Church that hails President Putin as 'a miracle of God'. The Times 9th May 2015
A meeting at Lambeth Palace last week agreed that the Russian Orthodox Church is betraying religious freedom, writes Michael Bordeaux. Article published with permission of The Times.
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1992 interview with Dr Alexander Zaichenko, a leading Baptist, in Moscow
Xenia Dennen in 1992, when working as Keston’s Moscow Representative, interviewed Dr Alexander Zaichenko about his Christian faith and the connection between Christian commitment and economic renewal. At the time he was director of programmes on business and marketing within Russia’s Academy of National Economy, advisor to the Council of Ministers, head of the Russian Association of Christians in Business, and on the board of the Russian Bible Society. This interview was filmed by Roger Stanway who at the time was on the staff of the Manchester Business School.
Xenia Dennen, Chairman of Keston Institute, and Professor Elena Volkova from Moscow University, were both interviewed on Russian Radio by the presenter, historian Irina Karatsuba, on Saturday 27 March 2010. Part One with Elena Volkova (14 mins) Part Two with Xenia Dennen (32 mins)
That day was the Russian Orthodox Feast of the Raising of Lazarus, so Elena Volkova began the discussion by explaining the meaning of this feast, giving some interesting interpretations from the work of Dostoevsky and other authors. The presenter then made the connection between the raising of Lazarus and the need to raise the memory of the many thousands who had suffered in the Soviet Gulag, so Xenia Dennen was asked about the work of Keston and its efforts to preserve the memory of the churches in communist countries during the 20th century.
She described how Keston was set up in 1969, and how Michael Bourdeaux had been asked to 'be the voice' in the West of those who were muzzled in the USSR. She explained why, from the outset, Keston had collected documentation about the churches, and thus had started to create what had now become an immense archive She went on to recount how the new Keston Center had been created at Baylor University where the archive and library were now housed.
Towards the end of the interview Xenia Dennen spoke about the Anglican Church and the way it celebrated Palm Sunday, mentioning that her own parish in central London had been visited by Grand Duchess Elizabeth when she was studying examples of the religious life before setting up her Convent of Martha and Mary in Russia. At the end of the interview both the presenter, Irina Karatsuba, and Elena Volkova expressed profound gratitude for the work of Keston.
Broadcast 27 March 2010 / Mrs Xenia Dennen
"Work in Progress" (BBC Radio 3). A series of five programmes in which Michael Bordeaux speaks about the project culminating in the Encyclopaedia of Religious Life in Russia Today.
Broadcast 20-24 August 2001 / Revd Canon Dr Michael Bourdeaux
"Risen Indeed" by Revd Canon Dr Michael Bourdeaux. Download PDF
Michael Boudeaux : "My purpose in writing Risen Indeed (published in 1983) was to break new ground. The facts of renewed religious persecution in the Soviet Union under Khrushchev (and not redressed under Brezhnev) were by this time well known and fully documented by Keston College. At the same time I had become vividly aware that a religious revival was also taking place, but this was little known. I took the opportunity, in the Introduction, to tell for the first time parts of my own story which it had not seemed appropriate to publish previously.
"The first section describes how young people in the Soviet Union generally were becoming increasingly disenchanted with the spiritual void at the heart of communism and were looking for something new and different to fill it. The second section shows how this search often led them back to the eternal values of the Russian Orthodox Church, which had been persecuted virtually out of existence in the previous two generations. The final section states that this spiritual quest was leading to a revival of other denominations, too, especially Baptists in Russia and Ukraine, and Catholics in Lithuania.
"Much of the text is based directly on quotes from these sources, so the book becomes a kind of devotional and spiritual compendium, unlike anything else I have written before or since."