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The Nineties: the Third Wave

In 1990 Fr.Andrew was elevated to the rank of Protodeacon. He started serving at the St. Elias Arab Orthodox Church in New Westminster. A split took place in the Romanian community. The group led by Fr. Aurel Sas and Mr. Ben Nenson signed a new rental agreement with the ROS.

Cultural life was reactivated. A Christmas concert was held on Jan.7, a Lenten concert on March 25, a Latin Concert on April 22. A Lenten retreat was held. In May Fr. Evan led a group of parishioners on a trip to Christ the King Abbey in Mission. A parish picnic was held in July at the Somows’ place.

At the Diocesan Assembly in Saskatoon in July, Bishop Seraphim was installed as the ruling Bishop of Ottawa and Canada, and new Archdiocesan By-laws were adopted.

The Miloserdie (Mercy and Compassion) Group was established in April on the initiative of Mrs. Raissa Kolesnikov to help ill children in Russian hospitals. The first aid parcels were assembled and sent to Moscow. The event was covered on local TV, which helped raise more funds. A benefit concert was performed on Dec. 2 by students of the Nikolai M. Kolesnikov school.

Fr. Evan blesses pasha

Sunday school started in October, with Mrs. Nelica Volrich as teacher. The Bishop appointed Mrs. Mary Kolbowicz to be superintendent of the school. Fr. Evan travelled to Australia.

During the political crisis in the Soviet Union in August 1991, Fr. Evan had several speaking engagements on TV, radio and for the press.

Mr.David Labute and Ms. Dianne Bristow taught Sunday school. The lending library reopened. Mr. David (Paul) Kelly joined the parish and took charge of the kitchen.

Fr.Protodeacon Andrew Somow retired from active duty effective Jan. 1.

In 1992 the Sunday of Orthodoxy was celebrated by the OCA parishes together at the Holy Resurrection Church. The Lenten retreat was held on the Palm Sunday weekend. Meetings of the Orthodox clergy in Vancouver become regular.

A benefit concert for the Moscow Children’s Hospital was held on April 5. The Mercy and Compassion Group sent 270 boxes of clothing to Moscow that year.

Mr.Kirill Bolshakov started teaching music to children. Ms. Sandra Gorda became the Sunday School teacher.

On Dec. 26 Fr. Andrew Somow was ordained to the priesthood. He was made free to serve in any OCA parishes and assist with the development of missionary communities.

On July 27-30, 1993 the Diocesan Assembly was held in Vancouver at UBC. Fr. Andrew served on the Planning Committee, matushka Henrietta was responsible for Art and Music, Fr. Evan – for Public Relations and Banquet, Mike Andruff – for Registration and Welcome, David Kelly – for Audio and Video documentation. The Clergy Synaxis was hosted by the Holy Resurrection Church.

Fr.Evan was released of his assignment as of Aug.1 and later transferred to Alberta. Fr. Andrew was appointed Acting Rector of Holy Resurrection Church in December.

The collapse of the Communist regime and the Soviet Union produced a new exodus of Russian professionals to Canada and other Western countries. Individuals and families arriving from Russia and Israel started showing up at church and requesting financial and other help. Some of them eventually joined the parish. The ROS formed a committee to lobby on behalf of refugee claimants, called Assistance to Russian Newcomers (ARN). A group of young actors, refugee claimants, joined the church choir and put on performances on the stage of the upper hall. Alexei Surovikin, a Russian artist formerly of the Kiev Caves Lavra, painted a new mural in the lower hall.

The 70th anniversary of the parish was celebrated on Sept. 20, 1994 together with the 200th anniversary of Orthodoxy in North America. Bishop Seraphim celebrated the Pontifical Liturgy. A banquet and a concert were held in the upper hall.

In December Fr. Andrew started a bible study group. Mrs. Tatiana Mednikova restarted the Russian school. Out of 100 parishioners at that time 50 were over 75 years of age, 25 were English speakers.

In 1995 the Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers service was held at Holy Resurrection Church on March 12. Concert singers from Moscow and the actor Alexei Batalov performed in the Church hall. The Russian library reopened. A large screen TV-VCR was bought for showing inspirational videos. Mrs. Kolesnikova traveled to Moscow to meet the beneficiaries and partners of the Mercy and Compassion Group. With the generous donations of the Universal Aid Society, total aid sent exceeded 3 million dollars by 1996.

The Dimoff family leased the Rectory. Mr. Dimitry Dimoff took on the duties of property caretaker.

As of Nov.1 Fr. Stephen Slipko was attached to the Holy Resurrection Church.

The Lenten retreat and Lenten Concert have become annual events, with growing attendance.

Subdeacon Constantine Somow became involved in Project Mexico – an Orthodox mission and orphanage in Tijuana; he started working there several times a year.

In 1997 the kitchen was rebuilt and re-equipped at the cost of $30,000, under the leadership of ROS President Mr. Igor Chudin. The basement was cleaned and rearranged. The Pontifical Liturgy on the patronal feast day was served by Bishop Mark of Kashira, Administrator of the parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in Canada. Mr. Anatoly Portnoff, the oldest parishioner, celebrated his 90-th birthday in the upper hall on Nov.28. Fr. Stephen was elevated to the rank of archpriest. In the same year, preparations were launched for the 75th anniversary celebration; a Jubilee Committee was formed.

The Lenten retreat in 1998 was the biggest ever, with seven priests and almost forty laity. On May 26-27, His Holiness Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch, visited Vancouver.

In 1999 the entire interior and exterior of the church and halls were re-painted and re-decorated. Blacktop was laid behind the church. In the church a new hardwood floor was laid, the painting on the ceiling changed to medallion shape, another row added to the iconostasis; meanwhile, services were held in the upper hall. Up to 300 people attended the Paschal procession and Matins. On the initiative of Mr. Bill (Basil) Mitroschak, several parish hikes took place in GVRD parks.

Fr.Stephen attended the XII All-American Council of the OCA in Pittsburgh on July 24-27.

Fr. Andrew celebrated the 25th anniversary of his service at our church on August 1.