Two items caught my attention today that have, as their common element, the Church and Russian faith and culture. One of the two is actually several weeks old, but I only became aware of it today.
The new item, of the two, concerns a historic visit to Paris next Wednesday by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexis II. Patrice de Plunkett reports, based upon an announcement yesterday by Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, the president of the French Bishop's Conference. Cardinal Ricard will receive the Russian Orthodox Patriarch at a luncheon at the House of the French Bishop's Conference on October 3 at 12:30. At the end of the day, the Patriarch will be welcomed by Archbisop André Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris, at Notre Dame Cathedral, where he will venerate the relic of the Holy Crown of Thorns. This will be the first visit by a Patriarch of Moscow to Paris, and an important ecumenical event.
The other item I came across today is the Vatican's giving the Robert Bresson Award to Russian filmmaker Aleksandr Sokurov at the Venice Film Festival on September 6, as reported by Russia Today. That article explains, "Aleksandr Sokurov’s films analyse eternal matters. Rich in atmosphere and music, they speak of life, death and power." Not being a movie buff, I really know only one of Sokurov's films, but I have seen that one several times and think it is magnificent: Russian Ark. The YouTube videos from Russian Ark shown here include (1) an intriguing 10 minute portion involving Russia's Christian heritage shown in art at the Hermitage Museum and (2) the film's preview showing some of its beauty. It is a complex film that is easily worth watching twice in a first sitting. There is much subtlety best understood after watching it all the way through.