Russian Bazaar Surprise in Washington DC
The coronavirus pandemic hit many Russian Orthodox parishes in the US hard, which because of quarantines and other limitations have lost revenue and the possibility of organizing fund-raising events. But there may be room for miracles in such situations (and maybe especially in such situations). For the parish of St John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC, just such a miracle occurred in the form of a mini-bazaar, which with God’s help and thanks to the efforts of its parishioners, was held on the next-to-last Saturday of October and District of Columbia University’s square.
“This was an unplanned event, we organized it in only two weeks,” said Senior Sister Marina Zacharin.
The annual Russian bazaars in the Washington church have been held for over 40 years. But the pandemic forced certain changes, and instead of the traditional celebration, the parishioners decided to hold small monthly events, where good food by order. Naturally, there was no cultural program this time.
One of the parishioners, Maritsa Bordyugova, owner of Mary & Duke Bakery, offered her farmer’s-market stand on the territory of District of Columbia University to host an outside “Russian bazaar.” The proposal was accepted.
In addition to the traditional Russian dishes and souvenirs, the public was treated to a musical performance by Golden Gate Ensemble under the direction of Vitaly Bezrodnov, who traveled to Washington from North Carolina, and the dance ensemble Four Seasons, the soloists of which performed for free.
“The event was a success, our guests applauded the performances, bought food and souvenirs, and asked about our church,” said Ms. Zacharin.
Priest Damian Dantinne tended to the cash register and talked about the church, and Protopriest Victor Potapov, parish rector, his matushka Maria, Irina Merkulova, Feodor Kornya and Maria Sarandinaki all helped.
“We had our heroes, of course, especially Maritsa, plus Lazar Aliyev coordinated the event, and other parishioners contributed by preparing food,” said Ms. Zacharin.
“The bazaar was a great success,” she said,” and everyone was satisfied.” Neighboring stands also benefited by the larger crowds. The venue’s directors were please as well and offered the parish to continue to hold such events. The next parish fundraiser will be held on November 15, with a beef-stroganoff luncheon.