Tag Archives: St Xenia

Icon of St. Xenia Venerated at LUM


Icon of St. Xenia presentation & blessing


St Xenia 003

Don Nead, one of the founding members of the Lafayette Urban Ministry and retired Presbyterian campus minister, presented the Icon of St. Xenia, the patron saint of St. Petersburg, Russia to LUM before a gathering of Board of Directors, friends and staff. The presentation of the Icon included the Rite of Blessing of the Icon of St. Xenia by Father Gregory Allard of St. Alexis Orthodox Church, Lafayette.

Don Nead shared reflections on his 1988 trip to Russia that inspired this historic event. Don Nead pointed out that “in many ways, St. Xenia of St. Petersburg was one of the first ‘Urban Ministers’ in the life of the Christian Church, focusing her ministry on those who were left behind and without help.” St. Xenia was widowed at an early age, gave up her wealth and devoted her life to serving others – “especially the poor and downtrodden, by sharing the alms which she was given,

Left to Right: Don Nead, Father Gregory Allard, LUM Board President Joan Low, and Joe Micon, LUM executive director.

Left to Right: Don Nead, Father Gregory Allard, LUM Board President Joan Low, and Joe Micon, LUM executive director.

passing them along to the beggars and various sufferers she encountered during her 45 year ‘ministry.’ She is “beloved of all who suffer and a model for those who would mitigate suffering.”

The Icon of St. Xenia is now fittingly venerated in the office of the Lafayette Urban Ministry.


For the full story of the Icon of St. Xenia coming to LUM, written by Don Nead, click HERE.


For more photos from the presentation of the Icon of St. Xenia to LUM, click HERE.


The Icon of St. Xenia was “written” by Philip Davydov of Sacred Murals Studio in St. Petersburg, Russia. Check out their website, HERE.



The Story of Xenia Grigoryevna Petrova


by Don Nead


2014-05-21 StXenia-presentation 014 (2)Little is known of her early life. Neither the dates of her birth nor her death are known. Her birth is believed to have been about 1730 and her death about 1803. She was married to Colonel Andrei Fyodorovich Petrov, who served as a court chorister at the Saint Andrew Cathedral. Xenia fell into great grief upon the death of her husband when she was 26 years old.

Xenia became a “fool for Christ” after her husband’s death and for 45 years wandered around the streets of St. Petersburg, usually wearing her late husband’s military uniform. She called herself by her husband’s name: Andrei Fyodorovich. She was noted for her intercessions in helping those with employment, marriage, the homeless, for fires for warmth, for missing children, and for a spouse.

The canonization of Xenia Grigoryevna Petrova (1719/1730-c.1803) as St. Xenia of St. Petersburg was by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1988, the year of the Millennial celebration of the church.

In many ways St. Xenia of St. Petersburg, was one of the first Urban Ministers in the life of the Christian Church, focusing her ministry on those who were left behind and without help.


To read a written account of the entire story written by Don Nead, click HERE.



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Icon of Saint Xenia to be presented to LUM by Founder

*** MEDIA ADVISORY ***


LUM Founder presents Icon of St. Xenia to Lafayette Urban Ministry


St Xenia 003

On Wednesday, May 21st, Don Nead – one of the founders of LUM – will present the Icon of St. Xenia to Lafayette Urban Ministry. Nead will present the Icon of St. Xenia, explain the significance of the icon, and share the story behind this historic gift. The Icon of St. Xenia will be on permanent display at Lafayette Urban Ministry.

Please join us for this event which will include presentation and remarks by Don Nead, the blessing of the Icon of St. Xenia by Father Gregory Allard (St. Alexis Orthodox Church, Lafayette), an opportunity to meet the LUM Board of Directors, and light refreshments.


The Icon of St. Xenia Presentation event details are as follows:

  • Date: Wednesday, May 21, 2014
  • Time: 6:00 p.m. – Meet the LUM Board; 6:45 p.m. – LUM Board business meeting; 7:00 p.m. – presentation and blessing of the Icon of St. Xenia
  • Place: Lafayette Urban Ministry, 420 N 4th Street, Lafayette, Indiana

The journey that led Don Nead to commission this piece and present it to LUM is quite interesting. This presentation of the Icon of St. Xenia to LUM was 26 years in the making – going back to 1988, the Millennial celebration of the Russian Orthodox Church. Don Nead traveled to St. Petersburg in 1988 and again in 2012 – resulting in commissioning the Icon and presenting it to LUM. Don Nead, a retired Presbyterian campus minister, was struck by the story of St. Xenia and the parallels of her story to the mission of Lafayette Urban Ministry.


Please join us on Wednesday, May 21st at the LUM Office to see the Icon of St. Xenia and be a part of this historic presentation.


Contacts:

Joe Micon
Executive Director
Lafayette Urban Ministry
Phone: 765.423.2691
Email: jmicon@lumserve.org

Mary Anderson
Program Director
Lafayette Urban Ministry
Phone: 765.423.2691
Email: manderson@lumserve.org

Don Nead
Phone: 765.491.7267
Email: donnead@aol.com

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To read a written account of the entire story written by Don Nead, click HERE.



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Icon of Saint Xenia Arrives at LUM

Icon of Saint Xenia Arrives at Lafayette Urban Ministry

By Don Nead


This is the story of the weaving of the fabric that brought the Icon of Saint Xenia of St. Petersburg, Russia to the Lafayette Urban Ministry in Lafayette, Indiana in the USA.

In 1988 two threads of this story took place. The first was the canonization of Xenia Grigoryevna Petrova (1719/1730-c.1803) as St. Xenia of St. Petersburg by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church during the year of the Millennial celebration of the church. Xenia Grigoryevna Petrova had been wedded to Colonel Andrey Fyodorovich Petrov, an officer in the Russian army and a chanter at the St. Andrew Cathedral. She was widowed at the age of 26 and she spent the rest of her life as a “fool for Christ,” giving away all that she had and serving the homeless, hungry, unemployed, and children in distress. She wandered the streets of St. Petersburg dressed in the military coat of her deceased husband.

The second thread of the story was on one of my trips to the Soviet Union to celebrate the Millennium of the Russian Orthodox Church. I was in Leningrad (renamed St. Petersburg after the fall of the Soviet in 1990’s) and was taken to the chapel and gravesite of St. Xenia in a cemetery on Vasilievsky Island in the Smolenka River in the northwest of the city. After hearing her story and seeing the Chapel of St. Xenia, I acquired a small reproduction of St. Xenia which hangs on the wall of my study even as I write this story.

The third thread in this fabric didn’t occur until late in 2011 when my wife Caryl and I made the decision to make a trip to Russia late in 2012. In preparation for this trip, I attempted to revive some of my contacts from my earlier trips into the USSR and then into Russia after the fall of the Soviet. In the late 80’s an organization that I helped organize at University Church at Purdue in 1983 called the John T. Conner Center for US-USSR Reconciliation developed a “sister church” program. This program was designed to make connections between churches of the USSR with churches in the US.

St Xenia 003One of the successful sister church relations was between the Community of Our Lady of Fyodorovskaya, St. Petersburg, Russia and First Presbyterian Church of Middletown, Ohio. It still has connections and visits between the members of both communities. I had visited First Church when a small Russian delegation was present, back in the late 1990’s. One of the members of that delegation was the daughter of one of my good friends from my previous visits to St. Petersburg, Fr. Vladimir Sorokin, whom I first met in 1984 when he was a priest at St. Nicholas in St. Petersburg. In 1986 he became the Director of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy. It just so happens that the priest of Our Lady of Fyodorovskaya is Fr. Alexander Sorokin, son of Fr. Vladimir. Just a side note for any who read this, this church was the one located near the Theological Academy that had been converted to a dairy in the Soviet period and had pipes running out of its roof. Since the fall of the Soviet it has been returned to the church and restored.

In an effort to renew contacts in St. Petersburg I called the pastor of First Presbyterian in Middletown and he was able to give me the names, address, and email addresses of several people in St. Petersburg who had been a part of contacts made between the two churches.

Through this, the fourth thread in the fabric was identified and that is an iconographer, Philip Davydov of St. Petersburg, who is the director of the Sacred Murals Studio of St. Petersburg. In making contact with Philip he was able to get me in contact with Fr. Sorokin. And so it was on our October 2012 trip to St. Petersburg that I was able to visit with Fr. Vladimir and renew an old friendship. It was a beautiful renewing of our friendship and exciting to see him in his new position as Dean of the Cathedral of St. Prince Vladimir in St. Petersburg. At the conclusion of our time together he asked if there was anything that he could do for us to make our trip to Russia complete. I responded by asking if there was anyone in the congregation that we could employ for the next day to serve as a guide and interpreter. His response was yes he could and also he would supply us with a car and a driver.

So the next morning enters yet another thread in the fabric and this is our meeting with our interpreter for the day, a young lady, Olga Makarova, a member of St. Prince Vladimir Cathedral. She teaches English to Russian speakers and Russian to English speakers at the University and the Theological Academy. We also met another Vladimir who was our driver both the day before, and then again for this day. We had a delightful day with both of them and got to see more of St. Petersburg as a result.

The follow up with Olga occurred when we returned back to West Lafayette and I checked my email, and lo and behold Olga had found me on Facebook. She had sent us a message welcoming us back home and hoped that we had a good journey. Early in the summer of 2013 we received an email from Olga that she accepted a job in the Russian House at William and Mary University in Williamsburg, Virginia. She was coming to serve as a tutor in the fall semester and as a teacher and tutor during the spring semester.

Now yet to another thread in this fabric. In the fall of 2013 I developed and taught a six week class on Eastern Orthodoxy and used my many experiences with the Russian Church as my window into the world of Orthodoxy. As I developed this class I realized that I had to spend one session on the subject of icons and their significance in the world of the Eastern Church. I relied on the internet, as well as my contacts with Philip Davydov and Olga Makarova. Olga gave me the insight of a lay person and Philip gave me his insight as one who writes icons as well as frescoes and other pairing of religious objects. Let me insert at this point for the non-Orthodox, icons are not painted but are written and follow a very rigorous discipline in their creation as they are regarded as windows into Heaven.

It was through the preparation for this class that I had re-visited the Icon of St. Xenia and I began to think about my long contact and relationship with Lafayette Urban Ministry. I was involved in the evolution of this organization in its beginnings as a consultant and then again after ten plus years in expanding the rationale for such an approach to the urban scene. A few weeks after this thinking I received word from Olga that she was going to be going home over the Christmas season. Then my mind started clicking and I wondered if Philip Davydov would be interested in writing an icon of St. Xenia for me to present to LUM.

I contacted Philip and we exchanged emails over the next couple of weeks. He suggested that he would like to do an icon of Jesus feeding the 5000 for placement with LUM. Then I explained to him that such an icon would be an excellent one for LUM/St. John Food Pantry, but that the one of St. Xenia would be better for the office of LUM. Then I identified Xenia for Philip as the first of the urban ministers in the Christian tradition. I further suggested that maybe he could do two icons for us, one for the office and one for the Food-Pantry. He responded very graciously and said that he would do the two. Then I moved quickly to contact Fr. Bradley Pace of St. John’s to get his endorsement of the placing of a Russian Icon on one of the walls of the Food Pantry. Fr. Pace’s response was affirmative. Following this conversation then I called a friend, who is Orthodox and a member of St. Alexis our local Eastern Orthodox Church, to see if Fr. Gregory, the priest at St. Alexis, would be willing to be involved in the process. Fr. Gregory has committed to doing a blessing of the icon at the time of the public recognition of it at the office of LUM. This will be done sometime in the near future.

Finally, I asked Philip as to when he could have the one of St. Xenia finished, explaining to him that I had a courier who would be St Xenia 002willing to bring it back to the states after her Christmas visit in St. Petersburg. His response was yes it would be done, but that he needed information from Olga for the permit to take the icon out of Russia. This was done and Olga went home with a mission to return with the icon in January.

A running question with this was how would we get it to the Lafayette area. Part of what kicked this whole thing off was the fact that Caryl and I had planned to go to Williamsburg in January to spend time with Olga. So on January 19, 2014, Olga passed the icon on to me to bring back to Lafayette.

St Xenia 001Upon returning to Lafayette we left the package intact until we could arrange a time with Joe Micon, Director the Lafayette Urban Ministry, to meet with Caryl and me to unpack the icon. This was done on February 6, 2014. It was a very inspiring event for the three of us as we unpacked the icon. The three of us were very excited to view this icon of one of the first urban ministers in the life of the Christian community. It was quite an ecumenical experience, Caryl an Episcopalian, Joe Micon a Roman Catholic, and myself a retired Presbyterian Campus Minister, admiring an icon of a Saint in the Russian Orthodox Tradition.

Now the fabric has been woven and we are ready to place the first icon in the office of LUM in the near future. In all of this I see the world of the computer and the internet as agents of the Holy Spirit. Praise be to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! Amen.

This event is now scheduled for Wednesday, May 21, 2014 in the evening in the office of the Lafayette Urban Ministry, at 420 N. 4th Street, in downtown Lafayette, Indiana.



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Filed under Giving, Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM, LUM Staff, St. John's/LUM Food Pantry