Guest Post: Impressions of Easter 2017, Rural Russia

Group confessions were jointly said earlier this evening, but this compacted mass of believers is not static. Folks come and go. Most will stay for the entire five-hour fete, with an overflow crowd cresting just about now. A cantor announces that if anyone missed the earlier confession, they may step forward and Feodor will somehow work them in during the balance of the service. If you have ever studied fluid dynamics and observed images or videos of how temperature difference diffuses through a dense medium, you would recognize a similar visual phenomenon here. The contrite shimmy their way forward but you don’t actually see them. Rather, you see the reactions of those already-confessed souls parting to make way for them…a glance over a shoulder, a twist of a torso, a fluttering open of normally closed eyes.

The service, despite its playing out in a language I struggle to grasp, is at least structurally familiar to me. Readings from testaments are performed, a consecration is rendered, praises are sung. A cleansing remorse is conveyed and then sensed as accepted. I take refuge in that familiarity. As the night passes to morning, a subtle crescendo of hopefulness builds within… this certain, family-given sense of being, communicated via a belief couched in the unbelievable.


Thanks you, Mark.

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4 comments on this post.
  1. Graham:

    Interesting, even moving reflections.

    His opening did make me think of St. Leibowitz the Engineer.

  2. Charles Cameron:

    Ah, yes. I’m a fan of the Saint and his Canticle.
    On the other hand, ie arguing that the engineering mindset is well suited to fundamentalism / extremism, there’s Diego Gambetta & Steffen Hertog, Engineers of Jihad: The Curious Connection between Violent Extremism and Education to be considered. My friend Mark’s guest post above provides a singular counterpoint to that idea.

  3. Jim Gant:

    Thanks for sharing this.
    Hope all is well.

  4. J.ScottShipman:

    This is a lovely post, thanks for sharing! Canticle is one of my favorite works of fiction.