The Eastern Orthodox Church, the second largest Christian Church in the world, will celebrate Easter in May. But before that there are days of long fasting. Today we’ll look at the life of Russian priests who came to the northern Russian town of Tiksi as missionaries to sermonize, conduct Mass and hasten the construction of a new church.
Tiksi is a small town and seaport in the north of Russia. It faces the Laptev Sea. A Polar station and an observatory are located nearby. Navigation is possible for 3 months. It is very cold here in winters and not hot in summer (8 degrees Celsius). Frosts can be here 12 months a year.
It is time to get up.
There used to be a small church right in the flat. That time the bell was used.
It is almost 8 a.m. It is time to light up a furnace as the common prayer will start soon. It is still dark in the street and the moon is bright.
The firewood is in the furnace.
Now there is some time to get ready for giving service and check the mail and weather forecast. It is -37 degrees Celsius or -34.6 °F.
By 9 a.m. the sun is shining right in the window.
This car belongs to a student who will help to conduct Mass today.
It is fast to reach any place by car but in Tiksi one doesn’t have to go far to reach any places as the town is small. The car is used as it is difficult to walk in the snow.
The firemen are never asleep.
The Holy Father is lighting up oil lamps.
He is getting ready for prayers.
The first church people have come.
The preparation of the Eucharist bread and wine.
During Mass women were standing on the left.
Men were standing on the right.
There is no electricity here and priests use candles to read a prayer.
Now it is time for a sermon.
Due to the lack of the icon-stand first prayers are read and then priests and laypeople take the communion. As soon as the icon-stand is ready priests will make communion separately from other people as this is the common rule.
When Mass was over some people wanted the priest to answer the questions they had and give them a piece of advice. This Book of Psalms in the picture is written in the Yakutsk language.
The Mass is over. It is time to buy bearings for an off-roader as it is too much snow here to use a regular car. This is a construction site. A new church will be built here soon.
The bearings and other useful spare parts can be bought in the shop. They also use firewood to make it warm.
If there is no what you need to buy here you can go to another place that embraces a hotel, court, museum, shops and even a voting station. All in one place.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to buy anything you want here.
Local guys are invited for tea.
The youth is presented with candies and asked to eat them instead of having bear.
The tasty food can’t be eaten now as it is time for fasting. The cheese costs 450 RUB or 14,2 US dollars. The prices are rather high here.
Going back home as the shopping is done.
This is what the sea port of Tiksi looks like from the sea.
The sun and frost are unusual for the places. Snowstorms are found more frequently.
The people are enjoying the nice weather and fish somehow in spite of the fact that the snow is 2,5 meters deep.
The military reservation.
Some houses are abandoned and look like this.
An old church is in the nearby village. There is going to be Mass in the evening.
The food can be taken during fasting – bread and sunflower oil.
The missionaries are awaken.
Salty fish for dinner.
Traditional tea after dinner.
Reading a report about the expedition aloud.
The Mass is about to get started.
It is far from being dark at 6 p.m.
It is very warm inside the church. Not many people attend Mass on working days. On Sundays there are about 20 people with children which is a normal thing here.
The New Testament is read in the Russian language. There is much light here and no candles are needed.
Officers and pilots stay to talk after the Mass.
Watching news in the evening.
Salty fish and mushrooms for dinner.
And a cup of tea.
Religious reading before going to sleep. It is about Metropolitan Innokentiy who inlightened the people of the Eastern Siberia and Yakutia as well.
It is high time to go to bed now. Another frosty day of the missionary service is about to come.