From Communism To The Truth
Tell us a little bit about yourself before the conversion
I grew up in the Communist Russia, attending parades on Red Square on the anniversary of Socialist revolution, participating in the youth organizations that were designed to form good communists out of us, wearing red neckerchief as a sign of belonging to the young pioneers club ( future communists). My parents had a longing for finding God, they believed that there is something bigger than us that rules the universe. So sometimes they would bring me to one of the few remaining churches that our government allowed to exist in the atheist state. Before we would go- my parents would strictly forbid me to tell anyone about visiting the church, because it would cause them to loose their job or worse.
How did you get introduced to Orthodoxy?
When I was around 14 years old the political atmosphere in our country started to change. Mikhail Gorbachev slowly but surely moved our country from Communist to Capitalism, allowing for more freedom of religion. I was then baptized in the small provincial church in Estonia where my gradma lived at that time. My mom was baptized with me. I didn't immediately feel transformed. Nor was there a big event that immediately brought me to deep christian faith. It was a slow process of learning about Orthodoxy, accepting it with my heart and mind.
The biggest influence that helped me in that process was my husband. He had a background of being raised in Coptic Orthodox Church and had a strong faith in God.
What were some of the hurdles you faced in your conversion?
In the beginning some things looked almost comical to me. The Egyptian obsession with putting lots of pictures of saints all around the house, mentioning the name of God everywhere and at any time, crossing the food before the meal, etc. I was also surprised about the separation of men and women in the church, where females were sitting on the right and males- on the left side of the church. But I learned to understand and accept the reasoning behind those traditions. I also loved the warmth and Christian love that the orthodox believers share between each other. I felt like I finally found the place where I belonged and it felt really good.
What would you like to tell someone who maybe considering Orthodoxy?
If you are considering Orthodox faith- please keep your heart and mind open to understanding and accepting things that might be new and unusual to you. Orthodox faith is a " factory of Saints" . Many traditions and rituals are designed to bringing your heart and spirit closer to God. Immerse yourself in this beautiful culture and you won't ever regret it. You will find warmth and spiritual treasures that you might have never experienced.
What would you like to say to the youths in the Orthodox church?
Dear youth. Please know that we have been at the same stage of life as you are right now, with all it's temptations, search for fun and meaning in life, the roller coaster of emotions.... Please keep your heart pure in front of God, allow him to guide you, also don't disregard the advise of your parents. In the times of hardships and tribulations turn to God and he will sustain you. Please remember Orthodox faith is full of great treasures.