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“Today is the first seance,” says a short-haired woman in a pink cocktail dress, seconds before blissful footage of fog flowing over a lake takes over the screen while acoustic guitar music plays. The scene is meant to give viewers a taste of the mysteries to come, but it feels more like the beginning of […]

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Russian Director Serebrennikov Freed From House Arrest

April 8, 2019           |                                       

A Moscow court has ordered the release of theater director Kirill Serebrennikov and two associates from house arrest. The three are on trial in an embezzlement case they claim is politically motivated. In an April 8 ruling, the Moscow City Court also ordered Serebrennikov, producer Yury Itin, and former Culture Ministry employee Sofia Apfelbaum not […]

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Moscow Court Prolongs Director Serebrennikov's House Arrest Until July 4

April 2, 2019           |                                       

A Moscow court has extended the term of house arrest for theater director Kirill Serebrennikov and two associates in an embezzlement trial that the defendants and their supporters contend is politically motivated. In an April 2 ruling, Meshchansky district court Judge Irina Akkuratova left Serebrennikov, producer Yury Itin, and former Culture Ministry employee Sofia Apfelbaum […]

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Ukraine Deports Russia-Aligned Priest, Strips Citizenship, In Church Rift

February 14, 2019           |                                       

KYIV — Ukraine has taken the extraordinary step of deporting a senior cleric of the Moscow-aligned Orthodox Church and stripping him of his citizenship, marking a political escalation in the historic rift that has shaken the Eastern Orthodox world and further raised tensions between Kyiv and Moscow. The move threatens to draw U.S. officials into […]

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Ukrainian Orthodox Church Enthrones Epifaniy As Leader

February 3, 2019           |                                       

The new Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) has installed its first metropolitan, Epifaniy, at a ceremony in Kyiv on February 3, in a process that further establishes the new church body’s independence. The enthronement ceremony for Epifaniy was held in a packed St. Sophia’s Cathedral in the Ukrainian capital. It was attended by dozens of […]

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Decree On Independence Handed Over To New Orthodox Church In Ukraine

January 6, 2019           |                                       

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople has handed over a “tomos” of autocephaly to Metropolitan Epifaniy of the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Bartholomew presented the document at a church service in Istanbul on January 6, after signing it during a ceremony the previous day. The historic document grants the Orthodox Church in Ukraine independence, or […]

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Giving Tanks At Grand Russian Military Cathedral

December 27, 2018           |                                       

Stored for decades, Nazi military hardware captured by the Red Army is destined to serve God and country in Russia. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, discussing the ongoing construction of a grandiose army cathedral on the grounds of a military theme park west of Moscow, said that the main steps to the church would be forged […]

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Tortured Past: On Russian Memorial, Victims And Perpetrators Of Stalin's Purges Stand Side By Side

December 27, 2018           |                                       

On October 1, 1937, as Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s brutal purge raged, a brilliant, one-handed Russian linguist penned a complaint from Moscow’s notorious Butyrka prison about his treatment by the NKVD secret police. “I request a halt to the severe interrogation methods (physical violence), as these methods compel me to lie and only serve to […]

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Ukraine Lawmakers OK Law To Rename Moscow-Loyal Orthodox Church

December 20, 2018           |                                       

KYIV – Ukraine’s parliament has approved a bill that would force the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) to change its name. A total of 240 lawmakers voted for the legislation on December 20, as hundreds of people opposed to the bill held a mass prayer next to the parliament’s building. After the […]

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Metropolitan Epifaniy Holds First Mass As Head Of Ukraine's New Church

December 16, 2018           |                                       

Ukrainian Orthodox cleric Epifaniy led a Sunday Mass at St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery in Kyiv on December 16. The service was Epifaniy’s first after a December 15 church council selected him as the leader of the new unified Orthodox Church of Ukraine, independent from the Russian Orthodox Church.

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‘Cold War,’ ‘Stalin’ Films Honored; Tributes Paid To Sentsov, Serebrennikov

December 15, 2018           |                                       

A black-and-white Polish-made film, Cold War, won five awards, including best picture, while The Death of Stalin took the prize for the best European comedy at the European Film Awards. Tributes were also paid on December 15 in Seville, Spain, in honor of Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov and Russia director Kirill Serebrennikov, both of whom […]

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Ukraine Orthodox Priests To Hold Historic Meeting In Kyiv

December 15, 2018           |                                       

Senior Ukrainian Orthodox priests are due to hold a historic council on December 15 in a bid to form a new, unified, independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church and elect a leader, known as a primate. The meeting in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, could be a crucial step in years of efforts to create a church in […]

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Bartholomew To Grant Autocephaly Tomos To Kyiv On January 6, Says Church Spokesman

December 13, 2018           |                                       

The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople will hand over a Tomos — a decree granting independence, or autocephaly — to the future head of the local Orthodox Church in Ukraine on January 6, Archbishop Yevstratiy, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate said on December 13. Senior figures from Orthodox Christian […]

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Russian Director Serebrennikov's Trial Adjourned Again

December 10, 2018           |                                       

The embezzlement trial of Russian theater and film director Kirill Serebrennikov has been adjourned again due to the hospitalization of a co-defendant in the case. Judge Yelena Akkuratova adjourned the Moscow trial until December 14 after the lawyer of former director of Moscow’s Gogol Center, Aleksei Malobrodsky, announced at a December 10 hearing that Malobrodsky […]

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Poroshenko: Meeting To Form Independent Ukrainian Church Set For December 15

December 5, 2018           |                                       

KYIV — President Petro Poroshenko says senior figures from Orthodox Christian communities in Ukraine will meet on December 15 in a bid to form a new, unified, independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Speaking on December 5, Poroshenko said that the “unity gathering” will be held at St. Sophia’s Cathedral and attended by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of […]

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