Restoration of the Church

2009

May 31

A Cross-Bearing Procession from Chernogubovo to Prechisty Bor.

We attached a sign bearing the information about the church on its western wall. The author of the design was Masha Barinova, thorough pokerwork by Lesha Gagarin.

Our plan is to start raising funds for the conservation of the building. Before the parish undergoes due registration, we’re going to use the settlement account of the Tver Union of Orthodox Laypeople . F. Sergiy says yes.

The prayer service gathered over 50 people, including Sunday School children.

The villagers brought water in glass jars for consecration. F. Maxim consecrated it by immersing his cross into the jars.

June 13

We had a contact with residents of the Kalininskaya Pravda Journalists Summer Village, making use of the fact that several most enthusiastic villagers joined us in carrying garbage and debris away into the forest. The summer village residents turned to be unemotional listeners of our monologue about the need for the church restoration. We talked to several villagers individually. They were unanimous: УThat’s a good deed! But I don’t see how I personally can help youФ. However they did ask us to post announcements of any upcoming events or clean-ups in the church Ц they would attend. Lesha G., Natasha A. and Sasha D. joined us as well. They came and left by commuter train. We had a chocolate bar for lunch.

June 24, evening time

Real job started . We dug pits for burying burnt garbage at the south-western edge of the churchyard (there are piles of garbage beside the church, it needs to be taken care of). Initially, there was an agreement that the farmers Rumiantsevs would dig one big pit. Mrs Rumiantseva kept saying how good it was that the village would get the church back since Уpeople started to be wickedФ. Afterwards, however, it turned out that the farmers were determined to charge us 2,000 rubles for digging, and we chose to dig by ourselves. We reached the site by Vitali’s car: Lesha G., Vitali, Dima K. and Sasha D. All the digging took us one hour and a half. We seemed to have hit the foundation of the original enclosure. The sunset was magnificent.

June 27

June 27 th saw a mass clean-up session that gathered Tver youth, locals and summer residents. Lots of people. Summer residents invited us to borrow their rakes and handbarrows. Leaving the village compound, we were followed by a man carrying a spade on his shoulder. УAre you going there?Ф he asked us showing to the church. We nodded . Lots of locals came. Two men were mowing grass, the others were raking the garbage into piles and carrying it to the pit to be burnt. It took us just three hours to take all the garbage and debris away from the church walls.

Thanks to everyone. The church seemed to have enlarged in size.

On the same day, on the opposite bank of the Tvertsa, Julia Rasskazova and Xenia Sokolova guided children in Druzhba and Romantik summer camps who drew pictures to be sold on the Day of the City Festival as a part of the church restoration project.

June 28

At the Day of the City Festival, The Sower Club was offered a stall where we put an offertory box to collect money for the church in Prechisty Bor. People donated money unwillingly. Julia Rasskazova and Artem took the box and walked with it in the City Park selling the children’s drawings for donations. We got help from Xenia Sokolova of Eirene Orthodox Club. We joined our efforts and by the end of the day the box had about 3,000 rubles. Afterwards, we made good use of this money. It paid the delivery of a load of half-logs to the site.

July 2

Vladimir of Ragodino village delivered poles and wood boards. We made an enclosure round the altar area to close the church from the southern side and to prevent people from bringing in garbage.

Our plan was also to build an enclosure along the perimeter to avoid random burials that could pose an obstacle to the restoration activities. Attended: Vladimir, Vitali, Lesha G., Sergei D., Dima K., and Sasha D.

July 19

Vadim Maslov, a Verkhnevolzh’e Pravoslavnoe journalist, and Alexander Krupko, cameraman, joined us in our trip to Prechisty Bor. Their plan was to film material for a newsreel about the prayer service that took place in the Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos on the day of the Synaxis of Tver Saints. The rest had to travel by commuter train.

We got there first to find drunken man and woman wearing bathing suits in the church. We asked them to leave the church, but they argued that they had swum all the way from the opposite bank with the single purpose Уto have a lookФ. We got determined in our plan to bar the church from loiterers. It’s going to be a hard task to realize.

Vadim interviewed F. Maxim, Alexei Andreev and Alexander D. No work that day. Alexei Andreev hosted his birthday party, we swam in the river and had barbecue.

August 3

We delivered half-logs and unloaded them. Attended : Sasha Danilov , Lesha Pavlov , Sergei Sherstobitov , Dmitry Kachnov , Alexei Gagarin , Alexei Andreev , Alexander Dylevski . The load of half-logs was arranged by Elena, the owner of a sawmill by a motor car park on the Bezhetsk highway. Thanks. However we had to rent a truck to deliver the load. It took us 2 hours to unload, but we had to pay for 3 hours, since this is the minimal rate Ц 600 rubles per hour. Lesha Pavlov, while making a turn, hit a rock in the grass and bent the sills of his Fiat . What a pityЕ

August 9

On our way to Prechisty Bor, we encountered a funeral procession. First, we thought it to be a bad omen, but then discarded all the prejudices and continued the trip. On that day, we started closing lower apertures in the church with the sheathing of boards. The power was supplied from the house at the very edge of the village with the help of four extension cords. Nuisance. We managed to close two apertures in the altar wall (we decided to make a doorway out of the northern aperture), the southern entrance and half of the northern entrance. We drove two cars belonging to Lesha G. and Natasha A. Attended: D. Kachnov, A. Dylevski, and T. Krylova. Vladimir in the company of Svetlana and their granddaughter Nastia came to help from Ragodino. Valentina Sergeevna, a village resident, came to say that the whole village would raise money for the restoration of the church. She brought us a meal of baked potatoes, cucumbers and scallions. Natasha and Tatiana left after lunch. On the way back, we turned to Sadykovo to have a look at the Church of DormitionЕ Desolation. Great pityЕ

August 14

We delivered two door leaves to Prechisty Bor. One was donated by Vitali, the other obtained from the club interior. We got there by Vitali’s car. Attended: Vitali Fedoseev, Natalia Arefieva, Sasha D. We were about to leave as we found out that the rear tyre of Vitali’s car was flat. We used the spare wheel. We took the road that ran through Rylovo. The patchwork done to it made our ride a bit more enjoyable.

August 16, Sunday

Only three of us came: Dmitri K., Lesha G. and Sasha D. After two days of steady rain, a fair Sunday weather was like a miracle. We took the Bezhetsk highway again and made a stop at Ragodino to see Vladimir. Obviously, he was quite happy to see us. He said that he was going to gather honey to make use of the fair weather, but if we needed he could forget it and join us. We talked him out of it, but did ask him for a handful of 4-inch nails. We got stuck at Ragodino for 40 minutes talking to Vladimir. We called Sergei D. who said that R. withdrew from our project since he was active as a volunteer in restoring three other churches. However he did teach Sergei the right way to construct a temporary roof. What we needed at this point was construction materials.

Prechisty Bor was as usual, but we realized that we were peering at the church fearful that its dome might have collapsed. No, it hadn’t. Thank God. Inside, someone had put a 50-ruble bill on a stone and pressed it with a piece of brick. A young couple was inside looking around and taking pictures. We did not disturb them and left to saw half-logs. A nine-year-old boy named Ruslan rode up on a bicycle, he kept asking what we were up to. УDo you want to have this church open again?Ф he asked with childlike straightforwardness. УWe do. And you?Ф УI do tooФ, and after a pause, УI want it so badly, I doФ. Actually, he knew who had destroyed the church. УCommunists did. My granddad or great-granddad was a communist and he ruined the church in an armored truckФ.

With the enhanced sense of responsibility as befitted the child, he was hammering nails, Dmitry was holding a board for him. Ruslan’s granny came, she brought flowers and put them on a rock beneath the cross. She said her grandfather had indeed demolished the Church. She remembered the time when the bell tower had been intact. The collective farm had set up a granary in the church and installed a winnowing machine. To drag the machine inside, they obviously had to pull down the western archway.

Ruslan sighted 50 rubles on the rock and disappeared. In a while he returned to hand us two 50-ruble bills. УThat’s from me and from my granny. She wants to see the church open as wellФ. A nice kid! УWhat’s your granny’s name?Ф УGalinaФ. УWe’ll ask the priest to remember you and your granny in prayersФ. The child got surprised and disappeared again. He returned to hand us 150 rubles more. УThat’s from my friendsФ. УWhat friends?Ф He ran away and brought back a sheet of paper which had a list of donors written in a neat, obviously granny’s hand.

We made a doorway in the eastern wall Ц it turned out all right, even kind of nice. We managed to close the northern aperture completely, stacked up boards for sheathing window openings to be able to start work right away next time. Since the archway was the hardest job, we left it to be the last.

What a fine thing would be if a big company of ours might get here together to work Ц someone would be making a fire, the others cleaning up or mowing. We fixed a notice board on the street lamp post. The notice had contact info for donations and an account of the church physical condition. Tver Diocese Council will convene tomorrow. The discussion of our activities will be on the agenda. We tend to think we should register a proper congregation in Prechisty Bor.

August 17

Joyous news! We got the blessing of our Archbishop Victor for the conservation of the church and for the restoration of the parish in Prechisty Bor. The next thing is to come into contact with the village administration and to probe about the registration of the congregation. Natasha even suggested we make a habit of having a prayer service with the Akathist to the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos last Saturday each month. In case we have no chance of traveling down here, the locals would read the Akathist anyway. We’ll try. We should have at least ten copies of the Akathist. The prayer should be unceasing. We wish people would not forget about the prayer of agreement.

August 20

After work, we traveled to Prechisty Bor to hammer here and there, to prepare things for the prayer service scheduled for August 29. Attended: Lesha G. (and his car), Natasha, Dmitry, Valentin and Sasha. We managed to set up cross pieces in all window apertures of the first tier that still remained open. This required power supply which we had to arrange again with the help of extension cords from the nearest house. Closing window openings with board sheathing afterwards would not need electricity.

Natasha joined Lesha for a drive around the neighborhood to post announcements of the upcoming prayer service. Inside the church, we found an apple on the candlestick. People had attended on the day of the Transfiguration of Our Lord. As we found out later, there had been a real assembly of the locals. Someone had told them that a priest would come on the feast day to hold a service. They had gathered all, but the priest never came. Someone had misled the people. We explained that they could learn about all of our events from announcements on the notice board which also had F. Maxim’s telephone number.

August 29

The first prayer service with the Akathist to the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos. For quite a while, making a habit of regular prayer services had been on our mind. The idea behind it is that locals in case we fail to come would gather here and hold the prayer service on their own.

It’s impossible to raise the Church from ruins without making the first step towards the congregation, without the common supplicatory effort of the people living around the church. The issue of preserving the building’s architecture is secondary. Someone in Prechisty Bor has to feel the need for this church.

Thanks to F. Maxim, Sasha Danilov, Ira Riabinina and indispensable Alexei. They all came. The locals were full of enthusiasm but had to freeze in the wind that was piercing the church in all directions. They were all stretching their hands with money bills, and we had hard time putting down all the names of their relatives and friends which F. Maxim from this day on would remember in his prayers.

We raised the issue of forming a congregation. The decision was to assemble on September 6 and have a concrete resolution. No one from the locals stayed to help with the exception of one woman. Marina Anatolievna came back in a while to sweep the floor in the church and mow grass at the entrance. Raisa Georgievna Eremkina turned up as well, but we sent her back. No serious work. She did bring a jar of milk however. Lesha was delighted .

Ira finished painting the door and had no other business. We decided to let her and Alexander D. leave for Tver by commuter train. We started shaping the demolished archway. Thank God, nothing went wrong. Finally we secured the doorframe and decided to call it a day since the door hinges we got turned out to be defective and wouldn’t fit.

Finally we went out of the church to close the last window opening in the northern wall with board sheathing from outside. Having finished, we came in to see lighted candles on the candlestick in front of the icon of the TheotokosЕ

Not a single soul in the church, no one outside. The candles had been lit a few moments ago, a box of matches was lying beside. We looked at each other and didn’t say anything. Certainly, with the door open and our chainsaw roaring, we might have failed to hear someone come in.

Everything may be possible, but we need to believe in miracles Ц discreetly, but we do need it badly. Even if someone came into the church and lighted candles without leaving a single trace Ц it looks like a miracle, it does! While we were packing our tools, the candles burnt down.

We left in the dark as usual. On Thursday, we found out that Russian House had published an article about our Prechisty Bor on page 3. No one had seen it. There is no way you can get this magazine in Tver.

August 30

Russian House published an article Living Churches, Living SoulsЕ on page 3 of No. 9, 2009. The article tells a story of our activities in Prechisty Bor. Alexei brought a copy from Moscow and sold it for 45 rubles. The editor had certainly cut the article unmercifully, but preserved the overall structure and thus the main sense. We thank the editorial board for the information support.

No date

A woman who had read the article in Russian House came from Moscow bringing F. Maxim half of the money needed for the roofing of the church. She said she had been saving the money for the construction of a recessed balcony at her apartment, but after reading the article, she decided that the church had a more urgent need for this money and finally brought it in person. If we manage to construct a temporary roof before wintertime, all the credit goes to this woman from Moscow. She was the one who provided us an impetus to move forward from wallowing in hopelessness to joyful expectations of great changes. Thanks.

Gradually we collected the rest of the money. Actually, when F. Maxim asks a question where people have learnt about us, everyone mentions Russian House. F. Sergius was right saying that this magazine proves a great help in finding good people.

September 2

Alexander D. and F. Maxim visited Rinat whose contact had been given to them by Sergei Donskov. Rinat turned out to be a friendly person. Right away he started sketching the roofing technique on paper. The more sketches he drew, the more convinced we were that they wouldn’t serve the purpose. We will never be able to follow his drawings, it was all too complicated. We asked a straightforward question, how much he would charge for this job. He said much.

Rinat has an agile and sociable son named Zhenia for whom our church is Уthe most beloved oneФ. Zhenia spends every summer on the opposite bank of the Tvertsa in the Druzhba summer camp and gets to see the church from the other bank.

УDad, when will you fix the church?Ф he kept asking Rinat. We agreed that we would think of cooperation and call each other later.

Later, F. Maxim called his friend who was a high-altitude climber and was also active in church restoration projects. He said he would come on Sunday, on September 6, and climb on top to have a look.

September 4, Friday evening, after work

We (that is Natasha and Dima) drove to Prechisty Bor in Lesha’s car to deliver a load of roofing felt which had been donated to F. Maxim. The donation was as big as 9 rolls, but we were able to squeeze only 7 into the car. Before dark, we managed to hang a door in the western doorway and close the lower parts of window openings with board sheathing.

September 6, Sunday

Until noon we stayed in the Cathedral of Ascension. When we arrived in Prechisty Bor, the working team of Sasha Danilov and sisters Zhenia and Vika Kanyshkin had been patiently awaiting us. We found two bags full of icons that someone had left in the Church. One Theotokos icon with an encasement is quite exceptional, although not old at all. The others were quite old, torn or broken. They were obviously not wanted at someone’s home.

We asked Sasha Danilov to start digging in the search of the original limestone base buried deep after all these years. Vika started polishing the door leaf with sandpaper. Sasha Dylevski and Dmitri nailed a few boards more to the sheathing over the western aperture. We were expecting F. Maxim who was to come by 2 pm and bring a chainsaw. Natasha and Julia went off to post announcements of September 20 event. The priest arrived at 2 pm. A few people came who were willing to compose the future congregation. The priest addressed the people saying that void of enthusiastic devotion all church restoration activities would bring no effect. All those gathered looked very much committed, we could feel that they were full of determination to bring the parish back to life. The nucleus of the future congregation was made of Tatiana Borisovna Zaitseva (of Krasny Bor), Galina Alexeevna Vorotnikova (of Krasny Bor, # 16), Marina Anatolievna Maximova, Raisa Georgievna Eremkina, Ludmila Nikolaevna Moskvina, Ludmila Sergeevna Kartoshkina (of Choporovo) and our good old friend Vovka, also known as Vladimir Vladimirovich Rozov (of Ragodino), who didn’t seem as happy to have gotten into such a story for he had come here just to bring F. Maxim some honey. We entered the name of his niece Svetlana Anatolievna Talakutskaya as well.

We went on working for the rest of the day and thus closed the whole western aperture, hung the painted door. Sasha and the girls indeed managed to unearth three rows of the rubblework foundation. The plan is to dig further and wider.

We were expecting Vitali, a steeplejack, who was to arrive at 1 pm, but arrived at 5.30 pm instead when Sasha and his sisters had already left home.

While climbing the ladder Vitali kept saying: УNo hurry, I tell you no hurryЕФ

He climbed to the south-western edge of the tetragonal base. From over there, he hurled down loose bricks and limestone fragments, then dragged up his own ladder and fixed it to climb to the very top.

УNow I would appreciate your prayersФ he shouted from above. УI would really appreciate it, you knowФ.

We vaguely recall his way upwards. When Vitali reached the dome, he shouted to us: УHow thick is it?Ф Who knows? With great caution he was climbing to the tholobate. The dome survived. On top Vitali fastened a rope and descended at the north-eastern side hurling down a dry tree and a few bricks. This scared Raisa Georgievna who brought us a jar of fresh milk. Sasha D. and Dmitri left again in the dark in Vitali’s car. The girls had left earlier. Vitali said that if we wanted he could set up a cross on top of the church. We did want it. He said he would come again to saw off trees that had grown around the roof.

September 7, Monday

One more miracle occurred in the Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos. For the first time after so many decades, the church saw the mystery of Holy Baptism. Tatiana, the servant of God got baptized. The priest was F. Maxim.

September 10

Lesha Gagarin made company in a trip to Rinat. We sought Rinat’s consent to start roofing the dome. We also asked him to include the roofing of the tetragons into the original amount he was going to charge. Rinat needed one day to make his decision. УI’ll talk to my guysФ, he said.

Tomorrow he ‘ ll call . God grant that he gives his consent! Today, we’ve submitted a formal letter to Tver Province Committee for Property and to the Committee for the Protection of Cultural Heritage requesting all papers regarding the right of property for this monument of antiquity and its condition.

September 14

Rinat gave his consent . He said he was going to start not earlier than two weeks.

September 20

Quite a momentous day ! The eve of the local Dedication Feast, the Nativity of The Most Holy Theotokos, saw the exaltation of the veneration cross on the site of the original altar to mark the start of the restoration project.

Tverskoy Miryanin (Layman of Tver) published an article about the event.

September 25

We delivered a load of saw timber to Prechisty Bor Ц 5 m? of 1-inch board and 2.5 m? of 2-inch board. Igor Gennadievich, the owner of a saw mill at Zmeyevo, sold us boards at cost price and let us use his car for free. We started unloading about half past seven when it was already getting dark. We were nine: Lesha Gagarin, Sergei Donskov, Dmitri, Sasha Danilov, Sasha D., Vitali, Vladimir of Ragodino, and Evgeni of Krasny Bor accompanied by a friend of his. We were carrying the boards into the church in complete darkness making our way between the guard rails of the tombs and soaking in the rain. Then Lesha turned on headlights of his car. We finally finished the job Ц the load of boards was inside awaiting the workers.

September 26

The second prayer service with the Akathist to the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos. Only a few locals came. We had to follow the layman’s order of the prayer service, since F. Maxim could not attend.

October 24

A prayer service in the Church of Blessed Xenia of Petersburg in the city of Tver. The prayer service Уbefore the start of a good undertakingФ (that is the start of the roofing project in Prechisty Bor) was held by F. Maxim.

October 31

One more prayer service. That day, F. Maxim had a service at Bryantsevo Ц there was no way he could make it to Prechisty Bor by noon. Again we had to follow the layman’s order of the reading of the Akathist to the Most Holy Theotokos. Julia Fedoseeva sang. Attended: Dmitri Kachnov, Natasha Arefieva, Olga Krylova, Marina (alone, no sister), Lena Zabavliaeva, Vitali and Julia, Julia Smorodova, Sergei Sherstobitov, Sasha D. and Sergei Donskov who brought along a huge back pack with the capacity of 30 gallons.

About a dozen of locals attended, several people had come all the way from Tver City. The most joyous news was the start of the roofing project. One rafter had been already set up by our arrival. However, we didn’t get the chance to see the workers.

While we were having a prayer service inside, a burial was taking place outside adding one more tomb on the pathway to the church (all burials had taken place at the western side right behind the Eremkins’ barn).

Julia, Olga, Dmitri and Lena left by car after the prayer service. The rest of us made a fire while waiting for the commuter train. At the railway station, we drank Уhiker’s teaФ made by Sergei Donskov and sang songs to the guitar.

Sergei was sitting on the railway tracks and plucking at the strings. Finally, the commuter train arrived after a 30-minute delay. We got on board to leave Sergei behind Ц he was to get off in the opposite direction. He had to spend that night out in the wood in a tent. Real hikers have no fear of cold nights.

November 28

One more prayer service. We drove in two cars: Lesha G., Sasha D., Sergei D. in one car; F. Maxim, Natasha and Dmitri in the other one. The rest were away for some reason or just busy. We got to Prechisty Bor almost at 12 sharp. The locals had been waiting for us already.

The roof was almost ready: the whole dome area was boarded, more than one third of it was covered with roofing felt. We arrived there to see steeplejacks on the very top. As soon as they saw us, they stopped working: no work on the dome, while someone is inside. The weather suddenly changed and they left. However, they did say they would be able to finish in three days. They would be definitely short of roofing felt. We called Rinat, he said he knew it and would get more.

F. Maxim held a prayer service and a memorial service. It was the ninth day’s obit following the murder of F. Daniel Sysoev, whom F. Maxim had gotten to know a short while earlier. F. Daniel had asked if the community in Tver had a church that needed restoration and could afterwards function as a mission centre. We couldn’t think of any church in Tver, but F. Maxim had told him much about Prechisty Bor.

We also prayed for the repose of those killed in Nevsky express crash that had occurred the night before.

Local women got a copy of the prayer of agreement to be read together with us every evening for the blessing of the church restoration.

After the prayer service, we hung two icons, Lord the Saviour and the Most Holy Theotokos, and then left home. The weather was quite nasty, it was drizzling.

December 4

The Sower Tver Orthodox Youth Club won the first prize at The VolunteerЧ2009 4 th Tver Regional Contest. The Club applied for the nomination УVolunteer Work in Religious InstitutionsФ and was distinguished for its achievements in the restoration of the village church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos in Krasny (Prechisty) Bor. The official ceremony was hosted in the Tver Theatre for Young Audiences on December 4.

December 7

The first snowfall. Rinat called in the morning to say that they had finished. His guys had boarded the whole dome and constructed the roof on the tholobate. They failed to stay within the originally negotiated sum. The dome turned out to be larger in area Ц 220 m?, the workers were short of roofing felt and boards. The cost overrun totaled 20,000 rubles. We could hardly believe our eyes when looking at the acceptance statement. We managed to collect some money, but still failed to return a portion of payment. The earlier agreement that the team would construct the roof over the tetragonal base for the originally negotiated sum became invalid. If we choose to roof the base, we would run out of money altogether. And perhaps go into a new debtЕ However, a proper roof on the church is now item number one. There is no other way. We talked to Vitali, a professional high-altitude climber, who agreed to construct a temporary wooden cross and set it up on the top by the end of the year. Let’s see if we would be able to do it on December 26Е

December 26

The finale of the passing year. Today we’ve set up the cross on the main dome.

It had been raining since morning, snow was melting under feet. We had got to know the night before that a commuter train we wanted to take was cancelled. So we had to think how to get to the place.

Foul weather had kept many of us at home, and we were all able to squeeze into four cars: F. Maxim, Alexei A., Natalia A., Alexei G., Dmitri K., Alexander D., Julia Rasskazova, Valentin, Alexei Evstifeev, Sergei Donskov, Vitali and Roman, high-altitude climbers, with the cross fastened on top of their car, and Artem on an off-roader (in case, someone would get stuck). Vladimir joined us in Ragodino. The road was ok, everyone made it. We got to Prechisty Bor at 12 sharp, the locals had been waiting for us.

The floor in the church was covered with snow that had been drifted through the openings of the second tier. Inside it was wet and dark.

We were happy to see that the dome had become visually lighter which meant it was getting gradually dry. The green areas had faded out.

Vitali and Roman climbed on top to get things ready. F. Maxim started the order of consecration of the cross. We assembled a pulley block, secured the cross, and in a minute it started moving upwards in jerks.

It had stopped raining by this time. Up there, they couldn’t get something right for quite a while. Down here we were reading the Akathist and singing УTo Thy CrossФ.

Right before the end of the Akathist, Vitali and Roman managed to put the cross upright on the tholobate. Everyone gave a sigh of relief.

We left when it was already dark (the cross was not visible from a distance). We were exhausted, frozen, but happy. Vitali confessed that this cross was the hardest job out of all he had performed earlier. A splendid crown to decorate the whole year. Thanks to everyone who has been helping by word or deed. Looking back to May 31 when we had come here first, we get filled with awe at the sight of the labour that has been performed since then.

On the other hand, this painstaking labour is but a drop in the ocean of regular restoration work. And it’s a drop that starts a stream. Constant dropping wears away the stone, as we know. See you next year, Prechisty Bor. Glory to God for everything!