More Russian along

You no doubt heard this past week about Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's passing. I have on my desk his very thick and more inviting than ever book, The Gulag Archipelago. I won't begin it yet, but it's on my list for after I've explored a few less lengthy volumes. Tim and I watched a special the other night about Stalin's restructuring of Moscow. The dictator literally moved land and water trying to build the city of the future. He also maintained an insane, iron grip on the Russian people. Solzhenitsyn's crime that originally sent him to prison was mentioning Stalin's mustache in a letter.

Recently I've experienced shades of near-Russian culture, visiting a Serbian Orthodox church that Victoria has been attending. My daughter's new interest has drawn me to learn more about these beautiful, highly ritualized services. Here's her church, with its set of clear-ringing bells.

Of course, I'm not the ritual go-getter, but I did wear a scarf as I stood to chant with the quiet, beguiling voices of conviction at St. John's. As incense wafted from the priest's censer, I felt transported to a time when peasant families trudged the Eastern snows and entered hushed sanctuaries, one by one crossing themselves, bowing close to the floor, and rising to kiss the icon of a saintly father perhaps known to writers whose books would sit on my desk one day.


cecily said…
Wow - sounds interesting.

I read a fantastic book once called 'God's global mosaic'. It journeys around the different Christian faith traditions of the world, including Russian Orthodox, pointing out what we can learn from each in order to positively enhance our spiritual journey and experience God in deeper ways. From memory the book pointed out the deep reverence of the Russian Orthodox church - the author took a way a strong sense of the majesty of God. (It's a few years since I read it and I could be totally misquoting, but I think that was it!)
Deanna said…
I'll have to read that book someday. What struck me most during the Orthodox service was the sense of history. They claim to hold services most akin to those from the Jewish temple at the time of Christ. Anyway, when you visit us (as your dream predicted you will ;o)), you'll be welcome to check out St. John's, too.