Sunday, August 29, 2010

17th-Century Icon hidden during Communist persecutions found and restored to its place over the Spassky Tower Gates


Today I went to see this with some of my friends from the “Moo-Moo Cafe” crowd, who told me about it.  You can’t get too close to it right now, but in September there will be a big Spassky Tower celebration and after that we’ll be able to get close and take better pictures.  (Click on the picture to see a full-size view of the icon.)

The icon, from the 17th century, was plastered over during the atheist yoke in order to hide and save it, and now it has been found and restored to its former position over the Spassky (Saviour) Tower gates.  Слава Богу!








Yesterday on the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God His Holiness Patriarch Kirill blessed the icon in a solemn ceremony, in spite of a downpour of rain.  It has rained here literally every day since the heat-wave broke on Transfiguration—God’s blessing to put out the horrible fires.

P1030457   The Spassky Tower is right on Krasnaya Ploschad’ (Beautiful/Red Square), next to St. Basil’s Cathedral.





St. Basil’s (or the Cathedral of the Holy Protection of the Mother of God, “on the Moat,” is much more beautiful “in person” than in photographs: in order to take a photo of the whole cathedral, the cathedral has to appear very small, but in real life the human eye can see the whole, huge, majestic structure towering above…  (Click on the picture to get a better feeling of size….)

P1030443 On the way there, as we were walking down Ilyinka Street "(Prophet Iliya Street—there is an icon of Prophet Iliya right on the wall of a courthouse as you pass by) I saw a very large flower bed formed in the shape of a cross.  My acquaintances told me that it commemorates a church, destroyed in the ‘30’s, that had stood on that spot. 

Glory to God for His mercy!

Bad English machine translation:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A beautiful custom at Confession

They have a beautiful custom here in Russia (perhaps they have it in some parishes in the US?): After you have confessed your sins and the priest has read the Prayer of Absolution, you hand the piece of paper on which your sins were written to the priest, and he tears the paper up and hands it back to you.

The first time I saw this--at Sretensky Monastery (Monastery of the Meeting) I was quite amazed.  I thought it was maybe a custom of just that priest or just that monastery.  Then, last night, at St. Nicholas Church on Maroseika Street, when I finally got near the front of the confession line about 45 minutes after Vigil was over, after standing in line the whole vigil (!), I saw the lady in front of me who was confessing hand her scrap of paper to one of the priests, who tore it up and gave it back to her.  "So they do it here, too," I thought.  When my turn came and I had finished confessing, I shoved my notes back in my pocket out of habit, then remembered what the lady had done and quickly decided to take them back out and do the same.  The priest took my paper likewise, tore it up, and gave it back to me and blessed me—“Mir Vam!”  “Peace be unto you!”  I looked at the torn shreds in my hand... what a powerful feeling!  Yes, a feeling of great peace…  I remembered hearing the expression somewhere in the services:

Akathist Hymn to the Mother of God, Kontakion 12: When the Absolver of all mankind desired to blot out ancient debts, of His Own will He came to dwell among those who had fallen from His Grace; and having torn up the handwriting of their sins, He heareth this from all: Alleluia!

From the Molieben: O God, the Lord of hosts, and Author of all creation, who in Thine ineffable tender mercy hast sent down Thine Only-begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the salvation of our kind, and through His Holy Cross hast torn up the handwriting of our sins and thereby triumphed over the princes and dominions of darkness: do Thou, O Master, who lovest mankind, accept these prayers of thanksgiving and supplication even from us sinners, and deliver us from every deadly and dark transgression and from all the visible and invisible enemies that seek to do us harm. Nail our flesh with the fear of Thee, and let not our hearts incline to evil words or thoughts, but wound our souls with Thy love, that ever gazing upon Thee, guided by Thy light and beholding Thee, the eternal Light that no man can approach, we may send up unceasing praises and thanks unto Thee, the Father without beginning, together with Thine Only-begotten Son and Thy most holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now, and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

(Exact quotes with the help of a search engine, not my memory ;)

Sunday of Orthodoxy, March 2009

Testing 123

This is a test for Blogger


This is a family of folk-singers.




This is great!

Another picture:


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

To the Russian Disney-World of Markets—Vernissage 7 Dec., 2008

P1010178  Fairy-tale palaces, castles, even churches…. is it Disney-World?




No—it’s “Vernissage”—an amazing  outdoor market in Moscow.  Here you can find just about anything, from fur coats to icons to antiques….

P1010181 And of course, the ubiquitous souvenirs: matryoshka dolls, fur hats, icons painted on eggs….



(Above: Colorful ladies collecting a 10-rouble entrance fee to the market)

It’s getting near Christmas (Orthodox, of course) and I have to find some presents.  Also, have to get some warm gloves, since I lose a pair every year some time in early spring…. so off to Vernissage I go….

IMAGE_383 After having been a balmy 45 degrees Fahrenheit out for a couple of weeks or so, the weather finally decided to become more seasonably Russian, and today it was only 23 degrees out.

(Yes, these people are eating outdoors in 23-degree weather—Russians love the outdoors!)

P1010183  I was dressed warmly enough with my heavy woolen coat with fur collar, and my goat-fur-lined gloves, but after only about a half an hour outside my feet suddenly felt in danger of frostbite: I had worn my waterproof but not very warm rain boots instead of my sheepskin-lined snow boots....

What to do?!  Here I might lose my toes, while the hawkers in their stalls were standing there all day like it was nothing.  What was their secret?  Aside from the sheepskin boots, I decided it must be anti-freeze--Russian anti-freeze, that is: vodka.  But where to get some here?  Providentially, a man came along with a cart just then, peddling hot food and hot drinks.  I looked at the drinks section--it looked just like the cart they bring down the aisle in airplanes.  Amidst the coffee, tea, and juice, I thought I saw the tops of little bottles.  I asked the man if he had any vodka.  "Of course," he replied, smiling a great big smile adorned with the traditional Russian gold teeth. "Vodka or cognac?"  Hmmmm....  I remembered that I got sick on cognac once, so I ordered vodka.   "How much would you like--100 grams? -- 50 roubles," he added.  I told him I couldn't think in grams... He started pouring vodka into a plastic glass and when he reached the contents of a shot glass (or less) I said "khvatit."  "20 roubles," he announced.  Happy that I got my quota for less than 50 roubles, I downed the vodka in a flash, and then began running down the long outdoor "aisles" to get my blood circulating.

Within about 10 minutes I could feel the magic start

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to work: my feet began to feel warm again and the rest of me felt fine, too--slava Bogu!  Was I relieved!

Right after the man with the vodka and hot food, I saw a tiny little old lady painstakingly shuffling along.  She had no gloves and walked with one hand held out cupped, as if she were begging.  I marvelled at how she could go without gloves in this cold, and as she looked up I saw that there was absolutely no eye in one of her eye sockets--just skin and a hollow hole.  These are the Lazaruses you will never see in warm, cozy America.....

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Update: Follow me click here

Update: Windows Live Spaces it is. (see link)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Follow me... New posts

Hello, all!

After much frustration and little time, I've found a couple of easier ways to edit and post.
Live Spaces is the easiest, and probably of choice, though I don't care for the layout as well.

Multiply is the other, looks a little better, but doesn't behave when I try to lay the page out with pictures, which was the whole problem with Blogger.

For the moment, I'm still comparing them, but will eventually choose between the two.
Come and see--I'm really still alive and (when I'm not working) doing things here!


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Christ the Saviour, Part III

Help! I'd better finish the Christmas entry before Great Lent starts! ;)
More pictures of Christ the Saviour Cathedral. Click to enlarge:

In the background you can see the elaborate "cave" made of evergreens and flowers surrounding the (very large) icon of the Nativity. I tried without success to get a good picture of it--people, of course, kept venerating it and walking past it as I was trying to get a shot of it.

Emmanuel--the Divine Christ Child, God With Us.

Here is an excerpt from the web site of Christ the Saviour, about the original church:

"The best architects, builders and artists of the time fulfilled K. Ton's designs. V. Surikov, baron T. Neff, N Koshelev, G. Semiradsky, I. Kramskoy, V.P. Vereshchagin, P. Pleshanov, and v. Markov (all members of the Russian Academy of Arts) took twelve and a half years to create the unique frescoes. Baron P. Klodt, N Ramazanov, and A. Loganovsky created the exterior sculptures. Count F. Tolstoy designed the Royal Doors using the newest galvanoplastic techniques.The sculptures and frescoes in the Cathedral were unified by several themes: the mercy of the Lord vouchsafed to the Russian people through the intercession of saints during the past nine centuries, and the ways and means chosen by God for the salvation of mankind from the creation, to the fall and the redemption through our Lord and Savior. Therefore, holy protectors and intercessors for the Russian land, as well as those leaders, who worked to affirm and spread Christianity and those princes that laid their life down for the freedom and integrity of the Russian land are pictured throughout the Cathedral."

Visit the excellent Christ the Saviour website for a more complete history of the church:

I think this is the Nativity of the Mother of God...

The Nativity scene high above the altar. It was strikingly beautiful and had an amazing 3-D quality to it. You felt like you were right in there in the cave on the night of the Nativity... I couldn't stop looking at this...

The Ascension.


Prophet King David and other Prophets.

I managed to get a shot of His Holiness, Patriarch Alexii II...

...together with his Heavenly Protector, St. Alexii, Metropolitan of Moscow.

Here is the life of St. Alexii (Alexis) of Moscow:

Patriarch Alexii is amazing for serving almost every single day at his age. He is well-respected by his Orthodox Christian flock here.

Be sure to click on this to see the details.
This may be the choir-loft--I'm not sure which "corner" it was in. They were so high you couldn't see the choir at all!
And with this I'm going to say good night....