Oh, Russia


What have you given me? I pause to think, Oh Russia, and my eyes are filled with tears. That’s what you’ve given me, my dear – the gift of tears. I knew them before in pain, self-pity, disapproved, but you teach how they wash the soul. Based on original letters, this most moving account describes Russia’s age old swing from sin to sanctity, from height to depth. All nations suffer but few have borne it in such scale and intensity as her. Is this, as many say, her destiny – to bear the human cross?


Born in England from a Russian mother, John’s 5 years in her homeland were an extraordinary revelation of (his) roots, grown through the traumas of history to faith which endures … and endures. Drawn to study, understand and love the qualities that formed her character and his, as a country boy and farmer, he also drew to Russia’s unspoilt nature. Unable to hide the facts of her traumatic past, no nation asks more often, “Why did it happen?” and “What can we do?” Russian Orthodoxy is distinctly different to Western churches. After 70 years of state persecution, its amazing resurgence bears witness to how Russians esteem the answer it provides. Coming straight to the point, “It was”, said the Patriarch, “To cure us of a monstrous pride”.