The first Paschal youth gathering in the town of Bolshoye Murashkino was the case when the first pancake was not a lump. The parish were well prepared ahead of time and have had much experience in holding large-scale events – every year, they receive hundreds of guests for the Cross procession in memory of hieromartyr Avvakum. Like for the annual Cross procession, guests from all over Russia and from abroad gathered in Bolshoe Murashkino for the Paschal youth gathering.
The program of the first day, May 1, was attended by about 70 people. After a Paschal liturgy, the participants went by bus to the monument of the martyr Avvakum in the village of Grigorovo.
Here, at the worship cross near the monument, they sang Pascha hymns, sang spiritual songs and took commemorative photos. Upon their return, the girls took part in a workshop on how to weave decorative threading on head scarves and how to embroider on velvet. The boys meanwhile organised an impromptu volleyball competition.
A festive and unique evening service was later held with three choirs singing – the right, the left and in the upper choir. As one chorist noted, “we sang with three choirs and with joyful enthusiasm.” In a break between the church service and dinner, Pavel Kataev gave a lecture on znamenniy singing.
Tea time was also spent productively in the form of a quiz. The participants refreshed their knowledge of catechism, evangelical history and church history. The most knowledgeable received tasty, sweet gifts.
After dinner, father Roman Dontsov, from the city of Kazan, led a discussion with the young Christians. The discussion touched on the most diverse areas of the youth’s lives: life in the world, appearance and choice of profession. At the end of the discussion, father Roman shared the story of how he became acquainted with his wife. The priest really captured the listener’s attention and the flow of questions did not dry up.
Despite the late finish on the first day, the participants of the gathering came in full force to morning prayers on the second day.
“There hasn’t been such a festive liturgy in our church for a long time. Such a Paschal service has never be seen by the walls of this church,” said father Nikola Egorov, the priest of the church, at the end of the service.
After lunch, at which another quiz was held, the guests went on an excursion to the city of Lyskovo. Lyskovo is closely associated with the name of metropolitan Alimpiy and the house where he lived has survived to this day. In 2019, the metropolitan would have turned 90 years old. In the refectory of the parish in Lyskovo was a photo exhibition dedicated to this anniversary.
The youth sang Pascha hymns in the church of the All-Merciful Savior. One of the local parishioners, who was one of the participants in the revival of the community in the 90s, shared memories of metropolitan Alimpiy and the history of the Lyskovo parish. This was followed by a walk on Olen’ya Mountain, where metropolitan Alimpiy enjoyed walking to go for spring water.
About 90 people gathered for the evening service on the second day and the choir singing became more festive and soaring. The discussion after dinner this time was with father Nikola Tataurov, from the city of Perm, and father Anatoly Safronikov,from the city of Naberezhnye Chelny. The topics discussed included: creating a Christian family, choosing a life partner and about the problems faced by the younger generation. The priests were asked many difficult questions and they answered every question openly and confidently.
Like the first two days, the third day also began with prayer. Every morning, a liturgy was performed in the church. After lunch, the guests headed to the district’s centre of culture. Here, seven singing groups held an evening of spiritual chants. The highlight performance was from the children of the Bolshoe Murashkino’s Sunday school.
Other highlights include the singing of the Edinovercheskoye choir from the village of Maloye Murashkino, the powerful performance of the choir led by the reader Vasily Gladyshev, and the solo singing of Dmitry Podlesnov.
The evening service was sang with particularly robust voices – the thought that this was the final service gave strength. The children’s voices were heard clearly as the children’s choir sang the katavasia of Pascha.
At dinner, the spiritual songs did not cease. Everyone shared their impressions of the past days and kind words filled “The book of memories of the youth gathering”, which will preserve the history of an unforgettable event. Each guest received as a gift a book of spiritual songs, and the volunteers and helpers were presented with commemorative gifts. When it was time to leave, it was difficult for guests to part. Within three days, even the guests from Australia, despite the language barrier, became a part of the combined friendly company. The event was attended by over a hundred people and everyone expressed that they would like to meet again.