Young Christian Couple Leaves Brazil, Moves to Russia (PHOTOS & VIDEOS)

Their first time outside Brazil was the day they moved to Russia . . .

This article from our archives was first published on RI in July 2019


A Remote Village in South America

Struggling to get by on barely $250 per month, this young couple was living in a remote part of southern Brazil. They had left Calvinism and given up everything, just so they could become Orthodox Christians.

In Brazil, Orthodox churches are very few and far between. Geraldo and Karen Silva were living in the village of Piraí do Sul, more than three hours away from the nearest one. Neither Geraldo nor Karen had ever been outside the country.

Geraldo & Karen in Piraí do Sul

They have a great desire to have children, but the Supreme Court of Brazil recently ruled that homeschooling is illegal, and the government schools in Brazil are aggressively pushing the homosexual agenda. Meanwhile, homeschooling is legal in Russia.

They wanted to find a place where Orthodox Christianity is more widely practiced, and they wanted to become a homeschooling family. Thus Geraldo and Karen expressed a desire to move to Russia.

A few months ago, the Russian Faith website ran an exclusive interview with Geraldo, discussing these points in some detail. Since then, there have been a lot of interesting new developments.

Fr. Joseph Gleason Flies to Brazil

Fr. Joseph Gleason, the senior editor for the Russian Faith news website, flew to Brazil to meet Geraldo and Karen in person. To help Geraldo prepare for entrance into a Russian university, and also to help him create the Brazilian Portuguese version of the website, Fr. Joseph presented Geraldo with a new laptop computer that was purchased with generous donations from Russian Faith readers.

Fr. Joseph meets Geraldo & Karen in Piraí do Sul

Geraldo receives new laptop as a gift from Russian Faith readers

As can be seen in the video above, the landscape of Piraí do Sul is dotted with the famous Brazilian Araucaria tree, also known as the Paraná Pine. The climate here is very mild. You can garden year-round, and you can easily grow papayas and citrus fruit trees in your own backyard.

Unfortunately, there are no Orthodox churches nearby. It takes more than three hours to drive to the nearest one. There are no Orthodox schools. And in Brazil, homeschooling is illegal.

Translating Orthodox Christian Books into Portuguese

Fr. Joseph and Geraldo travelled to the southern tip of Brazil to meet with Fr. Anatolie Topala. He is rector of the church of St. Sergius of Radonezh in Porto Alegre, and dean for all the Russian Orthodox churches in Brazil.

To help bring the Gospel message to Brazil, they agreed to start working on a translation project for Surprised by Christ, an excellent book written by Fr. James Bernstein, an influential Orthodox priest from America.

Fr. Anatolie, Fr. Joseph, & Geraldo talk before the liturgy

Fr. Anatolie, Fr. Joseph, & Geraldo discuss the book translation project

Fr. Joseph, Geraldo, & Gabriel

Fr. Joseph and Geraldo also met with Gabriel Charczuk, an Orthodox Christian who works for a publishing company in the southern tip of Brazil. He has agreed to assist with the printing and distribution of this book.

At the time of the writing of this article, the book translation into Brazilian Portuguese is now over 60% finished. The publisher is hoping to release the completed book by early next year.

Saying Goodbye to Family

Before moving across the world to a new country, Geraldo wanted an opportunity to spend time with his family. He visited his mother and grandparents in the Brazilian city of Curitiba, three hours from Piraí do Sul.

In Russia, Fr. Joseph had purchased an icon of St. Leontius of Rostov, as a gift. Geraldo's family had a photo taken when they received it. Later, they attached the photo to the back of the icon, and they asked Fr. Joseph to write a little note on it. It now hangs on a wall in their home.

FRONT: St. Leontius — BACK: Geraldo's grandparents receiving the icon

Fr. Joseph meets Geraldo's mom

Back home in Piraí do Sul, playing with their two little dogs, Adah & Zillah

Geraldo's grandparents were sad that he needed to leave, considering this may be one of the last times they get to see their grandson. Still, they were happy about his opportunity to start a new and better life in Russia.

His mom was also sad to see him go. However, Geraldo sincerely hopes the parting is only temporary. If he and Karen are able to get established successfully in Russia, he is hoping his mom may relocate as well, joining them in just a few short years.

A New Life in Russia

Geraldo and Karen started making plans, preparing for a move to Russia. They learned what would be needed for a successful move abroad. They investigated the various requirements for passports, VISAs, international flights, and apartment rental in Russia. As a bonus, they even found out that their pets would be able to accompany them on the flight, at a very inexpensive rate. 

They found an excellent Russian language academy in Yaroslavl, just an hour north of Rostov the Great. Their teacher, Dr. Irina Kaznyshkina, helped acquire student VISAs for Geraldo and Karen, so they could live in Russia while studying the language.

Geraldo arrives in Russia, meets Fr. Joseph in Yaroslavl

Geraldo's first visit to Varnitsky monastery in Rostov

After months of preparation, Geraldo and Karen finally pursued their dreams. Their first time outside Brazil was the day they moved to Russia. They got a small apartment in Yaroslavl, where the Russian language academy is located. In the future, they are hoping to get a home in Rostov.

Fr. Joseph met them in Yaroslavl and then drove them to Rostov, where they all visited Varnitsky monastery, the birthplace of St. Sergius of Radonezh. The following video shows the breathtaking views at this historic monastery:

The town of Rostov has five Orthodox Christian monasteries. This was the first one for Geraldo and Karen to visit.

At the monastery, they met Fr. Dmitry Didenko, who gave them a tour. Fr. Dmitry is director of the world famous Orthodox Christian boarding school in Rostov.

Here are a few snapshots of their monastery tour:

Geraldo & Karen meet Fr. Dmitry

Geraldo & Karen at one of the main churches in Varnitsky

Geraldo & Karen inside one of the monastery churches

Geraldo & Karen, walking with Fr. Dmitry

Touring the monastery grounds

Geraldo & Karen with Fr. Dmitry

And so their great adventure begins! They have successfully arrived in Russia, moved into an apartment, and started Russian language lessons. They made a pilgrimage to one of the local monasteries, and they are getting acquainted with the many local Orthodox churches. The next step is to do the hard work of legal immigration — meeting all the requirements for getting a residency permit.

All of this will take both time and money. Until Geraldo and Karen learn to speak Russian, it will be very difficult to find any local jobs. So it is critical that we do everything we can to help them. 

The Russian Faith team wants to see Geraldo and Karen succeed, and we have hired Geraldo to do translation work for our website. He is doing an excellent job, as you can see here. However, this support will not be able to continue, unless our readers are faithfully making donations.

Geraldo & Karen in Rostov, taking a little walk with Adah & Zillah

The Russian Faith website does not have any large donors, and is not owned by a large corporation. For continued survival, we rely on donations from you, our readers. Every $20, $50, and $100 donation helps keep us going a little longer. Without your continued support, the Russian Faith website will not be able to continue.

If donation goals are reached, then we will have funds available to continue supporting Geraldo & Karen. For this reason, we humbly ask you to DONATE NOW, helping them to succeed in their new life in Russia.

Please do your part to help us, so that we can keep providing you with high quality articles, and also so we can keep you posted on the next chapter in the life of Geraldo & Karen.