Voices from Russia

Sunday, 15 February 2015

15 February 2015. A Blast from the Metropolia Past…

songs of the russian peoples


carpatho -russian anthem


Yes, Virginia, there was life before there was SVS and Syosset (“Pishtey’s Folly”)… NEVER forget our roots in the mines and mills… may my right hand wither if I do. Our babas and dedes stood tall in the sit-down strikes… Russkies and Hunkies were RABBLE-ROUSERS… they weren’t “respectable”. Maybe, we should recapture that spirit and stop trying to impress the Anglo Establishment… they’re never going to accept us except as second-class helots, any road. I don’t think that I’m alone in thinking that way…



Friday, 11 July 2014

11 July 2014. A Blast from the Past… Bishop Kip… One of the Finest Men to Wear the Crown…

00 bishop kiprian borisevich. 11.07.14

Bishop Kip with two generations of priests… Fr Dmitri Ressetar (left) and Fr Daniel Ressetar (right)… now, that’s old-school Orthodoxy


I remember reading in the commboxes to Mark Stokoe’s blog some time back that some upstart konvert called Bishop Kiprian Borisevich a “cruel man”.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Everyone in NEPA respected and loved Bishop Kip. NO EXCEPTIONS… no way, no how. Bishop Kip knew how to “bish”, and no one, but no one, dared cross him after he’d decided something. That’s the way it’s ‘sposed to be, kids… bishops aren’t supposed to be convicted pervs (like Storheim)… bishops aren’t supposed to be driving under the influence (like Peterson)… bishops aren’t supposed to be siccing lawyers on the Synod (like Paffso). NO! Our bishops should follow Bishop Kip’s example… they should concentrate on being pastors who live with and for their flocks. Bishop Kip found himself in the interwar Polish state and served as a priest during the time of its persecution of Orthodox Christians. He fought the papists, along with his brother (Archbishop Varlaam Borisevich), who was also a priest. His brother was a Confessor of the Faith, imprisoned by the Polish papist authorities for defending the Church (do note well that the modernists and konvertsy don’t know this nor do they bother to find it out). All the oldtimers and everyone from the old families respects Bishop Kip’s memory (as well we should).

We’ve fallen… and we refuse to get up. We shouldn’t look for nostrums amongst the heterodox or amongst the Greeks… all that we have to do is to follow the good example set by our forebears. ‘Nuff said…


Saturday, 28 December 2013

28 December 2013. A Picture IS Worth a Thousand Words… A Blast from the Metropolia Past… Fr Igor Soroka at the Podium

00 Igor Soroka. Male Chorus. Pittsburgh PA. 28.12.13



I’m sorry that I couldn’t find more material by Fr Igor on YouTube (hint to all youse Yinzers out there… post something so that people can link to it!), so, I posted the above vid as being fit and being something that Fr Igor would’ve given his “Amen” to. Now, that’s something to cheer about!


Fr Igor Soroka Retiring as Cathedral Choir Director… Staying as Donora PA Priest

00 Fr Igor Soroka. Donora PA USA. 28.12.13

Fr Igor Soroka and Dr Dimitri Petro, both choir directors, discuss musical arrangements at St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church in Donora PA



Editor’s Note:

Nothing on oca.org on this… does it surprise you? They’re a penny short and a day late… AGAIN. Journalism doesn’t have holidays…



It was fitting that a half century ago that a young Donora priest organised and became director of the Cathedral Choir of the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. Fr Igor Soroka was born into a musical family; his father, the late Fr Gregory Soroka, came to the USA from Russia to work as a choir director. He met his future wife, Anastasia, when she was singing alto in the choir he was directing in Scranton PA. Gregory enrolled in the Russian Orthodox Seminary in Minneapolis MN, then, came back to Scranton, and proposed to Anastasia. They had seven children; three of the four sons, Igor, Leonid, and Vladimir became priests… with exceptional musical talents. Each wrote music. Fr Gregory served as pastor of Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church in Charleroi PA for over 35 years.

Igor met his late wife, Irene, whilst he was choir director in Detroit MI. She also sang alto. Igor studied at St Tikhon Orthodox Theological Seminary and Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit. After ordination, he and Irene came to Donora in 1959 to make their home. Fr Igor is still at his first parish, St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church in Donora, with 54 years of service. As for his directing the Cathedral Choir for 50 years, Fr Igor said, “It’s time to retire”, at the December choir meeting in Canonsburg PA. He’d worked as director without compensation.

His parishioners are pleased that he isn’t retiring from the parish. Dr Dimitri Petro, choir director at St Nicholas for almost 50 years, had a close association with Fr Igor and with his music-making. He related an incident when the two were attending an all-American Sobor in New York City. One evening, a group, including Fr Igor and his brother Fr Vladimir, went to a little Russian restaurant. Petro said, “There was balalaika music and we started singing with them. Fr Igor and his brother had exceptional voices and Fr Igor even had a solo part”. According to Petro, the musicians’ director stated, “You don’t belong here. You belong down the street at the Metropolitan Opera!”

The Cathedral Choir is an a capella ensemble; its singers have many backgrounds… doctors, lawyers, clergy, teachers, nurses, office workers, as well as homemakers and retirees. The Metropolitan Choir presented concerts at Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh PA and appeared with the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra, as well as giving many performances at other venues. It presented a Millennium concert celebrating 1,000 years of Christianity in Russia at the University of Pittsburgh in 1988. They made six recordings under Fr Igor’s direction, including, In Concert, The Divine Liturgy, and the latest, The Psalms in Melody and Songs. For the last recording, in honour of the group’s 50th anniversary, Fr Igor said that they called on some retirees and former members to fill the choir with 35 voices. Fr Igor said, “Some pieces are sung in eight parts and extra voices were needed”.

27 December 2013

Emma Jene Lelik

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


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