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The Russian Orthodox Old Believer Church

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A Spiritual Feat – the Ladder to God

Early July. Shamary. For the Old-believers of the entire Urals and even Russia, this time and place has become a traditional gathering of the faithful, timed to the patronal feast-day of the church of the Nativity of Saint John the Forerunner. The Shamary community is renowned throughout the Old-believers’ world for its hospitality: this year more than 300 people arrived for the festivities.

A Spiritual Feat - the Ladder to God

On the morning of July 7, the senior priest of the church, father Mikhail Tataurov and the priests who arrived served the Divine Liturgy, and in the evening of the same day a concert, “Chants of Holy Rus’”, was held in the Shamary Palace of Culture, where choir groups from Shamary, Perm, Baranchinskiy, Borodulino and Moscow introduced the Shamarians and guests of the town to the treasures of ancient Russian znamenny singing. Prior to this, such strictly unisonous Old Russian singing had never resonated within the walls of the Shamary Palace of culture. The audience was carried away to those times when the ambassadors of the Kievan prince Vladimir, upon hearing znamenny Byzantine singing in the Hagia Sophia of the city of Constantinople, were so amazed by what they heard that, according to the accounts of historians, “they did not know where they were – in heaven or on earth.”

The programme, compiled by deacon Nikola Tataurov and his wife Valentina, consisted not only of church chants, but also included spiritual poems that were once popular among the Russian people. So, the Shamary choir sang the poem “As a sinful man walked…”, and the choir of the church of St. Nicholas in Moscow sang an old spiritual poem of the Old-believers of Veliky Novgorod “Oh you, my brothers, sisters…”.

At the end of the concert, all choirs were presented with commemorative certificates, and the heads of Shamary, A. Svyatov, and Gory, G. Shirshov, who were present at the concert, expressed their gratitude to all the participants in the concert for preserving the ancient traditions. In response, father Mikhail Tataurov thanked the local authorities for their consideration of the needs of the Old-believers’ communities.

The concert ended at 9 pm, and already at 6 am the next day, a religious procession set out to the source of the holy Venerable Martyrs Arcadius and Constantine, wonder-workers of Shamary. The religious procession experienced good weather for almost the entire length of the journey, up to Platonovo. Only on the approach to the bridge across the Sylva River did the pilgrims encounter a heavy downpour with cold, piercing wind. Thus, the road through the field to the source itself turned out to be especially difficult. In the chapel at the source, a moleben with a blessing of the Holy water was performed, after which the pilgrims were offered a meal.

So ended the festivities of 2019. Tired, but left full of impressions, the guests began to leave for home. But the Shamarians have no time for rest. In two weeks’ time, the reigning Bishop of Kazan-Vyatka and the Urals Evfimiy (Dubinov) will visit Shamary.