The “Slavyanka” Children’s Library in St. Petersburg is hosting an exhibition of paintings by the reposed Archpriest Alexey Novikov, one of the favorite authors of the portal Pravoslavie.ru.
The works by the ever-memorable priest, the exposition itself, and the number of its visitors once again prove the rule that Fr. Alexey always followed and taught by the example of his life: “Christ is life. Without Him we are condemned to everlasting death, with no hope for forgiveness of sins and pardon. But with Him death is just the removal of scaffolding from a building once its construction is finished,” as Patriarch Pavle of Serbia used to say.
This longing for Christ unites us with Him in the bond of genuine friendship, as people who knew Fr. Alexey personally—his friends, casual acquaintances and even those who never met him but read his texts and talks—saw and still see for themselves. This is the friendship of which Christ said to us Christians: Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you (Jn. 15:14). Perhaps that is why thousands of people sincerely, with good reason, regard Fr. Alexey as their true friend because they see and feel his sincerity in seeking God.
Fr. Alexey cultivated his sincerity from childhood. “You have a rare gift—the ability to be friends with others. Cherish it!” his thesis adviser once wrote to the future Fr. Alexey. This is what young Alesha [a diminutive form of the name Alexey.—Trans.], and later Fr. Alexey, did. People confided their secrets and innermost thoughts to him, sought his counsel while both in trouble and in joy, knowing that their secrets would certainly be kept, that the pastor would pray for them, that they would receive good advice and help.
As we know, there are two outlooks on life: some see it as a curse, a drab existence, and an endless series of failures, while others give thanks to Christ for creation of this world and bringing us from non-existence to existence with quiet joy. I don’t believe I would be mistaken in saying that the power of modern art not always aims to form this positive attitude towards life in us. Look: What often claims to be a genuine work of art in reality offers a perspective on life that will result in anguish, melancholy, and despair.
The paintings by Fr. Alexey, currently displayed at the “Slavyanka” Children’s Library in St. Petersburg, are very different. In my opinion, one of the strongest feelings aroused in the hearts of the visitors standing in front of his works is peace: even if the colors are somber, this is not cause for despair; rather, it is a call to lift your eyes up to heaven, to your motherland. If the colors are light, you see a firm belief that heaven is truly your motherland.
In addition, you will see the power of love for both God and man with your own eyes. One of the main organizers of the exhibition was the Holy Trinity parish in the village of Ozorets of the Toropets district of the Tver region [which borders the Moscow region in the northwest.—Trans.]. This parish was headed by Fr. Alexey (he would most probably have corrected me by saying that it is Christ and not a man that is the Head of a parish). Thus, this huge parish in a small village didn’t lose heart; instead, it felt it its duty to share Fr. Alexey’s happy outlook on life with as many people as possible. To my mind, this fact perfectly demonstrates that Fr. Alexey was a true priest who succeeded in using and multiplying his God-given talents—the talents that will teach us to develop a kind outlook on the world and people, on ourselves, on and Christ.
The exhibition runs until mid-February.
An appeal to readers
Despite the death of our pastor, which caused our great sorrow, we are continuing work on the restoration of the Holy Trinity Church and revitalizing the parish life in our village. We would greatly appreciate any financial support.
You can transfer money to the bank account (Sberbank of Russia): 2202 2005 5259 7849; the recipient: Olga Mikhailovna Nazarova (Ольга Михайловна Назарова).
The recipient account (“Sberbank”): 40817810355861127078
Alternatively, you can send donations by “Russian Post” to the following postal address: 172892, Russia, Tverskaya Oblast, Toropetsky Rayon, Pochtovoye otdelenie (P/O) Vydry, Derevnya Yukhanovo. To Mrs. Olga Mikhailovna Nazarova.