Top Orthodox News from September 9 to September 16

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On Friday, September 15, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia arrived in Kamchatka to conduct the consecration ceremony of the new Maritime Cathedral in the regional capital, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The Kamchatka Maritime Cathedral was laid in 2013. The cathedral contains a memorial with the names of Kamchatka sailors and fishermen who did not return from the sea.

Russia held a single voting day on Sunday, September 10. After the election results were announced, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia sent congratulations to the newly elected heads of regions: Altai, Krasnoyarsk, Primorsky Krai, Amur, Voronezh, Ivanovo, Kemerovo, Magadan, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Samara, Smolensk, Tyumen, Orel regions, the Republic of Khakassia, Chukotka, and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District.

St. Petersburg hosted the II International Religious Forum, which was attended by representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church and Islam. The delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church at the forum was headed by Metropolitan Varsonofy of Saint Petersburg and Ladoga. Delegates from Qatar, Yemen, Lebanon, and Iran also presented reports at the forum. The theme of the forum was declared as religious values in the modern world.

This week, a meeting of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad took place. After hearing the report of the Secretary of the Synod for Inter-Orthodox Relations, Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe, the hierarchs resolved to call upon the clergy and the flock to fervent prayer for the persecuted Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the leadership of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry.

In Berlin, the interreligious forum "Daring to the World: Dialogue of Religions and Cultures" organized by the Community of Sant'Egidio took place. The forum discussed issues of overcoming poverty and social inequality, the interaction of religions and cultures, and the challenges of the modern world related to climate change and the development of artificial intelligence. Archbishop Tikhon of Ruzsk, head of the Berlin-German Diocese of the Russian Church, addressed the forum with a message on the discrimination of believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The Greek Church prays for those affected by the flooding in the region of Thessaly. This week, a three-year norm of precipitation fell there. The cities of Volos, Larissa, and Karditsa were most affected by the flooding, as well as the island of Crete. Thousands of square kilometers of territory were submerged, and many people were forced to leave their homes. A supplication service for the victims of the flood was held in the city of Folegandros. Humanitarian aid to the affected areas was sent from the Castoria and Maronia Dioceses of the Greek Church.

Anomalous precipitation in Greece is associated with Hurricane Daniel, which recently hit the southwest coast of Libya. In the coastal city of Derna, two dams were destroyed, and entire neighborhoods were washed away into the sea. As a result of the disaster, over three thousand people died, and more than nine thousand went missing. Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Church, expressed condolences to the country's government.

In Greece, lessons of religion have been made optional for students from atheist and non-Orthodox families. Parents must submit a statement of refusal from religious lessons "for religious reasons." The Ministry of Education made this decision in response to the appeal of the "Union of Atheists" and citizens representing other religions or non-Slavic confessions. The authors of the appeal demanded that all students be allowed to opt out of religious lessons without stating reasons.

A court in Kiev ordered the community of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to dismantle the Vladimir-Olginsky Chapel of the Desyatynny Monastery. This temple was built in 2006, and at that time, the Ukrainian Church founded the Desyatynny Monastery on this historical site. The first Desyatynna Church was destroyed in the 17th century, and then several temples were built on this site, the last of which was demolished in 1936. The National Museum of the History of Ukraine since 2020 sought the dismantling of the Vladimir-Olginsky church, calling it an "unauthorized object."

The Ministry of Culture of Ukraine announced that it had brought 13 sites on the territory of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra under government control, which were under the jurisdiction of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Also this week, the authorities sealed the buildings of the Kyiv Theological Academy and Seminary. The Ukrainian Church has already announced that the academy is moving to the Holosiivsky Monastery on the outskirts of Kiev.

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