St. Petersburg’s Jaw-Dropping Wonder

Ana Paula Hirama, Flickr

Al and Marie, Flickr

You know the Sistine Chapel and the Notre Dame in Paris, but do you know the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood? Because it’s one of the most beautiful churches in the whole world. Located in St. Petersburg, Russia, Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is a Russian Orthodox church that was built in the late 19th century under the direction of the Russian imperial family. It is built on the site where Emperor Alexander II was fatally injured in March of 1881. It is full of bright colors, twisting spires, and floor to ceiling icons.

Here’s what it looks like on the outside:NoPlayerUfa, Wikipedia

And if you walk inside and look up, here’s what you see:

Saint-Petersburg orthodox theological academy, Flickr

See what I mean about being jaw-droppingly beautiful??

And yes, this place really exists.

Unfortunately, it is not used as a full-time church. During the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, the church was looted and damaged. The Soviet government closed the church in the 1930s. It suffered further damage during WWII.

Since 1970s, it has been used as a museum, even after a major restoration of the church in the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s.

But it can still inspire people’s faith with its beauty!

Here are more pictures of both the exterior and interior. Enjoy!

Saint-Petersburg orthodox theological academy, Flickr
Saint-Petersburg orthodox theological academy, Flickr
Ana Paula Hirama, Flickr
Justin Kaplan, Flickr
grizzlee9129, Flickr
Saint-Petersburg orthodox theological academy, Flickr
Saint-Petersburg orthodox theological academy, Flickr
Saint-Petersburg orthodox theological academy, Flickr
Ana Paula Hirama, Flickr
jaime.silva, Flickr
Diego Sáez Contreras, Flickr

Source: http://www.churchpop.com/2015/09/02/the-jaw-dropping-wonder-of-st-petersburg-the-church-of-the-savior-on-spilled-blood/

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Autumn Photo Sketches of Rila Monastery

The Monastery of St. John of Rila, Bulgaria

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The Monastery of St. John of Rila, Bulgaria

The main holy place of Bulgaria is Rila Monastery at which the relics of Venerable John (Ivan; c. 876-c. 946), the Wonderworker of Rila and patron-saint of this Orthodox country, rest. Rila Monastery is situated in the very heart of the Rila Mountains. Steep slopes covered with glorious woods, magnificent rocks, peace and quiet… All of this disposes a pilgrim’s soul towards the meeting with the holiness already at the turn of the Sofia – Blagoevgrad Motorway. And on your way back the spiritual delight changes into peaceful joy… And also into bitterness: in the places where the Divine grace is abundant and strong, one particularly realizes the incorrectness, vanity and worldliness of our ordinary life.

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Rila Monastery was founded by St. John in the 930s and acquired its present appearance in the mid nineteenth century. Only the Tower of Hrelyu is much older: it dates from the fourteenth century. All who visit the holy monastery for the first time are amazed at the brightness of the frescoes which is an uncommon feature for a monastery. However, not everyone knows that they depict the afterlife journeys of a soul through the so-called aerial “toll-houses”, or trials. The main cathedral of the monastery is dedicated to the feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God. The reliquary with the Venerable John’s relics rests there. Numerous miracles have occurred and continue to occur through the prayers of this holy man. His significance for Bulgaria and his national veneration can be compared with the veneration of St. Sergius of Radonezh in Russia; even the lives of these two saints are remarkably similar.

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There are three days of commemoration of St. John of Rila in the Church year: July 1/14, August 18/31, and October 19/November 1. The last of them falls on the period of the “golden autumn” (when leaves especially turn red and yellow) – the most beautiful time in the mountains, when it is so warm in the sun and where the beauty of the God’s creation meets with spiritual, heavenly beauty…
Photos by Yanina Alekseeva, Sofia.

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The Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God rila12
Christ the Pantocrator. A frescorila13
Venerable John (Ivan) of Rilarila14
Frescoes depicting Toll Houses
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The monks’ residence        rila20
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An Artist at Work
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Music Swims Back To Us

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“Landfill Harmonic Is A Film about the Love of Music”

Landfill Harmonic, Directors:: Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley

Before you proceed to the film review, let me tell you that to truly understand what happened in Cateura, you should watch an absolutely brilliant, fascinating classical music lesson by Benjamin Zander, a famous Ted talk on “The transformative power of classical music” at https://www.ted.com/talks/benjamin_zander_on_music_and_passion
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… “Landfill Harmonic” was a film that took me straight out of that lull. It made my soul smile, and I’m willing to bet that it will do the same to each and every one of you. Rarely does a film come by that touches you so purely. This is exactly what happened to me. “Landfill Harmonic” is a film that will inspire you, embrace your soul, and prove that magic can be found in the most unexpected places.

You can view the teaser for the film below:

I was given the privilege to see this film while attending SXSW this year, and it was amazing. I was touched by the plight of these people, and entranced at the ingenuity of them. To steal a line from “Jurassic Park”, “Life finds a way.” Humanity is a wonderful species, and “Landfill Harmonic” is one of the best examples of this.

There are too many instances where we discredit people due to race, gender, and circumstance, but given the opportunity, we all have the potential to shine. I highly suggest seeing this film when it releases. As some of you know, I have been a musician for most of my life, and “Landfill Harmonic” made me want to play. I don’t really have the words to describe this feeling, except to say that the film inspired me, and made me want to create something as beautiful as what I had just witnessed.

Landfill Harmonic, Directors:: Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley

Here is the official SXSW synopsis of the film:

“Landfill Harmonic” follows the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, a Paraguayan musical group that plays instruments made entirely out of garbage. When their story goes viral, the orchestra is catapulted into the global spotlight. Under the guidance of idealistic music director Favio Chavez, the orchestra must navigate a strange new world of arenas and sold-out concerts. However, when a natural disaster strikes their country, Favio must find a way to keep the orchestra intact and provide a source of hope for their town. The film is a testament to the transformative power of music and the resilience of the human spirit.

The way that these kids play their instruments is delightful and their passion for music is incredible. Favio Chavez is their teacher and mentor, and I had the opportunity to shake his hand. I really could tell him nothing except thank you. I don’t even think that thank you could begin to sum up my appreciation for him and what he has done in Paraguay. The funny thing is that he seemed to understand exactly what I was saying. This is one of the wonderful things about music.

Landfill Harmonic, Directors:: Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley

The most impressive thing about the film is how the community has banded together to help these children. The children’s music brings them hope, and allows them to see that they can all change their stars.

“Landfill Harmonic” needs your help. Spread the word about this film. Be proactive and help contribute. Part of the proceeds from the film will go to the Recycled Orchestra. They take donated instruments as well. You can get all of the information that you need on the official site for the film, Landfillharmonicmovie.com.

Directed by Brad Allgood and Graham Townsley, “Landfill Orchestra” is a lesson in how precious life is, and why we should not take music and art for granted. I applaud everyone that has contributed to the making of the film, and especially Favio Chavez and the children. You keep on making brilliant music, because I get butterflies in my stomach every time I hear you play it.

Below, are some images from the film:

Landfill Harmonic, Directors:: Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley Landfill Harmonic, Directors:: Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley Landfill Harmonic, Directors:: Brad Allgood, Graham TownsleyLandfill Harmonic, Directors:: Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley Landfill Harmonic, Directors:: Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley Landfill Harmonic, Directors:: Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley Landfill Harmonic, Directors:: Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley

By “Landfill Harmonic Will Touch Your Soul” by  at http://flicksided.com/2015/03/20/landfill-harmonic-will-touch-your-soul/#respond

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Be sure not to miss their inspiring Ted talk at http://ed.ted.com/on/p2vivxdA