Moscow - Inter-religious Council of Russia against construction of Krishna center
Jewish.Ru, January 29, 2004
The Inter-religious Council of Russia is against the construction of a large Krishna center in Moscow, as it does not conform with the historical and cultural tradition of the Russian capitol.
This was reported on Thursday at a press conference in Moscow by members of the presidium of the Inter-religious council - representative of the Department of External Church Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchy, Mitropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad Kirill; the leading Rabbi of Russia, Berl Lazar; and acting chairman of the Central Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Russia, Mufti of Perm Oblast Muhammadgali Khuzin.
"Construction of a vast Krishna center of such architectural and cultural dominance in Moscow would be improper. This does not correspond to cultural tradition and will be incomprehensible to the majority of capitol residents," said Mitropolitan Kirill.
In his turn, Mufti Khuzin underscored that "Russia is a country that has a thousand year old tradition not only of Orthodoxy, but also Islam, Judaism and Buddhism, and construction in its capitol city of a large Krishna center would be, to a certain degree, a sacrilege."
Leading Rabbi Berl Lazar also was convinced that they accepted world religions, but needed to be wary of aggressive propagation of confessions not traditional to Russia on its territory." "Unfortunately, many sects actively operate in Russia. Government agencies should carefully review which activities the Krishnas are involved with," believes Berl Lazar.
The decision about allotting land for construction of a Krishna center was made by the Moscow administration this past week. One hectare of land on Khodynsky field was allotted for the center.
Russia - Anpilov ousted from leftist "Labor of Russia" movement
Pravda.Ru, January 28, 2004
A serious change is coming to a head in the movement of the left. Activists of the youth guard "Labor of Russia" have demanded the removal of Viktor Anpilov from the post of leader of the organization, the reason being that he prevented the carrying out of a revolutionary action. The Red Youth Avant-garde (AKM) also plan to operate on a single front with other radicals.
This past Saturday at a plenum of "Labor of Russia," activists of the Red Youth Avant-garde took advantage of a numerical majority over supporter Viktor Anpilov to remove him from the post of leader of the part for "comprising the left movement." On Sunday the young fighters again went to the headquarters of the "Laborers," but this time for a meeting of the executive committee. Mr. Anpilov requested retirement. Upon being refused, Viktor Ivanovich sent for a detachment of police, who dispersed the "Putschists," and several were even taken into custody "for abusive language." This episode did not flare up during a playful intra-party fight, supporters of the AKM leader, Sergei Udaltsov, told "New Izvestiya" ("NI"). It was he who provided ideological inspiration for the change in leadership. Together with one of the leaders of the new communist youth just three co-representatives were selected: Aleksandr Shalimov, Vladimir German and in person, Mr. Udaltsov (as was explained, a direct descendant of the revolutionary Udaltsov, in whose honor one of Moscow's streets was named.)
"It was literally the day Aleksandr Shalimov was released from two years confinement, which he served for arson on the Church of the Scientologists. We are very negatively disposed towards the Scientologists, but getting drunk and throwing bottles at them is not how we work," commented Mr. Anpilov, acting as one of the representatives in the "new administration" in an interview with "NI." As concerns the chief of the mutineers, Udaltsov, he, according to Viktor Anpilov, was cashing in on the great personal trust people had in him, "he was a full "TR" representative in the RF Justice Ministry at the time the party registered." Along with those in the AKM, Udaltsov began "to set up a Fascist system, to discharge disagreeable comrades by farfetched accusations in connection with employees of the special services." According to Mr. Anpilov's information, comrade Udaltsov's supporters were only several dozen in number, therefore there couldn't really be any talk about a schism. "He also tended earlier toward petty-bourgeois nationalism. ... His wife, by the way, is a member of the NBP. She has a great influence on him," the leader of the "Laborers" advances a hypothesis on the motives for the demarche of his late comrades.
The "Udaltsovites" do not agree with Mr. Anpilov. According to their own assessment, they have 3,000 people at the ready. Mr. Anpilov, in their opinion, nips any initiative to carry out even the slightest radical action in the bud. [ . . . ]
Shagen Ogandzhanyan, "New Izvestiya"
Moscow - Krishna temple cause for protest
Russland-online.Ru, January 26, 2004
The Moscow city administration has put a piece of property at the disposal of the Hare Krishna movement for the construction of a temple complex. According to media reports, Mayor Yuri Luschkov signed the appropriate permit. On the property in the northwest of the city, the controversial sect intends to use donated money to build the largest Hindu temple complex outside of the Indian sub-continent.
There have been repeated protests in Moscow against the plans, which also envision next to the temple a cultural center, a vegetarian restaurant and a hotel. In sect expert Alexander Dvorkin's view, the extent of the planned temple is an indication that the movement is planning a massive extension of its missionary work in Russia. It's possible that construction could be stopped if the residents decide to continue their protests against it, Dvorkin told the epd.
The Hare Krishna movement has had a small temple in Moscow since the early 1990s. The cult [ritual] rooms were established in a high-rise apartment building, which they got from the authorities because of its bad condition.
St. Irinaeus of Lyon Religious Studies Center, January 26, 2004
On January 20, 2004 the Mayor of Moscow Yury Luzhkov has signed a document (order # 27-RP ) about leasing for free over a hectare of the land in a prestigious area of Moscow, not far from downtown to the Krishna Consciousness society.
The Hare Krishnas plan to construct a temple there that can hold over 8,000 believers and a massive 'vedic culture center'. The whole structure is planned to be over 50 meters high. They say it is going to be the biggest 'hinduist' religious edifice outside of India.
No words can describe the dangers of this project. We hope that the protest actions which are about to begin in Moscow will be supported by the people of good will throughout the world. You may send your letters of protest to: Mr. Yury M. Luzhkov, Mayor of Moscow, Tverskaya ul, 13, 125032, Moscow, Russia.
The official site of the Government of Moscow is: www.mos.ru The e-mail is: email@example.com If we act immediately without loosing much time we may convince the government of Moscow to reverse their decision.
Kursk - Church talks about dangers of occultism
Nevskiy.Orthodoxy.Ru, January 24, 2004
Image - Fresco in Rylsky Monastery, Bulgaria, portraying a scene from the life of a "healer" - a sorceress to whom a sick person was brought. The sorceress is giving the sick person a cup with a remedy, into which an invisible demon is defecating.
On January 21 in the Kursk journalists center, the Russian Orthodox diocesan missionary department held a press conference on the theme of "Church opposition to the modern aggression of occultism." The necessity of such a meeting was dictated by a disagreement with the increased activity of Kursk television healers, who ruin the souls and the bodies of their "patients." The chairman of the missionary department, priest Tigriy Khachatryan, noted that "occultism is a multi-caliber, flexible presence that uses methods of diabolical camouflage, and conceals its intentions with crosses, icons and Orthodox prayers. With them, people don't need to perform the painstaking work of refinement or repentance, though, since they are promised instant resolution of personal and family problems, issues of health, etc. Afterwards, however, when the healer they turned to for temporary relief calls upon them to pay by subjugating themselves to a demonic world, that nearly always brings catastrophe."
Father Tigriy also mentioned that the propaganda of hidden human potential, of a closed nature, and the impersonal sources of cosmic energy that the healers allegedly used - were artful devices with the goal of leading the average person astray. On this matter, without exception, all representatives of occultism appeal to quite real, personal and rational entities, which modern science calls "minus femto-objects" (acad. term of V.I. Veynik), fragments of "ethereal reason" (Prof. G.V. Azhazh's term), but which the Orthodox Church calls demons (such as from the Gospel). People who practice this are subject to excommunication from the Church, said Father Tigriy.
Missionary office of Kursk Diocese
Russia - From drug addiction to demonic possession
Arguments & Facts.Ru, January 22, 2004
While state bureaucrats are arguing about the epidemic of drug addiction and about the ways of combatting this social vice, different pseudo-religious cults are speculating on the theme in question and making a name for themselves. Today in Saint Petersburg and vicinity several drug dependency rehabilitation centers are in operation, the ideologies of which specialists have found to be destructive cults. To find out about the "treatment" in these centers, we spoke with one of their former patients. For understandable reasons, he asked that his name not be used.
"I went into the 'Betel' drug dependency rehabilitation center not far from Vyborg this fall. I used to drink a lot. But for them there was no difference in who they rehabilitated: druggie, alcoholic or just a homeless person. They don't take money for treatment, but they brainwash you the whole time. Spaniards were in charge of the center. They helped those whose heads were already clear and they got to work there.
The stay in the center began with them patting down all my things for any sort of drugs. They took away a book. They said that secular literature was a sin. Oh well, it was Marinina, so I wasn't sorry, but the guy who arrived with me had 'Jonathan Livingston Seagull' by Richard Bach. That went straight into the oven to be burned! Normal? The center was located on the lot of a former pioneer camp, and the library was still there. So in the evenings they issued a small pile of books in every room to burn in the heat stoves!
The rehabilitation itself consisted of continuous work to the benefit of the community (stocking firewood, doing repairs on the premises, construction of a hothouse) and of constant preaching. The preachers were the Spaniards themselves, along with missionaries visiting from Finnland. I stopped listening to the preachers on my third day there. They laid on all kinds of rubbish about 'enlightenment,' 'descension of the spirit' and other things intended for utter cretins. Besides that, there was baptism. They tried to ask questions, all with one answer - 'When the revelation descends upon you, your will understand everything.' It's incomprehensible what they could see about this that was religious. No icons and no religious literature. Only Bibles, which they cited as it was convenient. I asked them, what are you - Catholics, Baptists? We, they said, are Christians.
Things went to the absurd. Working from morning to evening on the street. It was cold. One guy got sick. He was coughing, but they had neither a doctor nor medicine. So for two weeks the preachers did 'laying on of hands.' They said Christ was helping and curing. They 'healed' the guy until his lungs were inflamed, and they didn't take him to the hospital until he couldn't walk.
Well, everything else was trivial. For example, each new arrival was assigned an 'older brother.' That was someone who already had an advanced understanding of God. Without him there was no going anywhere on the center's property. Not even at night - when you wanted to go to the toilet, he had to be there. Besides that, the problem of the 'older brother,' there was the constant brainwashing by the wardens. Me, for example, they bothered about being a half-literate Cossack who could hardly speak Russian. They talked such drivel, it doesn't bear re-telling.
The smallest misdeed meant punitive labor. Come within three meters of a person of the opposite sex? Punishment. Get tired and take a break? Punishment. Leave your 'older brother'? Punishment. In total, the work day might last 12 hours. The meals were horrible, and we were hungry all the time. But if you walked by the rooms of the Spanish managers, there was the unbearable aroma of good coffee.
In general, nobody stayed there for long. Only those who had nowhere to go back to or were hiding from the cops. Well, and those upon whom the 'spirit had descended' and had flipped their lids."
We asked clergyman Maksim Pletnev, an employee of the diocesan office to combat drug and alcohol addition, to comment on the narrative.
-- As far as I understand, this is a representative of the "neo-charismatic" movement, or, as they are also called, the "neo-pentecostals." They have rehabilitation centers near Vyborg, Kingisepp, and in Lise Nosu.
-- Is this a sect?
-- "Neo-pentecostals" are one of the most actively growing destructive cults in Russia. They conduct an aggressive politic by attracting new adepts, and at this time their growth is second only to the "Jehovahs Witnesses." It's typical for them to keep their denominational affiliation quiet. Usually they just say that they believe in Christ. Now and then they call themselves Protestants, but this is not so. Besides that, this movement has broken up into many single churches with various names: "New life," "New Generation," "Word of Life" and "Living Faith." All these things are one religious movement, but it's impossible to call it Christian. This is not just my opinion This was talked about at the international science-practical conference "Totalitarian sects: threat of the 21st century."
-- What is the danger of this cult?
-- In the opinion of psychologists and psychiatrists who work with people who have been in this church, after several divine services they appear to have close to a narcotic dependence on the perceptual experience that arises during group prayer. Besides that, "neo-pentecostals" use practices that are destructive to the human psyche. "Speaking in tongues" for example. During the divine service the preacher places his hands on the adept and then falls into a trance and begins to mutter gibberish. The "Toronto blessing" is a long senseless laugh, like having a hysterical fit. "Possessed in spirit" is a state of unconsciousness. "Prayer pangs of birth" are convulsions. All these are state of ecstasy for them -- evidence of grace descending on a person.
Drug dependents, who went through rehabilitation in a center like this, told me that this condition sprang up on its own afterwards, absolutely uncontrollable. From the point of view of the Orthodox tradition, this is very reminiscent of demonic possession. This is terrible.
-- What about for drug addicts? After all, doesn't it help many of them get off drugs?
-- Drug dependents are receptive to help. This is very fertile territory. Besides that, their relatives are lured with them into the destructive cult:
As concerns deliverance from drugs, in this case that's just substituting one dependency for another. Without professional psychologists or psychotherapists, there's no help to save you from drugs. But if it works, then people remain dependent on the religious practices of the "neo-charismatics." Adepts of this cult begin to live exclusively for the interests of the sect; they have to live in the rehabilitation center. By the way, it's not just "neo-charismatics" that work with drug addiction, but Scientologists, too.
-- But what about the Orthodox Church?
-- We have a rehabilitation center in Saperni, which protopriest Serviy Belkov runs, and there's another one being built in Krasnoarmeisk. I overfeed the children from the "Melnitsa" rehabilitation center. The "Resurrection" society operates in the monastery, where psychologists work with drug dependents and clergy talk with them. This fall, the first diocesan office in Russia was created to combat drug and alcohol addiction, and we will expand our work in that direction.
Drug addiction is a disease of the body, soul and mind. The body is healed by specialist, the mind by psychologists, and the soul with clerical attendance. A person who abuses drugs is in communication with the great beyond. And the dark spiritual essences, which he encounters during the narcotic intoxication, wreck his spirit and draw him nearer to the demonic world. One young man in a state of narcotic intoxication used an axe to kill his parents, and afterwards he gave himself the "golden shot." He only has a few more days to live, it is thought. He called a priest. He wanted to repent. How else could one explain his behavior if he was not possessed by a devil?
Without healing the spirit, it's impossible to overcome the longing for narcotics. In their stead comes drunkenness, lechery and aggression. Only faith can help. But I want to emphasize once more: when representatives of traditional denominations work with drug dependents, they do not try to lead them away from the real world. And they do not coerce the mind.
Ukraine - Me? A Zombie!?
ProUa.Com, January 16, 2004
In recent times it's become very fashionable to talk about manipulation and zombification. This is a widespread phenomenon in the modern world. Practically everyday, every one of us encounters manipulators, that is, people who try to evoke a certain feeling from us, then use this feeling for their own purpose. There are many examples of this. One of the most obvious is television.
The enticing technology used in advertising and news is particularly apparent. Without it there would be no commercial spots. One of the most popular methods is the principle of "anchoring," when they link a type of conditional reflex of some produce with an emotion: pleasure, amusement, rage, fear, etc.
The same thing applies to news. Here you can find anything you like: distorted facts, selective spotlighting, concealment of information or distribution of incomplete information. In order to experience this in full measure, spend some time looking at the interpretations of one of those events in the published news on the various channels or (better still), the Ukrainian and Russian versions.
Actively manipulated pscyhotechnology is used during the period of electoral campaigns. The most widespread of these are the negative framing, the suggestive portrayal, entrancing music and the act of contrasts. With a thorough search of recollection, one can probably discover examples of this technology there from the video screen.
Negative framing is often used in a documentary framework - when first you see the positive side of a black-and-white portrayal, and then the same thing but in the negative. This is repeated several times, fixing the picture in your consciousness (repetition, the mother of doctrine?) The mechanism is easy enough. Usually people see everything around them in the positive, but if you close your eyes, you might then see the same thing in the negative for a fraction of a second. Looking at both presentations with open eyes, people tend to remember the necessary sequence. However, manipulators who create video-spots arrange necessity by spotlighting, which programs spectators for better perception of the "necessary" information.
Another method that pursues the same goal is the suggestive portrayal, which skillfully "organizes" a view. Such as, in the center of the sequence can be positioned some sort of symmetrical picture to put the spectator in a light trance and to focus attention on the center of the screen. Sometimes the introduction has a person in a trance state or hypnosis is induced with special music having a certain rhythm. These melodies could even be used in advertising spots, but we never know this. That matter of defining and exposing manipulative technology is practically impossible. One can, of course, not trust anything that is said on television, but completely avoiding psychological influence from the television is possible only by switching it off.
Ticket to Paradise.
Outside of the TV set, enormous popularity has been enjoyed in recent years by pseudo-religions, which offer people salvation and a purported state of enlightenment. Certain of these are considered very dangerous. Sect members find themselves being isolated from the outside world and from their families while their psychological dependency on the sect gradually increases. And once in the organization, getting out of it can be very difficult. The bosses have at their disposal a refined system of retrieving "strays" and keep a constant watch on their "brothers and sisters." They have people who cannot be allowed to be themselves.
The psychological effects of a sect on a person is proportional to the degree his perception of the world has been changed, and he turns into a functional zombie. They say sacrificing one's life is needed for the sake of the community, and the "adept" begins committing suicide with pleasure. The signal is received that having money is wicked, and all savings are to be donated to the benefit of the sect.
People become victims of cruel manipulators who grow rich by committing psychological violence on others. After all, without definite preparation, isn't it unlikely that a normal person would believe that the ruler of the Universe lives on Sirius and that faithful members of the Order will be taken there ...
Not so long ago, police forcefully put a stop to the members of the "White Brotherhood" who were making preparations for the "end of the world" with the ritual of "purification" - mass suicide. The ensuing investigations showed that the young people had been subjected to unknown psychological influences, and attempts to "deactivate" the sect members were not met with success in the majority of cases.
Unfortunately, there is no mechanism to defend from manipulative technology, nor can it be prosecuted in the legal system. It turns out that anyone who wishes can do this unpunished. After all, there's no appropriate agency, whose testimony would stand up in court, that can expose this technology.
Moscow - Problems of neo-heathenism discussed at seminar in Carnegie Center
Religare.Ru, January 16, 2004
Tendencies of the developments in contemporary heathenism was the topic of discussion among religious scholars, philosophers, sociologists and journalists at a seminar that took place in the Moscow Carnegie Center on January 14. The gathering took place in the scope of a project dedicated to the state of contemporary religious beliefs in their relationship to the process of globalization. The seminar was led by Aleksey Malashenko, member of the science council of the Carnegie Center. The key lecture was given by graduate student of the Institute of Philosophy for Russian Academic Sciences Anastasia Strukova, who is working on the "Encyclopedia of contemporary religious life in Russia" project. The speaker assessed the preservation and development of the phenomenon of heathenism as one of the paradoxes of the era of globalization, which, in particular, is directed toward the flattening of concepts that are basic to heathenism, like family and national factors. Answering the call of globalization, contemporary heathenism chooses the utmost polar route: either a harsh anti-globalization position or so-called "liberalization" of heathenism and an attempt to blend into the context of world economical, technological and cultural relations. The first tendency arose in the beginning of the 20th century, and the second has been emerging since the 1960s and is now gathering momentum, in Anastasia Strukovoy's opinion. It was to this trend in heathenism that the talk was dedicated to.
As the "liberal" tendency, the author classified characteristics of heathenism, like pantheism, "non-resistance for the natural course of things," along with a flexible understanding of tradition, of which different heathen communities have their own. In the modern world the constants of heathenism are undergoing substantial changes, such as the concept of "family now means not a group of kinfolk, but a community of like-minded people, who are united by a spiritual quest and moral standards. In addition, an increase was noted in the number of single heathens. Joining a contemporary heathen community is becoming all the more open. Heathens from various countries and traditions actively associate with each other, and use the Internet for this. "Liberal" heathenism and family relations have been undergone serious transformations. From an "aggressive male religion at the beginning of the 20th century, heathenism has changed into a system of concepts where women are not only admitted into communities, but not infrequently they play a leading role in them.
Anastasia Strukova believes it would be tactless to not have a classification of contemporary heathens, but considers it appropriate to make use of descriptors like traditional and neophyte (it's the same as urban) in describing the currents of heathens. A conflict among representatives of these currents has been noted in Alta, in Povolzha, Udmurtia, and Mariy-El, about which there has been testimony of frequent exposure to shaman-pretenders. In the heathen environment the term "ryazhenye") ("mummer") has cropped up: that's what they call someone who tries to literally reproduce the worldly way of the ancestors. The researcher finds currents in heathenism similar to this to be marginal and without promise. Talking about the routes of development in heathenism, the speaker commented that this religion has every possibility for the number of followers to increase. Many tend toward heathenism's absence of a clear hierarchical structure, its autonomy with relation to the government, and the "elective acceptance of the values of world religions, which now now exist in a complicated state." This syncretism, in the opinion of the lecture writer, also helps heathenism to insert itself into a contemporary multicultural context and increase the number of its adepts, especially from among young educated people. The lecture evoked an interesting discussion. A religious scholar from the Lomonosova Moscow State University, professor Igor Kanterov, raised a question about the causes for the arousal of heathen "in contemporary consciousness." Among the number of principle cause he mentioned were "unpaid accounts of the Orthodox Church and of Islam, which were not able to penetrate the ethos deeply," and the ability of heathenism to pay special attention to the problems which so worry our contemporaries: those of health, ecology and ethnic identification. By way of example, the "encounter" of heathenism with globalization, the scholar considered a different origin of the New Age formation, a doctrine which includes elements similar to those of heathenism.
Islamic scholar Aleksandr Ignatenko brought attention to the fact that in the Islamic environment in various regions of the world "processes swelled" of return to historical roots, which in essence appear heathen. It was along this line that he estimated the effort of the main Central Spiritual Office of Muslims in Russia, Mufti Talgat Tajutdin, in the organization's pilgrimage to the holy sites of ancient Bulgaria, which were linked with the heathen religion of the Turkish people - Tengrianity.
The heathens themselves also attended the seminar. The appearance of a member from the heathen community ("Rodnaya Zemlya" ethnic movement) was met with interest, Svetlana Zobnina, who was also presented as a "computer specialist." As a representative of "liberal heathenism," S. Zobnina emphasized that "globalization is not at all a liberal thing," and she noted much negativity in her direction. She expressed surprise that neither in the lecture nor in the discussion process was the theme of ecology touched upon. She appeared certain that the "liberal" tendency in our country represented only a minority of heathens at the present time, but that the majority of them would be "steadfastly against" globalization. Writer Aleksandr Asov also appeared as an advocate of contemporary heathenism; he publishes the "Velosov book" and other similar texts. He proposed a more accurate, from his view, appellation for the world revival of his associates, "rodnoverie" ("native belief").
The publisher of the old rite magazine "Tserkov" ("Church"), Aleksandr Antonov, appealed to those present with a call to include in the items being studied such mature Russian heathen cults, which have existed for many centuries as the "cult of Bacchus." In his opinion, this was a stable religion with its commandments, martyrs, and even "its Justinian." Also appearing at the seminar were religious scholar Pavel Puchkov, historian Sergey Ryabov, sociologist Enver Kisriev, philosopher Boris Knorre and others. In concluding the session, the director of the research group "Encyclopedia of contemporary life in Russia" Sergey Filatov touched upon the issues of the perspectives of heathenism and promised that "its increase everywhere will be very significant." Aleksey Malashenko commented that in the near future, when the "fight between globalization, Orthodoxy and Islam is at its final stages," heathenism "will attract many with its gentle perspective," reported "Blagovest-Info."
Georgia - Are leaders of the opposition financed by cults?
Day.Az, November 19, 2003
Nearly 10,000 assembled.
Today in Tbilisi participants from the "Revival" party ("Vozrozhdenie" led by Ajari Aslan Abashidze) organized for a political meeting under the slogans of "Georgia without Fascism," "Constitutional order - guarantee of the future," marched through the main boulevard of the capitol and continued the rally by the country's parliament building. Nearly 10,000 participants in the action expressed their support for President Eduard Shevardnadze.
At the main Revival Party office in Tbilisi, Tsotne Bakuriy said that radical opposition in the persons of Mikhail Saakashvili and Zurab Zhvania were financed by foreign sectarians operating in Germany, France and America. He commented that "over the Orthodox religion hangs a threat on the part of this force." In Bakuriy's words, the "opposition was talking about concessions from the government's side, but it's impossible to get concessions from Fascists."
In his turn, one of the "Revival" leaders, Jemal Gogitidze said that the radical opposition was only waging the fight against the regime. In his words, "in their time exactly the present leaders of the opposition Saakashvili and Zhvania falsified presidential elections." He mentioned the necessity of holding the opposition accountable.
Georgia - Ejected from Rustaveli Prospect, Shevardnadze held alternate meeting
Vremya.Ru, November 19, 2003
Yesterday the leader of the radical Georgian opposition happened to leave the main arena of the resistance meeting - Rustaveli Prospect. They ejected the supporters of Eduard Shevardnadze and increased the representatives from Ajari's "Union of Democratic Revival," which held an alternative meeting in the center of Tbilisi.
Chief assistant of the head of Ajari Aslana Abashidze declared for "Union of Revival" deputy Jemal Gogitidze that the action was "anti-Fascist," and that it had been directed against "extremists" from "One Nat. movement" and the "Burjanadze--Democrats" block. "Revival" was left out in the cold and called for a "citizen's reconciliation."
It wasn't supporters of Shevardnadze who gathered at that meeting, which would not have included the "Revivalists," but opponents of Saakashvili, Zhvanii and Burjanadze. On the boulevard there appeared a flock people who had been excommunicated from the church of Father Vasiliy Mkalivishvili, who was famous for his pogroms against Jehovahs Witnesses, Evangelists and Baptists. The "Vasilists" asserted that behind opposition member Mikhail Saakashvili stood sectarians from various non-governmental organizations.
Representative of the pro-presidential "For a New Georgia" block Levan Mamaladze stated that the country was under "serious threat of Fascism and extremism, which was supported by the West." He probably had in mind the severe criticism the day before of the president of Georgia, supposedly financed by the opposition. These words had a double meaning. At this time the 2nd deputy secretary of state of the USA Lynn Pasko was carrying out negotiations to try to explain what would take place in Georgia.
After the meeting with the American emissary, representative of Parliament Nino Burjanadze said that Washington was alarmed at the happenings in Georgia. According to her, "The USA did everything possible to make sure the elections in Georgia went normally, but the Georgian regime did everything possible the other way around, they did not carry out the recommendations of the civilized association." She added that Eduard Shevardnadze still could correct the situation, if he met the "absolutely just" demands of the opposition.
At that time the leader of "One Nat. movement" Mikhail Saakashvili prepared to lead a peaceful campaign on the state chancellory, which began today in Western Georgia. He said that the "Shevardnadze could keep his easy chair, but that together they were going to carry this easy chair out of the chancellory, so that not one hair would fall from the president's head." Mr. Saakashvili told a journalist that "revivalist" Abashidze brought specialists into Tbilisi for provocation.
Mikhail Vignanskiy, Tbilisi
Ryazan, Russia - Missionary with a knife
http://www.nevskiy.orthodoxy.ru, December 24, 2003
In broad daylight, a citizen of the USA, the head of the Ryazan branch of the "Church of Christ on Calvary," knifed a man.
37 year old Igor Voloshinov was driving his "Nine" through the center of Ryazan at low speed. Suddenly one of the pedestrians walking by violently hit the side of his car. Voloshinov saw the guy who had impetuously struck his vehicle. He left his car and set out to hear from him, if not an apology, then an intelligible answer to the question, "Why?"
The man's answer to the question, "Why did you do this?" was to knife him in the chest.
Sitting in the automobile was an acquaintance of Voloshinov - 34-year-old Igor Borisov, who recalls, "The conversation between them was short, 30 seconds. I was watching. This guy walked on, but Igor was standing, hands apart, so confused, as if he did not grasp what had happened. I went up to him and wanted to know, "What happened?", and he showed me his hands. I saw blood all over his hands. He told me, "He has a knife!"
One other man and I took off after the guy to catch him. But he understood what he did and quickly ran away from us. When he was caught, I saw a bloody knife in his hand. It was terrible ... We were scared that now he would try to knife us. We somehow got him to the ground, and right away a crowd of people gathered ... Some old lady started bawling, "Help, they're killing him!" Then a policeman arrived. He took away the knife, called an ambulance and the station.
The guy was babbling something. I noticed that he had an accent and asked, "What are you, a foreigner?" and he said, "Yes, I am a citizen of the United States of America."
I inquired, "What brings you to Ryazan?" And he said, "I'm a missionary. I preach Christ."
That surprised everyone. Someone from the crowd asked, "So are you preaching Christ with a knife here?" He became silent. There was nothing to say ..."
The Twilight Zone
Igor Voloshinov, dripping blood, was delivered to the regional clinical hospital, where he underwent an emergency operation. The knife had run up against a rib and changed direction, otherwise it would have gone straight through his heart. Now Igor has been discharged from the hospital, but he's still being treated as an out-patient. A man who's been that seriously injured will never fully regain his health.
Witness to the incident, Igor Borisov, said indignantly, "In broad daylight in the center of the city in front of a crowd of people he stabs someone for no reason ... And this is done by a guy who has influence over others! He's a preacher. What's he going to teach? They opened a criminal case, but I don't think they'll close it. It's certain there is a group of people who will do everything they can to have the case dropped."
The worst thing about it is that the witness is right. While Igor Voloshinov was still in the hospital, Ryazan Soviet district ROVD initiated a criminal case on the fact of infliction of serious bodily injury. But when the investigator - Lieutenant Aleksandr Tararyshkin - found out that the "author" of the knife wounding was a citizen of the USA ... At that point the case, putting it mildly, began to lose ground.
Here's the impression the investigator made on the injured party, Igor Voloshinov, "He sort of tried to remain neutral. But when the conversation started ... I, of course, could be mistaken, but all the questions the investigator put to me were oriented specifically towards an explanation, but not whether such facts could involve the American or his lawyer. Wasn't I planning on hitting the American? Wasn't the threat directed from me to him? Round and round like that.
Honestly speaking, that conversation was not pleasant for me. Tararyshkin did not conceal that he was afraid. He said, "Oy, suddenly the Americans are writing papers on us, they've started inspections ... the deputy prosecutor has already warned me in advance ... oy, oy, oy." A single sigh. And he hinted like it was between us, that the case would be settled "amicably." This meant asking money from the American, but within reasonable limits, because if you ask too much, he'll refuse to pay. The investigator and I did not even begin to talk about this subject. Why dwell on our lack of right?"
Really, it was like our investigators were worried only about one thing: "How could it not be dropped!" God please don't allow them to treat Reverend Joel poorly. That would not be exactly welcomed by all the Soviet district ROVD of Ryazan city! Well now, when will the Americans send their special forces into Ryazan to rescue Reverend Joel? It's a victim they can't do without ...
The Salvation of Reverend Joel
The 27 year old missionary from the USA had already been living in Ryazan for three years. He gave sermons at the so-called "Church of Christ on Calvary." Twice a week his followers assembled in the "Builder" DK for his teachings.
What a person, who considers a knife as the main answer in any argument, can preach about is difficult to imagine. Probably the same thing that most religious sects preach about - love your neighbor. But that is a specific love.
While Igor was lying in the hospital, Reverend Joel's fiancee, Viki, a Ryazanian girl, came to visit him. She told him how he - this American guy - was good. She asked him to deal with the preacher in a "Christian" manner.
Other people "from Joel" came into the hospital with medicine. Igor declined the medicine, "I have friends who bring me everything I need."
And there the American missionary's lawyer, A.G. Kapralov, said matter-of-factly in his first meeting with Igor, "You grabbed my client's jacket. This is infringing upon his personal property! You can be held legally accountable for this!"
Igor was confused by this turn of events and was not immediately able to answer ...
If a similar incident would have happened in another country, for the rest of his life Reverend Joel would have worked only to improve the welfare of the person he crippled.
Igor consulted with legal people about going to court for compensation for the suffering wrought upon him the the citizen of the USA. All of them said it was absolutely useless. In the legal practice in Russia the cases to compensate for harm to health have not yet reached the standards of the civilized world. The best case would be 300 dollars. It was clear that this money was not commensurate with the damage inflicted.
Besides that, Reverend Joel was considered to be unemployed and does not have real estate or personal belongings in our country. How could he sue an unemployed person, even it it was an American? Not a single court would consider that. Perhaps an American court would hear it, but the legal system of any normal country keeps the interests of its own citizen foremost, so that was not an option.
So for the time being the only thing that's left is to be surprised that there is no low that regulates the activities of any totalitarian sect. And also about the ease with which trans-Atlantic preachers and missionaries flood our country with their customs. All the while with impunity.
Senior priest, Refuge Church on the Point (Khrama Spaca na yaru), city of Ryazan:
It was amazingly easy for the American missionary to stab a man with a knife.
In sects, people become aggressive. Psychic abnormalities arise. A real Christian would never do such a thing.
Sectarianism is like drug addiction, but on a considerably higher level. How do they put a person on the needle? They give out free samples and talk about what a "rush" this is. People try it out and become slaves.
That's exactly how the sect labor recruiters operate. They tell anybody who comes to them, "We love you," "You're our man," "You need us." Then the real zombification starts and the person loses the sensation of reality, stops differentiating truth from lies and stops accurately assessing the situation. The shift of consciousness occurs and the person becomes a slave.
One can compare the expansion of sects into our country with the intrusion of a virus into the human organism. Proceeding from that, they live in the security of the country, they begin their expansion with gifts. They render material assistance to childrens' organizations, for example. Then however, they begin to spread literature and give anti-Orthodox, sectarian sermons.
20 December 2003
24 December 2003
Moscow - Professor gives lectures on sectology in Rostov and Shakhty
Dontr.Ru, January 12, 2004
One of the few Russian specialists on totalitarian sects, Moscow professor Aleksandr Dvorkin arrived in Rostov to give exams on sectology to students of the Rostov branch of the Orthodox Theological Institute and to give lectures.
The public lecture by Aleksandr Dvorkin began with a prayer. According to what he said, the main goal of the lecture was to caution people against mistakes. In Russia, according to the most conservative estimates, there were from 60 to 80 major totalitarian sects. Taking into account the smaller ones which exist in individual cities and states, that number goes on a thousand. All sect and cult guides have at least one goal in mind - how to lure more money out of a person through suppression of consciousness and will. The basic mark of such an organization is total agreement and a lack of critical mentality.
According to Dvorkin, a litmus test exists to recognize what kind of a person is offering to have a talk about God with you. This consists of asking them to name three deficiencies present in their organization. Cultists will not be able to speak with you about this,
At the present time there is no law in Russia holding leaders of totalitarian sects to be criminally liable. The legislative organs are not confronted with motives, but with results - ritual murders and mass suicides. In Russia the only obstacle in the path of totalitarian sects is the Orthodox Church. At the same time Professor Dvorkin does not consider himself a militant crusader nor does he want the Inquisitional bonfire lit. He is confident that the free people are the ones with plenty of information.
According to the director of the Moscow Religious Research Center of St. Irineaus Lyon, Aleksandr Dvorkin, he is trying to do everything to make a person's religious choice free and conscious. In the near future, he is giving several lectures in Rostov and Shakhty. After that, the professor plans to bring the program of public lectures to Chukotka.
Mariy El - 176 sects operating in the territory
Regnum.Ru, January 9, 2004
At the present time 176 sects are operating on the territory of Mariy El - so-called small withdrawn religious groups. Officially 120 are registered. The number of members of the majority of them do not exceed 15 people. The "Jehovahs Witnesses" is one of the oldest religious organizations whose activity is most conspicuous not only in Mariy El, but also all around the world. At the present time sects have grown perceptibly in the republic since September 2000. Today the "Jehovahs Witnesses" have more than 500 people in Mariy El, with 46 residents having joined in 2003 alone.
Arkhangel - Diocesan Bulletin - Open Conversation with a sectarian
ArhPress.Ru, January 8, 2004, R.B.Elena.
Practically all Arkhangel city dwellers have already experienced contact with representatives of various destructive cults or totalitarian sects. They persistently wait for us everywhere: in the stairwells, on the streets, in schools, institutions etc. With a maniacal pertinacity we are touted or begged to enter discussion about the meaning of life, the interpretation of the Bible, where there is the mandatory offer of a church service in some kind of rented apartment, with catalogues and magazines of the "Watchtower" variety provided.
Of course, you can seek to avoid the contact which is so actively imposed on you. In all regards this is the right decision, since all religions profess free practice of religion, they do not pressure people into joining. However, the problem encountered by relatives of those who, without thought, join a sect, brings one to ponder: are these "advertising campaigns" really so harmless to us? The adepts themselves of "non-traditional" religious currents do not suffer from a falsely chosen path, they are firmly convinced that the choice for their soul has been voluntarily made at their community's "altar", knowing, as a rule, that I acquire property with work. But after all we do not live by ourselves, any of our deeds are reflected by the people who depend on us - children, parents and spouses. There's no need to explain how parents suffer, whose children have come under the influence of a sect.
And there during the regular meeting with the "clergyman" who was wearing the forced smile, I conscientiously joined the conversation. As it turned out, the "Jehovahs Witnesses" are well informed that paradise exists, they know the path is open to them (only to the Witnesses, naturally), they have their own concept of God in which they deny the Trinity but recognize the New Testament. They tried to convince me that a Single God exists, the "One in heaven" who moves the universe, that Christ is the only teacher and preacher, that the blessed and life-giving powers of the Holy Spirit do not exist.
"Why then selectively recognize the New Testament, in which four apostles tell about the earthly life of Christ, his terrible death and the miraculous Resurrection so that people can find eternal life?" I inquired. If the Witnesses adhere to the postulate that the New Testament is not properly a Testament, then it follows there are a number of publications in religious circles that they don't follow and don't need.
I asked a new question, "What are you guided by in partly recognizing the Gospels, which are by known authors? In the course of two thousand years, Christianity has carefully preserved the apostolic testimony, imparted from generation to generation of church tradition. This isn't even mentioning the matter of the numerous miracles, which accompany the lives of the holy saints and martyrs, or the purity and sanctity of their living paths which left immortal memories about themselves. The interlocutor made a wry, dissatisfied face upon hearing the names of Sergei Radonezhsky, Serafim Sarovsky, Johann Kronshtadtsky, and unnamed hermits who follow their teachings. Instead he took the most commonly used reproach, "You stand in the church all the time and don't pray to the Single God, but to icons!"
Yes, in contrast to Catholics and Protestants, the Orthodox stand, except for the Old Believers and the feeble. In my whole life I remembered for this reason the statement of the priest and theologian, the well-known professor of mathematics Pavel Florensky about how in the Orthodox Church parishioners were on the same level as the clerics (the church choir), they were direct participants in the service, during which they observed spiritual propriety. As concerns the relationship of the Orthodox person to an icon, this is very easily understood, elegantly and persuasively written by the Byzantine theologian and poet Johann Damaskin in the book, "Three speeches in defense of respecting icons" (8th century), Prince Evgeniy Trubetskoy ("Speculation in colors. Question about the meaning of life in ancient Russian religious paintings"), and P. Florenskiy ("Iconostasis").
So, yes we accept Church Tradition with an upright heart and without much invention! Because God has made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions! (Eccl. 7:29). Yes, we do not approve of the study of new belief because this option subjects the tradition of the Holy Father to reproach! Because the holy Apostle says: As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Gal. 1:9). So, we worship before an icon, lending substance to worship, and with the aid of whom is depicted. Because, as holy Vasily the Great says, We turn to icons as prototypes to render respect (Johann Damaskin, "Three speeches in defense of respecting icons").
They also shared their modest observations. Frequently they wrote about an icon for which there was a vast amount of testimony. In church one can also observe a common phenomenon. During evening services in the Lenten season in the Arkhangel Solovetsk chloister church, during the reading of the processional psalms, when they extinguish the lights and candles, a neon lamp outside of the narrow window begins to illuminate the shimmering blue light for the icon of the Savior on iconostasis. I do not know what creative efforts and material costs the creator of Isakkievsky Sobor in Saint Petersburg went to for the mosaic icon in the altar halogen lighting to obtain such an effect. Or early fall after a little supper, especially when pondering Zosim, Savvatiy and German Solovetskie, brilliant sun rays clearly light up the images of the holy and sacred Serafim Sarovsky. They joyfully watch how on Sursky Artemievo-Verkolsky Monastery at sunset the rays of light pierce through the snow-covered trees and play on the icon of Bogoroditsa Feordorovsky. All these are icons of modern writing, because the era of iconoclasm took us away from Church heritage. But if the Lord Himself blessed the church with the light of His appearance, then would we disdain icons, including the modern ones?
The last question I posed to my interlocutor, "And who approved of you for such a mission?" I sensed embarrassment in his answer. In obtaining the blessing of a minister, an Orthodox not only gets strength in performing something but also bears responsibility through God for his conduct. This is always reserved for successful work, regarding a search for a new solution in creative activity. Who would approve of a sectarian? It's unlikely you will hear the answer because "the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth" (John 15:15).
In keeping his flock, the "teacher" of a religious sect likes to cite the parable from the Gospel of Mark about how the rich young man appealed to Christ with the question, "Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" ... Jesus turned to him and said, "One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross and follow Me. (Mark 10:17,21).
Have the Jehovahs Witnesses given away their fortune to beggars already? Frequently it happens that this organization represents its business network with MMM. It's their property, a person gets into economic and spiritual slavery. It's terrible if on top of this they renounce an earlier Baptism.
Do you see the kingdom of God following behind a person, professing the New Testament and its interests outside the church? Is the freedom of will being deprived the Orthodox, about which it is not acceptable to speak, because it is, in the words of the new martyr Optinoy desert hieromonk Vasily (Roslyakov), killed by Satanists on Paschal night of 1993, "a filled heart and closed lips"?
I write for those who still have the power to say "no," to soberly assess the situation in their religious group, for those who think about paradise without remembering about Christ's sacrifice.