“Dismantled the documents and came across a piece of paper with a phone number written in green ink… Patriarch Alexy II always signed official documents with a green pen. It is striking how a man of his level and status could so easily give your phone number so I could contact him at any minute.” Producer, journalist, presenter of the program “Russian view” on the Third channel Elena Pisarev about the late Primate of the Russian Church.
Photo: Victor Kornyushin / Expo.Pravoslavie.Ru
- Patriarch Alexy. Curriculum vitae
- Patriarch Alexy. The last interview
- Patriarch Alexy II – about yourself
- Patriarch Alexy: the otherness, the “terrible” form and smile
- Patriarch Alexy II – the way Church revival
Since 1996 I worked in the “Orthodox information television Agency” editor. Saw the Patriarch occasionally, the sync will record, that on the set sits in.
When I worked in the “Russian view” on the Third channel, set to air his sermons, but personally we were not familiar. In 2007 I was appointed Director General of the Agency, which is responsible for the live broadcast of the Patriarchal worship, and introduced me to the Patriarch personally. Of course, worried, but then had the feeling of meeting a family man. Probably when I got this piece of paper with his home number in Peredelkino.
I remember when we shot it Christmas or Easter message it gives before writing invited me into his office, asking about children, work, was totally open. I regret now that I was too embarrassed. Many said, nothing asked. I was embarrassed to break the distance.
The nineties and the two thousandth is the flourishing of Orthodox subjects on television. The Patriarch and his sermons showed. But after the personal contact I felt that through the TV screen all they see of the Patriarch of some unsociable, taciturn, closed. The camera is not conveyed what it was really.
“Useless, do not be tempted, he is tired and feels bad”
Approaching his eightieth birthday, and I had the idea of the film. I told his Holiness that the man I know and the one they see is two different people that I want to make a movie about how he opened up to me during our communication. The Patriarch refused. Rather, he said nothing. And about how silent the Patriarch, a legend! And his entourage kept saying, “useless, do not be tempted, he is tired and feels bad”, “about a bunch of movies”, “nothing new to shoot”.
And here in November the phone rang. Hear his voice:
– When You want to come?
– When you say.
– Can tomorrow?
– Of course!
I, Director Alexander Designs, script Eugene Baranov, operator Ilya Emanuel, of course, all the shooting and the case was canceled. Saturday morning arrived in Peredelkino. The guards were in shock, the Patriarch they were not warned and said that will arrive a film crew, only in the morning: “You have arrived at the residence of the Patriarch! No one was informed of the list”. This is probably the best description of how his Holiness was accessible, as trusted people.
We don’t have high hopes for this day was planned short shot, by the way, it slandered the Patriarch himself: walk the dog, feed swans. And then we will move on – in the office in Chisty pereulok. We are in the recording even there is a marriage of sound, no one expected that the Patriarch will give an interview, start talking to us on the street.
The Director and the author asked questions, and I wandered around and could not relax because I knew that his Holiness in the morning did not have time to eat. But it was shot with pleasure, didn’t rush, answered questions, and I kept thinking: “Why torment him so long tonight, we will have to withdraw…” Nobody came that this interview will be the last. Sure he felt something.
“…When you feel the responsibility that you have, then I feel that maybe I would like, but this can’t be done because it is responsible for the present and future of the Church…”
(from a recent interview of Patriarch Alexy II)
At the end of the day he invited us to come to Germany, where soon the planned treatment. But after a call to the security chief Herman our trip had to be cancelled: “it feels Bad, it is not necessary to come”… And our last conversation was two or three days before his death. His Holiness moved the shooting to Clean the alley at the residence, the next day, too, citing poor health.
“Our father” in Church in Notre-Dame de Paris and the commemoration of the father
In October 2007, he was one of my first trips after his appointment to France. During the visit, he donated to Notre Dame de Paris image of the Vladimir icon of the Mother of God. At the same time for public worship was made the crown of thorns of the Savior, and on 3 October, the Patriarch, served before him a prayer.
In the press immediately appeared a lot of articles in which the Patriarch was accused of ecumenism, that prayed together with Catholics. But it wasn’t. The temple was filled with Russians, and “our father” sounded in Church Slavonic in Notre-Dame de Paris – it was something incredibly powerful. I didn’t want to go on that business trip, did not understand why there is need. But I realized then that I really needed.
When he returned to Moscow, 6 October died my dad. Remember, called the Patriarch. We were discussing some work related things, and I casually mentioned that my father died. And then the Patriarch suddenly says: “Elena, I’m going to remember the departed Nicholas 40 days privately. Close relatives of my environment I always commemorate the 40 days”. Of course, I felt the child’s feelings. And continue to experience. A year later it too was gone.
“…We feel that the Lord is among us. Do we have enough? And to despair is a sin. The Lord has conquered death and granted us eternal life. To rejoice, not be depressed, to grieve, and to thank God for the joy that the Lord sends us.
Because many lose their loved ones and relatives, many remain lonely and disheartened. We must believe that the Lord is with us. And if the Lord is with us, to feel that we are with God…”
(from a recent interview of Patriarch Alexy II)
The combination of openness, trust and firmness in belief
Those who worked closely, knew of his difficult character. He could see that from the look I wanted to sink into the ground. He remained in their positions, arranging scandals, without giving a reason to discuss his decision. About it in our movie “way of the Patriarch” well said Professor Alex Svetozarsky: “the silence of the Patriarch Alexy II was so significant that it would be better he was swearing.” The combination of openness, trust and firmness in belief – stunning quality of his Holiness. I remember the story, as the Patriarch was invited to the event, where he performed a rather risque number. He, without saying a word, just got up and left.
He was a man of like from the last century, a special breed, not Soviet, very few people I have met in my life. These were Metropolitan Filaret, Honorary Patriarchal Exarch of all Belarus, and Vladyka Pitirim, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk and Yuriev.
I’m often asked what I felt when he was gone. I remember only that there was no time for feelings. The whole year after his death, was a lot of work: film on the 80th anniversary, we still did, but quite different, of course, then almost immediately began work on the film “Path of the Patriarch”, and we literally lived on the job.
Do not leave feeling that harnessed and you smell. All working time was reduced to one – do it! I don’t know if I have ever this work when you live and burn it at the same time. I really hope that we were able to show his Holiness, as many did not know during the years of his Patriarchate.
Think it took about two years after his death, and unexpectedly on my birthday I was given a book published for his eightieth birthday and signed personally by me. If the news – “I mean you remember.” Now, this piece of paper with his phone…
Prepared By Daria Rowena