пятница, 29 января 2010 г.

150th birth anniversary of Anton Chekhov

Ceremonies are being held in Moscow to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Anton Chekhov. Many places in Moscow keep memories of the famous writer and dramatist. Here, he made his debut as a doctor and penned his first story. Chekhov died at a German spa in Badenweiler but was buried in Moscow. On Friday, President Dmitry Medvedev will attend jubilee events in Chekhov’s birth city of Taganrog on the Sea of Azov. Chekhov’s famous plays “The Sea Gull”, “Three Sisters”, “The Cherry Orchard” and “Uncle Vanya” translated into many languages have survived numerous stagings worldwide.

A walk around Chekhov's Moscow

Sources:The Voice of Russia,RT


By Tatyana Shvetsova

By the summer of 1918 the economy of that part of the country, which was still under the Soviet authority, was in total collapse. The industrial production had ground to a halt due to lack of raw materials. As for the village, it was thrown back to subsistence-farming.

In these conditions the Soviet Government sought refuge in the policy of ‘military communism’. Its essence lay in a mobilization of all resources within the country for the needs of defense. One of the topmost elements of this policy was a nationalization of all large, medium and a majority of the small-scale industrial enterprises. It was also planned to achieve a maximum centralization in managing industrial production and distribution. Private trade was completely banned. All food produce and industrial goods were distributed among the population through a system of ration cards. A universal compulsory labor duty was introduced. People’s wages were all evened out.

A special system of procurement of farm produce was introduced, called ‘prodrazviorstka’. Judging by official documents, it essentially boiled down to this: Soviet Government set a certain norm for the peasants on bread and other agricultural produce. This officially allowed minimum consisted of 12 pood (1 pood is just under 16,5 kilos) of grain and 1 pood of cereals or 7 pood of potato for one person a year. Everything above that norm was officially declared surplus and had to be sold to the state at fixed prices set by the latter.

As far as the so-called ‘food surplus’ went, firstly, a majority of peasants didn’t have any. Their subsistence farming allowed their families to barely get by, no more than that.

Secondly, the peasants, fully in line with the communal psychology, that came to the fore once they had been driven back to subsistence farming, distributed the exaction of duties evenly, so that it was the better-off peasants who suffered the most, even though their life was but slightly better than that of the poorest peasant folk.

The job of extracting the ‘surplus’ food produce from the peasants fell to the Peoples Commissariat on Food Supplies, which, in turn, set up a whole army of so-called ‘supplies’ units’, made up of workers. The members of these units were paid depending on how much food supplies they could extract from the peasants. The Supplies’ units were aided by so-called ‘committees of the poor’, set up in the villages in June 1918. They comprised village proletariat, semi-proletariat, lumpenprol, impoverished folk and simply declassified elements. In the first years of the revolution a vast number of townsfolk arrived in the villages in an attempt to avoid famine.

Historian Oleg Platonov writes the following about how the supplies’ units coordinated their activity with the ‘committees of the poor’:

“This is how it all occurred in practice. A supplies’ unit, armed to the teeth, arrived at a certain village. All the local proletarians, impoverished folk and often simply god-for-nothing idlers and drunkards gathered for a meeting. From these the heads of the supplies’ units would pick out the ‘committee of the poor’. Members of the committee (often truly declassified, criminal elements) informed the supplies’ unit which of the peasantfolk had the largest stocks of grain.

At Lenin’s personal instructions, a bonus of half the monetary equivalent of the discovered bread went to the ones who informed about the whereabouts of the ‘surplus’. Next, through the barrel of a gun the unit demanded that the peasants hand over the ‘surplus’, and the informers received their share. Thus, in the Usmansky uyezd of the Tambov Gubernia out of the 6 thousand poods of confiscated bread the supplies’ units transferred 3 thousand to the committees of the poor.”

World-renowned Russian mathematician, philosopher and public activist Academician Igor Shafarevich in one of his recent books quotes the following testimony of a witness to the operations to confiscate bread from peasants of the Voronezh Gubernia, in the black earth region of Central Russia:

“Comrade Margolin, who was conducting the confiscation, upon arriving in the village gathers all the peasantfolk and solemnly declares: “I have brought death to you, villains! See here: every one of my comrades has 120 leaden deaths for you, scoundrels”…etc. There followed demands to comply with the ‘prodrazviorstka’, followed up beatings, being locked up in cold sheds, etc.”

Hardly surprising under the circumstances that the peasants revolted against such a policy towards themselves, dying by the thousands in the struggle.

“The entire epoch of military communism consisted of a succession of peasants’ revolts, put down by the central powers,” Academician Shafarevich writes. “In a vast number of instances the authorities simply waged war against the peasants.”

Their resistance was so powerful that the supplies’ units managed to procure ten times less grain than was planned.

Getting the food supplies to their destination was just as hazardous as obtaining them from the peasants. In the provinces the food echelons and ships with food products were regularly pillaged. According to historian Leonid Katzva, seeing the ineffectiveness of the policy based exclusively on violence, “soviet power somewhat tempered it in autumn of 1918. Supplies of industrial goods to the rural areas were augmented considerably, and the provision prices on bread raised. While in December 1918 the ‘committees of the poor’, which so alienated the more prosperous and middle peasants, were liquidated.”

The Bolsheviks decided to completely redefine their policy towards the middle peasants. This is what the leader of the Bolsheviks, Vladimir Lenin had to say about this:

“Today the most important question facing the party of communists, an issue that drew the most attention at the recent party congress, is the question regarding the ‘middle’ peasants…

A ‘middle’ peasant is one who does not exploit others and in no measure makes use of the fruits of someone else’s efforts, but lives exclusively by his own hard work…

Soviet power has firmly determined to establish a relationship of peace and complete accord with the middle-peasant, at any cost.

It’s understandable that a ‘middle’ peasant cannot be expected to immediately take to socialism, since he stands firmly by his customary way of life and treats with suspicion all innovations, testing them out in practice prior to accepting what he is being offered. He will never choose to alter his way of life unless he has received proof that the changes are, indeed, necessary and to his benefit.

Communist workers, appearing in the villages, should seek to establish relations of camaraderie with the ‘middle’ peasanthood, bearing in mind that a working person who does not exploit someone else, is a true comrade to the working class, one we can and must achieve a voluntary union built on complete sincerity and trust.

Various measures, suggested by the communist powers, should be viewed as but advice, a proposal to the middle peasant to change over to a new order. Only through joint work, putting these new measures to practice, and by doing away with possible mistakes, will such a union of workers and peasants become viable. This union forms the pillar of Soviet power, its strength and backbone. It is this union that will ultimately ensure that the business of socialist transformation of society, the lofty task of gaining victory over capitalism, of doing away with all form of exploitation, will be brought to its logical conclusion by us.”

One of the elements of military communism was a militarization of labor. You will get a clearer picture of what it meant from the following excerpt taken from the book by Leon Trotsky “Terrorism and Communism”:

The organization of labour is, in effect, an organization of a new society: every historical society is, in essence, an organization of the labor process. If every previous society was an organization of labour in the interests of a minority … we are making the first attempt in world history to organize labour in the interests of the working majority itself! However, this does not exclude an element of coercion in all its manifestations, in the most lenient and the most extreme forms…

The sole means of attracting the necessary labour force for varied tasks of the national economy is the introduction of the compulsory labour duty.

The very principle of compulsory labor duty is indisputable for a communist: “He who doesn’t work, doesn’t eat”. And since everybody must eat – everybody must work! Our professional industrial organizations and economic executives have the full right to demand from their members the same discipline, promptitude and selflessness as up until recently only the army demanded…”

Commenting upon this apologia of compulsory labor, historian Oleg Platonov wrote:

“In Trotsky’s ideas we see a clear manifestation of a utopist striving to create a comprehensive, omniscient and all-understanding centralist system of administrative diktat, combined with a universal militarization of labor, bureaucratization and naturalization of distribution and exchange, bringing the trade unions within the fold of the state. He became one of the main initiators of putting this system into practice. When it eventually suffered a collapse, he explained this not so much by the inherent failings of the system, as the overall low level of culture prevalent among the population of Russia, which had not yet evolved enough to be able to appreciate such ‘superlative’, in his opinion, forms of economic development.”

At the end of 1918 only the central part of Russia remained under the control of the Bolsheviks. Beyond the Volga, in the Urals, Siberia – all power was in the hands of white Admiral Kolchak, prior to the revolution a well-known polar explorer. He pronounced himself the supreme ruler of Russia.

The south was occupied by German and Austrian troops, which continued their advance, ignoring the peace accords that had been signed with them.

The Far East was practically occupied by Japan, in the North of Russia the local governments relied on the support of the troops from the members of Entente.

The Bolsheviks learnt their lesson of military disability – they began to build up and strengthen the Red Army. Leon Trotsky contributed a great deal towards its establishment. He was appointed People’s Commissar on Military and Naval Affaris. He was too much of a realist not to acknowledge that one cannot build an army out of ignorant recruits. So he gathered together 30,000 professional armymen from among the former Czarist officers – so-called ‘military specialists’, so that they would train the soldiers.

There were different people among them: some actually sympathized with the Bolsheviks and shared their ideals. But there were others, too. Quite a lot of former Czarist officers who refused to accept the Bolsheviks volunteered for service in the Red Army because they resented the poorly-concealed attempts of Entente allies to lay their hands on Russian lands. While Russia, even as it was infested by the Bolsheviks, was still dear to their hearts. These patriotically inclined officers could see that the White Guards was suffering defeat and could not save Russia. While the Bolsheviks were objectively a force that could prevent Russia from disintegration, and unwittingly, served as a weapon of God’s Providence, gathering together the Russian lands, albeit not as fast as one would want.

The result of Leon Trotsky’s efforts was quite remarkable: at the very height of the Civil war there were 5 million quite well-trained soldiers fighting within the ranks of the Red Army. Trotsky himself displayed outstanding military talent. Though, at the same time he was notorious for being ruthless when it came to matters of implicit discipline and meting out punishment. He was forced to champion the very same advantages of military discipline that the revolution initially intended to eradicate. But extreme measures were, indeed, called for in such dire circumstances.

Having been tempered in battles, the Red Army began claiming revenge for its previous setbacks.

In one of his speeches, addressed to the Red Army, Vladimir Lenin said:

“Comrade Red armymen! Capitalists of England, America and France are waging a war against Russia. They are wreaking vengeance on Soviet power of workers and peasants for having overthrown the power of the capitalists and landowners, thus serving an example to other peoples of the world.

Capitalists of England, France and America are aiding with money and military hardware the Russian landowners who lead against us troops from Siberia, the Don, the North Caucuses, seeking to reestablish the absolute power of the Czar, the landowners and the capitalists.

No! This will never be! The Red Army has become seasoned in battles, has chased the armies of the gentry and the White officers from the Volga, liberated Riga, almost all of Ukraine, is approaching Odessa and Rostov. Just a bit more effort, some more months of fighting the enemy – and victory will be ours!

The Red Army is strong in its conscious and unanimous struggle for the land of the peasants, the power of workers and peasants, for Soviet power!

The Red Amy is invincible, for it has united millions of peasants and workers, who have now learned to fight, have mastered discipline and comradeship, are strong in spirit, never lose heart after minor setbacks, and attack the enemy with fresh vigor, bolstered by the knowledge their victory is close at hand!”

Source:The Voice of Russia

четверг, 28 января 2010 г.

Russian writers-Varlam Shalamov

A political prisoner for seventeen years, Varlam Shalamov committed an unfathomable act – he survived in the deadliest of Stalin’s camps and preserved an inner strength so great, it enabled him to turn the bottom of life he had hit into an art of the first order.

Varlam Shalamov was born in 1907 in Vologda, a small city 400 kilometers northeast of Moscow. His mother, a teacher, instilled in him a love of poetry. His father, a Russian Orthodox priest, spent twelve years in Alaska ministering and fighting for environmental protection and the rights of aboriginal peoples. A man of liberal persuasion, he passed on to Shalamov a strong sense of right and wrong and willingness to stand up for people’s rights.

In the years 1914 - 1923, Shalamov studied at St. Alexander's Gymnasium. In 1924, already in Moscow, he worked at a leather plant until, in 1926, he was accepted at the Moscow State University in the Department of Soviet Law, his sense of social commitment overweighing his emerging talent as a writer.

While a student, Shalamov joined a group of Trotskyites, and on 19 February 1929, he was arrested as he prepared to distribute Lenin’s “Letter to Congress” - critical of Stalin - and expressed his anti-Stalin views at a demonstration. Sentenced to three years of hard labor, he was sent to a camp north of the Ural Mountains.

Released in 1931, he worked in the town of Berezniki in construction until his return to Moscow in 1932. He married, fathered a daughter, and worked as a journalist, writing poetry, articles, and short stories in his spare time.

In 1937, when the terror of Stalin’s purges was at its highest, Shalamov was rearrested on 1 January, for "counter-revolutionary activities" and sentenced to five years of hard labor in Kolyma, also known as "the land of white death". He had to endure fourteen-hour shifts in the gold mines and the constant threat of starvation and typhus.

Image from shalamov.ru

He was already in jail awaiting sentencing when one of his short stories was published in the literary journal "Literary Contemporary."

In 1943, Shalamov was brought back to court on trumped-up charges, and handed another term, this time for 10 years, for anti-Soviet propaganda: his crime consisted in calling Ivan Bunin a “classic Russian writer”.

In 1946, a doctor-inmate A.I. Pantyukhov, putting his own life at stake, had Shalamov trained as a medical assistant, and for the last years of his sentence he worked indoors as an orderly. The assignment likely saved Shalamov’s life and granted him a chance to write poetry.

Finally released from the Kolyma camp in 1951, he was forced to spend two more years in the region, still working as a medical assistant, never stopping to write. In 1952 he sent his poetry to Boris Pasternak, and received an acclaim from him.

Shalamov was allowed to leave Magadan in November 1953, following the death of Stalin in March of that year. He did make it to Moscow, but only for two days (the official “rehabilitation” was still years ahead), to meet with his family and pay Boris Pasternak a visit. Until his “rehabilitation” in 1956, he lived and worked as a supply agent in the city of Kalinin (now Tver), writing “Kolyma Tales,” his monumental collection of stories about camp life.

In July 1956, Shalamov returned to Moscow, where he wrote with the window of his apartment open, to be able to hear the sounds of the city – rather a self-explanatory desire after spending nearly two decades in the Siberia’s dreadful silence.

In 1957, Shalamov became a correspondent for the literary journal "Moskva"; that same year his poems were first published in the “Znamya” (Banner) journal, and later, in 1961, 1964 and 1967, his collections were published in books. The '50s and '60s were in general very creative decades for Shalamov, as he completed over a hundred stories. However, editors of the Khrushchev era did not want the Kolyma horrors revived for the readers, and were reluctant to publish Shalamov’s works. The time required literature that hailed enthusiasm and a positive labor attitude, while Shalamov’s stories were said to be full of “abstract humanism”. Therefore, during Shalamov's lifetime, very little of his work was published in the Soviet Union.

Shalamov was shattered by the constant rejection: everything that seemed to nurture his very being turned out obsolete; years of his struggling and hard work were in vain. He didn’t give up writing, however, even after the Literature Foundation put him into a retirement home. His health had been broken by years in camps, but he still managed to write poetry and dictate his memoirs.

Shalamov met with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, but had an ambivalent feeling toward him: he recognized Solzhenitsyn as an inferior writer but envied his fame. He commented on Solzhenitsyn's “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” saying: "The camp described here was one in which you could happily have spent a lifetime. It was an improved postwar camp, nothing like the hell of Kolyma." Unlike Solzhenitsyn, who propagated that camp experience could be positive and purifying, Shalamov claimed it would turn a human into an animal, a lowlife creature with no standards. In his own books, Shalamov wrote that people’s moral and physical potential was limited and it could not be subjected to a ruthless exploitation. In a letter to Solzhenitsyn he stated: “The concentration camp is a negative experience from the first till the last day.”

The manuscripts of “Kolyma Tales” were smuggled abroad and published via samizdat (a way of unofficial and therefore uncensored distribution of literature pieces in the USSR, when texts were produced by the author or readers without the authorities’ permission, by typing, photographing, or rewriting), with translations appearing in the West in 1966. The complete Russian language edition was published in London in 1978, and reprinted both in Russian and in translation. Along with “Kolyma Tales,” his most outstanding work, Shalamov also wrote a series of autobiographical essays that vividly bring to life his early years in Vologda and his life before prison.

In 1981, when Shalamov was 74 years old, a collection of his poems was published in the Soviet Union. That same year, the French division of PEN awarded him the Freedom Prize. Ironically, such recognition immediately preceded his passing. Following this award, a KGB agent was placed outside his room in the retirement home where he was residing. On a frigid January night in 1982 the authorities came for Shalamov once again and carried him off to the psychiatric wards reserved for mental patients and dissidents. On the way there, he contracted pneumonia and died three days later.

It was not until 1989 that his “Kolyma Tales” were published in the Soviet Union.


пятница, 22 января 2010 г.

Kuznetsov's "Porcelain Empire"

Almost every Russian family keeps some “family tableware” left by their parents at the back of a cupboard: a cup, a saucer, a couple of chipped plates, which are all astoundingly durable and have beautifully painted flowers, fruits and pretty girls on them. On the back you can see the maker, a small double-headed eagle with the inscription “M.S. Kuznetsov Partnership Factory.” That is Kuznetsov porcelain. Back in 1832, the merchant Terenty Kuznetsov, who knew the secrets of porcelain making, decided to start a business of his own and built a small factory with six burning forges on wasteland in Dulyovo located a short distance from Moscow. Dulyovo porcelain was known for its noble whiteness combined with gilding and bright painting. The painting was done by hand by simple female workers who were all called Agafya for some unknown reason, which is why their products came to be known as “agashkas.”

Things went well: the enterprise developed, output increased, and one generation of Kuznetsovs took over after another. Terenty, the founder, was an ordinary peasant whose resourcefulness and hard work helped him make his way in the world. He could hardly have imagined that several years later his descendants would challenge the Imperial Porcelain Factory founded on the personal instructions of Empress Yelizaveta Petrovna.

After the abolition of serfdom in Russia in the second half of the 19th century, the national porcelain industry began developing along with other industries during the rapid development of capitalism. The Imperial Porcelain Factory, which made Easter and Christmas souvenirs for the court and palace tableware, was unable to meet the growing demands of the-then “new Russians” – merchants, entrepreneurs, functionaries, wealthy city dwellers, and rural residents. It was the Kuznetsov factories (and not only the Dulyovo shops) that began satisfying the requirements of those social groups. Part of the manufacturing facilities were built by the family, others were purchased from less successful owners. Later on, the Kuznetsovs became even bigger after “swallowing” their main competitor, the Gardner factory, Russia’s first-ever privately owned enterprise founded back in 1766 (today’s Dmitrovsky Porcelain Factory in Verbilki). In 1889, the “M.S. Kuznetsov Partnership for the Manufacture of Porcelain and Pottery Goods” was established. It was called a “porcelain empire” because of practically having a monopoly on Russia’s national porcelain industry. It put out more than half of all Russian-made porcelain articles by 1895.

All the factories owned by the Kuznetsov family (located not only in the Moscow and Vladimir provinces but in Riga, Volkhov and other cities as well), had modern equipment and highly skilled workers and artists. When cheap foreign machine-made products began competing with the Kuznetsov porcelain, the Partnership immediately mechanized their manufacturing units, began using decal transfer paper and stencils, and introduced a new product-figurines. The traditional painting by hand remained, as earlier, their specialty, however. The Partnership gave grants to their students at the Stroganov School and the school sponsored by the Society for the Encouragement of Artists. Thus, the Kuznetssov factories happily combined machine-done painting with traditional hand-made bright “agashkas.”

Kuznetsov porcelain was both “European” and “Oriental” at the same time and took into consideration the whole diapason of consumers’ preferences. The product range was just immense. Some 150 varieties of dinner, tea and coffee sets, nearly 370 types of “separate” cups, and many different teapots, butter dishes, fruit bowls, sugar bowls, ashtrays, candlesticks, money boxes, vases, oven tiles, special tableware for pubs, and so on were made. Quite a few products were exported, so the company was known worldwide. The residents in Central Asia and Turkey highly valued “Oriental” Kuznetsov tableware, preferring it to other labels. In some regions of East China the Dulyovo articles were considered even more “Chinese” than the local products. The year 1900 saw the final triumph of the Kuznetsovs: their participation in the World Paris Exhibition brought them the Grand Prix, while the articles by the Imperial Factory went entirely unnoticed. Thereupon, the Partnership factories were granted the title of purveyors of the Imperial court and their products were allowed to be stamped with the Russian State Emblem.

In 1918, the Kuznetsov factories were nationalized. Unlike the former Imperial Factory that underwent a series of painful breakups and renovations, they (being mass production facilities) only went through a short period of doing “production art” during that craze and then returned to their traditional folk-art designs.

Today, the main heir and successor of the Kuznetsov traditions remains the Dulyovo factory. This year, it will have been in existence for 177 years. The exhibition show rooms of the Fund for Folk Art Handicrafts of the Russian Federation were the venue of a large display of more than a thousand items representing all stages of the factory’s history – from simple “agashkas” and exquisite 19th-century masterpieces to present-day items. Among them were the so-called “spare” copies for unique complete sets. They were shown for the first time. The “spares” (to replace broken or defective articles, and if all goes well, they are kept at the factory museum) are for the 1200-item “Golden Autumn” service given to U.S. President F.D. Roosevelt (it is kept at the White House) and the “Fairytale” service given to PRC Chairman Mao Zedong. Also on display were examples of the tableware for Russia’s president, the so-called “presidential orders”: the only decoration is gold edging and a small double-headed eagle, the State Emblem of Russia.

Oleg Torchinsky.
Photos by Alexander Grigoryev.


вторник, 19 января 2010 г.


Residents of St.Petersburg have long been theatre regulars, confirmed in their habit of going to a theatre on a regular basis. In the 1890s the craze for the theatre soared up to an extent when all sections of society got to enjoy it, particularly with the arrival of popular, easy-to-get-to theatres. Audiences infected with liberal ideas enjoyed plays by Maxim Gorky, Henrik Ibsen and Anton Chekhov and turned the theatre into a political club.

A theatrical critic wrote in 1899 that for Russian people plays and theatres meant the same as parliamentary events and political speeches for West Europeans. And in those years, as it had always been before, the theatre lured people into a different, make-believe world. At the turn of the century passion for the theatre, the masked show in which people sought solace and took refuge from the realities of life became pervasive.

The urge for a good lifelike play produced an impressive variety of acting companies – cabarets and small theatres, where actors took a rest from big stage and just had fun.

St.Petersburg boasted a bigger number of theatres than Moscow and the gem theatres of the Russian capital were the Imperial Theatres – the Mariinsky, Alexandrinsky and Mikhailovsky.

Mariinsky Theatre specialized in opera and ballet, the Alexandrinsky – in drama, and the Mikhailovsky was the domain of the French drama company. The Imperial Theatres broke up for Lent and summer recess.

The Mariinsky was founded in the middle of the 19th century and got its name from Emperor Alexander II’s wife, Empress Maria Alexandrovna. The theatre gave the world a host of glamorous singers and dancers, among them Fyodor Chaliapin, Anna Pavlova and Galina Ulanova, and its productions entered the list of world art masterpieces. The theatre enjoyed tremendous popularity. The night before a premiere the people formed a long queue in front of the box-office. On such nights the square before the theatre became so overrun with crowds of fans that the authorities had to think of something to stop it for fears of disturbances. They say that one morning a policeman approached the queuing hopefuls 30 minutes before the performance was due to start and began to hand out numbered tags in random order. The tag got you a ticket for the performance. This action was repeated several times until it became clear that queuing didn’t make sense any longer and the night gatherings came to a stop.

In the late 19th century Fyodor Chaliapin rose to stardom on the Mariinsky stage. The year 1895 saw his first appearance as Mephistopheles in “Faust” which was a sweeping success. Chaliapin’s popularity went beyond proportion to an extent that the productions he appeared in all bore a sold-out note and the newspapers said that it would be easier to pass a new Constitution than get tickets to the Mariinsky. On November 12th, 1903, as Chaliapin was giving a concert, the city was hit be flooding but the house was as packed as ever. Chaliapin demonstrated his power again, the newspaper wrote, and the moment he came out the house broke into thunderous applause lasting a good several minutes.

The ballet was equally admired in St.Petersburg. Either of the two had a worshipping audience.

There were also symphony music lovers, keen on attending symphony music concerts at the Noble Assembly Hall. In those days St.Petersburg was home to such celebrities as Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazunov and Lyadov, who had a lasing impact on those in classical music.

At the dawn of the 20th century there sprang up the now obscured genre of recitative, a recitation of verse to specially-composed music. In a word, the theatrical life of St.Petersburg at the turn of the 20th century sparkled with original genres and events.

Source:The Voice of Russia

суббота, 16 января 2010 г.

Famous russian Ensemble Berezka (Birch)

Artistic director and Lead conductor – Maxim Fedotov

State Academic Choreographic Ensemble "Berezka" is a world-known company that became a poster card of Russia on the world sceme. Berezka ensemble was originally founded in 1948 by extraordinary choreographer of the XX century, Nadezhda Nadezhdina. She was able to blend the classical dance with poetry of ancient round dances, present with past. Girl dance team created by her based on the theme of Russian folk song "Birch tree standing in the field" charms its spectators for over 50 years by amuzing, "floating" steps, so that it feels like entire birch tree forest turned alive, got moving and all of a sudden turned into a triumphal grand parade. This round dance gave the name to Berezka ensemble (Berezka is a Birch tree in Rusian).


Four seasons


пятница, 15 января 2010 г.

Russian saints - St.Seraphim of Sarov

More than 200 years ago there lived in Russia a young boy named Prochorus. When he was 27 Prochorus was made a monk and given the name Seraphim. At the age of 3l he became a priest and for a long time he served Liturgy and received Holy Communion every day. A year later, like the ancient desert-dwellers, St. Seraphim went to live alone in a dense pine forest. Next to his one-room hut or cell he planted a vegetable garden. Later he also kept bees. Even while he worked, St. Seraphim was always praying or singing hymns. Every day he would read several chapters from the New Testament. "The soul must be fed on the word of God," he said later, "for the word of God is the bread of angels, and souls that are hungry for God are fed by it." In this way St. Seraphim spent the week alone in the forest, praying, fasting and working in his garden. On feast days and on week-ends he would go to the monastery and attend the services there. Then, taking some bread with him, he would return to his forest cell. He often shared his bread with the wild animals and birds. Sometimes he was visited by a bear who obeyed him just as the animals in Paradise obeyed Adam.St. Seraphim of Sarov

St. Seraphim's holy life was so pleasing to God that the devil became very angry. He began to attack the Saint with terrible thoughts and visions. Sometimes, while standing at prayer, it would seem as though wild beasts were rushing towards him. At other times an open coffin would suddenly appear in front of him and out would come a dead man. All this only caused St. Seraphim to increase his prayers. He found a rock in the middle of the forest and for a thousand days and nights he prayed on that rock, stopping only for a little food and rest. This put the devil to shame, but still he did not leave the Saint alone. Once, when St. Seraphim was cutting wood in the forest, three strange men came up to him; and asked him for money. When the Saint replied that he had none they beat him until they thought he was dead. It was a long time before St. Seraphim recovered, and once again, it was thanks to the help of the Mother of God. From then on he was bent over and walked leaning on a stick. The robbers were caught, but the Saint asked that they not be punished. Soon they came to him in tears asking his forgiveness. They received his blessing and promised to change their lives to please God.

Even this great trial did not persuade St. Seraphim to leave his forest which he loved so much. Soon he chose a life of absolute silence in order to better concentrate his mind and heart on God; He would tell people: "Silence brings a man near God and makes him like an earthly angel."

After 15 years in the forest, St. Seraphim returned to the monastery. There he began to share with others the spiritual gifts and understanding which he had received from God. Hundreds of people came to see the Saint-young and old, rich and poor. Lie greeted each person who came to him with the words "Christ is risen, my joy." This reminded them of the saving power of Christ's Resurrection. Each left full of peace and joy and the desire to lead a life pleasing to God.

St. Seraphim helped people in many ways. He anointed the sick and they became well; he helped poor peasants to find what had been lost or stolen; he comforted those that were sad and brought sinners to repentance. When the people thanked him for what he had done, he told them: "Do not thank me; I am only the servant of Jesus Christ." For his pure and holy life, God gave St. Seraphim the gift of being able to see into people's hearts. Often he knew their thoughts before they said anything to him. Many times he also told what was going to happen in the future.

Not far from Sarov Monastery was a convent called Diveyevo. St. Seraphim took care of the nuns who were very obedient to him. One day one of the older nuns came to see him. He told her that the Mother of God was going to appear to them and that she should not be afraid. Soon the door of his cell opened. It became brighter than day and there was a wonderful smell like incense. In came two angels holding branches, after them came St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist. Then came the brother of God. With her were twelve virgins-saints and martyrs. They all wore beautiful crowns covered with crosses. The Most Holy Mother of God said to St. Seraphim, "Soon, my beloved, you will be with us."

The next year St. Seraphim began to prepare himself to die. He began to give his last words of advice and encouragement to those who came to him. To one monk he said, "Sow, Father Simon, sow! Sow everywhere the wheat that has been given to you. Somewhere or other it will sprout and grow and bear fruit." By this he meant that the monk should tell everyone about Jesus Christ and His Heavenly Kingdom.

After receiving Holy Communion on New Year's day in the year 1833, St. Seraphim said goodbye to all the brethren in the monastery. He told them not to be sad because the Lord was preparing crowns for them in heaven. Early the next morning the Saint was found kneeling before his icon corner. His eyes were closed and he looked so peaceful that I some of the monks thought he was asleep. But when they tried to wake him they realized that his soul had gone to be with the Lord.

Even after his death, St. Seraphim continues to perform miracles. He appears to many people in dreams, and comforts and heals those who pray to him with faith.


вторник, 12 января 2010 г.

The Sakha (Yakutia) Republic

игра на хомусе
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The Sakha (Yakutia) Republic (Yakut: Саха Республиката; Russian: Респу́блика Саха (Якутия)) is a federal subject of Russia (a republic). The direct transliteration of the republic's name is Sakha Respublikata in Yakut and Respublika Sakha (Yakutiya) in Russian.

Посмотреть на Яндекс.Фотках

Sakha stretches to the Henrietta Islands in the far north and is washed by the Laptev and Eastern Siberian Seas of the Arctic Ocean. These waters, the coldest and iciest of all seas in the northern hemisphere, are covered by ice for 9-10 months of the year. New Siberian Islands are a part of the republic's territory.

Январский северный закат
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The January's sunset

Sakha Republic is currently the largest subnational entity in the world in terms of land area. If a map of Yakutia were superimposed upon a map of the continental (lower 48) states of USA, Yakutia would overlap almost a half. However the population of Yakutia is less then one of a single state such as Rhode Island.

Yakutia is also known for its climate extremes, with Verkhoyansk Range being the coldest area in the northern hemisphere. The Northern Hemisphere's ‘Cold Pole’ is at Oymyakon (also spelled as Oimekon), where the temperatures have reached as low as –71.2° C (–96.2° F) in January, 1926.

Sakha is well endowed with raw materials. The soil contains large reserves of oil, gas, coal, diamonds, gold, and silver. 99% of all Russian diamonds are mined in Sakha, accounting for over 23% of the world's diamond production. Industry generates 43% of the gross national product of Sakha, stemming primarily from mineral exploitation. The diamond, gold and tin ore mining industries are the major focus of the economy.


Жеребячьи нежности
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The Sakha arrived relatively recently in their current geographical area. They are heterogeneous of Turkic and Mongoloid origin. They absorbed the hunter-gatherer tribes and after centuries of consolidation, began to call themselves "Sakha". The Evenki referred to the Sakha as "Yako" and this term was adopted by the Russians when they began arriving in the region in the early 17th century. Tygyn, a "prince" of the Khangalassky Yakuts, granted territory for Russian settlement. The Lensky Ostrog (Fort Lensky), the future city of Yakutsk, was founded by Pyotr Beketov, a Cossack, on September 25, 1632 (the date of the first stockade construction). In August of 1638, the Moscow Government formed a new administrative unit with the administrative center of Lensky Ostrog, which cemented the town's ascendancy in the territory.

Russians established agriculture in the Lena River basin. The members of religious groups who were banished to Sakha in the second half of the 19th century began to grow wheat, oats, and potatoes. The fur trade established a cash economy. Industry and transport began to develop at the end of the 19th century and in the beginning of the Soviet period. This was also the beginning of geological prospecting, mining, and local lead production. The first steam-powered ships and barges arrived.

On April 27, 1922 former "Yakolskaya land" was proclaimed the Yakut ASSR, and in 1992, after the fall of the Soviet Union, it was recognized in Moscow as the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic under the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation.


Sakha Ethno-music Ayarkhaan Elleyada

среда, 6 января 2010 г.

C Рождеством-Merry Christmas

Petrushka and Vertep: On Traditions of Russian Puppet Theatre

Folk performances of Petrushka and Vertep theatres have existed in Russia since the 18th century. However, puppet folk theatre, just like folk theatre in general underwent hard times: its traditions were lost in the 20th century and so today we have only reconstructions of those original folk performances.

Petrushka, the Russian Punch

Petrushka, used as a marionette or, most often, as a hand puppet, was the main and the most popular character of Russian folk puppetry. Petrushka He appeared as a long-nosed jester wearing a traditional red skirt and a pointy hat with a tuft. Petrushka slapstick plays made up of comic tricks, dialogues and funny stories, were a must in skomorokh performances and were often performed at fairs. It was the Empress Anna Ioannovna’s court jester Pietro-Mira Pedrillo from Italy, who served as a prototype for Petrushka.

Petrushka’s voice was created be means of a special instrument “pishchik” (a whistle; from the Russian word “pishchat’”, i.e. “to cheep”) and the dialogue was based on a momentary change of the pishchik and the “live” voice of other characters. This technique demanded truly high mastery and long training. Besides, Petrushka actors needed physical strength and stamina; they even lost weight during performances.

The show booth of the puppeteer was made of three frames, fastened with staples and upholstered in chintz. It was put right on the ground and the puppeteer hid himself behind it. The sound of a barrel organ gathered the viewers together, and then the actor started addressing the public through pishchik (a whistle) from behind the screen. Later Petrushka wearing red dress appeared with gags and laughter before the viewers. Sometimes the organ-grinder became the partner of Petrushka and conducted the dialogues, repeating Petrushka’s phrases, since the latter’s speech was not very distinct because of the whistle.

Some reminiscences and diaries of the 1840s point out that Petrushka had a full name: he was called Pyotr Ivanovich Uksusov or Van’ka Ratatui. There were a number of basic plots: the medical treatment of Petrushka, his learning of soldier’s service, the scene with his bride, the buying of a horse and testing it. According to same data, one of the popular scenes was about a priest, yet no records of it have been preserved, probably because of the church censorship. The plots where handed down from mouth to mouth, from one actor to another.

Till date hand puppets are widely used in puppet theatres, yet Petrushka who used to be rather rude and vulgar has been replaced by many other characters.

Vertep, Christmas Folk Theatre

It was a custom in Siberia and Pskov region, in Byelorussia and Ukraine to go around with vertep on Christmas Eve. Vertep stands for a puppet show booth, a plywood box with a span roof, decorated with gilded paper and colourful lubok pictures. Country children wearing paper crowns on their heads and decorated staffs would be “Persian kings” who came to bow to the Infant God. The mummers would usually carry the vertep box on sleighs, when going from one house to another with their performance.

In the Middle of XIX Century The painted folds of the theatre-box would open up, and the Angel puppet would light a candle at a tiny footlight. Church canticles would alter with edifying sacred verses or folk Christmas carols, the characters’ rhythmic speech would turn now into prose and then into singing.

The viewers watched the stories of Adam and Eve’s banishing from Heaven, the Nativity of Jesus Christ, and the massacre of the Innocents from the Bethlehem, finishing with the death of Herod. The sacred drama was often followed by some comic circular plays to the accompaniment of peasant instrumental band, playing the violin, the tambourine, the sopilka (a pipe), the drum and the bandura. The band played both folk dance music and accompanied songs taken from lubok editions.

The time of vertep performances varied depending on the area. Village shows were strictly related to the folk Nativity rites and thus could hardly take place in any other period except during svyatki, the twelve sacred days from Christmas to Epiphany. Yet, professional city vertep puppeteers could perform at fairs at any time of the year.

The word “vertep” comes from the Old Slavic word “vertep”, i.e. “cave” or “secret place” and so is directly related to the cave where Jesus was born. Some scholars, however, prefer the folk etymology, according to which the word “vertep” developed from the verb “vertet” (to twist, to turn).

Russian Vertep. Scene of Christmas.

Vertep in its narrow meaning denotes a folk Christmas performance, played in a special box with the help of rod puppets and accompanied with songs and dialogues. In a broader sense, vertep can stand for any Christmas acting about Nativity or the Holy Innocents, played either by puppets or by “live” actors. Vertep performance was peculiar for various sacred canticles, which distinguished it from the secular drama plays with live actors that were also shown for Christmas.

The history of Russian vertep theatre is truly dramatic. The Bolshevik revolution in 1917 was followed by persecutions of church and religion, and especially rituals and ceremonies associated with Christmas. Due to the social upheavals of the 1920–1930s the folk puppet theatre was not merely forgotten, but almost lost.

Russian Vertep Texts of vertep plays sank into oblivion (not a single text was published from 1917 to 1980), as well as the practical principles of puppet manipulating. The folk theatre of vertep seemed to be lost forever, and only some museums in Moscow, Leningrad (St. Petersburg) and Kiev harboured some traces of it, such as show boxes and puppet sets.

In the 1980s, however, the puppeteers Dmitry Pokrovsky and Victor Novatsky took to restoring the old art of vertep, thus starting the revival of the Russian folk puppet theatre, in particular that branch of it, which does not have much in common with Petrushka and buffoonery theatre.

Since the 1990s, with the Orthodox belief starting a new turn of its development, vertep has been played for children at events held by the church. A number of verteps take part in circular Christmas art festivals as well.



For a whole half a year programs of our series have been plunging you into the atmosphere of the Russian musical 18th century – a century rich in luxurious treasures. Now, why don’t we venture yet again, without disrupting our chronology, into the same remarkable, tantalizing century of Russian history, yet this time in connection with Christmas and the New Year? So that we can enjoy something of an ‘old-style’ seasonal holiday…

You might not know that in our country they started celebrating the New Year on the night of December 31st only in the 18th century! Before that, all Russian New Year festivities were held in the month of September!

I’m sure you are correctly suspecting that a quite specific historic character had a hand in bringing about these changes… Am I right? You possibly thought of our celebrated Czar Peter I? Well, that’s quite correct! Who else? There was even a moment when Russians, thanks to his efforts, were obliged to celebrate New Year twice – first on September 1st 1699 everyone had a grand old time marking the all-time favorite holiday… And then the peremptory Russian monarch came out with a decree saying that “as a sign of great undertaking and to mark the new century all people should from then on mark the New Year on January 1st. Fir tree, pine and juniper branches and trees be used to decorate houses and gateways along main streets; salvos be fired from small canons and rifles, projectiles launched, and other lights lit as many as possible…”

Our ubiquitous ruler stirred quite a reaction with his decree… Even the brightly decorated trees in our homes today all date to his time… As do the fireworks… Although, according to descriptions of his contemporaries, nothing could quite rival the splendor of fireworks of the 18th century. They were fashionable all over Europe. However, Russia, as is known, at all times preferred to go to extremes in everything: if they were to be held at the Czar’s court, then throughout the night, so that the whole town could see, made up of dozens of thousands of lights, featuring thousands of musicians, dancers, and multi-thousand choruses… Such was the grand Russian touch!

However, New Year and Christmas celebrations in Russia of the 18th century not only spelled popular all across Europe fireworks, balls, wigs, crinolines… Russia remained Russia… Which meant that at this particular time of year everyone – from commoner to gentry – partook of the traditional Christmas entertainments, playing host to riotous bunches of young folk and children with their noisy and jolly Carols and jokes, visiting the multi-colored fairs, enjoying artless performances of the circus actors, dances of the trained bears or rolling with laughter at street puppet performances, where the principal character was always the great Russian favorite — the hawk-nosed, shrill-voiced Petrushka…

And here is another amusement, much loved by Russians at Christmas: the Vertep performances. They were always anxiously expected: after all, they were given but once a year – only during the Christmas week. These were enchanting in their simplicity folk theatres, which focused on exclusively Bible themes…Some of these were puppet theatres, while others featured actors. Curiously, quite often these took place in Orthodox Churches! It would seem a most unlikely venue, since the Orthodox Church was and still is remarkably severe and set in its canons, restrictions… However, at Christmas, people wearing festive garb would show up, actors in costumes came into the center of the church – depicting anyone from King Herod to …the devil himself! They amused the public with most cutting dialogue! These Vertep performances would take place in Orthodox Churches all across Russia!

Christmas and New Year in Russia always signified incredibly beautiful church services… The principal one of these, then, in the 18th century, too, took place at the Assumption cathedral of the Kremlin. After the service, the Czar would come out onto the Sobornaya, or Cathedral square and any one of the folks gathered here could approach him. And each person could expect a kind word; anyone in need could hope for relief…

Sources:The Voice of Russia,www.belarus.by

Why the Orthodox Christians, especially in Russia, celebrate Christmas on January 7th ?


Why the Orthodox Christians, especially in Russia, celebrate Christmas on January 7th instead of December 25th? This program will be the answer to this question. Here is an excerpt from a book entitled “About Paschalia” edited by Archimandrite Naum, elder of the St.Trinity-St.Sergius monastery situated in the Moscow region.

“The question of the church calendar is a question of faith and a very important one at that. The value of calendar for the Orthodox Church is determined primarily by its correlation to the time of celebration of Holy Easter. In this confession of Christ’s Resurrection lies the essence of our faith, our hope and longing, the fullness of eternal joy and bliss. The Risen Christ has sanctified, blessed and strengthened all men.

God had created the world and time itself out of nothing, and our Saviour chose this very time of creation as the time of renewal, when He suffered and gave the commandment – “This do in remembrance of Me” – to yearly celebrate Easter – the Resurrection of Christ. This creation of the world and the beginning of Being took place in the spring period, in the month of March, 5508 B.C. On Friday, the sixth day of creation at noon, man was created. Of this period, the beginning of the Being of the universe, we read in the Procedural Psalmbook, which contains, apart from psalms, the prayer-book and various service procedures, also the articles of faith and pascal tables:

“The month of March (of holy martyr St.Eudokia), the day having 12 hours and the night having 12 hours. This is the first month among months, for therein was created this visible world of the beginning of Being, and Adam — the first man from God — was created and all creatures for his sake; and introduced to Heaven and, for transgression, banished. In this same month, God, without leaving His Majestic throne, descended from heaven to His love of man, as rain onto fleece, by Archangel's annunciation in the Pure womb of Holy Virgin Mary through the Holy Ghost incarnated unfathomably, only He knows how. On this day, by voluntary passion of His flesh and by His death, He overcame death and by His radiant Lifegiving Resurrection was Adam and the whole Humankind from hell delivered and to the original state restored, so as to inherit heaven. For this reason, from its first day begin all circles of the sun and moon, and the leap-year, and the equinox are established thereby, etc.”

Cognition of the world as an integral whole with Earth as its centre was opened to man. The geocentrism here is not physical, but rather spiritual, for the sake of man. In the life of peoples there appeared calendars, in whose rhythm and memory the outer cosmos of the universe amalgamated with the inner cosmos of man. Observers imagine the celestial sphere, the stars on it, a plumb line with the horizon, the
world's axis, the equator, the celestial meridian, the sun's ecliptic. Observation of the sky reveals the majesty of the goodness of God and the wisdom of the Creator.

In the Book of Job (Chapter 38) God addresses the righteous pious man and says to him out of a whirl-wind: answer thou Me — when I founded the earth “who hath laid the foundations thereof?” The Earth has a round form and a certain size and weight. If the Earth's weight were smaller, it would spin far away from the Sun, and if the weight were greater, it would spin too close to the sun; in either case, normal life on our planet would be impossible. And much, much more did God ask Job, but who can know the mind of the Lord. Before that, God created the very essence of light and on the fourth day created the body of the sun. God has divided the essence of light into glow (the bush in Mose's times, the Fire on Holy Saturday at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem) and burning power. There is material, mental and sensuous, and immaterial light.

In memory of the deliverance from the Egyptian bondage, the Jews began to celebrate Passover in 1609 B.C., from 14 to 21 Nisan, in the month of Abib-March, the month of the ears, the time of ripening of the earliest bred — the barley — in Palestine. This time symbolizes the beginning of time at creation, and the Lord Himself speaks of this: “this month shall be unto you the beginning of months, it shall be the first month of the year to you”, “observe the month of Abib and keep the Passover unto the Lord thy God: for in the month of Abib the Lord thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.” The Passover symbolized Easter — the power of the Cross, the Baptism and eternal life, for in Egypt, all those who had had the lintel and two side posts of their house stained cross-wise with the blood of a lamb, remained alive and all crossed the Red Sea and were delivered from the Egyptian bondage. The Passover, which the Lord performed with His disciples, was, as it were, the fore-celebra¬tion of His passions.

St. John Chrysostom writes that the Saviour suffered on the Cross, becoming the Passover Lamb on Friday, at the very same hours, that Adam had spent from eating the fruit to God's judgment, — from the sixth hour to the ninth (according to our time — from 12 to 3 p.m.).

The Lord went to His death at Calvary on the very Friday, when the Jews celebrated Passover. Until the middle of the III century, this Passover of the cross, the immolation of Christ, was celebrated by Christians of the Churches of Asia-Minor on 14 of Nisan together with the Jews, uniting the old Testament Passover with that of the new Testament. The Jews celebrate immolation of the lamb, and the Christians — the immolation of Christ. But without the Resurrection, our faith is in vain. If Christ died like a man and we celebrate His sufferings on the cross as those of a man and do not celebrate after the three-day Resurrection, then Christ is not God, but just a man. As far back as the II century, the Rome council forbade the celebration of Easter according to the Jews or with the Jews, because the Apostolic rule reads: Alien to the Church is he, who observes Easter with the Jews.

The question of Paschalia is both dogmatical and canonical, and when the Orthodox celebrate Easter at the time, which reveals the symbol of the first and the eighth unsetting day, and remember the suffering and death, descent into Hell and the Resurrection, namely: after equinox, after full moon, on the day of Sunday, — then the Lord grants the appearance of the Blessed Fire at the Holy Sepulchre. He who keeps, along with other commandments, the commandment and tradition about Easter, does truly and observe in his life the Divine Truth, the goodness and sanctity of the Lord. He who does not keep the commandment about Paschalia, does not, as we often see, observe either all or some of God's commandments. And let their conscience be their judge.

The Holy Tradition prescribes: 1. That Easter be after vernal equinox; 2. After the following full moon; 3. On the first following Sunday; 4. That this Feast does not coincide with the Jewish Passover, which serves as a time reference, but that it be after the Jewish Passover.

The seven-day week begins with the creation of the world. The first day, being the image of the eternal, merges with Sunday. The Sun circle contains 28 years (7x4) — after 28 years the days of the week are repeated, which is important for the Paschalia. The Moon circle contains a 19-year Metonic cycle, but after every 19 years, the full moon, though occurring on the same day, takes place almost one and a half hours earlier than previously, so that after every 312 years, the full moon takes place one whole day earlier than previously. This shift of full moons was known to the pastors of the Eastern Church.
St. John Chrysostom indicates that “Equinox is the beginning of initial time at creation, when day and night were equal. Full Moon, however, was created after equinox, on the fourth day; on the sixth day God created man. Time of creation is chosen as time of renewal, namely: equinox, full Moon on the 14th day and on the day of the creation of man. At the same time, the Lord suffered, crying: “Father, the hour is come.” The seven days of suffering coincided exactly with the first seven days of creation — this is the paramount time. It has been commanded: “This do in remembrance of Me” — to annually observe Easter following equinox, finding the 14th day of the Moon, after it (the day of the Old Testament Passover), and from here we calculate the Friday, the Saturday and the Lord's Day (Christian Easter).

If the 14th day of the Moon should occur before equinox, we leave it out and look for another, which should be after equinox; then the other month is counted. If the 14th day of the Moon meets with the Lord's Day, we take the next Lord's Day, in memory thereof that the 14th day is the day of passions, coinciding with the Friday on Calvary.”

The Jewish Passover retains only full moons, while the Christian Easter — also the Resurrection, — wrote and said Pope Victor. In 1582, however, Pope Gregory XIII introduced his own calendar, influenced by the age of the Renaissance. Copernicus was against the reform and the 1583 Council rejected the new calendar.

The Gregorian calendar is historically pernicious and proves to be astronomically unnecessary. From 1900 to 2100 the difference between the two calendars is 13 days. Under the Gregorian calendar, it is difficult to retrieve historic events, astronomic phenomena, it is difficult to alternate lunar and solar equations. One cannot apply the rule concerning celebration of Easter to the Gregorian style. The Orthodox Church cannot accept the Gregorian style. The church celebrates Easter not according to dictates of the Gregorian or Julian calendars, but in accordance with the lunar biblical calendar.

The great indiction, that is the great paschal circle encompassing 532 years, provides for the unity of time in cosmic, historical, liturgical fields as a synthesis of knowledge of calendars; accounts for equinox and full moons, and serves as eternal calendar. The indiction affirms the inviolacy of the week. The Holy Orthodox Church is the sole guardian of the authentic Apostolic tradition.

The Holy Ghost, through the God-inspired Apostles and the Holy fathers, taught the rule of righteousness for all men. Thus, the 7th Apostolic rule reads: “If some person, be he bishop or presbyter, or deacon, should celebrate the feast of Easter before the vernal equinox, together with the Jews let him be cast away from the holy order.”

The rule of the Holy Antioch Council stipulates that those daring to violate the decisions of the Holy and Great Council held in Nicaea, “about the feast of the Salvatory Easter, let them be excommunicated and cast away from the Church. If any of the hierarchs of the Church, be it bishop or presbyter, or deacon, dare to corrupt the people and to rebel against the Churches by conducting Easter with the Jews, such persons does the Holy Church condemn to be estranged from the Church, forbid
conducting services to him and to those who have come in communion with him.”

And Christ the Saviour appeals to every one of us, as He did to Simon John: “Doest thou love Me?” We call: “Our Father” and must remember, that our eternal Fatherland is in Heaven — where the Father is, there the children should be, too. And observance of God’s commandments is a manifestation of love — and to those who have faith, the Lord grants the knowledge of the Resurrection. Easter for the Christians is Christ's Resurrection from the dead.

Easter is a feast of spring and reminds us of the seven days of Creation and the seven days of the Saviour's passions. This is the eighth day — as a symbol of the eternal unsetting day — merging with the first day of Creation — it is the Lord’s day, it follows Saturday and is called the Week. Following the Week — the Sunday — after the Week — comes Monday, and so continues the week — from the week of Creation. And it was after vernal equinox, full moon and the three-day Resurrection. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

Source:The Voice of Russia