Taking the Kids to Church

May 21, 2015

Feast of the Ascension
Repose of John Eliot,
Apostle to the Native People of Massachusetts

Surgut wakes up to remind us that we are only about 5 degrees south of the Arctic Circle. The warm weather anomaly ceased yesterday as temperatures dropped by over 20 degrees Fahrenheit and we dug out the few sweaters and jackets we brought to make the trek to church for the feast. Continue reading

What Libraries Mean to Me

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Children’s Library in Moscow

Books! Books! Libraries are the place we get books. How could we live without libraries? A lot of information comes from books. When books started to appear someone thought “Where should we keep them?” Then people found the key: libraries! If you need to study a subject (for example), just ask a librarian she/he will help you find the right books. Whether at home or in Russia, we always find our local library.

Small Towns, Magnanimous People

IMG_0271Well, I was born in a small town
And I live in a small town
Prob’ly die in a small town
Oh, those small communities…

No, I cannot forget where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be.

 — Small Town by John Mellancamp

I never understood my friends who always dreamed of leaving the small town where I grew up. Did they honestly think that a change of scenery, a bigger city with more opportunity would change their identity? I personally never wanted to leave my small town. But like Abraham, circumstances prevailed against my better judgment and I was driven from my people and sent to a land that would be shown to me. From the land of my fathers, I came first to Boston where I could more deeply discover the land of holy Orthodoxy. Continue reading

Nostalgia for Paradise

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Main Gate of Danilov Monastery, Moscow

I will never forget the first time I visited an Orthodox monastery to stay for a month-long missionary school hosted there. I was newly converted to the church and I was still getting used to regular church life. Life in a monastery was like learning to walk on the moon by comparison. I felt the awkwardness of a bum yanked from the street and set before a seven course French Meal. I did not know how to use the knife and fork let alone how to behave in this highly cultured environment. But the hunger and thirst after righteousness kept me from fleeing what was unfamiliar. Continue reading

Russia What is Your 4th of July?/ Россия, чтo есть Твоe 4 июля?

Victory Day! Russia’s great feast! Come and sing: the Allies have won the hard war of the world. Many have died but we are filled with joy for the long, terrible war has ended. The parade shows how the people fought for victory and the fireworks show happiness. This is my favorite Russian holiday.

День Победы! России главный празник! Иди и пой: союзники победили в длинной войне мира. Многие погибли, но мы заполнены радостью потому что длинная, тяжелая война закончилась. Парад показывает, как люди дрались за победу и фейерверки показывают счастье. Это мой любимый Русский праздник.

A Moscow Cup of Tea

May 10, 2015
American Mother’s Day

teaMoscow is principally for us a place to gather as many friends and family as we can muster at any given time, and since the observed holiday for Victory Day is tomorrow (Monday), the Sunday gathering at our apartment is more than usually crowded. My American friend and his family come over with fried chicken wings and garlic bread, while my wife’s local cousins bring their children for a sleepover. It is a grand occasion of East meets West with overlapping conversations in Russian and English. But the capital part of the evening after all the eating and customary toasting is the after dinner tea. It is the most vital symbol of the seemingly endless conversation that ensues. Continue reading