I mailed two boxes of Why Creeds and Confessions? books – 80 copies – to Rivne and Ivano-Frankivsk. I was excited that I was able to use the post office for the first time. I knew only how to say, “I want boxes,” and “How much is it?” But I was successful. It cost only $5 to mail a big box of 40 books and the boxes were $1 a piece. So some things here are still a bargain.
I also went into the city again one more time to shoot some video. I walked to the Monastery of the Caves and the WWII Memorial, places I’ve visited about eight or nine times before – but I wanted to get good digital video. I still think this excursion is one of the most beautiful places to take a walk in the many cities of the former Soviet Union I have visited.
I love the iconography and architecture of the Orthodox Church. Of course, I don’t pray to images, but it’s amazing that everywhere in the former Soviet Union there are churches. To see a nation that suffered 70 years of atheistic communism that is so rich in Christian symbolism everywhere you turn is a reminder that the glory of God fills the earth.
I liked especially one icon you can see clearly at about 7:10. It is a painting of John the Baptist. It says Sv. Ivan Predtecha (St. John the Forerunner). I was born on the feast day of John the Baptist, June 24th, and my mother actually named me after John the Baptist. I found out about this a few years after I started with The Forerunner. So I like the identification with John, the “burning and shining light” (John 5:35) and I’ve always enjoyed this icon. When we first named the Russian Forerunner, it was called Predtecha (“Forerunner”) – but we renamed it Predvestnik (“Foreteller”) – because it is a more contemporary word in Russian.