Please Support St. Elizabeth's Orthodox Church, in St. Petersburg, Russia подписаться сейчас


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

The Honorable John F. Kerry
Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations
446 Dirksen Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Howard L. Berman
Chairman of Committee on Foreign Affairs
2170 Rayburn House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Mr. Leonard R. Leo
Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
800 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 790
Washington, DC 20002

Dear Secretary/Senator/Representative/Chair:

The reason for this letter is to draw your attention to a case of religious persecution in Russia. Recently, the state-controlled Russian mass media has started a propaganda campaign against a community of Orthodox Christians in St. Petersburg. The Orthodox Church of St. Elizabeth the New Martyr, belongs to the Russian Autonomous Orthodox Church (ROAC) and is not part of the State Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate). Starting from 15 March, 2010, TV news (at prime time), newspapers, Internet sites continuously reported of the “unmasking” of a group of “false priests” who extort money from the public by using “fake relics” of the Saints and by holding “mock” memorial services for the reposed. The rhetoric used by the media has followed faithfully the lines of the Soviet-era anti-religious propaganda. At the same time, a criminal inquiry was launched by the police against St. Elizabeth’s Church, on the basis of the alleged “public fraud.” The church was searched by police (attended by Special Forces) and officers of the so-called Department E (“E” standing for Extremism) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation. Bishop Gregory Lourié (the head of this community), as well as other clergy and some parishioners were interrogated.

Bishop Gregory, who is a special target of these attacks, besides being the rector of St. Elizabeth’s church, is also a very famous scholar, Ph.D and Dr. habil. in philosophy. He devotes himself to scholarly work and is the editor-in-chief of an international scholarly periodical Scrinium: Review of Patrology, Critical Hagiography and Ecclesiastical History (scrinium.ru) and the author of more than a hundred scholarly articles and several books about history and philosophy. It is worth remembering that this is not the first time that St. Elizabeth´s church suffers a violent attack: the very priest who started this community - Fr. Alexander Zharkov - was brutally murdered in 1997.

The purpose of these actions is to seize the Church building and hand it over to the State Church. The guilt of these people is simply that they exist – they do not belong to the church controlled by the State. In fact, St. Elizabeth's is the only Orthodox church building in the city of Petersburg that is not under the control of the State Church of Moscow Patriarchate. Also, unlike other, older church buildings belonging to ROAC, which were simply renovated by its clergy, St. Elizabeth's church was built entirely by the efforts of the parishioners.

With active help of the government agencies, the State Church has embarked on a program of systematic eradication of all independent Orthodox Christian communities (commonly known as True Orthodox Churches). This particular case of religious persecution is part of a continued campaign against the Russian Autonomous Orthodox Church - one of the largest True Orthodox Churches in Russia. In 2009, over a dozen church buildings belonging to ROAC in the province of Suzdal were expropriated by the government and then handed over to the State Church. The concern of our Government over these expropriations was officially brought to the attention of the Russian Government during President Obama’s visit to Moscow last year, but evidently, to no avail.

I ask you to take my letter to heart. Our great Country was built upon the principles of religious freedom as inalienable rights and the first among all freedoms. Even our good relations with other countries depend on their adherence to these principles. Please make our concern known to the respective officials of the Russian Federation. Please give a helping hand to the persecuted, defend their liberties and freedoms. We have many good lessons to learn from the not-so-distant European past. Namely, if such shameful cases of religious persecution are ignored, the rise of yet another oppressive and authoritarian regime will be inevitable.

Thank you for taking time to read my letter.

Sincerely,

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Последние Подписи

  • 29 2010116. Justin Grimmond
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  • 29 2010114. lisa seitz
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  • 29 2010113. Luis Prenda
    We need to know help and to save thehumain rights for to be free.
  • 29 2010112. Despina Joyce Kordan
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  • 29 2010111. Alexandre Karpov
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  • 29 2010110. Anastasya Serweytens de Mercx
    I want to sign sincerly this petition.And hope it will help.
  • 29 2010109. Stavrophoremonk Symeon Bensimon-Kilmer
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  • 29 2010108. Finbar Brandt-Sorheim
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  • 29 2010107. Vadim Zharkoff
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  • 29 2010106. Vladimir Gudzenko
    For freedom of conscience in Russia!
  • 29 2010105. Demjan Hohol
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  • 29 2010104. Malcolm Graham
    Please act on this. Thank you.
  • 29 2010103. anastassy conley
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  • 29 2010102. Demetrius of Carlisle
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  • 29 2010101. Ephraim of Boston
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  • 29 2010100. arthur ketsios
    this church holds true to orthodox tradition handed down through the generations since the apostolic era.
  • 29 201099. Linda McLeland
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  • 29 201098. Violet Kovacevic
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  • 29 201096. Peter Bereskin
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  • 29 201095. irina lebedeva
    The typical soviet qpproach to the problem is. - If you are not 'the ours' that means you are 'The enemy's supporter... This is for fools. For the smart that means: you are located in such a profitable place! Why not to take it?
  • 29 201094. Elizabeth Ashton
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  • 29 201091. Thomas Deretich
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  • 29 201090. Michael Nosonovsky
    The persecution of the parish of St. Elizabeth is a matter of concern, since it violates the freedom of religion and the separation of Church and State (the parish belongs to the Russian Autonomous Orthodox Church, which is viewed by authorities as a riva

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Информация

Friends of St. Elizabeth'sКем:
Юстиции, прав и общественного порядкаIn:
Получатель петиции:
US State Department, Senate, House of Representatives, Commission on International Religious Freedom

Тэги

bishop gregory lourie, petersburg, roac, russian autonomous church, st elizabeth, true orthodox church

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