After the reduction of certificates of appreciation – as the fate of the Museum of Archpriest Alexander men

The fate of the Museum of Archpriest Alexander men after the dismissal of its founder, FR Victor Grigorenko, nephew of Alexander’s father, who opposed the construction of a large landfill.

Archpriest Victor Grigorenko. Photo: Dmitry Bunnies /

  • Natalia Grigorenko-Men: We lived very openly
  • Archpriest Victor Grigorenko: We have in common openness
  • In nine suburban towns held rallies against landfills
  • The priest spoke out against the landfill – it fell check

We cannot be indifferent to the desecration of nature

– Father Victor, do not regret that I made at the public hearing in Sergiev Posad about landfills in Sakharovo?

– In statement I expressed the opinion of the 15 members of the Public chamber of the Sergiev Posad district, defended the position of those people who according to the Constitution of the Russian Federation have the right to a healthy environment and want to breathe clean air. In the Social concept of the Russian Orthodox Church is very clearly indicated our commitment to environmental issues. We can’t be indifferent when witnessing the desecration of nature.

From the video of my speech it is clear that my purpose was to talk about the problem about sore people, not just to speak against. After all, the statement does not say that we don’t need modern high-tech recycling plant.

But no one clearly explained why the need for such a large-scale landfill, where the proportion of debris from the Sergiev Posad district is 10 percent, and from Moscow and the region will bring 90 percent.

At the hearing. Photo:

The consequence of my statement was the requirement to reduce occupied my position in the municipal institution of culture Dubrava name Archpriest Alexander Me, where I work the last 18 years, doing the creation of the Museum of the father of Alexander.

My public work began in 2000, when I with the blessing of our ruling Bishop of the Metropolitan of Krutitsy and Kolomna Yuvenaly became part of the first Public chamber of the Moscow region. My next public work was continued in the Sergievo-Posadsky district, resident which I am.

The composition of the Public chamber of the last convocation I walked in on the Governor’s list from the deanery of the Sergiev Posad deanery. Was part of the Commission for culture, as Vice-Chairman. In addition, be Chairman of the Meeting of the local history society. Active citizenship I think it is important for a Christian and a priest, always participate in elections and others to this call.

– Why you left the Public chamber of the Sergiev Posad district?

– The Public chamber, I went because my social activities have been perceived as political, and I do not want to bear the risks incurred as a priest, although I understand that the Beatitudes sung in the temple may be perceived as political activity.

I can’t risk his position of priest, because to me my Ministry in the Church, first of all.

Don’t want to be a bargaining chip in the real political games. I just spoke in defense of people and nature, which father Alexander Men loved. He considered nature as an icon of God and said they loved to pray in the woods.

So I feel to stand up for the father of Alexander and have no doubt that he would do the same. For me nature is a miraculous icon of God. Looking at it, we should feel a sense of gratitude from the Lord wisdom created and gave us the opportunity to enjoy it, not to destroy and not to give mercy.

– As parishioners, the surrounding people react to the situation?

The amazing support and she’s my proof that I did everything right as a Christian. One of our parishioner wrote me that his friend, a very atheistic configured, after watching my performance, has revised its attitude toward the Church and priests.

For me it is very valuable when people approach me and say, “Thank you for your position.”

For our family the care of the legacy – a matter of honor

– The fate of the Museum of Archpriest Alexander Me?

– What will happen – don’t know. In the absence of the Deputy Director for the Museum and the division of the corresponding direction, while reducing rates, plan now anything is possible. In the Charter of the municipal institution of culture Dubrava name Archpriest Alexander I spelled one of the main activities – the preservation of the heritage of Archpriest Alexander men. This is a complex and painstaking work in the Museum.

I very much hope that the administration is still in this situation will understand. Indeed, already, many Museum professionals say that you need to carefully see what was the order to reduce solely rates the Museum, not just the center, and it will lead to anything.

I really don’t want the institution, named after his father Alexander I, left exclusively in the leisure and entertainment side, and the name of the priest only were covered.

The location of our complex with a temple, a chapel, a Museum and a landmark. There was ancient road which went to St. Sergius of Radonezh, the then the adolescent Bartholomew, with his brother Stephen, in search of a place for solitary prayer life. The ancient history of our Church here is connected with the history of the Church of the last century, with life, education and service of Archpriest Alexander men. And now that Sergiev Posad is considered as the spiritual center of Orthodoxy, such a cultural educational historical point of our complex, important on the map of cultural and spiritual life of Russia.

Furthermore, the interaction of the Church with “Oak forest” – a good example of cooperation between the Church and cultural institutions, and it would be a pity if, in this sense, the picture will change.

– Many people come to the Museum?

– Of course. We constantly have guests – individually and in groups. The person of Archpriest Alexander men is so fundamental that attracts the attention of people not only in Russia but also abroad. Come to us, the delegation of representatives of various Christian denominations. In recent years, these relationships straightened out with the Church postgraduate and allocated to us by Metropolitan Hilarion guests are introduced in detail in our Museum with the personality of father Alexander men.

With Metropolitan Hilarion. Photo: Oleg Danilov /

In addition, we hold exhibitions and outside the “Groves” that are popular – “Archpriest Alexander Men: unknown talents” and “Archpriest Alexander Men – the artist”. In the fall, for example, this exhibition is planned in St. Petersburg. We want to showcase the talents of father Alexander not only as a preacher and missionary, but also as an artist. We will show his graphics, paintings, sculptures, reproductions of written icons.

Books of Alexander’s father regularly reprinted, and the publishers come to us in the Museum for archival materials. And this is one of the activities, which, incidentally, developed in the framework of the program of state support of the publication of the collected works of father Alexander, with the blessing of his Holiness Patriarch Kirill. This suggests the importance of the Museum and its collections.

– Which exhibits, in your opinion, is the most valuable?

– Each exhibit is a value. The Museum was 2000 units. Now it is books, personal belongings, letters, first published in periodicals, and manuscripts of father Alexander, his correspondence, a great number of audio and video. And audio materials successfully processed using modern technology.

Video will work, because then the video camera was not so perfect. Our task – to save all that remains after the father of Alexander, in order to explore these materials now and use them in the future. In the near future we plan to register more than 2000 units.


– How do you feel about the claims that the Museum has one family of the father of Alexander?

Several years ago we received a letter from the Minister of culture of the Moscow region for maintaining and developing the family dynasty. Because in our Department there are people who in life knew of his father Alexander. Works and my wife, and our daughter, the daughter of Mr men. It’s always regarded as some positive component, continuity. After all, people who knew, loved and admired father of Alexander, carefully preserve all its heritage. He crowned us with his wife, baptized our children…

The closest relatives of the father of Alexander – his brother, widow, son, daughter – we all did everything that the Museum has taken place.

For our family, caring about his legacy – a matter of honor. And now such talk about reducing strange and painful to hear.

Since 1983 I am engaged in Museum work, which is quite compatible with my Ministry in the Church. The General experience of culture workers – 35 years, until retirement.

It is difficult to avoid emotion when you hand the prescription to reduce your position after a lot of certificates of appreciation. But it’s all possible to survive, because, after all, is the most important thing is service in the Church.

Photo: Oleg Danilov /

– How will the fate of the “Manevski readings”?

– September 9-10 Reading will be held for the thirteenth time, we have a lot of people, a lot of priests. Between the temple and the “Grove” there is a cooperation agreement, and we are always very cohesively worked together. As will be further – I do not know.

The plans we have for the development of the complex as a whole, a lot. Now we are doing in the improvement of the adjacent to the temple area “Museum of the road” for children and students, this is my old idea, which was supported by my cousin Mikhail Men. It is hoped that by September 9 it is being implemented.

It is a tutorial under the open sky, where we show what the cover near roads in Russia. People will be able their feet to walk on the road, as it was in the days of St. Sergius of Radonezh, for those coatings that were in other periods – ranging from coatings from boulders, sawn ends of oak, for all sorts of setups, the bridge of planks, clinker, chipped granite paving stones. There will be a gazebo style of a small coaching Inn with information boards on the history of roads. And locals and guests can plunge into the past and to feel deeply how this place connected to ancient history and modernity.

For me he was a mentor

Remember, please, something from personal communication with father Alexander men, who turned important for your future life.

– In recent years, we have met frequently with his father Alexander, 1983 I constantly visited the New Village, at the Sretensky temple, where he served, and, of course, here in Semkhoz. Me to communicate with him not only the relationship of uncle and nephew, for me he was a mentor, through which I consciously came into our Orthodox Church.

In 1990, when opened the icon-painting school at the Moscow theological Academy and Seminary, I decided to come back and asked the blessing of father Alexander. He has blessed. So I began to receive their initial theological education, the Seminary was much later. Among the books my library has several signed and presented to me by father Alexander. One of them is the simple inscription: “the Victor in prayerful memory”, and six months later he was killed… This traditional signature became a sign and a guide for my future life.

In 1997, seven years after the assassination of Alexander’s father, Vladyka Yuvenaly, always coming to the scene of the murder, and said that I need to think about who will pray here in Semkhoz, in the chapel built on the blood of the father of Alexander. For me it was a tough decision.

Since then 20 years have passed, and I am grateful to Vladyka Yuvenaly for the fact that we have the opportunity to stand before the throne in this Holy place. And for me there is a connection between what father Alexander told me when I was going to do in icon-painting school and what happened in my life.

– Now you continue to paint icons?

– I wrote them not only during their studies in icon painting school, but after. By profession I am an artist-restorer, more engaged in the restoration. Now, when I am the Abbot, and not only this Church, but also the two bonded in two locations, I just physically can’t do this. After all, iconography is a special service of God, requires total immersion in the process. Restore is another matter, it’s a little different process, and from time to time I restore the icons.

– What icon restore, where they come from?

– They bring people. Here one sees that the icon was showered, worried that will be lost, and brings me. I take these icons, and when I have free time, try at least to be strengthened.

Temple of St. Sergius, the chapel was designed by Archimandrite Zinon (Theodore), there are icons of priest Andrei Davidov. In General the decoration of the Church is truly unique, with highly artistic icons nothing distracts from prayer. But this will not meet all churches. What you see is the problem of the decoration of modern temples?

– In my understanding, every temple is special, and it could not be individuality than something mass-produced, standard. Because we tried our temple to make so that to emphasize its uniqueness, on the one hand, with another – to make this uniqueness not interfere with the important – prayer.

Photo: Anna Halperin

Each temple must have its own face. The interior of the temple needs to be thought out to the smallest details, so that people can not just admire the beauty of gilded woodcarvings and expensive salaries, and to grasp the essence of worship.

I am very happy and agree with me many priests that the trend is now to fully participate in the Liturgy of the laity, the faithful, as we say. We priests should not feel separated from them.

For example, there is a tendency to lower the king’s gate and “more easy” the iconostasis or barrier. This is done in order that the priest, especially when he is one on the ward did not feel separated from their brothers and sisters, and the cry of “one mind, one heart…” was not formal.

When people not only see, but not hear what is pronounced in the altar is a serious problem. His Holiness Patriarch Kirill shows an example of what prayer can be read so that the people heard them, and accordingly, and understand what is happening during the Commission of worship.

In the temple. Photo: Dmitry Bunnies /

In the temple there should be nothing fake, no props, such as artificial flowers. The Church should be easy and the interior needs to be focused not on looking at the splendor of utensils and the height of the gilded iconostasis, and to promote the reason why we come to Church for praying.

Of the heritage of Archpriest Alexander I think is most important for our time?

– I’m not just saying that for me is very important openness of Alexander’s father, his love for people, regardless of how these people have positioned themselves in life. He spoke even with atheists, tried them in something to convince.

He is always attentive to people who came to him with a need, deeply delved into the situation, the situation of the person.

It is often accused of Ecumenical activity, it is not knowing what is the meaning he invested in the concept of “ecumenism”. All the answers are in his books. On the question of ecumenism he says that it is primarily a contact Christian denominations: Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Protestantism. And for those who understand ecumenism as a merger of religions, says: “the Merger is unnecessary and even harmful.”

Archpriest Alexander Men

His views were quite in line vneshnetserkovnyh relations of our Church at that time. Just look at the publication of the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate 60-70 years to understand that his ecumenism did not differ from the official positions of our of the Moscow Patriarchate.

It was a time of sincere hope for the dialogue of Christians in the twentieth century, there remains the hope for a dialogue now, although today the term “ecumenism” is used in a different context, invest in it additional meanings. The time of Alexander’s father – time interest in how Christians lived in the West, because we lived behind the “iron curtain”. The time of interest is not passed, but history often repeats itself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.