We have this little blue book here. The title is written in silver. Õigeusu Palveraamat. Orthodox Prayer Book. Whenever I am in need of some added buoyancy, I open the book, always to the same page. Ükskord uputas see kõigekõrgem vägi kõik vaarao sõjaväe mere põhjas ära … .
Something about the idea of navy ships sinking seems to get to the struggle of life, which is to remain positive and faithful until the wet and hopeless end. It reminds me of the wreck of the Circassian, a cargo ship that ran aground off Mecox on Long Island in 1876. While all lives were brought ashore, a crew of Shinnecock Indians was sent out to bring in the cargo in rough weather. They all drowned, leaving behind nine widows and 27 children.
Capt. Charlie Bennett in an interview many years later said that as they stood on the beach they could hear the Indians singing “Nearer My God To Thee.” It was the very religious Shinnecocks meeting death as courageously as they knew how.
The Orthodox Church in Estonia is divided. Half of the churches belong to Constantinople, the other to Moscow, Moscow having styled itself long ago as the “Third Rome.” It’s a very long complicated story. But it’s also a fine book to turn to now and then, that little blue book with the silver writing on the cover. Õigeusu Palveraamat. Arsti mu hinge haavad …