пятница, 9 сентября 2011 г.

History pages:The siege of Leningrad

900 Days In Hell:The Church shared the burden of life under siege with its people

Mikhail Shkarovskiy

At the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, foreign policy circumstances made it necessary for Soviet authorities to abandon their plan to totally destroy the Russian Orthodox Church in the country. Looming war forced government bodies to re-evaluate the role of the Church within the country and in the international arena. However, its position remained tragic, many prohibitions complicated its activity, hundreds of priests languished in prisons and labor camps. Towards the end of the 1930s, only 4 ruling bishops remained at liberty in the Soviet Union. By 1941 in one of the country's largest dioceses, Leningrad, only 21 Orthodox temples survived; monasteries and educational institutions were closed; there was no church press. Severe burdens of war and a city under siege increased these difficulties.

During this period, the Leningrad diocese was headed by the well-known churchman, Metropolitan Alexiy (Simansky), later Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. In the encircled city and its northern suburbs, there remained under his rule the St. Nicholas Episcopal Cathedral and the St. Prince-Vladimir Cathedral and the following churches: St. Nicholas - Bolsheokhotinskaya, St. Job cemetery - Volkovskaya, St. Demetrius - Kolomyazhskaya, and the Savior - Pargolovskaya.

The Savior/Transfiguration Cathedral, St. Seraphim Cemetery and the churches in the Lisy Nos settlement, administered by Protopresbyter Alexiy Abakumov, belonged to the renovationist movement. Moreover, one working Josephite temple remained in the city - Holy Trinity in Lesny, served by hieromonk Pavel (Ligor). The total number of Orthodox clerics in the city did not exceed 25.

The Church calls for the defense of the Homeland

Since the first days of the war, the Russian Orthodox Church was devoted to the defense of the homeland. Already on June 22, 1942, the Patriarchal Locum Tenens, Metropolitan Sergiy (Stragorodskiy), addressed a message to the faithful. It was read in Leningrad's temples, and people departed for the front as for an ascetic feat [podvig] with the Church's blessing. On June 26, the head of the diocese, Metropolitan Alexiy, wrote his appeal to the clergy and faithful "The Church calls for the defense of the Homeland". His sermon given on August 10 gained special renown. It referred, first of all, to a Russian's patriotism and devoutness. At this time the Leningrad Metropolitan's authority and influence were so great that on October 12, 1941, the Patriarchal Locum Tenens, in his will, appointed him his to be successor.

At Metropolitan Alexiy's suggestion, Leningrad's parishes started collecting donations for the city's defense. The Metropolitan supported the believers' desire to donate existing parish savings to this cause, at times these were very significant savings. The parish council of St. Prince-Vladimir Cathedral offered to open, at their expense, an infirmary for wounded men and sick soldiers, and on August 8 transferred 710 thousand of the 714 thousand rubles belonging to the parish community.

However, concrete charitable activity was forbidden even after the war began. Parishes were allowed to transfer money only to public funds: the Red Cross, defense, and others. This restriction did not dampen the enthusiasm of either the faithful or the clergy. Parishes refused to make all but the most necessary expenditures. Warm articles for soldiers were collected everywhere; the faithful donated food for the sick. During the first days of the war, St. Nicholas Cathedral allocated 385 thousand rubles, and by the end of 1941 all of Leningrad's parishes gave a total sum of 2 million 144 thousand rubles.

the Dimitriy Donskoy tank column

text in full.

суббота, 11 июня 2011 г.

National Russian Dress: Footwear

Russian peasants used to wear lapti (bast shoes), whereas in towns high boots were the most common footwear. Heeled boots appeared in Russia somewhat in the 14th century. The high boots were usually square-tipped, whereas the nobles were distinguished by upturned toes. The tops of the boots were comparatively short and angularly cut towards the knees. They were sewn of coloured leather, morocco, brocade or velvet and were often decorated with embroidery and even gems. In the late 17th century under the influence of western fashions the nobility started to wear low shoes.

Lapti, Traditional Bast Shoes

In Russian self-perception the braided footwear known as lapti is one of the most important symbols of the traditional national mode of living.

The lapti made of bast or birch bark were the main type of peasant footwear in Russia till the mid 19th century.

The lapti were worn with the onucha, i.e. a puttee, a strip of cloth wrapped round the foot. The onucha was fastened to the leg with a bast lace fixed to the shoe and was twined up around the shin in the manner of the Old Greek sandal. Nevertheless, when walking for a long time one had to rewind the onuchas.

The lapti making was a peasants’ winter occupation, when they had no field works to do. The laying-in of bast took place in summer, when bast had all the required strength properties. The newly braided lapti were stretched on a single last, so the right and the left one were the same.

To make one lapot one needs seven bast stripes two meters long each. One bast stripe was to be as wide as a thumb of the man who gathered it and then made the bast shoes. For making the shoes they needed bast from the even part of a linden trunk, without any defects along the full length. It means that mature, tall and even linden trees were chosen for barking. Frequently after the summary loss of its bark the tree would die and remain to stand with its naked “stripped” trunk. The sorrowful fact found its reflection in the Russian figurative expression: “to strip like a linden”, which means to deprive somebody of all the needed resources and thus endanger his/her life.

Since leather boots were always expensive and only well-to-do people could afford it, while the poor wore lapti, so the bast shoes came to symbolize poverty, and low birth, as well as lack of culture and backwardness.

Hence is the number of set expression in the Russian language: * “lapot” as a trope stands for a simpleton, an ignorant person; * the derivative attribute “lapotny” of the same meaning; * “Methinks, we don’t sup soup with a lapot”, (rough translation) means “we are not just out of the trees, so don’t you teach us how to live”.

Bakhily (aka bredni, brodni, butyli, lovchagi, ostashi, sapogi cherepanskie) are men’s working and fishing footwear made of leather. These were soft leather jackboots with high tops to the knees or thighs. The bakhily were usually made on the straight last, i.e. the same for the right and the left foot. Soft leather soles were stitched to the boots with an axed thread, and then the boots were turned out. The tops were also made of soft leather, with one seam behind, and were fastened onto the leg with a strap. The strap was put through a small loop or a ring stitched to the back part, and was twined up round the leg and tied under the knee. To make them more durable and protect feet from moist the bakhily were dubbed with tar and fish oil, and soaked in slated water; additional straps of leather were lined to the toe and the back part.

In some parts of Russia “bakhily” was also the name of working footwear on solid nailed soles or footwear made of skins of sea animals or calves, but with soles of seal skin. The tops in all the cases were also soft and long and fastened onto the leg with straps.

Bakhily were usually put on woolen socks or stockings. Insoles of soft hay were put inside.

The bakhily were usually worn for fishing, hunting or any other crafts. Soft turned-out jackboots were typical footwear in Russian villages. They were known as far back as 10th century as footwear of the townsfolk.

Valenki (aka valentsy, volnushechki, vykhodki, pimy, katanki, or felt boots) are men’s and women’s winter footwear fulled of sheep wool.

These are felt footwear with high tops, round toes, and flat soles without high heels. As a rule they were made on one last, the same for the right and the left foot. The tops reaching knees were usually not turned down but slightly cut for more comfortable walking. The soles were often lined with leather to prevent the boots from soaking wet.

The valenki could be grey, brown, black, or, more rarely, white. White felt boots were embroidered with coloured worsted or beads. They were fooled by special masters, called katali or pimokaty. In every province there were a few villages that specialized in felting boots. Along with that there were large centres of felt boots manufacturing; their products were distributed far beyond the limits of one province. Thus, for example, in the north-east of European Russia and in Siberia the so-called kukhmorski valenki were famous; those white embroidered felt boots were made by masters of Malmyzhsky District of Vyatka Province.

In spite of being very famous as Russian national footwear the valenki are comparatively young footwear in Russia. They appeared in Siberia in the mid 18th century, and came to European Russia in the early 19th century. In the 19th century the valenki were holiday footwear of wealthy peasants. White embroidered valenki were holiday footwear only of very rich peasants. In the late 19th and early 20th century felt boots got widely spread, becoming basic winter footwear of peasants in European Russia.


суббота, 7 мая 2011 г.

War chronicles: day-by-day. May 8

From an address by the Supreme Commander in Chief Joseph Stalin:

“In Berlin the representatives of the German High Command have signed the Instrument of Unconditional Surrender of the German armed forces. The Great Patriotic War, which the Soviet people have fought against the Nazi invaders, has been triumphantly won, and Germany has been routed. Eternal glory to the heroes who fell in action for the freedom and independence of our Motherland!”.

Troops of the First Ukrainian Front captured Dresden on May 8th. Soviet tankmen advancing from the west defeated a German tank unit in a head-on battle and forced their way into the western outskirts of Dresden. Other Soviet units captured the northern part of the city. The Nazis suffered heavy casualties in the fighting for Dresden. Up to 2,000 German officers and men were wiped out on the city’s western outskirt, and also 27 tanks and armoured personnel carriers were put out of action.

Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov recalled years later that…

“After signing the Instrument of Unconditional Surrender Keitel said that when driven in a car he was shocked by the destruction that he saw in the streets of Berlin. One of our officers retorted by asking: “Herr Feldmarschall, why weren’t you shocked when thousands of Soviet cities and villages were being wiped off the map on your orders, when millions of our people, including thousands upon thousands of children, died under the wreckage?” Keitel grew pale, nervously shrugged his shoulders but said nothing”.

On that day the US President Harry Truman wrote this in a letter to Joseph Stalin:

“You have shown the ability of a freedom-loving and a most courageous people to defeat the evil forces of barbarity, however powerful these were. On the occasion of our common victory we welcome the people and the armies of the Soviet Union, and their excellent leadership”.

Historical detail…

King George VI of the United Kingdom addressed the nation on the occasion of the Victory Day. He paid tribute to the memory of all men and women who served in the various armed forces and sacrificed their lives, and expressed his gratitude to those who had courageously carried arms, and also to the entire civilian population, which had staunchly and in all humility shouldered such an enormous burden.

Source:The Voice of Russia

четверг, 5 мая 2011 г.

Traditional russian beverage and meal-kisel

Its name is derived from a Slavic word meaning "sour" (cf. Russian кислый kisly), as sour fruits are preferred.
Kisel (kee-‘sel) is a thick, starchy drink made mostly of fruit and berries. Kisel can be also made of oats or wheat or peas, which I wouldn’t dare to try. I do admit that this can be really healing for a diseased stomach though. What’s interesting is that oatmeal kisel is one of the oldest Russian dishes ever. There’s a legend telling about an ancient Russian city besieged by nomadic tribes and suffering from famine until an old sage told the citizens to collect all remaining oats and all honey they could still find in their cellars. The citizens did as the wise man told them and brewed kisel from the oats, and sweet drink from the honey. They made two new water wells and filled them with kisel and honey drink, then invited a delegation of nomads, showed them the wells full of drink and kisel, and assured the guests that they had enough food to survive. The nomads were astonished at the fact that Russians obtained food directly from their land and told their king about the miracle. The situation seemed pretty hopeless. The siege was raised, and the nomads went away in search of a different city to conquer.

Russian pea kisel-syt.The favourite dish of russian сoachmen

There’s also the expression “Milk rivers and kisel shores” in the Russian language, which is used to describe carefree and prosperous life.

Oats kisel

You see how important this drink is in Russian culture?

You can have kisel as a soothing drink or serve it with cream of rice, rice pudding, oatmeal cream, or with all kinds of mousse, cream, and custard.


вторник, 3 мая 2011 г.

The life of Maximilian Voloshin poet and painter

The Life of Maximilian Voloshin • Poet of the Inner Revolution

Alone among unfriendly hordes
I don’t take sides, I favour nobody.
I am a voice of springs inside me

written by Alla Levitan, Tatiana Bobkova and Richard Payment, with translations by Serhiy Haletko and Natasha Levitan

Maximilian Voloshin was a great poet. He was an artist, a visionary, a man insight who stood as one in his allegiance with Truth.

Voloshin is today unknown in the West, untranslated. He is forgotten in a time when neither the artist or the poet are held in esteem, when truth is misunderstood.

Maximilian Voloshin’s clear understanding of the human condition enabled him to see past the thick illusion of events of his own Russian nation – the revolution and civil war that lead to the creation of the Soviet Union.

Voloshin developed a “spiritual and religious world vision” of “a single world witnessing from which everything radiated.”

In self-knowledge and art, Voloshin always chose “the most reasonable way: make oneself an artist, personally experience and realize the differences.”

He clearly sensed the moment of his realization of spiritual essence and his link to the Absolute. “Something has happened.. I have never been so overwhelmed with joy, strength and confidence..., a feeling of joy, strength and completeness of existence, comprehension of a hidden spiritual sense ... when the heart opens.”

It was his spiritual and religious perception of the world that helped Voloshin to develop divine principles of purity and innocence, devotion, resiliency – drawn primarily from his attitude to the Earth:

I’ve had delusions, no doubt
Temptations, weaknesses at times.
Despite all that, whenever I
Faded in sorrow and delight,
My light has never gone out.

Maximilian Voloshin did not take sides. He stood as one with the Truth.

SEEKING THE HUMAN TRUTH: reborn at the century’s turn

Born in Kiev in 1877, on Whit Monday when the Earth is said “to celebrate Her birthday,” Voloshin spent much of his youth in Crimea, a land of many cultures, fabled as far back as even the ancient Greeks in the songs of Homer.

From childhood he was noted for his remarkable memory and eagerness to perceive reality – “to see, understand, know and experience everything.” He started writing verses as early as secondary school and became extremely demanding of himself. Voloshin’s distinctive way of thinking allowed him to realize at an early age that the existing educational system was not a source of true knowledge. “None of the ideas or bits of knowledge have ever been picked up from either a secondary school or university,” he observed.

Voloshin’s destiny was favourable to his spiritual seeking. At the age of sixteen he moved to the Crimea, to Koktebel, a place that he later identified as a “true motherland of his spirit.” At this young age, Voloshin developed a “new attitude of a European to Earth and human beings,” realizing the Divine Nature of the Mother Earth:

For me the sense of existence
Is not difficult to realize.
A seedlet that brings forth a life,
A secret of blossom, for instance,
In plants and in stones – everywhere,
In mountains and clouds above them,
In beasts and in starlets up there
I hear the singing of flame....
I’m kneeling down to kiss the ground,
The night wraps everything around,
My lips are feeling it is close,
The wormwood-scented breast of Yours,
Oh, Mother Earth!

In later years, the young Voloshin studied law in Moscow, a time he called a “futile and fruitless search.” “We are,” he wrote, “in a jail of discovered spaces. The spirit chokes in the old world’s embraces.”

As a result of his voice in student protests, Voloshin was sent in exile in remote regions of the Russian Empire in Middle Asia. This perhaps was a blessing. In a caravan of camels, he travelled the deserts, absorbing the cultures of the East. This banishment to Middle Asia brought to him an acquaintance with Asia and the Orient which was, as Voloshin admits, “crucial for his spiritual life.” He was gifted a realization of his own spiritual essence. He sensed “the antiquity and relativity of European culture.” At twenty-seven years, Voloshin now considered the turn of the century as “the year of his spiritual birth.”

Everyone may be born twice. Isn’t it me.
Born in the spirit,
Right at the turn of the century?...
I found myself in the heart of Asia
Wisely interned there by destiny?

These years established the bedrock of his spirituality, which sprouted within him as an intense seeking in Paris in about 1900. There to study art, he found instead frustration amid the fruitless bounty of his teachers and their blinkered students. But from this came a realization of his spiritual essence. “It was a sense of desert – that breadth and balance that a human soul is given when it returns to its original motherland.”

His acquaintance with the Orient helped him to see the scantiness of European knowledge, true and imaginary values of European civilization. Later Voloshin mentioned that during his studies in the West he was “only a sponge absorbing everything through eyes and ears.” Travelling around Europe for many years Voloshin mastered the art of the paintbrush and pencil, as well as the art of the word.

Maximilian Voloshin got to know the entire European culture in its origin and then he screened off all that was “European” so that only the “human” remained. After that, he turned to other civilizations – India and China – to learn and “seek after the Truth.” An opportunity to come closer to the Orient in its origins – Buddhism – was the first religious step for Voloshin. In the “wanderings of his spirit,” he was trying to find the single religion that would embody the highest and all-permeating spirituality, a culture with internal integrity, harmony and balance in all parts, excluding contradictions between individual and society, belief and knowledge, mind and emotions. Voloshin was familiar with an Oriental system of the universe and believed in the existence of many gods, although he admitted that he could not think of his spirit outside Christ.

Touring Europe, Voloshin began to realize the role of the Mother in spiritual transformation. He wrote about Mary’s presence at the crucifixion of Jesus. “To the right of the cross there is the Mother and a lancebearer, to the left – John and a spongebearer.”

WAR AND REVOLUTION: I am in everyone

Voloshin’s concentration on the Divine and his understanding of differences between eternal and non-eternal existence helped him not only to preserve the purity of his spirit throughout revolutionary and post-revolutionary time but also foresee the course of events. “An interest in occultist cognition was so great that it completely distracted me from Russian events in 1905 and held me away from Russia.... Neither war or revolution ever frightened or disappointed me: I had expected that would occur and be even worse. On the contrary, I felt well-adapted to the conditions of revolutionary existence and acting.”

A vision of “cosmic moral sense” of these events enabled Voloshin to remain a detached witness in the continuing drama:

In your world I’m a passerby -
Close to all, but strange to everything

Voloshin’s optimism and “justification of reality” that he considered his first and only duty to the world were based on his internal need to leave it all to God’s Will:

Forgetting doesn’t mean to lose,
Yet to accept it all in full
And keep it in oneself forever.

Maximilian Voloshin not only refused to participate in war, but also started an active “struggle against terror irrespective of its colours.” This gave the poet an “extensive and valuable revolutionary experience.”

These days no foe or brother can be found
All are in me, and I’m in everyone.
So zealots, every of its kind
Thought that a poet was to find
For them protection, and advise them too.
But then I’ve done all that I ever could
To prevent the brothers from ruining themselves and killing each other.

Voloshin’s spiritual stance enabled the poet “in most troubled times” to find such words and perspective that were “acceptable to both parts.” His tolerance and ability to resist the temptation of hatred, contempt, “sacred anger,” and “keep tirelessly loving both enemies and monsters of cruelty and even allies” was strengthened by a belief that love will in the future be a sole basis for human society.

In 1917 Voloshin returned to Russia. This was just at the time of the bloodletting of the revolution. “When a mother is sick, the children don’t leave her,” he said.

Compassionate, fearless and dynamic, Voloshin rushed to protect the innocent. Without taking sides, Voloshin opposed only the terror. He hid refugees from both sides within his house. Faced with the question of how to stand against armed terrorists, Voloshin’s answer came in revelation. From within, he realized that “all the positive creative forces of man are only in Love.” Now armed with that power of Love, he saw the events around him in a new light. Compassion replaced anger. The executioner, he realized, needs salvation more than the victim. He believed in the good inherent in every person – even the most hopeless.

“The more a person is cruel and dirty with blood,” Voloshin wrote, “the easier it is to change his will, if you approach him without anger, without fear and without condemning him. I experienced it many times in the meetings with the most terrifying officials in charge when I had to persuade them to spare people’s lives.”

Voloshin noted that perhaps people’s prayers are not heard because they always pray for the victim, while it is the executioner who actually needs salvation. So, while dealing with a terrorist, he put his attention on him and prayed intensively to the Divine to save him from killing the people. His faith and dedication were so strong that, to everyone’s surprise, he always succeeded. People could not understand how he could make these miracles happen.

THE LIFE OF A NEIGHBOUR: in unselfish service

Typical of Voloshin’s unselfish service, he once saved the life of a neighbour. The czarist White Army had arrested a man named Marx and threatened to kill him only because he had been a distinguished civil servant when the Red Army had controlled the village. The man’s work had in no way been connected to politics. The soldiers simply felt that he was guilty of serving the Red Army – guilty by association. As Maximilian Voloshin was a neighbour, Marx’s wife and daughter came to enlist his assistance. Voloshin, along with the family, immediately joined the train that was transporting the prisoners. Voloshin protected Marx throughout the journey by simply telling the soldiers not to kill him. Upon arrival, the prisoners were separated and Voloshin found himself alone on the street. As it grew dark, he did not know where to go. Voloshin wanted to find the person who held the fate of Marx’s life, but he did not know which way to turn. Marx was surely in danger of being executed at any moment. In despair, Voloshin prayed to the Divine Power that he might meet the right person. Within moments soldiers arrived on the scene and arrested Voloshin for violating the local curfew. They took Voloshin to the main quarters of the White Army. There, officers quickly recognized Voloshin, as he was a famous and respected poet. One of the officers even invited Voloshin to his house for dinner.

As the Divine would design it, Voloshin’s host for dinner was the very man who held sway over Marx’s life. Voloshin, in his simple approach, asked the officer to spare his neighbour. The soldier became angered. “All the people like him must be killed.” Voloshin realized that further mental argument would only act to entrench this position. Instead, he simply let the officer continue. He allowed him to speak out in his anger. While he was speaking, Voloshin put his loving attention on him. He prayed to God. In a short time his dinner host became more relaxed. He became calm. His words took a different course. “But if you want to save this man,” he said and he went on to explain what actions Voloshin should follow to save Marx’s life. He told Voloshin to request a civil court hearing. At this hearing Voloshin testified on Marx’s behalf. He told the judge that Marx’s actions were free of any politics. He said that Marx was not supporting the Red Army in his job, but rather supporting local peace and order.

A REFUGE FOR FREE-THINKERS: a sanctuary for all

Voloshin’s intervention extended to all people. Once when some fishermen were barred by the military from fishing their usual waters, Voloshin was asked to lend assistance. Flying a white flag of peace from a fishing boat, Voloshin approached the armed naval ships. Once on board, the sailors recognized Voloshin. Such was the high regard for the poet that, after the reading of a few poems, the sailors granted the fishermen free access to their fishstock.

Maximilian Voloshin’s miracle was that he did not take sides. He simply spoke the Truth.

After the Russian civil war and the establishment of the Soviet state, Voloshin opened the doors of his home to the poets, writers, artists, scientists and free thinkers of his nation. Trying to translate his convictions and principles into life, Voloshin made his house in Koktebel an ashram for free-thinkers. In this sanctuary, he could faultlessly foresee the talent of a young poet, encourage him and teach him an internal vision. Following a divine principle of learning, he demanded as much from others as from himself in creative work.

People came so that they might find refuge from the insane atmosphere of the cities and so that they could feel like human beings, not slaves or machines. There they discussed the real events of Russia without fear of arrest. Almost all the major poets and writers of the nation, Voloshin’s contemporaries, came to enjoy his generous hospices.

THE ART OF VOLOSHIN: inspired by the Earth

In his creative work, Voloshin’s main principle was to fully dissolve his own ego in art. During his studies in Europe he was attracted by an anonymous and nationwide feature of medieval architecture. Voloshin believed that individualistic art of modern times would give way to a collective art in the future.

In his daily life the poet denied any material benefit. “My formula: property is only what we give. We are slaves of all the things that we cannot give away.” According to a famous Russian poetess, M. Tsvetayeva, his source of inspiration was the Earth itself. “Voloshin’s creative work is dense, weighty and significant like that of the substance itself with all strength coming not from above, but from the Earth., the Earth he would so much walk on, the Earth where he now rests.” Through his paintings and poetry, Voloshin was trying to let us identify with his meditative state, sense of vibrations, joy of the awakened spirit so that a human being in thoughts and deeds, would be as pure as the primordial nature that revealed itself to the poet:

Together with pathlets,
Together with trees,
The soul is aspired, exulting, into the distances...
And waves of mountains, and a mirror of a bay,
And heaven’s peace in silence of the Earth.

Throughout the remaining years of his life, Maximilian Voloshin wrote about the destiny of his Mother Russia and the world. He believed that Russia would gain strength in overcoming her obstacles. He knew that Russia would become a great spiritual country. Voloshin was a critic of materialism and fundamentalism. He wrote about the transformation of the human being that would occur when “love will melt the world.” He knew that this inner transformation was a necessity.

In his very last years, Voloshin wrote poems depicting the lives of Russian saints who worshipped Mary, the mother of Christ. He saw Her hand in helping them overcome the persecution of the state and of the Russian Orthodox Church. In these poems he recognized Mary as the saviour at the time of the Last Judgement.


“We live in an era when everything is displaced in the world,” he observed. “There are no foundations, no feeling of gravity. We don’t know where is up and where is down. Europe is torn down by war. Russia is torn down by revolution. The time has come when one, with eyes closed like a blind man, has to get in touch with those inclinations and those points of support within himself which have slipped away in the external world.” With uncompromising vision of spirit, Voloshin saw that “There exist two powers within the creative will of man: the force of perception and that of Love.... All positive creative forces of a man are only in Love.”

In Maximilian Voloshin we can see a model of unconditional love and pure compassion. n

“Along Cain’s Ways, Tragedy of Materialistic Culture”
by Maximilian Voloshin, 1922

translated by Natasha Levitan

Machine has won over man:
It needed a slave to take away its sweet,
To comfort its insides with pure oil,
To feed it coal and take away its excrements,
And then it started asking for itself,
The swarming bundle of muscles and of wills
Brought up in hungry discipline
And greedy rude who cheapened his spirit
For joys of mediocrity and comforts.
Machine has taught man to think appropriately
And logically discuss the findings.
It visually proved to him
That there is no spirit, only substance,
That man is nothing but a machine himself,
That the starry cosmos is merely a mechanism
To manufacture time, that thought
Is just a simple product of the brain digestion,
That mere sustenance defines the spirit,
That genius is a degeneration,
That culture means an increase in the number
Of the consumer needs,
That the ideal is general well-being
And stomach satisfaction,
That there is One Universal Worldly Stomach
And there is no other Gods beside it....
The rotary press machines spawn
Day and night the printed pages.
Newspapers manufacture truth,
One truth for each hour of the day,
But not a single line is printed of a human -
The very ancient, hidden fire..

more Voloshin's poems.

Voloshin's paintings.


пятница, 29 апреля 2011 г.

9 days till the Victory Day

Anna Marly

A singer from Russia with words of hope for the French resistance

A few years ago, Anna Marly, the singer and songwriter associated with the best known song of the French resistance, decided to move to Alaska. She was "fed up with all the green lawns of civilisation" and wanted to find somewhere "close to wild nature". Anna, who has died aged 88, chose the small town of Lazy Mountain, where there is a Russian Orthodox church, St Tikhon, and there felt she was returning to her roots.

She was born Anna Betoulinsky in St Petersburg, in the month of the Bolshevik October uprising. Her father, an aristocrat, was arrested and executed in 1918 as "an enemy of the revolution". Her Greek mother took Anna and her five-year-old sister, and travelled by cart and on foot to the Finnish border. There she bribed the guards to let them cross, using jewels that had been sewn into her clothes. The family reached France, where they settled in Menton, among a group of White Russian refugees.

Even as a child Anna started to show promise as a composer, writing "many little songs". She was given lessons by Prokofiev and, at 16, spent a season as a dancer with the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo. By then an accomplished guitarist, she moved to Paris and began her career performing her own compositions. She found her first success at the Shéhérazade cabaret in the Rue de Liège, "wearing a Medieval dress". "I was a pioneer, no one sang with guitars then, there was no Elvis," she told an interviewer two years ago.

Joining a composers' group, she was encouraged to find a stage name, and picked Marly by looking in the telephone directory. In 1938 she married a Dutch diplomat; after the fall of France in June 1940, they escaped via Spain and Portugal, eventually reaching London in the spring of 1941. Her husband joined the Royal Netherlands government secret service, while Anna made contact with the Free French representatives in London. She worked as a volunteer clearing bomb damage - "We were picking up arms, legs, a traumatic experience" - and in the canteen of the French servicemen's centre in Carlton Gardens.

Years later she quipped that "soup and chansons" go together naturally, so she sang for the men too. Among the visitors was the resistance leader Emmanuel d'Astier de la Vigerie (code-named Bernard). Along with the writers Joseph Kessel and Maurice Druon, he heard her sing, in Russian, her Song of the Partisans. Kessel and Druon adapted the words into French, and soon Anna was invited to sing it on the BBC French Service programme Honneur et Patrie, which still got through to clandestine listeners in France. She would whistle the opening bars, which made it easier for radio-hams to pick up the song.

With its opening words evoking the night-time raids - "Ami, entends-tu le vol noir des corbeaux sur nos plaines?" (Friend, do you hear the black flight of ravens over our plains?) - it became the single most famous song associated with Free French fighters and the resistance. It was recorded first by Germaine Sablon, and later by many others, including Yves Montand and Johnny Hallyday. Bernard wrote the words for another song, La Complainte d'un Partisan, which was destined eventually for worldwide fame: Personne ne m'a demandé/ D'ou je viens et ou je vais (No one has asked me where I have come from and where I am going).

Anna Marly with Metropolitan Laurus

Joining the forces entertainment service Ensa, Anna sang in English, French, Russian and Czech. She returned to Paris in July 1945, and sang her song in front of General de Gaulle. In later years there were disagreements with Druon and Kessel, who were sometimes wrongly credited with sole authorship of the song, which was re-christened Le Chant de la Libération. But Anna's contribution was finally acknowledged, and she was made a chevalier de La Légion d'Honneur and a dame of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem.

Whenever she reappeared in France, people would come with tragic and heroic tales, recalling how important the song had been in their efforts. After the war, she divorced her husband and married another Russian refugee, George Smiernow. In the 1950s they lived mostly in south America, while Anna continued to tour and write songs, including one for Edith Piaf, Une Chanson à Trois Temps.

After moving to the United States, Anna became an American citizen in 1965. Four years later Leonard Cohen recorded The Partisan, which he had first heard while still a child, singing it from The People's Songbook. It became a notable success, and many other singers have taken it up, among them Joan Baez, Esther Ofarim and Isabelle Aubret.

The renewed interest in Anna's work led to the publication of a book of Chants de la Résistance et de la Libération. Her autobiography, Anna Marly: Troubadour de la Résistance, appeared in 1980 and later she brought out a book of stories, Les Fables d'Anna Marly pour Rire et Réflechir de 9 à 99 Ans. In 2000 she was invited to join the service at La Madeleine to commemorate the 60th anniversary of De Gaulle's broadcast that launched the Free French army.

One of the things that pleased her most later in life was the knowledge that her songs were becoming known in Russia. With her own original words, The Song of the Partisans had come back to its homeland. In her house, a light was always burning beside an icon.

· Anna Marly, singer and songwriter, born October 30 1917; died February 15 2006


понедельник, 11 апреля 2011 г.

Vorontsov's palace in Alupka,Crimea

The Alupka Palace

A Russian Count commissioned an English architect to design a palace that combined Scottish and English gothic with Moorish architecture - it's hard to think of a more unlikely mix for a successful building. But it did succeed, and with surprising panache and remarkable elegance.

Edward Blore

The architect was Edward Blore, one of the most well-known British architects of the 19th century - responsible for parts of Buckingham and St James' Palaces in London, and for a large number of other buildings in both England and Scotland. He was a personal friend of Sir Walter Scott and had a keen interest in the architecture of Scottish castles.

He was commissioned by Count Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov. Count Vorontsov's father had been Russian ambassador to London for over 20 years, and the young Vorontsov had been raised and educated in England, and was familiar with English architectural styles.

After a long and distinguished military career, fighting in the Caucasus and then against Napoleon, Vorontsov, by then a Lieutenant -General in the Russian army, become Governor-general of Novorussia, which included Crimea. He followed the example of the Duc de Richelieu, Odessa's first administrator, making Odessa his working base, but establishing a private villa on the Black Sea coast in Alupka.

Count Vorontsov

Vorontsov was an energetic and dynamic administrator, happy only when he had a number of projects on the go, or when he had some challenge to meet. Novorussia provided him with plenty of both. Odessa was a burgeoning new trade centre with a population which doubled between 1823 and 1849 , in spite of two outbreaks of bubonic plague and two cholera epidemics during this period. A 19th century commentator wrote "Odessa in the 1830's combined all that was cultured, rich and refined in Russian society and which for one reason or another did not sit well with life in the capital or abroad. The southern climate, the warmth and sunshine for most of the year, the wonderful , gleaming, rainbow-hued Black Sea...the Italian opera...the resonant Italian voices in the streets, the cheapness of the free port, and generally just the freedom and ease of life in this half-foreign, half-Russian town, together with the enlightened and accessible nature of its governor-general, Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov, inspired the warmest feelings for Odessa." *

Vorontsov and Pushkin

Challenges also came of a personally painful kind. The dissident poet Alexander Pushkin, who worked for the Foreign Service, had been sent to Odessa to put him at a safe distance from St Petersburg after he was suspected - correctly - of anti-state activities. Soon after Vorontsov's appointment as governor-general, Pushkin began a love affair with his wife, Countess Vorontsova. Scandal travelled quickly in Odessa and, not surprisingly, the two men did not get on. Pushkin famously described Vorontsov as "half milord, half merchant" - not an entirely fair description of a man who had distinguished himself on the battlefield. Vorontsov responded to the situation by using his position to get Pushkin appointed to a travelling commission to study locust damage in the Dniester region. Pushkin went under protest but reportedly did no work of any value for the commission (he was writing "Eugene Onegin" at the time). By 1824 Vorontsov had reached the end of his tether and, through friends in St Petersburg, secured Pushkin's dismissal from the Foreign Service. This meant that Pushkin had to leave Odessa, ending his affair with Vorontsov's wife, although he wore the gold talisman ring she had given him until he died in a duel thirteen years later.

The Caucasus

In 1844 Vorontsov, by then 62 years old, was appointed governor-general of the Caucasus and commander-in-chief of the Russian forces there, in addition to his duties in Novorussia. He spent the next 10 years either in military action in the Caucasus or in developing economic projects in both regions. No longer a young man by any means, Vorontsov personally led his forces in a charge during the siege of Shamil al Dargo in the Caucasus, which he had been ordered by the Tsar to take by storm. It has been suggested that he chose to lead his men into battle precisely because he knew that the Tsar's plan to take Shamil in a single assault was doomed to failure. "When Vorontsov ultimately succeeded in extricating himself from an extremely difficult situation without dishonour either to his superiors or to his calling, the Emperor elevated him to the rank of Prince in recognition of his services during the campaign and of the imperial debt owed him".** Vorontsov died in 1856.

The Palace

Pushkin had accused Vorontsov of being boring and pedestrian. As if to prove him wrong, the palace which was built for Vorontsov between 1828 and 1846 in Alupka is a triumph of the architectural imagination. Vorontsov was, typically, fully involved in the project at every stage, and carefully discussed the details of the planned design with Edward Blore's site architect, William Hunt.

The south face of the palace looks out across the Black Sea towards Turkey, and combines Russian and Moorish elements into a uniquely elegant building standing out against the backdrop of the Ai-Petri mountain. The north side could easily be mistaken for a Scottish castle in the gothic tradition. Somehow, these disparate elements blend successfully into a convincing whole.

The palace's luxuriant interior is open to the public - highlights include the Tudor-style dining-hall complete with minstrels' gallery , and many fine paintings including pictures by Crimean seascape artist Aivasovsky. The parkland surrounding the palace is magnificent, with fine views of the mountains and the sea. The six famous white lions on the south side are by Italian sculptor Bonani, who also contributed marble sculptures to the Capitol building in Washington, USA.


пятница, 1 апреля 2011 г.

why do russians smile so seldom?

The meaning of a smile? Why do Russians smile so seldom?

«Улыбка» на Яндекс.Фотках

We often hear from foreigners that Russians rarely smile (especially people living in big cities). We don’t notice it but in comparison to other eastern and western countries it is right. Meaning what? Russians rude, impolite, ill mannered, non-hospitable and so on??

I think it is deeper in national traditions. Lets’ see how it is! I have found a wonderful work in the Internet written by one of the Voronezh University Professor I.A. Sternin. I think he has given a good scientific base to this phenomenon.

He points out 14 distinguishing features of a typical Russian smile:

1. Smile is Russian communication is not a sign of politeness.

In American, English, German and Finnish communicative behavior it is. Smiles are necessary when greeting or having a polite conversation. Russian writers have pointed out many times that a typical American smile seems non-natural and false to many Russians. They say, “Americans smile as if they are electric lights turned on”, “their smile is something chronic”, “an American face is mainly teeth”.

I don’t mean to hurt Americans :) I’m trying to defend Russians from those blaming them of non-smiling.

Western smiles greeting someone mean pure politeness. The more a person smiles the more friendliness he/she is showing to his/her partner.

Japanese girls at the entrance to a moving staircase in large supermarkets smile and bow to each customer - 2500 smiles and bows per day!

Russian people don’t smile out of politeness. Visa versa, it is considered to be bad to smile without any significant reasons. The Russian phrase “he smiled out of pure politeness” implies a negative attitude to the smiling person.

A constant polite smile is considered a “smile on duty” in Russia and shows people’s insincerity, closeness and unwillingness to show real feelings.

2. Russian people do not smile at strangers.

Russians smile only at their fellow guys. That’s is why shop assistants never smile at customers (they don’t know them personally!:). If a shops-assistant knows a customer she shall smile at him/her.

3. It is not typical to Russian to give a smile in return.

An American wrote in the “Izvestiya” paper, “I don’t know hwy but when looking at Russian custom officers checking our passports and smiling at them we never get a smile in return. When our eyes meet the eyes of some person walking along a street in Russia we never get a smile back.” It is true: if a Russian person sees a stranger smiling at him he/she is certain to seek the reason of fun. Maybe something in his/her clothes or hairdo makes the gun so cheerful?

4. It is not typical for Russian to smile at a person whose eyes you met with your eyes by chance. Americans smile in such a case but Russians turn off their eyes.

5. Russians don’t smile altogether looking at babies or pets. (I think it is a controversial utterance).

6. A Russian smile is a sign of personal attraction.

A Russian smile shows that a smiling person likes you. He/she is very friendly to you. That is why Russians smile only to fellow people because they cannot favor strangers.

7. Russians do not smile when working or doing something serious.

Customs officers do not smile because they are doing their serious business. The same thing is with sellers and waiters. It is a unique peculiarity of a Russian smile. Chase Manhattan Bank has a large note “If your operator didn’t smile you tell the doorman and he will give you a dollar!”

Children mustn’t smile when studying. Russian adults tell their kids, “Don’t smile, be serious at school, preparing home task and when grown ups are talking to you!” One of the most common remarks of a Russian teacher is, “Why are you smiling? Stop it and start writing”.

Serving staff has never smile din Russia. Since early times clerks, salesmen, waiters and servants have been polite and courteous but never smiling. Now we have to make a smile a professional requirement to all the service staff members because it is not gonna appear otherwise:).

8. Russian smile is sincere. It is the expression of either high spirits or a good attitude to a partner.

Russians do not smile without reason (for example, to make the mood of a partner better, to make him/her feel pleased or support him/her). One has to really like the person he/she is smiling at or be in very high spirits to have the right for a smile.

9. A smile of a Russian person should have a sufficient reason, which is evident to others. It gives a person the right to smile from others’ point of view. The Russian language has got the unique proverb missing in other languages, “Laughter without reasons is the sign of foolishness”. Western thinking people are unable to understand the logics of this proverb. A certain German teacher got the following explanation of the proverb, “If a person is laughing without reason he has problems with his/her head”. He couldn’t understand it and asked, “Why does the second utterance follow the first one??”

The reason of a smile should be evident and clear to others. If they don’t understand the reason or consider it insufficient for s smile they may break smiling and make a reproof, “What are you smiling at?”

10. The only worthy reason of a smile in Russian communication is the wealth of a smiling person.

Carnegie’s call for a smile arises the following question among the Russian people, “Why smiling? No money paid, only problems all over, and you say, “smile”…” Thus, for Russians a smile is not an inherent part of communication but a reflection of their conditions, mood and material wealth.

11. It is not typical for the Russian communicational culture to smile in order to cheer up or make others cheer up. A Russian person will hardly smile without evident wealth or very high spirits.

A certain Japanese documentary about the emergency landing showed the episode with a stewardess smiling at her passengers before the emergency landing. After the landing was over she fell down writhed in hysterics. So, she fulfilled her professional duty having calmed down the passengers.

Russian public opinion condemns a smile of self-encouraging, “Her husband has left her but she is smiling”, “she has got a great number of children but she is smiling” and so on. All these phrases condemn a smile of a woman who is trying not to lose courage in a hard situation.

12. In a pure Russian consciousness a smile need a proper time for appearing. It is considered an independent action, which is very often unnecessary and annoying. Another Russian proverb says, “Business takes time, fun takes an hour”.

13. A smile should fit the situation from the point of view of the people around.

The commonest situations of Russian communications do not further smiles. People do not smile in a tense situation. They say, “Not a proper time for smiling”. It is not considered good to smile near people having serious problems or troubles (if they others are aware of them of course): illness, personal problems and so on.

14. Russians do not really distinguish between a smile and laughter. They often mix up these two phenomena.

Very often people say to smiling people in Russia, “What’s funny? I don’t understand!” or “Have I said something to make you laugh?”.

The conclusion of the author is as follows: the Russians are cheerful and wit in general. It is natural for them not to hide their feelings and moods.

However, everyday life of a Russian person has always been a constant struggle and survival; lives of many Russian people were very hard and some serious concern has become a constant expression of their faces. A smile in such circumstances is an exception meaning wealth, high spirits. Only a few people can have it altogether (and rather seldom). It is evident to everyone and very often may arise questions like “hey, why smiling?…”, envy and even dislike.

So if you a smile at a Russian person and get no smile in return, don’t feel surprised or hurt. Consider it an exotic national tradition :))

Well, commerce, market relations and other values of a different world are gradually bringing the habit of smiling “out of pure politeness” and “making a good impression” to Russia. Right are the Chinese, «If you cannot smile you cannot trade well!» :-))


среда, 30 марта 2011 г.


The universe of the nomads

«Юрты» на Яндекс.Фотках

The nomadic dimension of the populations of these steppe-like areas binds them to nature in an indissoluble relationship, penetrating their deeper spiritual dimension: symbol of this bond is the dwelling of the nomad, the tent.
Called gheer among the Mongols and yurt among the Tuvinians, the house of the nomad is extremely practical and functional, easy to disassemble and to transport, a sure and solid shelter, suitable for their hard living conditions. Always oriented with the door to the south, it also works as an astronomical clock, making it possible to tell the time according to the position of the sun when it shines through the central hole.

Юрта, мужская половина
«Юрта, мужская половина» на Яндекс.Фотках
Men's half

As soon as the small door is opened and its threshold is crossed, we are projected in a magical world where every object, every furnishing, the fire and the place where you take a seat follow a precise symbolic order, unchanged in the course of ages. The Sacred Fire is set in the centre and it represents the ancient world, our memory, our ancestors we have to respect and to pay tribute with offerings of sacred food.
Inside the yurta, are represented the ties between the cosmos, time and human beings. There is a precise relationship between the animals of the oriental horoscope, the disposition of the household goods and the places where you seat yourself. To north opposite the door there is the rat, the picker, where we find the trunks with the familiar treasures and next to the treasures, there is the seat of the oldest guest, that is worth of great respect.
Then there is the position of the snake, the place of the servants, in a well-to-do family or where it is seated the woman guest, the one that like the servants brings news, messages, gossips of the external world. The door is the horse, symbol of the work and the relationships with the world. Afterwards, we find the sheep, symbol of wealth and fertility; connected with it, where they hung the butchered animals.
Then we find the monkey, symbol of the working ability, that is why in this place the harness of the horses are hunged. The rooster comes next, where the hosts and the strangers take a seat: just like the rooster, they raise at sunshine in order to continue their journey. Afterwards, there is the dog, symbol of abundance and property, in fact it is up to the dog to defend the property and in that spot they keep the bags containing the harvest of the year, their clothes and blankets. Finally, we find the pig, symbol of the products of nature, and as the Tuvinians are mainly hunters, this is the place where they keep their guns, they hang their game and their furs.

Юрта, женская половина.
«Юрта, женская половина.» на Яндекс.Фотках
Women's half

Nothing is at random in the yurt, but it corresponds to an ancient, immutable order that nowadays is still respected, not only as a sign of tradition, but as a precise way to interact with the cosmos.


четверг, 17 марта 2011 г.


Gudok is an ancient Russian folk music instrument. In spite of its name (meaning “hooter” in Russian) it is a string instrument. Skomorokhi (wandering minstrel-cum-clowns) used it in a combination with the Gusli. Gudok consisted of an oval or pear-shaped dugout wooden case, a flat sounding board with resonator holes, and a short fingerboard without frets, with a straight or unbent head. The instrument could be 30 to 80 cm long. It had three strings posited at one level to the sounding board. When playing the bow touched all the three strings simultaneously. The melody was played on the first string, and the second and the third ones sounded without pitch variations. Continuous sounding of the bottom strings was one of the prominent features of Russian folk music. During the performance the instrument was held on a player’s knee in the vertical position. Has been extended later, in XVII-XIX centuries.

Gudok reminds of a number of string instruments of the world. These are Bulgarian Gadulka and Southern Slavic Gusle and Liritsa, as well as West European Rebek and the Greek stringed lyre. There are also various Middle Asian instruments, less similar in the shape of the case. One of the Middle Asian names of such a stringed instrument – gidjak also reminds of the Russian Gudok.

All these instruments are placed vertically on a knee and play with the bow on three (most often) strings. The tune is played only on the highest string. There are only four “playing” fingers, though the little finger is often not used. Taking into account the open string there are only five (or four) sounds, just like in early Gusli. The remaining two strings "hooted" similar to the well-known Scottish bagpipes.

Gudok can be referred to professionally made, but musically simplified instruments. Though many folk masters who knew joiner's craft, could make such an instrument independently.

European instruments differed from their Eastern analogs by having a wooden upper sounding board instead of a leather membrane or an animal’s bladder, like the latter ones. So European versions with richer and more powerful sounding can be considered more progressive.

Most likely, metamorphoses with a pro-Gudok occurred in Greece and from there got spread across the Eastern Europe, including Russia. However, Russian Gudok had its own peculiar features. Its case was of a pointed boat-like shape instead of a pear-like shape.

It is remarkable that Gudok was recorded in archeological excavation of Veliky Novgorod earlier than Gusli. By the way, in the Astrakhan Province a reed pipe and svirel were also called Gudok.

Gudok was often used in small ensembles both with other instruments and with their relatives. There was a whole family: Gudok, Gudochek and Gudische.

Gudok was very popular in Russia at all times. It managed to survive even persecutions of secular music in the 17th century, under Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich. But it could not withstand the attack of the western music in the 19th century and disappeared from Russian culture, without having lived to its millennium. Gudok was partly replaced by the violin.


суббота, 19 февраля 2011 г.



Forbidden publication during the Soviet period, this classic nineteenth-century story of the life of a young Russian boy, Ivan Shmelyov, was recently unearthed and reprinted to the great satisfaction of contemporary Orthodox Russians. Road to Emmaus is pleased to be the first to translate portions of this forgotten classic for English readers. In our initial offering, young Ivan, Gorkin (an old family friend), and a few of the servants have risen early to go on pilgrimage from Moscow to St. Sergius-Holy Trinity Lavra…

Chilly dawn breathes through the window. The morning is so quiet that I hear pigeons running over the roof and our dog Bushuy shaking the sleep from himself. For a moment I lie in bed stretching, listening to roosters crow, to Gorkin’s voice in the yard…

We drink tea in the front room, father and me. The clock has just cuckooed four. The door to the dining room is slightly closed in order not to wake anyone. Father is also going somewhere; he has his riding boots and his coat on. He drinks dark red tea from a cut glass, makes calculations in his notebook, kisses me absent-mindedly. He waves his hand strictly when I want to tell him that our samovar has become pink and the front room has also turned pink in quite another way! “Later, later! Don’t dangle your legs. Here, spread the caviar on your bun.”

And he goes on calculating, “Seven thousand trees and more from the new grove…well, twenty thousand trees…” A thatch of hair swings over his forehead as if it is calculating, too. I swallow hot tea and the clock tick-tocks. Why is the steam over the samovar pink, and the tablecloth and the wallpaper? The dark humpbacked icon of the Lord’s passion seems to have become new. The crucifix can be seen on it. Why is it so…? Beyond the window — you can reach it with your hand — there is a pink brick wall with a stripe of sunshine on it. That is why there is light in the front room. It has never been so before. I tell father, “The sun has dropped in on us.” He looks vacantly at the window and I see his face brighten.

“Eh?… Yes, yes, it has come to our by-street.” He stares and thinks of something. “Yes… only seven or eight days a year does it peep into our little cranny. Your grandfather used to wait for the long days to come… he always drank tea here with the sun, as we are now, and showed it to me. I was little and then I forgot, and now I am showing it to you. So everything goes…” he says thoughtfully. “… Pray for grandfather.” He looks about the room. It is getting dim again; only the icon is shining. He looks up and sings without words, his favorite: “Before Thy Cross, we fall down O Maaasterrrr, and Thy Holy Resurrection we magnify.” The sun crawls away from the wall. In this sliding light, in the sad tune, in grandfather who has gone somewhere and saw what I see now, I feel as a vague thought that everything passes… and that father will go too, as did this accidental light. Up through the window, between our rooftop and the next house I see a stripe of blue sky and I am flooded with joy.
“Well, have you eaten your fill?” Father asks. “Remember; obey Gorkin. He has a bag with small coins and will give you some for the beggars. If God wills we will catch up with you in Troitsa.” He crosses me, puts me on his shoulders and runs down the stairs… It’s so cheerful outside in the yard because of the sun, and it’s a little fresh. Our horse Krivaya is shining as if he had been polished; the shaft-bow is also shining, and the harness. The cart, which is brand-new, looks like a little toy. Gorkin is wearing a canvas tunic, a May cap tilted on his head. He carries a cloth bundle. His cheeks are pink with cold and excitement and his beard is silvery. Antipushka is holding Krivaya’s reins and Fedya looks like a city man with his polished knee boots as if he were going to church. By his side there hangs a bag with a tin kettle tied to it. On the porch sits Domna Panfyorovna in a headscarf, her baggy neck so red that one can see she is very hot. She wears a grey talma, a sleeveless cloak with tassles and trinkets hanging from it. There is a heavy carpet bag in her lap and a big-bellied white umbrella. Anyuta is peering from under her headscarf like a little doll. I ask if she has brought the tiny glass ball with her. She looks at Babushka and stays silent, groping in her pocket. “The package has been handed over; deliver it in one piece!” Father says, putting me on the hay.

“Be sure, we won’t spill it,” Gorkin replies, then takes off his peaked hat and crosses himself. “Well, a good hour for us, and for you who stay here happily, never missing us. Forgive me a sinner, if I have been rough in anything. Bow to Vasili Vasil’ch for me.” He bows to father, to our cook Marushka, to the carpenters and furriers who have gathered to work. They have spent the night in the cart and scratch their heads as they climb from under the quilted blanket to see us off. He bows also to the yard, silent at this hour. A clamour of voices say, “Good hour to you;” “Bow to the God-pleaser for
us…” Gorkin laughs, shaking hands with father in farewell. They kiss. I jump off the cart. “Let him show off a little and then we will put him back,” says Gorkin. “Don’t walk too fast. Watch and follow me. Let’s tread lightly as pilgrims do, then we won’t tire ourselves. And you…Domna Panfyorovna, hold onto your fashions and don’t shame yourself.” “I’ll roll along like a little round stone…just let me put my carpet-bag up here.” Trifonich, barefoot, runs out of the entryway; he has overslept and almost missed us to say goodbye. He thrusts up a parcel for Sanya, his grandson who is a novice at Troitsa. “Tell him his grandmother and I will come in autumn to visit him. The trade cannot be left now, just at the working season.” “Well, bless us, Lord…! Let’s go!”

Translated by Inna Belova and M. Nectaria McLees
source http://www.roadtoemmaus.net/back_issue_articles/RTE_10/Pilgrimage_Morning.pdf

пятница, 7 января 2011 г.

Kolyadka- russian carol

Nebo i Zemlya. Heaven and Earth. Novokuznetsk Choir