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Pope John Paul II received Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev for a private meeting at the Vatican on 7 December 1995. The Pope stated that he plans to visit Bulgaria soon. Source: OMRI Daily Digest II, No. 238, 8 December 1995.
The Institute for Bible Translation presented the first complete Turkmen New Testament to national leaders in a ceremony on 5 September 1995. Approximately three million people speak Turkmen as their primary language. Source: UBS World Report, November 1995, 9.
The Russian Bible Society has been coordinating a new translation of the Bible into Chuvash. This is a "unique project...because the New Testament translation is being carried out by the Baptist churches and the Old Testament translation by the Russian Orthodox Church." Source: UBS World Report, November 1995, 10-11.
The Salvation Army has established 21 churches and 25 social institutions in the former Soviet Union since 1991. The Army has organized prison ministries, soup kitchens, and outreach to people with AIDS in Georgia, Ukraine, Russia, and the Baltic States. Source: National & International Religion Report 9 (17 April 1995), 7.
In Slovakia 3,000 Roman Catholics publicly protested what they viewed as government intimidation of church leaders. Catholic officials alleged that police used Communist-era tactics in their forcible search of the office of Rudolf Balaz, head of the Slovak Bishops Conference, and that the government was retaliating for Catholic opposition to Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar. Police, however, claimed that they were investigating the possibility that Balaz had illegally traded religious antiquities. Source: OMRI Daily Digest II, No. 163, 22 August 1995.
The Roman Catholic hierarchy of Poland received a significant defeat with the downfall of Lech Walesa, a practicing Catholic, in the November 1995 presidential election. Aleksander Kwasniewski, a former Communist, captured 51.7 percent of the vote in the final runoff election for the presidency. Kwasniewski, who favors liberalizing Poland's strict abortion law, had faced stiff opposition from the Polish hierarchy. Source: New York Times, 23 November 1995, A5. See EWC&M Report 3 (Summer 1995), 7, for "A Checklist of Polish Church-State Issues."
Moscow legal authorities have closed the investigation into the 1990 slaying of Father Aleksandr Men. Igor Bushnev will soon be tried for the murder, but relatives of Father Men believe the case against him has been fabricated. Source: OMRI Daily Digest I, No. 3, 4 January 1996.
Metropolitan Vladimir of Rostov and Novocherkassk will serve as the new Metropolitan of St. Petersburg, Russia, replacing Metropolitan Ioann who died on 2 November 1995. Source: OMRI Daily Digest I, No. 3, 4 January 1996.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin assisted Patriarch Alexei II in laying the final stone in the outer walls of Moscow's new Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Josef Stalin ordered the destruction of the original cathedral in 1931. Source: Monitor 2 (9 January 1996).
Several Roman Catholic organizations provide humanitarian aid for the Balkan region, including:
|Catholic Relief Services
209 W. Fayette St.
Baltimore, MD 21234
|Bishops' Office to Aid theCatholic Church in Eastern Europe
3211 4th St. NE
Washington, DC 20017
|Catholic Near East Welfare Association
1011 1st Ave.
New York, NY 10022
The U.S. Agency for International Development has awarded a $2,000,000 grant to the United Methodist Committee on Relief for the repair and rehabilitation of the Bosnian town of Vakuf/ Uskoplje, where more than 1,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged. Source: National & International Religion Report 9 (17 April 1995), 7.
The Russian Orthodox Church sponsored a conference in December 1995 which featured discussions of Russia's political future. Leaders of 17 electoral blocs attended, including:
|Gennadii Zyuganov||Communist Party||
|Viktor Chernomyrdin||Our Home Is Russia||
|Vladamir Zhirinosvsky||Liberal Democratic Party||
|Mikhail Lapshin||Agrarian Party||
|Yegor Gaidar||Russia's Democratic Choice||
1. Percentages of elected Duma delegates from each party.
Source: OMRI Daily Digest I, No. 235, 5 December 1995; No. 249, 27 December 1995.
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© 1996 Institute for East-West Christian Studies