Ijov’s Blog

January 29, 2009

Eidetic memory possible: phenomenon of Andriy Slyusarchuk

Filed under: Society,ukraine — ijov @ 10:54 am
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Prof. A. Slyusarchuk

Prof. A. Slyusarchuk

Lviv has just witnessed two decidedly wacky world records, bringing a much appreciated does of fantasy to the late winter gloom. Medical professor Andriy Sliusarchuk memorized a staggering five thousand one hundred numbers in a mere two minutes flat. Then came record number two, with the prof reciting the value of Pi to its one-millionth decimal place.

Having completed the two mind-spinning challenges, the prof received a rapturous round of applause from his students, fellow professors and representatives of the Ukrainian Book of Records. Bravo from Lviv Life!

Source: http://www.lviv-life.com/news/news/36-As_Easy_As_Pi


January 26, 2009

Chilean Catholic converted to Orthodoxy

Opening a Door for the Lord in People’s Hearts

Father Alexy Aedo

Father Alexy Aedo

Father Alexy Aedo, Chilean native and archpriest with the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, is the pastor in Chile of two Orthodox communities—that of St Silouan of Mount Athos in the city of Conception[1], and that of St Nectarios of Aegina in the city of Santiago[2]. While still a youth, being Chilean and Catholic, he converted to Orthodoxy. Father Alexy, a well-known missionary in his country, has devoted a lot of time and energy to preaching Christianity and Orthodoxy among the Chileans.

– Father Alexy, tell us how you became an Orthodox priest and missionary.

– I had wanted to become a priest from childhood. But I was born in southern Chile, and there it was possible to become a priest only with the Catholic Church. I began to study theology and entered a Catholic seminary. Then I became acquainted with some Orthodox families from Palestine. I saw how people in the Orthodox Church live, how they think. When I would start a conversation on some theological topic, they would tell me what the Orthodox Church teaches about it. So I converted to Orthodoxy and was received into the Antiochian Church. While still a layman, I came here, to Santiago, the capital, to complete my theological education. Once, walking home from the university, I found myself near a Russian church. I entered it, heard the Russian choir, looked at old Russian photographs….All this made a deep, deep impression on me. After that, more than once, the thought entered my mind, “O God, how good it would be if I also could someday serve Liturgy in such a wonderful church!” Later, when I was already ordained a priest, the Russian missionary-bishop Vladyka Alexander Meliant—may God rest his soul—invited me to transfer to the Russian Church. While still carrying on my missionary work in Santiago, I also took the first steps in building a church in the southern part of the country, in the city of Conception. I would like very much for a beautiful Russian church to be there, where my children and other young Chileans could go. And I ask God not to take me to Himself until there is a Russian Orthodox Church in the south.

– In addition to Conception, are there any other Orthodox parishes in southern Chile?

– In the city of Valdivia, there are Russians and Palestinians who would like to form a parish. There are also Chileans, not only in Valdivia but also in other cities, who want to convert to Orthodoxy. We hope that God gives us the opportunity to build here also, in Santiago, a large church.

– You are doing a great deal of missionary work now. Was your acquaintance with Vladyka Alexander a stimulus for this?

– Yes. Vladyka Alexander trusted and loved me as a priest. That is the best thing that can happen to a priest—when a bishop trusts him and loves him. For me, it was a gift from God.

– In Russia, many people know of Vladyka Alexander through his website and are familiar with the “Missionary Pages” which Vladyka put out.

– Both the site and the brochures which Vladyka Alexander published were extremely important and needed by us. They help us understand what Orthodoxy is. Thanks to Vladyka Alexander, we have come to understand that it is both possible and desirable to preach the Gospel through the internet: people hear us better, find out about us, get to know us; through the web, we can keep knocking patiently until the people hear us.

– In the main building of Santiago University, you have now built a movable church. Tell us, besides spiritually feeding those students who are your parishioners, do you have any success in reaching other students with the Gospel message?

– We carry on missionary work with the students, but, figuratively speaking, not “through an open door” but “through a window.” Formally, we do not have the right to preach in a secular educational institution, because the students don’t come to the university in order to be “missionized”. The founders and professors of this university are laypersons, secular people. But each time an opportunity presents itself, without pressuring or imposing on anyone, we remind them about God … and talk about the faith. Later, students will come and approach me as someone older, as to a father, in order to ask advice or to share their joys and sorrows.

– And what is the most important thing for preaching Orthodoxy among specifically Latin American youth?

– My feeling is that youth here are seeking religion, seeking the Church, but they can’t find genuine faith. Unfortunately, many join Protestants, or sects, sometimes even non-Christian sects. Young people need people to listen to them, to understand them.

We live in a time when people are weighed down by many sorrows: they are hit by economic difficulties, by war, at times by serious problems with their health. It seems to many people that their whole life is falling apart. People don’t know what they can hold onto for support, what represents authentic values, true moral guidance. Therefore, work with young people should begin with friendship. A person needs to be able to simply listen to them. And when you listen to them, they, without noticing it, begin to hear about Orthodoxy.

– Do literature, the arts, and philosophy help to find a common language with youth?

– Yes, through philosophy and ethics it’s easier for me to find a common language with youth. Young Chileans are inclined to relate critically to the way things are in their homeland, and indeed, to the world in general. And they want something they can grab hold of, like the tiller on a boat or the helm on a ship, that can help them steer their way through the surrounding world. Through this desire for a true moral compass, it is easy to move the conversation to the plane of philosophy and ethics. The next step up is religion.

– After the restoration of canonical relations between the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, several parishes in Chile split off from the Mother Church. What do you think, is this a temporary phenomenon? And what, in your opinion, needs to be done to heal the schism?

– This is a very sorrowful, contradictory phenomenon. The deep, painful wounds of the past have still not healed. Many of those who have gone into schism still do not understand that over the course of time, the situation in Russia has changed. However, those dear old priests who have preserved the traditions and cherish tradition have, together with us, embraced reunification, but some young priests have left. It may be that the latter are guided by personal motives—material interests, ambition—in a word, private interests. And at times they forget about obedience to the Church.

One Russian batiushka, a monk, lives on a mountain and abides in silence. Talking with him is like talking with a saint. He also didn’t accept the reunification. But I would prefer that he were a little less saintly and stayed with us.

– Tell us, what to you is the most interesting thing that is happening today in the Russian Orthodox Church?

– Between the West and the East exists a colossal difference in world view. Here in the West, Church and culture are separated. In the Orthodox East, they [Church and culture] represent a single, united whole. Matushka[3] and I were in Greece. In Athens we asked a Greek, “What is more important to you, to be Greek or to be Orthodox?” He answered that they were one and the same thing. Russians think the same way. And I must explain to the Chilians that I am not Greek, not Russian—I am Orthodox. The Russian Church is a kind of model for us, integrating spiritual life with national culture. And I very much wish that the Chilean people would perceive and assimilate the Gospel of Christ in the way that the Russian people embraced the Gospel and integrated it with their own traditions and culture. O Russia! Help us find the path of how to be faithful to our national culture in the light of the Gospel teaching!

– Father Alexy, in Latin America, [the project of] the “Days of Russian spiritual culture”[4] has just been completed. What kind of mark have these days left in the souls of those Chileans who are still not in the Church, who consider themselves to be secular people? From your point of view, could it happen that, after visiting the concerts of Sretensky Monastery’s choir, the exhibition “Holy Russia, Orthodox Russia [‘Rus’[5]]”, and the cinematic festival of Russian films, there will be awakened in them an interest in spirituality, and in true Russian culture, which is closely bound up with the idea of Orthodoxy?

– Of course. I think this [project] will also help them draw closer to the Orthodox faith because during this period of the Days of Russian culture, Chileans have had the chance to converse with clergy—with priests and hierarchs. After 20 years in the priesthood, I have come to the following conclusion: people may be very far from the Church, perhaps not even believe in God … until they become acquainted with a priest. The Lord God literally opens for them a little door, tiny and unnoticeable; and—lo!—faith appears. Such a person suddenly turns to us with a request to bless his home, to bless his children. Then he learns about the heights of monastic life, and is beside himself with joy and wonder about it. He starts reading the lives of saints—Seraphim of Sarov, Silouan of Mount Athos, Herman of Alaska, and other ascetics of piety. He learns about fools-for-Christ and begins to study the holy fathers. For confirmation in the faith, people often don’t need concepts and theories, but simply to see the way which God Himself trod. By God’s grace, a person talks with a priest and finds the footsteps of the Lord.

interview by Hieromonk Paul Scherbachev

Source: http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/28636.htm

January 20, 2009

America intentionally provoked financial crisis

Filed under: Society — ijov @ 1:59 am
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America intentionally provoked financial crisis to gain world domination

Moscow, December 3, Interfax – Professor of the Moscow Theological Academy Deacon Andrey Kurayev believes the USA has intentionally provoked the world financial crisis in order to form “new world government.”

“The Western world has absolutely intentionally staked on devaluation of money for more than 20 years, this is “Reaganomics.” I can’t even imagine that American economic and financial leaders failed to predict the results of thoughtless crediting of population and increasing state, corporate and private debts. They’re clever people,” Fr. Andrey has told Interfax-Religion correspondent on Wednesday.

He supposes, it “was absolutely intentional stake on crisis.”

“What is the use of this crisis? I can judge only from very similar signals, words and receipts coming from various Western countries. States all over the globe are saving private companies. However, when saving, they introduce very strict control over them. After cleaning up medium business and nationalization of big one, epoch of “new socialism” will come. In this case, the consequences of the crisis will be similar to those of 9/11/01,” the deacon believes.

Fr. Andrey noted that after terrorist attacks of September 11, western citizen “was told he was attacked and thus should be under police escort. He started living under vigilant police guard and was deprived of his right to privacy, cameras always follow him, and he is asked to have electronic documents, fingerprints and a passport, which hasn’t happened in England since World War II.”

“The space of private freedom was abruptly restricted. Under pretence of struggling against mythic Al Qaeda, they started spying on ordinary citizens of the European Union and the USA! The same thing will happen to big business. State will now spy on legal entities instead of physical persons. And again – it will be done only for common good,” the interviewee of the agency believes.

According to him, “the most terrible tricks were played for the sake of “equality” in the 20th century, while the world will be reconstructed and freedom dismantled for “security” reasons in the 21st century.”

“Thus, I believe that crushing of two New York towers and crushing of local stock exchanges are chapters of the same scenario that aims at setting up “new world government” with very totalitarian ambitions,” the professor concluded.

Source: http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=5445

Theologian not sure Hadron Collider will bring happiness to people

Filed under: Society — ijov @ 1:54 am
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Theologian not sure Hadron Collider will bring happiness to people

Moscow, September 25, Interfax – The well-known theologian, professor of the Moscow Theological Academy Alexey Osipov suggests that scientists are insufficiently responsible in realizing the project of the Hadron Collider’s launch.

“I cannot estimate all the goals of making this giant machine, but it’s at least announced that it has been done, in particular, to learn how the Universe happened. Oh well, we learned it. What’s next? I never heard the answer to this question,” Osipov said to Interfax-Religion.

He also said that he hadn’t heard a clear answer to the question, “would the launch of the Collider lead to scale negative consequences.”

“Without answering these two questions the assessment changes immediately: we can neither reject nor cheer this experiment,” Osipov said.

The professor noted that “every time when something similar is created we’d most like if scientists to foresee at first all the possible consequences and to answer above all a question – what will the creation give the man as a creature looking for good, advantage, happiness.”

According to the Church point of view, he said, “we should know something, but exactly what is needed for our mortal life, just even biological existence.”

“But when it extends beyond the boundaries of solutions of this kind of issues, this is already a big issue, because an empty curiosity is not a virtue from the Christian point of view – when there is no enough arguments indicating that this study is really necessary for us,” Osipov said.

He noted that human progress has some driving forces, and “one of them is curiosity.” “Though there are things of quite a different order in the scientific and technological progress which are quite positive in terms of enabling a person to have more prosperous existence and a possibility to supply needs – necessary needs, as I can note,” the professor said.

He recalled the rule “which is wonderfully expressed in the Hippocratic Oath: do no harm.”

Osipov also pointed that “when we find ourselves in the face of unknown, we always accept risk. And the more major the experiment is, the more backgrounds of existence, even material, it touches, the more risk we have.”

“That’s why it’s always necessary to model the result we’ll get it the case of resolving the scientific problem,” he added.

According to the professor, even in terms of philosophy, not only Christian, “we can never prove that our mind can adequately comprehend all the things it investigates. We try to prove our mind’s ability with it’s own help, so there’s a vicious circle.”

Source: http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=5195

Dangers of exorcisms

Filed under: Orthodox church,Society — ijov @ 1:48 am
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The Russian Orthodox bishop is concerned with the fashion on exorcizing prayers among Orthodox believers

Moscow, February 8, Interfax – Bishop Longin of Saratov and Volsk, who is also a member of the Russia’s Public Chamber, is concerned with the believers practicing mass trips to the clerics to drive out of demons.

‘No one wonders if a person really needs it. No one knows why normal people are going through exorcism procedure. I know some examples when healthy people became demon-possessed after the rite,’ the bishop stated as quoted by Noviye Izvestia daily on Friday.

Moscow Theological Academy’s professor Alexey Osipov has roundly condemned modern exorcizing practice. ‘Firstly, how do we know that a person gets better when demons are exorcized? Secondly, some people get even worse after the procedure,’ he said.

According to him, ‘the Lord prohibited the demon-possessed to speak and now demonic madness is filmed, and these records circulate all over Russia: hey, listen, what the demon says!’

‘Thirdly, the priest who practices it without having any spiritual gifts harms himself and those who come to him,’ Osipov added.

Source: http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=4251

The Orthodox Church negates UFO-people

Filed under: Orthodox church,Society — ijov @ 1:34 am
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The Orthodox Church negates UFO-people – a Theology professor

Moscow, May 15, Interfax – The Orthodoxy excludes a possibility of existing extraterrestrial intelligence, the famous theologian and professor of the Moscow Theological Academy Alexey Osipov said.

“From the point of Orthodox theology, there’re no grounds for talking about extraterrestrial civilizations that have reason and can create something,” Osipov said to Interfax-Religion.

According to him, such position is based on the fact that “the New Testament lacks” allusions to extraterrestrial forms of intelligent life.

“Secondly, there have been very many people in the Church who reached highest degree of God-likeliness and sanctity but no one of them has ever mentioned them (extraterrestrial civilizations – IF), though they pointed out to many other things,” Osipov said.

This argument was also important, he stressed.

Besides, the professor said that modern astronomy “advancing into the depth of the Universe still hasn’t found any planet with the life similar to that on Earth.”

“We have solid grounds to negate existence of any extraterrestrial intelligent civilization,” he summed up.

Osipov noted that the Orthodox Church didn’t consider this question on purpose to arrive to a certain conclusion. Though according to him, some theologians who studied the question of extraterrestrial civilization concluded that space world is very rich and there are phenomena, which remain unknown. But they believe these to be of astronomic character rather than of spiritual one.

According to the professor, there is still another view point which was expressed by Seraphim Rose, a “well-known hieromonk and deserving respect ascetic of the 20th century” who first studied Eastern philosophy, “was deeply involved in searching the truth and after long quests joined Orthodoxy.”

Osipov noted that Rose admitted that there were “spirits who surround Earth and penetrate in human world and even influence certain people or some vital processes.”

“He said that these spirits couldn’t be attributed to holy spirits or angels and church language call them demons,” Osipov said.

Source: http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=4675

Disputes on world origin make no sense from theological standpoint

Filed under: Society — ijov @ 1:31 am
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Disputes on world origin make no sense from theological standpoint, professor of Theological Academy

Dubna, November 27, Interfax – Disputes between advocates of evolution and creation scientists are senseless from theological standpoint and do not have any vital meaning, Professor of the Moscow Theological Schools Alexey Osipov said.

“I believe such disputes are sad event of our time. Fundamentalists of the creation science don’t understand a simple thing: the question of creation or evolution makes no sense to theology,” Osipov told an Interfax-Religion correspondent in a lobby interview of the Science. Philosophy. Religion conference organized by St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation in the Moscow Region this week.

According to the theologian, those who accept the existence of God, accept that God is the source of the existing world, don’t ask such questions. “It is God’s business how to create: all species at once or to give laws for this world to develop,” Osipov said.

Professor finds the attempts “to ascribe God to any stand” funny. “All these disputes on evolution or creation are guess-work. Advocates of each version can find their own arguments. We should treat such questions easily as they don’t have any vital meaning for us,” the theologian believes,” the theologian said.

Source: http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=5415

Atheism contradicts science

Filed under: Society — ijov @ 1:27 am
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Atheism contradicts science, professor of the Theological Academy believes

Dubna, November 26, Interfax – Scientific worldview can’t be atheistic, renowned theologian and professor of Moscow theological schools Alexey Osipov said.

“If the world is endless than the science can’t prove there’s no God,” Osipov said at a conference Science. Philosophy. Religion organized by St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation.

According to the theologian, science and religion do not oppose one another, but should jointly oppose various superstitions and false doctrines.

The professor also stressed the necessity to form integral world outlook in course of educational process.

“Knowledge itself is only a building material. It’s impossible to live in building materials, you need to build a house. The house is integral world outlook,” Osipov believes.

Source: http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=5411

Netherlands is the most degrading country in Europe

Filed under: Society — ijov @ 1:23 am
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Prominent Russian theologian: the Netherlands is the most degrading country in Europe

Moscow, August 3, Interfax – Prof. Deacon Andrey Kurayev of Moscow Theological Academy has expressed concern for the fate of Holland because of its lax morals.

‘The Netherlands is the most degrading country in Europe. I would not compare it to Sodom because it is still a ‘nether land’. What can threaten it instead of fire is only water, and in the nearest future at that. I would not like to frighten anybody though, of course’, Father Andrey said as cited by the Ukrainian issue of the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily.

That was Deacon Kurayev’s comment on the daily’s article about Bug Chasings, parties attended by people with AIDS, which have come into fashion in Holland. There is even a gay group called ‘HIV-Positive and Proud’.

The daily cites a Hollander by name of Harald who is healthy but would like to catch AIDS.

‘I simply don’t have enough courage to make the last step’, he admitted, ‘some of my friends have already been infected and I envy them. Farewell to damned condoms! Farewell to fear! You have now nothing to loose, you are at the end of your tether, and it means you turn over a new leaf’.

Harald told about healthy people, usually gays, who are looking in the Internet after a ‘gift-giver’, a person with AIDS who is willing to transmit it to another.

‘It is a way out for lonely folks. After infection you enter a circle of the elected, a sort of ‘Masonic lodge’. You are bearing ‘a seal of death’, you are one of our own, a marked one, not alone, and you can do anything. You have friends and lovers in many countries of the world’, he added.

Source: http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=3433

Mass passion for Harry Potter uncovers social degradation

Filed under: Society — ijov @ 1:17 am
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Mass passion for Harry Potter uncovers Russian society’s degradation – Andrey Kurayev

Moscow, December 24, Interfax – The Moscow Theological Academy professor Dn. Andrey Kurayev is astonished to see many grown-ups passionate for childish Harry Potter series while he believes they should be interested in some more serious reading instead.

‘It is strange that this children’s book reaches out so adult audience. For the kids the book is too big and complex anyway, but for the grown-ups it completely fits the mass intellect,’ he told Kommersant-Dengi weekly.

According to Kurayev, ‘Those who could read Kafka, Dostoyevsky or Sartre have become devoted to Harry Potter,’ which ‘uncovers our society’s cultural degradation.’

‘When a children’s book becomes number one for the adult world, that may mean on of the two things. Either the nation is wholly enlightened by the Gospel, which is not so, or the nation is not mature enough for the all books save children’s ones,’ he added.

He said he normally read books on theology, history and philosophy that he needed for what he did.

On the other hand, Kurayev confessed that Harry Potter-7 was the last fiction he had read.

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