Priest Travels 5,000 Miles Across Russia, Documenting Devastated Churches On His Own Dime

Fr. John went on a 5,000-mile motorcycle trek with a camera crew in tow, bringing attention to the vast country’s ruined churches, documenting the Orthodox life of parishes in remote areas.

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Originally appeared at: Orthodox Christianity

According to available statistics, more than 30,000 churches have been built or rebuilt over the past 30 years in Russia, since the fall of the Soviet Union. As His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk stated in December, if construction continues at such a pace, the number of churches in Russia will double within 25-30 years.

However, at present, despite the Church’s flurry of activity, there remains a great number of churches that lie in ruin, neglected and destroyed during the period of godless atheism in the 20th century.

Against this backdrop, one priest of the Russian Orthodox Church is stepping up to do his part to raise awareness about the holy sites that still need attention and care.

As Interfax-Religion reports, Fr. John Karabidovich, a priest from the Urals’ city of Chelyabinsk, went on a 5,000-mile motorcycle trek throughout European Russia with a camera crew in tow, precisely to bring attention to the vast country’s ruined churches.

The goal of the “Your Paths” project is to make a documentary film showcasing the churches that have yet to be restored, and to tell about the Orthodox life of parishes in more remote areas. The project has no sponsors but has been initiated at Fr. John’s expense.

The project was launched in Chelyabinsk, and continued for thousands of miles on the route of Chelyabinsk-Voronezh-Sevastopol-Simferopol-Belgorod-Starii Oskol-Voronezh. Then he visited churches in various steps of restoration in the greater Moscow region.

Shots from the documentary will also be used for a 2019 calendar. Fr. John made a similar calendar for the first time last year, with all of the proceeds going to the families of poor priests, including to help a missionary parish of the Russian Orthodox Church in Pakistan.

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