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    » 06/14/2012, 00.00

    RUSSIA

    Częstochowa Madonna in Vladivostok: praying "from ocean to ocean" for life against demographic winter



    Catholics and Orthodox are united in their devotion to the Mother of God and in their opposition to abortion. The icon is set to go through 22 countries, from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Poland and Hungary are under pressure from the European parliament and anti-family groups to allow abortion. Russia, the first country to legalise abortion, now sees it as a social evil.

    Vladivostok (AsiaNews) - A copy of the Mother of God Icon from Częstochowa (the famous 'Black Madonna') yesterday reached in Vladivostok, in Russia's Far East, where it will be honoured by hundreds of believers and prayers.

    The icon, which is dear to both Catholics and Orthodox, arrived in a van that left Poland and crossed Kazakhstan and China until it stopped in this far-east corner of Siberia. From Russia's port city on the Pacific, the icon will travel to other Russian cities until 20 July.

    Dubbed 'Ocean to Ocean,' the tour is designed to encourage prayers for the Mother of God in support of the family and life.

    Ewa Kowalewska (Poland), of Human Life International, and Igor Beloborodov (Russia), head of Demographic Research Institute in Moscow (pictured, left), are the two pro-life campaigners behind the initiative.

    From Vladivostok, the icon will travel through 20 countries before it reaches is destination in Fatima (Portugal). After its tour of Russia, it will be in Belarus (20-28 July), Latvia ( 28 July- 5 August), Lithuania (5-12 August), Poland (12-26 August), Czech Republic (26-31 August), Slovakia (31 August - 7 September), Hungary and Romania (7-16 September), Slovenia (16-20 September), Croatia (20-25 September), Italia (25-29 September), Austria (29 September - 14 October), Lichtenstein (14-15 October), Switzerland (15-24 October), Germania (24 October - 2 November), Belgium (2-5 November),  Great Britain (5-16 November), Ireland (16-26 November), France (26 November - 10 December), and Spain  (10 December -?).

    Organisers want the campaign-cum-pilgrimage to show their support to countries like Hungary and Poland that have a pro-life legislation but are under political pressure from the European parliament and anti-family groups. Especially important for them is to encourage an attitude of respect towards human life and a rejection of abortion.

    All European countries, Russia included, are marked by an aging population and have laws allowing abortion, which are among the factors behind the economic crisis.

    In Russia, the issue of abortion has become over the years a major social problem. Organisers stress that Russia was the first nation in the world to legalise abortion; now they hope that the Russian people will be among the first to fight against this evil.

    "There will be prayers before the miraculous icon requesting the Mother of God to strengthen family ties," said Archpriest Aleksandr Talko, from the local Eparchy, when the icon reached Vladivostok.

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    See also

    02/04/2008 RUSSIA
    Abortion in Russia, moral opposition on the rise
    Surveys by a research institute reveal a population divided between pro- and anti-abortion forces. A growing number of people are considering the moral and religious implications of the interruption of pregnancy.

    06/02/2007 PHILIPPINES
    Filipino bishops to back pro-life candidates in upcoming elections
    A “Covenant for Life” is signed. It calls on candidates in the May 14 elections to give priority to life and family and offers them support.

    11/01/2007 PHILIPPINES
    Bishops warn against the threat of “death laws”
    In an international conference on bioethics held in Mandaluyong (Manila), the central role of human life and the family is reiterated. It reasserted the need to protect “human life at its beginning” till “its natural end”.

    14/02/2011 PHILIPPINES
    Pro-life Christians and Muslims against pro-abortion law
    In Manila, more than 5 thousand people of all faiths manifest their will to live. Criticism of President Aquino accused of maintaining an ambiguous position, despite a steady dialogue with the Church and pro-life associations.

    03/02/2010 PHILIPPINES
    Filipino Congress sets aside pro-abortion bill, leaves the matter for the next government
    Opposition by 20 congressmen derails the proposal. House speaker says the controversial measure cannot be approved in the dying days of the current session of Congress. The Church continues its battle in favour of life, will promote its own natural family planning programme in the next Congress.



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