33-years-old American George Green, a former programmer has given up his career in the USA for being able to live in Russia and to practice Orthodoxy.
In interview to Interfax-Religion he told how being an adult chose his religion and subsequent reversals of his fortune.
“What struck me most (in the Orthodox Churches – IF) is that it seemed like everyone was very ambitious about prayer, and worshiping God. Presbyterian Church was all about the pastor, and about half of the service was dedicated to some inspirational sermon, about a quarter of it was singing American-style songs. Catholic Church seemed more respectful to God but very very dry. God seemed to me very present in the Orthodox liturgy, and it seemed at Catholic Church like maybe he was home sick,” George said.
According to George, he had a lot of reasons to leave America – both political and moral.
“Politically America seems to me to be a farce. America talks a lot about democracy but it’s illegal in some states for a third party to run for office. America says it’s a Christian nation but it’s constantly starting new wars regardless of what party is in office. But the biggest reason for my not returning is definitely that it is very hard to practice Orthodoxy in America. Yes we have Orthodox Church; beautiful ones with very active parishioners, but the American culture is absolutely opposed to Orthodoxy,” George supposes.
Green`s decision to change America to Russia looked very strange to his parents and friends. Short after his arrival in Moscow George was beaten and robbed by some strangers, lived in poverty and when his Russian tourist visa became non-valid he had to move to Ukraine and start to work as a usual toiler of Pochayev Laura. However, he assures, that did not make him disappoint of Russia and stop to love this country.
“It is very easy to love the country which is very hostile to you, but such a love costs nothing. If despite numerous troubles, poverty and accidents your feeling does not fade, it is really sincere and of proved worth,” George said.
By his confession there’s no a day when he did not wish he was back in Russia and to obtain its citizenship he was ready to join The Russian Army if they’d had him! He is not afraid of possible bullying.
“I think that if a person is asking to be a citizen of a country he should be ready to defend that country. Certainly I’v heard of cases of bullying, and I do imagine a lot of Russians would be hard on an American. I have been very happy to hear of the efforts to allow Orthodox Chaplains in the military; I think keeping Orthodoxy in the military is very helpful. The film Admiral starring Kostya Habensky demonstrates that a lot.” he said.
George is very surprised by the fact that many Russians and the Ukrainians would give everything to get an American citizenship.
“Many people in Russsia and Ukraine think that American citizenship is a good blessing, I am not one of them. After I paid the debts for the unemployed I had no help from this system when I became unemployed myself. American economy (I was working in one of the largest American banks) is a house of cards. The nation is deeply in debt especially in China and has little resources to compete in the world.All America Can do is to wave a big sword over the hands of other nations hoping that they will buy the lies of the American might,” he said.
George also said that America has not helped him overseas. “I went to the American embassy when I had my computer stolen in Ukraine and all they did was offer me a loan that I could only accept if they ripped up my passport to get dropped off at the nearest airport to ‘home’ in America. Being penniless in New York City with no way to get home, and having no identification or means to call home is not help. I asked them for 20 cents for a metro coupon and was told no (a stranger on the street in Kiev gave me a subway token). America’s support for its citizens abroad is vastly over-rated,” George said.
Most Russians who know his fate think he is an idiot for leaving America, however the Orthodox Russians involved with the Church understand him me a lot better. “In the Church a lot of people, and I’m not sure where they have heard this, think that in the future many Americans will come to Russia and that America will be poor and the dollar will be worth nothing,” tells George.
He deifinitely prefers life in Russia.
“Just being able to walk to an Orthodox Church in pretty much any city is amazing. Our Orthodox Churches are mostly only open on Saturdays and Sundays, and at least an hour away. Many Americans have to go to a different state to find an Orthodox Church. I really like Russian language, and I love walking around hearing people speaking Russian,” George said.
By his opinion in many ways Russia is more free than America. “America thanks to tough technology became a police state. Many instances when America insists that Russia is less free, in Russia the common sense prevails. I was appalled how many Americans supported defilement of the Church by Pussy Riot as a certain form of freedom of the speech.”
Summing up George confessed that he sees Russia as a country having an emerging middle class, an army that is modernizing tremendously, and a Christian culture. “I think it is a great place to start a family, as well as a great investment opportunity,” said George who many people call just Yura.