Sunday, December 21, 2014


Transmission

Halloween The Latest Threat To Russia's Orthodox Values

Morbid fixation? Halloween masks hang in a shop window in New York City on October 30.
Morbid fixation? Halloween masks hang in a shop window in New York City on October 30.
A little over a year after authorities in the Siberian city of Omsk banned a zombie flash-mob, they are again setting their sights on the world of the undead.

This year's target: Halloween.

"Celebrating mystical elements and content, which are defined by the promotion of a cult of death and its personification, can have devastating consequences for the psychological and moral well-being of students," says a statement posted on the Omsk Department of Education website. Local schools have been warned to prevent observance of Halloween or other festivals that promote "extremist attitudes."

Omsk's effort to rid the city of Halloween -- a Western holiday that has become increasingly popular in Russia -- follows a series of statements from high-ranking Russian Orthodox Church officials warning of the ghoulish effects of its observance.

"At first, people play with the evil spirit as a joke, but then they begin to play seriously with these things," Vsevolod Chaplin, a leading Orthodox Church official, told LifeNews, a website believed to have ties to the country's security services. "Then the serious problems start: sickness, despondency, and despair."

Chaplin added that adolescents celebrated the holiday out of a lack of spiritual alternatives.

Halloween is widely believed to have originated as a Celtic harvest festival. It was marked on the eve of Samhain, the beginning of the Celtic winter, on November 1. The feast was named after the Celtic god of death. On the eve of Samhain it was believed that the souls of the dead returned to their earthly homes for the night.

The holiday was incorporated into the Christian tradition by the Roman Catholic Pope Gregory IV in the ninth century as the eve of the Feast of All Saints, which, since 835, has been celebrated on November 1. The name "Halloween" comes from a Scottish term "All Hallows Eve."

It eventually evolved into a secular holiday that involves people wearing costumes.

There have been moves to ban Halloween in several Russian cities in recent years and the Orthodox Church has taken an increasingly vocal role in supporting efforts it sees as protecting cultural norms. The church is a proponent of a controversial law passed in June that bans the "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" and supported the imprisonment of Pussy Riot members after that performance-art group's protest in a Moscow cathedral.

But in Omsk, authorities appear to have taken a particularly hard line against celebrations involving facepaint and costumes.

In August 2012, 300 people gathered for a planned "Zombie Walk" flash-mob before a permit for the event was abruptly withdrawn.

Konstantin Sayenko, an administrator in the city of some 1.1 million people, explained at the time that the march would infringe on the rights of nonparticipants.

"The diocese thought that scenes with bloody clothes could harm the mental health of nervous citizens and children," he said.

-- Glenn Kates
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: American Troll
October 31, 2013 00:15
We eagerly anticipate Dima Rogozin and Pavel Astakhov explaining the gay Muslim roots of Halloween.

What a joyless, uncultured, self-loathing, ashen tomb of a society.
In Response

by: andreas drexler from: windsor, IL
October 31, 2013 13:42
it's 2013 and halloween is still satanic in some folks' eyes. the battle against primitivism never ends.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
October 31, 2013 19:39
Since when they say it came from Muslims and gays?
It's masked as west-Halloween and gays from Prussia,
Be mortified Eastern Orthodox souls by the Nazi rozha!
As Drexel makes my day! Before they killed my mother,
In LA, a Nigeria African tried offer me be spy, one day,
For his boss, I refused to his boss, Drexel from CIA.
Not to be slave of Satan is primitivism, "gramatey"?

by: slackerPTAmom from: Vienna VA
October 31, 2013 12:46
Oh no! It's a War on Halloween!
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
October 31, 2013 19:29
Oh no! It is a War on promise to Vienna, by Russia,
Resurrect for both and Prussians Imperial Parasha,
Masked as west-Halloween and gays from Prussia!
Be mortified Eastern Orthodox souls by Nazi rozha!

by: Jon S
October 31, 2013 13:48
You know, there are several other religions that don't celebrate Halloween. My friend who is a Jehovah's Witness always sat out on Halloween celebrations in elementary school and he just felt awful that it was mandatory to participate in it.

Just because the ROC has been in the news lately doesn't mean we should poke fun at them.

It's not like we call vegan menus for religious purposes a "War on Meat."
In Response

by: Gregory
November 01, 2013 00:40
And my Jehovah's Witness friend in elementary school just felt awful that he had to feel left out on Halloween celebrations with the other children because his parents' religion refused him to make the choice to do or not to do so on his own God-given free will.

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
October 31, 2013 19:47
By the way, since Inquisition, spooky Halloween Nazi “rozhas” –
grate preconditioning for telepathic mind control!

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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