In my childhood I knew grown ups that smuggled Bibles to Russia, they told tales of hold-ups, interrogations and people in prison. Russia seemed very far away. For 60 years this cathedral was repurposed as a pro-Marxist museum of religion and atheism. To believers it was still the home of Our Lady of Kazan, the most revered Russian Saint. To those in power it was a symbol that had to be crushed. It was neglected, the polluted air took its toll, it was not a beauty anymore.
Then in 1992 services was allowed again and four years later the church got it back. As a matter of fact all churches threw off their disguises as swimming pools, libraries, museums and ware houses and were given back to their congregations. Slowly they are even restored. When we visited Russia last fall, Saint Petersburg was like a box of jewels with the colors and spires of the churches all over town.
Does it matter? On a cultural level, of course it does, on a religious level? That’s not for me to say, I treasure the fact that there has been christians in Russia all through the Soviet era.
In a very small-scale I try to keep that picture with me these days, as there is so many things that should be done. I have had this feeling that I am too late, that irreparable damage has been done, that I have too much to do, that I have to run.
It is not true of course, it all has to do with things. To me the most important value, and the most difficult priority is to keep remembering this:
Only humans have eternal value
In theory it should make it easier, in reality I am still working on that, but I do not think I am too late anymore, I am just where I should be, now.