Voices from Russia

Thursday, 17 December 2015

17 December 2015. Today is My Nameday… It’s St Barbara Day

00 St Barbara. 2012

St Barbara

Nic Phillips



Today is my nameday, the holyday of my patronal saint (or should it be “matronal saint”? But such isn’t the usage, is it?). To all the other Barbaras out there, a big hug and a big slug from the jug. A friend of mine pointed up that St Barbara is the patroness of explosions, gunpowder, and lightning… perhaps, fitting to my personality and bent! To all those who share my name and to those who may share my personality and stance:

На многая лета!



A note on “religious art” versus iconography… these two concepts may overlap considerably, but they’re not completely congruous. That is, some iconography isn’t art and much art isn’t iconography. The intent behind them is different. Iconography means to portray the noetic world, to bring its reality into ours. Religious art has many intents… to edify, to please us, to express our feelings, amongst others. It isn’t iconography! In most cases, it doesn’t pretend to be such; so, beware all those who attack those who like religious art that isn’t iconography (there are religious hobbyists who think along such lines, believe it or not). I chose the above image because it pleased me and I thought that it portrayed my inner personality well. It isn’t iconography nor does it pretend to be such. I invite all the naysayers to get a life and get on with what God placed you on this earth to do. Remember… never argue with the “pure”… you’ll never win, all that you’ll do is to “drive the nail further in”, and make your interlocutor feel twice as “pure” as before your conversation. God didn’t place us here to win arguments… He placed us here to win souls. You do the latter by doing your duty with a cheerful heart, not by being a dodgy nudge with a bug up your arse. Do think on that…



Monday, 14 December 2015

14 December 2015. A Colloquy with a TRUE Friend

Filed under: personal reflections — 01varvara @ 00.00
Tags: ,

00 St Barbara. Russian. 18th century.


I’m in italics

St Barbara is the patroness of explosions, gunpowder and lightning!

Is this a sly comment on my fiery, explosive, and stormy writing? If so, pass the jug and join the club!

Could be!!!

The nicest thing about growing older is no longer giving a shit about what people think of you. The worst part is achy knees and sore feet… but you know all about that…

Age is freedom with aches and pains!

Yes… we both now know WHY “old farts” carried antacids and always stayed within shouting distance of a loo. However, we’ve both also learnt the truth of “Age and sly trickery beat Youth and naïve enthusiasm every time”.


Thursday, 18 December 2014

18 December 2014. Yesterday was the “Angel Day” for All the Barbaras Out There

00 St Barbara. Russian. 18th century.


01k Angel Day


Yesterday was the “angel day” (Name Day) for all the Barbaras in the world (I guess that includes me, too!). OOPS! I had a note to myself on my machine, but I had “writer’s block” big-time yesterday. I just couldn’t come up with anything. It happens sometimes… you just sit back, let it run its course, and things DO return to normal. I’ve gotten over it and I seem to be as full of P&V as always! It’s interesting… my angel day is 17 December and Nicky’s is 19 December (St Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra)… there’s only two days difference. However, our birthdays are six months apart (mine is 8 April and Nicky’s is 16 October).

Raise a glass and cheer for all the Barbaras in the world. We emulate our heavenly exemplar, who’s the patron saint of miners and hard work… ponder that. Two years ago, I wrote:

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)?

Three years ago, I wrote:

It’s why we have to continue the fight today. Our Orthodox forebears fought the good fight… it’s why our generation was blessed with prosperity. At present, the GOP and the teabaggers are trying to smash everything that our Orthodox grandparents won through a hard and arduous struggle. Don’t forget their legacy… it’s our past! Ask for St Barbara’s intercessions… she’ll point to our grandparents and say to us, “Do likewise”. That’s what we should do… it’s how we can honour not only their legacy, but Christ’s mandate to us to build a fair and just society. God wills it!

I haven’t changed my mind. Cheers to all of you!

Бог благословит!


Thursday, 29 August 2013

29 August 2013. A Picture IS Worth a Thousand Words… HH in Novokuznetsk

00 Novokuznetsk. Russia. Patr Kirill. 29.08.13


00 Novokuznetsk. Russia. Patr Kirill. 29.08.13a


The top image is from HH’s blessing of the cornerstone of a Chapel of St Barbara (the patron saint of miners) at the Berezovsky Coal Mine in the Kuzbass. It’s ordinary people… working people… NOT investors… NOT McMansion dwellers… NOT “too big to failexecutives… just ordinary salt-of-the-earth sorts. The second image is from the consecration of the Church of the Resurrection, which is a Memorial Church honouring all the miners in the Kuzbass who died in work accidents. Get a load of that iconostas. It’s not a SVS minimalist “peek-a-boo” job, is it? You can see that the SVSniki lied when they said that the Church in the Rodina was going to follow their lead once it was free. Indeed, it’s been the exact opposite… TRADITION is in the driver’s seat… not Renovationism. All of Kochetkov’s horses and all of Men’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again…


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