Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What I Saw in Russia: Postscript

I left Russia nearly three weeks ago. The whole experience almost feels like a dream to me. It’s hard to put into words what one feels during a trip to a strange land—all the unexpected sights and sounds, the novelty of travel—and I tried my best to describe what I saw in this series of posts.

The Russia trip has affected me on multiple levels.

First, as a singer, I realized that I had to step up my game; I was one of only two basses in our small choral group, so our mistakes stood out. I have a long way to go, but the trip has taught me what it means to be a confident singer able to lead in one’s vocal part.

Second, as a pilgrim, all the holy sites and especially the many crowds amazed me. Orthodoxy is thriving in Russia, despite the many decades of persecution. I can’t say that the situation in the Russian Church is perfect, but as long as there are devoted laymen and at least a few good shepherds, whatever problems may come up can be overcome.

Third, as a traveler, I mostly learned what not to do (turn in all of one’s papers before going abroad, for example). Also, I traveled with a very good group. We were all friends, but I got to know everyone a bit better, quirks and all. I’m sure that they learned a lot more about “Seminarian John” than they ever wanted to!

I hope you enjoyed reading these posts as much as I enjoyed writing them. The summer here in Jordanville is long, but it will be well-spent. A new post will not be long in coming!

Update: I guess I lied.