Proposed temple

Moscow - The leading Moscow Krishna expressed his opinion about the Russian Orthodox Church

St. Irinaeus Lyon Center for Religious Research, December 12, 2003

As reported in the English "Guardian" newspaper on October 22nd of this year (Nick Paton Walsh "Orthodox Christians See Red over Plans for 'Hindu Vatican' in Moscow"), in an article on the protest of Orthodox Christians against the construction of a Krishna temple on Khodynsky field, the president of the executive committee of the Society for Krishna Consciousness in Russia (MSKC), Sergei Zuyev, expressed the opinion of his organization about the Russian Orthodox Church.

"The Orthodox Church, from our point of view," stated Mr. Zuyev, "is one of the most totalitarian sects in the world which in Russia disguises itself as a state religion." "It is the source of intolerance and mixing the Orthodox belief with nationalism is a really explosive and dangerous mixture." added Zuyev.

Thus the chairman of a well-known international totalitarian sect expresses his opinion about Orthodoxy. This is one more demonstration that ordinary functionaries of the Russian MSKC, while in official statements projecting the attitude of "profound respect" toward the Russian Orthodox Church, all the while continuing to separate Russians from Christians, making them obedient instruments of their totalitarian structure. In any case, now it is no long a matter of with whom the problem arose as much as as it provides a real insight into the goal of the Krishnas.

The temple under discussion, the so-called "Center of Vedic Culture", would be nearly 60 meters high and could hold more than 8,000 worshippers. It should be noted that there is now not one Orthodox Church near Khodynsky field, the site of an All-Russian tragedy, from which prayers could be said for the fallen. If the Krishna's proposed plan is executed, the main structure will not only dominate Khodynsky field but the entire northwest capitol gets a heathen temple, whose structures obviously have plenty of "room for expansion", taking in all the possible new recruits of Moscow. These people might by birth be members of the Orthodox Church, the same one, for which the head Krishna of the capitol expressed his attitude only too clearly and in no uncertain terms

To: Moscow Mayor Yu.M. Luzhkov,
From: Mikhail Ivanovich Moskvin-Tarkhanov (of Moscow Duma)
Re: On the project creating the Krishna shrine on Khodynsky field in Moscow
November 25, 2003

Most esteemed Yuriy Mikhailovich!

In Moscow City Duma hearings on the issue of the activities of totalitarian religious sects in Russia have been held repeatedly. During these a detailed analysis of the activities of various religious denominations in the City of Moscow was carried out.

Undoubtedly, support for social and cultural activities that merit the most profound attention are those traditional to the Russian realm, or those denominations that are universally acknowledged: the Russian Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Baptists and other Christian denominations, "classical" Muslims, such as Sunni or Shiites, Jewish believers, Buddhists and a series of others.

In opposition to this are the misgivings and demands to counteract the system with regard to the Scientology Church, the Moonists, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and a number of other destructive and totalitarian cults.

Unfortunately, the Russian Krishna have themselves been recognized in Russia more as a totalitarian cult than as a recognized denomination, so state aid in creating a Krishna shrine in Moscow is objectionable.

In considering this, as long as many immigrants from India live and work in Russia, a political alternative would be the creation of a medium sized classical Hindu complex which would employ not Moscow Krishnas, but religious figures from India, who would not strive to lure the youth of Moscow into a more seething idleness, to spread aggressive ignorance and to uphold a "slumber of the intellect, which gives birth to monstrosities."

I invite your attention to this problem.

Moscow City Duma religious organizational affairs coordinator,
M.I. Moskvin-Tarkhanov

Moscow - Arguments on whether there is to be or not to be a Krishna temple

Religio.Ru, November 11, 2003

As has been reported, the interparty association "In support of traditional spiritual-moral values in Russia," which has been joined by 41 deputies of the state Duma, called upon Muscovites "to raise their voices and to not permit the construction of a Krishna sectarian temple in the capitol." In the given case, sectarian temple meant the Center of Vedic Culture, which was supposed to be built in Moscow on Khodynsky field. The site for its construction was allotted some time ago by the capitol government.

The Center of Vedic Culture, where the temple is to be located, could be the largest sectarian structure built outside of India for the past 800 years. According to the architects' plan, the building will be 52 meters high, and it will use an areas of 10,000 square meters.

Reactions from representatives of society, traditional religions and highly placed government officials to the Moscow mayor on this problem have been mixed. It is curious that the discussion intensified right before the visit to Russia by Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

By the way, nearly two months ago, a delegation from the Indian parliament, led by the speaker Manohar Joshi visited the Moscow Krishnas in the Russian capitol. Manohar Joshi voiced hope back then that soon he would be able to return to Moscow for the ceremony opening the Vedic Cultural Center, since the Moscow government had promised to allot land for its construction. On his leaving, the leader of the Russian Krishna-Vishnus Bkhaktivagya Gosvami gave the distinguished Indian guest a diagram of the future Vedic cultural center.

The Inter-religious Council of Russian and the Russian Orthodox Church do not welcome the construction of a Krishna temple in the center of Moscow

In the Inter-religious Council of Russia (ICR), association representatives of traditional religious organizations in the country do not welcome the idea of erecting a Krishna temple on Khodynsky field.

"It is extraordinary that a non-traditional religious organization was offered construction of a cultural building in the center of Moscow whose dimensions will be comparable with Christ the Savior church," council executive secretary Roman Silantev told "Interfax" today.

The day before the inter-party association "In support of traditional spiritual-moral values in Russia," which 41 state Duma deputies have joined, spoke out against construction of a Krishna temple in Moscow.

A representative of the Inter-religious Council said that the size of the temple under discussion was not proportionate to the membership of the Krishna community. "Misgivings arise that a new building for the Krishnas will be used for yet more aggressive activity in the conversion to its faith of residents and guests of the Russian capitol," said an agency spokesman.

"Such is not the case for a single religious organization in Russia," the Moscow Patriarchy is convinced

The point of view of an ICR spokesman was made in an interview with "Interfax" by an official representative of the Moscow Patriarchy, reverend Mikhail Dudko.

"According to the information of the Krishnas themselves, the number of their supporters in Moscow is approximately the same as the number of people which the future temple is being built," said the clergyman. "Such is not the case for a single religious organization in Russia, where the number of followers of one or another denomination is always bigger that could assemble in the church, so that construction of such a huge structure for worshippers puts the Krishnas in an exceptional position."

Mikhail Dudko also says that it wouldn't have been a bad idea to ask the opinion of the people who would live close to the Krishna center, the security forces, for example, who are headquartered in the Khodynk district.

"Has anyone thought of the consequences of the possible conversion of a large group of Russian militia to a new religion?" asked the agency spokesman in this regard.

The Sikhs don't consider the Krishnas to be Hindus

In the interview the ICR agency representative noted as well that there is a large enough community of Sikhs - followers of traditional Hindu religion, as opposed to Krishna. Speaking of this, the agency spokesman expressed the opinion that it would have been more logical for them to have first choice at building a temple.

The chairman of the Religious Organization Council of the Moscow Sikhs and one of the leaders of the capitol's Hindu community, Jolli Gurdip, told the "Interfax" agency that the followers of his faith did not consider Krishnas to be Hindus, and that they therefore saw "nothing good" in the construction of a Krishna temple.

People can become real Hindus only by the law of birth," explained J. Gurdip, adding that a considerable number of Hindus living in Moscow consider the Society for Krishna Consciousness to be a fringe organization and that they do not enjoy any popularity in India itself."

First deputy mayor thinks there ought to be enough churches for all religious denominations in Moscow

Meanwhile, the first deputy mayor of Moscow Vladimir Resin said yesterday in a live broadcast on the "Echo Moscow" radio station that there out to be enough churches for all religious denomination in the capitol.

He mentioned that Moscow was a multinational city in which diverse religions were represented. "All nationalities and religious were respected in Moscow," added V. Resin.

The construction in Russia, and particularly in Moscow, churches of non-traditional religious organizations ought to be very carefully approached, believes deputy Chuyev.

The construction in Russia, and particularly in Moscow, churches of non-traditional religious organizations ought to be very carefully approached. This is the opinion expressed in a broadcast of "Echo Moscow" by a member of the RF state Duma committee for issues of social associations and religious organizations, member of the association "In support of traditional spiritual-moral values in Russia" Alexander Chuyev.

"If the talk were about the construction of a traditional Hindu temple, then this might have been welcome, since this would have meant improvement and development of relations between Russia and India," said A. Chuyev. If the same talk is about the construction of a temple in Russia of some sort of non-traditional religious organization, then this temple, its size and location ought to conform to standards and the position of this organization among other religious organizations in Russia."

Correspondingly, "if the talk is about making a certain giant shrine for a small organization which is non-traditional for Russia, then this could introduce definite dissonance and evoke a negative reaction from residents and from traditional religious organizations, most of all the Russian Orthodox Church," he remarked. A. Chuyev emphasized that there should be particular care paid in Moscow to the construction of non-traditional sectarian structures, because Moscow was the spiritual and cultural center of the country.

If this is an independent initiative of a religious organization or group, then the corresponding dimensions and site this organization will occupy needs to be reviewed. In this case I would not welcome the creation of such a temple in the center or on a historical site of Moscow," remarked A. Chuyev.

Not necessary to stop construction, said Center of Hindu Research

In his turn, the leader of the of Hindu Research Tatyana Shumyan believes that it's not necessary to stop construction. "It doesn't seem to me that anything needs to be stopped," said T. Shumyan in an "Echo Moscow" broadcast. This had a religious character, she said, and if it weren't for this they would pursue some other goal, political or something like that.

Moscow - Orthodox Citizens Alliance against construction of Krishna temple in Moscow

Religio.Ru, October 21, 2003

A social association called the "Alliance of Orthodox Citizens" called on Moscow mayor Yuriy Luzhkov not to permit construction of a Krishna temple in Moscow.

In statements by the Alliance, which they distributed the day before, it said that plans were to build a Krishna temple that could hold 8,000 people on Khodynsky field. Meanwhile, the authors of the statements remind us that "many well-known experts consider the Krishnas a totalitarian sect."

At the same time the Alliance calls attention to the matter that "in Moscow there are many new areas whose population is comparable to other diocesan centers but which do not have any orthodox churches at all, and the majority of churches which do exist have at most a capacity of several hundred people."

The Krishna temple is planned for Khodynsky field, which the authors of the statement called a "site of Russian sorrow," recalling that this was the spot where, during the coronation of the last Russian Czar Nikolas II, mass killings occurred.

"We, the Orthodox electorate, again turn to the mayor of Moscow with a pressing request to correct the situation," the statement stressed.

It was reported earlier that a Center of Vedic Culture would be erected in the Khodynsky field area in Moscow.

The President of the Hindu Association of Russia Sanjit Jkha announced that the government of Moscow had chosen the site for construction of the center, and that the necessary documents were being prepared at the present time.

The Center of Vedic Culture will be built according to the laws of ancient Indian architecture, leading architects of India and Russia will contribute to its creation. A quantity of the materials will be specially delivered from India to Moscow. The center, at more than 10,000 square meters and a height of 52 meters, will be the largest spiritual structure built in the course of the last 800 years outside the bounds of India. It is foreseen that it will hold a planetarium, several museums, and auditorium, a library of Indian literature, a health complex, a restaurant and an Indian cuisine cafe.

Moscow - Indian parliament speaker prayed to Krishna for Russian prosperity

Religio.Ru, September 17, 2003

A delegation from the parliament of India headed by speaker Manohar Joshi attended a festive divine service in the only Hindu temple in the Russian capitol, reported the press office of the Moscow Society for Krishna Consciousness.

Manohar Joshi and a group of 15 parliamentarians took advantage of an invitation by RF state Duma speaker Gennadiy Seleznev to make a one-day official visit to Moscow.

After a talk in the Kremlin with Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, the delegation headed for the temple of the Association for Krishna Consciousness on Khoroshevsky Highway to honor the ancient spiritual tradition of India and to meet with representatives of the Indian community and Russian followers of Hinduism.

Upon arrival at the Krishna temple, Manohar Joshi and the Indian Ambassador to Russia Krishnan Ragkhynatkh performed the Aratu ceremony (Vedic service), and raised lamps and incense to the god of Krishna. Appearing before the Indian and Russian temple goers, the speaker from the Indian parliament noted that "he had been waiting for this invitation for a long time."

"For me the visit to the Krishna temple in Moscow has special meaning. Here I pray to the lord for the prosperity of Russia with the same sincerity with which I pray to Him for the prosperity of his native land - India," declared Manohar Joshi.

In conclusion the distinguished guest thanked the believers for the cordial hospital atmosphere and the presented the temple with a souvenir gift, a clock with the emblem of the Indian parliament. He also expressed hope that he would be able to visit the capital again soon for a ceremony opening the Vedic Cultural Center, since the Moscow government had promised to allot land for its construction. The leader of the Russian Krishna-Vishnus Bkhaktivagya Gosvami gave the distinguished Indian guest a diagram of the future Vedic cultural center.

In 1990, the Society for Krishna Consciousness opened a Krishna temple first in Russia, and then only in Moscow. The temple is situated in a temporary two-story building, which was built in 1948 and condemned long ago. The Krishna temple serves the spiritual needs of more than 15,000 Hindus who live in the capitol and nearly 10,000 Russian adherents of Hinduism. More than one thousand people visit it each day.

Several days ago the temple suddenly became a center of construction staging, which is meant to prevent the collapse of the dilapidated building. At the present time the Moscow authorities are urgently examining the issue of preserving the temple or moving it to a different location, reported the Moscow Krishna press service.

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