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  • matanna@aol.com
    Taking the kids to school today, I saw naked Christmas trees dragged out among the garbage and the boxes. It s that time of year again. The neighbors are
    Message 1 of 7 , Jan 3, 2001
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      Taking the kids to school today, I saw naked Christmas trees dragged out
      among the garbage and the boxes. It's that time of year again. The neighbors
      are taking their trees down, and we''ve just now put ours up. It's thawing
      out, the branches spreading, ready to be decorated after homework tonight.
      At the services, we've heard the katavasia, in preparation for the whole
      canon, which the choir has already sung at practice. The Church is waiting,
      preparing.
      The kids reherse for the yolka and we listen to tapes of carols in Russian
      and English, so we'll be ready, because the words are so important.
      The refrigerator is full of things we can't eat any more (jars of herring and
      the like), pushed to the back, and things we can't eat yet, waiting to be
      prepared. Soon will come the cleaning and the cooking and the cleaning again,
      and probably more cooking.
      The church is partially decorated, vestments have been taken and out and
      cleaned, everything shines in anticipation.
      In the stores, Christmas has all but vanished, Valentines candy having pushed
      aside anything remotely related to our Lord. But the children, just learning
      how to give, are bursting with secrets. They scamper off to corners of the
      house, alone or in pairs, to wrap their treasures, and drop each other broad,
      broad hints because they can't stand to keep their joy to themselves.
      We will celebrate the Miracle again, as it was celebrated the first time,
      with the world unaware but those watching, waiting, ready to receive it with
      joy. Beauty and light in the darkest month of the coldest season. Nature
      itself cooperates, adorning itself in anticipation. Icicles gleam, frozen
      branches sparkle. Snow spreads across the landscape, like mercy upon a weary
      world.

      It's coming.
      You can sense it.
      The feast is soon upon us.

      Wishing you all a courageous rest of the fast, and all the joy of our Lord's
      approaching Nativity.

      In Christ,
      Matushka Ann Lardas
    • R. Lebedeva
      Has anybody here picked up _A Prodigal Saint: Fr. John of Kronstadt and the Russian People_? I m several chapters in, and so far, it s marvellous. It was
      Message 2 of 7 , Jan 3, 2001
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        Has anybody here picked up _A Prodigal Saint: Fr. John of Kronstadt
        and the Russian People_? I'm several chapters in, and so far, it's
        marvellous.

        It was written by Nadieszda Kizenko, a professor at SUNY/Albany, and
        published by Penn State Press (in collaboration with the Harriman
        Institute at Columbia University). She uses numerous primary and
        secondary sources, from St. John's diaries, to the police files kept on
        him and his followers, to the nearly ten thousand surviving letters
        housed in the Central State Historical Archive of St. Petersburg.
        Personal memoirs and radical critiques contemporary to St. John were
        also utilized. The numerous credits include Holy Trinity Seminary, St.
        Vladimir's Seminary, the St. Petersburg Theological Academy, and even a
        few Archbishops!

        However, this is a *historical* study of St. John, and his
        religious/political role in Late Imperial Russia----not a hagiography.
        I'm several chapters in, and so far, it's marvellous. I'll update you
        all when I finish it.

        My prayers for a blessed Feast for you all,
        ~~Rachael
      • Priest David Moser
        ... Kronstadt ... At the direction of my spiritual father, I read this book shortly after it came out. It was quite impressive, although towards the latter
        Message 3 of 7 , Jan 3, 2001
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          --- In orthodox-synod@egroups.com, "R. Lebedeva" <rlebedeva@h...>
          wrote:
          >
          > Has anybody here picked up _A Prodigal Saint: Fr. John of
          Kronstadt
          > and the Russian People_? I'm several chapters in, and so far, it's
          > marvellous.
          >

          At the direction of my spiritual father, I read this book shortly
          after it came out. It was quite impressive, although towards the
          latter part it became a little bit heavy. There is a review of the
          book by Fr Alexey Young in a recent Orthodox America (2 back, I think)
          which has some comments that are very similar to my own impressions.
          Here are some of my comments to my spiritual father (the confessional
          parts have been edited out)

          ...begin quote...
          Bless. I bought and read the book you mentioned on St John of
          Kronstadt. I will try and give you some of my reactions as you
          requested. This life is initially disturbing. To see the failings
          and weaknesses of someone who you initially look to as an example of
          holiness and spiritual strength can be disconcerting. Some of Fr
          John's character traits are those which, when I see them in others,
          repulse me, such as his emotional fanaticism and his almost paranoid
          resentment of others in authority. And yet, once the initial shock is
          past, this picture is richly enlightening for I can see his struggle
          more clearly and he challenges me to look critically at my own life
          and characteristics, especially in the ways in which we differ, and
          ask myself if I am correct in my assumptions of the spiritual life or
          even of the daily life of the Christian in the world. Perhaps I am
          insufficiently "fanatic"; perhaps I am insufficiently strict with
          myself (actually there is no doubt of it!); perhaps I am
          insufficiently concerned with changing the world; perhaps I do not
          allow myself to be moved or touched on a deep soulful level and so any
          one of these might be a contributing factor to my own sinfulness.

          As I actually finished the book, I was struck with his ongoing
          struggle with what he considered to be his greatest passions (which
          now escape me as I do not have the book in front of me). I grasped a
          deeper understanding of how the passions affect us. They are not mere
          temptations but more like addictions. (I am going to have some
          difficulty with words here as the concept is not yet clear in my head
          - but the more I try, the clearer it will become)

          ... big long edit - sorry for the "disjointedness" that this creates,
          but this part of my note dealt with confessional issues, comparing my
          sins with Fr John's...

          In the past, I would have struggled with the temptations presented
          even by the knowledge of (the existence of a particular temptation),
          but this time I realized that this was the compulsion, the attachment
          brought on by my particular passionate struggle. Rather than struggle
          with the temptation, I was able to simply "detach" and go my way
          recognizing the event as a function of my "sickness" (or addiction, if
          you will). Knowing this, that no matter how much I try to avoid such
          things, they will pop up out of nowhere because of this "attachment",
          then allows me also to cease struggling to avoid the exposure
          (although neither do I seek it out) but rather to detach when the
          exposure comes (as it surely shall); shrug my shoulders and say to
          myself, "Oh well, I am still sick. But I do not have to acquiesce to
          the sickness."

          I don't know if I got this across or not, but seeing St John's
          struggles also helped me see my own in a different light. Even now,
          as I write, the idea of attachment (which is a new word in this
          telling) seems right and I will ponder that a bit more as well.

          ...end quote...

          I hope you find the book equally as helpful.

          Pr. David Moser
          St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
        • Kiril Bart
          What language it was written on, Russian or English? Subdeacon Kirill (ROCOR) ... __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Yahoo!
          Message 4 of 7 , Jan 3, 2001
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            What language it was written on, Russian or English?
            Subdeacon Kirill (ROCOR)
            --- "R. Lebedeva" <rlebedeva@...> wrote:
            >
            > Has anybody here picked up _A Prodigal Saint: Fr.
            > John of Kronstadt
            > and the Russian People_? I'm several chapters in,
            > and so far, it's
            > marvellous.
            >
            > It was written by Nadieszda Kizenko, a professor
            > at SUNY/Albany, and
            > published by Penn State Press (in collaboration with
            > the Harriman
            > Institute at Columbia University). She uses numerous
            > primary and
            > secondary sources, from St. John's diaries, to the
            > police files kept on
            > him and his followers, to the nearly ten thousand
            > surviving letters
            > housed in the Central State Historical Archive of
            > St. Petersburg.
            > Personal memoirs and radical critiques contemporary
            > to St. John were
            > also utilized. The numerous credits include Holy
            > Trinity Seminary, St.
            > Vladimir's Seminary, the St. Petersburg Theological
            > Academy, and even a
            > few Archbishops!
            >
            > However, this is a *historical* study of St. John,
            > and his
            > religious/political role in Late Imperial
            > Russia----not a hagiography.
            > I'm several chapters in, and so far, it's
            > marvellous. I'll update you
            > all when I finish it.
            >
            > My prayers for a blessed Feast for you all,
            > ~~Rachael
            >
            >
            >


            __________________________________________________
            Do You Yahoo!?
            Yahoo! Photos - Share your holiday photos online!
            http://photos.yahoo.com/
          • R. Lebedeva
            ... It is written in English by a Russian-American historian, and published by Penn State Press. I picked up my copy at my local university book store.
            Message 5 of 7 , Jan 4, 2001
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              >
              > What language it was written on, Russian or English?
              > Subdeacon Kirill (ROCOR)


              It is written in English by a Russian-American historian, and published
              by Penn State Press. I picked up my copy at my local university book
              store.

              ~~Rachael
            • R. Lebedeva
              Father, bless. You wrote:. ... Thank you, Father, for your impressions. I m finding it difficult to put the book down. Perhaps there are some who will be
              Message 6 of 7 , Jan 4, 2001
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                Father, bless.

                You wrote:."
                >
                > I don't know if I got this across or not, but seeing St John's
                > struggles also helped me see my own in a different light. Even now,
                > as I write, the idea of attachment (which is a new word in this
                > telling) seems right and I will ponder that a bit more as well.
                >
                > ...end quote...
                >
                > I hope you find the book equally as helpful.

                Thank you, Father, for your impressions. I'm finding it difficult to
                put the book down.

                Perhaps there are some who will be scandalized by its content, but
                hagiographies are often not able (nor meant) to be clear about the
                internal struggles that saints face. As the author notes, certain
                views/traits of a saint may, in other times, be downplayed due to their
                "political incorrectness", and the saint cast in different roles for
                different purposes. I see more clearly how I, myself, have been guilty
                of this. Seeing this small glimpse of St. John as a *Russian* among
                other Russians, in a time of political and social turmoil, is very
                eye-opening (and edifying) for me as an American convert. I thank God
                (and St. John) that he was such a prolific---and honest---diarist.

                Please forgive my own disjointedness---I'm still digesting all of this!

                With love,
                ~~Rachael
              • nina ledkovsky
                ... published ... book ... The author is Nadezhda Kizenko, a daughter of Father Boris Kizenko, priest of the St. Vladimir Memorial Cathedral in Jackson, NJ.
                Message 7 of 7 , Jan 4, 2001
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                  --- In orthodox-synod@egroups.com, "R. Lebedeva" <rlebedeva@h...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > >
                  > > What language it was written on, Russian or English?
                  > > Subdeacon Kirill (ROCOR)
                  >
                  >
                  > It is written in English by a Russian-American historian, and
                  published
                  > by Penn State Press. I picked up my copy at my local university
                  book
                  > store.
                  >
                  > ~~Rachael

                  The author is Nadezhda Kizenko, a daughter of Father Boris Kizenko,
                  priest of the St. Vladimir Memorial Cathedral in Jackson, NJ.

                  She is an extremely well-spoken and intelligent person and very nice
                  too. She is also apparently an excellent teacher. My niece took a
                  class (Russian history, I believe) under her at SUNY Albany and
                  enjoyed it very much.
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