About Pyotr Timofeyevich and his Church
The beginning is typical for the history of the Russian North: traveling monks decided to build a temple on one of coastal hills. The communion table was dedicated in about 1493 in the name of great martyr George, or how they say here, Yegoriy the Brave. The church was meant to be a summer temple, without a furnace, and this circumstance has strongly affected the longevity of the temple. All troubles avoided it right up to the Finnish-Soviet war when Soviet artillery fired directly at the church. But even in this situation the Lord helped – no shells hit the target.
This is the time period reflected in the first memories of Pyotr Timofeyevich Vladimirov who is now father Pyotr, monk of Alexandro-Svirsky monastery and keeper of the St. George's church. He was born here, a few kilometers away from the temple. The family was very strong, his father was strict and made sure all church rules were kept in the house, even though their neighbors were ironic about the Vladimirov family. However, soon the family got used to such irony.
Later on, after being imprisoned in Finnish concentration camp near Petrozavodsk, after the war and army service Pyotr Timofeyevich got married and started working as a driver for the local collective farm. On Sundays he read the Bible that was brought from Solovky monastery and used to belong to his father. He came back to church many years later. He is trying to remember what attracted him – he simply lost track of life outside the temple. Only older ladies used to go to church then, people would whisper and gossip behind his back, they were saying he went crazy. His wife and children and others would fuss at him saying: "Why are you dishonoring us, fool?"
He says: "I opened the Bible and read that I should prepare my soul for temptations".
The family of father Pyotr did not accept his new life, so he returned to his native village, helped the family settle in Podporozhye and remained all alone in his father’s house.
And in 1993 there was a big festival, with actors and people on the platform. It was celebration of five-hundredth anniversary of the temple. Perestroika and freedom excited local people, and father Pyotr managed to gather a congregation. Not for long, though. In the regional center they were explained the difference between the church and the state, and soon members of the congregation wandered off.
In the meantime the temple kept falling apart. Highway constructors broke the locks, spent nights there, knocked out windows, made a table, drank and played cards inside the church. It was terrible to look at. Homeless people brought hay and spent nights there. Young people would come and act crazy there, too. All this disturbed the old guy. It disturbed him very much!
He used to go to bed and think of nothing else but the temple. He thought of all men of the village but they were non-believers and did not care about the temple. He turned out to be the only believer left in the village. So who else would take care of the church if not him?
He found all materials, brought carpenter Gena (Gennady) from Lodeynoye. At first, Gena did not want to go and used his own house as an excuse but the priest blessed him and they went to Yuksovitchi. Pyotr Timofeyevich would bring wood and bricks and help some in construction, and Gena would do major construction work. They still live and work together. God helps them.
Today the temple's life is very different: not long ago it was registered with Alexandro-Svirsky monastery and made a skete. And Pyotr Timofeyevich became a monk of the same monastery. Now he is father Pyotr.