21 October 2018

Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople Excommunicated by the Moscow Patriarchate of All Rus' and All the North

From RT:
In the biggest rift in modern Orthodox history, the Russian Orthodox Church has cut all ties with the Constantinople Patriarchate, after it accepted a [schismatic sect claiming to be part of the] Ukrainian Orthodox Church as independent. 
The Holy Synod, the governing body of the Russian Orthodox Church, has ruled that any further clerical relations with Constantinople are impossible, Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church’s External Relations Department, told journalists, de facto announcing the breach of relations between the two churches. 
“A decision about the full break of relations with the Constantinople Patriarchate has been taken at a Synod meeting” that is currently been held in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, Hilarion said, as cited by TASS. 
The move comes days after the Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate decided to eventually grant the so-called autocephaly to two [vagante] branches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, thus legitimizing the two clerical organizations. 
The Moscow Patriarchate also said that it would not abide by any decisions taken by Constantinople and related to the status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. “All these decisions are unlawful and canonically void,” Hilarion said, adding that “the Russian Orthodox Church does not recognize these decisions and will not follow them.” 
At the same time, the Russian Church expressed its hope that “a common sense will prevail” and Constantinople will change its decision. However, it still accused the Ecumenical Patriarch of initiating the “schism.” 
The move taken by Moscow marks arguably the greatest split in the history of the Orthodox Church since the Great Schism of 1054, which separated [Roman] Catholics [from the] Orthodox Christians, as it involves a break of communion between the biggest existing Orthodox Church – the Moscow Patriarchate – and Constantinople Patriarch, who is widely regarded as a spiritual leader of world’s Orthodox Christians, even though his status is nothing like that of the Pope in the Roman Catholic Church. 
Constantinople’s decision seems to be serving the interests of the Ukrainian [political] leadership rather than the Orthodox Christians living there. While most Orthodox clerics in Ukraine still pledge loyalty to the head of the Russian church, Patriarch Kirill, and consider themselves to be part of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kiev actively supports a schismatic force, which has been unrecognized by any other Churches until now. 
This religious movement led by the former Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, who is now [claiming to be the] "Patriarch Filaret in Ukraine", has sought to gain the status of an independent Orthodox Church, “equal” to the Moscow Patriarchate, since 1990s. Meanwhile, it did not hesitate to seize Moscow Patriarchate’s churches by force. 
In its October decision, the Holy Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate “canonically reinstated” Filaret and his followers “to their hierarchical or priestly rank” and restored their communion with the Church, thus effectively declaring that it does not see them as schismatic. This particular move also provoked angry reaction in the Moscow Patriarchate [and other canonical Orthodox Churches around the world]. 
“A schism remains a schism. And the leaders of a schism remain as such,” Hilarion said, adding that “a Church that recognized schismatic 'priests' and entered into communion with them … excluded itself from the canonical field of the Orthodox Church.” 
He also named restitution of Filaret’s and his followers’ hierarchical or priestly ranks as one of the major reasons behind the Russian Orthodox Church Holy Synod’s decision to break all ties with Constantinople. 
According to TASS, 40 churches have been forcefully seized by the Kiev Patriarchate between 2014 and 2016. In the first half of 2018 alone, Ukraine witnessed 10 new [violent] attacks on Russian Orthodox Churches. Now, as Constantinople is launched a procedure of granting independence to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, such attacks might further intensify, some experts warn.
As such, members of the Russian Orthodox Church, including ROCOR, can no longer attend, commune, marry, confess, or receive any mysteries at any church under the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Likewise clergy of the MP and ROCOR may no longer concelebrate with priests under the Patriarch of Constantinople. Russian Orthodox Christians may continue to attend and receive the mysteries at any other Patriarchate Church, Canonical Autonomous Orthodox Church, or Canonical Autocephalous Orthodox Church worldwide.

23 September 2018

My DNA: Tracing my ancestory to Noah, Adam, and Eve!

I recently had my DNA tested by 23andMe. If you'd like to check out your DNA, you can save by registering at this link: https://refer.23andme.com/s/ir2tk I guarantee that you will find it fascinating!

Most of it was unsurprising, such as having Irish ancestry. My paternal grandfather was born in Ireland shortly before immigrating with his mother, Queen Tobin Stanosheck to America. Recently we learned that my maternal grandfather's family had lived in Ireland for some time before immigrating to America. Through my maternal line it appears we are related to Clan McLaren/MacLaren too.

Both my maternal grandmother's and grandfather's families had lived in Germany so having German DNA was not surprising.

Now the last names of my grandfathers are Polish-Russian and Welsh. So having DNA from Poland and Great Britain was not a surprise. But what was a surprise was that although my last name is a blend of Polish and Russian, I have no Russian DNA, but do have Ukrainian DNA. (I've actually had an intuition about this before getting tested).

Surprise #2 is that we were always told that my maternal grandmother was Czech, but according to my DNA, she was actually Slovak, as I have Slovak DNA but no Czech DNA.

Surprise #3 is that my DNA can be traced all the way back to Noah. We are related to Noah via his son, Japheth, his grandson Gomer, and his great-grandson, Ashkenaz.

It looks like someone in my ancient family members moved from Syria to the Slavic lands, and then up to Scandinavia. Where exactly, my DNA doesn't know, but it was in my mother's side of the family.

So many people who get their tests done get surprise African or Asian DNA, but my test showed my DNA to be solely European (as far as it can go back). Here is the exact (to 99.98% accuracy) breakdown:

Here are the histories that my DNA tells:

The stories of all of our paternal lines can be traced back to just one man: the common ancestor who lived in eastern Africa at the time, Adam.

Your paternal-line ancestors gradually moved north, following available prey and resources as a shifting climate made new routes hospitable and sealed off others. Then a small group ventured across the Red Sea and deeper into southwest Asia. Your ancestors were among these men, and the next step in their story is marked by the rise of  your ancestors in the Arabian Peninsula.

Passing through the Middle East, your paternal-line ancestors continued on to the steppes of Central Asia, vast grasslands stretching all the way from central Europe to the eastern edge of Asia.

The next step in your story can be to the common ancestor of a man who likely lived in Central Asia. His descendants roamed the vast steppes of the continent, where they hunted huge mammals like the mammoth.

Your ancestral path forked off again in western Asia, but farther south in the Iranian Plateau your ancestors flourished.

As the people of the Fertile Crescent domesticated plants and animals for the first time. Around 8,000 years ago, the first farmers and herders began to push east into Central Asia and north into the Caucasus Mountains. Some of them eventually reached the steppes above the Black and Caspian Seas. There, they lived as pastoral nomads, herding cattle and sheep across the grasslands, while their neighbors to the south developed yet another crucial technology in human history: bronze smelting. As bronze tools and weaponry spread north, a new steppe culture called the Yamnaya was born.

Perhaps triggered by a cold spell that made it difficult to feed their herds, Yamnaya men spilled east across Siberia and down into Central Asia. To the west, they pushed down into the Balkans and to central Europe, where they sought new pastures for their herds and metal deposits to support burgeoning Bronze Age commerce. Over time, their descendants spread from central Europe to the Atlantic coast, establishing new trade routes and an unprecedented level of cultural contact and exchange in western Europe.

The men from the steppes also outcompeted the local men as they went; their success is demonstrated in the overwhelming dominance of the lineage in Europe, especially Ireland and Wales.

You descend from a long line of women that can be traced back to eastern Africa. If every person living today could trace his or her maternal line back over thousands of generations, all of our lines would meet at a single woman who lived in eastern Africa, Eve. The story of your maternal line begins with her it.

While many of her descendants remained in Africa, one small group ventured east across the Red Sea, likely across the narrow Bab-el-Mandeb into the tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

Your story continues with one of two branches that arose from southwestern Asia. Researchers have long debated whether they arrived there via the Sinai Peninsula, or made the hop across the Red Sea at the Bab-el-Mandeb. Though their exact routes are disputed, there is no doubt that the women migrated across all of Eurasia, giving rise to people from Portugal to Polynesia.

One of those branches traces back to a woman who likely lived in the Middle East or the Caucasus Mountains. Her descendants appear to have migrated into northern Europe, and then through southwestern Asia as far as Pakistan with the expansion of agriculture about 8,000 years ago.

Women carrying this haplogroup likely migrated into and across Europe during this stretch of milder climate.

Today, they are mostly spread across southeastern Europe and into the Middle East, including in the North Caucasus and northern Iran. Some can also be found in the northern and western reaches of Europe, including in Britain, Finland, and even western Siberia.

25 February 2018

DESMOS: International Link of Orthodox Christian Scouts

The International Link of Orthodox Christian Scouts (DESMOS, from Greek "Δεσμός", bond) is an autonomous, international body committed to promoting and supporting Orthodox Scout associations and to be a link between the Scout movement and Orthodox churches.

DESMOS was founded in 1994 with the mandate of the World Scout Bureau, in consultation with the Deputy Secretary General of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, and with the blessing of His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I.

It enjoys consultative status with the World Scout Committee and forms the World Scout Inter-Religious Forum together with the Council of Protestants in Guiding and Scouting, International Catholic Conference of Scouting, International Union of Muslim Scouts, International Forum of Jewish Scouts, Won-Buddhism Scout and World Buddhist Scout Brotherhood.

The object of the Link is as follows:
  1. To develop and promote the spirit of brotherhood and understanding among Scouts of the Orthodox Christian Faith.
  2. To promote warm relations and co-operation between Scouting and the official local Orthodox Churches.
  3. To develop an educational curriculum that should enhance the spiritual dimension in the personalities of young Orthodox in accordance with the purpose, principles and method of the Scout Movement.
  4. To introduce Scouting in such states or areas where Orthodox Church is established.
  5. To co-ordinate the activities of "DESMOS" with non-Scout Organisations having the same objectives.
  6. To motivate co-operation among "DESMOS" members.
  7. To motivate and promote Scouting to Orthodox boys and girls on global basis.
Member organizations include:
  • Armenia: Hayastani Azgayin Skautakan Sharjum Kazmakerputiun
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Savez izviđača Bosne i Hercegovine
  • Bulgaria: Organizatsia na Bulgarskite Skauty
  • Cyprus: Cyprus Scouts Association
  • Finland: Suomen Partiolaiset
  • Greece: Scouts of Greece
  • Israel: Israel Boy and Girl Scouts Federation: Christian Orthodox Scout Association
  • Jordan: Jordanian Association for Boy Scouts and Girl Guides
  • Lebanon: Lebanese Scouting Federation: National Orthodox Scout Association - Scout National Orthodoxe
  • Macedonia: Sojuz na Izvidnici na Makedonija
  • Moldova: Organizaţia Naţională a Scouţilor din Moldova
  • Palestinian Authority: Palestinian Scout Association: Palestinian Orthodox Scouts Association
  • Poland: Polish Scouting and Guiding Association
  • Romania: Cercetaşii României
  • Russia: Russian Association of Scouts/Navigators
  • Serbia: Savez Izviđača Srbije
  • Uganda: The Uganda Scouts Association: Uganda Orthodox Scouts
  • Ukraine: National Organization of Scouts of Ukraine
  • United States: Boy Scouts of America: Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting
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