Holy Mother Russia

Yesterday afternoon I arrived in St. Petersburg. Upon my arrival, I kissed the ground to pay my respects to Pope John Paul II who loved Holy Mother Russia. As providence would have it, I met a Seminarian at the JFK airport. He had a different seat than me, but providence again gave an empty seat next to me, so we were able to chat for hours about God, religion and Russia. How appropriate it is to be in Russia now, when my parents are going to Portugal in the fall to visit Fatima, where our Lady prayed for the conversion of Russia. The Seminarian, Mark, told me he was going to visit with the Archbishop of Moscow, to discuss further progress between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. He plans on living in Russia in the future to help with the revival of faith in Russia. It amazes me that there is a dialogue between the two religions that parted 1000 years ago, but I am grateful for it and I believe that soon we will be united. Both groups could stand to benefit from one another. We are extremely similar in our beliefs and there are actually few differences. We both have a devotion to the Holy Mother, believe in Saints, believe in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the belief in each of the sacraments, believe the Mass is participation in the liturgy of Heaven and believe that the Church is an instrument toward salvation. But, yet, both groups could still stand to learn from each other. The East has a beautiful liturgy lasting 2-3 hours. 99% of Russia claims to be Eastern Orthodox, yet this country has one of the highest rates of abortion, the AIDS epidemic is fastest rising and the government is still in shambles. This is where the West could teach the Eastern religion. The Catholic Church is very apostolic in the sense that we create hospitals, schools, nursing homes, welfare programs and other charities. After the fall of communism, the “utopia” fell in Russia and basic things like medical care was hard to come by and extremely expensive. It is quite obvious that communism scared people away from churches, tore them down, used them as storage warehouses, as is made clear when it is difficult to find a church that is not a museum. The one that I explored yesterday, the Church on Spilt Blood was used to store potatoes.

Another observation, I find it interesting that in Poland, people rebelled so strongly against communism and that Catholicism survived all throughout this terrible time. Through the Catholic Church and by the the hand of Pope John Paul II, communism was brought down. Yet, in Russia, people stopped attending churches and churches were shut down. Why did that happen in Russia and not Poland? Was it because communism started here and Karl Marx was present many years before it came to Poland? Was it a cultural thing? Did people here believe that communism would actually help them? This is something that truly puzzles me.

From growing up in the Polish community, I was well attuned to the fact that many (emphasis on many) priests and lay people were killed in Russia and in Poland under communism, but perhaps conditions were rougher in Russia? I know from a personal example, that my father was demoted from his managerial position for not signing the communist papers and not denying his belief in God. It’s hard to know the reasons for this majority atheism in Russia. However, those who have held strong, both in Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy are now coming alive! Pope Benedict says there will be a strong revival here in Russia and kudos to him for making dialogue between the Catholics and the Orthodox his priority. I look forward to exploring this topic more when I come home.

4 comments
bonnie
bonnie

hi dominikaHow's the cabbage??

Mom K
Mom K

Hi Hon, Keep meeting more interesting knowledgeable people and you may be able to answer a few of those many questions you have. Was the church in the picture the church of spit blood? It was gorgeous! The buildings in Russia are spectacular. Well keep having fun, stay safe and stay in touch! Love Mom K

acca
acca

Hello DD,I must say you are extremely brave and courageous woman to take this sort of trip! As soon as you mentioned Syberia, I heard in my ears music from Doctor Zivago and different pictures came to my mind from that movie, like field full of yellow flowers.....But then I remembered also that some meteor has fallen in Syberia , so I'd advise you to skip cabbage and vodka and look up also.....Skip cabbage and vodka regardless....Talking about Russia and Poland; well, Poland was at war for the last 1000 years, at least.... Poland was also the main protector of western civilisation for centuries. Our armies were no match for others.10 thousand of our soldiers would destroy 100,000 pagan army. The western civilisation was literally flooded by Asia invasion and we,the Poles would stop it. This is not fantasy but history. All the western countries should be greatful to us forever for protecting their cultures.Because of it we, the Poles, developed fighting attitude and the sense of resistance. No political system could change that or subdue it.That you already have seen it yourself in your short lifetime. Now, Russians on the other hand, were so much used to "slavery", and obedience to czar and princes and lords, that when Lenin stepped in with his garbage, it was almost perfect ground to control the masses. So they continue in being "trained" by "control tactics" and evil monsters like Stalin etc. As time went on they, the nation, have lost most of the sense of self-motivation and probably dignity, because the main objective was simply "to survive'! They became "disposable" as a WWII shows in so many ways.(check how many milions have died like cattle) How can nation like that stand up for their rights? Protect their religion? It does not mean that they are sissies; perhaps it was the process of their history that made them like that.Anyway,going back to YOU, it is hard for me to understand how can anyone enjoy a trip like yours, but enjoy it anyway. Keep the rosary visible and pray often and we will pray with you and for you.loveaccaP.S. I just found out from my father that Lukasz, my friend went to St.Petersburg to save homeless and sick children. Quite a coincidence.

Anonymous
Anonymous

thank you for this coments,you analize in a very interesting ways.Keep us posted. LOVE mom @dad