Topic: Holy Land News
Moscow, 24 April 2008 (Interfax):
The Russian presence in the Holy Land becomes ever more evident, said Vladimir Yakunin, the chairman of the board of directors the of St Andrew the First-called Foundation and the head of Russian Railways . “I can assure you that on Easter Eve the Russian language can be heard everywhere in Jerusalem. Nowadays, the majority of Russians earn enough money to visit the Holy Land. The forthcoming abolition of the visa regulations shall remove existing bureaucratic red-tape”, Mr Yakunin said in an interview published in newspaper Izvestia on Thursday.
He related that the St Andrew the First-called Foundation alone organised trips for some 20 groups of pilgrims to the Holy Land. “Indeed, there are agencies that are occupied exclusively with the arrangement of pilgrimages from Russia. One can say that Russia is now returning to the Holy Land”, Mr Yakunin noted. He said that the process of regaining ownership of the property of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem is underway and the “key role” in it was the agreement reached between President Vladimir Putin and the Israeli government. “Today, no one is surprised to hear the phrase “Russian Palestine.” The Russian presence in the Holy Land in the 19th century was very important. Today, everything has come full circle”, he concluded.
Mr Yakunin went on to say that, for some six years now, the St Andrew the First-called Foundation has sponsored the programme “A Prayer for Peace in Jerusalem”. This action calls on Orthodox Christians throughout the world to pray on Holy Saturday for peace in the Holy Land. Another work sponsored by this programme is the transmittal of the Holy Fire from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem to the Easter Divine Liturgy served by the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. The Holy Fire is also taken to other churches throughout all the dioceses of the Moscow Patriarchate. In addition, it organises the telecasting and radio broadcasting of the liturgy served at the time of the descent of the Holy Fire.
This year, the Holy Fire from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem shall arrive at Vnukovo airport in Moscow on Saturday 26 April at approximately 22.30 MDT, just prior to the beginning of the Easter services at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The delegation accompanying the Holy Fire shall consist of the following people:
YAKUNIN Vladimir, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the St Andrew the First-called Foundation and Head of the Russian Railways
SAVVA, Bishop of Krasnogorsk, Vicar of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia
SOKOLOV Aleksandr, Minister of Culture and Mass Communications
ORLOVA Svetlana, Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council
SLISKA Lyubov, Vice-speaker of the State Duma
DUDKO Vyacheslav, Governor of Tula
TYAGACHEV Leonid, President of the Russian Olympic Committee
RASPUTIN Valentin, author, President of the FAP
SHCHEBLYGIN Sergei, Senator in the upper house of the State Duma
PIOTROVSKY Mikhail, Director of the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=24140 (in Russian)