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Archive for December, 2008

Spiritual Reflection On Love

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on December 27, 2008



How Should Ethiopian Tewahedo Christians Conduct Themselves in Relation to Other People?

The answer to this question is given by the Lord Himself:

“Love your neighbor” (St. Luke 10:27).

The Lord Jesus Christ very categorically demands that we love one another. While giving His last instructions to His Apostles before His suffering, He often, and with great force, entrusted them with this love. Namely: “This is My commandment, That you love one another …” (St. John 15:12). “These things I command you, that you love one another” (St. John 15:17). “A new Commandment I give unto you, that you love one another…” (St. John 13:34). This is precisely what all of the Apostles oblige us to do.

The holy Apostle St. Peter, together with all the other Apostles, commanded us to love. St. Peter writes: “…See that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently” (1 Peter 1:22). St. John the Apostle – Evangelist writes: “Beloved, let us love one another” (1 John 4:7). “For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another” (1 John 3:11; John 5). “And this His commandment, that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment” (I John 3:23). St. Paul says: “Walk in love” (Eph. 5:2). … “For you yourselves are taught of God to love one another” (I Thess. 4:9). The holy Apostle James writes: “the royal law according to the Scripture [is], Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself…” (James 2:8).

The measure of this love is clearly defined by the Lord Himself. He demands that we all love our neighbor as ourselves, for He said: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (St. Luke 10:27). “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (St. Matthew 7:12). This is exactly what all the Holy Apostles said. Therefore my reader, take note and fulfill the following instructions.

1. You want the best for yourself and are satisfied when everything works out for the best. On the other hand you are not pleased when for some reason things fail. Therefore wish the best for all of your neighbors: rejoice when they are happy and show compassion when they fall into misfortune.

2. It is unpleasant when people react to you poorly and suspect you of some evil doing. Therefore do not speak poorly of anyone, and without sufficient cause do not be suspicious of anyone. “Love thinks no evil” (I Cor. 13:5).

3. It is enjoyable for you when people speak well of you. Therefore you should speak well of all your neighbors. Be especially careful not to slander your neighbor. Slander is the work of Satan; let it belong to him alone (Rev. 12:10). You speak only good of your neighbor.

4. When someone speaks badly about someone outside your circle, try, if at all possible, to defend or excuse him. Besides this, never repeat that which you have heard. For it frequently happens that things are said about people because of malice or out of revenge, and to repeat that which was said can cause enmity. Enmity is described in the Word of God as one of those vices which can prevent one from entering the Kingdom of Heaven (Gal. 5:20).

5. It is unpleasant for you when people make known your shortcomings and especially your vices. Therefore when you see the weaknesses and vices of others, do not announce them to everyone for: “Love …beareth all things,… endureth all things” (I Cor. 13:4-7). Look for the right occasion and lovingly point out the weaknesses and vices you noticed; persuade the person to correct himself. After a time, if you see that the vices you noticed do not scandalize others, then you yourself cease from mentioning them. If possible share the concern for him with your Spiritual Father (a Priest or Bishop) who is assigned to correct and check them and protect others from temptation and harm. To tempt others is a terrible sin (St. Matt. 18:6).

You do not like it when others treat you harshly and offend you in some way. Therefore you should treat everyone kindly without exception. Be especially careful not to use swear words or offensive ones. If it so happens that someone treats you rudely, angrily, and says unpleasant things to you, then answer him gently, for, “A gentle answer turns away wrath” (Prov. 15:1).

If it happens that because of an offense you became angry with your neighbor, then say nothing, for immediately your anger will flame up, and in an impassioned state you are likely to consider it necessary to say something that you later sorely regret, but will be incapable of correcting. While angry say nothing but wait until you have completely calmed down. If your neighbor is for some reason very angry with you, do not attempt to talk him out of it, even if it seems very necessary, for while he is in the heat of anger the passion is in control of him and not his reason, therefore you must not try to dissuade him – it is impossible to speak convincingly to someone out of his mind, your words will only make him more angry and force him to do something possibly harmful to you.

7. You are happy when people help you when you are in need. Therefore strive yourself, as much as you can, to help your neighbor in all of his needs. For alms (all good deeds) doth deliver from death, and shall purge away all sin. “Those that exercise alms and righteousness shall be filled with life” (Tobit 12:9) the Word of God tells us. Here we must follow a special rule. Namely:

a) We must first, before helping other people help those whom Almighty God’s foresight has united us with, i.e., parents, relatives, authorities, benefactors, those under our authority, and fellow believers. St. Paul says concerning the first group, “But if any provide not for those of his own house, he hath denied the Faith, and is worse than an unbeliever” (I Tim. 5:8). Concerning fellow believers the Apostle teaches: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of Faith” (Gal. 6:10).

b) Among the above, before others, come to the assistance of those who are especially in need, that is the ill and disabled. Even if you cannot give them what they specifically need, then at least visit them, serve them in some way, and comfort them. Act in this way even if they are totally ungrateful to you, “for Love does not seek its own” (I Cor. 13:5), and the Lord will reward you.

8 ) Having assisted those among your living neighbors, do not deny those among your departed neighbors. Pray for all the departed, and especially for those who died suddenly and without proper preparation, and while still in serious sins. Remember them more often and offer what alms you can for their salvation. Many of our departed neighbors, especially those who reposed without proper preparation, need our help incomparably more than those among the living who are extremely impoverished, because the reposed are now incapable of helping themselves. Only we the living can offer them help.

9) Our love for ourselves can be and, unfortunately, often is truly misplaced. How many people desire and strive for earthly goods, great honor, respect, prosperity. Therefore our Lord Jesus Christ was so pleased to place a specific condition on our love for our neighbor; He commanded that we should love our neighbor as He loved us. “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (St. John 15:12). “Love one another as I have loved you” (St. John 13:34). “The Lord Jesus Christ so loved us, the faithful, His Church, that He gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify it… That He might present it to Himself…not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27). “He strove and strives to create in all of us firm faith in God the Father and in Himself” (St. John 3:16), “to offer us a true knowledge of God” (St. John 1: 18; 17:3), “to inspire us to love Him” (St. John 17:26), “to lovingly and zealously fulfill the commandments of God” (St. John 14; 21, 23, 24) “and to lead us to eternal life” (St. John 3:16).

Therefore each of us who sincerely loves himself should in every way possible strive to acquire firm faith in the Lord God, true knowledge of Him, heart felt love for Him and the most zealous desire to fulfill His commandments. Thus we should also act in relationship to our neighbor so that he might acquire firm faith in the Lord God, true knowledge of Him, acquire love for Him, zealously striving to fulfill His commandments and thus continually grow towards eternal blessedness.

Every one of us should in every way possible inspire our neighbor to care for the salvation of his soul, to support and increase this concern by whatever means possible. None of us should dare say: “What do I have to do with the quality of my neighbor’s life?” Quite the opposite, each of us, when we notice that a Christian is behaving in an improper way, should look for the right time in order to privately and with love bring him to his senses and direct him on the right path of salvation. “Now we exhort you (not just ask), brethren, warn them that are unruly” (1 Thess. 5:14).

In order to assist our neighbor spiritually we should strive much more earnestly than to help him physically. Physical help must be offered in such a way that it more or less contributes to the spiritual perfection of our neighbor and to his salvation.

  • The spiritual need of our neighbor is incomparably more important than any of his physical needs. And to give spiritual assistance is often much more difficult than to give physical because, as a rule, for to physical assistance people usually respond with gratitude, but to spiritual, almost never, and it is not unusual for them to repay us with hatred and even vengeance.

10) As in offering physical help, in offering spiritual help we must also follow a special rule mainly:

  • Before others we should heed the needs of people that God’s Providence has closely bound us with, such as our children, relatives, friends, benefactors, employees. He who strives to instruct, correct and awake the conscience in strangers while his own spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters, friends, employees, etc run out of control and fall into sins and error, does not fulfill the Commandment of love for his neighbor. He is not a friend to his neighbor but an enemy, one who is at times extremely harmful and destructive.

11) If the opportunity arises we should never refuse physical and especially spiritual help to the wicked, to stranger, non-Orthodox, heretics, atheists, and enemies, for all of them, no matter what their orientation or disposition, are human, all created by the Creator, all with an immortal soul and in the likeness of God. They are all redeemed by the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ and therefore all children of the Heavenly Father, all redeemed by Christ and all co-inheritors of the one, eternal, all-blessed Kingdom of God. Therefore we should show love to all people.

  • People who are wicked, heretics, and atheists, all are in the greatest need of our spiritual aid, especially our prayers and our example to them.

Concerning our enemies there is the clear Commandment of the Lord: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (St. Matthew 5:44). There can be no contradiction here, for the Apostle St. John makes it clear to us that: “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer” (St. John 3:15).

This is how we should love our neighbor. If we were filled with love for all our neighbors we would be perfectly happy. Then there would not be such unhappiness on earth and our life would become like the life of our ancestors in blissful paradise. Let us zealously fulfill the Lord’s Commandments of love for our neighbor, and in every way possible strive to bring our live closer to that of our ancestors in paradise!


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Ethiopia Eats

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on December 21, 2008

Indigenous Ethiopian Cuisine

Dining in Ethiopia is characterized by the ritual breaking on Injera and eating from the same plate, signifying the bonds of loyalty and friendship. These bonds are often demonstrated in the form of “Gursha” – that is the placing of food in the mouth of another diner from one’s own hand. Ethiopian dishes are known by the variety of spices from which they get their exotic tastes.

Watt is a stew that comes in the form of beef, lamb, chicken , fish and vegetables. These range from spice to very mild.

  • The mildly seasoned Watt is called Alicha.
  • The spicy one with hot pepper is called “Qey Wott.”
  • Vegetarian dishes are also very popular in Ethiopian cuisine, especially during the religious season of Lent.

The variety of watt and Alicha made of lentil, peas and other vegetables are just as popular and tasty as those with meats.

Drinks: Ethiopian Tea

This tea is fragrant and relaxing. It includes all spice, cardamom and a cinnamon chip that are all boiled and steeped in water to create a flavorful tea.


Appetizers: Sambusas

Thin dough shells stuffed with minced meat and/or vegetables.
We had a sampler of Sambusas filled with beef, chicken,
whole lentils, spinach and potato & carrot.



Taste of Ethiopia

Platters for every four people.

Doro Wat

Chicken leg & thigh marinated in lemon juice & ginger,
cooked in a homemade spice sauce until tender.
This is served Ethiopian style with a hard boiled egg.



Yemisir Watt (Spicy) & Kik Alicha (Mild)

Yemisir Watt are red lentils simmered in a spicy onion sauce.
Kik Alicha are split peas cooked in a mild sauce of onion, garlic & ginger.



Gomen, Yebeg Alicha (mild), Quosta

Gomen are chopped collard greens simmered in a mild garlic & onion sauce.
Yebeg Alicha is lamb meat booked in a mild onion, garlic, ginger & basil sauce.
Quosta are chopped spinach simmered in a mild garlic & onion sauce.


Dinich Alicha & Kay Watt

Dinich Alicha are potato cubes & carrots cooked in a ginger,
garlic, & onion sauce with Ethiopian spices Kay Watt are lean beef meat cubes cooked in a spice



Tikel Gomen & Dinich Alicha

Tikel Gomen is sliced cabbage & carrots cooked in a mild sauce.
Dinich Alicha are string beans, carrots and potatoes
cooked in a mild onion, garlic & ginger sauce with Ethiopian spices.



Injera is the traditional Ethiopian bread that is part of every entree. It’s a pancake like bread on which the various stew dishes are served. The traditional way of eating it is with your fingers. A bit sized piece of injera is broken off to pick up a mouth full of the chosen dish.




There is no better way to end this diverse excursion into Ethiopian food than with the best coffee of the world, prepared in the legendary Ethiopian coffee ceremony. Ethiopia’s coffee ceremony is an integral part of Ethiopian social and cultural life. Taking part in any coffee ceremony is considered a mark of friendship or respect and is an excellent example of Ethiopian hospitality.



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Happy Holidays!

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on December 21, 2008

From Addis to you all!


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Ten of the world’s best treks

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on December 13, 2008

Simien Mountains, Ethiopia




One of the major highland regions in Africa and one of its most beautiful. It includes Ethiopia’s highest point, Ras Daschen (15,160ft/4,620m), the fourth highest peak on the continent. It is also home to the friendly and tough Amhara people, and rare and diverse flora and fauna.



High Atlas Mountains, Morocco


Centered on Jebel Toubkal (13,665ft/ 4,165m), North Africa’s highest mountain, the rugged wilderness of the High Atlas are also home to the colorful and hospitable Berber people.



GR20, Corsica


One of the most scenic and challenging treks in Europe. The trail traverses the high mountains of the island’s interior, crossing mountain ridges, chasms and granite slopes, and is home to shepherds who still follow a centuries-old lifestyle.



Tour du Mont Blanc, Alps


This 100-mile/161km epic circumnavigates Mont Blanc, crossing between France, Switzerland and Italy and takes in 12 cols, including the Fen�tre d’Arpette (8,743ft/ 2,665m)



Southern Tuscan Trail, Italy


A trek through one of Europe’s best preserved Renaissance landscapes surrounded by world-renowned vineyards, medieval hill towns and the magnificent abbeys of Sant’Antimo and Monte Oliveto Maggiore with Sienna, Europe’s best-preserved medieval city.



Julian Alps, Slovenia


Triglav National Park, with its glacial lakes and rivers, hidden gorges, snow-capped mountains, alpine plateaux and lush valleys, is centered around Slovenia’s highest peak, Mt Triglav (9,395ft/ 2,864m). It also includes Mount Krn, the scene of fierce fighting during the First World War, described by Ernest Hemingway in A Farewell to Arms.



Snowman Trek, Bhutan


This trek, through the remote region of Lunana in Bhutan, crosses high Himalayan passes with mountain landscapes that include Gangkhar Puensum, the highest unclimbed peak in the world.



Overland track, Tasmania



This track is considered one of the finest bushwalks in Australia. The 40-mile route across a World Heritage area follows well-graded paths through a sub-alpine wilderness of peaks, forests, alpine heathland, glacial lakes and waterfalls.


Paine Circuit, Chile



One of the world’s great trekking challenges, this 60-mile circuit of the Paine Massif in Torres Del Paine National Park passes through one of the world’s most dramatic mountain regions, famous for its pink granite towers, iridescent blue lakes and surreally sculpted glaciers.


Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru



This sparsely populated region of the Andes, amid ice-clad summits that rise above glaciers, rolling grassland, lakes and valleys, is the location of Joe Simpson’s epic true-life tale of survival, Touching the Void. The massif forms a constant back-drop to a 20-day trip to the region with Andean Trails


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The Human Race Is Composed Of Two Groups

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on December 13, 2008



Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie


In his book, Sinisterism, Bruce Walker argues against the traditional Left-Right distinction, in support of his theory that the behavior of power-intensive regimes such as Nazism and Stalinism is best explained by a shared hostility toward Christianity and Judaism.


It’s a very interesting book, with many outstanding ideas and realistic observations. It gives clear Information on the corruption of society when it loses its ties to its moral foundation in the Judeo-Christian tradition.


Bruce Walker’s book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie, is presented as a proposal for “a way of looking at what we call political ideology,” rejecting words such as “revolutionary” and “reactionary” or “Left” and “Right.” This is not a new approach to political theory, having been addressed by Ayn Rand, and in the 1970’s Robert Ringer attacked the American left and right as “demopublicans,” although he did so without the religious connection Walker introduces.


Walker begins with a general thesis that, “The human race is composed of two groups of people: in one group are those who seek power, by fair means or (preferably) foul, and in the other group are the rest of us, normal and decent people who wish to live our lives without owning other people’s bodies, minds, works and souls.” In this, he groups all power hungry people together, in much the same manner as Objectivists and Libertarians do. After attacking the “left-right” dichotomy as meaningless, he attempts to project much of modern political conflict as a war against Jews and Christians because their faith is based on certain ethical and moral principles which interfere with the power hunger which characterizes authoritarian systems, and social trends that lead to them. These social trends and power-oriented systems he calls Sinisterism, defined as a religion of no God, at war with true faith.


Much of what Walker is addressing is stated in the phrase, “Secular Religion of the Lie,” which forms part of his title. Where this seems directed is the simple fact that in order to obtain and then maintain power, rulers need to use deception. This is illustrated first by reference to George Orwell’s 1984, with its famous government motto including “Freedom is Slavery.” His point is simply that by changing the meaning people attach to words or concepts you change their thinking and their view of the world. Do it effectively enough and you have control of the population. An unfortunately brief discussion of how this was used in the USSR follows, and there is, at this point, little address to how it has been used in the United States along with the decline in educational standards and moral relativism. Both of these topics deserve greater exposition in the 21st century context.


Instead, Walker takes us into the world of the 20th century power cults of Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin, with particular emphasis on Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. In this he shows how much of the historical record has been muddied by educators and historians who ignore works penned during the 1930’s which show that what many of us have been led to believe about these regimes is not true. Nazis are not Fascists, and Nazi Germany was not always Stalin’s deadly enemy. The German-Soviet non-aggression pact then falls neatly into place and the power hunger of the political systems, which were so similar under their different surfaces, becomes obvious.


After discussing these topics in great detail, Walker next begins an examination of the Judeo-Christian relationship throughout history, beginning with Rome and taking it through the Middle Ages and finally to Europe during WWII. As a realist, he asserts that Jews and Christians are no different than other people, able to do right and wrong, to make mistakes and correct themselves. He suggests that on balance, there has been more good than bad, which is in all probability correct. Particularly important is his treatment of the position of the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages, which differed from that of political opportunists and mob leaders. He also discusses briefly the myth of toleration in Moorish Spain, the role of Christians in scientific developments, and their contributions to the rise of the modern scientific method.


Even more important is the section containing Walker’s discussion of how the decline in Christian faith and rise of immorality during the late 19th and early 20th centuries allowed Nazism to rise to power. He takes great care to detail how the Nazis persecuted Christians as well as Jews, because at its core Nazism was a secular religion, worshiping man, instead of God. Walker also illustrates the close connection between Nazism, Islam, and to a certain extent, militant Hinduism. This discussion leads to an examination of issues of good and evil in society, and why psychology is the wrong approach for examining the behavior of people such as Hitler. While this again bogs down in some historical examinations, it later moves on to the relationship between power and abuse, which is at the heart of the matter. This culminates in a discussion of why power-intensive regimes dislike Judeo-Christian Religion, and the means by which they propagate the myths of hatred for their own purposes.

Walker concludes with coverage of the Judeo-Christian relationship in America, some important facts concerning the Puritans, and the relationships between several founding fathers and Judaism and Christianity.


Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie
ISBN: 1598002694
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Publication Date: 01/2006
320 pgs., pbk.

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The Saga Of Ethiopian Maids

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on December 11, 2008


Domestic workers, the majority of whom are women, constitute a very large portion of today’s migrant worker population.

Domestic work is the single most important category of employment among women migrants to the gulf states, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon. 40  60 % of the population in the Arab states of the Gulf region has a foreign background.

The majority of female migrants come from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia, the Philippines.

Driven by poverty and conflict in their home countries, women from these countries travel to the Arab states only to find themselves hungry, abused, raped and subjected to conditions akin to slavery.

There are too many stories about ill-treatment and not paying full wages. Most maids, if being paid on time, earn about $100 a month; the minimum wage, for instance, for Kuwaitis is $900 a month. Frankly speaking, there are few stories more tragic than the plight of foreign maids in Arab countries. Those familiar with their circumstances know how much they suffer under cruel employers, so much so that many choose to take their own lives.

Thousands of young Ethiopian women are being enticed to the Middle East and gulf Arab states with the promise of work  only to suffer verbal, physical and sexual abuse.

Many of these young women are locked in the house where they work at all times and never given any freedom.

Many suffer ‘mental torture’ telling horror stories. The abuse in the Middle East goes beyond just physical, employed in back-breaking jobs for up to 18 hours a day,  girls also have to perform sexual favours,  frequently  raped.

Suicide cases are not rare. Girls are only allowed to return home by their employers when their contract ends or when they fail to give any service due to sickness or disability.

Many of these young girls return to Ethiopia partially paralysed, insane, with broken backs and legs, in some cases, burned with acid.

According to the US official ranking, states like Bahrain, Kuwait, Iran, Lebanon, Malaysia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Qatar  as among the worst human trade offenders.

God will see all your sufferings — and the days of those wicked  and evil barbarians are numbered. Oppressors, are always subject to continual terror, live very uncomfortably, and perish very miserably

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Male Female Friendship?

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on December 6, 2008


The premise of the question “Can men and women be friends?” is confusing. What is it that obstructs friendship between men and women, exactly? The presence of desire? The awkwardness of its absence? Still, it’s a valid question, that many ask

Can a rich man be friends with someone less well-off? Can an employer be friends with an employee?    A Jew and a German? A snot-nosed kid and an octogenarian? An anthropologist and a native?

Of course. Each situation has its challenges, but even a little psychological sophistication would leave most adults capable of negotiating these situations. And in the final analysis, these are the friendships that are the most enriching of all — those that involve a bit of reach.

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Atheism Is Not The Answer

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on December 6, 2008

Many people in the world give ideological and economical factors for the downfall of communism in Eastern Europe. But the main and real cause of those communist societies – being exteremly atheistic – is a very chronic absence of spirituality in the day-to-day life of their citizens.

Humans frequently tend to be stubborn and ignorant when it comes to taking a lesson or two from history, or even to learning from the mistakes made in other parts of the world. We seem to repeat the same mistake time and time again.

This is particularly seen in the current wave of aggressive atheism which is wagged against believers in many developed countries.

While Hundreds of millions of East Europeans turn to religion to assuage their spiritual hunger, the atheist community worldwide rush to deny the human nature of humans. To be human is very much about becoming a person and our beliefs are integral to that becoming. As such, visions of “the selfish gene” or whatever other exclusively materialist approach atheists take, (e.g. humans are cognitive information processing machines etc…) they cannot really capture this dimensions of how humans reflect upon their condition and remake themselves accordingly. 

What I find most inspirational, exciting, depressing and chilling is how quickly some dismiss all their religious fervor as delusional, yet, I’m reminded about how much blind, irrational faith we put in our politicians and ‘super heroes’. If you think that people will go to great lengths to lie about religion over centuries, just imagine what people do with money and power.

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Russian Patriarch Who Saw End Of Communism, Dies

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on December 6, 2008



The Christian world has lost one of its principal advocates.

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexiy II, who revived the nation’s main religion after decades of Soviet atheism and healed an 80-year rift with a branch of the Russian Orthodox church in the West, died on Friday. He was 79.

Enthroned in 1990 a year before the Soviet Union’s collapse, Estonian-born Alexiy II was relieved of the state ideological control that weighed on his predecessor in the ancient chambers of Moscow’s Danilovsky Monastery.

In one of his biggest achievements, the patriarch signed a pact in May 2007 with Metropolitan Laurus, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, ending an 80-year split begun by White Russians who fled Soviet Russia to set up a rival faction.
Alexiy II made the most of Russia’s spiritual vacuum after the long-held Communist beliefs crumbled.

But he was also criticized for supporting measures to restrict the freedom of other confessions, including Roman Catholics, to work in Russia.

He stood in the way of a visit to Russia by the Polish-born former leader of the Catholic church, Pope John Paul II.

And although he expressed similar views on same-sex marriage, euthanasia and abortion as Pope Benedict XVI, this never resulted in a meeting.

Addressing the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe last year, Alexiy II denounced homosexuality as a sin, an illness and “a distortion of the human personality like kleptomania”. He also said European civilisation was threatened by a divorce of human rights from Christian ethics.


Alexiy II moved the Orthodox Church closer to the centre of political power, despite repeatedly voicing support for Russia’s constitutional separation of church and state.
He was a frequent visitor to the Kremlin, and then Russian President Vladimir Putin was often seen at key church services held at Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral, demolished by Soviet ruler Josef Stalin and rebuilt in the 1990s.

Alexiy Mikhailovich Ridiger was born on Feb. 23, 1929, in the Estonian capital Tallinn, into the family of a Russian Orthodox priest.

He later said his family’s many pilgrimages to the then Soviet Union’s key religious sites were crucial to moulding his future path.

In 1953 he graduated from the St Petersburg Spiritual Academy as a priest. He served in Estonia and Russia before becoming a monk in 1961, taking the vow of chastity necessary for any orthodox clergyman seeking a top position in the church.

In 1961 he was appointed Bishop of Tallinn and Estonia and in 1986 was consecrated Metropolitan of Leningrad and Novgorod.

In 1990 he became the 15th patriarch to lead the Orthodox Church since the position was established in 1589. The patriarchate was abolished between 1721 and 1917.

God Bless His Soul!

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