“I really wanted to buy something, first edition. Finally managed to find the book in the shop antiquary-bookseller. I realized that I need to keep it in his hands, flipping, re-read it… It’s an absolute hymn of love, the real love men and women. I wanted me to have the same love. I about it asked God…” We asked the priests to talk about the books that made the strongest impression, maybe something changed their lives. Of the beloved novel tells the priest Dimitry Ageev.
Priest Dmitry Ageev with his wife. Photo: Facebook
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I met this book, I think, pretty late. I was already twenty-odd years. I lived and worked in Belgium and rented an attic from an old Russian emigrant, now deceased Maria Victorovna Sicinski. Her house in Brussels on the street of Chestnuts was an island of the Russia, about which I knew only from books, from documentaries about the Russian emigration, but somehow was sure that it’s all fiction. And it turned out to be reality.
In the morning we drank tea with her. She told me how in their estate grown apples that her mother – Princess Obolenskaya – knew of the Emperor, and more, what I still regret that I did not record.
The loft where I lived, was essentially the attic, originally intended for servants. There was piled up different stuff, which for many years did not use and haven’t touched a thing until I found out that I have nowhere to live. Maria Viktorovna suggested the loft, if I do not mind the presence of all these things. I felt comfortable and even on the contrary. There have been many books, mostly magazines, and émigré anti-Soviet of all sorts. And then I fished something interesting, read. Once found the book in a blue cover. It was the first Milanese edition of “Doctor Zhivago” by Boris Pasternak. The book, for which he in 1958 received the Nobel prize.
In 1956 Boris Pasternak, doubting that his novel will approve the state publishing house through a friend of the journalist sent the manuscript to an Italian publisher, Feltrinelli Giangiacomo. In November 1957, in Milan the book was published in Italian. By the way, the publisher is paid with membership in the Communist party. Two years later the novel was published in Milan, but in Russian, a manuscript corrected by the author.
I opened and began to read, and time for me seems to have stopped. Remember, in the attic, as often happened, the electricity broke down and I lit a candle. In this reading, when a soft flickering light was a parallel with the novel.
“They drove on Chamberlain. Yura noticed either the black hole in the ice growth is one of the Windows. Through the hole shone light, penetrated almost to the street with conscious sight, just like a flame peeping behind the rider and someone waiting.
“The candle was burning on the table. The candle was burning…” whispered Yuri to himself the beginning of something vague, unformed, in the hope that the continuation will come by itself, without coercion. It did not occur.”
I read, and the world was upside down. On the one hand, I was in a hurry, and on the other was terrified that the book will end. I thumbed through the remaining pages and found that the second part of the book is gathered together the poems of Yuri Zhivago. I could not put it down.
Stayed. Pondered. Returning to the novel, and then again read the poems. The verses though are an integral part of the novel, in fact is an individual work, no less, and maybe even more style and value than the prose.
At some point, stumbled upon the poem “Dawn” and the lines:
And after many many years
Your voice again, I was disturbed.
All night I read Your Testament
And how swoon came to life…
These words were a blow to me in my heart, in my head, because to my shame I have not read the New Testament. It was a time of my youth, receiving his theological education. I knew the New Testament, I handed him the exam, I knew his interpretation, but was at that time busy reading another scientific theological literature – advanced books… well, what I didn’t know this gospel? Yes I read it already… so I grabbed the New Testament and began to read eagerly. I was grateful to Pasternak, grateful to Yuri Zhivago in these lines, because then I myself “as from fainting alive.” The word of God came back into my life. It has become what it once was in my childhood, when I first read the gospel.
This novel, which I think is very Christian, changed my life really.
In this search for God, in thinking about the gospel, Christ, the Resurrection, the meaning of human life as a history of deeds that will remain after you in parallel of eternal life and resurrection as the memory that remains from the actions of people, I saw not only a great work. I saw this feeling for religion and the search for faith search for faith of my parents, who were from the intelligentsia and the secular people. Unrolling time ago, I saw that the quest for God they have occurred as they have occurred in the novel.
And all my youth I thought about monasticism. It so happened that I was brought up among the monks and the monks and the marriage is not thought of. And when he came to the idea of creating a family, he met his future wife, it was long thought that I was trying to reconcile with my Christian, including maximalist aspirations. It seemed to me that this is a different pole. And then I accidentally opened a “Winter night” is the first poem by Yuri Zhivago:
Blizzards were blowing across the land
In all limits.
A candle burned on the table,
A candle was burning…
On the illuminated ceiling
Lay down the shade,
Crossed arms, crossed legs,
The fate of the crossing.
It’s an absolute hymn of love, the real love men and women, two hearts. This is a poem I read before you make a proposal to future wife. In fact, these words became for me a starting point. I wanted me to have the same love. I about it asked God. This love stored angels.
My wife is a hostage of my thoughts. She falls all I think about. Well, who else to share? It happens that such a flow of thoughts that I even feel sorry for her. And, of course, then I “dumped” her Pasternak.
I wanted her to know, wanted to conform to my ideals. And she was scared silent, because it’s scary when you put it next to the parsnip and say “That’s so necessary, and so want”.
Of course, the favorite poem Pasternak “Christmas star”. From time to time I reread it. It is absolutely amazing. This is a subtle and profound poetry. And while I recite bad poetry, but I so want everyone to read it, share it, I do it sincerely and from the heart.
Over the years, and I’ve been looking for, I really wanted to buy the first edition of “Doctor Zhivago”. Finally managed to find the book in the shop of the antiquarian-bookseller in Paris on the waterfront. I realized that it’s important for me to keep it in hand, flipping to read. Although I have other edition, there is even a pocket that convenient to carry. But this is the first special. It, like the candle – a reminder about the first meeting…