On the evening of December 5, 2020, Andrei Rogozyansky, a regular contributor to Pravoslavie.ru, lost his home in Russia’s Kostroma region in a fire. Andrei and his large family have lived in this house for eighteen years. This is what Mr. Rogozyansky told the site about the incident:
“A giant house, our ‘home-ship,’ it was truly imposing, and reminded us of a museum of wooden architecture when we first saw it in 2001. Everything was as it should be in a northern style homestead, with the living areas and the storage and utility rooms all under one roof. Eighty-eight feet long and between forty-two and forty-nine feet tall (from the ground to ridge of the roof), with storage on two levels.
“A small hamlet amidst the forests and fields of the Kostroma region. There was a hill behind the house, offering views of the surroundings, and a lot of fresh air. These landscapes became so close to our hearts, as they were an ‘extension’ of our home. Our children loved to walk in the fields at any time of the year, knowing every single copse, every picturesque corner, when each type of flowers bloomed, the best spots for picking mushrooms and berries.
“As soon as we obtained the house, we began settling into it, always reconstructing and transforming it into an ever more spacious and comfortable home. Inside, we managed to make a separate kitchen, a bathroom, a residential addition with a carved porch, a garage and with other innovations. The windows were decorated with intricately carved wooden frames. The interior as a whole has retained its rustic simplicity: unpretentious wallpaper, and the painted floor that we made ourselves. A temporary kitchen set made of fiberboard, pasted over with decorative foil that ended up being not so temporary; well-worn furniture with traces of children’s artwork on it; doorjambs marked with lines marking the children’s growth… But this ‘domestic universe’ of ours, which never suffered from ‘European-style’ renovations, was gradually built over time with our own hands, and it was so cozy because it managed to contain the memory of time and each family member had a hand in the arrangement and decoration.
“Everybody loved the house and its adjacent territory, filled with flowers and decorative plants. Each of us had his or her own area for games and work, prayers and meditations. Music lessons, other family lessons and various lovely domestic hobbies would add charm to notoriously long northern winters. The warm season was filled with gardening and the greenhouse chores, and poultry and livestock breeding.
“The fire that broke out in our absence at about nine in the evening on December 5 spared nothing. The fire was caused by a short circuit in the basement. For two hours in a row our neighbors noticed a blinking light and an unpleasant burning smell until the internal combustion expanded and became noticeable. Unfortunately, nothing could be done by that moment. The fire crews who arrived on scene had only to protect the surrounding structures. With difficulty, they managed to save the nearest neighbors’ house.
“Three hours later, arriving at the scene we saw charred ruins. We had an aching feeling as if we had lost a dear long-time friend. Our minds refused to believe that it had really happened.
“The damage is incalculable. Each of us lost something in the fire that was the most deplorable experience. For our daughters these were their family archives, diaries, literary sketches, a collection of herbarium specimen, and a very unique, rare German piano from the 1930s. For my wife these were an extensive collection of high-quality pelargoniums and gardening tools. And I had an impressive list of tools and gardening equipment too. Even our youngest son, Sashulya [an affectionate and diminutive form of the name Alexander.—Trans.], who has been handicapped (cerebral palsy) since birth, has lost a collection of his favorite animals—realistic soft toys with which the boy loved to give little performances.
“Rural life in itself tends towards self-sufficiency and independence. We collected many usual devices and objects under the roof of our ‘home-ship’ over the years, from an incubator to a separator, from irrigation systems to a backup power supply. It is impossible to make up for what has been lost and recreate all this in a short time. But life goes on, and our family, having grown up ‘in the open spaces’ and absorbed the spirit of Russian nature can’t imagine itself being limited in confined urban spaces. It still has hope for the future—to get a new ‘home ark’ and equip it.”
Last week, the editors of Pravoslavie.ru asked their readers to help the Rogozyianskies financially. Within a very short time, Andrei Bronislavovich called the editors to tell them that thanks to the generosity of all those readers, they have already collected enough to rebuild their household. May God reward all those generous donors who responded so quickly to their neighbor’s misfortune!