Voices from Russia

Monday, 28 April 2008

The Holy Fire Shall Strengthen the Resolve of the Russian Athletes Competing in the Beijing Olympics

Leonid Tyagachev with President Vladimir Putin

Leonid Tyagachev, the President of the Russian Olympic Committee, shall transport the Holy Fire to the Olympics in Beijing. Mr Tyagachev was present in Jerusalem for the miracle of the Holy Fire and he is confident that its presence amongst the Russian sportsmen shall help them to win medals in the Olympic competitions, the newspaper Izvestiya wrote on Monday. He shared his impressions of his pilgrimage to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem along with a delegation from the St Andrew the First-called Foundation, which later brought the Holy Fire back to Russia. Mr Tyagachev related that this was the first time that he witnessed the miracle of the Holy Fire. “It was not what I had expected. Nevertheless, it is a holy place”, he said. He commented on the traditional crush of the crowd, the commotion, and the sporadic clashes between different groups of believers inside a church packed with some 10,000 worshippers.

The famous actor Nikolai Burliaev, Honoured Artist of Russia, also shared his impressions of the trip. For Mr Burliaev, it was also the first time that he witnessed the miracle. “I was surprised at the attitude of those about me, for almost no one was praying. There were shouts, pushing, attempts to seize a better vantage-point, and people dug their elbows into their neighbours. I thought, ‘Shall the Holy Fire descend to us sinners? Shall we leave the church and relate to one another just we did before?’” Mr Burliaev stated that he often prays in church, and that “I prayed some three times in five hours at the Holy Sepulchre. Everything was distracting. Is the miracle going to be sent to those such as us? But, it came! It means that we shall live further and be cleansed”.

28 April 2008




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