Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Cossacks Never Say Die!

I am thinking of a particular commenter in posting this. He was full of attacks on Russian Orthodox people in the US, accusing them of being phonies and not being true to their “traditions”. nothing could be further from the truth. Most of us view the Great Russian culture as a seamless whole, a united Orthodox culture, strong and creative. Some of the photos are from the motherland, some are from the emigration, all illustrate the fact that we are one people, with one heart and one soul. Intellectuals should get their noses out of books and LIVE. You just might learn something.

My friend Sasha Ressetar is at 0:47, balalaika player, pious Russian Orthodox Christian, and proud son of a priestly family. Now, there is something to cheer about! Na mnogaya lyeta, Sasha!

Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn was of Cossack blood, being from the Kuban. 

As for those with carping comments…  


Dmitri Bortiansky. I Pray to the Power of Love. Don Cossack Choir of Paris, Serge Jaroff, director. 1930s film

I was thinking of a fitting audio tribute to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. This piece is famous, it was sung at the evening retreat ceremonies of the old tsarist army. The particular performance would be familiar to any Russian in the emigration, as we all grew up with the vintage vinyl recordings of the the old Don Cossack Choir. Of course, the one piece everyone knew was Vecherny Zvon (Evening Bells), but, I wished a piece with solemnity and heft. 

Memory eternal, Servant of God Aleksandr! Vechnaya Pamyat, rab bozhii Aleksandr!

Thank you to Sasha Ressetar for the link.

Vechnaya Pamyat. Eternal Memory. Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn, 1918-2008. The Last Farewell: A Photo Essay

Archbishop Aleksei, the main celebrant of the funeral with Natalia Dmitrievna Solzhenitsyna (1939- )


President Dmitri Medvedev (1965- ) with Natalia Dmitrievna Solzhenitsyna


President Medvedev extending personal condolences to the Solzhenitsyn family


The committal to the earth of the mortal relics of Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn


President Medvedev tosses a symbolic clump of dirt onto the coffin


the censing of the grave



Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is buried in the Cemetery of the Donskoi Monastery in Moscow

Hundreds of people gathered at the cemetery of the Donskoi Monastery in Moscow on Wednesday for the burial of the world-famous author and public figure Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Solzhenitsyn passed away in the early hours on 4 August in his 90th year of life from heart failure.

This morning, the Divine Liturgy and burial service was celebrated in the Greater Cathedral of the monastery. The funeral services were served by Archbishop Aleksei of Orekhovo-Zuevsk, the patriarchal vicar. President Dmitri Medvedev interrupted his work schedule this morning to attend the ceremony so that he could pay his last respects to the great Russian writer. He brought a bouquet of red Bordeaux roses to the cathedral to lay at the bier. President Medvedev spent some time talking with Natalia Dmitrievna Solzhenitsyna, the author’s widow. He also expressed his personal condolences to his sons and other members of his family.

Also present at the burial were many eminent political and cultural figures such as Yevgeny Primakov, former Prime Minister and Head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mayor Yuri Luzhkov of Moscow, Mikhail Seslavinsky, the head of Rospechati, Mikhail Shvydkoy, representative of the President for International Cultural Cooperation, Yuri Osipov, president of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Aleksei Varlam, winner of the Solzhenitsyn Award, and poetess Bella Akhmadukina, amongst others.

After the Last Kiss and Final Farewell, the funeral procession proceeded to the cemetery. Solzhenitsyn was buried next to the 19th century historian Vasili Klyuchevsky. His closest family members, his widow, Natalia Dmitrievna, his sons Stepan Aleksandrovich, Yermolai Aleksandrovich, and Ignat Aleksandrovich, and their families, followed the coffin. In spite of the unseasonably cool weather, hundreds gathered in the cemetery. The cathedral and the lawn around the grave were buried in bright flowers. The ceremony was completed with three volleys fired by the honour guard accompanied by a military band.

6 August 2008



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