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Friday, January 28, 2005
Vault and epitaph stone of Danil Efremov, army ataman and first Don Cossack general, found.
A sensational find was made on December 18, 2004, while clearing some land on the south side of the Preobrazhensky Church in the Cossack village of Starocherkassky. Under a thin layer of earth, a group of construction-renovators led by Evgeniy Kosobokov uncovered a huge white marble stone. When the renovators carefully brushed off the soil and dust, images of the sun and moon appeared in the upper corners and in the middle was the inscription "Here lies the noble and honorable Don gentleman, military ataman Danil Efremov, who was respected by all the virtuous of Christian law and performed the title of his rank well, purely, courageously and with honorable dignity. And as fate would have it the creator moved from this life to eternal bliss in 1760." It was thought that the epitaph and tombstone of Danil Efremov disappeared without a trace after the 1917 revolution, but there it was!
The shock became even greater when the renovators found some brickwork. One can surmise that this is the burial vault in which Danil Efremovich Efremov was buried in late May, 1760. Whether it is or not will be determined in the near future by an archeological investigation in this part of the Preobrazhensky cemetery.
The name of Danil Efremov was undeservedly forgotten among the Don, overshadowed by the cult names of military ataman Matthew Platov and field ataman Yakov Baklanov. By the way, he was the first Cossack to obtain the rank of general in the Russian army, and the first secret advisor from the Russian Cossacks.
The uncovering of ataman Danil Efremov’s tombstone should be motivation for further scientific and archeological research at the unique Preobrazhensky (Ratny) cemetery in the Cossack village of Starocherkassky, where there are dozens of military and field atamans of Don Cossack, generals, social figures, writers and other worthy people of the Don. The end result will be the creation here of a memorial complex to honor the Don Cossacks.
Evgeniy Astatsenko, Candidate Historical Science,
senior scientific staff of the Starocherkassky Museum
Argumeny i Facty on the Don
Saturday, January 22, 2005
Most dear to the Japanese, sacred Mount Fuji, is now the property of the Sinton cult.
The senior priest of the temple said that until it was done, nobody believed that the Finance Ministry would sign the papers to transfer Fuji to the small temple complex. "This is such a pleasure, after all, until the middle of the 19th century Mount Fuji was considered the property of the temple, and this soil has always been held sacred," said the senior minister of the "Fujisan, Hongu Sengentaisya" temple, Sin Vatanabe. "But then, during the Meiji restoration, the government took this land away from us. Now justice has been reinstated."
It needs to be said for the sake of that same justice that the entire mountain was not taken from the temple, just the summit - from 3,350 meters on up, including the crater 500 meters higher - where there is nothing but rock and wind. The most beautiful and profitable, as far as tourism goes, part [of the mountain] stayed with the state itself. But the minister especially emphasized that they never thought of the mountain in terms of money. "Of course, we will make no changes, and we will make no money on the ascent to the summit," Sin Vatanabe promised. "Greeting daybreak on Mount Fuji is a sacred ritual for us Japanese. And this ritual will be free." Now it's the off season at Fuji. The car lot is empty; the souvenir shops and restaurants are closed. The Sinton clergymen solemnly assure us that they will be tolerant of the noisy tourists from all over the country and from overseas, said Travel.RUWS.ru.
When the snow on Fuji finally melts in June and the road opens to the high symbol of Japan, tens of thousands of Japanese pilgrims and foreign tourists will spare no pains to clamber up to the crater at dawn. Among the first to ascend will be the "Fujisan Hongu Sengentaisya" temple ministers, who will be greeting daybreak as fully legitimate owners of the sacred site.
Buddhist sect wants to dedicate pagoda to Yuschenko's victory.
The Ukrainian Buddhist order of Nippodzan Mekhodzi has proposed the construction in Kiev of a kurgan and pagoda, dedicated to Viktor Yuschenko's victory in the presidential election, the so-called "Orange Revolution."
"Dedicated to the 'new spiritual awakening' of the Ukrainian people, the stupa is a Sacred kurgan of peace, on whose summit will be a pagoda, able to keep reviving the human spirit for the sake of truth, peace, unity and freedom in the Ukraine, " said a representative of the order on Sunday at a "peace ceremony" held in honor of the day the order's founder, Nitidzatsu Fujii, died. The order's teacher in the Ukraine for Russia and countries of Central Asia, Dzunai Terasava, took part in the ceremony.
D. Terasava welcomed the non-violent and peaceful way events have developed in the Ukraine. The order's members believe that the "Orange Revolution" in the Ukraine "was the miraculous and decisive beginning of global transformation of consciousness from violence to non-violence."
The Order of Nippodzan Mekhodzi is a Buddhist sect of Japanese origin. It is distinguished by anti-war activity that often takes radical forms. The leader of this organization was among those who raised a row at the "Sheremetevo-2" airport, during which he broke a window. Traditional Buddhist organizations in Russia do not support contact with this order.
Russian "Gitarkin Shnur" album being produced.
"Leningrad" vocalist Sergei Shnurov and Oleg Gitarkin, who is well-known for his "Messer Chups" project and "Night for Frau Mueller," plan on jointly producing an album, logically entitled "Gitarkin Shnur." Sergei Shnurov is performing all the vocal parts on the album, and Oleg Gitarkin will be busy composing the work, reports InterMedia.
Several tracks have already been cut, including [freely translated names] "Grave from Armani" written by Oleg Gitarkin, "Three didn't show up accidentally" from the film "They call him Robert," and also a version of the 70s song "Cowboy" ("the moon shines brightly, the cowboy behind the foliage stands night watch") and "We are amazed."
In connection with the programs of both artists, other projects are not going as quickly as they would have liked, but release of the album is expected in under a year. Quite recently Shnur completed work on a album jointly with the cult English group "Tiger Lillies," called "Huinija."
Saturday, January 15, 2005
Holocaust Museum opens in Mussolini's villa.
The former residence of Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in Rome will soon be converted into a Holocaust Museum, report the Austrian ORF television channel on Friday, citing sources in the Italian capital. This museum, on which restoration work has already begun, is located in the well-known "Torlonia" villa, not far from the Jewish catacombs.
Renowned American producer Steven Spielberg is taking part in creating the museum, which is located in a two-thousand square meter area. Through a fund under his own name to the museum he has given instructions about audio-video materials and testimony about the Holocaust.
This museum will be dedicated not only to the Holocaust, but also to other catastrophes during the Second World War, for instance, part of the exhibit will be dedicated to the massacre in the Adriatic caves of Rome in 1944 in which 335 people died, hostages who were killed when Italian partisans killed 33 German soldiers.
The museum includes in its collection a display on the persecution and extermination of the Romany people during the Fascist dictatorship of the Mussolini regime. According to Mayor of Rome Walter Vertroni, the Holocaust Museum will be admitting its first visitors in two years.
Russian community in Brazil celebrates Christmas.
Rio de Janeiro. The Orthodox Church in Rio de Janeiro celebrated the birth of Christ. On Friday in the Church of the Holy Martyr Zinaida a celebratory service was held which was conducted by the senior priest in the Rio de Janeiro Orthodox Church, Father Paul (Feoktistov).
Renovative work is currently being done in the church. It has been going on for over a year, Father Paul lamented. So the parishioners have halved, there is no way all can fit into the small room, which also serves the holy father as an office.
As always there is not enough money to finish the work, and the local workers a not very prompt, so he welcomes any donation toward the completion of renovation on the church that the Russian community built in 1935.
"Restoration of the icons is already done and the are finishing the altar and walls," says Father Paul. Everything else is all done. October of this year we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of the church of the holy martyr Zinaida, which basically was the first Orthodox Church in Brazil. Metropolitan Kirill is visiting us. On the best of days, during Easter and Christmas celebrations, up to a hundred people assemble in church. We hope that repairs will be done in time to celebrate Easter. Then we will be able to thank our Lord in a renovated church."
The church cornerstone was laid in 1935, when finally the Russian Orthodox community got official registration as a legal person and was allowed to buy a lot in the center of Rio de Janeiro, on the picturesque hill of Saint Teresa. The project and construction plan was done by Russian immigrant Konstantin Trofimov, who, like most true Russian intellectuals, completed his technical construction engineering training with the rank of academic-archeologist and specialized in church architecture.
The gilded cupola of the Church of the martyr Zinaida, with the typical Orthodox cross at its summit distinguishes it among the other structures on the hill of Saint Teresa. The church had its heyday back in the 50s & 60s of the last century, when many immigrants were flooding into Brazil after the Second World War from Europe and China. Today they no longer have the choir that once numbered up to 25 people.
From 1937 to 1976, the church was legally part of the Russian Orthodox church. In 1976 the parish converted to the American Autocephalous Orthodox Church. In early 199 the Russian community expressed a desire to be under the holy Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Aleksei II. Father Paul is the first clergyman to come from Moscow and work in Rio de Janeiro. Until he arrived, church services were held by Father Anatoliy Topal, who has a large parish in Porto Alegre and had worked in Brazil since the early 1990s.
"Orthodoxy has progressed in Brazil and this is comforting. Even more so because new parishioners are coming to us. These are not just Russian emigrants, so this means that the Orthodox congregation is growing," Father Paul believes. After all, a church is not only a place for cult betterment, but also a community of Russian-speaking people, who find and support new acquaintances and friends, and so have connections to the historical homeland.
Source: RIA Novosti
, 8.1.05, Andrei Kurguzov
"Battleship Potemkin" to be shown with censored scenes restored.
The premiere of a recently restored version of a famous movie from the Soviet era "Battleship Potemkin" (1925) will play at the Berlin film festival. In it Sergei Eisenstein depicted the story of a mutiny on a Russian ship, inspired by the unsuccessful 1905 rebellion against the Tsarist regime.
In the current version of the movie, many segments have been cut out, including an appearance by revolutionary Leo Trostsky, who was banned by censors in 1920. The organizers of the festival, where the film will be shown in 2005, say that the original version of the movie no longer exists. They plan to show it February 12-13 to the accompaniment of the Badelsberg German cinematography orchestra.
One of the most well-known scenes of this movie takes place in Odessa, where a carriage with children rolled down the endless steps of a Potemkin staircase and people ran around in a panic. In this movie, which was filmed in the 1920s about the 1905 rebellion, was sacrificed to "one of the most glaring acts of censorship in the 1920s," said the festival's organizers. Trotsky's speech, which had been taken out by censors, has been restored, along with the scene cut from the Potemkin staircase.
Saturday, January 08, 2005
Representatives of Russia's traditional religions sum up the past year.
Interreligious Council of Russia holds press conference in Interfax information agency.
On 29 December 2004 the Moscow Patriarchy's deputy chairman of the Department of external affairs archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the department's secretary for church and social relations Father Mikhail Dudko, agency manager for the Council of Muftis of Russia Kharis Saubyanov, leading Rabbi of Russia (Federal of Jewish Communities of Russia) Berl Lazar, chairman of the Congress of Jewish religious organizations and associations of Russia Zinoviy Kogan, chairman of the Buddhist traditional Sanghi of Russia Sanzhei-lama answered journalists' questions.
The press conference participants expressed satisfaction with the existing situation in the country in the area of interrelations between religious organizations and the government in the perspective of their development.
In replying to questions from correspondents of both Russian and foreign mass media, archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin noted that the Russian people are beginning to return to their spiritual roots, to time-honored moral values without which the harmonious and successful development of society would be impossible. "The Church is back to serving the world, nation and people to which it has historically appealed, and in which it was so limited for nearly all of the 20th century," said deputy chairman Chaplin.
As the main event for the Orthodox citizens of Russia in the past year he referred to the return to the homeland from the USA of the Tikhvinsky Mother of God icon and the transfer to Russia from Jerusalem of the holy relics of the holy martyrs, the grand duchess Elisabeth Theodorovna and (a nun) sister Barbara.
A significant milestone in the life of the Russian Orthodx Church was the Bishop's Council whose participants gave special attention to two problems important to state and society: counteracting terrorism and the demographic situation in the country. "Today an obstacle was surmounted that had divided people of the churches, on the one hand, and representatives of government and society on the other, which ran parallel with the solution of an urgent demographic problem, noted Father Vsevolod. The troubled voice of the Church was listened to, and our position on this issue was understood and supported."
In his turn, agency manager for the Council of Muftis of Russia Kharis Saubyanov noted that the Muslim leadership of Russia had made every kind of effort "to resist the attempt to contrast Muslims and Christians and to use Islamic slogans as religious-ideological based excuse for horrific terrorist acts."
"With the aid of the Almighty," there will never be interreligious opposition in Russia," Kharis Saubyanov fervently hoped.
"No other country has made such a comeback to religious life in so short a period of democratic development," said leading Rabbi of Russia (FJCR) Berl Lazar. "The establishment in stability in Russia has also been manifested in the internal conditions of the country's Jewish communities. The difficulties of years past has driven out so many Jews, but today people are confident and look to the future with optimism," he emphasized.
In response to a question about the Orthodox view of the perspective introduction in Russia of computer chips in passports, archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin underscored that the state needed to be very attentive in making a decision about the introduction of a novelty such as an electronically readable passports so that they would not pose a threat to civil liberties.
"Bar codes naturally raise some concern among Christians," said Father Vsevolod, explaining that quite a few believers make out various combinations of numbers to be a "mark of the Beast." Besides that, "any person would rather be a name than a number, the more so because practices like that unavoidably have dire connotations in historical context."
The Orthodox deputy chairman also noted that the Church would include the problem of electronic passports in its dialogue with the state. "Documentary information in electronic format is not only possibile, but permissible, however people also ought to know exactly what about them is being kept in data bases, and to be sure that information about their private lives is secure from unauthorized access and will not be used to their detriment," said archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin." "So, if this electronic information includes school, medical and library data, this might make a person feel not so free."
In replying to a question about the problems of sect operations in Russia, he said, "The threat of total control by sects in Russia, which was so real in the early 1990s, has somewhat slackened. Nonetheless, it's still at about the same level as the majority of the countries in Europe."
Not an official translation.
Source: Communication Services, Moscow Patriarchy's external church affairs department