The Last Tsar of Russia
Of course, this is an equestrian portrait of Royal Martyr Tsar St Nikolai Aleksandrovich the Passionbearer (1868-1918). He’s in front of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. We in America have a special reason to hold Tsar St Nikolai in veneration. Many of the earliest Orthodox churches in this country were built using funds from the tsar’s privy purse. If it weren’t for this aid, there’d be no Orhtodoxy in America today. There are factions in Orthodoxy in this country that minimise Tsar St Nikolai’s role in our history. They shouldn’t be listened to and we should give them short shrift.
A Thaw in Old Moscow (Vladimir Pervunensky, 2007)
In the Vortex of the Waltz (Vladimir Pervunensky, 2007)
We should have some Chopin to go with this…
Solitude (Tatiana Yushmanova, no date (2000s?))
Here is where the rubber hits the road for us as Orthodox Christians. Every path leads to this… the encounter of the soul with God. To hear some immature converts speak, it nothing but reading, reading, reading… If one does that, you are nothing but a jackass laden down with books (I speak as an inveterate and eager reader!). They’ve read this… they’ve read that… then, one hears a neophyte lecturing you on the Fathers (or, worse yet, the Philokalia)… you’re such a “nominal Orthodox” practising “baba’s religion”.
However, you have to chuck over the lot of it. Orthodox Christianity is not intellectual, it is not reasonable. It is far beyond that. It is nothing less than an encounter with the Living God, the God whose messengers have to say to us, “Fear not”. I can only claim to have had glimpses of it all, and that was enough to be put me off intellectualising for once and all. If you are spouting the Fathers, you are probably not close to God, you are merely talking about God, which is something else altogether.
You must let go, say your prayers, receive the Mysteries, stand at the services… Is that it? Yes… it is enough. God did not create us to be mere windbags, after all.
A Spring Overflow (Tatiana Yushmanova, 2006)