Well, today was a neat day.
I’m doing this story about Vancouver’s Russian community for this Russian magazine. It’s a cool gig – I’m getting to know a section of Vancouver’s community that I probably wouldn’t have engaged with if it weren’t for this article. I love being a journalist.
Today I attended a service at a Russian Orthodox Church which the priest, Reverend Father Serge Overt, describes as “a bit of old Russia in Vancouver.” He thought it’d be a good way to get a feel for the Russian Orthodox community.
When he told me it was standing room only I thought he was just trying to say how busy the place is, but no. He was talking literally – there are no pews!
The rituals, chants and “incantations” (correctly called prayers) were transcendent. I felt as though they were going to open up a portal to heaven behind the altar screen (iconostasis). When I told the priest this he said that’s exactly what they are trying to do. I really felt like I “passed the test” at that point.
I didn’t understand the Russian words, songs, bows and so forth, but I do recognize the feelings they roused within my spirit. It was profound.
Oh yeah, things you don’t say in the church: “You wanna talk about chastity,” I tell father Serge after the service. “I’m pretty darn chaste, I haven’t been laid in a year!
“You musn’t say such things,” he tells me in the most gentle tone possible. “We’re in a church.”