A poem describing our trip to Russia, by my traveling companion, Fr. Peter Mitchell.

Orientale Lumen

"Leave here, go east, and hide..." -- 1 Kgs 17:3

We have seen the East
and in the crisp, clear Russian dawn,
stepping out of the silent forest,
we have caught a gleam of gold far off
across the melting, muddy fields.
A dome of dazzling red, bright green, brighter blue,
an eave of pink, or white, or was it yellow?
Each one a color we had never seen
until we saw the East.

We have seen the East,
illumined by the Dawn from on High,
and stepping out of this brilliance
we have entered into the soft, golden glow of a blaze on candles
reflected in the eyes of icons whose stories are a mystery.
Mystery...as richest harmony wraps itself
around a rainbow of brightly veiled brows
whose prayer ascends in silent clouds -
incense whose fragrance could only be imagined
until we saw the East.

We have seen the East,
this Church whose beauty glistens through its tears,
and as the call of distant, dissonant bells
comes floating on the pale morning sky
Time stands still...
Forgotten by a world that passed it by,
locked behind a door that centuries have closed,
we have put our eye to the keyhole
and we have seen the East.

Now that we have seen it
our hearts are ever turned toward the dawn.

-- Fr. Peter Mitchell
April, 2003
Fr. Mitchell

Fr. Mitchell in Suzdal, Russia
The Monastery of the Saviour-St. Eyphimius
Cathedral of the Transfiguration

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