Wednesday, March 6, 2013

On the Road to Vytegra

One of the most amazing experiences I've had so far on the trip has been our visit to the Alexander Svirsky Monastery. Being welcomed into this foreign place to see what is held so sacred to these people was an honor I have yet to deserve. The frescos were bright and masterfully done, and there were so many that I didn't have enough time to photograph all of them. They covered every inch of the walls and ceiling. The experience was surreal, especially when we got to hear a choir of four sing in the monastery. It was probably the most culturally immersive moment of my life. It was so beautiful and I was so happy to be there that I had tears in my eyes.

Afterwards our guide took us for a tour of the monastery and shared its history with us, and we were allowed to take a small amount of holy sand from a sacred location. Our guide explained to us that when the Holy Trinity appeared to Alexander Svirsky and instructed him to establish the monastery, the wings of the Trinity touched the ground there, giving it special healing qualities. I thought it was extremely generous of them to allow outsiders to take freely of it, and I felt it exemplified the great generosity of all the Russians I’ve met so far.

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