Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts hosts a Russian Christmas/New Year's Cultural Celebration on January 11


A Russian Christmas/New Year's Cultural Celebration, featuring folk and religious music, Russian costumes, tea from Russian samovars along with babka, a cultural display of icons and other art exhibits including balalaikas and samovars, will be held on January 11 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.

Several Connecticut Russian Orthodox churches, the Russian Laymen's League of Connecticut and other cultural organizations are partnering with the Quick Center to sponsor the celebration, which is free and open to the public. A select committee of individuals representing the various elements of Connecticut's Russian community has been instrumental in arranging to make this a most memorable afternoon.

The celebration will take place a few days before the Russian New Year, which will be celebrated on January 14, based on the Julian Calendar. Similar Russian Christmas/New Years cultural celebrations held in the area in years past by the Seymour Historical Society and the Knights of Columbus have drawn overflow crowds.

A highlight of this year's celebration will be a display of Russian icons, "pictorial representations of the Eastern Orthodox Faith," which have been assembled for this event by Eastern Church Historian Robert J. Klancko, who is a member of numerous Russian and Eastern Church religious and lay organizations. This event is being coordinated by The Quick Center for the Arts with Mr. Klancko and Tatyana McKosky, who's family was connected to Czar Nicholas the Second's administration.

The icon exhibit, which will include more than 60, will study examples of significant Russian Icons.

Featured will be study copies of Our Lady of Kazan and our Lady of Vladimir, "two of the most classic and beloved icons of Holy Russia," according to Mr. Klancko. Also on display will be a print of Our Lady of Connecticut and the actual Our Lady of Storrs, along with icons of the Holy Trinity.

"This will be an excellent opportunity to experience the soul of Russia and its various peoples - Great Russian, Little Russian, Galician Russian, Carpatho-Russian, Ruthenian and Ukrainian," said Mr. Klancko, who along with Mrs. McKosky, will be available to discuss Russian art and history throughout the day.

Mr. Klancko has published articles on the history of the Russian Churches of Connecticut in "The Orthodox Church," "One Orthodox New England," "Orthodox Unity," "Diakonia," "The Russian American," and "Karpatskaya Rus." Three of his works are on the Carpathian Connection website and he working on a history of the Eastern Churches of Connecticut.

Mrs. McKosky, who comes from Russian Old Believer heritage, brings a wealth of information and perspective. Her grandfather was an advisor to the czar and she is an expert on the history and culture of the Russians. Members of the advisory committee have also included numerous individuals some of whom are Rev. George Lardas, Rev. Vadim Pismenney, Vladimir Morrason, and Theodore Rozum.

According to Mr. Klancko, the last time such a display of Russian artifacts was mounted in Connecticut was in 1995 at the State Museum of Natural History in Storrs in honor of the visit of Mikhail Gorbachev to Connecticut.

This celebration is part of a season-long Russian Arts and Letters Festival at the Quick Center this year, featuring more than 20 events celebrating Russian music, art, dance, film, literature and more. Running from November 2003 through April 2004, the festival includes performances by the Moscow Festival Ballet, the Salzburg Marionettes, the Amadeus Trio, and the Yale University Russian Chorus, as well as a series of Russian theatre readings and film screenings.

"The array of events scheduled throughout the Russian festival will provide a forum to show the impact the Russian culture has had on the global stage - artistically, culturally, historically and politically," said Deborah Sommers, the Quick Center's director of programming. "The goal is to bring a higher level of understanding and global significance to these important contributions to culture. This holiday event is a significant partnership with the Connecticut Russian community."

For more information, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on December 2, 2003

Vol. 36, No. 132