Medvedev Backs More Religion in Russian Schools and in the Russian Army

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By Nabi Abdullaev / The Moscow Times

President Dmitry Medvedev pledged Tuesday to support the study of religion in schools and hiring chaplains from major Russian religions, in what could pose a major challenge to the constitutional separation of religion and state.

“I have made a decision to support both these ideas: teaching the basics of religious culture and secular ethics in Russian schools, and I also consider it expedient to organize on a regular basis the work of clergymen representing traditional Russian confessions in our Armed Forces,” Medvedev said at the meeting with top religious and government officials at his Barvikha residence outside Moscow.

The so-called traditional Russian confessions include Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.

Medvedev said he based his decision on requests and suggestions sent to him by religious leaders.

The two initiatives are among the most debated and controversial in Russian society. Their critics claim that the Russian Orthodox Church is significantly better prepared to install its priests in schools and garrisons, which would leave others at a disadvantage. Opponents also say a conflict of subordination could arise in military units between priests and commanders. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Father Simeon de la Jara: On a righteous path from Peru to Mount Athos

simeon1When Miguel Angel de la Jara Higgingson was seven, his mother had a vision. She sensed that her son would some day leave her for a «far away place, like an island, there where people of solitude lived who pray all the time and rarely step out into the world». Even she, however, could probably not have imagined just how far from his native Peru, both physically and spiritually, his life’s search would take him.

Now he is Father Simeon the hermit, a GreekOrthodox monk who lives on Mount Athos, a self-administrating, all-male monastic community on the Athos peninsula – the eastern most of three jutting peninsulas in the northern Greek prefecture of Halkidiki.

However, it’s not just his Peruvian origins that make Father Simeon such a well-known figure among visitors to MountAthos; it’s also his radiant presence as an artist, poet and painter that makes him so sought after, especially by the young.

His journey began in 1968, when at the age of 18 he left Peru to discover the world. After travelling through Europe and Asia for over two years – during which time he was exposed to eastern philosophies and religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism and yoga – he finally settled in Paris, where he lived for the next three years. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »