University and Church: Aspects of Cooperation

Last Saturday, at the Day of Russian Students, at the "E" Hall of USTU, took place the discussion of a particular topic "Universities and the Church: the experience of cooperation of Ukhta State Technical University with Syktyvkar and Vorkuta Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church".

Round table was attended by over 20 people: Father Cornelius (Anoshin), Guardian of the house church of Saints Cyril and Methodius in USTU; Tatiana Bezgodova, spiritual and patriotic song Choir Director "Candlemas"; as well as students, faculty, staff, and university media representatives.

Vice-Rector on Educational Work and Social Affairs, Dmitry Bezgodov, told about the experience gained through cooperation between Ukhta State Technical University, Syktyvkar, and Vorkuta Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church.

“Our University is the only higher education institution in Komi Republic, which has opened a home church. Two years ago, USTU found its heavenly protectors. Names of Saints Cyril and Methodius were chosen not by chance: thanks to the work of the Enlightenment Slavs, we have the Russian culture, the spiritual foundation of which is Orthodoxy”, Vice-Rector said in his opening remarks.

The story about the history of the temple, its missionary and outreach activity was accompanied by a video presentation. Photos illustrated the events and activities related to the round table. Among them were: the Republican Congress of Orthodox Youth (the second congress was held at USTU, in September 2002; within three days eight sections worked, educational programs were emphasized there; 300 people marched in procession through the main streets of Ukhta); Easter and Christmas festivals; Stephan and Tatyana’s readings; thematic seminars and round tables, performances of "Candlemas" choir to employees of women's health clinic, boarding schools number 2, patients and staff of Cardiology Department of Ukhta City Hospital Number  1; as well as the creation of the of Young and Large Russian Families Union, which celebrated its fifth anniversary on December.

According to Bezgodov, representatives of the Orthodox Community took part in such research activities related to the environmental topics as inter-regional conference of the northern regions of the Russian Federation "North and Ecology - XXI Century: Environmental Education". The result of this participation were several articles covering the balanced approach of the church, encouraging both reasonable penance for its own needs and caring attitude towards the world. Also, USTU environmental manifesto was developed with an active participation of the community.

Vice Rector did not ignore friends of the University, involved in the creation of the house church and supporting its educational mission. Among them are such famous personalities as Deacon Andrei Kuraev, tireless missionary, who has visited Ukhta for six times; philosopher and theologian, physicist by training, translator of J. Joyce, Sergei Khoruzhy; Abbot ,Anatoly (Berestov), who has taken a tough stance against addiction; Professor - Sectologist Alexander Dvorkin; Hieromonk Dmitri (Pershin); and Mother Lyudmila Kononova. In the joint activities of the University and the Orthodox Church participated a famous poet, member of the Secretariat of the Union of Writers of Russia, Nadezhda Miroshnichenko.

Important and tangible result of University and Ukhta Orthodox communities’ collaboration was the successful graduation of Public Relations department students, FSI USTU’s Ekaterina Ovechkina and Tatiana Bezgodova. Diploma thesis of E. Ovechkina was given to her as a request of the Orthodox community of Ukhta Memorial Church of the New Martyrs and Russian Confessors being constructed and was aimed at PR-support of this development. Particularly, proposed by Ekaterina slogan "Let’s build a temple together" was adopted in the actual advertisement campaign.