Saturday, April 22, 2017

Armenia Day 3: Russian Orthodox

After having a welcoming and very positive experience at both the Blue Mosque and the Yezidi Union, we stopped by the gorgeous Russian Orthodox church.  The reception there was of a very different tone.  Two elderly women were in charge.  Although my translator spoke Russian (she also speaks English and French in addition to her native Armenian), the women refused outright to answer any questions even though they knew I was a religious studies student.  There were some peculiar traditions inside, one involved fancy bread, another involved wedding rings and gold jewelry being strung into paintings of Mary.  Another issue I ran into was that it really angered the Russian ladies that I only wanted to buy two candles to light- they insisted that was sacrilegious and that I must buy 3 (for the Father, Son, and HG) instead of 2!  They had no sense of humor.  They were totally unimpressed by the visit from the American student.  They were not welcoming or polite, they seemed off-put that they had non Russian Orthodox visitors. They shouted, they scowled, and generally grumped about.  Photos were strictly forbidden inside (my very camera provoked shouting).  

The photo that provoked angry shouting...
This bread is a small version of what was placed at the spot where normally there would be a pulpit, like an offering of sorts.  They also sold some for random confused people like me, though I am not sure what I was supposed to do with it.  Buying it did not score any points with the two Russian women in charge.  They had to have been over 80 years old, and were tiny and bent, but filled with fury!

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