Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Miracle at Holy Virgin Cathedral “Joy of all Who Sorrow”, San Francisco CA

Holy Virgin Cathedral, “The Joy of all Who Sorrow” in San Francisco CA

Metropolitan Laurus and the Bells of San Francisco

The following was written by Mr David Jepson, Dean of the High School at St John’s Academy.

On Saturday night (15 March), I got home from choir practice rather late, and stayed up much later than normal, as I had a very late dinner. I had finished eating and was reading a book at about 11:30 PM when my roommate came in and asked if I knew why the Cathedral bells were ringing. He had been in his bedroom, which, like mine, faces the street and has a view of the Cathedral a block away. In the kitchen, a couple of rooms away, I couldn’t hear the bells, but, I agreed that it seemed strange for them to be ringing at that time of night. I went to bed about a half hour later and thought nothing more about it.

At church on Sunday, we were all shocked to hear that Metropolitan Laurus, the leader of the Russian Church Outside Russia, had reposed. Our priest got a telephone call from a former parishioner just before the service started at 9.00 AM.

We heard about the chronology of events later on Sunday from the Matushka of one of the Cathedral priests, whose son is at the Seminary in NY. Sometime on Sunday morning, when Metropolitan Laurus was noticed to be absent, someone went to his house and discovered that he had reposed in his sleep. The police were called etc., and people there began notifying the rest of the world. No one here in San Francisco knew about it until 8.00 or so on Sunday morning (11.00 AM New York time). As the day went on, word about his death continued to spread. People here were discussing going to the funeral in NY on Friday.

As we talked about these events, the issue of the bells came up. Others living near the Cathedral had heard the bells ringing late on Saturday night. When they came to the early service at the Cathedral (it starts at 7.30 AM), they found the bells tied up in the normal way, which seemed puzzling. Someone had to have gotten into the locked place where the bells are untied them, rung them (very beautifully, my roommate said), and tied them back up, all in the darkness of near midnight. No one in the group I was talking to, which included the wives of both Cathedral priests, knew who could have done it.

However, then, as we were talking, we also learned that the NY police estimated that Metropolitan Laurus had died between 2.00 and 3.00 AM. That’s between 11.00 PM and 12.00 midnight here. Then, everything seemed obvious.

I attest that I had just begun reading the pre-communion canons when I heard bells…. Orthodox Bells… ringing with the melodies familiar to us at the Cathedral. I first thought it was my CD player… when I checked, I found that it was off. David was reading in the kitchen and I went and asked him if he was playing music. We weren’t. Others in the vicinity heard the bells at the same time, roughly the time when Vladyki Metropolitan passed away. (Note the bells are behind two locked security gates and everyone who has access and who knows how to properly ring the bells have all sworn that they did not ring them).

His Eminence Archbishop Kirill told us that the angels had rung the bells.


A personal e-mail communication from Sasha Ressetar


Buddhist Dog Prays For Worldly Desires


Conan (left) the Chihuahua joins Buddhist priest Joei Yoshikuni (right) in prayer at Jigenin temple in Okinawa



With all the serious and sometimes controversial items lately, I wished to lighten the mood a bit and find something that we could smile at and enjoy. Besides this, there are Russian Orthodox monks who have a dog named Byeli (Whitey). They rescued him after finding him injured; today, the dog barks in unison with the chimes when they ring them to call the brotherhood to prayer. What do the monks say? Let everything that breathes praise the Lord (a quote from the Psalms, by the way)!



Buddhists clasp their palms together to pray for enlightenment, but Conan, a Chihuahua, appears to have more worldly motivations. The dog has become a popular attraction at a Japanese temple after learning to imitate the worshippers around him. Joei Yoshikuni, a priest at Jigenin temple on the southern island of Okinawa said, “Conan started to pose in prayer like us when he wanted treats. Clasping hands is a basic action of Buddhist prayer to show appreciation. He may be showing his thanks for treats and walks”. Conan, a two-year-old male with long black hair and a brown collar, sits next to Yoshikuni in front of the altar and looks right up at the statue of a Buddhist deity. When the priest starts chanting and raises his clasped hands, Conan also raises his paws and joins them at the tip of his nose. Visitors to the temple look on with curiosity. Kazuko Oshiro, 71, who’s frequented the temple for more than 25 years, said, “It’s so funny that he does it. He gets angry when somebody else sits on his favourite spot. He must be thinking that it’s his special place”. Conan, originally a temple pet, is so popular that people come in to take pictures almost every week. Sensei Yoshikuni estimated that the temple receives 30 percent more visitors, especially young tourists, than it would otherwise. he said as he jokingly joined his hands and bowed to the dog, “I’m glad that people feel more comfortable visiting the temple because of Conan” .

24 March 2008

Agence France Presse


Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.