Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Russian Orthodox prayer, the video!

Holy Trinity Church was built in 1872 and served as a spiritual center for the many Russian pilgrims who came to Jerusalem in the 19th century.

All too often the door of the castle-like Holy Trinity Cathedral is locked.
Recently I was walking past it, in Jerusalem's Moscow Square, when I saw a nun come out. Without thinking twice, I grabbed the door and asked in sign language if I might enter and she nodded.
Wow, I was finally inside! And a service was in progress!
I was unfortunately not wearing the required head scarf and skirt, so I stood in the narthex, sort of hiding behind the door. The men's choir upstairs was so glorious that, after two hours, I could no longer resist my blogger's temptation and took out the camera for a furtive 19-second video.

When the Russian Orthodox priests in their splendid vestments came around incensing the several dozen worshipers, the head priest and I--our eyes locked in a second of intense mutual curiousity.
Soon a nun came and, smiling, excitedly asked me a long question in Russian. I shrugged and said, "English? Hebrew?" She knew only Russian, and that was the end of it. I still wonder what she asked. . . .
The story of the church in the Russian Compound, now in downtown Jerusalem, can be read at
and in Russian: .
This post is a gift to Irina at the wonderful Moscow Daily Photo. Today she showed us a replica of the Western Wall outside the Moscow Synagogue!
Their synagogue was built about the same time as our Holy Trinity Church!
(Linking to inSPIREd Sunday church meme.)


Irina said...

Dina, thank you!
To my shame, I have never been to Jerusalem or Israel. And I consider this visit obligatory for any Christian. Now I have extra reason :-)

Cloudia said...

Great moment. thanks for sharing it. I'm off to Moscow...

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

Catherine said...

I imagine this wonderful moment, Dina. Not only for the eyes, but also for the ears. Pleased you made a little video, it gives us an idea of the magnificence.

RuneE said...

I have never been to Russia, bur it reminds me slightly of the one they have in Helsinki.

Hels said...

Isn't Russian Orthodox architecture just the most spectacular church architecture you have seen? I love it.. and the internal decorative elements. Oh and the music *groans with pleasure*

VP said...

An interesting adventure and an impressive, if a bit sneaky, video. I saw the church many years ago but wasn't able to take any picture then.
It wasn't in such a good condition then, but it was probably before the Russiam aliyah of the 1990s.

Dina said...

Irina, you are welcome. Hope to meet you in Jerusalem someday.

Cloudia, I'm sure you enjoyed MDP.

Catherine, yes, you got it!

Rune, in Helsinki? I must have missed that church.

Hels, yes! My guidebooks says, "... in the Italian Renaissance style typical of Russian churches from the 15th century onwards."

VP, yes, can you tell how I was shaking from fear of being caught?
I guess the church got fixed up since you were there. The books says, "The green-painted stone domes ... were covered in 1994 by copper domes, each with a gilted cross towering above it."

GreensboroDailyPhoto said...

Wonderful post. Thank you for alerting me to it. And your text is always so great. Don't you feel like Nancy Drew sleuthing around trying to uncover the mysteries of your city?

I don't think that is any Christian service is more colorful than Russian Orthodox!


Suzanne said...

Ahhhh, I could listen to the chanting for another few minutes more. Nothing like it. Nice work finding an open door opportunity.

Leif Hagen said...

Looks like a heavenly church! Lovely!

Louis la Vache said...

Great, Dina!
Those Orthodox services are unequalled in their beauty.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Lovely--I really enjoyed the little video and the church is spectacular. Thank you. :-D

Kay said...

This is such a lovely post. I love how you made a connection with the priest. Thank you for the video. Usually... at Christian churches, they forbid you to take photos while service is going on. It happened to me in Santa Fe.

♥ Łucja-Maria ♥ said...

Hello Dina!

Very interesting architecture and beautiful picture.
I love Russian Orthodox churches.
Have a nice Sunday.
Greetings from Poland.

The Greenockian said...

What a beautiful building and so interesting.

Jim said...


Bill Nicholls said...

You were lucky to see the service, would be great to see inside the church when it was empty

Sandi said...

How cool!