This is Orthodox Christmas Bell Ringing. Listen, please: Bells
Do you remember Gogol’s “Night before Christmas”? When Salopa was in the centre of attention of all the village men? And all the other adventures to be happening on the Orthodox Christmas eve, i. e. overnight January the 6th.
It is the right time for us to talk about our spirituality. Contemporary newspapers and magazines are full of different articles about Saint Sergey of Radonez and Saint Seraphim of Sarov, why are they holy? What does it mean, holiness? How does it relate to spirituality?
Brought up in the Communist time when religion was considered as “ the opium for the nation”, we were completely separated from the church and its traditions, the spirit of communism was replacing the holy spirit. That is the truth.
But we were still spiritual in many senses. We believed in good and solid education, in morals, in arts, in nature ties. Our Moms sometimes were superstitious and that was the connection to the folk fairy tales and bylinas. In such a way we studied Gogol’s creative works at school as well as Pushkin’s and many others’.
We all know what events came out next. No need to repeat.
Now many have turned to the church. It is good. Something is to hook up to, something to believe in. Look at the St. Seraphim’s face while his talks about the God: his face seemed so extraordinary: a light shone from within, illuminating his features, his whole being seemed enfolded in the grace of the Holy Spirit and raised above the earth. Anne Eropkine, one of the pilgrims coming to see the man of God in his solitude in 1830, a young widow, told her story: “He spoke to me about the heavenly joys of those who have a share in God’s glory. It was as though he himself was actually living all this at that very moment, partaking of this bliss and enabling me to live it with him. He seemed unable to find words to express what he was experiencing, so he ended: “O my joy, ( in such a way he addressed to anybody who used to come to him) such bliss, such beatitude, I cannot describe it all!”’
I respect this kind of spirituality.
But my spirituality is different. I venerate the holy elders, who doesn’t? You remember Dostoevsky’s father Zosima and Tolstoy’s words: “If the Russian people have still preserved the true image of the living Christ, it is only among the startzi that they have done so”.
Staretz-healer, comforter, searcher of the secrets of the heart, partner in each man’s troubles and worries, worker of the cures, seer of the future, adviser, teacher – all these charismata came from one and the same person Father Seraphim of Sarov, guardian angel of his people. He believed himself responsible for all the evil that lay spread out before him, and that is why his supplications and tears increased in intensity as the number of his sons and daughters grew.
As for me, I believe in healing and spiritual ties between the loved ones and close people. Everybody experienced at least once or twice a life upon losing the family members or friends, their spirit attending you to say the last “FAREWELL!” It might be expressed in various unusual ways of your personal behavior. But it happened and you need to continue to live on this earth with your level of spirituality.
The other form of spirituality can be arts, immersing in realm of beauty, poetry, music, paintings, philosophy which transfigure you in the other dimension of the world.
I believe that religion is not the only one kind of spirituality which exists. Life is multi-dimensional, so is our spirituality.
To better finish this article I want you to listen to the beautiful chant of orthodox feasts. Russian Orthodox chant