Light - International Charity action
release of the R.U.S. HQ
26, the group of our Scouts from Nizhny Novgorod start participation
in a World Scout action of a Goodwill that is called "Bethlehem
Light". The aim of the action is to deliver Bethlehem Light, lit
in Bethlehem cave, to each temple, each Christian home, from heart to
heart from hand to hand- as a symbol of God, Unification, Love and Joy.
The action "Bethlehem Light" is a Scout gift to all people
by New Year and Christmas.
Hard work was done this year to prepare the action.. Without sponsors
our Scouts found money for repair of the Scout mini-bus, for petrol,
lampands, oil, food, equipment. They printed posters and delivered information
material. The team of Scouts was properly selected. We had a hard road
(3000 kms) up to the Polish border and back with breakages, cold, ice,
accidents on roads, absence of any opportunity to cook dinner and take
care of ourself. The team included Scoutmasters from Nizhny Novgorod,
Arzamas, Moscow, as well as Scouts from Tonkino, Nizhny Novgorod, Arzamas.
Having received blessing, Scouts started their way
Difficulties began immediately after we had left the city. The heating
system of the bus was broken. The fan was fused. Only a stock of hot
water in the thermoses rescued us. That was only the beginning. At one
refueling a petrol hose came off and the bus was poured with petrol.
Fortunately explosion did not take place. By terrible ice, having passed
420 kms, Scouts arrived to Moscow. They got a huge pleasure, having
met with the capital - Moscow. But we could not see much, as we spent
more than 4 hours, in traffic jams.Having visited the Red Square, the
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the State Duma of the Russian Federation,
we went to one of Moscow schools to spend the night. A hard floor and
a cup of tea were a reward to us. All night long the Scouts were looking
after the bus (there were things, equipment, and the most important
- lampands with oil and a stock of petrol). On December 27, we got up
at 5 a.m. We had to do the next step: 720 kms through Moscow, Vyazma,
Smolensk, the Belarus border to Minsk.
The road appeared to be extremely dangerous. Instead of expected frosty
weather there was rain with snow, dirty and fog. Having stayed 12 hours
in rigid armchairs, without dinner, we arrived to Minsk at 19 p.m. Generally
we passed 1200 kms.
We were impressed by Minsk. The city appeared to be European class.
All buildings in down-town were highlighted with 20-30 projectors. It
was very clean there. We were met by friends - Scouts of Belarus.On
having visited Minsk centre, we went to a school in a surburb to spend
the night. We could not remember such a cold night even in tents. There
were vacations and the heating at school was reduced almost completely.
We were rescued only by sleeping bags and bedrolls. Next morning all
delegation, having caught a cold on our way to Moscow, was coughing
in a frozen bus. Several Scouts were running a temperature. When Belarussian
Scouts saw how tired we were they offered us to go to Polish border
themselves and take the saint fire. The representative of Belarus' Scouts
Igor Kostevich went to Grodno to Polish Scouts by his car.
In the morning on December 28, 2003 we visited Khatyn. In the evening
we met again Belarus' Scouts. And all the time we were waiting for the
information from the Polish border. At last we received the information
that the fire was transferred cross the border and went to Minsk. At
22 p.m. Igor Kostevich brought the lampand with the The Betlehem Light.
The solemn transfer of the fire from Belarus' Scouts to Russian began.
By this time the fire lit in Bethlehem had already passed more than
1000 temples, cities, and had done a long way in 10000 kms. From that
moment we had to pass the most important part of the way - to keep the
fire up to the Cathedral Church of Nizhny Novgorod - Staroyarmarochny
During the ceremony of the fire' transfer a Scout from Tonkino lost
consciousness. We had new problems. There was a question, whether we
could move further with the sick child and with the lampand. We had
to look after the fire during 3 days. At night the child felt better,
and we decided to leave Minsk. The lampand could increase the temperature
inside of the bus and the Scouts would not freeze. It was necessary
to hurry up. We were waited in temples of Smolensk, in Krutitskoe farmstead
The lampand salutarily influenced our expedition. The air in the bus
became warmer. Fortunately it began freezing outside, and the road became
dry, the sky cleared up. And the number of cars on the road lowered.
The way back to Moscow took unexpectedly little time. We passed 720
kms for 8,5 hours. The Scouts gradually stopped coughing and became
cheerful. Having arrived to Moscow, we carried the fire to Poklonnaya
mountain. We spent the night at school. On December, 30 at 11 o'clock
in Krutitskoe farmstead the service began.
Krutitskoe farmstead was chosen not accidentally. Here there was a specially
created diocese of Russians which negotiated with foreigners during
the invasion of tatars. Here Nizhny Novgorod home guard was staying
before the liberation of Moscow from Poles. Here the Nizhny Novgorod
wars prayed for liberation of Russia. After the ignition of the fire
there was the transfer of the fire to Kostroma, Arkhangelsk, Arzamas,
Diveevo, and other churches of Russia.
Then we had to pass the heaviest part of the road. The highway Moscow
- Nizhny Novgorod always had a bad luck. The children had never seen
such quantity of accidents. It was dark and the way from Vladimir to
Vyazniki was dangerous. Near Yur'evets town the bus could get in the
accident. A drunk company on a huge speed ran in КАМАZ. The big bus
behind us drove in a ditch. We were saved by 4 sec. Everybody kept silence
and we looked forward to getting home. At 21 o'clock the bus arrived
in Nizhny Novgorod. We all were very happy. "We have done it! We
have sustained! " - we said to each other. Having passed 3000 kms,
it took us exactly five days to bring Bethlehem Light. We kept the lampand
and continued the relay race of the fire. We supported the world action
of good "Bethlehem Light".
On December 31, at 12 o'clock we dropped in at Staroyarmarochny Sobor
- Cathedral Church. We were surprised by the silence and absence of
parishioners, contrary to promises of clergymen. The scout team was
standing outside. They told us that the prior Father Michael (under
the instruction of Father Georgy - new Bishop of Nizhny Novgorod and
Arzamas) did not allow us to bring the fire to the temple. During an
hour and a half we were trying to talk to Father Georgy. But everything
was in vane. We were told: "We cannot connect you with Bishop Georgy,
you should book an appointment with him. We will consider your application
and will make a decision whether to meet you or not ".
The main gift by New Year and Christmas - Bethlehem Light was not presented
the believers and the townspeople. The Scouts were perplexed! On December
15, 2003 there was a pressconference. The Diocese was invited to the
conference. We did not get a refusal. On December 30 Staroyarmarochny
Cathedral confirmed the readiness to take the fire and to invite parishioners.
After our adventures it was so hard to see church bureaucrats which
did not want to accept Bethlehem Light only because Father Georgy did
not know about this action, did not meet the president of scouts Bogdanov
and did not hear about Scouts. (They explained it to us this way during
During the journey just having heard that we were carrying Bethlehem
Light priests came out, services were held and the fire was transferred.
And nobody demanded any paper, and furthermore the sanction for a meeting.
But the fire came to Nizhny Novgorod. It was delivered to cities and
settlements. Believers took the fire from our scout house and thanked
us. The action had started more than 20 years ago and it will take place
in future, Scouts every year will bring sacred Bethlehem Light by Christmas.
Scouts of The Russian Union of Scouts
Contact phones: (+7 8312) 133202, 519086