Moscow, May 24, 2018
MOSCOW DAY 2, PART 1: RED SQUARE MIRACLE
This was the D-day of my entire trip. Its Raison D’être. It was my Serbian friend Milan VDEL company’s 25th anniversary ball was got the whole ball rolling. And today, May 24, the ball stopped here, at Moscow’s Volkhonka Mansion on Znamenskiy Lane, in the shadows of the magnificent Christ the Savior Cathedral.
It was a day full of magic, wonders, music and dance. It started with a relaxing spa at my hotel, an Americano at the local Starbucks, a short stroll to Triumphalnaya Square and its huge Mayakovski (Russian poet) monument, and a metro ride back to the Teatralnaya Square where the night before I took in Wagner’s awe-inspiring “Götterdämmerung”.
PLAYING PIANO AT METROPOL HOTEL
But instead of walking toward the Bolshoi, this time I went in the opposite direction, toward the Metropol hotel. I used to stay there on some of my business trips to Moscow when I was running workshops and seminars for IT executives.
No seminar today. Just a reminder of the beauty and elegance of this Russian imperial era (1899) hotel. I remember that back in the day a string quartet orchestra would play in the stairwell on the 1st floor. That’s so that the guests high and low could enjoy its music.
Today, I noticed a brown concert grand in the corner of the lobby. Unlike in most American hotels, it was not just a piece of furniture with a clamp on it so nobody could play it. I opened the lid and started playing Chopin, slow and tender pieces, like his Tristesse Etude or Valse d’Amour.
Out of a corner of my eye, I saw a security guard walking toward me. I thought he would ask me to stop, as another one did at a Marriott’s in Vienna 10 years ago. But no, this guard just kept walking up and down in front of the piano. Guess he just wanted to hear the music better.
When I got up and walked past the reception staff, the young women behind the counter smiled at me and thanked me.
COUNTRY FAIR IN FRONT OF THE DUMA (Russian Parliament)
As I started walking toward the Red Square, I noticed that in front of the Duma – the Russian Parliament – which sits opposite the main entrance to the Square, there was something unusual going on. Temporary tents were set up outside as if for a country fair. Crowds were milling around. There was food and music. And a lot of policemen and port-a-potties.
“Must be some kind of a festival,” I figured. And then I took this video clip of pantomime-looking dancers on a stage who just concluded their performance set to Tchaikovsky music.
PRAYING AT THE LITTLE CHURCH
I continued on to the entrance to the Red Square. Unlike in the past when the area was wide open, there were security X-ray checkpoints set up around it. Everybody wanting to get in had to pass through them.
“Maybe that’s because of some special event that was evidently going on?” I surmised.
My first stop was the tiny church just before you get to the main Red Square gate. Its main feature is a miracle-making Mother of God icon.
As I always do, I stopped there to say a prayer and light a candle of gratitude to God and my spirit guides for bringing me here. Unlike on my past visits when the church was jam-packed, there was only a one other man inside besides me. This time, however, I noticed for the first time that Apostle Philip was one of the saints depicted on the icon
Philip was one of my past incarnations. So I thought it was a welcoming omen.
Outside the little church, little children holding hands were dancing around the spot marked in bronze that’s supposed to be the center of Russia. The scene was an epitome of joy and happiness.
MIRACLE AT THE RED SQUARE
Then I entered the Red Square.
Immediately ,I noticed an usual structure in the middle of it. It looked like a stage. Indeed, music could be heard emanating from it. It sounded like a large choir. Take a look and listen.
As I continued on closer to the stage, a female announcer said something that stopped me dead in my tracks with a lump in my throat. She said that the next song will be “Tamo Daleko” (There, Far Away), a Serbian World War I that is sung like a virtual national anthem in Serbia. She said the song is dedicated to the friendship between the Russian and Serbian people.
I felt as if God himself, not just my spirit guides and teachers, was welcoming me to the Red Square.
Large TV screens behind and around the stage also showed a live simulcast performance of a children’s choir assembled in front of the Saint Sava cathedral in Belgrade. Russia and Serbia were singing together the Serbian “anthem.” Literally.
I had tears in my eyes throughout this performance. And they are welling up again as I am writing this and listening to the song again.
Take a look…
UPDATE MAY 25, 2018
A friend has just sent me a link from a story that the Belgrade Telegraf (daily paper) carried in its today’s addition which included my video of “Tamo Daleko” and photos from the Red Square festivities – see https://goo.gl/2KWcKo.
As I mingled with the crowd, afterward I saw three priests – only some of the many in attendance, I asked them what this festival was about. The young one in the middle said it was the Day of Slavic Literacy and Culture. I also noticed that the sign above the stage said the same thing – in Russian, of course.
Since the big stage was blocking the view of Saint Basil’s cathedral, I meandered my way through the crowd and around the barricades to get behind the stage. Which was right in front of it. That’s where I net a family from the Netherlands who were trying to do the same thing. So we swapped favors. I took pictures of them, the young woman you see here took them of me at the same spot.
You can also see here some of the pretty Russian folk costumes which many girls (and guys) wore on this festive day.
STROLL THROUGH THE “GUM”
GUM is a shopping arcade that runs the full length of the Red Square opposite the Kremlin. The word GUM (Russian: ГУМ) is an abbreviation of Главный универсальный магазин. In other words, a department store. But unlike many of its brethren in the shopping malls across the US and western Europe, GUM has style. And beauty, illuminated by the arcade-type ceilings,
END OF PART 1 – TO BE CONTINUED…