Priest traveling 5,000 miles throughout Russia to make documentary on devastated churches on his own dime

Chelyabinsk, Russia, July 25, 2018

Photo: ВКонтакте Photo: ВКонтакте

According to available statistics, more than 30,000 churches have been built or rebuilt over the past 30 years in Russia, since the fall of the Soviet Union. As His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk stated in December, if construction continues at such a pace, the number of churches in Russia will double within 25-30 years.

However, at present, despite the Church’s flurry of activity, there remains a great number of churches that lie in ruin, neglected and destroyed during the period of godless atheism in the 20th century.

Against this backdrop, one priest of the Russian Orthodox Church is stepping up to do his part to raise awareness about the holy sites that still need attention and care.

As Interfax-Religion reports, Fr. John Karabidovich, a priest from the Urals’ city of Chelyabinsk, is currently in the midst of a 5,000-mile motorcycle trek throughout European Russia with a camera crew in tow, precisely to bring attention to the vast country’s ruined churches.

The goal of the “Your Paths” project is to make a documentary film showcasing the churches that have yet to be restored, and to tell about the Orthodox life of parishes in more remote areas. The project has no sponsors but has been initiated at Fr. John’s expense.

The project was launched in Chelyabinsk on July 16. Fr. John has already traveled about 2,500 miles on the route of Chelyabinsk-Voronezh-Sevastopol-Simferopol-Belgorod-Starii Oskol-Voronezh. He will arrive in Moscow tonight and visit destroyed and also restored churches in the greater Moscow region.

Shots from the upcoming documentary will also be used for a 2019 calendar. Fr. John made a similar calendar for the first time last year, with all of the proceeds going to the families of poor priests, including to help a missionary parish of the Russian Orthodox Church in Pakistan.

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