Friday, October 21, 2016

Ukraine Day 4

Today was a very full day! As I write this I am listening to the evening services at the Transfiguration monastery in Mgarsk that are broadcast throughout the monastery on loud speakers so that even those who are not present in the church can participate in the services. This is a very impressive place, to be sure. Here they have their own fields, cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, geese, a cheese making operation, a bakery, an apiary (they make their own candles from the beeswax in addition to harvesting the honey) and today when we arrived at about 3 p.m. or so they served us the best kvass I have ever tasted! But more about that further down. We didn't start the day here – we ended it here. It is always better start from the beginning than from the end, so we will do that.

We departed Poltava about 10:00 a.m. We is Metropolitan Phillip, Archbishop Peter, Fr. Victor Trotskyy, the Metropolitan's driver, and me. The first stop was a memorial to a visit of Tsar Alexander I when he visited in 1820. Here is a picture of that memorial:

This visit was to the village of Dikanka. Right across the field from the Alexander I memorial is a church named in honor of St. Nicholas. Pictures of that visit are here:

We then proceed to the village of Dikanka proper to visit the Holy Trinity church there. Pictures of that visit are here:

Then we were off to Gogleve – to the church of St. Nicholas:

Right across the street from this beautiful little parish is a museum dedicated to the great writer Gogol – in the house and on the property where he spent most of his adult life. Pictures of that visit are here:

Next we visited the village of Velikii Sorochitsa and the church of the Transfiguration in which Gogol was baptized as a child. Pictures of that visit are here:

Next we arrived in Mirgorod, the second ruling city of Metropolitan Phillip (his official title is Poltava and Mirgorod) and the cathedral of the Dormition. Pictures from that visit are here:

After the cathedral we visited the parish of St. John the Theologian. Pictures of that stop are here:

Finally, we arrived at the Transfiguration monastery. And to the most remarkable kvass. There is no way to really explain that except to say that you should visit this place – even if just for the kvass. But really for much more. This feels in many ways like Jordanville to me. The cows, the fields, the agricultural obediences and products – it is all very impressive and very familiar. The pictures of the monastery from today are below.

Note the birds in the cages. These are birds that the brothers have found that were shot or orphaned in the area. People now bring such birds of prey to the monastery because they know they will care fo them.

This icon was shot by the Bolsheviks and is preserved in this fashion to
remind future generations of what happened then.
New Martyrs of Mgarsk Monastery - see the Skete pictures
below to see a memorial to them.

There are three short videos of Archbishop Peter's arrival, you can find those HERE and HERE and HERE.

In addition to the monastery proper there is a skete on the far east of the property. Pictures from the skete are below. The cemetery of the new brotherhood is here. The cemetery of the original brotherhood from the 18th century and onward was completely destroyed by the Communists. The brotherhood more or less knows where it is, and they do not farm that area (it is a field now), but no one really knows for sure.

Memorial to the New Martyrs of Mgarsk Monastery.
This is on the wall just behind the memorial cross.
This is the view of the Skete church from the memorial.
Please note – the monastery was almost completely destroyed when the church received it back 24 years ago. The roof of the cathedral was destroyed (in most cases this makes restoring the church impossible). The restoration of the monastery if really quite amazing – I would even say breathtaking. Please remember the brotherhood in your prayers, and all of us as we continue our travels.

Fr. Gregory

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Farther Gregory, for sharing your comments and pictures!