Temple Glowing in the Universe
Even when you know well what kind of scene you can expect, suddenly you stop stricken by tenderness, stricken by beauty. On the foundation made of cut stone, a beautiful wooden church is standing, truly Russian. Warm wooden lace resembles old Slavic gowns and Hyperborean clothes. If in July 1914 and in December 1915 there had been no Emperor Nikolai II, there might not be Serbia today. This temple, yet another bridge between Serbia and Russia, is dedicated to him and his ill-fated family

By: Branislav Matić

As if lowered from the heavens, as if transferred from a steppe, a temple surfaces before us.
– Why as if? It really came from Russia, along the heavenly roads.
From the Drina Highway, in Bačevci, on the border between Bajina Bašta and Ljubovija, right next to the village church, we turn uphill. We go for a several kilometers, along a narrow road, below the rib of Medvednik. When suspicion creeps in and you already think that you are lost, on the slope on the left hand side, on a valley between thick beech and hornbeam forests, the blue roof emerges. A little chapel like in Podmoskovye, not far from it a residence and Serbian log cabin church. Everything newly built. As an outpost. Then another one or two hundred meters down the forest path.
Even when you know well what kind of scene you can expect, suddenly you stop stricken by tenderness, stricken by beauty. On the foundation made of cut stone, a beautiful wooden church is standing, truly Russian. In Russian shape and with Russian spirit, with Russian chapels and bells, with Russian heart. Not too big, all balanced and lovely, as if it was not brought here but grew here. From the earth and the forest, from prayer and ancient memories.
Even if you don’t know anything about this temple and sacral architecture, when you see that warm wooden lace, sometimes resembling Hyperborean clothes and old Slavic gowns, you know unmistakably that this is Russian. And yours.
– The stone for the foundations is from here. Everything else came from Russia. Wooden elements were brought already processed like this. They were only assembled here, without a single nail, in the same way in which the Russian builders have been building since time immemorial. Even God did not nail people to him, but connected them with vows. Everything rests on that, even this.


Here, in the hamlet of Jasik, in the place called Delijski grad, it is full of people. They came from all over, from Srpska and Montenegro, from Krajina and from the South, from Čačak and Užice, from Belgrade and Valjevo, from all nearby cities along the Drina. And from Russia, konečno. It is July seventeenth, the Day when the Church mentions and celebrates the holy imperial miracle makers and new martyrs, the Romans: Emperor Nikolai II, Empress Aleksandra, Prince Alexei, grand duchesses Olga, Tatijana, Maria and Anastasia. This temple that is being consecrated today is dedicated to them.
The liturgy is served by His Grace Bishop of Šabac Lavrentije. Several priests officiate. A large group of believers and participants in the program is led by Srboljub Hadži Stojković, priest from the Church of Holy Martyr Maria from Atenica, a suburb of Čačak. There is also the local parishioner from Bačevci, Milomir Tadić, regent of church municipality of Azbukovica, Dragan Sekulić, priest Branko Cvetinović arrived from Gračanica. There is also nun Olga, a Russian, and her sisterhood, which is, we know, going to grow and get stronger. And in front of everybody and behind everything there is the archimandrite of the Russian Church, Sergei Fedorov, fiery and charismatic, with a strong word and hot prayer.
The liturgy is long and beautiful, the new temple glows in the universe. The moment is deep and ceremonious, in the cloudy day something is being opened in front of us, who knows how deep it reaches. Then, a short art program and a meal. The church choir comprised of girls and children, filled with spiritualized little flowers, carries us high. An old gusle player is leafing through history. The mention of the Romanovs in the prayer is continuous, with sadness and gratitude.
– If in July 1914 and in December 1915 there had been no Emperor Nikolai II, there might not be Serbia today. With him on our side, we had the London Treaty (read it again and carefully), without him we received Versailles and tomb called Yugoslavia. Peace to the souls of imperial martyrs.


Vjačeslav Zarenkov is in Sankt Petersburg a great businessman, doing serious business. Different proportions and scales of magnitude, figures to make you dizzy. In all likelihood, the sum of the budgets of Balkan protectorates, this state of crumbles, would not reach even to his knees. But, Mr. Zarenkov is neither a tycoon, nor oligarch, nor a Yuppie, but a creator. Calm and cheerful, self-conscious and deep, strongly rooted in religion and culture of his people. He is the founder of this Russian sanctuary on Delijski grad, in Jasik, Yuppie the slopes of Medvednik.
– God sent us brother Sergei – Vjačeslav Zarenkov tells us after the liturgy and temple consecration. – We met in Sankt Petersburg, he told me about Serbia, about the intention to build this temple and found a monastery. I agreed to help. This is how I started coming here, how our artists and representatives of our humanitarian fund “Creators of the World” started coming here, how the construction of this temple began. Our encounters continued, our relationship with Serbian orthodox brothers.
In Serbia, he emphasizes, he likes everything. People and temples, art and food, spirit and customs of Serbs, the fact that they respect their ancestors and preserve their culture, their identity.
– Regardless of the troubles, even the fact that they are bombed, Serbs have preserved the joy of life and faith. They are always ready to help others, their hearts are always open for friends. I would like Serbs to preserve their idea and their path, their culture and customs, their borders and their people scattered around the world. I would like to continue this deep brotherhood and friendship between Serbia and Russia. To restore the old and build new bridges between us. And the best bridges are art, culture, folk customs and common tradition, engineering that was embedded into this temple before us. We need continuous Russian-Serbian encounters, mutual strengthening and enrichment, not only on diplomatic and state level, but encounters and better understanding between our common people, our artists, people working in different areas. We need better connections and creative overlapping of our contemporary cultures. For this reason we organize visits of Serbian artists to Russia, as well as Russian artists to Serbia. We bring Russian writers, painters, photographers, composers... Here they write, paint, photograph, create music, high art inspired by Serbia. Then we will publish this, organize exhibitions, concerts, lectures, promotions of books created in this way. On this – on that high art and live culture, on that knowledge of our heritages and customs, on our common Christian Orthodox faith and spirituality – we can build our true communion for a long time ahead.


Understanding of Gusle
– Look, today, what kind of music, what kind of history and an epic, what kind of sacrifice and feat we had before ourselves while we listened to the gusle player – says Vjačeslav Zarenkov. – We don’t speak Serbian language well yet, but, as soon as the sound of gusle and voice of gusle players penetrated us, we understood very well what it was about. Thanks to the Serbs for being here and for being what they are, for standing tall and being brothers. I wish all the best to your country and your people.


Serbs from Bačevci donated three hectares of land for the construction of this Russian monastery complex in the hills above the Drina. A part of the land was additionally purchased thanks to contributions. Good basis has been created for strengthening of the monastery, which could become an important spiritual center and a bridge between Russia and Serbia.


With his bright piercing eyes that see through veils, red-bearded, wise and self-disciplined, father Sergei Fedorov does everything with his entire being and pure heart. In this way he serves liturgy and gives an apple, welcomes guests and gives blessings to a traveler. When he sprinkles holy water on you, as if heavy rain poured down. When he smiles, all mountains to Cer and Zlatibor smile too. When he crosses himself, roads open up before us.


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