June 8, 2012
Howell, NJ: The Ceremonial Opening of Russian House "Rodina"
Saturday, May 26, the ceremonial opening of
"Rodina" was held in Howell, NJ. The Russian House is the
ideological successor to the "Rodina" Russian Cultural Society,
founded in 1954 and located in the same building. The Society played
a significant role in the social life and benevolent functions of
church society: within its hall were held theatrical productions,
presentations by famous musicians, an art studio, a sports club,
"youth circles" with rooms for ping-ping, chess, declamation,
painting, arts and crafts, traditional dancing, woodcarving, and
Taking part in the opening were representatives of the clergy and
social, political, and cultural celebrities of the Russian Diaspora,
as well as members of St. George’s Pathfinders of America. The
ceremony began with a moleben before the start of any good work,
which was led by Eastern American Diocesan secretary Archpriest
Serge Lukianov, co-served by Deacon Leonid Roschko (cleric of the
neighboring St. George’s Cossack Church). A memorial to A.S. Pushkin
(sculptor M. Zvyagin) was then unveiled.
Prior to entering the building, Fr. Serge Lukianov read aloud a
letter from the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, His
Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, in
which His Eminence welcomed the Russian cultural center’s opening:
"By the will of the Most High God, this opening marks the beginning
of a new era of collaboration and cooperation between the Church and
your organization, whose goal is not only to acquaint our American
neighbors with Russian culture, but to preserve our heritage for our
children, the heirs of a great tradition."
behalf of the Metropolitan, Fr. Serge presented Alexander Bondarev,
president of Russian House, with a copy of the Protectress of the
Russian Diaspora, the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God, with a
commemorative plaque. Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov (rector of the
neighboring St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral), the senior-most cleric
in the Church Abroad, also greeted those gathered. On behalf of the
residents of Howell, Mayor Robert Walsh greeted the organizers and
guests, and presented Mr. Bondarev a set of American flags.
A banquet was then held for the ceremony’s guests, during which many
congratulatory and thankful speeches were offered to the
participants of Rodina’s opening. After the banquet, a Russian music
concert was held, in which the following musicians took part:
Nikolai Semenov, soloist at Russia’s Bolshoi Theater (tenor),
Moscow; Elena Isaeva (soprano), Laureate of International
Competitions, Moscow; Vyacheslav Motsardo (baritone), composer,
performer, and stage director, Moscow; Inna Gilmore (flute),
Laureate of International Competitions, USA; Brian Gilmore
(piano), Laureate of International Competitions, USA; Eugene
Magalif, composer, USA.
The program included Russian folk songs, and the romances of M.
Glinka, P. Tchaikovsky, A. Alyabyeva, and E. Magalif. Poems were
read by Nina Kartashov.
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