Saturday, January 30, 2016 7:00pm
Witches, magicians and healers have built a multi-million dollar industry in Russia. Olga Smirnova investigate why so many Russians believe in the occult while the Russian authorities are trying project the image of Russia as a modern country with the Orthodox Church as the dominant system of belief?
Olga will step behind the scenes of the TV programme the Battle of the Psychics which has attracted multi-million audiences, and speak to participants who are asked to investigate murders and disappearances, which the Russian police are unable to solve.
She will travel from Moscow to her native St Petersburg, where she grew up surrounded by images of Russia's most famous mystic, Rasputin, to find out how educated, middle-class Russians are turning to the black arts for spiritual guidance and how it highlights Russians’ popular reaction to the economic and social crisis in Russia, providing a new angle on it. What does this says about the efficacy of Putin’s use of the Orthodox Church to unify Russians.
(Photo: Deacon Andrei Kuraev. Credit: Olga Smirnova)
Saturday, January 23, 2016 7:00pm
In a small parish in the town of Erlinsbach, in Switzerland, is a priest, not totally out of the ordinary, until you discover his amazing story of leaving his home country and travelling to Europe and becoming a priest in the Catholic church.
That's not the most amazing thing about him. Father Mussie has a phone number, which can ring dozens of times a day from callers who are themselves fleeing war, poverty, religious persecution, or all three.
John Laurenson meets Mussie, a man of life long faith, whose phone number is a lifeline for African migrants stranded between war torn Africa and a haven in Europe. Scrawled on the wall in prisons in Libya and in the hold of boats bringing refugees across the Sea to Europe, the telephone number of a Swiss-based Catholic priest, has saved the lives of thousands of people.
(Photo: (R) Father Mussie, courtesy of John Laurenson)
Saturday, January 16, 2016 7:00pm
Take a trip through the streets of Kinshasa and there is a good chance you will walk past or into a church, blaring out music enticing you in to worship in its colourful, noisy congregation
In the second part of his religious snapshot of Democratic Republic of Congo William Edmundson examines the revivalist churches that have sprung up around the capital Kinshasa. The starting point of William’s journey is an 2013 attempted coup, one of the many coups attempted in this country over its bumpy history. But what sets this apart is that it was not led by revolutionaries or a disgruntled military, but by a pastor, Paul Joseph Mukungubila and his followers.
As William explored in the first programme, the DRC has a complicated religious past linked to its colonial history and the Catholic church has long been the main faith of choice, but now a new, vibrant revival church is capturing the faithful of the country by focusing on the word of the gospel. William visits the revivalist churches to find out their appeal and whether the established Protestant Catholic and Kimbanguist faiths we heard about in the first programme can maintain their influence in the face of this new power
Producer/Presenter William Edmundson
If you would like to hear the first part of Williams journey through the DRC to explore its religious past then please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03dhcxr
(Photo: An elderly woman prays during the early morning mass at the Catholic Church of Zongo, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Credit: Federico Scoppa/AFP/Getty Images)