2017-05-03 / Front Page

Off the Beaten Track: Entering Vladimir Lenin Tomb in Red Square

By Catherine Tsounis

Lenin’s tomb.

Lenin’s tomb. Vladimir Lenin is to the Russians what George Washington and Abraham Lincoln is to Americans. Except there is a major difference: he was made the representative of a socialist religion that replaced Russian Orthodoxy.

Lenin's Mausoleum also known as Lenin's Tomb, situated in Red Square in the center of Moscow, is a mausoleum that currently serves as the resting place of Vladimir Lenin. His preserved body has been on public display there since shortly after his death in 1924, with rare exceptions in wartime. Aleksey Shchusev's diminutive but monumental granite structure incorporates some elements from ancient mausoleums, such as the Step Pyramid, the Tomb of Cyrus the Great and, to some degree, Temple of the Inscriptions.1
Our Russian group was told to have absolute quiet. Entering Lenin's Tomb was like visiting a religious figure. You could have heard a pin drop. Total quiet. His body is preserved perfectly by master Russian chemists. An eye opening experience of what this man meant to his country.

2017 is witnessing a complete reversal. I became friends with my Russian guide, Irina. She is a university graduate and a mother of three grown sons in their mid to late 20’s. Irina was baptized a Russian Orthodox Christian in 2017. She is aiding her priest in typing “explanations, of some important fragments form the Old and the New Testament at the classes for adults,” she said in an email. “You see, in my country many children were baptized at the Soviet time secretly by their grandmothers. Even their parents often were not aware of that as the parents were brought up by the communist state and they were convinced atheists. Those children had no possibility to go to churches, to learn Orthodoxy and many of them were not believers.

They grew up and the Soviet regime collapsed. Religion came back and people rushed to 
churches. Now those adults who were baptized at the Soviet time and those who have just become believers are not educated properly. They haven't got even basic religious knowledge. That's why many churches all over Russia have opened a sort of special classes, like Sunday schools for adults.

In my church priests are also doing such a mission. They have made audio records of their speeches to put them down to check and make some corrections and improvements…. In this record, the priest tells about Decalogue - 10 main laws from the Old Testament which were given by the God to people of Israel through Moses. The priest is reading every point of the Law and explaining it. For example, point 1 says there is the only one God and people must not believe in any other gods.

The priest comments that pagan people believed in different gods etc. After his comments listeners ask their questions…. What I meant in my letter was to send you some information about my church If it can be of any interest.” Catherine, Many thanks for your letters with so interesting articles! They DO HELP me in my work, especially those on Russian churches and St.Nikolas (published in the Queens Gazette). I also have learnt about unknown facts of history and the hero who rescued the Greeks in 1922 (Asa K. Jennings who saved Greeks from Smyrna and Asia Minor 1922-23). And it was such a pleasant surprise to come across my photos and text in your publication (Queens Gazette)! Unusual experience for me. Thank you again! And again, I have to apologize for such a slow answer…” Every generation has a thirst for its roots.

This article is dedicated to the memory of the late George Vlassios Tsounis, a WWII air force staff sergeant. He was a POW in an East German stalag camp. The Greek-American was given his freedom and allowed to walk out in peace by the invading Russian army, our allies in 1945.

    1.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenin%27s_Mausoleum

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