The participants of the Nashestviye 2008 [Invasion 2008] rock festival, considered a “Russian Woodstock”, received pastoral blessings and a sermon from the stage. According to an Interfax-Religion correspondent, Konstantin Kinchev and his group Alisa played about two hours and their concert was crowned with a sermon by Hegumen Sergei Rybko, the rector of the church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, who is famed for his missionary work among counterculture youth. Thousands of Invasion participants enthusiastically welcomed his appearance on the stage.
“May God help you! Bear the banner of Russian rock with dignity, as Konstantin Kinchev does. Russian rock, in its best manifestations, has led many to faith, and, no doubt, it will lead many more people to Christ and salvation”, Fr Sergei said at the beginning of his remarks to the crowd. He recalled that many people of his generation came to faith in difficult times “when they were sent to the loony bin if they dissented”. However, in his opinion, “the authorities didn’t succeed, as we were faithful to our ideals, searched for ourselves in this world, and though we took different ways, in essence, it was one path to God. My friends, I believe in you. Indeed, there is no other path for us, we must follow our Russian traditions and Holy Orthodoxy, for they are God’s divine gifts to us, they serve our always invincible great Russian motherland, but, it is so only if we are united with Christ and one another”.
According to the festival’s organisers, over 100,000 people visited Nashestviye 2008 over the three days of its presentation. Multicoloured flags, including the Russian and Romanov imperial flags fluttered near the main stage set up on the Volga bank. The hometowns of the “Russian Woodstock” audience could be learned from the inscriptions on them: Moscow, Sochi, Tula, St Petersburg, Vladimir, Krasnodar, Oryol, Kaliningrad, Bryansk, Irkutsk, Severodvinsk, and Belgrad. Bad weather and muddy conditions didn’t cool the ardour of the Russian rock fans.
7 July 2008