked by protesters

(Source, HERE)

We are not extremists! – Open letter of Ukrainian scholars

We are not extremists! 

Open letter of the Ukrainian scholars, scientists, artists, doctors, lawyers, pedagogues and journalists to their fellow citizens and to the international community. 

In the past several days, the protests of Ukrainians against the policies of the Ukrainian government have taken on a new quality. The peaceful demonstrations turned into a forceful confrontation between the protesters and the police. For the past six days, in the government quarter at the heart of Kyiv, on Hrushevskyi Street, genuine battles between the demonstrators and the police have been going on, with hundreds of wounded and several deaths.

The government in Ukraine is trying to frame the situation as progroms initiated by the extremist, radical rightist organizations, Ukrainian neofascists, mostly from the Western regions of Ukraine.

We are moderate people, peaceful professionals, of varied ethnic origin, from various regions of Ukraine. We do not sympathize with the right-wing radical organizations, let alone being their members. We do not think that throwing Molotov cocktails or stones can serve as adequate instruments for protecting one’s values.

Despite this, we declare our solidarity with those, who have been forced to use these instruments today.  Continue reading “We are not extremists! – Open letter of Ukrainian scholars”

Prayer for Ukraine

Ukraine is on the verge of civil war. Please remember her in your prayers. You may also use as your prayer the words on the song below.

This song, called ‘Prayer for Ukraine was written by Mykola Lysenko. Here are the lyrics (first in English, then in Ukrainian), written by Oleksandr Konysky (source, HERE): Continue reading “Prayer for Ukraine”

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