Orthodox America

   Letters from Russia

Addressed to Orthodox Action in Australia:

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ!

Today I have a double feast: first of all, it is the Feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God, and second, I received your package. I have no words to express my gratitude for such a priceless gift for my soul and heart.

A bit about myself. Three years ago I became a widow. My husband was a wonderful man, kind and good. We lived together for thirty years. But then tragedy struck: we were in a car accident; my husband was killed immediately, but God spared me. While my husband was still alive I didn't think about religion; I had heard something from my grandmother, that there was a God, sin, but I didn't attach any meaning to this, although I did have my son and grandchildren baptized. When misfortune came, I murmured against God and began blaspheming Him...

Two years after my husband died I had to go to the hospital; in the same ward was a nun. We talked together about religion and she offered me a copy of the New Testament to read. At first I didn't understand anything, but it gave me the desire to go to church. I went, placed a candle for the repose of my husband's soul and for some reason began weeping, sobbing there in the church. Later I went again, and again, and there I met another nun (God grant her health!). I began asking her questions. She answered as best she could, explained and gave me a magazine with some prayers which I began to read. Then I bought myself a few icons which are sold in the church. And so, I began attending services regularly. Several times I confessed my sins and received Holy Communion. I took my son to church, his wife and my grandchildren. Last Sunday my son was married in the church. Now we all go to church. It's difficult for me: out of ignorance I make a lot of mistakes in church and therefore I am unspeakably thankful for the literature you sent.

I try as best I can (although I myself don't know very much) to explain things to those close to me and draw them to God. Of these, two adults (29 and 56 years old) have been baptized. I invited a priest to visit an elderly women; he has already confessed and communed her twice, and her daughter has begun singing in the choir...

Again, may I express my sincere thanks for the literature you sent, for your attention and response to my request. Not for any earthly price will I part with even one book; I shall only loan them to friends to read. When I die they shall be left to my children and grandchildren. May the Lord save you!