disabilities << Voices from Russia

The blog “Voices from Russia” by Barbara Marie Drezlo has a category for disabilities. There are stories about Russian paralympians, icon writers with disabilities, an ecclesial resolve against the sickness of disabling substance abuse (alcohol) and a touching personal story about a Russian folksinger, Tatania Shvetsova, as well. Additionally, there are some large icons and a picture of a Russian Church that are something to see. And its good

Russian paralympian
Russian paralympian

to get a Russian (Russian-American precisely) perspective.

Not everything written I would subscribe to; the assessment of the Special Olympics, criticisms of the OCA.

But all in all, there is much of interest in what she has posted. Click below to access:

disabilities « Voices from Russia


3 Responses to “disabilities << Voices from Russia”

  1. 1 01varvara November 10, 2008 at 2:27 PM

    Why do you say that I inferred that the Paralympics were a pity-party, when I explicitly stated that they were not? I don’t mind criticism, but, please, don’t twist my words. I stated clearly that it was as hard to win a medal at the Paralympics as it is at the Olympics. If you criticise, at least get it straight. Do look at the posts again, and you shall see that you misread me (I am taking the most charitable explanation here).

    I am reclassifying a few posts, as I forgot to put this tag to a couple of posts concerning the Paralympics. I should also mention that when I made two music-videos on Russian sport, the images of the Paralympians were mixed in with their Olympic counterparts, without distinction, as is proper. Do look for the videos “Geroi Sporta” (The Heroes of Sport) and “Glory to Our Athletes” and you shall see that that is so.

    Please, be careful. As for my criticism of the OCA, that stands. I knew of both Aleksandr Schmemann and his identical-twin brother Andrei (not well, I met both, though). Andrei was a wonderful man who stood four-square for Orthodox tradition (he founded the OLTR, a movement opposing the Parisian group); his brother, the less said the better. Spare a prayer for the Servant of God Andrei, he just died in Paris at the age of 87, full of years and honoured.

    If I have offended you, I bow in forgiveness. Nevertheless, I feel that the truth must be spoken.

    s Bogom.



  2. 2 armsopenwide November 10, 2008 at 8:22 PM

    Vara, I changed the post to clear up the misunderstanding. You are certainly forgiven. Forgive me if I misrepresented what you wrote. Rarely are even two Orthodox Christians in complete agreement in everything under the sun, such as Special Olympics, which I have helped with.
    I’m sure we agree on dogmatic theology.
    And I have limited exposure to the OCA so I don’t know whether or not there is validity to your criticisms; but my own limited exposure has not revealed anything awry; in fact their resources for ministry I have found very helpful to the specific purpose of my site: disability.
    So forgive me if my words were judgmental; they are based on limited experience. But I am still giving the jurisdiction the benefit of the doubt in the meantime.
    In fact I have not explored your site exhaustively. I only discovered your category on Disability and considered it worth sharing.
    I am accumulating resources on the Orthodox response to disability, and what you have shared is a positive contribution.
    May God grant you many years, armsopenwide


  3. 3 01varvara November 10, 2008 at 9:24 PM

    I am NOT against the Special Olympics. Unfortunately, the Paralympics and the Speical Olympics have become confused in some people’s minds. They are distinct entities, to be taken on their own merits. The Paralympics are as rigorous a sport event as the Olympics. In Russia, most of the Paralympians are considered Masters of Sport on the same footing as the Olympians, and they are regulated under the same Sports Ministry.

    I think the confusion arises from the idea that “everyone is a winner” in the Special Olympics. Indeed, one of my friends in Russia is quite vehement on this. She is a swimmer and she has to counter ignorant conflation of the two events, with the implication that she is not a “serious athlete”. As she is an accredited Master of Sport, this gets under her skin.

    Russia is both better and worse than the US in its treatment of folks with physical handicaps (I don’t use PC speech, thank you very much). The Church is active in helping the blind and deaf, and there is a parish in Moscow specifically dedicated to the ministry to the blind. On the other hand, the material resources are fewer, and there are unfortunate carry-overs from old folklore. But, Russians are more understasnding of imperfection than Americans, and many of my Anglo-Saxon friends are impressed by this.

    Looks like our disagreements are minor, nothing to worry about. As for the OCA, simply know that they are far from being an actual “autocepnhalous” body. They are simply one of the three main Russian jurisdictions in the US/Canada. Be careful with them. They are very much a “Potemkin Village” ande their reality is much less than their projected image.

    Cheers. s Bogom,



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