May 01, 2023

To Serve is to Struggle

To Serve is to Struggle

Last summer, the publication Takie Dela received a letter from the priest Mikhail Goncharov, who serves as rector at the Church of St. Nicholas in Antsiferovo, Krasnoyarsk Krai. The batyushka[1] was writing from Yeniseysk Hospital, which he had been unable to get to for five months due to the  impassability of the roads.[2] He said he serves at the back end of nowhere, and it is impossible to get to the city to visit the doctor or for any other reason. He even finds it difficult to get to the neighboring villages he is supposed to serve.

In his letter, Goncharov asked for financial assistance to obtain parts for an ATV that he planned on cobbling together from old automotive parts. To his letter, Father Mikhail attached a photograph of St. Nicholas Church – dilapidated and by all appearances non-functioning. For 12 years the batyushka had been trying to renovate the church himself.

The author of this article posted the priest’s request to her personal Facebook page and within three days raised over half a million rubles ($8000) – enough to purchase a used Lesnik-M. The batyushka called the ATV “The Grace of God.” But a few days later he wrote to say that, after he purchased it, the locals had started to call him a swindler on the internet and accused him of “airing their dirty laundry in public,” and that some residents of Antsiferovo had stopped speaking to him.

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