Meet Moscow's Punk Priest, the Rev. Sergei Rybko

"I used to be a rocker and I will always be one," he says. "For the average person behind the Iron Curtain, it represented the only truth that you could listen to."

His first job in the church was at 19 as a bell ringer where he would mix traditional ringing with Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin songs. The old ladies in the congregation loved it, he says. Working at the church wore off on him and, at 28, he was ordained as a priest.

Two days after Rybko's appearance at the hall, he's standing in front of an entirely different audience at the morning service at the St. Sergius of Radonezh church in the Moscow suburbs.

It's a full house, the congregation is older, mostly women with scarves covering their heads. They follow Rybko in prayer and take communion before the service culminates with the traditional walking of the icon around the church.

Rybko Has His Own Rock Club

"These people have already discovered Christ and the Orthodox world is the essence of their lives," he says near the gates of the church. "In the club, I talk to people who are far away from God, from Christ, from the Orthodox religion.

"If I open the Bible [in the clubs] and start to talk like a priest, they will all run away. So I have to use their language but make sure they understand that a priest is speaking to them and that Christianity will solve their problems," he adds.

When the worshippers leave, he heads around the back of the church to a small building where he has set up what he calls his own rock club.

It's the kind of small, dark room with a funky smell that any rebellious 16-year-old would have in his parents' garage. Instruments and amplifiers lie about, multi-colored lights flash and graffiti is spray-painted on the walls.

But, then, you spot the religious art and large cross on the ceiling.

"It's very unusual," says Dmitry Rock (his stage name), a long-haired guitarist with two piercings in his lower lip. "When I first came here, I couldn't believe a priest set this up. Then we got used to it."

Musicians are free to come here and rehearse; better they hang out here than on the streets, Rybko says.

Rock is not religious and Rybko's overt goal is not to make people like loyal churchgoers. But, as Rybko did when he was younger, they've now started helping out around the church.

Despite his colorful past, Rybko admits that, these days, he feels more comfortable preaching in church than hanging out at concerts and clubs.

"Thirty years ago [that] would have been my home," he says. "[Now] I feel more at home in church, that is closer to me. But it is my duty to go [to the clubs]. If I don't, who will?"

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