Voices from Russia

Saturday, 16 September 2017

16 September 2017. A Thought from John Muir… Needful in This Time of Corporate Buccaneering Rapine

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In a day when the Trump slimesters are looking to rape our natural heritage for the sake of the Almighty Dollar, let’s listen to a man who put Almighty God in front of profit and greed…

BMD

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Thursday, 1 September 2016

The Pride of Russia: A Retired Cop’s Podvig

00 russia cop nikolai sokolov 310816

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Nikolai Sokolov, a former cop (SOBR (Special Fast-Response Unit)) from the village of Nepotyagovo in Vologda Oblast built a 100-metre-long bridge with his own hands to connect two parts of the village, improved a natural spring, and built a chapel. He told us:

I’m a former cop; I served in law enforcement for more than 20 years. First, I was in the OMON (Mobile Special Purpose Unit), then, in the SOBR. I had to move about, but I didn’t care much for that. I was even in Chechnya a few times. It’s been nine years since my retirement. As soon as I had the time, I began to spiff up my hometown. My fellow villagers helped me to build a sauna and we put up a fence.

We have a dam in our village. In the 70’s, they began to build up our town. In one part, they built two-story brick houses with comfy flats. In another part, they set aside land for dachas. In order to solve the problem of watering the dacha garden plots, we built a dam on the Shogrash River. Now, the reservoir divides Nepotyagovo into two parts… the residential district and the dacha area. To go from one to the other, we needed to make a detour of about three kilometres. The bridge broke down years ago, so, people had to make a big fuss to get to the other part of the village.

Before she died, my Mum asked me to build a good bridge over the obstacle. She told me, “You can do it, my son; do a good deed for the people. Indeed, no one but you can really do it”. I decided to go out and deal with the problem. I went to the Spasskoe Rural Settlement to ask for funds for building materials. They gave me 50,000 Roubles (5,115 Renminbi. 51,260 INR. 765 USD. 1,000 CAD. 1,015 AUD. 685 Euros. 580 UK Pounds), the rest I kicked in from my pension. The distance from one end of the bridge to the other was about a hundred metres. I bought metal sheeting, from which I constructed piling. During the winter, when the reservoir froze over, I walked the length of my proposed bridge, playing out rope, tagging it every six metres. Then, using my tags in the designated areas as guides, I installed the piles, driving them securely several metres into the bottom.

To keep the work going in the spring, I made a raft. I put bracing between the pilings and installed a wooden floor and railings. None of the villagers offered to help me; I only got help from my son Zhenya. Nevertheless, we made a good solid bridge, 1.5-metres wide. It took me six months to complete the project. Everybody thanked me; the babas were especially happy that they didn’t have to make such a long detour anymore. For a long time, I hoped that somebody else would get on out and help me. Well, my example inspired the whole village. They started to clean up the streets, to mow the weeds, and to build a playground.

Out in the woods, there’s an awesome natural spring. My Dad used to take me out to this place. I decided to make it even better. To remove the excess sludge, we had to take 800 loads out in a KAMAZ truck. That took two winters of work, but we got all the rubbish removed. We expanded the size of the springs; now, we have two of them. Then, we built a chapel in honour of St Nicholas the Wonderworker, put a fence around the spring, and planted an avenue of oak trees, cedars, and pines. In the clearing, we set up a table with benches under a pavilion. We ran electrical cable and installed toilets.

Now, pilgrims from all over the world come to our spring. I put out a guestbook for feedback and suggestions; there are not only entries from people from all over our country, but also from other countries in Europe, Australia, and all other parts. We had a few thousand people come here for Epiphany. People come here every weekend. I rent the woods around the chapel and spring under a 49-year lease… that costs me 7,000 Roubles (715 Renminbi. 7,175 INR. 105 USD. 140 CAD. 145 AUD. 95 Euros. 80 UK Pounds) a year. However, I don’t charge anybody anything. I just want people to visit here; to feel the grace of this extraordinary place. We had some problems with vandalism; unknown parties broke the icons and threw them in the spring. I put everything right… the “monkey shines” are over. I don’t know why people do that. I believe that anyone can change the situation in their homeland for the better. You just need to do something and not be lazy.

Recently, at the “Springs of Vologda” competition, our spring came out on top… there were 32 springs from 18 raions of the oblast. Since the legislative assembly announced the results of the competition, more people came in to visit us. This contest was part of the Year for the Conservation of Nature. We had to improve the spring, submit our application, and attach photos to our description of the spring.

I have a big family. I met my wife when we were working on a volunteer construction crew. We have four adult children, and we’re expecting our fifth grandchild. The other day, my daughter got married. My wife helps me with my projects; she just doesn’t sit around doing nothing. She teaches at the Oblast paediatric hospital. In her spare time, she actively helps with my community activities. I have a dream… I want to build a stone church dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ in Nepotyagovo. This would be a blessing for our parish… it looks like I have to get down to work again.

29 August 2016

Andrei Belykh

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Friday, 27 May 2016

27 May 2016. A Point to Ponder from John Muir… All Things ARE Interconnected… This is the ONLY Earth That We Have

00 Geoffrey Deacon. Kuai. John Muir. 2016

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I prefer the old-fashioned word “conservation” to “environmentalism”. God appointed us conservators of His Creation… the natural environment is only part of that. We’re not only conservators of the natural world and protectors of our “little brothers”, we’re also conservators of human culture and the artefacts that our civilisation created over the millennia. Conservation is a FAR broader word than environmentalism. That’s why I prefer it. However, to be a “conservationist”, one has to reject neoliberal “conservatism” in its entirety… one has to become one with nature, one with humanity, and one with our past and our various legacies and traditions… and live according to their timeless laws, not following our unfettered licence and “freedom”. The “conservative” is a spoilt brat, intent on only serving themselves (I’m thinking of arrogant toddlers such as Sean Hannity and Rod Dreher). The “conservationist” is a decent and mature person, who realises the interconnectedness of all and respects the limits that the Creation places on them. Think on that…

BMD 

Friday, 14 August 2015

14 August 2015. A Thought from Elder Nikolai Guryanov… and a Plea to Attend to What’s Needful

00 st sergei radonezhsky nikolai guryanov 150815

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I have sad news to report. The MP Holy Synod meeting on 13 July 2015 in St Petersburg (zhurnal nr 41) set aside a special day of prayer for God’s Creation. Of course, the ROCOR is an integral part of the MP, so, obviously, all MP Holy Synod decisions are binding upon it. The OCA is effectually a dependency of the MP, as all know.

NEITHER THE ROCOR OR THE OCA SAY ANYTHING ABOUT “RESPECT GOD’S CREATION SUNDAY” ON THEIR OFFICIAL WEBSITES. NOTHING! THERE IS ALSO NOTHING ON THE EASTERN AMERICA DIOCESE WEBSITE ON THIS IMPORTANT ALL-CHURCH EVENT! NOTHING!

The MP has written a special molieben for the occasion, this is not usually done, which indicates the importance that His Holiness attaches to this. However, to look at the OCA and ROCOR official websites… it might as well not be occurring. They do obsess about I V Stalin and about same-sex marriage… two topics that affect the Holy Church not at all. Whatever the US Supreme Court decided about civil marriage doesn’t affect the Church. There is NO persecution in the works in the near-term, nor in the long-term either. I’m sick of the konvertsy blathering on homosexuality and abortion. These topics do NOT lie at the centre of our Faith. Our Church, pre-eminently, WORSHIPS. It stands before the Holy of Holies and PRAYS. That’s what I was taught, that’s what I believe, that’s what I think that we should concentrate on. We shouldn’t wave placards. We should follow godly hierarchs like Bishop Panteleimon Shatov, who shows the world what true Christian charity is through his actions, NOT HIS WORDS. We shouldn’t follow poseurs like Jonas Paffhausen, who protected abusers and who lies about his past… we shouldn’t follow poseurs like Victor Potapov, who obsesses over Stalin and bloviates on same-sex marriage. We should follow His Holiness, who bids us pray for God’s Creation, that we should do so as Church, in an all-Church effort (after all, the Church did issue a decree to that effect through the Holy Synod). We should follow His Holiness, who is friends with the Castro brothers… NOT THE KOCH BROTHERS.

This is disgusting. However, it gives us a choice… you may follow Potapov and Paffhausen, and embrace the rightwing enemies of Holy Rus and our Holy Church… you may follow His Holiness, who bids us to care for the environment, to care for social justice, to reject the Free Market hell of the neoliberals (“conservatives”), and who embraces the LEFT. Those be the choices… those be the ONLY choices. They’re mutually exclusive. Choose wisely.

For more information on Respect God’s Creation Sunday, click here and here

BMD

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