Today, we arrived in the early morning in Irkutsk. I was surprised as to how cold it is here! Even though it’s Siberia, it should not be this cold in the summer. Luckily, I had some long pants and a jacket with me. Today was another one of those days on my trip where I had many spiritual experiences. We walked around a lot and were very exhausted from days of very little sleep, so I think we’ll sleep quite well tonight! We came upon a Polish Catholic church built here in 1883 by Polish exiles, which is apparently Siberia’s only neo-gothic church. Later we walked across a crazy traffic circle and went to the Znamensky Monastery. I was excited to go here because the monastery has the casket containing the body of St. Innokent, a Siberian missionary. There have been numerous incidents of miracles and the body is incorruptible.
The casket happened to be behind a rope, but a woman let me through to it after I smiled and asked if that was St. Innokent. I had a wonderful moment of prayer, meanwhile a regular service was being held and the experience brought me to tears.
I felt so privileged to be here at this moment, listening to singing psalms and praying in a beautiful church with gorgeous frescoes.
We happened upon an expansive market after this spiritual visit and bought some dinner which Sharon is preparing as I write. We bought delicious honey, bread, meat, cheese, tomatoes and cucumbers. It was great that everyone gave out samples before you made the decision to buy anything.
Sharon and I have been very giddy all day — it must be the lack of sleep and the Siberian air… and the exhaust fumes in this industrial city!