Category: Russia

Holy hand relic returns to Russia

Thousands of people have gathered in Moscow for the return of what is said to be John the Baptist’s right hand. Head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Alexy II led a service at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour to celebrate the relic’s return. The hand belonged to the tsars in the 18th Century, but was taken out of the country by Empress Maria Fyodorovna in 1917 as she fled the revolution. The relic has since been stored in Germany, Yugoslavia and Montenegro. It will be on display at the cathedral in Moscow for two weeks before being taken

Moscow synagogue attacker jailed

A 21-year-old man who went on a knife-wielding rampage at a Moscow synagogue, injuring eight people, has been sentenced to 13 years in jail. Alexander Koptsev was found guilty of attempting to murder Jewish worshippers during the incident on 11 January. After bursting into the building he lashed out at random before being wrestled to the ground by the rabbi and his son, witnesses said. Charges against him included attempted murder “motivated by racial hatred”. Investigators found anti-Semitic pamphlets at Koptsev’s home. They say he believed Jews were the enemies of the Russian nation. But they insist he was acting

Assailant stabs 8 people at Moscow synagogue

Top rabbi blames growing fascist ‘plague’ for anti-Semitic upsurge Moscow — A 20-year-old man wielding a knife stabbed eight people, four of them seriously, in a central Moscow synagogue Wednesday evening, in an attack that Russia’s chief rabbi said was part of a growing fascist “plague” in the country. Police identified the assailant as Alexander Koptsev, a Muscovite. He was eventually subdued by the son of the synagogue’s rabbi and held until police arrived. The chief Moscow prosecutor, Anatoly Zuyev, said an American, an Israeli and a Tajik citizen were among the wounded. “I will kill Jews,” shouted the man,

Russian TV Visits Sect That Believes That Putin is Apostle Paul Reborn

Vladimir Putin is a reborn Apostle Paul. Such is a new postulate of a sect that has been operating in Nizhniy Novgorod Region for several years already. A former prison inmate, now known as Mother Fatinya, is attracting more and more followers under her wing. People are abandoning their families and selling their flats – all for the sake of learning the so-called truth. The local diocese is aware of the sect but cannot do anything about it. No-one has seen anything like it before: a woman, with a censer in her hand,

Russians fined in blasphemy case

A Moscow court has found the organisers of an art exhibition guilty of inciting religious hatred and fined them 100,000 roubles (?2,000; $3,600) each. The January 2003 exhibition called “Caution! Religion” was staged by the Sakharov Museum, named after the Soviet-era dissident Andrei Sakharov. The Russian Orthodox Church had condemned director Yuri Samodurov and his colleague Lyudmila Vasilovskaya. The court ruling said the show was “openly insulting and blasphemous”. ‘Insulting’ exhibits It featured an icon with a hole instead of a head, where visitors could show their faces. There was also a Coca-Cola logo with Jesus’ face shown next to

Religious Freedom in Russia: A Long and Winding Road

Both the Russian government and the Russian Orthodox Church have expressed concern over the increase in membership of new and minority faiths in Russia. Major membership gains have been made by some groups, particularly by the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons. A bill on religious organizations was passed by the Russian State Duma in 1997, seriously restricting the freedom of new and minority faith groups. It was called, somewhat ironically, “On Freedom of Conscious and On Religious Associations”. The vote was passed 337 to 5. The Duma has a working group on religion that is made up of representatives from

Post-Soviet Sects Attract Minds and Rubles

Born-Again Non-Christians: Post-Soviet Sects Attract Minds and Rubles When Russia opened its iron curtains during perestroika, it instantly became a pristine target for missionaries. Since atheism was the official doctrine of the USSR, most people did not practice any religion. Their isolation from the outside world meant that they had no idea about Operation Snow White or other scandalous incidents involving untraditional religious groups. The entrance of different mainstream and fringe religions into Russia after 1989 became yet another novelty in the country. Considering the complete overhaul of people’s lives over the 1990’s, the appearance of missionaries hardly stood out

Russian TV Profiles “Aggressive” Religious Sect in Remote Village

Spiritual bidders for the electorate are also suffering defeats. The chief rabbi of Russia, Berl Lazar, has called on the authorities to ban religious sects in the country as soon as possible. As is known, the Orthodox Church has been actively calling for a ban on many sects for a long time. The number of new religious organizations in Russia has increased a hundred-fold over the past 10 years. According to different reports, there are currently up to 5,000 of them. It is getting more difficult to count the sects. Many of them have become so secretive that even

Some 200-500 Sects Operating in Russia – Expert

MOSCOW. Oct 23 (Interfax) – From 200 to 500 religious sects are currently operating in Russia, depending on what kind of organizations can be considered sects, Russian Inter-Religious Council Executive Secretary Roman Silantyev told a press conference in Moscow on Friday. “Some regions are actually free of sects, and others, on the contrary, suffer from them,” Silantyev said. Citing Justice Ministry information, Silantyev said the largest number of sects act in Primorye territory, where they account for about a quarter of all registered religious organizations. At the same time, no sects are registered in such regions as Evenkia, Chechnya, Ingushetia,

Russia’s Supreme Court outlaws neo-pagan sect

Suspected of racism, the sect of Old Believers-Inglinists in Omsk appeals to European Court for Human Rights. Omsk (AsiaNews) – The Russian Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Provincial Court in Omsk (western Siberia) to dissolve the “Old Believers-Inglinists” religious association. The Chief Directorate of the Ministry of Justice had started a legal action against the sect, considered one of the many expressions of neo-paganism in Russia, back in March 2003. According to the injunction, Inglinists are guilty of “spreading white supremacist ideas, based on the teachings of Slavic Aryan Vedas, encouraging this way inter-ethnic hatred.” The Vedas are