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January-2023: Excursions and Coffeehouses

In these 3 weeks I taught a lot, visited a museum, had numerous meetings with friends and colleagues, and did three excursions in my favourite part of Moscow.

I visited several temples, including a synagogue and a Lutheran cathedral, and discovered several new cafés and restaurants. I walked through GUM twice and had a meal and a coffee at BURO.TsUM.

And now I’m working on launching my community for studying languages and humanities. 2023 promises to become a tremendous year.

Neighbourhood Cam: January Sky

The abnormally low temperatures in Moscow have brought spectacularly bright sunsets. The red glow against the frozen sky amazes and terrifies the viewer.

Sunset, Jan 8th, 16:11

Like I wrote a few years ago, the terror that industrial architecture can instill in its observer fades in contrast to the elements. The sunset remains beautiful no matter the environment. And this may force one to consider the power the Nature has over the mundane world. It can make the most horrible circumstances bearable, and the rest will depend on the person, whether he or she finds inspiration to change the circumstances – or finds consolation and changes nothing.

Sunset, Jan 8th, 16:36

Incidentally, these two photos were taken with a 25-minute difference, and just see how different they are.

Nativity – 2023

I’ve chosen the religious name for Russian Christmas this year. Indeed, I wanted to stress the religious aspect of this holiday in Russia. So many people visit churches on January 6th and 7th, post themed cards and images on social networks, exchange them in messengers! There are lots of themed events, and of course, there’re many wonderful dishes cooked and eaten today in the most religious households because on the 7th the 40-day long St Philip’s, or Nativity, Lent ends.

After my friend and I have undertaken the labour of love with the Christmas Calendar I now realize how Christian our world is. It remains Christian despite endless attempts to rid it of any hint at religious faith, of veneration, adoration, and all-encompassing Love. I was gradually turning to Orthodox Faith since 2014, but it wasn’t until 2018 that I saw the proof of God’s watching over us, supporting and helping us. And after I saw that I know today that He loves us in any state of mind and body, as per the parable of the prodigal son. He knows our hearts like we rarely do, and He is happy to give us the best He has for us. Alas, we are so entrenched in vanity and pride that we want to be the god of our own life and so we demand Him to give us what we’ve made up for ourselves. And when He doesn’t, we get offended.

Prince Grigory Gagarin, Nativity

This is the quest some parts of the world are currently going through. People there have convinced themselves and are trying to convince others that God’s will is void, and that everyone is free to choose everything, including a gender. The fact is that humankind knows no other way of reproducing itself except by marrying a Man and a Woman. There may be other ways but they are not human, all in all.

So, on the day of Russian Orthodox Nativity let us turn our hearts and minds to the beautiful story of God the Father materializing miraculously in this life via a Maiden. I read the akathist to the Nativity of Jesus Christ today and I was moved a few times quite potently. It is a great joy that Our Saviour was born; and in spring, at Easter, He will be born again – into Eternal Life. Each time our world is born and resurrects with Him.

Lorenzo Lotto, The Adoration of the Shepherds

Orthodox Christmas Eve – 2023

It’s been -27 in Moscow all day on January 6th. On a day like this one wants to stay home and to watch the life going by…

As I’m writing this, there are some fireworks outside. I went out shortly, got myself the daily planner I wanted, bought some coffee, took a couple of photos, and came home.

The eve of Nativity is always a long, homely night. We are expecting the Light to shine upon us amidst the snow and freezing temperatures.

In the last few years, after I joined the Russian Orthodox Church, I realized how much I miss the spirit of preparing for this holiday. Nativity and the preceding fasting period is the time of introspection and at the same time of preparing to something miraculous. The miracle of Life, the miracle of Light, the miracle of Love. This is what Nativity is all about.

And I really regret that, as a child, I wasn’t brought up in this tradition of expecting the solemn eve of Nativity holiday. Of singing the Russian carols, or cooking the special sochivo dish and the Christmas meal, or reading the prayers and lighting the candles.

On another note, the ceasefires has been proclaimed for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. So we also pray that those religious and faithful people to choose to visit the Russian Orthodox Churches in the war zone will remain alive, safe and sound. Likewise, we pray that those Russian Orthodox people who visit their places of worship in other countries tonight will be protected and remain safe and sound.

Happy Christmas Eve

The Path to Orthodox Christmas

After January 1st Russians begin to prepare to the holiday of Nativity of Jesus Christ. It is interesting to observe the difference in traditions and approaches to the celebration of the turn of the year.

In the West, Christmas comes first, then New Year, and then the work begins. The year ends with a big festival, and then the bleak midwinter settles in.

In Russia, New Year opens a week-long family holiday. It is followed by Russian Orthodox Christmas. Some very religious families shun the New Year feast because they are fasting and celebrate the Nativity instead. But either way, in Russia we begin the year with a festival and a feast, and I believe it sets the tone.

My January 2nd was also calm and silent, although by the evening I collected myself to write in which fields I want to carry my work in 2023. I updated the Christmas Calendar and slept a lot.

Source: Pinterest

It’s RabbiCat Year Again!

My 1st of January was very silent, sleepy, calm – feline, in a word.

Turns out, I celebrated the previous year of Rabbit/Cat on my blog, there’s even a special category. And 12 years later Rabbit-Cat is visiting us again.

My 1st of January was very silent, sleepy, calm – feline, in a word. Later in the evening I wrote down all events in the past 4 months of 2022, got duly impressed with myself, and began to wind down for the night.

I realised that I treasure the quietude of the first day of the year and wouldn’t want to forsake it for anything. Here’s something to take into account for when I get to planning my 2023.

Weather-wise, it was raining, and the thermometer showed 0/+2 in Moscow. Not really a January kind of weather. We’re told, however, that the temperature is about to fall well below zero in a few days.

So, to attract the snowfall to our borders, here’s a lovely, cozy GIF image.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
error: Sorry, no copying !!