Donbass monasteries of Elder Zosima (†2002) liberated by Russian army

Nikolskoye, Donetsk, March 14, 2022

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The monasteries founded by the beloved Elder Zosima (Sokur, †2002) in the Donetsk village of Nikolskoye were liberated by the Russian army on Sunday, on the feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy.

300 monks, nuns, and civilians were being held hostage at the Monastery of St. Basil and the Convent of St. Nicholas by a battalion of the Ukrainian army, which had equipped firing positions on the territory of the monasteries and destroyed both the building with the cell of Elder Zosima and a storage of diesel fuel the monastery used for heating.

On March 9, the headquarters of the territorial defense of the Donetsk People’s Republic reported that the nationalist militant group Aidar was threatening to kill the clergy and monastics for refusing to take up arms against Russian soldiers.

However, on Sunday, the Russian army managed to drive out the Ukrainian soldiers who were holding the monasteries hostage, as brothers and sisters of the monasteries reported to OrthoChristian.

The Monasteries of St. Basil and St. Nicholas are a focal point in the current conflict, as they continue to follow the traditions of Elder Zosima, who was strongly in favor of Russian-Ukrainian spiritual unity.

According to Major General Igor Konashenkov of the Russian Defense Ministry, there were no casualties among the hostages and no monastery buildings were damaged during the liberation.

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Nikolai3/22/2022 1:25 am
Dear brothers in Christ, Holy Rus' and "The Russian World" are much older than Patriarch Kirill. They actually have come down through the ages since the 10th C. An example of the concept of Holy Rus' was demonstrated simply in 1899 in the wilderness of Western Canada. In that year, 28 Orthodox peasants arrived into this wilderness from Austrian Bukovina, an Orthodox land, from the village of Rus' Banilla (Русский Банилов). They regarded themselves as Rusnak (руснаки) and were of the Russo-Orthodox faith and World. They said they spoke po-russky (по-русски). In this wilderness there were no roads, no villages, no settlements other than a few trading posts and Native/Metis camps. On the day of arrival, as the group made camp in a valley, one of the women, the servant of God Anastasia, looked about for the highest hill and by herself made her way through the underbrush, thickets and trees to its summit. At the summit, she made a cross of willow branches and "planted" it into the virgin Canadian soil. She, a simple peasant woman, prayed that the others in the group would be strong in faith and health to be able to survive in the wilderness. Within 5 years after this, the Dormition Church at Shandro was consecrated by St. Tikhon, the future Confessor and Patriarch of Moscow. At that time he was Ruling Bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church in North America. On "You Tube" there is interesting information about Holy Rus' and "The Russian World". The scholar and academic of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukraine in Kiev, Petr Petrovich Tolochko, has given a number of interviews and lectures about the concept. "Русский мир и поэт Т. Шевченко", "От Руси до Украины - Русский мир и Украина", "Украина деградирует отказываясь от Русского мира!" are a few of his scholarly thoughts and findings which can shed light on the subject for those interested.
Midwest3/21/2022 3:47 am
Dear brother Editor, Hello from Chicago, Over the weekend I found myself reading this article published last Friday, March 18 in the French Catholic weekly "La Vie" about the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church. This is a critical and sensitive subject. However if you think that its reading would be of interest for the readers of Orthochristian, here is a draft translation in English. As I cannot copy in the message the entire draft translation, I would be more than happy to email it to you. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like. Yours faithfully, In Christ, ==== French version ==== -- L’unité de l’Église orthodoxe russe se fissure -- ==== Draft translation in English ==== -- The unity of the Russian Orthodox Church is cracking -- [Analysis] Orthodox intellectuals, including Sergei Chapnin, a former official of the Moscow Patriarchate, signed a statement on March 13 denouncing as "heresy" the concept of "Russian World", used by Vladimir Putin and the Patriarch of Moscow to justify the war in Ukraine. The Center for Orthodox Christian Studies at Fordham University in New York has just published an important statement === A DECLARATION ON THE “RUSSIAN WORLD” (RUSSKII MIR) TEACHING === that has already gathered more than 500 signatures, including those of several intellectuals and theologians, some of whom are Russian Orthodox. A declaration that recalls the condemnation of "phyletism" by the Council of Constantinople in 1972, that is, the subordination of the Orthodox faith to ethnic identities and national interests. The text takes apart piece by piece the teaching of the "Russian world" (Russkii mir), a concept used by both Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow to justify the invasion of Ukraine. "In the wake of Vladimir Putin's unconscionable and horribly destructive invasion of Ukraine, Orthodox Christians around the world must face a difficult question: how can a nation whose majority embraces Orthodox Christianity justify attacking and killing the inhabitants of a sister nation, almost all of whom share the same faith?" the text's editors question. "The painful truth, but one that we must face in this time of repentance, is that our own leaders, especially the leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church, have developed and promoted a false teaching known as Russkii mir or "Russian world" providing Mr. Putin with the religious "blank check" that underlies his odious invasion and annexation of Russia's peaceful and democratic neighbors Ukraine." Doctrine of the "Russian world What is this ideology of the "Russian world", the pseudo-historical-theological underpinning of the war? It is the claim that there is "a transnational Russian sphere or civilization, called Holy Russia or Holy Rus', which includes Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (and sometimes Moldova and Kazakhstan), as well as ethnic Russians and Russian-speaking people all over the world," the theologians explain in the statement. Specifying: "This teaching intends that this 'Russian world' has a common political center (Moscow), a common spiritual center (Kiev as the 'mother of all Rus'), a common language (Russian), a common Church (the Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate), and a common Patriarch (the Patriarch of Moscow), who works in 'symphony' with a common president/national leader (Putin) to govern this Russian world, as well as to uphold a common and distinctive spirituality, morality, and culture." Facing this "Russian world," again according to this ideology, would be "the corrupt West, led by the United States and the nations of Western Europe, which have capitulated to 'liberalism,' 'globalization,' 'Christianophobia,' 'gay rights' promoted in gay parades, and 'militant secularism' " A West that would walk hand in hand with...
Nikolai3/19/2022 8:08 am
Dear brother Midwest, Thank you for your holy prayers. Please remember in your holy prayers the Innocents killed during the bombing of Serbia. Also, please remember in your holy prayers "The Angels of Donbass", the children of Donbass, who have been killed since 2014. Remember also, the victims who were murdered in Odessa on May 2, 2014.
Midwest3/16/2022 7:13 am
Thank you Editor for your kinds words. This complex subject of the war cannot be seen I think as a question of narrative specific to a country or another country. My thought is that for all Orthodox Christians, it is obvious that all nationalism is a form of idolatry. Moreover, the Orthodox Christians are in a unique camp, that of the innocent victims. How can we not be heartbroken by Russia's clear violation of international law? "Let us pray that the voice of the peacemakers will be heard by the authorities of the Russian Federation, and that they will stop their bloody offensive. Let us pray that the Lord will put an end to the war in Ukraine. May the Lord break the pride of the powerful and comfort the afflicted."
Gabriel3/15/2022 10:29 pm
@"Midwest", If calling people Nazis is "an insult before humanity and not a sign of humility by all means" Maybe you should tell that to the leftists in America who called anyone who disagreed with them 'nazis'. Maybe you should do a little research into the history of Ukraine before getting bent out of shape. So many in America who couldn't even find Ukraine on a map have now decided (or rather it has been decided for them by the media, since they are not capable of independent thought) that Ukraine good, Russia bad. But whatever. Everyone should pray for peace and a swift resolution to the violence.
Editor3/15/2022 10:44 am
Midwest: As the article states, this information came from the brothers and sisters of these monasteries themselves. What better source do you need? Or is this information clashing with your country's narrative?
Midwest3/14/2022 10:14 pm
@Steve. It is very disturbing to read Steve's comment about the Ukrainian Nazis. Using such word is not fair when one knows that the extrem far right organizations have never obtained more than 2% of votes in any elections in Ukraine. Naming the people of Ukraine as Nazis is an insult before humanity and not a sign of humility by all means.
Midwest3/14/2022 9:36 pm
Could Orthochristian publish in English the beautiful and moving homily below? It is about the spiritual unity of the peoples who came out of the baptismal font of Kiev given by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on Wednesday night March 9, 2022, at the end of the first Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts this year. Thank you! --- Патриарх Кирилл: Пусть Господь поможет сохранять духовное единство народам, вышедшим из Киевской купели Крещения
Midwest3/14/2022 9:30 pm
It would be very necessary to indicate the source and origin of this information. Basically this news was published today by the Russian Interfax Information Services Group. When you know this, then you understand why it is not heard in the Western media. Thank you.
Cat3/14/2022 7:46 pm
This kind of news you'll never hear in the western media...At the moment, it would be banned in my country.
Kenneth Jackson 3/14/2022 6:16 pm
Praise God their lives were spared that they can continue the Lords work.
Steve3/14/2022 5:26 pm
It would be nice if the editors of would publish an inspirational article about Patriarch Kirill's sermon yesterday, and how afterwards in church he gave an icon of the Mother of God to the Director of the National Guard of Russia, Viktor Zolotov, in order to bless the Russian armies for a swift victory and defeat over the Ukrainian Nazis.
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