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Russian House “Rodina” Across the Years
“Rodina” was opened at May
2012, being a legitimate
high-principled heir to the Russian-American Welfare Society “Rodina”
in the 1950s.
It all began in the
It’s interesting to note that not far away from
The settlers gradually cleared the virgin lands, built their houses and founded small villages giving them their family names or names of events with which they connected the place. Most often the main income of the immigrants came from farming and, in particular, from raising chickens.
In the 1930s a group of Russian settlers (18 persons), the majority of whom were Cossacks, decided to form a Church community. Among the founders were: L.A.Sinkler, V.V.Pozhidaev, P.K.Grigorovich-Barsky, V.M.Azhoghin, V.G.Grekov, V.T.Yuritsyn, E.E.Bobrovnichy and others.
The first contribution to the church
construction fund in the amount of 500 dollars was made by Dr.
poor families managed to collect 200 dollars more and with these meager
started to build the chapel initially and then (in 1938) the church itself. The
layout of the chapel was designed by V. Zavalishin who took into
further restructuring as a church. The stoic endeavors of the “Russian”
In the years to come the parish grew by leaps and bounds. In 1938 the church was enlarged for the first time and in 1948 it was enlarged for the second time. The Great Consecration was performed, as was done previously, by Archbishop Vitaly Maksimenko. Subsequently, the church was enlarged twice more and finally acquired the appearance that we see nowadays, but under another name. The parish was growing too, as well as that of its social life. The construction activity went on and in 1940 the dedicated parish house was completed and it was used for such cultural and charitable institutions as association of sisterhood, drama circle, library, department of aid to children in emigration, Russian invalids’ aid representation office, department of Russian-American union for the Soviet Union refugees protection and help, Foundation for the DP aid in America, Vladimir Society bureau, anticommunist center bureau etc.
On the September 12, 1989, on St. Alexander
Nevsky feast day, the foundation for the new
After the Great consecration of the new St.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the old church, with the blessing of the
Hierarchal Synod, was renamed in honor of the icon of Our Lady of
icon is known in the parish as “The Royal” because once it belonged to
Alexandra Feodorovna of
From the very beginning the parish paid great attention to the education and upbringing of children. The first 12 students started regular attendance at classes in the parish school in November 1941. Initially the lessons were held in the parish house, but by 1961 a school was built for 5 classes and in 1973 a school building for 10 classes was commissioned. The number of pupils totalled 120 children. The school exists to the present day and is open once a week on Saturdays. The following school subjects are taught: Law of God (Catechism), the Russian language, Russian literature, Russian history, geography as well as music and choreography. But most importantly, the children are taught the spirit of the Orthodox brotherhood, the correct attitude towards material goods and Christian love for their fellow creatures. The parish grew and developed, but it did not necessarily follow that its ecclesiastic and social lives went hand in hand. The stumbling block turned out to be certain cultural and entertainment activities on Saturdays. The church authorities were against Saturday entertainment, even banning some of the most ardent enthusiasts. But at the same time the Lakewood old-timers thought that Saturday was the only day of the week for them to meet each other, dance and enjoy themselves because the rest of the week they worked hard to earn their living and to make ends meet. Besides, the Cadet’s tradition was to give Balls on Saturdays and there were many Cadets not only in the vicinity but also among the parishioners.
In June 17, 1954, a group of parishioners, (78
persons) met in a private house and decided to constitute a cultural
Society which later was named “Rodina” (“Homeland”). On September 26,
first constitution meeting was held in a
From the very beginning the activity of the
newly founded cultural Society “Rodina” was intermingled with that of
parish. But from time-to-time there were difficulties in the
the ecclesiastic authorities which resulted in bitter
Nevertheless, it was a community of Russian people troubled and feeling
for the fate of
The “Rodina” Society has undertaken most of the parish’s social and charity activities. It housed drama performances, musical recitals of outstanding artists (S.Zharov Chorus, the singer S.Gedda, violinist Polina Shuster, ballet dancer N.G.Raevskaya etc), there were M.A. Lermontov “Art Studio”, Ya.V. Rzhevsky sports club “Vityaz”, “Youth Club” where one could choose from table tennis, chess, recitation, drawing, handcraft, old-time dances, wood carving and many other sections. By invoking the past, the enthusiasm and common spiritual awakening of the Russian community that found a new “Homeland” overseas, worked wonders. Grand Duchess Vera Konstantinovna Romanova, the younger daughter of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovitch visited the Society on many occasions.
It is particularly worth noting that the
As we have noted, at the beginning Society life was closely connected to that of the parish. But as time went by these ties had became weaker and occasionally there were serious conflicts between the parish and the “Rodina” Society leaders. Another problem was due to the discord between the older generation and the young people regarding the management of the Society and the choice of programs. The Society founders grew older but there was no successor from the younger generation to take the reins of leadership. Consequently, it resulted in a decrease in Society members and a decline in the cultural activity. After the Museum, the largest Russian History Museum in the USA, was transferred to Russia, Society activity became progressively less from year to year and in recent years its activity was reduced to “Bingo” games, New Year’s Eve celebration (31st December) and family holidays.
In winter 2011 the “Rodina” Society Council of Elders decided to sell the building along with the land. The contract was fully signed on January 5, 2012, and the building of the “Rodina” Society with its land (12.4 acres) passed into the ownership of the Russian House “Rodina”.
The name of the organization includes the word
“Russian” which implies “Orthodox”. It has been decided that the
be correlated with the Orthodox Church and the Russian House welcomes
interested persons with different cultural, ethnic and religious
It has been decided to pay great attention to the activities aimed at children and youth.
Adults will have the opportunity to attend the exhibitions, recitals, festivals, drama performances, balls, dancing and other recreation activities, to celebrate birthdays, marriages etc.
is the goal of the Russian House "Rodina."