At the walls of the city of the invisible. Bright Lake
My native land is a small estate of the Orel province. There, after listening to arguments at religious and philosophical meetings in St. Petersburg, I decided to go to look around, to find out what the wise forest elders think. So began my journey to the invisible city.
Spring. Nightingales sing in a black garden. Peasants in the field like lazy light gods. Everywhere talk about the Japanese war, about the coming “bloodshed.” In Alekseyevka came sectarians – “wandered somewhere baptized and lost faith,” frighten the gay fiery. “It’s not Christ,” I think, “Christ is merciful, clear without books…”
My second home is the Volga, the conduit Rus with sketes, schismatics, with faith in the hail invisible Kitezh. Under Ivanov, wanderers from all directions on Vetluga to Varnavin gather around to crawl “rim one by one all night” around a wooden church over a precipice. Barnabas the Wizard helped Tsar Ivan to take Kazan. A candle is burning above his tomb, and a bearded old woman prophesies in a dark corner: “… And Abdadon will come to Pitenburg, and sit on the kingdom, and give a seal with a figure of six hundred and sixty-six.” From the time of Barnabas, pilgrims return to the Uren forests. Here along the sketes and villages there live the descendants of exiled archers, they keep the old faith,
In the village of Uren ‘that there is no yard, then a new faith, there are all sects of schism. ” However, they find themselves in the Old Believers and educated people. I met a doctor and a priest on the Volga in one person, “believing, like the people, in the fact that Jonah was in the womb of a whale for three days under the influence of gastric juice.” This doctor gave me a letter to the bishop, with whom I was going to discuss whether a “visible church” is possible. “The church should not go to mercenaries to the state” – this is the content of our long conversation. At me the bishop for the first time, not concealing himself, but on a clear day he came to the laity, went to the square and preached. Bells ring, half-ruined chapels and large eight-pointed crosses rejoice.
But there is a “church invisible”, stored in the human soul. Therefore, pilgrims flock to the Light Lake, to the “cup of holy water in a green battlement frame”. From each comes a ray of faith in the God-saved invisible city of Kitezh. For hundreds of miles carry heavy books to “letter” to defeat opponents. I feel that I am beginning to believe in Kitezh, even if it is reflected, but sincere faith. I am advised to listen to the righteous Tatyana Gorniy – she is given to see the hail hidden in the lake. And everyone hopes for this miracle. The old woman drops a penny and a hen’s egg for the afterlife in a crack near the birch roots, another slips a canvas under the driftwood: the saints were refreshed… In what century? In the hills around Svetloyar is a lot of pilgrims. My friend Old Believer gets into a dispute with the priest. From the crowd comes a big old man in bast shoes and talks about Christ: “He is the Word, he is the Spirit.” In appearance, an ordinary forest man with a red, tufted beard, but turned out to be “a non-believer, an icon-bearer, a non-mole.” Dmitry Ivanovich met with the Petersburg writer Merezhsky, corresponded with him, disagrees: “He recognizes the fleshly Christ, but, in our opinion, Christ can not be understood according to the flesh.” If Christ is flesh, so he is a peasant, and if he is a man, so what is he to us? need, men and so pretty. “
On the way back from the Light Lake to the city of Semenov Dmitry Ivanovich introduces me to other non-moths, philosopher-spoon-dogs. They are carried away by the “translation” of the Bible from the “material sky to the spiritual man” and believe that when everything is read and translated, eternal life will come. They argue with visiting Baptists, refuse to see in Christ a real person. Feeling my sincere interest, the youngest of the non-moths, Alexei Larionovich, reveals the secret of how they abandoned the gods of the woods, realizing that “all Scripture is a parable.” Alexei Larionovich took it secretly from the wife of the icon, cut it with an ax, burned it, but nothing happened: “firewood is wood and there are…” And put the spoonful instrument in the empty one (he is baptized as a wife by habit). What secret underground ways connect these, forest, and those, cultural, seekers of true faith! Hundreds of them, seen by me, from the desolate Petrushka to the imaginary spiritual man, shared with the flesh by these non-moths, passed by the walls of the hail of the invisible. And it seems that the Old Believer’s way of life tells my heart about the possible, but the lost happiness of the Russian people. “The exhausted soul of Archpriest Avvakum,” I thought, “does not unite, but divides the earthly people.”