Saturday, March 10, 2007

A Russian Sunday

This is a post long due.

This entry refers to the Second Sunday of Great Lent, the Sunday of St Gregory Palamas, pillar and doctor of the Church. What a Sunday it was!

There used to be a time when one could group the congregation of my parish, the sole Orthodox church in this country, into various ethnicities/nationalities: the Greeks, the Russians, the Arabs, the Georgians, the Singaporeans, etc. Nowadays, the parish just falls into two main categories - those who speak Russian, and those who don't.

The Russian-speaking congregation has grown so large these days. Their numbers alone could well account for more than half of the regular attendance. Every new face in church over the past six months has been Russian. Sunday school is entirely made up of Russians.


I met a little Russian girl that Sunday. It was probably her first visit there. After conversing for while in English, I began another in Russian:

Ира, говорите ли вы по-русскии?
(Ira, do you speak Russian?)

Of course. I'm Russian what.

*bangs head on wall*

The first-generation of Russians in Singapore all speak Singlish with a horrid pseudo-American accent.


I received my first Russian cross from Natalia! On its reverse, "спаси и сохрани" (save and keep) is inscribed in Russian civil type. Still, it differs somewhat the more traditional Cross of St Olga, commonly around on the necks of Russians. It looks like a Latin crucifix, if you ask me.

Cross of St Olga visible around Sofia's neck

Compare with the Romanian baptismal cross I received. Why is it that the crosses I receive seem to all look so Western?

Left to right: Natalia's cross, baptismal cross


To end the day, Life! newspaper that Sunday carried a lengthy article on the mass arrivals of Russians into this country (it has increased a hundred over the course of 2006). Unfortunately, I recognised none of the Russians featured. As my godmother used to say, "If expatriates were any where near religious, they would have never left a Christian nation for a secular one".



Blogger Karen said...

Yeah, Constantine, that looks pretty Latin all right! ;-) Nice, though.

I have a St. Olga cross (the three-bar embossed in the middle, exactly like the pic you have on at the top right of your blog). I also have a gorgeous Old Believer cross (also with blue enamel) with pearls on the ends. On the back is Cyrillic script that I can't read, but I always get compliments whenever I wear it. Got it through my parish 9so I got a great discount on it) from

Sat Mar 10, 10:11:00 pm 2007  

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