From the Life of Dormition Cathedral

After liturgy on Parents' Saturday, on the eve of the Pentecost the women of our church gathered; the Sisterhood, as usual, prepared for the holiday, cleaning and decorating the Cathedral. Under the direction of Tatyana Georgievna Holodny, the plethora of flowers and birch branches formed magnificent bouquets and decorations, transforming the Cathedral. All day the kitchen was bustling with the preparation of food.

Solemn Divine Liturgy, served by Fr Vadim Zakrevsky, began at 10 am on the feast day itself. A large number of parishioners, their families and children gathered. Many partook of the Holy Mysteries. Right after Liturgy, vespers was performed with the reading of the kneeling prayers. After service, pieces of the curtain from the recent consecration of the lower chapel were distributed.

After Liturgy, everyone gathered in the rectory yard, where a festive luncheon was prepared with shish-ka-bobs. The weather was magnificent. The table was set with pirogi, salads and numerous traditional dishes, generously and lovingly offered by the parishioners. The shish-ka-bobs, however, were the main attraction. For dessert, one of the parishioners prepared another surprise, a Napoleon torte, which immediately disappeared.

Thanks are due to Matushka Natalia Zakrevsky, Matushka Tatyana Holodny, Elder Sister Vera MacLellan and all those who helped prepare for the holiday.

The weather was sunny and brilliant, even nature itself was adorned in its finest, harmonizing with the bright holiday inhabiting the souls of everyone.

The first Pushkin Poetry performance was held at the auditorium of the parish school at Dormition Cathedral in London on July 5.

The director of the performance was All-Russian and international laureate of artistic recital, winner of the Pushkin Medal, Boris Burlyaev.

When we entered the hall, we were struck by how it was decorated. The walls were draped in white fabric illustrated with Pushkinesque drawings and quotes; the front of the stage displayed a full-length portrait of Pushkin. The mood was celebratory, and Chopin waltzes played as the seats quickly filled. The concert began with the blessing of the Parish Rector, Fr Vadim.

Boris Burlyaev opened the performance with a brief speech on the history of this celebration. The decorations were brought form Moscow, where as the director of the studio of literature at the Nobility Association of Russia, he organizes Pushkin celebrations for the children of Moscow. Now, the celebration is held here for the first time. The sun of Russian poetry now rises over London.

Boris Petrovich then presented the eldest Pushkin scholar in London, Tatiana Markovna Wulf. She spoke about the descendants of Pushkin living in England, on the work she did over the course of thirty years in writing the book Pushkin on Literature. After this most interesting talk, the performances began. Boris Petrovich himself began the readings. He read the poems written during Pushkin's lycee days.The voice of the master led us into the world of Pushkin's lycee, the park of Tsarskoye SElo and the early years of the genius' life. The enraptured children, preparing to recite the poems assigned to them, were inspired by his love for Pushkin, gaining confidence and composure.

The first was six-year-old Vasily Starodubtsev, who read the introduction to Ruslan and Ludmila. The auditorium warmly applauded the young boy. Following were Alexandra Boriskaite, Christina Willer, Nastya Drobyshev and Vasya Starodubtsev, who read the opening to Tale of Tsar Saltan. Then a group of children recited "To My Nanny." This unusual performance was heartwarming. Then, under the direction of the parish choir director, the children sang several songs. Ten-year-old Diomid Burlyaev then came out on stage and skillfully read a part of the first chapter of Eugene Onegin. Diomid then, together with his classmate, Victor Ovchinnikov, read "The Poet and the Crowd." This was a two-person performance. The inspired poet and the cynical, indifferent crowd took form before us. The children played out this scene with intelligence and emotion. The audience bust into applause. Music began playing again, and the brother Misha and Sasha Beskin, under the accompaniment of Natalia Kuznetsova, performed romances based on Pushkin's "Winter Road" and Lermontov's "Sail." Each performance was preceded by commentary, either on the necessity of immersing children in the atmosphere of high poetry and music, to counterbalance the assault of mass culture, or words about the great masters of Russian literature: V Kachalov, P Sadovsky, D Zhuravlev, V Yakhontov and others. The concert became a lesson on lofty spiritual values. This did not lessen the power of the performances, but raised them to a new level.

The charming Alyona Starodubtsev, dressed in a white garment sewn specially for this day, read the poem "Beauty." The audience was enchanted. Her sister then emerged, sixteen-year-old Vasilisa Starodubtsev, in a light blue dress, and read Tatyana's letter, performed as though these were her own words. This was a great success.

Finally, Anna Ivanova read a portion of "Egypt Nights." The audience was taken with the girl's dramatic talent, which communicated the tragic fate of the poem with emotion and skill. The number earned a standing ovation. Following this, visitors were given a few words, and Pushkin was quoted again and again. The sng "It is Time, My Friend, It is Time," by Ivan Burlyaev, was then performed by National Artist of Russia Alexandra Mikhailova. The two-hour performance concluded with Boris Burlyaev reciting "Mozart and Salieri," "Monument," "From Pindemont" with such mastery and inspiration that the audience was absolutely silent. During the performance, the music of Chopin, Mozart and Tchaikovsky played. The last piece was "The Song of Bacchus." The performance ended, but the audience lingered, savoring the pleasure of the day.

Parish Bulleting
London, Great Britain