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Posts in category Faith

Christ is risen!

Joy overwhelms me, I forget all my problems and quirks, Christ is risen for all of us, dear reader!

Silent Saturday

I like the service of today very much, it is like an annual milestone for me. Despite this, this morning is kind of out time, every year it passes in the same, time-invariant fashion. Very, very strange day.

Let all mortal flesh keep silence, and stand with fear and trembling, and take no thought for any earthly thing; for the King of kings and Lord of lords comes to be slain and given as food for the faithful.

Mourn not for me, O Mother, as you behold in the grave the Son, whom without seed you conceived in your womb; for I shall arise and be glorified, and as God I shall exalt in glory without end those who magnify you with faith and love.

Great Friday

the day of mourn, pain and hope rising from pain.

Every year, in the end of the day, I find it important for my dignity to listen to the following profesy: Ezek. 37:1-13(though it counts like Saturday Matins, I think)

[1] The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,
[2] And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
[3] And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.
[4] Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.
[5] Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
[6] And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
[7] So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
[8] And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
[9] Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
[10] So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
[11] Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.
[12] Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
[13] And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,

Palm sunday

was there yesterday, a wonderful feast of meeting our Lord entering Jerusalem, a joy mixed with premonition of His suffering.

Our priest preached the following (not sure I reproduce this as it meant, rather, it’s like it came to me.

You stay here today with box branches, imitating the crowd that met our Lord in Jerusalem with palm leaves. Like they, you exclaim “Hosanna”, that is, “Save us!”.

Yet do you remember that just in a couple of days the same crowd cried out:”Crucify him!”? It is simple to say: “We are not they, that we will not imitate”. It takes an effort to understand why did they do so.

They did so because the salvation did not come in forms desired. There were no spectacular triumph, neither immediate liberation. Instead, something strange has happened.

And when we pray “Save us”, what salvation do we ask for? Isn’t this an immediate liberation from everyday burdens and inconveniences? Isn’t that a request of immediate and spectacular prevailing of “good” (that’s us) over “bad”?

So are we ready to accept our salvation in a way He likes?

April 12, 1961

the date of the first manned space flight. When I was a kid, news about advances in space research came about almost every month: that created an athmosphere of a development, adventure, and a hope for more interesting and content-rich adventures. And my kids read about majour advances of international terrorism, and spectacular school shootings…

What can we do to keep the dream and hope alive?
Any suggestions?

Forgiveness Sunday 2011

is today. This starts Great Lent for Orthodox christians.
Our clery changed clothes during the service and they remain in black-silver for seven weeks coming. Clery and parochians use today’s occasion to ask each other of mercy to forgive their wrongdoings. There is a special Rite for this, traditionally involving a deep bow. Both souls and spines have to work today.

We have heard the Efraim Sirin’s prayer that will help us
for each day of the Lent:

  • O Lord and Master of my life,
    the spirit of emptiness, despair, domination or idle talk
    do not let me have it.
  • But give rather a spirit of purity, humility, patience and love, give me to Thy servant.
  • Yea, O Lord and King,
    grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brother,
    for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.
  • O God, cleanse me a sinner,
    (12 times, with a bow made for each).

And,om this occasion, dear reader, I ask you to forgive me any offences and wrongdoings I may have done to you: either in course of direct communication or by writting. Wish me a good Lent.

Theophany, or Baptism of Christ

is a great feast of today. In Russian folk tradition, this feast is strongly associated with Great Blessing of Waters, this includes getting the holy water from church for home use and, very occasionally, swimming in ice water.

I never did the latter and the mere thought about it gives me a shiver. Yet I would gladly do it if I can achieve a purification in this way. I feel like a glass shard in dirt: wash me, and I’ll give a sparkle.

Merry Chrismas

everyone, that has finally come to me as well! We’ve been to the church yesterday, and had a nice party afterwards.

The Nativity of our Lord always strikes my imagination. It is so that for many it has a taste of a fairtale for young kids. This is so much in Western tradition and education that forces us to regard it like this. And such attitude is very helpful for dissolving the magics of Nativity on next or next-to-next day when we turn back to adult live. Pity it is. Reminds me the attidude of my yongest son who tries to grow up as soon as possible. I tried to tell him that it is the adult life which is a fairytale, and rather silly and tasteless one. I have not yet gotten the message through. Perhaps I did not sound convincingly enough because my understanding of the message is rather rational. Perhaps I have not accepted the message with my heart yet.

On the bright side of the latter, it means I still remain a kid! And thereby have some room to improve.

Let me do this, my Lord

Summary 2010

Let me summarize the year: assuming nothing drastic would happen in several hours left.

It was a year full of motion and new impressions. I travelled a lot: I’ve been three times in Germany, twice in US and Russia, I got to Japan, Sweden, France, and even Belgium. I’ve met many old friends, and got new collaborators: Frans Godschalk, Dima Pikulin, Toshi Kubo. 6 papers have appeared in press. I’ve got several good scientific ideas, two of them promise a long interesting research, potentially opening new fields. I gave a lecture at my alma mater and survived Colorado highlands. From community side, Leo DiCarlo, Gary Steele, Sander Otte have joined our faculty. Andre Geim got Nobel prize. On family frontline, my eldest son Alexei graduated and has departed overseas in pursuit of Ph. D.

That was good. There were many things happening that were not really bad but were wounding my vanity. There were many things I intented to work on or accomplish but have done nothing about. My favourite research lines slowly drop out of fashion. I’ve been cited 551 times, 8% less than a year ago. None of my grant applications has been approved. There was a discussion to propose me for a big local prize: nothing came about. The list of articles that are finished but wait for write-up has not become shorter: it’s grown. I am especially unhappy about non-written research with Hongduo Wei. Nothing has been done with my personal website. Alex Savchenko and Mike Tinkham have departed from this world. On family front, the youngest son has been having all kinds of problems with his studies.

Give me, my Lord, the mood to thank you for everything from the two above lists. And perhaps, if you find it useful, the ability to learn the lessons you give to me.

St. Nicholas day

is today (according to our Church calendar).

St. Nicholas is patron saint of Amsterdam and Russia, so naturally our parish is the St. Nicholas parish. There must be a big feast over there today. We wished to attend this, but we cannot: 10 cm snow has fallen tonight, and public transportation does not like this. A bit dissapointed, we celebrate at home.

This is the name day of my handicapped son, who will turn seventeen soon. This is also the name day of an old Russian surgeon who has saved life of my wife about thirty years ago.

Holy father Nicholas, defender and wonderworker, recall them and all us seeking your help in your prayers.

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