Адрес: 24 Tidwell Rd.
Houston, Texas 77022
Our parishioners are primarily people of diverse nationalities: Russians, Ukrainians, Georgians, Byelorussians, Carpatho- Russians, Bulgarians, Armenians and others from many other countries of Eastern Europe.
An overwhelming majority of our parishioners are Russian-speaking and some are English-speaking, therefore the liturgy is held in Church Slavonic and English language. Also we have a lot of children from mixed, multinational families speaking two or more languages! Our Orthodox Religion and the Russian Orthodox Church unifies and gratifies the people living in this city of Houston which God has blessed.
Among our parishioners there are Russians born in America who speak Russian rather fluently and retain customs of the Russian Orthodoxy. Although they were born and raised in the American environment where English is the primary language.
All of our parishioners are dedicated, talented, interesting, hardworking, responsible people of an exclusive spirit. All of them are dignified citizens of the American society and the Orthodox Church. Therefore, we decided to amplify our website with a new column named “Our parishioners”. This column will contain different stories of our parishioners placed with a variety of photos!
We know how important and necessary it is to pray for one’s health and prosperity of our families. We enthusiastically provide help and support to each other in our Church! We are truly a Family and Jesus Christ is with us! Now and ever and into the ages of ages!
To all of you we wish health, salvation and everlasting welfare!
One of our parishioners, Lydia Krawtsowa, was born in America, but the roots of her family tree are planted in Russia. The history of her family is unique: her grandmother’s uncle on her mother’s side, was archbishop Dimitry Dobroserdov, who has been canonized a Saint. He was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in the 20th century together with many martyrs, confessors and the devotees who have lit up in Russia. We believe that our Church has a special grace from God that we are awarded such an honor – to have a Russian saint among our parishioners not only in spirit, but also by birth.
We decided to talk to Lydia who, with pleasure, has agreed to answer our questions.
- Dear Lydia, what are your Russian roots? Tell us about the history of your family.
My grandparents left Russia during the 1917 Russian Revolution. They both served in the White Army. My grandfather was an officer in the white army and my grandmother served as doctor’s assistant. They left Sevastopol suddenly by ship and relocated to Yugoslavia after an unsuccessful battle with the Red Army. My grandfather graduated from a military academy in Rostova na Donu and my grandmother graduated from a university in Volgograd. My grandparents married and raised a family in Yugoslavia before the German invasion in 1941. They then relocated to West Germany during 1941, then from West Germany they came over to New York in 1955.
- What is the original place in Russia your relatives came from?
My grandfather was from a town near Rostova na Donu and my grandmother was from Ottrada, near Volgograd.
- When did they arrive to the USA?
They arrived in New York, 1955.
- What was the basis of Orthodoxy in your family?
Both grandparents were Russian Orthodox but on my grandmother’s side exists a long line of clergy. Her father was a priest who served in church called St. Nikita in Ottrada, near Volgograd. Her brothers were priests, her uncles were priests and forefathers. One of my grandmother’s uncle was anointed Archbishop. During the Russian Revolution the priests were executed and buried in various places. St Dimitry Dobroserdov was executed and buried in Butovo, Russia. I haven’t traveled to Butovo but would like to plan a visit one day.
- When and how did you learn that a member of your family was a Saint?
My father had talked about St. Dimitry Dobroserdov with us many times growing up, so I always knew about him.
There is an article about St. Dimitry written by the Russian film crew that visited St. Vladimir Russian Orthodox Church in February a year ago.
Lydia presented a copy of the article.
Comment of an editorial board – endurances from clause: St. martyr Dimitry Dobroserdov (in the world – priest Ivan Ivanovich Dobroserdov) lost family (the wife and children died), accepted a monkhood in 1908 with the name of Dimitry, and was raised to the dignity of archimandrite and appointed as rector of Twelve Apostles Church in Kremlin. In May of 1914, in the Dormition of the Mother of God Cathedral of Kremlin archimandrite Dimitry Dobroserdov was ordinated to a bishop of Mozhaisky, vicar of the Moscow diocese, and then appointed as a rector of Savva-Storozhevsky monastery. In 1921 eminent Dimitry Dobroserdov was appointed as a bishop of Stavropol. There was a mass destruction of the clergy during those years of civil war. Many orthodox churches in those days have been grasped by the renovationists. Under impact of renovationists bishop Dimitry had to leave the diocese and move to Moscow. After Patriarch Tikhon was released from the jail, the Tambov diocese asked to appoint them an Orthodox bishop, and in 1923 eminent Dimitry was appointed by bishop Kozlovsky of the Tambov diocese. Due to the work of eminent archbishop Dimitry, renovationists repented, and churches began to come back to Orthodoxy. Fine sermons of eminent Dimitry gained escalating love among orthodox, which did not remain unnoticed by the atheist Soviet authority, which patronized renovationists. Threats with jail time started for Dimitry. At first he was arrested in Moscow, then he was incarcerated in Lubyanka, and then in Tambov. He was released from the Tambov prison and then left for Moscow. In 1926, the bishop had to leave to Kislovodsk where he served in many churches. In April, 1932 eminent Dimitry was raised to archbishop, and in 1934 became archbishop of Mozhaisk, vicar of the Moscow diocese.
On September, 29th, 1937 archbishop Dimitry was arrested, and thrown into Butyrsk prison. After many painful interrogations, archbishop still did not pled guilty and disagreed to stipulate anyone.
On October, 17th, 1937 the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD) sentenced archbishop Dimitry and other arrested clerics and laymen (8 people: five men and three women) to be executed. On October, 21st, 1937 the verdict was performed on Butovo polygon, near Moscow. They accepted a martyr’s death, and were buried in a general unknown tomb.
- How does it influence your life and work?
It is the foundation of my daily life, my work, my thoughts and my future. I was fortunate and have visited Rostova na Donu, Volgograd, St. Nikita in Ottrada, Sevastopol, the places where my grandparents were born, grew up and once lived.
I was very emotional when visiting the St. Nikita Church in Ottrada because this was the church where my grandfather had served as a priest and also where he had been executed.
St. Nikita Church, Otrada
The church house next door is the home where my great grandfather, great grandmother, grandmother, her brothers and sisters once lived. The most remarkable event during this visit was my father asked a certain church parishioner if his aunt was still living and unbelievably she was. The parishioner was a friend of my great aunt’s and took us to her home. We arrived and my great aunt demanded who we were and was very suspicious of us. My father explained that he was the son of her sister Sophia Dobroserdova and she wanted proof. So he named all the family members and she then began to cry and then everybody was crying. It was a wonderful visit and she had so many things to talk about and of course cooked traditional delicious Russian dishes. I lost my grandmother Sophia when I was six years old so it was so amazing to visit with my great aunt who looked like her identical twin sister.
Great-aunt. The beautiful corner in the house. Aunt and nephew (Lydia’s father). Meeting.
During our visit in Volgograd we visited a church Cathedral, swam in the Volga River and ate lots of delicious dishes including Russian caviar. The people were always friendly and curious about America. We also took a train and traveled to Krasnodar where we made lots of stops and were able to see lots of the Russian countryside, more Russian hospitality and explore more delicious Russian dishes.
- Does your family possess anything that belonged to the Saint? Books, letters, icons?
There are icons of St. Dimitry Dobroserdov, although I don’t have one I do have an image from the internet. Unfortunately, there were no possessions from Russia that my grandparents left with during the war because they had left so suddenly.
- When did you start to be a parishioner of our St. Vladimir Church?
That would have been in 1994.
- What do you do? (professionally)?
I own and manage two residential care homes (assisted living homes) for the elderly and disabled. I also work for a law firm downtown. The business was started to care for my brother who has a brain injury and is unable to talk or walk. I also help others who cannot live at home by themselves due to an injury or old age.
- How do you keep your family’s faith?
I attend St. Vladimir Russian Orthodox Church and thank God for all the wonderful blessings he has given.
- What would you like to advise Russians who have immigrated to the USA and Russian-Americans who live here for a long time?
Spiritually, I would say never lose your faith or hope even when you feel you have been abandoned, God is with you always. “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you”.
When we were preparing these set of questions for our interview with Lydia Krawtsowa, we were once again convinced that the saints and the Lord are among us. With their prayers and, undoubtedly, with the prayers of St. Dimitry Dobroserdov, this interview happened on day of his memory – October 21st We did not know about this beforehand, and did not prepare materials especially for this day, but so was God’s Will. Another sign of God’s Grace was that we found many materials and several of his icons around this date. The sisterhood of our church is preparing an icon of St. Dimitry Dobroserdov for our church.
Glory to be to God for everything!
St. martyr Dimitriy Dobroserdov, archbishop of Mozhaisk
We thank Lydia Krawtsowa for the remarkable story about her family and for an opportunity to relive the history of the Orthodox Church with one of it’s saints, who lit up in Russia – St. martyr Dimitry Dobroserdov. We also thank Lydia for her works she’s done for the St. Vladimir Church. Lydia is the treasurer of our church and performs this very responsible work with grand accuracy and enthusiasm. Lydia also sacrifices a lot of her personal time for work in the Sisterhood. She is a Chairperson of Financing Sisterhood Subcommittee and Sisterhood treasurer. Such projects as the publication of the electronic magazine of the Sisterhood, electronic maintenance of our Sunday school, numerous dispatches, the organization of purchases of necessary items for the church, and many, many other things – all have been given life with her help! Besides all this, Lydia is constantly helping the parishioners of our church, who have appeared in a troubled situation with illnesses or the death of someone close. All parishioners of our church, who communicates with Lydia, feel heat, love and the sincere support, radiating from her.
Dear Lydia, let God and the Most Holy Theotokos keep you save at all times!