В виду предстоящего в недалеком будущем разделения так называемой «Зарубежной епархии», находящейся пока в номинальной власти архиепископа Софрония, представляют интерес личности влиятельных протопопов, которые в реальности управляют этой «епархией».
Протопоп Тимофей Овчинников, приготовивший себе место епископа Австралийского, интервью, обычно, не дает. Его кроме своего дома, машины и капиталов мало что интересует.
Rev. Timofei Ovchinnikov
Photo by http://www.unification.net.au
С другими попами дело обстоит попроще.
Сегодня мы предлагаем вниманию читателей интервью протопопа Парфирия Торана из Орегона, США, которое он и его прихожане дали Jo Garcia-Cobb в январе 2012 года.
Feast of Holy Nativity: Russian Orthodox and Old Believer communities celebrate January 2012
Posted in Arts, Culture & History
By Jo Garcia-Cobb
As Christmas lights began to dim in most homes, the Russian Orthodox and Old Believer communities in the area began their celebration of the Feast of the Nativity on its eve — Jan. 6.
“It’s Holy Nativity, not Christmas. We have Saint Nicholas, not Santa Claus,” stressed Father Ambrose Moorman, a Russian Orthodox monk and curator of the Russian Orthodox Museum and director of Our Lady of Tikhvin Center in St. Benedict.
It’s a season of both solemn worship and joyous celebration for both the Russian Orthodox and Old Believer communities, who share core beliefs rooted in Russian Orthodoxy. Russian Old Believers are descendants of a group that rejected Russian Orthodox Church reforms enacted between 1652-1666 to reconcile differences between Russian and Greek Orthodox sacred texts.
Over the years, the Russian Old Believers moved from Russia to China to South America and Turkey, before a group of 2,000 arrived in the Willamette Valley in the 1950s.
The current Russian Old Believer and Orthodox population in the valley is estimated at 10,000, the largest in the United States.
“We all believe that our Lord Jesus Christ, the creator of the universe, took on human flesh and became man. This is what we’re celebrating during this holy season,” said Father Parfiri Toran, priest at the Old Rite Church of the Ascension of our Lord (or Holy Ascension Church) in Gervais.
Rev. Parfiri Toran
Photo by Jo Garcia-Cobb
The church has members from surrounding areas, including Mount Angel, Silverton and Scotts Mills.
Like most Eastern churches, the Russian Orthodox and Old Believer communities celebrate the Feast of Holy Nativity on Jan. 7, in accordance with the Julian calendar.
There is a 13-day difference between the Gregorian calendar and the Julian calendar, which Russian Orthodox Christians continued to follow after the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in 1582.
Like western Christmastide, the season of Holy Nativity lasts for a period of about two weeks, from Jan. 6 to the Feast of Holy Theophany (from the ancient Greek meaning “appearance of God”) on Jan. 19.
A six-week fast is observed before the second most important feast in the Russian Orthodox calendar, second only to Easter.
The fast requires abstinence from meat, dairy, eggs and cooking oil, as well as intensified prayer, examination of conscience, and coming to the sacrament of confession.
For many local families, potatoes, vegetables and beans are staples of the fast period. Father Toran points out that fasting before a holy feast day is an ancient spiritual practice that was thoroughly treated by the early church fathers in their writings.
“The Lord is not looking for a Christmas tree or Christmas cards. He wants a clean, repentant life,” he said.
A member of the Russian Old Believer community in Silverton who wished to remain anonymous said that his congregation’s Holy Nativity service lasted from 2:30 a.m. to 7 a.m.
“Different congregations have different schedules, but we all came home to celebrate with prayer and a feast with family and friends,” he said.
Because a lot of Old Believers are admittedly “tight-lipped” about their faith, he suggested approaching a more “open” church, like the Holy Ascension Church.
“The church will be standing-room only,” Father Toran had forewarned us, not only because it would surely be packed with worshippers, but also because Russian Orthodox churches have no pews.
A head covering, preferably a scarf, not a hat, was required for all women attendees, as well as a dress that completely covered both arms and legs.
An imposing presence in a quiet neighborhood on Bethlehem Street, Holy Ascension Church, with its seven golden cupolas and its large collection of icons, was filled with worshippers who chanted their prayers in ancient Church Slavonic language by heart.
Church Slavonic is the primary liturgical language of the Orthodox Church in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and other surrounding areas in Eastern Europe. Father Toran and the all-male choir led the congregation in the traditional Znamenny chant. The church choir has a recording of the Russian Old Rite Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in Znamenny Chant on CD.
“We teach our kids both Church Slavonic and Russian. Church Slavonic is able to convey meanings that the Russian language can’t convey,” Father Toran said.
Of the numerous icons in the church, the Nativity icon occupied a central place for the feast day, and was venerated by everyone present.
Father Ambrose pointed out that the icon usually disappoints Westerners who are used to the innocent joy of Italian and German nativity scenes because of its depiction of Saint Joseph listening gloomily to an old shepherd who is traditionally seen as the devil in disguise.
The “evil one” on the icon is tempting Joseph to doubt the truth of the incarnation and the virgin birth.
Worshippers graciously reminded new visitors to keep their head cover on and to observe sacred customs, like performing the sign of the cross correctly.
There was much vigorous and repeated bowing and prostrating on the floor during prayers, as the choir chanted the text of the liturgy proper to the feast.
Worshippers came in their “Christmas best” and warmly greeted guests a “Merry Christmas” after the service, although tradition would have it that the appropriate greeting is “Christ is born, give Him praise.
” The children exchanged gifts outside the church before heading home.
“My father is called batushka (priest), and my mother matushka (priest’s wife),” said 10-year-old Elena, the youngest of the Torans’ nine children, as she welcomed us to come to their home nearby.
The Torans’ kitchen had been busy for days preparing for the feast.
Besides cooking, the women deep cleaned their homes and sewed up festive traditional outfits for themselves and their children. “We made special dresses for today. We do this every year,” said Ekaterina Toran.
Before starting the feast, the Toran family invited guests to join them in praying The Lord’s Prayer, chanted in Church Slavonic with repeated bowing, before the family icons of the Theotokos (Greek for Mary Mother of God) and Saint John the Theologian.
The feast consisted of a combination of traditional Russian and American fare, including ox tail soup, jellied pig’s feet with horseradish sauce, cabbage rolls, Russian crepes, roasted turkey, bread, pies, homemade wine and vodka.
Like Father Toran, many of the guests came to live in the area after fleeing religious persecution and to rejoin members of their religious community. Father Toran was born in Turkey after his parents escaped the persecution of Old Believers by the official Russian Orthodox Church.
His family was later airlifted from Turkey to escape widespread persecution against Christians. “Why we ended up here only God knows,” he mused.
The meal was filled with merriment and punctuated with numerous toasts, each one followed with the chanting of a traditional religious hymn in church language.
Choir members who led the chanting at the table came to the area after fleeing Russia soon after the collapse of the USSR in 1990.
Another guest, Theodot Tschebotarjew, was born in Argentina after his parents fled Russia during the Russian Revolution in the early 1900s. “We go wherever we can practice our religion. Our religion is at the core of our lives. It’s really all that we have. Without it we have nothing,” he said.
Father Toran remembered the days when he could sing Silent Night in public school. “Now, our children are not allowed to sing it at their school,” he said, concerned about the increasing pressure to be politically correct at the expense of religious freedom.
“My husband wakes up at four in the morning everyday to pray for all peoples and all government leaders to defend religious freedom. He prays for an end to all religious persecution,” his wife said.