DIOCESE OF EASTERN AMERICA AND NEW YORK: November 2, 2011
A Delegation of West Point Cadets Visits Holy Virgin Protection Church
On Saturday, October 22, 2011, a delegation of West Point cadets visited Holy Virgin Protection Church in Nyack, NY. The visit was arranged by Dr Olga Vladimirovna Dobrunoff, Russian professor at the United States Military Academy, and the parish rector, Protopriest George Larin. Accompanying the professor were Lieutenant Colonel Michael Nerstheimer, Cadet Jonathan Stamp, Cadet Ivan Ivaschenko, and Cadet Ranson Sammons. The cadets were welcomed by the rector, parish school supervisor Protodeacon Sergei Arlievsky, Mr Alexander Sergeevich Alimov, Senior Consultant to the Russian Federation at the UN, Colonel and Mrs Richard Clark, Mr Serge Lopoukhine and several parish council members.
The visitors, members of the Russian Club at the Military Academy, expressed an interest in visiting the parish in order to gain a better understanding of the Russian culture within the parish community.
Fr Sergei gave a tour of the parish school and familiarized the guests with its history. He pointed out that the school history and activities have been recognized by Russian Federation education authorities, and that school representatives have been invited to participate in several academic conferences in Russia. Some of the school’s graduates, thanks to their knowledge of the Russian language, history, and culture, have been able to achieve prestigious posts in the academic, business, and political worlds. Some parish school alumni have gone on to become presidents of Russian banks, government officials, and interpreters to US presidents.
The visitors were then given a tour of the parish church. Two of the cadets are of the Orthodox faith and noted that the church visit was "close to home." The visitors familiarized themselves with the services, symbolism, iconography, and architecture of the Russian Orthodox Church.
After a visit to the parish bookstore, all those present enjoyed a bountiful Russian dinner, prepared by the sisterhood. During the meal, the cadets had an opportunity to speak to the rector and parishioners about the rich history of Russian America. Many of the parishioners related their life stories and explained how they came to America and settled in Nyack’s Russian community.