Grandma fell sick exactly at that tense moment. With her lungs damaged at seventy-five or even eighty percent and with critically low blood oxygen levels, she required special attention and 24/7 care. The real problem was that there was absolutely no one to look after her under the present circumstances.
Our engaging talk with Fr. Alexander covered topics as varied as how a broken jaw helped him become a priest, what it is like to be ordained at the age of just twenty-one, his truck driver training course and the relationship with other truckers, continuing his ministry while at the wheel of his rig, his multi-cultural parish, the Orthodox children’s camp in Belgium, why Europeans fear death, the deserted Catholic churches in Europe, government assistance and the gift of the priesthood.
We often reject ballet as an a priori a sinful form of art, judging it only from hearsay or scandalous stories and personalities. Meanwhile, we know of many religious ballet dancers. Anna Pavlova, Igor Moiseyev, Andris and Ilze Liepa, Svetlana Zakharova, Ulyana Lopatkina—to name but a few.
She narrated her passions, her tortures, and her sufferings as we crossed the vineyards of the valley, peregrinating on the night of the 24th to the 25th of September to the chapel of St. John the Theolgian, the Dependency of the Holy Cenóbium of the Annunciation. There, a meager vigil was to be celebrated from the ninth hour of the evening until the third hour of Matins, and then, after a brief respite of two hours, the Liturgy was to occur at daybreak.
We have talked with Bogdan Vladimirovich, a professional musician, a Master of Arts, a graduate of the Minsk State Academy of Music, about bells, the meaning of bell ringing, bellringers and how people become one.
The selfless ministry of the numerous pastors of the Russian Church in the emigration has taken shape in a kind of iconographic image of ministry as expressed in the Russian saying, “for the sake of Christ Jesus and not for a bite of bread.”
This is an amazing story about the courage and resilience of the Christians of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, from whom the “believers” of the Kiev Patriarchate (now the OCU) took away two churches one after the other. In a situation where people seemed to have nothing more to hope for, the believers did not back down.
I always wondered about the connection between man and his faith, and what the life of a religious person is like. I met some Orthodox men among my fellow conscripts. That’s when I got a hold of a Bible for the first time in my life.