An article published in Rus Derzhavnaya a Russian
nationalist newspaper on December 6, illustrates
how rapidly, and negatively, things are changing
in the Orthodox Church in Russia.
In this article, Father Vsevolod Chaplin,
chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s
department on church and society relations,
refers to the destructive influence of the
Western perspective on “Russian” theology. He
||“Some people might not
like what I have to say, but I’m convinced that
the time has come to overcome the ‘Parisian
captivity’ of Russian theology, and look with a
fresh eye at the proportion of those tendencies
in the Russian, Ukrainian and Belorussian
Orthodox intellectual and cultural sphere that
were initiated by the theological diaspora of the
20th century, and that tradition that arose in
Orthodox countries when they have been living in
freedom, when they were not conforming to the
dominant Western milieu, nor to totalitarian
Fr. Chaplin cites “Parisian captivity”
without realizing that the Western theologians
who migrated from Russia, to Paris and to the
United States for political reasons, were
considering the universal aspects of Orthodoxy,
regardless of national boundaries. Their writings
address the timeless truths of Orthodox theology,
making them more than just relevant to present
He goes on to speak of the importance of the new
martyrs, those who died for their faith in the
Soviet era, as a model for creating a new
theological self-identity for Russians. That
latter thought, of course, is noble, and
hopefully it will be achieved.
What is disturbing in this article, when the
official image of the Russian Orthodox Church is
associated with close ties to the state and
condemnation of the West, is the attack on emigre
Orthodox heritage. It is an implicit attack on
the work of such priests as Father Alexander
Schmemann and Father John Meyendorff, who carried
on a tradition of Orthodox theology that in
varying and important ways, is both thoughtful
and accessible to you and me, to us, both in
Russia and in the West, bringing many people to
the knowledge of Orthodox faith.
Through the efforts of Religious books
for Russia the works of Father Alexander
and Father John reached Russia already in the
Soviet era, smuggled in by visitors, and passed
around as precious tamizdat, bringing the
theology, the study of God, to a land that was
still under Soviet atheist rule.
Today, when Russia’s rulers promote the
Orthodox Church, and new churches are being built
across the country, the Word of God, and the
study of God, is needed as much as ever to
counteract the new official view of Orthodoxy as
a useful ideology and magical solution to public
and private ills.
Through RBR, and with the help
of your generous donations, books by Father
Schmemann and Father Meyendorff are being sent to
places that would most likely never have seen
them otherwise. In Moscow, with its cafes,
bookstores and smartphones, a theology book is
just a click away, the cost of a cappuccino and a
piece of cake. In poor villages, those several
hundred rubles, $10 or less, are a fortune.
It is your help which just recently made it
possible to send over 50 books to the Gavrilovsky
Village Library in the village of Gavrilovka in
the distant Tambov region. Those included books
by Father Schmemann and Father Meyendorff,
Metropolitan Anthony Bloom and Father Sergei
Hakkel. It is again your help that made it
possible for other villages in many other remote
regions of Russia to receive similar gifts from RBR,
over 2000 books in the recent months.
$100 is enough to provide a village
library with years of spiritual sustenance.
Please consider a donation today!
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Let us do
our part to rebuild Russia...
into a country that will stop destroying itself.
Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!
On the night of May 5 to May 6, right after
Pascha, one of Russia’s most historic churches
burned down. The Church of the Intercession and
bell tower in Lyadiny in Russia’s Arkhangelsk
region, was struck by lightning, which some
interpreted as a sign of divine retribution.
After the fire, many spoke of the futile battle
to save Russia’s architectural and spiritual
monuments, which have been ravaged both by
communist persecution and the uncertainty of the
At first glance, Russia today appears to be
flooded with Russian Orthodox literature, sold
not only in churches and bookstores, but in
subway stations and supermarkets. But it quickly
becomes apparent, that many of the books are more
about superficial fundamentalism and superstition
It is easy to despair, but let us, in the light
and hope of Christ’s Resurrection, focus on the
many good things that are happening in Russia,
and on our ability, with God’s help, to support
Russians in their continuing struggle to overcome
decades of oppression and the current confusion
about the role of Orthodoxy in Russian society.
The church in Lyadiny might be lost, but let us
do our part to rebuild Russia on a firmer
foundation, into a country that will stop
In the Soviet era, RBR provided prayer books and
Bibles to Soviet believers through the efforts of
courageous visitors to Russia. Now it sends out
to churches, libraries and prisons across the
country, works by Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Fr.
Thomas Hopko, Sophie Koulomzin, and other leading
emigre theologians, classics of twentieth century
Fr. Schmemann’s books have become very popular
and much discussed in Russia in recent years, but
they can be hard to find outside of Moscow.
Thanks to your generous contributions, RBR
is able to send books to forlorn places like the
city of Kambarka in the Republic
of Udmurtiya, the village of Aban
in the Krasnoyarsk region, the village Bagan
in the Novosibirsk region, places far away from
Lena Dorman and Dmitri Petrov, RBR’s
representatives in Moscow, work with several
organizations to help distribute books to as
broad an audience as possible, including regular
mailings to seminaries and libraries, and
prisons. A special effort is made to reach out to
some of the most deprived people in Russia.
and Holy Thursday, during the Twelve Gospels, we
sing of the Wise Thief who did not turn away from
Christ on the Cross. Let us not turn away from
those in Russia who so need our help!
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marked the 10th anniversary of Sophie
Koulomzin s death in 2000 at the age of 96,
but her life and spirit as an Orthodox Christian
educator lives on in the vital work of Religious
Books for Russia, which you so generously
RBR s president for over 20 years,
from 1979 until her death in 2000, she made it
possible for countless believers in Russia to
receive Bibles and prayer books smuggled into the
Soviet Union when it was an officially atheist
her memoir Many Worlds: A Russian Life,
Sophie Koulomzin recalls her first journey back
to Russia then the Soviet Union -- in 1970.
I had again come briefly in touch with life there
and suddenly I realized that there was no
absolute break, no complete separation,'' she
wrote. ''My life, my own life, such as it was,
came easily in touch with the flow of life that
went on in Russia. I was together with Russia in
the life of the Church, I was together with Russia
in the search for spiritual values that is going
her books for the religious instruction of
children, such as Zakon Bozhii
(God s Word) , Nasha Tserkov i
Nashy Deti , (Our Church and our
Children), as well as the works of Fr. Alexander
Schmemann, Fr. John Meyendorff and Metropolitan
Anthony Bloom, whose families also fled the
Bolshevik Revolution, are published in Russia and
distributed throughout the country by RBR.
while a small part of Russian society appears to
bask in immeasurable material wealth, for others
yearning for spiritual sustenance, a book is a
writings of Sophie Koulomzin, Fr. Schmemann, Fr.
Meyendorff , and Metropolitan Anthony bear
witness to the importance of the decades of
witness to Christ by Russian emigrés who did not
forget or reject their native land even as they
put down deep roots in the West -- and they
reaffirm the importance of your contributions to RBR
s mission today.
the devoted efforts of RBR s Moscow
representative Elena Dorman and the assistance of
Dmitry Petrov their books are sent to seminaries,
parishes, clergy and lay people who request them,
and RBR is continuing its efforts to
directly provide all of Russia s seminary
libraries with their books as well as secular
state libraries in regions across the country. Many
libraries now have departments devoted to
religion and to emigré literatures, as Russia
seeks to recover what was lost over 70 years of
official efforts to destroy the Russian Orthodox
journey comes full circle in a letter Elena
Dorman received recently from a teacher at the Interdiocesan
Orthodox Theological School in Smolenskwho had
come across the two-volume edition of Fr.
Alexander Schmemann stalks on Radio Liberty.
I read these two volumes and don t want to
let it out of my hands! she writes.
But I must return it to the library& I
don t know if I have the right to ask you
to send it to me as well for I am a private
individual, but& I dare to ask you& I
didn t know that there is such an
organization called Religious Books for
Russia. May God help you! Thank you again and
to your generous help, RBR has been able
to send books to the theological school in Smolenskand
to believers across Russiawho would not have had
been able to read them otherwise. We ask for
your help in continuing RBR s work
and this spiritual journey that has helped so
many people find a deeper understanding of Christ
and Orthodoxy as Russiacontinues its long journey
to true freedom.
is currently preparing to mail a set of six books
by Metropolitan Anthony, who represented the
Moscow Patriarchate in Great Britain and was
revered in Russiaand abroad, to the multitude of
Seminaries across Russia.
contribution of $100 can provide one seminary
with a full set of these important books.
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of the most miraculous things about the mission
of Religious Books for Russia is how so
little can stretch so far.
the miracle of the loaves and fishes, Christ fed
a crowd of 5,000 people with five loaves and two
fishes. A donation of $25 or $100 to RBR
can turn into something miraculous, something
much greater and more precious, as we see in
recent letters of thanks from libraries, diocese,
seminaries, and clergy from across Russia who
have received the Word of Christ's Good News
through works by Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Metropolitan
Anthony Bloom, Sophie Koulomzin, Fr.
John Meyendorff, Fr. Thomas Hopko and
other important theologians and educators of the
many ways these letters of thanks and stories of
how these books have reached the distant edges of
Russia and even spread far beyond are like Gospel
stories. They are stories of the struggle for
redemption and the promise of the Resurrection in
Russia, where for so many decades religion was
persecuted, where complicated conditions and very
divergent standards of living across the country
mean that ready access to spiritual sustenance in
the form of high-quality religious literature is
still far from a given.
will supply a seminary or diocesan library with a
set of eight books. RBR is now also
donating to seminary libraries the 895 page
"Collection of Articles of Fr. Alexander
Schmemann," which was published in
Russia last year.
August, Igumen Innokenty, the secretary of the
Birobidzhan diocesan administration, wrote to RBR's
Moscow representative, Helen Dorman, to let her
know about the religious education outreach
efforts of Bishop Iosif, leader of the diocese,
and how valuable RBR's contribution is
devotes great attention to equipping the library
and filling its collection, since it has become
popular among the poor people of our diocese.
Truth be told, such poor people make up the
majority. The Jewish Autonomous Region lives on
subsidies from the federal budget since there
aren't any major factories or enterprises on the
territory of the region and we survive as best we
Igor Terentiev, RBR's grateful recipient
in the Magadan region, wrote to Lena again
recently to tell about the difficulties of life
there and the great need that is filled by the
books that she sends on behalf of RBR:
one of the biggest problems is religious
literature," he writes. "If in
Magadan it is accessible and there is more or
less of a choice, it reaches villages in smaller
amounts and there is not possibility of acquiring
it for parishes due to its high cost."
Igor, who serves five villages spread over 300
kilometers, tries to order some books through the
Internet, but due to the delivery distances, it
becomes prohibitively expensive.
to RBR, he writes:
have received the opportunity to supply the
Sunday Schools for children in two villages with
[Sophia Koulomzin's] "Zakon Bozhii" and
children's prayer books, and in the town of
Susman we have supplied Fr. Thomas Hopko's
"Osnovy Pravoslavie" for the adults who
of our board members was recently in Cyprus and
visited a Russian parish in Limassol famous for
helping unfortunate women from the former Soviet
Union trapped in the cruel sex trade. Among the
books on display in the church are works by Sophie
Koulomzin, brought from Moscow to Cyprus by
Fr. Viktor, the parish's Russian priest.
love these books," said Fr. Viktor,
breaking into a smile. "Whenever we go to
Moscow we try to get her books."
generous contributions have made possible the
remarkable journey of these books, from Magadan
to Cyprus and underscored the reach, far beyond
physical borders of Russia, as it works with your
invaluable help, to spread the Word of Christ.
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is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!
Christian Holy Week coincided this year with a
milestone in the world s popular culture:
Susan Boyle, a previously unknown woman from a
small village in Wales performed on a British
talent search television show. Her performance
became one of the most-watched videos ever on
YouTube. In spite of the cruelly superficial
expectations because of her appearance, through
globalization and technology, the unexpected
beauty of her voice became the triumph of a dream
through the same globalization and technology,
the beauty of God s grace and of simple
human contact, is bringing unexpected light to
the darkest corners of the vast Russian land.
Recently, Lena Dorman, RBR s
representative in Moscow, sent a shipment of
books to Corrective Colony No. 7, a high security
prison outside the city of Novgorod. The prison
has over 1100 inmates, nearly half of them
incarcerated for murder. It could be a hopeless
place. But thanks to the prison s
energetic director, Vladimir Karagodin, and
Archbishop Lev of Novgorod, the prison has a
wooden church, built by the prisoners themselves,
and the church has a small library. Now their
library has books by Fr. Schmemann and Fr. Hopko,
and there is a small corner of light in
Corrective Colony No. 7!
vital support for RBR s work has also
made it possible for us to enter into an exciting
new program of cooperation with the Sts. Cyril
and Methodious Charitable Library Fund, a
division of the Department of Religious Education
and Catechization of the Moscow Patriarchate,
which sends books everywhere from Sunday schools
to village libraries. The Fund has requested RBR
s books for distribution, underscoring their
importance to Russia:
Many years are needed for theological thought,
and likewise the catechetical mission of the
Church, which was not able to develop in Soviet
times to attain a worthy arsenal, including
books, in which our spiritually afflicted fellow
countrymen would learn of the Church and its
Svetlana Rudneva of the Fund in her letter to RBR.
donation of $100 will send out 75 books
Dorman was also instrumental in organizing a
conference devoted to Fr. Schmemann s legacy
at the Yuriev Monastery, one of the landmarks of
medieval Novgorod. It would have been
impossible to imagine, just several years ago, a
conference devoted to Fr. Schmemann, who was
regarded by some in the Russian Orthodox Church
as a subversive liberal. Now, his works, and
those of other émigré theologians are regarded
as a living heritage vital both to the Russian
church and to Russian society.
has already been able to supply all of the
seminaries and theological academies of the
Russian Orthodox Church with copies of the
Diaries, and we have started distributing a new,
very comprehensive and expensive volume of Fr.
Schmemann s works, a collection of all of
donation of $150 will send the new book to 12
continues its cooperation with the Russian State
Library of Foreign Literature in sending books to
regional and municipal libraries across Russia.
donation of $200 will supply 15 libraries
your help RBR is bringing the light of
Christ into both bright and dark corners of a
country that is still struggling to overcome the
long-term effects of 70 years of atheism and is
now dealing with the impact of a financial
crisis. This financial crisis has stricken
Russia harder than most other countries,
particularly in the distant Russian provinces.
Life there is more difficult than ever, making
the light of RBR s books all the more
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We are living in interesting times, of
tense relations between Russian and the United States and
financial hardship around the world. It is in times like
this that many people turn to their faith in God to carry
them through trials and tribulations.
It is also in times like this that we
should remember how little it takes to do a world of
good, as your donations to Religious Books for Russia's
mission of delivering Orthodox books by such great
theologians as Fr. Alexander Schmemann and Fr.
John Meyendorff have shown time and again.
One of the places to which RBR is
now sending books is Kolyma, in the depths of the
northeastern Siberian region of Magadan, near the Arctic.
In Russian, the name is a synonym for hell, immortalized
in the works of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Yevgenia Ginzburg
and Varlaam Shalamov as the most brutal place in the
We must thank God that the days of the
Gulag are over and people can live there in peace, but
life there is still extremely difficult, as Father Igor
Terentiev, one of three priests each serving several
parishes on a territory spread over hundreds of square
miles, writes in a letter to Lena Dorman, RBR's
Moscow representative, who has been supplying him with
books for which he is endlessly grateful:
"Thank you for the books! Here on
the edge of the country it is indeed difficult to find
the books one needs," he writes, and says that
people in Magadan feel so cut off they refer to the rest
of Russia as "the mainland."
"Of course there are no
[concentration] camps here now," he continues,
but the government's promises to improve life have not
materialized. "Unless there is some kind of
stabilization, the prospects are not rosy."
Your donations were able to bring him, and
his flock, much-needed joy and spiritual sustenance. We
have also sent him something of which he was dreaming as
he traveled the rough roads of Kolyma to serve his
far-flung parishes: a complete DVD set of the sermons of
Metropolitan Anthony Bloom.
Father Igor's story is one of countless
heartwarming stories that are the results of RBR's
work, made possible by your generous donations. In times
like this, we need to make an even greater effort to help
those in Kolyma and across Russia have access to the
religious books we sometimes take for granted because
they are so easy for us to acquire.
Only the major cities have enjoyed the full
fruits of Russia's economic boom of recent years. Life
remained hard in the provinces, and it will only get
Your gracious donations have enabled us
to complete the distribution of books to 585 State
Regional Libraries. We now plan to continue this
distribution to all the far flung local libraries.
Your donations are essential at this
$200 will supply 15 libraries in towns
that otherwise would have little or no access at all to
books by Father Schmemann, Father Meyendorff, Father
Thomas Hopko, Father John Breck and Sophie Koulomzin.
$100 will provide a parish with 30
books. There that we could help with your generous
donation. There are so many incredible people and
believers like Fr. Terentiev that we could help with your
$35 will send 10 books to a seminary.
Please be as generous as you can so we
can help them all!
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Christ is risen! Indeed He is risen!
Try to imagine what Pascha was like in a Soviet hospital
as little as twenty years ago. It was still illegal for
the Church to conduct any charity work and priests could
not carry out one of the most vital parts of their
vocation: they could not minister to the sick and dying,
to those thirsting for both physical and spiritual
We've all heard horrible tales of medical care in russia,
but we don't hear enough about changes for the better.
The russian Orthodox Church is now playing an active role
in the medical system, even running some hospitals and
training syostry miloserdie or "sisters of
mercy," a term that was banned in Soviet times and
replaced by the utilitarian medsestra, or
Doctors across russia are now able to work together to
apply Orthodox Christian principles to medical care in a
changing world. Associations of Orthodox Doctors have
been created in all 67 dioceses of the russian Orthodox
And now, thanks to your generous donations, religious
Books for russia is part of this exciting transformation
in the russian medical system. Your contributions have
made it possible for our devoted Moscow representatives,
Elena Dorman and Dmitry Petrov, to supply all 67 of the
country's local Associations of Orthodox Doctors with
copies of Fr. John Breck's "The
Sacred Gift of Life."
As a letter received by Elena from Archbishop Mark of
Khabarovsk and Priamurye in the russian Far East
testifies, there is a great need for additional copies of
Fr. Breck's book.
In Khabarovsk, there is a medical university, a
medical school and an Orthodox sisterhood. Most
importantly, three years ago the Khabarovsk Theological
Seminary was opened, at which the future pastors of the
Far East, the Transbaikal region and Yakutia are trained.
The seminary has a capacity of 150 students, with 30
people in each year. We think this book is of interest in
educating and establishing future pastors.
We ask you, if possible, to send as many copies of "The
Sacred Gift of Life" for the use
of the Khabarovsk diocese and of the Khabarovsk
Theological Seminary as you see fit.
Unfortunately, we have no copies of the book left! We can
purchase them, but we need your help to do so. We
need your help to grant his request. Your
donation of $100 can supply an entire diocese with enough
copies of Fr. Breck's "Sacred
Gift of Life," to immeasurably enrich the
vocation of doctors and pastors. remember, there are 67
dioceses in russia, and we have started to help all of
them, but all of them have medical school, hospitals and
seminaries in need of more copies of "Sacred
Gift of Life." With your generous donations
we can continue to help all of them!
In fact, our Moscow Representative has asked to purchase
2200 of various titles, to meet her requests. Please help
us to make this possible!
Your contributions are already making it possible to
continue one of our most ambitious on going projects,
supplying every library in russia with books by Fr.
Alexander Schmemann, Fr. John Meyendorff, Sophie
Koulomzin and Fr. Thomas Hopko.
So far we have supplied 585 libraries from Belgorod near
the Ukrainian border, to Novosibirsk, in the heart of
Siberia. We are heartened and humbled by the letters of
thanks that Elena Dorman has received and by your
generous contributions, which will bring these books to
all 3000 libraries in russia. N.P. Fomina, director of
acquisitions of the Altai regional Universal Library
The Aquisitions department of the library expresses
profound thanks forthe religious literature you have sent
to supplement our collection& We wish you success in
your work on spreading the spiritual heritage of russia
and we hope to continue our cooperation with you.
With your generous financial contribution you can make
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Lake Baikal is one of the most beautiful
places in the world, where the beauty and purity of
nature speak of the mystery of God's Creation. It is also
one of the most recent points across Russia's huge
expanse to which your donations have enabled Religious
Books for Russia to deliver much-needed books.
Thanks to you, the church and library in the village of Khuzir,
on a small island in Lake Baikal, now have copies of Fr.
Alexander Schmemann's "The Eucharist,"
Sophie Koulomzin's "Stories
About Saints," and Fr. John
Meyendorff's "Living Tradition,"
to name just a few. Our mailing also included Fr.
Schmemann's "Diaries," which
continues to be a bestseller in Moscow but is impossible
to buy in such a distant village as Khuzir.
These books truly ended up there by God's Providence. One
of the residents of Khuzir, Sergei Yermeyev, is a
graduate of St. Sergius Theological Institute in Paris.
Elizabeth Lopukhin, the daughter of Sophie Koulomzin
visiting Baikal this past July with her family, learned
not only that Baikal is a very big lake, but also that
the world truly is very small. Completely by chance, they
met Sergei and learned that he has returned to Russia and
is helping the revival of Orthodoxy by building a church
in Khuzir. Now you too have made a vital contribution
with this donation of books!
Our next project is a targeted distribution of Fr.
John Breck's "The Sacred Gift of Life"
to Orthodox doctors. Associations of Orthodox
Doctors now exist across Russia. They are vital
in bringing mercy and compassion to a medical system more
often known for its shortages and harshness. With your
help we can reach out to these doctors who are doing
Your support is needed more than
ever to get started on this new project.
We continue receiving letters from dioceses and
seminaries. From Kemerovo, a
hardscrabble mining center in Western Siberia,
Bishop Aristarkh of Kemerovo and Novokuznetsk writes.
"They are a treasure of spiritual literature and
will be sent to libraries and educational institutions of
the Kemerovo and Novokuznetsk Dioceses ...We ask you to
send an additional 10-20 copies of Metropolitan Antony's
"Pastirstvo" for the Novokuznetsk Theological
From Buryatia, a republic of the Russian
Federation located in the Lake Baikal region, with a
large native Buddhist population and known for its
datsans, or Buddhist monasteries, the acquisitions
department director of the State University
Research Library writes.
"We express our great thanks to you for your
gift of books. At present, representatives of over 110
nationalities belonging to the major religions live on
the territory of Buryatia... Studying and understanding
the spiritual experience of our forefathers has become a
pressing need in our time."
$200 is enough to supply 15 libraries.
$100 will send "The Sacred Gift of Life" to 30
$35 can supply a seminary with 10 books!
Please be generous!
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Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!
This year's early Easter was celebrated under swirling
snow in Russia, but as always the joy of Christ's
Resurrection brings news of a spiritual awakening.
Thanks to your generous donations, Religious Books for
Russia continues its mission of bringing much-needed
works of such leading theologians of the Orthodox Church
in America as the late Father Alexander Schmemann
and Father John Meyendorff to libraries
and seminaries across the former Soviet Union.
Your donations have made it possible to expand RBR's
distribution network through a growing
partnership with Moscow's State Library for
Foreign Literature. The library has embarked on
a new round of mailings for RBR. Five
hundred libraries across Russia will receive a set of
four RBR books. Your donation of
$100 provides for five libraries!
Yekaterina Genieva, the director of the Foreign
Literature Library has also introduced us to an exciting
new initiative. Thanks to the library's new partnership
with the Kursk Oblast, a region of south
central Russia near the Ukrainian border, RBR
will be providing sets of books to hundreds of libraries
across Kursk. This will be RBR's first
effort to fully cover a single region, made possible by
your generosity. It is very appropriate that this region
is Kursk, which was the birthplace of St. Seraphim of
Sarov, one of the most beloved of Russian saints, who
greeted everyone in all seasons with the words "Christ
Even as RBR increases its outreach to
secular libraries, the drive to supply spiritual
libraries continues at full force. Letters
continue to flow in from towns large and small, thanking RBR
and its Moscow staff, Lena Dorman and Dimitry Petrov, for
their distribution efforts and asking for more books.
A letter from the Smolensk Theological Seminary indicates
that even in a city that is an important center of the
Russian Orthodox Church, funds are short:
"Your help is especially important for our
school since our limited means do not always allow us to
supply our library collection with the necessary
Even as we launch into such a big, new project, we would
like you to know that RBR's mission of
serving anyone who requests our literature continues.
Books continue to be sent to parishes, lay organizations
and individuals who find out about RBR
or are found by RBR.
In one of the most touching requests, made just before
this appeal was sent out, the charities department of the
Moscow Patriarchate requested a donation of children's
literature from RBR for the Children of
Chernobyl. These are the children of people who were
resettled from the zone around the Chernobyl nuclear
power plant disaster, the 20th anniversary of which was
marked on April 26, and the scientists and rescue workers
who risked their lives to alleviate as much as possible
its horrifying consequences. Many children born even
years after the Chernobyl disaster are victims of the
deadly radiation. Dmitry Petrov, RBR's
devoted Moscow volunteer, delivered 150 books by Sophie
Koulomzin for distribution to these innocent victims of
one of the greatest disasters in history.
All of these projects, big and small, are an integral
part of RBR's work in Russia, and none
of them would be possible without your help.
Please be generous and send us your check today !
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To us in America, obtaining books by Fr. Alexander
Schmemann, Fr. John Meyendorff, Fr. John Breck and Sophie
Koulomzin, seems like the easiest thing in the world.
They are in our parish library, or we click on the Saint
Vladimir's Seminary or Amazon.com Web sites, punch in our
credit cards and the books we want are in our hands
Russia has transformed miraculously from Soviet atheism,
when such books were illegal, to a point where books by
these leading Orthodox religious thinkers are published
"The Diaries of Fr. Alexander Schmemann"
are the sensation of the literary season. Lena Dorman,
Religious Books for Russia's Moscow representative,
edited the Russian edition. The diaries' success has
stoked demand for Fr. Alexander's books.
In Russia today, however, it is often complicated to
obtain them. Moscow is full of luxury items, such as $600
shoes, but in the provinces, in Siberia's far corners and
even in towns such as Tver, just a few hours drive from
Moscow, spiritual hunger is exacerbated by logistical
problems. Credit cards are for now a prerogative of the
rich and while the Internet is available across the
country, Amazon.com as we know it is for now but a dream
Think of Religious Books for Russia as a
kind of Amazon.com in reverse.
This spring, your generous contributions to Religious
Books for Russia funded a targeted mailing to
libraries across Russia.
We worked with Moscow's State Library for Foreign
Literature to mail sets of four books to the main
regional libraries across Russia, from Kaliningrad to
Vladivostok, 11 time zones away!
Although these libraries are the best in their regions,
they are often critically short of funds. Such books are
a luxury to them, but we would like to change that. Your
contributions funded an invaluable addition to their
catalogue. Now readers can borrow from state libraries,
books that were banned in the atheist Soviet state.
Lena Dorman received the following letter from the Tver
"The Tver Regional Library thanks you for your
gift of books. We do not have these books in our
collections," writes one of the chief
librarians, Lyubov Ivanova. "and the books you
have are valuable for research and will be located in the
reading room. If you are able to send one more copy each
of the books of Meyendorff, Schmemann and Breck, we will
be able to make them available for readers to take home."
Of course we sent them the books. Thanks to Religious
Books for Russia thanks to you! these
books can now be checked out of Russian libraries.
For over 25 years, your support has been essential to
getting books to believers in Russia.
Your support is as essential as ever. The possibilities
and need for expanding the target audience of Religious
Books for Russia are greater than ever.
With your help, your contributions, we sent vital books
to 89 libraries across Russia, to places that Amazon.com
can only dream of.
Our goal is to send these books to all 3000 of
these libraries! Your donation of $100 will supply 5
libraries, each with a set of four books.
Thank you for your contribution to Religious Books for
We look forward to your generous support now and
in the future!
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