Friday, August 08, 2008

Lord Have Mercy... Gospodi Pomilui...

According to the Washington Post, among other news sources, Russian and Georgian military forces clashed in the separatist province of South Ossetia on Friday, with Russian tanks and troops pushing in after a Georgian assault on the disputed area.

Significantly, this report has been posted on Interfax:

Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia urges parties in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict to show wisdom and sit down at negotiating table.

"I learned about armed clashes in Tskhinvali and its localities and I urge the opposing parties to cease fire and renew the dialogue," Alexy II's statement is quoted by the Moscow Patriarchate's official website.

"Today blood is shed and people are killed in South Ossetia and my heart deeply laments over it. Orthodox Christians are among those who have raised their hands against each other. Orthodox peoples called by the Lord to live in fraternity and love confront each other," the Church primate stresses.

Referring to the appeal of Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia who urged to peace, Patriarch Alexy also turned his "ardent call" to those "who are blind with enmity": "Stop! Don't let more blood shed! Don't let today's conflict boil over! Show wisdom and courage: come to negotiating table to respect traditions, outlook and hopes of Georgian and Ossetian people."The Patriarch has stated the Russian Orthodox Church is ready to unite its efforts with the Georgian Church to help peace come.

"May Our God, Who is "not a God of disorder but of peace," be our Assistant in it," Alexy II's statement says.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn: Memory Eternal!

"It is time, in the West, to defend not so much human rights as human obligations."

The renowned novelist, dramatist,and historian Alexandr Solzhenitsyn reposed on Sunday, August 3. Through his writings, he made the world aware of the Gulag, the Soviet labour camp system, and for these efforts, Solzhenitsyn was both awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970 and exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974. He returned to Russia in 1994.

Solzhenitsyn followed in the slavophile tradition of Dostoevsky, deeply criticial of Renaissance and Enlightenment developments in the West which came to support a radical individualism at the expense of public virtue. Over the years, his life and thought became increasingly shaped by Orthodoxy. For a number of years during Solzhenitsyn's exile in the United States, Fr. Alexander Schmemann served as his father confessor.

May his memory be eternal!


For more commentary, consider Daniel Larison's post here.

And also the fine post by Andrew Cusack, available here.