Saturday, October 25, 2003

After the antiwar demonstration this afternoon I rode my bicycle to one of the Russian Orthodox churches in the city and went to the Vespers part of Vigil (Vespers, Matins and Prime strung together), all in Slavonic and with a priest who has an impressive basso voice. (And he's not Russian!) All I can say is the Middle Ages lives on and for that I am glad.

Fr Andrei Urusov
Scroll down in this article to read about him. Fascinating. I know that in the 1950s he was at the Catholic Russian Center in San Francisco, the church of our own Lee Penn. I think he eventually reverted to the Russian Orthodox Church and it seems, as described here, he was living pretty much as a hermit in Oregon. He is no longer with us - died fairly recently, within the last three years.

A note about this man's anecdote - performing a wedding for two people who aren't Orthodox isn't standard operating procedure. But it seems Fr Andrei was a wise, good-hearted old soul, with the same mix of orthodoxy/conservatism/strictness in religion, eccentricity and charity that is so appealing about sound Anglo-Catholics.

The mother of a former friend had a photo of him from the early ’60s, signed and with this note: 'Tell the baby I'm Santa Claus!'

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