II. VIDEOS OF DIVINE SERVICES IN RUSSIA
As a companion and sequel to ST. INNOCENT/FIREBIRD Videos' very popular In a Russian Country Church video set (see #VE-2), these videos, showing typical weekend evening Divine Services, similarly enables the viewer to come about as close as possible, short of being there, to participating in the awesome worship experience of the Orthodox Church in Russia. In this video set, the same priest who served in the Russian Country Church now serves in Volgograd (previously called Stalingrad), a large, industrial city on the Volga River, at the Volgograd Diocesan Cathedral of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God (Kazanskii Kafedralnii Sobor). (The Kazan icon is shown on the video cover). Six priests and four deacons serve on Saturday evening; five priests and two deacons serve on Sunday evening. Whether in a Russian country church or in a big-city cathedral, the prayerful intensity and beauty of Orthodox worship if much the same -- awesome and overwhelming!
Again wishing to let the American people see the tremendous faith and spiritual worship of the Russian people, significant freedom of movement was allowed by the Dean of the Cathedral in the videotaping of the Divine Services. Thus, the camera moves around across the front of the church, enabling you to experience a sense of freshness and closeness -- of being in the middle of Orthodox worship in Russia (especially during the awesome Akathist), enhanced by many close-ups of the people, clergy, servers, singers and canters, such as a 7-year-old boy, who chants his heart out with a voice many times his size. All generations of men and women participate, including many youths and teenagers. The members of the main choir are all quite young and very excellent musicians; there is an auxiliary choir of older people with less training -- they are probably the remaining faithful servants of God who sang the Services during the Communist era.
The Services shown here are almost complete. The beautiful Saturday evening Vigil Service (Great Vespers and Matins) on Tape 1, in which the excellent full choir sings from the rear choir loft, is slightly edited -- down to 2 hours. In the 99% complete, magnificent service on Tape 2 (1½ hrs.), a smaller, but superb main choir sings Lesser Vespers up front, and the wonderful Akathist to Jesus Christ is served in the center of the people. Thus, you too, can be in the center of the prayerful worship, and can see the choir and the liturgical action up-close. After the Akathist, the Dean gives an inspiring sermon, shown here with English sub-titles. Be ready to be overwhelmed! Orthodox worship in Russia is anything but passive -- it is incredibly alive and vital, especially when people thunderously sing much of the Akathist and portions of the other services.