BROTHERHOOD in the NAME of ALL-MERCIFUL SAVIOUR
Newsletter n.19. October,1994.
Nickolay Alexandrovich Miller,warden of St.Sergey metachion in Paris, writes
in his letter dated by 15.07.94.:"Organisation of Christian camps is a very
important and rewarding activity. I used to live in such camps from 8 to 16
years old and I still bear the warmest reminicenses about that time. I
remember everything clearly. I believe that young people who happen to live
in your camps will also keep nice impressions of them."
We happened to hear from a lot of elderly Russian people (first wave
emigrants) that it was due to Christian youth camps that they had preserved
the faith in that atheistical world around them and had grown up Orthodox
Russian people. Orthodox people in Russia, their Motherland, live as if in a
foreign country: first it was a rigid genocide, now it
is a propaganda of vice and violence. That is why the camp experience of
the Russian Students Christian Movement,
of the National Knights (Vityaz) Organisation, of the Young Russian Scouts
Organisation and others is of great value for us. It was interesting to
learn that practically all Russian organisations abroad - publishing houses,
schools, almhouses- have disappeared. And only children and youth camps in
England, America, Australia still attract a lot of Russian emigrants. This
is the best proof that they are of great importance.
SUMMER CHILDREN CAMPS.
Speaking about church activities we cannot help recollecting the time when
every kind if church activities was severely prosecuted. There were certain
attempts in our communities, not yet formed as a brotherhood, to organise
children or family tent camps. All such attempts failed untill 1988. Thus,
in 1985 a passer-by happened to hear our children singing prayers, though in
low voices, in a tent camp near the Siverskoye lake, opposite the
Kirillo-Belosersky monastery. Presently a militiaman appeared and the
families had to escape from that place to Moscow with a burden of alarming
anticipations. But fortunately nothing happened.
We tried another form of a camp life. Some families decided to rent a number
of dachas in one and the same village. It was difficult to rent rather a lot
of rooms in one village, people were unwilling to let their premises,
especially because the families of our communities were large. We had to
search for dachas from January to May throughout all the 12 directions from
Moscow. We usually succeeded to rent not more than 2 or 3 dachas and
accommodate 3 or 5 families.
Father Dimitry Smirnov and some Orthodox families bought all the houses
in one of the deserted villages near the town of Vladimir. That was one more
way of solving the summer camp problem but only for those particular families.
For many years such "camps" and hikes remained the only opportunities to
live and pray together, to overcome difficulties and get used to such a
difficult thing as life in a community, and yet we wanted to have a rest
from school and work.
One of the first activities of our newly born Brotherhood (officially
registed in October 1990) was to get some land and to organise a summer camp.
At the end of 1990 the Brotherhood was given 7 hectars of land in Tutaev
area, Yaroslavl district, on the bank of the Volga river. There is a large
field there, a wood with beautiful clearings, a nice beach and a ruined
church with a cemetry around it. The plot is situated on a very high bank
of the Volga, by the village of Bogoslovo, at a distance of 12 km from the
ancient Russian town of Romanov-Borisoglebsk. This beautiful piece of land
was given to us due to the selfsacrifying work of the Brotherhood
vice-chairman Andrey Borisovich Efimov, professor of mathematics, and due to
the brotherly help of Tutaev rural dean f.Nickolay Likhomanov (a former
mathematician, Moscow University graduate).
We have had a summer camp on that land since then (1991).
During the first two years children and young people had a rest and worked
here in two sessions, each one lasted for 2 or 3 weeks, about 100 people in
each session. Then there were four sessions with 150 people in each one.
There is a certain peculiarity about our summer camp. The teenagers'
families live with their small children in a so called family camp in a
close neighbourhood with our camp. At first such close neighbourhood seemed
impossible. But many families with a lot of children had nowhere to go in
summer, and life made us unite what seemed hard to unite. The experience of
these years has shown that such neighbuorhood is not only possible, but is
fruitful. The elder children help about the family camp: they chop wood,
fetch water and do many other things - it became evident that the family
camp would not exist without their help. And, in their turn, parents from
the family camp (teachers, doctors) help to work with the teenagers. In
fact, they all spend a lot of time together.
Another peculiarity if our camp is a restoration of a near by church. In
this activity the children take
an important part: they clean and decorate the church inside and outside,
help the adults in the organisation of divine services. All that is very
much demanding both physically and emotionally, but the teenagers are
delighted to be able to do such important work.
On the day of a great holiday - the icon of the Mother of God of Vladimir
(6.07.94) - Diocesan of Yaroslavl and Rostov Mikhey visited our camp and
headed the divine service. The churdh was full.A protodeacon and subdeacons
came with the bishop. Protopope Vladimir Vorobiev, spiritual father of our
Brotherhood, protopope Nickolay Likhomanov, rural dean from the town of
Romanov-Borisoglebsk, and f. Sergey who came with him served together with
the bishop. A lot of piligrims came with f. Nickolay. Local villagers,
holidaymakers and 170 people from our camp filled the church.
Such a divine service with a diocesan might have taken place in that
church for the first time in the history of the village of Bogoslovo. The
church was built about 300 years ago. There used to be hundreds of small
churches in that diocese, but the roads between the villagers were very bad,
so it was extremely difficult to travel about the diocese. Besides, the
church in Bogoslovo was closed down from 1920 till 1991.
Bishop Mikhey blessed all the people praying, thanked for the invitation
and said in his word that he had been happy to pray together with the
children whose prayer comes close to God. Our mixed children and youth
choir sang during the service.
The bishop agreed to share our lunch which was served under a tent on
the bank of the Volga river.
Great was our joy when we learned that bishop Mikhey used to know
protopope Vsevolod Spiller, spiritual founder of our Brotherhood. The bishop
was his student at Moscow Spiritual Academy in the 50-ies and afterwards he
used to keep in touch with f. Vsevolod.
In 1993 it became evident that one camp was not enough for all our
children to have a summer rest So we tried to find another place for one
more camp. In July-August 1994 a new camp was organised by
Nickola-in-Kuznetsy parish (chief of the camp was A.Kurakin) near the town
of Kalazin on the bank of the Volga. About 100 young people lived there in
that summer. There was no church near by and the parishioners made a tent
church. The Holy Patriarch Alexey II blessed to name it after All Russian