The Best of Russia –July 10-22

These have been a tumultuous couple of months, I think on this point we can all agree.

As you all know, I’ve finished my travelogue on my recent trip to Russia. I hope you all enjoyed it. Truth be told, I’m afraid I didn’t do it justice and for that I ask for your forgiveness. My mind is still overwhelmed by the experience –so much so that I have every intention of going back.

On that note, I’d like to direct your attention to “The Best of Russia: 2017.” Please take the time to read it and if you’re interested, please contact Fr Ilya Gotlinski, the director of Orthodox Tours. You won’t regret it. Fr Ilya organizes superb trips –everything is literally taken care of. (He just got back from Georgia and he’s got several others planned for Romania, Greece and Israel the upcoming year.)

I hope you will consider it. You won’t regret it. If you do, I’d love to get a chance to meet you. On the last night, drinks will be on me!

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  1. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    The Primate of the Church of Holy Russia, His Most Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia had this to say about the departed Castro: : “Commandante Fidel was one of the most famous and prominent public figures of our time, he won international prestige, and he was a legend even during his own lifetime. As the embodiment of the Cuban people, he expended all his strength to attain his country’s genuine independence to ensure that it took its rightful place in the global family of nations. The Russian Orthodox Church will always say Fidel Castro’s name with respect and gratitude. With his personal involvement, we erected a parish church in Havana dedicated to the Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God “of Kazan” , and Fidel, in his own words, made himself the “building inspector”.
    Do Trump and his claque here on Monomakhos appreciate and share these sentiments, shared, NO DOUBT, with President Putin:
    “The Russian Orthodox Church will always say Fidel Castro’s name with respect and gratitude.”

    • George Michalopulos says

      On this issue, HH and I will have to agree to (vehemently) disagree. Castro was nothing less than a monster. Like all the great monsters of history, I see nothing wrong with praying for his soul. We should do so; alas, I can’t.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        I wonder if the ROCOR bishops will take HH to task for saying such things? Alas I fear not. Thank God they reunited back in 2007. Right? That Third Rome business looks wonderful right about now. Yeah.


        • Peter,

          Russians tend not to speak out of turn unless it’s important, Fr. Longin in the Ukraine, for example. Fidel is dead. Whether his grave is decorated with flowers or spittle is of little consequence. Really, I think they were mostly expressing gratitude for the church he allowed opened there.

          As to Third Rome, if one were trying to identify a spiritual/political center/focus of traditional Christianity in the contemporary world, Moscow would certainly be worth mentioning. With all due respect, the “New Rome” is still trying to convince the Church of Greece that there was something legitimate about Crete.

          Give us time to work on the MP’s areas of confusion. In the meantime, they have to say something. And bear in mind that this little grenade was thrown in by our dear friend Fritz to enliven the conversation, no doubt.

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            Misha! You mean Patriarch Kirill said all that crap so I could throw a grenade at important little YOU?
            And I do apologize if I, as you surmise, enlivened your conversation!
            Yours truly,

    • What an eye-opening statement from the Moscow Patriarch! Does he really believe that this “building inspector” “expended all his strength to attain his country’s genuine independence”???? Guess Havana money was involved here in erecting the church. Of course, we pray for the dead, but we can’t forget the countless number of lives killed, shattered, imprisoned by this monster.

    • There is a bit of a disconnect between diaspora Russians and natives on this little subject. As a descendant of Russians in the diaspora, I can say with all fervor that I despise Communism and communists with every fiber of my being and that whatever the collateral damage in Central and South America from rightist anti-communist forces, it was all absolutely justified in saving the world from this ideology of the devil himself.

      So Castro can burn in hell for all I care, along with Lenin and Stalin.

      However, Russians in the Motherland are in a bit of a different position.

      Castro was an ally of the Soviet Union and Russia ruled that roost. Russia seems to have made the national decision to “not bicker about who killed who” (in the immortal words of Monty Python). This is political expediency. They want to own their own history unapologetically. The fact of the matter is, Russia is under new management, new governing philosophy and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation can answer for Soviet crimes since they still profess that wicked ideology. Most Russians have moved on. The entire matter is reconfigured to reflect the politics of the day. That is very Russian. One should not be troubled by ghosts.

      The dead are in heaven or hell so it doesn’t affect them too much. It’s all said and done now. One can afford to love a dead communist, its the living ones that should concern us.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Excellent summation.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Governments can do that not Orthodox clergy that need to speak prophetically and truthfully to the world, which includes their own government.

        If your walk with Christ costs you nothing what kind of a walk is it? Pat. Kryll was wrong. Period.


        • What, you want him to p*ss on the man’s grave so they close the church?

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            The body of Christ is the Church not the building. He could have said something that was diplomatic, but Orthodox at the same time. He did neither.

            Also closing a building in defense of the Gospel that resides in all believets, and their faith that needs to be strengthened, is more important. You see Misha for all your theological musings you tend to miss that the Gospel of Christ is actually that important.


            • Wait, Peter, you’re telling me that the patriarch of the Church of Russia who suffered under communist repression for most of his life does not appreciate the importance of the Gospel?

  2. George and Bishop Tikhon, I always found it strange how polar opposites, make such alliances. Why does the Russian Patriarch even need to make such a comment? Because he has made bedfellows with a vicious regime, and now wants to preserve the church and the parish in Cuba. I hope such deals with the devils are worth it in the long run.

    The same can be now said with President elect Trump, and his courting of Romney. Reminds me of the Godfather movie, keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.

  3. Mark E. Fisus says

    Anybody else have to deal with loss of libido during the Nativity Fast?