Flying from the middle of Siberia back to Moscow, I was moving with the sun and arrived at Domodedovo Airport the same early morning time at which I took off from Novokuznetsk. That gave me just enough time for a quick shower at my friends’ apartment and off I went to the XXIX Educational Conference held in the huge auditorium right under the largest cathedral in the whole city – if not in the whole country – Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Which, of course, was almost empty this year because of quarantine restrictions. The presentations were broadcast to many hundreds of church communities and thousands of viewers all over Russia.[Read more…]
I am from Moscow. I love my city and its people. I love the challenge of teaching in Moscow schools where even the little kids seem to know how privileged they are compared to the rest of the country. They are not shy to prove it. They ask tough questions. They share their experiences. They interrupt the teacher to make themselves heard and noticed. Not all of them, of course, but much of the time.[Read more…]
I am leaving for Russia tomorrow despite of all the «bad omens» following me for the last few days: one extracted (and still hurting!) tooth; two flat tires (in four days!); flight cancellation for my return from Siberia; and a dozen smaller ones. It must mean I am about to do something good, and that the forces of evil are not happy about it. Thanks to many prayers and especially thanks to the great reminder of the already being won which we celebrated last weekend – Orthodox Pascha! – I am very encouraged and feel empowered to make some inroads against the kingdom of darkness, and to extend the Kingdom of God and His light.
Due to the late Easter/Pascha this year, my trip falls at the end of the school year – the time for final projects, exams, and graduations. Only a couple of schools will let me meet their students and most of my audiences this time will be teachers, academia, church leaders, and clergy. Geographically, I will cross five of Russia’s eleven time zones to the city of Novokuznetsk in Central Siberia; and will also visit Yoshkar-Ola, Belgorod, and Tver to “follow-up” on the connections I made there during my February trip. Moscow is the only air hub in the country, and I will, therefore, be coming back there each time after going in those four different directions: East, North-East, North and South.
Three days in Moscow passed like one. Seeing and teaching to the same group of Kolomna Theological Seminary students whom I first met last October was very special. With my traveling schedule covering vast distances of Russia, I rarely see the same audience twice. This time my students met me as a good old friend and were not shy about asking personal and challenging questions. They wanted to see not only the historic and archeological evidence of the validity of the Bible, but also how it effected my own personal faith journey.[Read more…]
Crossing half of the world West to East was not nearly as challenging as travelling across most of Russia from North to South. Surprisingly, following strict international travel regulations was not very difficult: they were clear and actually doable. It almost seemed like the Russian quarantine and sanitary policies, on the other hand, were designed to be confusing and, consequently, broken left and right. For example, the voice from the loudspeakers at every subway station in Moscow was continuously repeating that no one can travel without a mask and gloves, while a stream of passengers was passing the officers at the door with masks below their chin and not even the officers themselves wearing gloves. Trying my best to blend in and yet taking reasonable sanitary precautions has not been an easy task, especially when the local ratio of following/ignoring federal regulations vary so widely depending on the longitude and, especially, the distance from Moscow.[Read more…]
Not having COVID symptoms consistently for a week after the quarantine and receiving a “clear to travel” letter from my doctor is more than I can wish for as a sign of the Lord’s blessings on my next teaching trip to Russia.[Read more…]