I cannot believe it has been almost three weeks since I started on this trip!
My first destination was Moscow where I delivered a whole suitcase of books for the Moscow Diocese – Orthodox Octoechos and Menaion in English. The funny part was when the Customs Officer asked me, “Which god are these books worshiping?” and was only satisfied and let me through with them after I said, “Of course, Pravoslavniy” (literally, “the True One”).
On day one in Moscow, I taught my first class at Kazanskaya Church, right after the Liturgy. This is actually the best way to deal with the jet lag: getting busy and leaving no time to relax until you are totally exhausted at the end of the day. My body and mind then easily switch to the new timetable and daily schedule.
All the next week I was traveling by train to cities within a four-to-five-hour range from my “base” in Moscow. I taught a Apologetics class in the Kolomna Seminary. I did a training to the group of History teachers at the conference in Yaroslavl. I participated in the outreach event at the Preobrazhenskiy Cathedral in Rybinsk. Then I presented at a youth gathering in Bryansk. Finally, I trained public school teachers of the North-East School District in Moscow, and led a presentation/discussion event at the Orthodox St. Tikhon’s Humanitarian Institute, Masters Program.
Each audience was unique, and each topic had to be customized and prepared for the specific set of ears, eyes, minds, and hearts in front of me. Luckily, the down time on the train gave me that opportunity.
My last ten days in St. Petersburg were not as hectic, and were marked by the new presentation I just developed for this trip on the “Arguments for the Existence of God.” I started to collect them back in my seminary years with the first five classical arguments of Thomas Aquinas and keep adding more and more as I found them in literature and other sources. At this point I have fifty-two of them and just made a trial run of this new topic on church and ministry audiences throughout the city and its suburbs. I think it has a great potential, but I will need to work on the visuals as well as the best wording for each point of the presentation.
I am leaving for Helsinki by bus tomorrow early morning and then flying to Minnesota before the Christmas rush. Pray that I will not be thwarted by extreme weather.