Here he stands, waiting - the good old lame AN. The engine roared, the hull tensed, trembled, and an unsightly "bird" rushed through the woods, across the seas. She looked down the porthole, daddy sveta, what is this going on - she flew to Solovki, and below, instead of forests and sea distances, the Amazon wilds. There are green islands dotted with rivers and swamps. Over there is something stirring, like a crocodile, and a little further away is the real refuge of the anaconda. Looked hollywood to their misfortune. Beauty! This view alone is worth it. The flight, fortunately, was short-lived, 40 minutes - and under the feet of mother-earth, and no "marine" disease.
I must say, I flew to the islands completely unprepared, did not sew a mare's tail. Here there is a group of schoolchildren, all with cameras, alive, hysterical, a cheerful teacher teaches something at them, probably enlightening about Solovki.
Further - more, the eye falls on a group of hard-ons and bowing, it is immediately clear that the pilgrims also have their purpose. A little bit away, the uncle with his easel and beard shreds, squint sly, tenacious, pulls a bald-headed hair, as the last time - this is bohemian. Well, there are students, perpetual travelers and adventurers. They are having fun, noisy, the guitars are ringing, the bowlers are jingling, the huge backpacks are as if weighing nothing on the backs of stark guys.
And I, who am I here? A lonely traveler with a sports bag, a sparrow lolling, who has flown in unknown places ... But finally, and my fate was decided, a girlfriend floats out of the crowd of people who meet me, picks up my hands under the whiteness of the UAZ.
The road from the airport to the house turns out to be shaking, bumpy, sweeping up to the livers, it is evident that this is why they like it more on foot or on motorcycles and bicycles. The landscape outside the window is changing before our eyes - green trees give way to residential houses, municipal buildings, and old wooden buildings come across.
And here the monastery itself, as if from nowhere, grew up after the next “fall” into the pits. The tall man, with a stone wall and wooden domes, breathed the flour of the ages, grunted sternly. “Bah!” The old Russian breaks down from my lips. Only this and managed to pronounce for the rest of the road, looking around. It is striking, of course, like any other majestic beautiful building, as if it was created to feel like an earthly worm.
It’s not a problem to settle in on Solovki - there are a couple of hotels, houses for pilgrims, and the residents themselves, realizing that they want, they willingly rent housing. Pilgrimage business, by the way, was established in Solovki a long time ago, and this is how a monastery always lived. Once a small steamer was bought, then again, they drove the martyrs, pilgrims, sinners and cripples across the White Sea to pray, cleanse, work for the saints. In those days it was very popular to travel around the monasteries, it was believed that people were morally cleansed.
But for dark peasant families, it was rather an unequivocal tradition to talk with God, pity him, put in a word. Residents of all nearby, and not only provinces visited here: the Archangel peasants, Vologda, Novgorod, and from the Urals, and from Siberia, in a word, all of Russia.
Those that were richer settled in special hotels near the monastery, and poorerly crammed into special dormitories, practicing accommodation and a table. Fortunately, this fate passed me; a warm family gave me a warm welcome.
But the road dust is washed away, the womb is full, forward, friends, the monastery is waiting! From a distance you can see tents and towers of the fortress walls - on the shore of a clean lake, from which the monks take drinking water, stands like a toy, the abode of Zosima and Savvaty, resting their gracefully curved onions of domes into the skies.
She came closer and was amazed at this huge, amazing age-old walls. Boulders of huge size at the base, above - the stones are smaller, but still large. How many forces laid on the erection of this fortress? What kind of hands did the boulders fit into? From old age and a humid climate, the walls were overgrown with red lichens, moss, creating a special color, as if from paintings about the Arctic.
The towers, and there are only 8 of them, are covered with wooden tents, there are loopholes. Because not only the prayer and holy place was the Solovetsky Monastery, its honest brethren had to fight, and not just once, not for life, but for death, with foreign invaders. In general, the history of the Solovetsky Monastery, like the whole of Russian history, is very turbulent; there is a place in it both for reformers, and obscurantists, for saints, for scoundrels, for wealth, for poverty, for great and for low. It is worth mentioning in a separate article.
At the entrance, not forgetting that the monastery is for men, you have to put on a long unisex jeans over the floor, skirt and scarf, otherwise they won't let it in. Strictly, but with its charter to go to the monastery is a useless thing. Having foreseen everything in advance, I give up on excursions and guides - I want so much unbiased pure impressions, especially since I came, as they say, tabula race. You can join the guide next time, then you will be more attentive to his words. To be honest, the guides on Solovki are wonderful - very literate, well-read, and sometimes with academic degrees - researchers from the Solovetsky Museum or university lecturers in Arkhangelsk, or just people who love these wonderful places.
Opening the gate, the Solovki monastery meets me with the Transfiguration Cathedral - the main temple. The building is very beautiful - majestic and severe. Here the jokes are not joking, here they talk with God every day. Inside, the shrine strikes with gold leaf, icons, and the severity of the faces of the ministers. I am even seized with fear when I enter the threshold - suddenly one of the bricks of the wall or the old salary of the icon falls on my sinful unbelieving head!
But the Lord is merciful, he gives me another chance. And I wander slowly from room to room, noting the unprecedented thickness of the walls, strength and reliability. The covered gallery, which runs ahead in front of the main wall, offers a beautiful view of the Prosperity Bay and Bolshoi Solovetsky Island, where the monastery and the village of Solovetsky are located. A quiet calm sea, a worship cross on the shore of the bay, blue sky and seagulls flying over the monastery are grace ... To stand and stand here, forgetting about the bustle.
But still I go down and go further, to the outbuildings of the monastery, of which there are many, because the monk provides himself with everything he needs. And what are the names: refectory, leather, mines, cooked corps, prosphora, brewed tower.
They say that kvass earlier, the monks did excellent, it was famous in the whole district. Thanks to him, the monks received the necessary proportion of vitamins in the winter with all their monotonous and poor nutrition. They ate and drank this kvass every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But I failed to try it - the monks no longer do it. But monastery bread is still famous, which is very tasty and does not get stale for a long time.
Having walked around the buildings of the monastery and wondered enough, inhaling the strict atmosphere of fasting, prayers and deprivations, I go out beyond the fortress walls - this is a breath of fresh air. Still, the freedom of a worldly man sharpened, confined in a strict framework, strong walls, tight cassocks.
Long live freedom and other Solovki - fun and modern! We will go there in the next article.