Bryansk Orthodox Nun:
“Bold Radiance and Humble Reluctance”
Artist: Patricia S. Arnold
Orthodox Christian Nuns are by their very job somewhat reluctant to speak to outsiders. They have made a vow to live out their life for Christ and the Church, and often shy away from the normal interaction with the general population, especially when they are foreigners. She was the head Nun at the local church in Bryansk when we requested to speak with her about her faith and her church. She was reluctant at first but agreed to speak with these Americans and answer their questions. The more she spoke, the bolder she became.
It is often said that to be Russian is be Orthodox, even if one does not understand the story of Christianity and the core of the faith. But this Nun believed in what she said. Quite elderly now, she had served during the harshest times and most difficult conditions imaginable; the politically oppressive Soviet era. Those were times when anyone who stood up for any kind of religious faith were socially and educationally abandoned, and often exiled to Siberia to be separated from the rest of the world so not to pollute the minds of the Russian citizens. Orthodox Church buildings throughout the land were either torn down, turned into medical clinics, or remodeled for offices. She had been a Nun through all those bleak years, and yet had never given up her faith. Today, well past her prime, she was now the head Nun of this church and served in a corner of the city of Bryansk. Her role was to assist the new head priest, a fresh seminary graduate with little experience. He referred to this head Nun with only great admiration and respect. She had earned this respect because she had paid such a great personal price for her faith. But through all she had live through, she still carried with her both an obvious humility coupled with a visually bold radiance.
Art work and story telling by Patricia S. Arnold