NOVOCHERKASSK, RUSSIA: September 25, 2012
Metropolitan Kirill of Stavropol and Nevinnomysk Meets with Cossacks from Australia
A delegation of the Zabaikal Military Cossack Stanitsa of Australia arrived in Russia several days before the International Cossack Congress convenes on September 28-30, 2012, in the city of Novocherkassk. Ataman Semyon Mikhailovich Boikov led his Cossacks to a meeting with His Eminence Metropolitan Kirill of Stavropol and Nevinnomysk
Also traveling from Australia to Russia were Cossacks of an older generation representing communities of three major cities of the “Green Continent,” Brisbaine, Melbourne and Sydney. They are descendants of Zabaikal Cossacks who were among the many of Russians who emigrated to China during the Soviet era. In 1962, some of the Cossacks refused to return to the Soviet Union, and crossed the ocean instead. Some settled in Australia, and some of their descendants are now making one of many visits to Russia.
Ataman Semyon Boikov explained that every Cossack stanitsa in Australia has its own spiritual father, an Orthodox priest: “We recognize that without ties to Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Cossack legacy cannot be reborn. That is why in our community, which includes 152 Cossacks, we try to establish conditions under which we can express our love for Russia and the Cossack traditions.”
The Australian Cossacks make a special effort to work with young people. According to the Ataman, many young Cossacks in Australia burn with the desire to visit Russia, where their ancestors lived. Some of the Cossacks wish to move to Russia permanently. However, there are obstacles to overcome, mostly bureaucratic. In connection with this, their discussion with Metropolitan Kirill included the question of possibly receiving land for Cossacks who wish to relocate to Russia, and receiving dual citizenship and long-term visas for those with families that will for the time being remain in Australia.
Metropolitan Kirill told them about Stavropol’s experience in receiving Cossacks who are relocating from Kyrghizia and Kazakhstan. Some two thousand Cossack families wish to return to Russia. Church and government institutions are actively working towards resolving various problems associated with this. A special town has been established where Cossack immigrants are helped to apply for Russian citizenship, granting them immigrant status without the usual red tape. They also offer Russian-language classes. Additionally, 49 parcels of land have already been set aside for the Cossacks returning to Russia, with hundreds more planned.
A special topic of the meeting was the blasphemy taking place today, including the desecration of holy sites in Russia. “Cossacks living abroad know that Russia will continue its renascence and resurgence. That is why we are preparing a statement in which we will express our full support of the position of the Russian Orthodox Church with regard to blasphemous provocations and assaults on His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, which are unfortunately occurring in Russia today,” said Ataman Boikov.
Metropolitan Kirill noted how significant it is that Cossacks abroad both in word and deed exhibit the true face of Russia to the world. “By serving as an example in supporting and preserving Russian traditions, by rearing your children in these traditions, in your devotion to Orthodoxy, you inform people of other lands about our country. It is apparent that there is confusion about Russia in the world today. Much of this occurs because of distortions or a lack of information. You have every opportunity, living abroad now, to tell people the truth about Russia.”
Press Service of the Synodal Committee on Cooperation with the Cossack.