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Archive for May, 2012

John Sanidopoulos’ excellent “Mystagogy” blog alerted me to this ignoble anniversary.  We should be grateful that this ugly programme failed, while remembering those who were martyred during those terrible times and those who suffer still for their faith in China, North Korea and Vietnam.

1929 magazine showing Jesus being dumped from a wheelbarrel by a muscular industrial worker; the text suggests that Industrialization Day can be a replacement of the Christian Transfiguration Day.

May 15, 2012
 
On Tuesday, there will be 80 years since the Soviet government issued a decree on the “atheistic five-year plan.”
 
Stalin set a goal: the name of God should be forgotten on the territory of the whole country by May 1, 1937, the article posted by the Foma website says.
 
Over 5 million militant atheists were living in the country then. Anti-religious universities – special educational establishments for training people for decisive attack against religion – were organized.
 
According to the plan on religion liquidation, all churches and prayer houses should have been closed by 1932-1933, all religious traditions implanted by literature and family by 1933-1934, it was planned that the country, and firstly youth, would be grasped by total anti-religious propaganda by 1934-1935, clerics were to eliminated by 1935-1936, and the very memory about God should have disappeared from life by 1937.
 
However, the census of 1937, where a question about religion was included on Stalin’s instruction, puzzled Bolsheviks: 84% of 30 million illiterate USSR citizens aged over 16 said they were believers; the same was said by 45% of 68.5 million literate citizens.
 
Churches were again closed in big numbers in 1937. About ten thousand churches were closed in 1935-1936, eight thousand in 1937, over six thousand in 1938. According to the modern data, about 350-400 churches from pre-revolutionary churches were open in the early war years.
 
When bishops were arrested, Metropolitan Sergy (Stragorodsky) had to dissolve the temporary Synod on May 10 and administer all dioceses with the help of his vicar bishop and chancellery, which included a secretary and a typist.
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The patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church presided over the baptism of hundreds of babies in a Tbilisi cathedral on Sunday as part of an effort credited with helping raise the birth rate in this former Soviet nation.

Patriarch Ilia II has promised to become the godfather of all babies born into Orthodox Christian families who already have two or more children. Since he began the mass baptisms in 2008, he has gained nearly 11,000 godchildren.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has said the patriarch deserves much of the credit for the rising birth rate, which in 2010 was 25 percent higher than in 2005. The number of abortions also declined by nearly 50 percent over the same five-year period.

Parents of the 400 babies baptized by an array of priests Sunday said the patriarch was instrumental in their decision to have a third or fourth child.

“This is a wonderful day for my family,” said Tamar Kapanadze, a 33-year-old father of four. “Our fourth son, Lashko, was baptized by the patriarch himself, and before this he baptized our daughter Liziko. This is why we decided to have a fourth child.”

Lamara Georgadze, whose fourth child was among those baptized on Sunday, said she and her husband also answered the patriarch’s call to have more children.

“The Holy Father reminded us all of the importance of increasing the birth rate,” she said. “There are too few of us Georgians and therefore this is very important.”

Saakashvili has set a goal of increasing Georgia’s population from 4.5 million to 5 million by 2015.

Since coming to power in 2004, Saakashvili has focused on modernizing and expanding the economy, attracting foreign investment and pushing for closer ties with the United States and Europe. With Georgia’s population aging, he is eager to see a new generation born that could help secure the country’s future.

In his annual address to parliament in February, he said the government would give parents a one-time payment the equivalent of about $600 for a third child and double that amount for a fourth child.

“This will help raise the birth rate,” Saakashvili said. “The patriarch has already taken steps in this direction. We should be thankful to him for continually reminding the Georgian people that we should multiply.”

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/05/06/3597247/georgias-patriarch-baptizes-400.html#storylink=cpy

Georgia’s patriarch baptizes 400 babies – KansasCity.com.

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