Russian Orthodox church anthemshould be significant to all Alaskans

Posted: Monday, July 07, 2003

Here are some thoughts I felt might be of interest to some of your readers. Unfortunately, most readers were probably engaged in various other Fourth of July festivities when this special program was aired. Those who saw it on the Alaska Educational Channel at 7 p.m. on this nation's 227th birthday might relate more easily to my forthcoming words.

Channel 7 carried a musical tribute in honor of America's birthday. Selections from the well-known musical, "Music Man," were excellently played by a high school band from Santa Monica, Calif. Song lyrics were interpreted by several soloists, and dancers expressed themselves through many melodies.

When a personality came on stage dressed in a costume depicting the American flag, something in me stirred, which I admit, was rather negative. How can anyone be flippant, even for a moment, calling attention to one's "calling card" of a God-given attribute? In my opinion, this sort of humor was misplaced. America's young and middle-aged men are still at war and dying in more than one far off country.

But, what followed on the program saved the day in my estimation. As a prelude to the fireworks which ended the program, the famous "1812 Overture" composed by the Russian composer, Peter Iliich Tchaikovsky, redeemed the evening through the talented musicians who comprise the membership of the National Symphony in America's Capitol in Washington, D.C. A choir joined them in the rousing chorus toward the conclusion of this work. The words of this chorus, sung by American singers, had a special spiritual significance for me, a Russian Orthodox from North China:

O Lord, save Thy people,

And bless Thine inheritance;

Grant victory over Thy enemies;

And by the mercy of Thy Cross

Preserve Thy habitation.

This Russian Orthodox Church anthem was sung by the first Christian missionaries who came with the Good News to the Native people of Alaska from Russia over 200 years ago. Perhaps, Alaskans need to assume the role of leadership and become better acquainted with their rich, historical, spiritual heritage in these times of trouble.

However, they also must first learn and be taught about it themselves. Yes, God please save and preserve your people.

Varvara (Barbara) Sediakina-Larson


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