September 15, 2012
Howell, NJ: A Meeting was held between Representatives of the Diocese, Soyuz Television Network, and "Rodina" Russian House

On Monday, September 10, with the blessing of His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, a meeting was held at the "Rodina" Russian House in Howell, NJ, between representatives of the Eastern American Diocese, Soyuz Television network, and "Rodina." The purpose of the meeting was to discuss further cooperation between the Diocesan Media Office, Soyuz, and "Rodina" on joint media ventures covering events in the lives of Russian Orthodox parishes and people in America. Participating in the meeting were diocesan secretary Archpriest Serge Lukianov, the Director of the Moscow Branch of Soyuz Orthodox TV Network Sergei Yurgin, "Rodina" Russian House director Alexander Bondarev, Eastern American Diocesan Media Office director Reader. Peter Lukianov, and reporter Igor Kandalin.

A proposal was made by the Soyuz network to air a weekly news program from America. Rodina’s administration has provided facilities for the construction of a TV-studio that would become the base of operation for such a program. The idea for a TV-studio in Rodina was part of the original plan to reorganize and rebrand the Russian cultural center.

"Rodina’s plan for a TV-studio, "The Russian Diaspora" (Russkoe Zarubezh’e), was to broadcast news from all across America about the lives of Russians living in America," explains Reader Peter Lukianov. "Any Russian cultural news program would naturally dedicate half of its time to covering religious events, because the Orthodox faith has impacted every aspect of Russian life for over a thousand years, and it continues to do so today. Since the Diocesan Media Office is also based out of Howell, the only logical conclusion would be to work closely together."

While it may take years to establish a fully-operational TV-studio, the consensus was to begin working together immediately. Since the Eastern American Diocese already has a functioning video program, Rodina director Alexander Bondarev assured the Diocese of their full assistance and cooperation.

"‘Rodina’ Russian House and its TV-studio, ‘The Russian Diaspora,’ welcome any work done by the media office of ROCOR’s Eastern American Diocese relating to the preparation of news reports on the lives of Orthodox parishes, and are prepared to fully cooperate in their publication," said Bondarev.

A major discussion point was identifying the overall goal and target audience for such a program. Since the Diocesan Media Office began working with Soyuz in May 2012, there has been a great deal of positive feedback from Russia, especially surrounding the coverage of events dedicated to the 5th anniversary of the Reunification. One of the primary goals of the program would be to strengthen ties between the two parts of the Russian Orthodox Church and bring the Russian faithful closer together from opposite sides of the globe.

"Television reports about the life of the Russian Diaspora, produced with the intention of televising them in Russia, are of great use today in strengthening ties between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia," said Bondarev. "They provide Russian viewers a once-unavailable opportunity to see a true picture of the lives of Russian people living abroad."

One of the benefits of the Reunification was the establishment of a free and open dialog between the clergy and faithful of the Church Abroad and the Moscow Patriarchate, to share different ideas and experiences. The Church Abroad has a very unique missionary experience, because its parishes are spread out across the world in many different countries. This is seen very vividly within the borders of the Eastern American Diocese, where many parishes are made up almost entirely of American converts.

"The best living example of ROCOR’s missionary spirit is our very own Holy Cross Monastery in West Virginia," said Archpriest Serge Lukianov. "This is perhaps the only Russian Orthodox monastery in the world comprised almost entirely of American converts, who hold fast to the ancient traditions of Russian monasticism and liturgical chant. And this is just one case out of many. Wherever you look, you can find amazing stories of people converting to the Orthodox faith through their interaction with a ROCOR parish or monastery. These are the stories that we need to share with Russia."

A reoccurring theme of the discussion was the importance of not alienating non-Russian speakers. In the words of Fr. Serge, English language videos remain a priority. "While we are happy to collaborate with our Russian colleagues, our main priority will remain the faithful of our diverse Diocese. There is already a wealth of video materials coming out of Russia, but there are hardly any video resources in English that are available to the faithful of the Russian Church. We are committed to using all of our resources for the continuation of our missionary efforts in America."

The outcome of the proposed joint video program between the Eastern American Diocese, Soyuz, and Rodina, will determine largely on the interest and support of viewers and sponsors. It is too early to tell when this program will become a reality, but one thing is for certain, there is a great need for more documentaries and video reports about the life of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. "There is no doubt in our minds that video is the future of Orthodox media in America," says Reader Peter Lukianov. "The faster we can expand our video program, the more effective we will be in strengthening our Church and equipping our pastors with invaluable tools to draw people closer to God."

Support the Eastern American Diocesan video program by donating to the Media Office here:


Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese