Have you been to Mountain View yet?
The Eternal Beacon of Faith.
One more parish in the church abroad.
By Pyotr Koltypin-Wallovskoy
Russian Orthodox Religious and Cultural Center
Recently we received an invitation to a partial consecration of yet another church, dedicated in this instance to the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. My wife and I decided we must attend such an important celebration of our Church Abroad.
It reminded me how Russian immigrants in the 1920’s and 1930’s began building churches throughout the entire diaspora with funds provided by the faithful. No matter how the conspirators from Moscow tried to hamper these efforts and “extinguish the icon lamps” of the true Church, the churches continued to be built.
In 2007, the Russian intelligence agencies were able to convince a part of the clergy of the Church Abroad to join the Moscow Patriarchia. A considerable part remained loyal to the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and the legacy of its First Hierarchs, Metropolitans Anthony, Anastassy, St. Philaret and Vitaly. In our Church, led by Metropolitan Agafangel and 12 bishops, with around 135 priests and 120 parishes scattered throughout the whole world and Russia, the number of such “inextinguishable icon-lamps” is ever greater and greater. So now we are invited to yet another festive consecration of a new church, a new “inextinguishable icon-lamp.”
As you pass through the center of the village of Middleburgh in New York State, a very beautiful, hilly landscape opens before you. From far away you can see on one of the hills the golden cupola of our Orthodox Church with a beautiful, historic Orthodox Vladimir cross. The cupola was designed by the architect S. Nikitin. The cupola was erected under the technical supervision of Oleg Mikhaylovich Rodzianko. A graceful two-story building with 35 rooms abuts the church, surrounded by many acres of land, and contains the Russian Orthodox Religious and Cultural Center, only three hours away from New York City.
Here, on the evening of Saturday, November 24, 2012, with a large number of faithful in attendance, Archbishop Andronik (Kotlaroff) and Rev. Victor Dobroff performed the partial consecration followed by vespers. The choir under the able leadership of choir director Mark Kotlaroff sang wonderfully and embellished the service, creating a special prayerful feeling.
As you enter the church, you sense the cozy layout of the large church. This church is larger than the one in the Jordanville monastery. It also has excellent acoustics and the voices of the priests are easily heard by everyone standing in the church. Your eyes are drawn to the elegant wooden iconostasis which was carved by hand. A master carpenter with many years of experience worked on it for an entire year. Most of the main icons on the iconostasis were painted in the Rublev style by iconographers from Russia. The beauty of the church’s interior is quite extraordinary.
On the next day, Sunday, November 25, 2012, at 10 AM, Divine Liturgy was served in the newly-consecrated church by Archbishop Andronik, along with Archpriest Nikita Grigoriev, Rev. Victor Dobroff and Rev. Anthony Gunin. Many families with children were in attendance and it was joyous to have so many younger people present.
After the liturgy, Archbishop Andronik invited everyone to join in the luncheon. It is worthy to note that we Russians who live in foreign lands far from our homeland and who have preserved our faith for decades, do not forget out history, traditions and especially our Russian cuisine. A Lenten soup with mushrooms was served to the monastics and clergy during the luncheon along with a tasty fish and piroshky (patties) with cabbage and mushrooms.
Everyone else was served a soup, turkey, piroshky with meat and mushrooms, syrniky (fried cheese pancakes) and tasty tender potatoes. All the food was prepared by the sisterhood of the church. What a pleasant surprise it was when the directors of the Center announced that the Mayor of the village of Middleburgh, Mr. Matthew Avitabile, who is Greek Orthodox, had sent an official letter of congratulations on the occasion of the consecration of the church and had promised to help our Church in its missionary work and in its various events.
The director of the Center, Yuriy Georgiyevich Lukin, spoke at the luncheon and expressed his profound gratitude to all the volunteers who devoted many hours and hard work in the renovation and construction of the church and the Center’s building. Mr. Lukin also thanked deeply all the craftsmen; the architects, carpenters, electricians and other specialists who had devoted and continue to devote many hours on improvements in the entire complex.
The administration of the Russian Orthodox Religious and Cultural Center has announced that the full consecration of the church and Center is scheduled for July 20–21, 2013.
After the services, the church and the building will be open to visitors from near and far. A Russian festival with a concert of Russian music is planned on those dates.
Have you been to Mountain View yet?
If you have not been to Mountain View yet – well, then, go!
By Matushka Joanne Grigoriev
Even when I am just driving past Mountain View, along Rte 145, on my work-related travels, my heart rejoices. As I near the bend in the road, my heart begins to lighten and my mood brightens. As I catch the first sight of the majestic estate up on the hill, I feel an involuntary smile and a feeling of comfort. And now the glorious, new, golden cupola and Orthodox Cross shining over the valley not only witnesses to all those driving by, it reinforces and strengthens all those who come especially to visit.
You see, I stood for over two decades, every week, in the once glorious bastion of truth, the once coveted ark, in Jordanville. And yes, like all of us, when it finally happened, I mean – the betrayal, I grieved deeply. It was numbing for years. Loss is one thing. Betrayal is worse. Loss happens. Betrayal is carried out.
We were willing to lose property. We were not willing to betray Christ. By God’s grace and mercy, we did not “go along” on that final day of signing. Everyone made their choice, whether they admit it or not. That day was a historical day of choice.
During those days, weeks, months and years after that sorrowful day, I would often recall how the Apostles and believers must have felt during those 3 days immediately following the crucifixion of our Lord. What confusion mixed with sorrow. Those were, undoubtedly, dark and unsure days.
And what did the believers do through those most terrible days? Indeed, that day of the horrible and ignoble crucifixion of Jesus Christ, our God, was certainly the most awful day in the history of the world: what did the believers do? Those who were able, followed through. The myrrh bearers kept watch by night and wept. Joseph of Arimathea requested permission to bury the Lord’s body. He and Nicodemus went by night to tend to the body, bringing oils and myrrh for the burial rites. These are the tasks, caring tasks, that must follow death. Through the numbing, calamitous and fearful events, these brave and sober saints carried through. We sing to them and about them every Pascha. Their story within the great events leading to the Resurrection of Christ is one of deep courage and faith.
And, so now in current times, as the days and months have turned into years since that terrible day, we continue to follow through, doing what needs to be done, when and how we can. Scattered parishes have struggled and still struggle to stay together, first serving in homes, then finding office buildings to rent and then progress to the bigger plans of building a Church. Others have spent much time, money and emotional energy defending Church properties in court. And, yet others have purchased lands and buildings with the intent to create once again, places for us to gather and be together, pray together, identify together, re-grow and grow together.
Mountain View is one example. What a good thing. Here is another modern day example of following through with patience. Here is another wonderful work in progress. Every time I visit, dear Vladyka Andronik shows me the work being done. And, oh my – only the best will be brought in to this new symbol, this new bastion of ROCA. I am reminded of the efforts of wealthy 19th century Russian merchants and nobility who would build churches and institutions, sparing nothing, for the Glory of God.
Need I describe the renovation work in progress? The Church itself, dedicated to the New Martyrs of Russia, has the newly carved and incredibly beautiful cherry wood iconastasis, new marble and oak floors, and the vaulted blue ceiling has a majestic chandelier hanging. Renovations in the great residence halls are continuously ongoing with new floors, baths, walls, windows: This place is really becoming a place!
There is a small pond – you can even swim or fish! And, I like to walk through the forest up the mountainside listening to the happy song birds. Closer to the buildings you can hear the goats and chickens alternatively bleating and clucking. During the summer, there is the abundant vegetable garden to tend.
Here, really is a bright light. This is a place. A really substantial, magnificent place. To be sure, it is a work in progress, and, will be so for a while. But wow– it is ours! Glory to God. Here is a place again. We all accepted, back on that terrible day, that we would lose physical properties for the sake of staying True to Christ. And now, after many years, we have a place again – a place suitable to become a center. It is an impressive place – with the potential to “follow through”.
I was happy to learn that, in addition to the regular Slavonic Divine Services, there will be English Services held once a month in Mountain View. I hope you will be able to go! Spend the night: there are plenty of rooms with beds. If you can’t make it this month, go next month... or any time in between. If you have not been to Mountain View yet – well, then, go!
Church of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia
2781 State Route 145, Middleburgh, NY 12122