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St Petersburg and Moscow

Sister Iraida with Igor and Tim

Sister Iraida with Igor and Tim
in a park near Iraida’s flat in St Petersburg

On a fine autumn day, Iain MacDonald and Tim Collard from Britain and Igor Podgaisky from Moscow arrived in the ‘northern capital’ of Russia, the city of St Petersburg, in order to visit brothers and sisters there. The weather was splendid for all three days that we were there: the sun was shining. The locals were astonished and said that for the three previous weeks the weather had been rainy and bleak, as is normal in that area.

Our chosen accommodation was one of the hostels in the centre of St Petersburg. The hotels in the city are quite expensive, even in the low season, and we really didn’t want to burden any of the brothers and sisters. So hostels provide a wonderful alternative for the budget traveller. Our hostel was situated right behind Kazansky Cathedral, 100 metres from Nevsky Prospekt and 200 metres from the metro station of the same name, which was very convenient and allowed us to get around the city quickly.

Meetings in St Petersburg take place at Sister Iraida’s home. We arrived at a metro station at the time we had agreed, and Sister Iraida kindly came to meet us there so that we wouldn’t have to wander around the city searching for her flat, and she led us to her home. A little bit later the others arrived too. Another old sister, Lyudmila, who has always looked after us during previous visits, wasn’t able to come to this meeting owing to family circumstances, but we visited her later. Also Sister Natasha, who was not able to be present at the meetings because of night shifts at work, met with us one evening in the city centre.

Two days flew by. We used every opportunity to study the Scriptures, to listen to splendid studies that the brothers had prepared, and to remember the death and resurrection of our Lord in the symbols of bread and wine; and the rest of our time was spent enjoying our hosts’ hospitality.

Warmth in the countryside

After St Petersburg we decided to visit a little village in the Tver region where Sister Nina lives in isolation from other brothers and sisters. Whilst visiting her, we also saw Brother Gennady, who was staying with her at the time. Our meeting took place in a pleasant and cosy setting. The weather outside was already quite cold, and the heating in the blocks of flats in towns had not yet been turned on; but here in the village a stove was keeping the home warm. After we’d read the Bible, broken bread, answered numerous questions about the Bible, and had a bite to eat, we resumed our journey. Our route now led to the capital, where there were also brothers and sisters waiting for us for spiritual fellowship.

Hot debates in Moscow

In Moscow we decided to book a room in a business centre for a couple of days, in order to meet with brothers and sisters and students doing Bible courses. We met those who didn’t know how to get to the business centre near a metro station at 10 o’clock on Sunday morning, and then we made our way there together. The brothers and sisters were encouraged by our visit, being fed with spiritual food and exhortation. Very many questions and hot debates arose after every chapter that we read from the Scriptures. After the Breaking of Bread our prayers were addressed to the Creator about all the problems which face our brothers and sisters in this troubled world. But especially we prayed for Sister Tamara and her nephew, who was in hospital.

In the evening we visited Brother Emmanuel, who wasn’t able to come to the meeting because he was at work.
Our second day in Moscow was devoted to meeting people who are still just learning about the Bible, online through the Internet or by correspondence course. But a bit later it was very good to see Brother Stas and Sister Ksenya from Tomsk, who were passing through Moscow on that day and were able to meet up with us.

The next two days we planned to visit brothers and sisters who live in the area and who for various reasons are not able to come to Christadelphian gatherings. On Tuesday, Sister Marina, as always, received us warmly into her home. And we visited Brother Vasily on Wednesday morning, shortly before Iain and Tim had to go to the airport.

In general I would say that our trip was a success. God willing, His light-stands in this country will not fade, but will continue to throw light on to the path, so that ever more people will come to their light, and will turn and have faith in the Lord. But our prayer will always be that the Lord Jesus Christ will keep us and will soon return to the earth to establish His Kingdom here.

Igor Podgaisky
from 'The Bible Missionary', no. 199, January 2010

Information about Russia