Archpriest Andrew Kordochkin: I Have no magic words and special “no”

“Evangelical shepherd goes looking for lost sheep. But in the parable of the prodigal son, the father sends the son to the police. There should not be indifference, but you should always be ready to let go” – of parental vanity, self-righteousness and surrogate husbands reflects Archpriest Andrei Kordochkin, rector of the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Madrid.

Archpriest Andrew Kordochkin. Photo: Anna Danilova

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In the temple there is no special “no”

– As you consider, with what age and on which part of the service in Church, it is better to bring children?

– I can’t answer this question from their experience. When I was a kid, if you were in the temple at worship, I immediately became ill and I was gone. I think Metropolitan Anthony also had something similar.

I think the General principle is that the child’s participation in worship should not be a burden neither for himself nor for those who pray in the temple. Children have a different perception of time. Two hours for a child – like twenty of us.

When I see that screaming baby bring on the all-night vigil or before the beginning of the divine Liturgy, I always want to ask the question – why?

If the child toils, if toil parents, if toil the people who are there and trying to participate in worship, for whom all this is happening? Maybe it’s a manifestation of parental vanity – “we care about the spiritual welfare of the child, and good for you to suffer?” Maybe the idea that if the child is in the temple and breathes in the incense, then it is good?

Photo: Anna Danilova

Another question: why does the Church need to show to others, not more, and less respect than in other places? Is worship as the “synthesis of arts” does not imply more, not less, concentration than a University lecture or a classical music concert? Alas, in such cases is to ask “Why?” has no meaning because there will be resentment: “What am I now, in the temple not to go?” or worse: “Children thrown out from the temple!” Sometimes in cases like this I just pause to make clear that Liturgy is not a competition, who will be shouting.

In General, for a young mother who is often forced to transformed into an appendage to the baby, it is very useful to be in the service of one and the father is useful to be alone with a child.

In addition, it should be remembered that “lead to the temple” and “lead to Christ” is not the same thing. Often teenagers leave the Church precisely because the first happened and the other was not.

– And the chatter in the temple, the noise, what are you doing about it? Or my grandmother, who always make comments, expelled, on probation for “pants”, from the temple, with them both talking?

– I think if a person has a General concept about education, manners and respect, then there should not arise problems in the Church. There are no special “not” compared to any other decent place.

It’s not the fact that even in summer, the temple can not come in a t-shirt, drunk, and that decent people do you see in such form. So that Granny lashed out at someone I haven’t seen, and probably for the better, and I try on clothing to look at. “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

Archpriest Andrew Kordochkin. Photo: Anna Danilova

– Was such that I wanted badly to scold parishioners?

– We have, as in any Church, a congregation, that is, the people we know, if not by name then in the face. There are those whom we, in fact, do not know. The Temple Is The House Of God. It exists in order to usher in the Good news, and not for someone to blame. But still, when people start to destroy the temple, it is not myself.

In encaustic Crucifixion, which was written for us, father Andrey Davydov, from pearl lipstick paint corroded to the tree, and now all the icons under glass. When there is no respect for the Church and parish rooms, when there is doubt that people are able accurately to use the toilet – it is a shame, Yes. When destroyed the intangible content of the Church – silence and reverence, it is also a shame.

It happens that before the communion of the clergy, when closed Royal gates, the temple is set in motion like a railway platform with the arrival of the train from Zhitomir.

Have to explain that this is not a theatrical intermission, and an important point of worship, which requires attention and silence.

Probably the most strong feeling of protivogaz – when Liturgy, and our regular parishioners whom we know and whom we trust, do not want to get to the Bowl, even knowing that no one will push away. It is a kind of piety that is based on the constant denial of God in His desire to enter the us: “if Anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and abode, he will do also.” No, Lord, I do not eat/have not eaten, do not read, do not stand in line for 30-second confession, and in General, that once a year is enough.

But it is not solved through a “dress down”. I do not advocate force-feeding.

Photo: Anna Danilova

You should always be ready to let people go

– How often do you need to confess?

I work a lot and often say that confession in its present force-conveying format does not help a person. This is an attempt to collect the fruits of repentance, leaving no time even to blossom flowers, not to mention the maturation of the fruits themselves.

Among the priests there was no light discipline related to confession or communion, compared with the laity. The words of the prayer “grant me to see my own sins” refers to all of us, priests and laity. Although the priest, in theory, should be worse, given the adopted on the burden. But in practice, of course, no one is going to compel the priest to forced confession before every Liturgy, even if there is a hypothetical possibility. I think that a priest and a layman (if he has enough experience and no longer makes the first steps in the Church) must go to confession, then, when they felt the need.

– What do you do to encourage people not to leave the Church, not recircularize? Confession – including the opportunity to capture this moment of doubt.

– I don’t think a person need to keep. There should not be indifference, but you should always be ready to let go. Evangelical pastor goes for the lost sheep. But in the parable of the prodigal son, the father sends the son to the police. In our case, if a person goes is not necessarily the prodigal son or the lost sheep. Maybe they just haven’t grown? Or not deep enough? Or want to try yourself? So let him try.

Archpriest Andrew Kordochkin. Photo: Anna Danilova

– What are the tips to get people involved in parish life?

– We have had discussions about the historical development of the Liturgy but prayer “itself is of a teacher of God teaches the human mind, giving prayer to those who pray and blesses the righteous of summer” (St. John of the ladder). If the priest has the desire and the willingness not to hide the Liturgy behind closed doors, not to mutter the most important prayer of the Church – Eucharistic thanksgiving to himself, and to pray together with the Church, people will inevitably be involved in the Liturgy. As said Metropolitan Anthony, 137th Novella of the Emperor Justinian, directing the transparent reading of all the Eucharistic prayers, has not been canceled.

– Maybe still need a General business, social activities of some kind to the community was tight?

– No other Church except the vibrant community of people exists. A Church community is formed by common participation in the Eucharist. At the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great we pray: “We are all the same, from the one bread and chalice to take communion, connect to each other in one spirit the Holy communion.” Well, when I have lunch or at least tea, a common cause have is also important.

But with regard to social service – the question is how the state copes with its functions and what resource free time have with parishioners. In Spain, for example, it is impossible to come to the hospital and offer to wash the floors or help the nurses. In addition, we have a stratum of people who live on benefits, as in other European countries. People work nonstop for free only on weekends, and even then not always. But sometimes we our youth take to the streets of Madrid together with the Catholic community of Sant’egidio. It’s very cool.

Photo: Anna Danilova

There are no magic words

One of the most pressing issues – marriage, wedding, family. Do you give advice to young how to check each other to avoid future divorce?

– I don’t think I need to do anything special each other to check. The best assistant of time. I recommend no less than a year of Dating, before marriage, but not more than three. Useful to travel together. How much my wife and I traveled by hitchhiking on Russian middle lane, it’s scary to remember!

It is very important to understand how the same ideas about the roles of men and women in the family, the education of children. In mixed marriages with the Spaniards, this can become a problem. But for some reason about these things I think probably after, not before. Imagine builders, in the hands of a different projects at home that they build. This is a situation I see often.

Is about the relationship between priests and parishioners in his time wrote a lot Archpriest Gleb Kaleda’s book, “Home Church”. Do you have advice for young priests on how to behave with women?

– Last summer we hid from the Spanish summer in the Faroe Islands. They lie between Scotland and Iceland. I had to make the Liturgy there, but most of the Russian left, and on Sunday morning we went to the local Lutheran Church. It struck me that adults and the elderly entered the temple only to married couples. That is, if the husband comes to the temple without his wife or a wife without a husband, then something is not right here. And now each of us can remember your temple and think, do we see something similar. If Yes, then thank God.

Photo: Anna Danilova

I think I will not discover America if I say that single women are, shall we say, a significant part of our Church. And if a woman is alone or she has no understanding of her husband, who lives in a parallel reality, the priest is the only man, the understanding and empathy which she can count, technically within the bounds of possibility. In this framework it can be her “surrogate husband.” Of course, emotionally, as the only man showing attention and care about her. This substitution and role-play can be a harmless form and not to cross known boundaries, but can be extremely dangerous.

– Do you think that people change, believers change? How do you see it?

– Hardly a man is getting better, but one can become a thoughtful, more Mature, more responsible. At some point, the tips like “read the Holy fathers, it is written” it is not meet. The question is, what goals the person has set itself. “Salvation” – Yes, of course, but words like “sin”, “salvation”, have become common, they need to decipher.

A couple of years ago I finally understood the meaning of the parable of the talents. “Sir! I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter” – says the one who hid the talent.

That is, misconceptions of God as a cruel tyrant deform a person’s life, deprive it of will, boldness, courage, initiative. In the end he has nothing left but fear.

This is a special type of religion, familiar to every priest. It boils down to “what if something happens.” He also wants to “save”, but according to the parable, this imaginary fear of God is the path into “outer darkness”.

– It happens that a priest is impossible to argue even on domestic issues, “I said, period”. Do you have advice on how to protect themselves from such stardom to notice that you have it?

– Omniscience, the desire to press to the end always arises from internal uncertainty, inferiority, unrealized. If you can only to vertical communication, if you find it hard to shake hands is a disturbing symptom of professional deformation, of course.

– So it turns out that the temple people come more often in the mountain. As the priest to find the words to comfort?

– There are no magic words. “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with them that weep,” said the Apostle Paul. Only God can comfort people, to give a clear sense of why even the dead man we’re talking in the present tense, not past tense. Easier when I can say from my experience, heavier if no such experience. But categorically, you can’t try to explain everything, to show himself as a know-it-all.

Archpriest Andrew Kordochkin. Photo: Anna Danilova

My phone know everything, but I try not to call anyone.

– Where to draw the source for the sermon so that it was not dull and boring? How to talk to people about Christ?

A boring sermon can say only boring person who lives a boring life. No need to invent anything. Enough to comprehend in the light of their faith that I see around. Of course, sometimes there is no inspiration, do not want to talk. Then begin to read something that has been said, and I think – no, it’s not what nowadays people need a different word to hear. And the word comes. The problem is that I have heard good preachers, and I’m almost never satisfied with what he say.

As a priest to protect themselves from burnout? How to keep fit?

For me this is a difficult question. I live in the house, and I don’t have personal time. If I’m not busy with parish Affairs, travel, documents, meetings and calls for the Church’s use and security of their own intelligence, take up the books. The whole of last year was working on a story about the Cathedral of the Spanish saints of the undivided Church to the local, and then and Church-wide veneration. Some of the footnotes were 400 pieces of 50 pages.

Photo: Anna Danilova

In “Aletheia” was a collection of primary sources on the history of the Church in Spain in the first Millennium “Mater Hispania”, to which I have reference. I hope this book will be the first step towards reverence for the ancient Spanish saints – about 200 – of our believers. Soon will be a book about Christianity and patriotism. On the road to publishing a book about war and pacifism in the light of Christianity.

But some boundaries of personal time is still there? By the way, you give your phone to the parishioners?

– My phone know everything. It was opened from the very beginning. However, when we arrived in Spain 15 years ago, phones were used only for calls – it was such a time! But I try not to call anyone. If it is not possible to get in touch by e-mail, if nothing votsap, then call. But to call not love. Landline phones a long time no one, and that means you need to invade personal time and space. Wherever the man was, whatever he was busy, he had to go out and speak with me. But it must be justified.

– With the phone is clear, but maybe you have a recipe for a proper priestly life rhythm?

My experience relates only to a wrong lifestyle although have to travel a lot. Usually I or stand, or sit, or lie. He started to run, but hurt his knee. Love to walk, but not too often, it turns out. The fact that wherever I lived to Spain, it was nice to go outside, even in the English village where we lived for two years. Of course, in any European city you can find unsightly areas – in London, Rome, wherever.

But the number of architecture built in the twentieth century, you need to take your hands, Spain and Russia took the lead, despite the fact that were on different ideological poles.

Spain is a wonderful city, but almost any of them outside the historical center is a faceless box, often resembling our Khrushchev. Inside often look the same – narrow, awkward stairs, tiny rooms. The housing, which in Northern Europe would be “social”, it is worth a lot of money. Once, before coming to Spain, I watched the films of Almodovar and thought: “It’s such an ancient country, there is an incredible concentration of what we call “culture” where it finds that nature?” Then I came and understood.

When I was a kid in St. Petersburg, the city itself taught, became a teacher. In addition, the Russian nature is very expressive, with its sounds, smells, the changing of the seasons. And when I arrive to the suburbs of Madrid, where most of our members live where there are no historical center, no connection time, I wonder what these walls can teach our children? Maybe there is a pattern that in these areas of sports pants with stripes – almost uniform?

We have, by local standards, a pretty good neighborhood, not to say beautiful, but not scary, as in other “zones”. However, a two minute walk from the Church of Roma, roast meat, and run around like chicken. In the summer because of the risk of sunstroke than to sit under the air conditioner, and the summer here is from may to September. Deduce outside dog, but is often reminded of Brodsky: “don’t leave your room, don’t make a mistake.”

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