Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church
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Gatchina (St.-Petersburg region)

This is Father Alexei Lebedev several days after he was ordained a priest. His parish left ROCOR after the "October Sobor", went to ROAC and asked Vladyka to ordain them their candidate to priesthood. Father Alexei is a Cossack, he is very brave, also he like horses and he is a good rider. Also he likes the ancient Church tones called "Znamennoe" singing.

On this picture Fr Alexei is administering the holy oil during Holy Unction is Suzday (after the ordination he stayed in Suzdal for some time to serve his 40 Liturgies).

Two members of Garchina parish: monk Nikon (left) and Constantine (right) visiting their Suzdal friend hieromonk Parthenios (center). Monk Nicon is now Hierodeacon Philaret, named after St. Philaret of New York.

This is the wedding of two young parishioners. Hierodeacon Theophan from St.-Petersburg parish assists Father Alexei.

The grave of New Martyr St. Maria of Gatchina, the patron of parish of Father Alexei. (At the background there is a blue chapel with the relics of St. Xenia). St. Maria of Gatchina was born in about 1870 in a rich family, she studied in a good institute for girls and a happy prosperous life was waiting for her. But suddenly, when she was graduating the institute, she got ill and became paralyzed, but she could speak. This changed her life. She said to herself: God gave it to me, so I need it. And she started to pray with Jesus prayer. There was a religion community gathered around her, but her strength appeared mostly during the days of revolution. She received the gift of consolation. In those terrible days people who were at a loss or in despondency or in despair started to came to her talking to her and asking her prayers, and was finding the right words for everyone. Even the Holy Martyr Metropolitan Benjamin of Petrograd (who was killed later) came to her and heft her his photo with the words: "Thank you for the consolation that you gave me". Later (in 1932, 15 years after the revolution) she was arrested by bolshevicks, imprisoned and then killed (April 5), but she continues to help her people. She was canonized along with other new martyrs in the days of St. Philaret.

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