Voices from Russia

Sunday, 16 December 2012

16 December 2012. Tomorrow is St Barbara Day!

00 St Barbara. Russian. 18th century.


Well, 17 December is St Barbara Day… my nameday. Greetings to all the other Barbaras out there! Have a lovely day… in the midst of all the holiday preparations. St Barbara is venerated widely amongst our traditional parishes. Almost every old-school Russian Orthodox parish in America and Canada has an icon or stained glass window of her. That’s because she’s “the patroness of COAL MINERS and all who toil in the bowels of the Earth”. Many of our working-class forebears asked for, and received, her intercession and protection from harm. Have you noticed how, in certain quarters, she’s ignored and no longer honoured with liturgies on her day? Are some of us ashamed of the coal dust and sweat on their dede’s back? Are others so disdainful of the founders of our parishes that they deliberately turn a blind eye to Baba’s sacrifices? On top of that, do the half-converted Anglo new arrivals even consider these hard-scrabble “Polacks” and “Hunkies” worthy of respect (without the efforts of these solid working-class folk, there’d be no Church for these upper-middle “searchers” to come to)? Well, any road, tomorrow’s our day… Many Years to all the Barbaras out there! Tilt the jug and cheer! Don’t forget to light a candle to ask St Barbara’s intercessions… that’s the other side of the coin (it’s not just an excuse for a party, kids). Holy Barbara, pray for all of us, but especially me… I need prayer as much as the next person does…



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