"In the Footsteps of Elder Philip" Yelan' by hunterV
Yelan' Travel Guide: 55 reviews and 307 photos
My friend Gregory and I revere our local saint Philip of Luhansk. We are parishioners of the Chapel of Philip of Luhansk.
Gregory used to visit Elder Philip of Luhansk at his home since 1936 and continued doing so until Elder Philip passed away in 1956.
Philip of Luhansk (1858-1956) lived in Luhansk and used to visit his friends in the village of Yelan. He stayed there many times and took part in the liturgy at St.John the Evangelist's Church here.
Since the name of Elder Philip is connected with Yelan, we decided to make a short pilgrimage to that village, to meet the local priest and to establish contacts with the local parish.
We got our priest's blessing for the pilgrimage and set out by a local train. It took us about two and a half hours to get to the end station called The 122nd Kilometer and one more hour to walk to the village church.
It turned out that one person who had met Philip of Luhansk in his lifetime was alive. It was Euphrossinia Bodrookhina. She lives in School Street. She was born in 1913. Elder Philip used to stay in her house too.
Yelan is a small village in Tarassovsky County of Rostov region.
It is located in the north-west of Rostov region, our Russian neighbor.
Yelan used to be a big Cossacks village in the twenties of the last century.
Now there are about fifty households with seventy local people living there in Upper Yelan and about the same number of residents in what they call Lower Yelan.
Also, there are dozens of seasonal residents, mostly people from neighboring towns and cities who come to Yelan to stay there over summer.
The total population of the village is about 130 residents.
Yelan seems to be a widespread name for a village. About twenty villages all over Russia bear the same name. I think the name implies a forest village since yeli means fir-trees.
The village of Yelan Rostov region is surrounded by pine-tree forests and has a big area and consists of two parts: Lower Yelan located closer to the railway station and Upper Yelan, the central part of the village, or, to be more precise, khutor. The locals stressed they were not a village, but a khutor. In fact, all the villages like Yelan are called khutor there.
When we hear khutor in Ukraine (khutir in Ukrainian), we imagine a single-homestead rural settlement, or a farmstead of Eastern Europe. The word itself came from Ukraine, but later was applied to farmsteads in Russia.
Historically, khutors were founded as a result of exploration of new lands by Cossacks. In the Cossack-settled regions of Ukraine, the Don area and the Cuban area the word khutor was used to describe new settlements, irrespective of the actual number of homesteads that had detached themselves from a bigger village or a stanitsa.
We were privileged to stay at the church hotel there - a century-old Cossack's house where, as we found out, Philip of Luhansk used to stay too.
We made friends with Lena, the active member of the church parish. Now she is our direct contact for further pilgrimages.
Also, we hired a local driver to visit the neighboring khutor of Mozhayevka and to meet Father Sergius, the cathedral dean.
We had very good impressions of our visit.
Our subsequent pilgrimages to Yelan took place on the church's Feast Day - St.John the Evangelist's Day on October 9. We were among dozens of other pilgrims from the nearby villages and towns of Rostov region as well as from Luhansk and Donetsk regions, Ukraine.
Map of Yelan
- Pros:Nice spring water, people's hospitality, great views, fresh air and tranquil atmosphere
- Cons:no gas heating (people use firewood), earth roads, you can't bathe in the pond (you could, at your own risk), no train/bus from Luhansk (to get there, you have to make a huge detour via the Russian customs)...)
- In a nutshell:A Hospitable Russian Khutor
There are two buses from Yelan: - the first one will take you to the county... more travel advice
The railway station market is open from 11 a.m. to noon when the train to Luhansk departs. The passengers who arrive... more travel advice
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