Newsletter n.19. October,1994.

Nickolay Alexandrovich Miller,warden of St.Sergey metachion in Paris, writes in his letter dated by 15.07.94.:"Organisation of Christian camps is a very important and rewarding activity. I used to live in such camps from 8 to 16 years old and I still bear the warmest reminicenses about that time. I remember everything clearly. I believe that young people who happen to live in your camps will also keep nice impressions of them." We happened to hear from a lot of elderly Russian people (first wave emigrants) that it was due to Christian youth camps that they had preserved the faith in that atheistical world around them and had grown up Orthodox Russian people. Orthodox people in Russia, their Motherland, live as if in a foreign country: first it was a rigid genocide, now it is a propaganda of vice and violence. That is why the camp experience of the Russian Students Christian Movement, of the National Knights (Vityaz) Organisation, of the Young Russian Scouts Organisation and others is of great value for us. It was interesting to learn that practically all Russian organisations abroad - publishing houses, schools, almhouses- have disappeared. And only children and youth camps in England, America, Australia still attract a lot of Russian emigrants. This is the best proof that they are of great importance.


Speaking about church activities we cannot help recollecting the time when every kind if church activities was severely prosecuted. There were certain attempts in our communities, not yet formed as a brotherhood, to organise children or family tent camps. All such attempts failed untill 1988. Thus, in 1985 a passer-by happened to hear our children singing prayers, though in low voices, in a tent camp near the Siverskoye lake, opposite the Kirillo-Belosersky monastery. Presently a militiaman appeared and the families had to escape from that place to Moscow with a burden of alarming anticipations. But fortunately nothing happened. We tried another form of a camp life. Some families decided to rent a number of dachas in one and the same village. It was difficult to rent rather a lot of rooms in one village, people were unwilling to let their premises, especially because the families of our communities were large. We had to search for dachas from January to May throughout all the 12 directions from Moscow. We usually succeeded to rent not more than 2 or 3 dachas and accommodate 3 or 5 families. Father Dimitry Smirnov and some Orthodox families bought all the houses in one of the deserted villages near the town of Vladimir. That was one more way of solving the summer camp problem but only for those particular families. For many years such "camps" and hikes remained the only opportunities to live and pray together, to overcome difficulties and get used to such a difficult thing as life in a community, and yet we wanted to have a rest from school and work. One of the first activities of our newly born Brotherhood (officially registed in October 1990) was to get some land and to organise a summer camp. At the end of 1990 the Brotherhood was given 7 hectars of land in Tutaev area, Yaroslavl district, on the bank of the Volga river. There is a large field there, a wood with beautiful clearings, a nice beach and a ruined church with a cemetry around it. The plot is situated on a very high bank of the Volga, by the village of Bogoslovo, at a distance of 12 km from the ancient Russian town of Romanov-Borisoglebsk. This beautiful piece of land was given to us due to the selfsacrifying work of the Brotherhood vice-chairman Andrey Borisovich Efimov, professor of mathematics, and due to the brotherly help of Tutaev rural dean f.Nickolay Likhomanov (a former mathematician, Moscow University graduate). We have had a summer camp on that land since then (1991). During the first two years children and young people had a rest and worked here in two sessions, each one lasted for 2 or 3 weeks, about 100 people in each session. Then there were four sessions with 150 people in each one. There is a certain peculiarity about our summer camp. The teenagers' families live with their small children in a so called family camp in a close neighbourhood with our camp. At first such close neighbourhood seemed impossible. But many families with a lot of children had nowhere to go in summer, and life made us unite what seemed hard to unite. The experience of these years has shown that such neighbuorhood is not only possible, but is fruitful. The elder children help about the family camp: they chop wood, fetch water and do many other things - it became evident that the family camp would not exist without their help. And, in their turn, parents from the family camp (teachers, doctors) help to work with the teenagers. In fact, they all spend a lot of time together. Another peculiarity if our camp is a restoration of a near by church. In this activity the children take an important part: they clean and decorate the church inside and outside, help the adults in the organisation of divine services. All that is very much demanding both physically and emotionally, but the teenagers are delighted to be able to do such important work. On the day of a great holiday - the icon of the Mother of God of Vladimir (6.07.94) - Diocesan of Yaroslavl and Rostov Mikhey visited our camp and headed the divine service. The churdh was full.A protodeacon and subdeacons came with the bishop. Protopope Vladimir Vorobiev, spiritual father of our Brotherhood, protopope Nickolay Likhomanov, rural dean from the town of Romanov-Borisoglebsk, and f. Sergey who came with him served together with the bishop. A lot of piligrims came with f. Nickolay. Local villagers, holidaymakers and 170 people from our camp filled the church. Such a divine service with a diocesan might have taken place in that church for the first time in the history of the village of Bogoslovo. The church was built about 300 years ago. There used to be hundreds of small churches in that diocese, but the roads between the villagers were very bad, so it was extremely difficult to travel about the diocese. Besides, the church in Bogoslovo was closed down from 1920 till 1991. Bishop Mikhey blessed all the people praying, thanked for the invitation and said in his word that he had been happy to pray together with the children whose prayer comes close to God. Our mixed children and youth choir sang during the service. The bishop agreed to share our lunch which was served under a tent on the bank of the Volga river. Great was our joy when we learned that bishop Mikhey used to know protopope Vsevolod Spiller, spiritual founder of our Brotherhood. The bishop was his student at Moscow Spiritual Academy in the 50-ies and afterwards he used to keep in touch with f. Vsevolod. In 1993 it became evident that one camp was not enough for all our children to have a summer rest So we tried to find another place for one more camp. In July-August 1994 a new camp was organised by Nickola-in-Kuznetsy parish (chief of the camp was A.Kurakin) near the town of Kalazin on the bank of the Volga. About 100 young people lived there in that summer. There was no church near by and the parishioners made a tent church. The Holy Patriarch Alexey II blessed to name it after All Russian Saints.