Articles Deacon Andrei Psarev Featured

Our Fears Are Our Worst Enemies

A Course of Six Lectures on the History of the Russian Church Has Just Been Completed in Stratford, CT.

I did not know what to expect when, over a year ago, Archpriest Constantine Semyanko, the rector of the parish of Presentation in the Temple in Stratford, CT, invited me to give a series of lectures on the history of the Russian Church. Could I find the diction to present complicated matters in an engaging way? Would my car be dependable? Were they going to cancel and reschedule often?

All those fears proved to be wrong. All six units were well attended, and no single session was canceled. My car handled it all just fine. And last Sunday, May 19, Fr. Constantine and I awarded about forty certificates of completion to those who had followed the course.

In the first lecture, I presented an overview of Byzantine history and then discussed the Kievan period. In the next two, we covered the Moscow and Saint Petersburg periods. In the last three lectures, we looked more closely at the modern period (1917-2022), dividing it into three parts and discussing the church’s history in the homeland and diaspora.

The lectures were organized around slide presentations. English was the language of the presentations, but discussions were often conducted in Russian.

Here is one testimonial regarding this course:

“Fr. Andrei’s lectures help engender the feeling that even such small “village” parishes like that in Stratford are a living and integral part of the Russian Orthodox Church, with its rich history, its saints, and its traditions. Moreover, they give a sense of belonging to World Orthodoxy in general, to the Church of Christ, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail” (Stratford, CT: HTOS Professor Delivers Educational Lectures at Holy Presentation Church

So, if you believe as I do that fears do not help us, then consider going beyond your comfort zone: the following talk on the history of the Russian Church could be scheduled in your parish!

Issuing Certificates of Acomplishment


  • How very encouraging! Congratulations to all who attended and completed the series with Protodeacon Andrei Psarev. I completely agree with the title of the article, our fears really are our worst enemies. Amen!

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