Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
Des Plaines, IL USA
Concert "The Space of Sorrow"

On Sunday, November 19, the “Vastness of Sadness” Concert took place after the celebration of Divine Liturgy, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the tragic October revolution...


At the conclusion of Divine Liturgy on Sunday, November 19, V. Rev. Protopriest Andrei Papkov, administrator of the Cathedral, reminded the congregation in his sermon, that for many years the faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad commemorated these events as the Day of Sorrow in February and the Day of Irreconcilability at the beginning of November. They did not lose hope for the liberation of their homeland and did not accept the persecution of the faithful. This should serve as an example for us, as we are faced all the more often with the oppression of Christians and the trampling down of Christian ideals in our daily lives. He also reminded the flock of the February revolution in which the Russian people broke their oath before their Tsar, God’s anointed leader.

The concert took place after Liturgy in the church hall, under the direction of Dr. Micahel Gill. The title and keynote of the concert was Fyodor Sologub’s poem, “The Vastness of Sadness,” penned in 1903, foreshadowing the coming upheaval. The musical arrangement of this piece was composed by George Sviridov in the 1970s, when the foreshadowing had come to complete fruition, and it seemed that there would be no respite from the sadness.

The repertoire was chosen exclusively from among the works of twentieth century composers: G. Sviridov, K. Shvedov, G. Lapaev, P. Chesnokov and the priest-martyr George Izvekov, who was executed by firing squad at Butovo Square in Moscow, 1937. The music and projected images portrayed Russia’s entire sorrowful path from the tragic events of 1917 until the present time. The musical pieces were arranged chronologically, reflecting the spiritual history of our Homeland. The root of the tragedy lay in atheistic pride, from which many members of the educated classes in the early twentieth century suffered, including the poet Fyodor Sologub himself. This led to revolution, fratricidal civil war, repressions, death of millions, forced emigration, division and unrest within the church, and new wars which sacrificed further millions of human lives. However, through the decades, the blood of the new martyrs began to yield buds of repentance. Ten years after their glorification, the yoke of atheist authority was lifted and the church regained its full freedom. Russia then resurrected into a new life.

The program concluded with the singing of “Memory Eternal” to all the innocent victims of the atheist authority, and hymning the Magnification to the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. An exhibit of images and posters was especially constructed to accompany the program, illustrating the lives of poets, composers and ordinary people who suffered in those terrible years, serving as shining examples of Christian and creative life.

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