Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Siberian Adventure - Day 12 - July 8, 2011

Visit: Novosibirsk



We got up early, and Father Pavel (Khramov) walks with us to the train station.  We will be using different forms of public transportation today and seeing some different sights (as well as familiar ones) in Novosibirsk.  We ride the local train downtown.  We briefly tour the Novosibirsk train station.  There is a humorous plaque on the wall that isn't really meant to be funny.  In an effort to find some connection to Lenin, the train station boasts that it has a desk that Lenin once sat at, and this fact is proclaimed on a bronze plaque.

We visit the Orthodox cathedral of Novosibirsk where services are going on.  We also visit the Roman Catholic cathedral. It is much smaller and simpler.  It is also modernist in design.  There are actually more Lutherans than Roman Catholics in Russia.

We walk to Lenin Square, and again drop by St. Nicholas Chapel, the geographical center of Imperial Russia.  This time, however, there is a service going on.  The space is tiny, and crowded with old ladies with heads covered with scarves bowing and crossing themselves.  To someone used to western-style worship, it appears chaotic.  There is a single priest, magnificently vested, and his assistant conducting the service.  Both are bearded and wear pony tails.  Not more than ten feet away, an elderly woman does a bustling icon business at the counter.

There are a few young women there as well, whose attire is similar to young Muslim women back home in the fact that they modestly cover their heads with a scarf, and yet wear skin-tight jeans and high heels.

We cut through the subway tunnel to cross the street.  It seems that there are always crowds of people hustling and bustling in the underground.  I snap a picture of a shoe shop for Miss Grace.  It's a long way to travel, but it's not easy for her to find nice shoes back home.  I'm able to exchange currency using a very slick modern machine located in a bank.


We take the subway across town.  We visit an upscale souvenir shop, as well as a bookstore that caters to English speakers.  I buy a Russian-English pocket dictionary.

Father Pavel brings us to a local Fork and Spoon (столовая вилка-ложка), a nicer one than the one we ate at earlier in Novokuznetsk.  I have an okroshka (окрошка) - the cold summer soup with sausage pieces, cucumbers, and tomatoes with herbs - such as rosemary.  I also have a piece of pork with "hot sauce" - which was not hot at all.  Tasty though!  Also, potatoes, orange juice, and a chicken blini.  Foodies, please feel free to click here.

There is a coffee bar!

I order lattes and cappuccinos for us.  The prices are good, and the barista knows what she is doing.  On the way out, I buy a Pepsi, which is unusually served soda-fountain style, self-serve in a disposable cup with lid and straw.  As is typical, there is no ice.  Russians don't typically take ice in their drinks (I will have to ask the bishop how this can be synthesized with his statement, "We are Siberians. We like ice."), and so I never saw an ice dispenser or ice machine.

It is a nice day, and we visit the little city park area by the fountain where there are a couple wedding parties and people who seem to be on vacation.  Friday is a big wedding day in Russia - which goes back to Soviet times.  It seems that the Russian Orthodox Church had forbidden Friday weddings, as Friday is a fast day.  The Communists wanted to oppose the Church and her traditions, and so pushed Friday as the "traditional" post-Christian wedding day.  Even now, 20 years after the fall of Communism, it is still a "tradition."

We head back, hang out with the bishop, and get ready for our seminars.  Father Daniel is the first speaker, and lectures from 5:00 - 6:00 pm on Psalm 23 (22 per the Septuagint).  Father Alexey translates.  I speak from 6:00 - 7:00 pm, again on the Augsburg Confession, with Alexey translating.  At 7:00 pm, we break for worship - a combined Vespers and Mass.  The audience is diverse and serious.  They are interested in theology and eager to hear.

The service is beautiful but simple.  Father Alexey is the celebrant and Father Pavel is the preacher.  I follow the service as best I can.  The closing hymn is Luther's Keep Us Steadfast.  They use incense, but there is no chasuble, as this is a combined prayer and Eucharistic service.

Afterward, I meet Father Alexey's wife Elena.  She is very kind and speaks impeccable English.  She invites Dan and me to join their family for dinner before we head to Yekaterinburg on Wednesday.

Shortly thereafter, we meet again with the bishop for a late dinner.  We went to one coffee shop, but chose not to eat there.  We settled on East-West, a trendy but inexpensive restaurant that focuses on Russian diversity.  It is located on the second floor of the shopping center - just above the grocery store.  I enjoy a plate of plav.  The food and conversation are also outstanding here!

Here is a link to all of my pictures of Days Twelve and Thirteen.




1 comment:

Majid Ali said...

Please help me for Christ sake