Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Russian Protestants and Muslims want their own holidays

Russia will celebrate a new holiday next month under a decision backed by the Kremlin and Russian Orthodox Church that is stirring up decidedly unholy feelings among non-Orthodox Russians.

Christianization of Rus Day on July 28 won’t be counted as a day off work, but it will be recognized on calendars as the country’s ninth so-called “memorial holiday,” which also includes Cosmonauts Day on April 12 and Constitution Day on Dec. 12.

The new holiday commemorates the baptism in 988 of Vladimir the Great, who accepted Christianity together with his family and the people of his state, Kievan Rus, the predecessor to the Russian Empire and whose capital was Kiev.

Now Protestant Christians and Muslims want their own holidays, too.

Konstantin Bendas, a senior official with the Russian Union of Christians of the Evangelical Faith, said Christianization of Rus Day has created tensions between the Orthodox church and others faiths, which believe that they also deserve memorial holidays.

“The Protestants have a plan to set their holiday on Oct. 31,” Bendas said, referring to the day in 1517 that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of a Roman Catholic church and started the Reformation.

Lawmakers in predominantly Muslim Tatarstan are calling for Russia to celebrate the Day Islam Came to Russia on May 16, the date in 922 that Islam was officially approved as a state religion in the Middle Volga region.
Read the rest here.

No comments: