Choosing RIA Novosti: major religious events of 2016

Choosing RIA Novosti: major religious events of 2016© 2016 AFP/ Adalberto Roque

The outgoing year in the sphere of religion was rich in significant events that have had and will continue to have a significant impact on the global and Russian agenda.

This year hosted the first ever meeting between Patriarch of Moscow and the Pope of Rome, broke the pan Orthodox Council, which is expected to be more than a thousand years, and the Russian Muslims are not United in a single clutch, despite numerous conversations about it. In Russia there discussed the feasibility of the prohibition of abortion, control over preachers and catching pokemon in the temples. Terrorist attacks in Europe and the USA provoked the unprecedented growth Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, which manifested itself, in particular, at the level of politicians and major media. In Ukraine, the continued pressure on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) — this time its activities are trying to limit by law.

A conversation in Havana

The meeting of Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill with Pope Francis February 12, at the airport named after Jose Marti in Havana was criticized by some believers, fearing the retreat of the heads of churches from doctrinal tenets. However, as it repeatedly explained, for example, in the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), the need to meet were motivated by the plight of Christians in the world, especially in the middle East, therefore, on theological matters it is not even came.

After a two-hour conversation, the participants adopted a joint Declaration which reflected the opinion of the head of the largest Christian denominations – the Roman Catholic Church (RCC 1.2 billion followers) and the Primate of the largest of the local Orthodox churches (more than 120 million believers). Then Pope Francis went to Mexico, and the Patriarch continued his visit to Latin America, in which the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church for the first time in the history of visited Antarctica, where he met with Russian explorers, and served in the Russian wooden Church at Bellingshausen station. A photo of him with the penguins was especially popular on the Internet.

The Russian Church, which is the largest and most influential in the Orthodox world, tried to save the situation by proposing to hold an emergency conference meeting of the primates. But the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which was the initiator of the Cathedral and the «host» gave to understand that adopted in Chambesy decisions will not be subject to revision.

In the end, the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church decided not to participate in the Cathedral. The meeting still took place in the period, it was attended by ten local churches (the Church of Serbia his mind and still went to Crete). Cathedral on the island of Crete gave the accepted documents are required and for those churches that have not arrived. Absent some churches — for example, Bulgarian does not agree with this rhetoric, and the Russian Church still has not established his official relationship to the congregation in Crete and its decisions. Its representatives claim that it is still studying the documents of the Cretan Cathedral, not recognizing him of the status of the pan-Orthodox.

However, arrived on Crete of the Church, according to the documents of the Cathedral, do not lose hope to get everyone together, proposing to hold such meeting of the churches in a multi-year format, while there is no developed consensus on all issues, especially because the history of Christianity knows many examples of such multi-year councils. In the ROC, too, hope that someday will be able to hold a full pan-Orthodox Council, the only question is its timing.

«I think the real discussion around the documents of the Cathedral will begin only after the Cathedral in the framework of the inter-Orthodox consultations and Council meetings that it was decided to establish. I think that just postcolony period will have a greater importance for the development of a common position of all the Orthodox churches,» — said the expert Roman Lunkin.

The rise of Islamophobia in the West and the question of anti-Semitism

In 2016 Europe have not found an answer to the main question — what to do with many refugees? The whole world witnessed the terrorist attacks in Paris, Rouen, Brussels, nice and Berlin. The worst predictions of experts were justified — instead of solving the problem European countries responded to the attacks of an unprecedented rise of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.

This topic was actively discussed at various international venues. So, the Turkish foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called the situation of Islamophobia in Europe, the most disturbing in history. The growth of hostility towards Muslims was observed, particularly after the referendum on Brexit. A similar situation was in the US, where election promises trump to restrict the entry of Muslims became one of the leitmotifs of the presidential race.

Against this background, living in Europe the Jews are, as repeatedly stated by the head of the Council of European rabbis Pinchas Goldschmidt, «I feel like on the rails, and on them from two sides with an increasing speed rush two trains — radical Islamism on the one hand and the right-wing anti-Semitism on the other.» In this connection he made in the foreseeable future the mass Exodus of Jews from Europe.

In Russia, observed in almost the opposite picture. According to the Russian Jewish Congress, the level of anti-Semitism in the country is the lowest in the history of the country is experiencing gradual decline. Perhaps that is why the big resonance was caused by history with the attack on the Choral synagogue in Moscow. Although RIVERS said that anti-Semitic themes were used during the Duma election campaign, however, isolated incidents did not receive its development.

The tolerance Center at the Jewish Museum develops to the world Cup in 2018 programs aimed at increasing the level of tolerance. And in November the RIVERS held the first in the former Soviet Union conference on anti-Semitism with the participation of experts from more than 20 countries.

The celebrations on mount Athos and in Paris

Throughout the years at the highest level was in celebration of the 1000th anniversary of the Russian presence in the Holy for the Christians, mount Athos. In 2012, the President of the Russian Federation established a working group to prepare for the celebrations.

As noted in the ROC, «the starting point» the presence of Russian monasticism on Athos was elected the first written mention of the ancient Svyatogorsk monastery «Ksilurgu» — the signature of the monk Gerasimos, «presbyter and Abbot of the monastery Rosa», one of the documents Dating from 1016 year. By the mercy of Ksilurgu was the founder of Russian monasticism St. Anthony of the caves.

In may, the Holy mountain visited the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill. And in August in Russia and Belarus was first delivered to the relics of one of the most famous Russian saints — St. Silouan the Athonite. From August 20 to the Shrine, which is worshiped more than 300 thousand people, visited a number of cities in the two States. The last point of the route was Moscow, where in the framework of the Athonite celebrations, a meeting was held of the abbots and abbess of the Russian Orthodox Church, noted the Patriarch’s appeal to him to abandon the expensive staff.

«We, being in an Orthodox environment somehow forget that not all MT is the same well-known concept as the American Statue of Liberty. And, in my opinion, the very scale of the festival has allowed many people to learn that there is such a unique place with a deep spiritual experience, and it is not a monument of the past and the present and mainly the future», — commented on the occasion, the head of the Synodal Department of the Moscow Patriarchate on relations of the Church with society and mass-media Vladimir Legoyda.

Choosing RIA Novosti: major religious events of 2016© RIA Novosti. Alex Druginderal in photobanks of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Greece

In addition, an important event for the Church and the state level was the opening of the monument to Prince Vladimir on Borovitskaya square. The ceremony was held in the national unity Day with the participation of politicians, heads of traditional faiths and public figures. A month later, Patriarch Kirill consecrates Cathedral of the Trinity Cathedral in the Russian Orthodox spiritual and cultural center in Paris opened on October 19.

The March for peace and Happy move

Athos was founded by the monk Anthony of the Kievo-Pechersk monastery was supposed to become the final destination of the all-Ukrainian procession of peace, love and prayers for Ukraine. The main purpose of the March, Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine Onufry called the cessation of armed conflict in the country.

Religious procession in Eastern Ukraine on July 3 began in Svyatogorsk Lavra, and in the West on July 9 at Pochaev. 27 July, on the eve of the Day of the baptism of Russia and the memory of the Holy Prince Vladimir, the two cross-stroke was supposed to meet in Kiev on Vladimirskaya Gorka. From the beginning of the March, the participants were exposed to attacks and provocations by radicals.

Choosing RIA Novosti: major religious events of 2016© 2016 AFP/ Sergei Eruptum the Ukrainian authorities stopped the all-Ukrainian procession hodowlane the participants in the course were made and in the information space. Ukrainian politicians said that the procession is organized by the Russian intelligence services, and the head of the Uniate Sviatoslav Shevchuk compared the all-Ukrainian cross procession with the «human shield of civilians» and warned that «if from among the participants of the procession will proceed anti-Ukrainian slogans and provocations, it will be the end of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine.» In the Moscow Patriarchate said that such words have a negative impact on building a dialogue between Orthodox and Catholics, especially in the light of the agreements in Havana.

All-Ukrainian religious procession attended at least 80 thousand people. Such mass support as the only legitimate Orthodox Church in the country — the UOC-MP, as well as public approval of its position on the early termination of the armed conflict apparently came as a surprise to the Ukrainian authorities.

Peacekeeping activities of the UOC-MP is also manifested in the liberation of Ukrainian prisoners of Taras Kolodiy, captured on 21 January 2015 at the airport of Donetsk. Metropolitan Onufry asked the Patriarch to assist in this matter. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church appealed to the leadership of the self-proclaimed Donetsk people’s Republic. As a result, in December, on the day of St. Nicholas Kolodiy was released. Metropolitan Onufry, Recalling that because of the UOC in addition to the Kolodiy was released 15 prisoners of war, promised to continue to take all possible steps for the release of all Ukrainian prisoners of war.

Choosing RIA Novosti: major religious events of 2016© 2016 AFP/ Sergei Irpc ROC told me what happened to the words of the Uniates and the Orthodox Ukrainina pressure on the Ukrainian Church has not become weaker. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has started consideration of the bill No. 4511, binding religious organization that is allegedly controlled from Russia, to conclude a special agreement with Kiev. Otherwise they will be declared illegal. The UOC-MP called it violates the Constitution in the provision of the right to freedom of belief and religion. Of the same opinion and experts are, however, despite their negative review, the relevant Committee of the Ukrainian Parliament on culture and spirituality supported the bill.

In addition, Kiev has tried to draw the debate between Moscow and Constantinople about the status of a Cathedral on Crete in their favor, giving to the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew official request of the Ukrainian Church Autocephalous status. Despite the fact, according to the Ukrainian Constitution, the state has no right to interfere in the Affairs of the Church, the country’s President Petro Poroshenko has said that an independent Church will not restrict freedom of religion.

Such a request to Patriarch Bartholomew in 2008, addressed President Viktor Yushchenko. As then, in 2016, Kiev was given to understand that the question of granting autocephaly cannot, according to the canons, to be decided without the participation of the «mother Church» — ROC.

«Unfortunately, in Ukraine continue to be various other very radical — in fact, extremist calls for the creation of a single independent local Orthodox Church. This is a very dangerous game. The policy was accompanied by specific actions on arbitrary seizure of the temples, making in the Ukrainian Parliament the most dangerous bills and amendments. If adopted, it would in fact be legalized hostile takeovers of churches and other property of religious Orthodox communities of the Moscow Patriarchate», — commented on the situation in Ukraine authorized the Russian foreign Ministry on human rights Konstantin Dolgov.

Will there be a single RF coupling?

The outgoing year could answer this question, the acute on the agenda of the Russian Ummah (community of Muslims). At the end of last year, the head of the Central spiritual administration of Muslims of Russia (tsdum), the Supreme mufti Talgat Tadjuddin declared about the unification of a large mufti in a single structure, as it was in Russia until 1917. The initiative of Tadzhuddin, as time has shown, did not strike a chord in another large and influential muftiat, the Council of Muftis of Russia. And in the spring the head of Federal Agency on Affairs of nationalities Igor Barinov complained about too many Muslim spiritual administrations in the country — 82 of the mufti. This situation, in his opinion, promotes the penetration of the Ummah radical ideas.

In may, Bulgar (Tatarstan) stone was laid by Bulgarian Islamic Academy, which aims to become an educational center for all Muslims of Russia. Another purpose — to fill the shortage of staff in the muftiates, now many imams are trained abroad, mainly in countries in the Middle East. The institution is set up with joint participation of the largest spiritual administration of Muslims of the country. Open Academy is planned for next year.

Choosing RIA Novosti: major religious events of 2016© RIA Novosti. Maxim Bogodeeva in photobacteria stone Bulgarian Islamic Academy founded in Tatarstani the end of August at the conference in Grozny, the Islamic leaders adopted a fatwa (a legal document in Islam), which explains who is a true follower of Islam, and who belong to sects. The resolution, in particular, condemned formed in the XVIII century on the Arabian Peninsula Wahhabism. The document, according to the text, «is the unanimous decision of the Muftis and scholars of Russia and are obligatory to all Muslim organisations in the Russian Federation».

CMP did not agree with the compulsory nature of the order, noting that in Grozny adopted the resolution «reflected mainly the North Caucasus realities, and not all, but only some of its regions.» In the end, the CMP released his document calling it a «modified version» Grozny fatwa and called muftiats for further discussion of this topic. Experts, commenting on both the fatwa, said that in General they «have a common message», so it is possible to assert about the beginning of this Islamic theological dialogue in the country.

Choosing RIA Novosti: major religious events of 2016© RIA Novosti. Michael Voskresenskiye in potomacsoft of Muftis said the threat of a split among the Russian musulmans the end of the year in Russia came fourth clutch on a Federal level – a Spiritual gathering of Muslims of Russia (DCMR), in addition to the already existing tsdum, CMP and the coordinating center of Muslims of the North Caucasus. Chapter DSMR mufti of Moscow Albir Krganov, described the new structure as a «discussion platform» for the Russian Muslims, which can be the basis for the further unification into a single coupling. However, in these and CMP criticized the creation of new structures and doubted the success of its activities.

The head of the Center for the study of Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Volga-Ural Institute of Oriental studies of Alikber Alikberov believes that the differences between the Russian spiritual administrations of Muslims manifest themselves primarily «on the theological level», as shown by the dispute over Grozny fatwas. «Of course, ideal when muftiats would be United. But, maybe, Russian Islam is still not ready. Instead of trying to artificially merge, it is better to leave it as is, because we have very different Islam,» he said.

Control over the preachers

Resonant «anti-terrorism package» of laws, or «Spring package», has introduced certain changes in the religious life of the country. In the framework of the amendments to the law «On freedom of conscience and religious associations» was introduced the concept of missionary activity. From now on the missionaries, on behalf of religious groups, are required to carry a decision of the General meeting of this group to grant them powers.

Choosing RIA Novosti: major religious events of 2016© Fotolia/ Magdalena KucovaРелигиозные figures of the Russian Federation are concerned legislative restrictions deatelnosti.lechenie religious organizations said that the bill was not discussed with them, as is usually the case. They also expressed concerns that the law will restrict the legitimate activities of religious associations. «Again, will suffer themselves to religious organizations, but not the fight against extremism and terrorism, as was stated» — lamented then first Deputy Chairman of the IDA Rushan Abbyasov.

Immediately after the adoption of the amendments to the ROC noted that the text of the bill was substantially improved before the second reading. In particular, missionary activity, after the changes in the text, was separated from the other types of religious activities such as liturgical and in General, the Russian Church agrees with the changes.

Choosing RIA Novosti: major religious events of 2016© Fotolia/ Magdalena KucovaРПЦ considers illegal the decision of the court in Vladivostok on the destruction Biblis turn, member of the RF Public chamber, mufti Albir Krganov believes that «a certain resonance» has arisen in connection with different interpretation of certain provisions of the document of religious leaders. He also noted that the law remains a legal practice, allowing «specific calibration» documents. In addition, the OP agreed to create a group that will monitor the implementation of the law.

The arrest of the catcher pokémon in the temple

In the summer of popularity of world-wide have purchased the app Pokemon GO based on the technology of «augmented reality». One of the main objectives of the game is to catch virtual pokémon that can be found in a variety of real objects, such as schools, government offices, museums, parks.

Ural blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky fished pokemon in the Ekaterinburg Temple-on-Blood, built on the site of the execution of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II, was taken into custody. Against Sokolowski filed a case under articles 148 («violation of the right to freedom of conscience and religion») and 282 («inciting hatred or hostility, and humiliation of human dignity»). Mayor of Yekaterinburg Yevgeny Roizman suggested that the representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church to intercede for the boy.

Choosing RIA Novosti: major religious events of 2016© RIA Novosti. Paul Listenpreise in photobacteria: treatment of sponsorship for fished pokemon blogger was not the Church responded that it is «not bloodthirsty» blogger, but «does not feel joy about it». Soon, the diocese has said it will apply the measure of restraint only if Sokolovsky publicly «apologize to offended people and give some hope, the assurance that his life will change».

Blogger will stay in custody at least until January 23, 2017.

Antiabortion campaign ROC

The signing of Patriarch Kirill of the petition for the ban of abortions in Russia provoked a lively discussion. Treatment, in addition to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, supported by more than 300 thousand people, including a nationally-known people. Later, the Patriarch explained to RIA Novosti that the Church understands the impossibility of complete abortion ban, and therefore offers them to withdraw from the system.

Choosing RIA Novosti: major religious events of 2016© RIA Novosti. Ian Lekovitata in photobacteria Cyril: go and rozites the same time, the Russian health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said that «the Ministry of health is wary of this idea», the funds could be released from OMS in case of withdrawal of abortions is small. At the same time, the health Ministry noted that such a limitation would lead to discrimination, as access to abortion will only get women who are better informed and have more resources.

Expert group, government decided to reject antiaborto initiative. During the meeting the group was given the data of the poll conducted in October 2016, the ban of abortions in Russia are only 18% of the population.

Choosing RIA Novosti: major religious events of 2016© Fotolia/ wlablackПравославные activists began collecting signatures for the resignation of the Minister Abyzova to the Minister of the Russian Federation for Open government and head of the expert working group, Mikhail Abyzov, the decision on the withdrawal of abortion from the MLA would be «cannibalistic». The words of the official has caused outrage among some Orthodox volunteers.

The question, apparently, will be considered next year. «The Russian Orthodox Church is ready to participate in discussion of various solutions to the issue at hand, but fundamental is the need to move forward,» said Vladimir Legoyda.

Temples of the Buddhists

This year, clarity has emerged on the question of the appearance in Moscow, a Buddhist temple, this problem for many years. In September, we began construction of the Church in Otradnoye district. The Russian President said that in the course of the topic.

Choosing RIA Novosti: major religious events of 2016© RIA Novosti. Paul Listenpreise in photobanks called to understand the situation with the demolition of the monastery of Buddhists on Uraliev the same time, in the Sverdlovsk region is continuing the dispute over the monastery on mount Canacar where it should appear mine. The court postponed the demolition of the monastery. To study the problems connected, the presidential Council on human rights.

Also this year, for the Russian Buddhists in Riga and new Delhi were the teachings of the Dalai Lama. Nevertheless, believers still hoped that the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism will come to Russia, the last time he visited the country for a brief visit in 2004. Visit them in other countries accompany the protest note by the Chinese authorities. Even after the spring of 2011, the Dalai Lama gave up his political powers of the head of the «Tibetan government in exile», Beijing accuses him of seeking to separate Tibet from China.

Choosing RIA Novosti: major religious events of 2016© RIA Novosti. Olga Lipicai Lama and musician Boris Grebenshchikov in Riga
Faith and science

Theology finally became this year’s recognized state of scientific specialty. When the WAC was established the expert Council, dissertation Council in Orthodox theology. In 2017, we should receive a similar institution in Islamic theology.

The big resonance was caused by media reports that the schools allegedly planned to introduce the subject «Orthodox culture», which will be taught from 1 to 11. However, the Ministry of education and science of the Russian Federation assured that the subject will not be introduced in the school curriculum on a compulsory basis, and its appearance as an elective is not an initiative of the Ministry. The head of Department Olga Vasilyeva said that the original programme on this matter developed in the ROC, was negatively received in the professional community and sent back for revision.

Choosing RIA Novosti: major religious events of 2016© Photo: photo courtesy of the information service of the Synodal oddlabs: the practice of studying religious cultures in schools should rastiratsa turn in the Russian Orthodox Church has repeatedly assured that I do not seek to impose the teaching of religion in school, while it cannot be excluded from the education system.