Yelan' Local Custom Tips by hunterV
Yelan' Local Customs: 12 reviews and 60 photos
During the evening liturgy
On October 8, on the eve of the Feast Day, there is an evening liturgy that starts at 4 p.m. and lasts until 8 p.m. and is then followed by dinner.
All pilgrims are invited to dinner in the church courtyard where they also get directed to their private lodgings in the village.
The cathedral dean Father Sergius provides pilgrims with transportation to their lodging as well.
A silver poplar in Yelan
There are several silver poplars (Populus alba) in the village, the majority of them are in the main street - School Street.
The locals explain that those trees were planted by schoolboys in Soviet times during the Plant-A-Tree campaign.
The poplars were planted in the Stalin era. In those times Joseph Stalin was often compared with a silver poplar: gray and huge. Alexander Vertinsky, the old Russian star, who returned to the Soviet Union after emigration wrote a song about Joseph Stalin in 1945. The poem was called "He" and it began with the words, “He is a bit gray like a silver poplar and is standing taking the salute…”
The poplars are huge and can be seen from afar.
During the liturgy @St.John the Evangelist church
The liturgy dedicated to St.John the Evangelist, the Great Disciple,
the Disciple of Love, lasts for about two hours and is followed by a cross procession around the church.
Father Sergiy conducts the service assisted by a number of priests and two nuns from a nearby nun's monastery.
St.John the Evangelist Church in Yelan
The local church celebrates the Feast Day of St.John the Evangelist
on October 9, on the day when the Great Disciple passed away.
St.John the Evangelist is revered here as the Disciple of Love.
On the eve of the Feast Day, on October 8, there is an evening liturgy starting at about 5 p.m.
There is a morning water-sanctifying liturgy at 8 a.m. followed by St.John the Evangelist's service on October 9 and a common church lunch for all pilgrims afterwards.
This feast day is celebrated in other churches in a different way.
This is a day of brotherhood and elevated emotions.
Saint John the Evangelist Feast Day
During a morning liturgy
On October 9 there is a morning liturgy that starts at about 8 a.m. Rostov time.
Three priests hold the liturgy that is followed by sanctifying the water.
The church choir accompanies the liturgy too.
Father Vladimir who had brought our pilgrim group from Luhansk was the chief priest at the morning liturgy.
The locals like this priest a lot.
The Quincentenary Oak
The Quincentenary Oak is called St.Paraskeva Friday's Oak.
It is located in the forest not far from the Russian-Ukrainian border.
There is an alder grove near the oak.
The oak is located on a hill and there is a holy well under it.
It's the place of pilgrimage of lots of Orthodox Christians in Russia and Ukraine.
We came there, drank the water from the well, filled our bottles and decided to use that opportunity to pour the holy water over ourselves.
Father Vladimir insisted and we took off our clothes to enable him to pour the water over our naked bodies.
The feeling was unforgettable.
The huge candle holder near the altar
As a pilgrim you are expected to do some obedience: bring water or furniture, prepare the church for the liturgy or wash up after the traditional feast day lunch.
I used to bring water each time I was in Yelan as pilgrim.
During my last pilgrimage in October 2010 I was entrusted with a very peculiar mission inside the church: to lower and raise the two huge candle holders that hang from the ceiling.
It doesn't matter if I have ever tried doing so.
I did my best and managed to cope with rthe task.
During a cross procession
The liturgy on the Feast Day, October 9, is followed by a cross procession around the church.
The priests pronounce special prayers and bless the parish with sanctified water.
The procession the stops at the entrance to the church for another segment of the prayer.
During a crusession
The church crusession cross is taken out of the church during a crusession.
I was surprised to see its back side.
Among Christian symbols it represents some village symbols.
Welcoming Father Sergiy
It has been a nice tradition in our villages and towns to meet dear guests with a round loaf of bread baked especially for this occasion, an embroidered towel and an icon.
Also, it can be a simple round loaf with salt. If you are welcomed with this one, help yourself to a piece of bread, soak it into salt and partake of it.
During our pilgrimage to Yelan in October 9, 2009 we saw the ceremony of welcoming Father Sergiy, the archpriest of the local church, who arrived from the village of Mozhayevka where he lives and serves in the local church. Father Sergiy guides the service of three churches in the neighborhood.
Before Father Sergiy had arrived I took a picture of the welcome loaf just in case.
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