100 years after Russian revolution, Christianity faces new challenges

A Russian Orthodox woman prayed while gazing at an icon in an Orthodox parish in St. Petersburg May 29. Orthodox Christianity has been on the rise in Russia since the fall of communism in 1991.

MOSCOW — A few blocks from Moscow's Lubyanka Building, which for decades served as the headquarters of the Soviet Union's KGB security agency, the Russian Orthodox patriarch recently consecrated a church memorializing those martyred during communism's reign.

"While we were in procession around the church, people were standing with portraits of those martyred and those condemned to death" by the communist regime, said Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, who heads the church's department for external affairs.

DEAR FATHER | Did the consecration of Russia stick?

On May 13, 1917, three young children received an apparition of Our Lady near Fatima, Portugal. She urged the children to pray the Rosary for an end to World War I. She also urged them to pray for sinners and the conversion of Russia, which slipped into a revolution, bringing the rise of a communist government. For six months, Mary visited these children on the 13th of each month, entrusting them with three secrets and a request to the Holy Father: to consecrate Russia in union with the bishops of the world to her Immaculate Heart.

Catholic clergy in Crimea defend Ukraine's right to self-determination

OXFORD, England -- Catholic clergy in Crimea have defended Ukraine's right to self-determination.

Bishops called for prayers for peace, but a priest in the naval port of Sevastopol said the families of Catholic troops serving with Ukrainian and Russian forces were "deeply confused and worried" about the military confrontation in the Crimean peninsula.

SLUH graduate to compete in Sochi

Patrick Meek knew he wanted to be an Olympic speed skater at 9 years old, seven years after he started skating behind a bucket.

"At two years old I was pushing around a ten-gallon bucket and from there I just kind of progressed ... and twenty-six years later here I am," Meek said. On Dec. 27 in Salt Lake City, Meek qualified for the 2014 Winter Olympics in the 5,000-meter race, which will be held Feb. 8 in Sochi, Russia. He also is an alternate for the 10,000-meter race Feb. 18.

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