IN UNITY CHOIR - 1999 Trip to Yasnaya Polyana
His legacy lives on through the action of love - (by Vera Kanigan)
Setting the Stone Commences the Bakery Café Revitalization
The sun shone brightly on the tall marigolds, which adorned the glass backdrop and stone. Key organizers of the Bakery-Café revitalization project, television and camera crews, "Uslada Youth Choir", our "Friends in Unity", as well as interested spectators assembled for the ceremonial stone-setting ceremony. Under Vladimir Tolstoy's guidance, after many helpful hands of preparation what followed was a two continent-festive ceremony of gratitude. In his words of welcome, Vladimir Il'ich recalled the memory of the former café which once provided services to visitors of Yasnaya Polyana as well as explained the plans for the new bakery café revitalization project. Explaining the presence of the Doukhobor participants in this project and guest choir, he said that it is not by chance that they participate today, but because of the circumstance that necessitated leaving their homeland and migrating to Canada. Further he said that the people still remember Lev Tolstoy and in gratitude for his assistance, they wish to take part in this Yasnaya Polyana project. With these words, Vladimir presented the Honorary Chairman of the USCC, John J. Verigin.
Mr. Verigin, in his speech explained that it is a great honour to be here for this ceremony and participate in this project. He recalled that several years ago when he was strolling through the paths of Yasnaya Polyana with Vladimir's father - Ilya Vladimirivich, they discussed the possibility of participating in a shared project which would bring our people closer through the Verigins and the Tolstoys. Ultimately Ilya did arrive in Canada to accomplish the placement of the two memorial statues of Leo Tolstoy, one in Saskatchewan and one in British Columbia. In regards to the Bakery Café project, he prayed to God to bless this undertaking which will draw us closer and give the public at large the chance to understand the feeling love and respect we have for one another.
Alex Jmaeff who serves on the Centennial Steering Committee of the Yasnaya Polyana Bakery Café project addressed the crowd next. (Click here for the full text of Alex Jmaeff's speech.)
Vladimir Il'ich asked Kolya Suborbaev, the young architect from Tula to say a few words. He said that receiving this bakery café contract was a great achievement for him and he is pleased at the prospect of working on this project. He further added that today's ceremony - the placement of the stone, the symbolic opening is of great significance and he expressed his gratitude to Vladimir Il'ich, the Canadian Doukhobors, especially Alex Jmaeff and Peter Rezansoff, the professionals with whom he worked.
At that point Peter Rezansoff, the Doukhobor contractor-builder from Vancouver, as well as member of the Steering Committee, said a few words. (Click here for an excerpt from Mr. Rezansoff's speech.)
The placement of the stone was unique to many of us. A memorandum, symbolic of a time-capsule, signed by Vladimir Il'ich and John J. Verigin was placed in a lacquer box and cemented around by several individuals including Vladimir's young son - the great-great-great grandson of Leo Tolstoy. At the head of the cemented box was a stone with one of Leo Tolstoy's favourite proverbs - "Do what you must, and whatever will be will be." This stone will stand at the entrance to the bakery café.
When the stone-placement ceremony concluded, our Friends in Unity Choir presented our gifts and sang several hymns and folk songs. An exceptional treat for us, once again was a musical assortment of song and dance performed by the youthful, lively, talented, colorfully-attired, group of professional Russian artists - "Uslada".
The contributions of Vladimir Il'ich, all of the workers and staff of Yasnaya Polyana, all benefactors and helpers of Yasnaya Polyana, signify the greatness of love in action and with appreciation and gratitude from our Doukhobor family, we in turn will "Do what we must, and whatever will be, will be."
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