He who places his hope on thee, O Virgin all-glorious, will prosper in all he does.

Inscription on Byzantine coin during reign of Romanus III

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


Moscow, November 1, Interfax - Forty percent of Russians, mostly women and religious people, believe in the supernatural beings, the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) said, following a nationwide poll held before Halloween.

Some 22% believe in omens, 21% in horoscopes, 8% in palm reading and spells, 6% in aliens, and 2% in zombies, the center said.

Fifty-seven percent said they were not superstitious (71% of men and 46% of women).

There are more believers in supernatural elements amongst women than amongst men. Some 30% of women believe in omens, and the indicator is only 14% amongst men; while 29% of women and 12% of men believe in horoscopes.

Churchgoers believe in omens and horoscopes more than atheists (21%-22% against 7%). The belief in omens is particularly characteristic of Orthodox Russians (26%); only 13% of followers of other religions and 7% of atheists believe in that.

Halloween is an ancient Celtic holiday marked on October 31. The holiday's symbol is the Jack-o-lantern - a carved pumpkin with a lit candle inside. Halloween costumes depict witches and similar characters of films and books. It was traditionally celebrated in English-speaking countries but became popular in Europe and the CIS at the end of the 20th century.

Combating Collective Guilt

Moscow, October 31, Interfax - Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky does not believe that the blame for the killing of Russia's last Emperor Nicholas II and his family rests with the people of Russia.

  'I don't believe the people of Russia should repent for the killing of the tsar's family because the people of Russia did not kill the tsar's family. It was done by several bastards on the orders of other bastards,' the minister said at the 5th International Festival of Orthodox Media
Faith and Word, commenting on the statement made by one delegate referring to the discussion on the need for the people of Russia to repent for their sins to the tsar's family, which has been occurring on the Internet for the past few years.

Medinsky also spoke about the issue of the burial of the body of Vladimir Lenin, saying that 'the Culture Ministry will not come up with any initiatives regarding any burials and re-burials.'

'It is our official position, and there is also my private opinion as a citizen,' the minister said, adding that he would not like his private opinion on this issue, which he characterize as 'rather sharp,' to be associated with the official position of the government.

The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.