The deputy chief of the special purpose service of the UFSKN of the region, Lieutenant Colonel Vadim Fedyukov, became the person who was equally passionate about this idea. And as soon as it was decided to implement this plan, the director of the Saratov regional public foundation “Orthodoxy and Modernity”, Sergei Kurikhin, responded, who still helps the club with funding. Major General Alexander Alekseyevich Ivanov, head of the regional Directorate of State Drug Control, also went to meet him, giving the go-ahead for the children to be engaged on the basis of the special forces sports center at UFSKN. At that time, in February 2011, the example of such a club was unprecedented.
Become a drop in the sea
The starting point was Victory Day four years ago. Hegumen Nektariy and Hegumen Pachomia (now Bishop Pokrovsky and Nikolayevsky) seconded as members of the Public Chamber of the Saratov Region to Victory Park on Sokolova Gora to congratulate the veterans. And when, having arrived there, they realized that the intended greeting was unlikely to go beyond the official, reporting event, they did what the memory of their childhood suggested - they bought a huge amount of flowers and congratulated the veterans personally.
“On that day, I noticed who looked the most closely at this event, who looked organized and friendly,” Father Nektary recalls, “these were young people of different mountain nationalities. I, of course, have nothing against them, but I was saddened that there were no equally close-knit groups of representatives of Russian youth. My heart was literally embraced by melancholy, and I realized how much needed is a patriotic club in Saratov. And let it be a drop in the sea - suddenly, looking at such an example, someone wants to follow it.
About a year later, Nektariy’s father met with officers of the UFSKN in the Saratov region, began to talk with them about Orthodoxy, and regularly come to the base of the special forces' sports center. And in the person of Lieutenant Colonel Vadim Fedyukov, he found a like-minded person: together with his father Nektariy, he decided that he should try.
For the state drug control organization of the military-patriotic club is, in fact, a core activity, because the service, among other things, should be engaged in the prevention of drug use, and there are not so many effective ways to do this. The Foundation “Orthodoxy and Modernity”, with the consent of its director, Sergei Kurikhin, took over the cost of equipment, coaching and teaching staff and trips to competitions.
From the very beginning the training program was agreed. It includes theoretical and practical parts. “Theory” is the law of God; in the older groups, catechism or история New Testament, the history of the Fatherland. At that time, high-altitude, fire, and drill training was absolutely natural for this unit as applied disciplines.
High-altitude training is, of course, not mountaineering, but all that is associated with lifting and subsequent descent with the help of special equipment. It is important that officially insuring one member of the club is another member of the club. Although, of course, insured pupils and officers.
In the fire training classes, the guys mostly shoot out of pneumatic exploration; however, they study the device and weapons different species. Drill is necessary for some orderliness of the training process. As the main sports discipline, hand-to-hand combat was chosen as the most universal thing.
The base day is Sunday, when the theoretical part and one of the applied subjects are taught. Applied alternate: week - high, week - drill, week - fire. And, of course, hand-to-hand fighting is taking place at the same time. They are held two more days a week, but some guys train more often.
During the existence of the club has developed a team of hand-to-hand combat. There are guys who choose a career for themselves as the main direction in life.
Learn not to be afraid
According to Nektariy’s father, the organization of a military sports club is a conscious choice. Today, a person lives in a fairly tough, aggressive world, and the fear of this world often causes him to either break or mimic. So it is very difficult to live, wrong. Children in the Patriot are getting used to the fact that they are treated rather strictly, demandingly, and sometimes as soldiers of the military service. It disciplines, so the parents of their children literally do not recognize.
“Oddly enough, the guys themselves are not at all frightened by such an attitude toward themselves and are not repressed,” the father notes. - They do not cry, do not get upset, but on the contrary, they are completely normal with this. And it very quickly rebuilds the child, makes him grow up, wean him afraid. Not to be afraid - in fact, one of the goals of hand-to-hand combat training.
According to the priest, a person often does not dare to act in accordance with the demand of conscience and intervene for someone, to accomplish the act necessary at one time or another, precisely because he fears that he will be hurt and offended, hit. And when a person engages in hand-to-hand combat, they beat him in the face, and it becomes clear that in fact it is not scary - quite a tolerant thing.
Such a seemingly insignificant detail reveals to a person a very great freedom in following the dictates of his conscience. In addition, it is abundantly clear that a sport of this kind develops in a person the skill of overcoming himself, his fears, laziness, which also, oddly enough, sounds like a certain kind of creativity.
Now there are a lot of students of the club, they are divided into several platoons - by age. There is a rivalry between groups, which serves only for the good of the cause, because it does not allow us to calm down, to stop there.
- In fact, martial arts - not something stupid and straightforward. Hand-to-hand fight is similar to chess. At the same time, if there is no intellectual, cultural, spiritual base, then any martial art becomes a scuffle, the father Nektariy is convinced.
In the "Patriot" no massacre. And can not be.
Spirit is strong
At first, there were only a few dozen boys and girls in the Patriot. One of the significant groups that joined the club were pupils of the Sunday school of the temple in honor of the icon of the Mother of God “Soothe my sorrows,” where Father Nectarios is the head.
Now the majority of the students of the club are children from unchurched families. But to the question what is the most difficult thing in teaching such unprepared students, the teacher of the Law of God, the cleric of the same church, priest Vasily Kutsenko answers: to interest and keep attention, because both church and non-church are just children.
“We need to find such topics so that we can show the connection of familiar, even everyday things with Christianity,” says Father Vasily. - For example, to talk with the guys about whether they know why Sunday is called "Sunday"? The conversation quickly becomes relaxed, alive: someone timidly pulls his hand (by the way, I asked the guys who regularly attend the temple not to respond first) - “because he rose again ...”. Who! "Jesus…". And what is his full name? "Jesus Christ…". How do we know about the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Sunday-schoolchildren are already connected here. So they found out that Sunday is the memory of the Resurrection of Christ from the dead.
Father Vasily does not have a special pedagogical education, although now he is firmly convinced that it is necessary. The priest has to engage in self-education - read articles on pedagogy, refer to familiar school teachers. What strikes him is how vivid and close to heart the 11 – 12 guys have been accepting the gospel words of Christ. After reading in the class of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew's Gospel, one boy asked two questions: how to learn to love and how to learn to forgive?
- After that lesson, I thought: “But the Gospel does not pose any other questions.” And how the words of Christ are highlighted: “Let the children go and do not prevent them from coming to Me, for such is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 19, 14). Children understand a lot, much more than we adults do, Father Vasily admits.
The subject "History of the Fatherland" in the club does not repeat the school curriculum. Episodes are deliberately chosen, including those from recent history, which give reason to be proud of their Homeland, to love it, and at the same time give an idea that there is a feat, sacrifice, readiness to bring your life to the altar of one or another necessary victory - only really necessary, not false. Often, those pages of history are revealed that children may not even hear about at school.
Oksana Yasko, a teacher of the History of the Fatherland in two senior (from 12 to 17 years) groups, talks about her studies:
- I select topics according to the main tasks of the military-patriotic club, namely, the education of worthy successors, patriots of their Fatherland who can not only physically respond to evil, but also know how to think, analyze historical events, sincerely experience all the adversities and joys of their ancestors, be proud and take an example from the heroes of antiquity and modernity.
In addition to the oral presentation of the material for better perception, children are invited to view interesting documentaries. The guys discuss them, ask questions and look for answers together with the teacher. According to Oksana, not every child can easily be interested in all sorts of "gadgets" in the modern world, but it is impossible to give up. After all, even if you see one pair of indifferent eyes, then for their sake it is worth continuing to fight for the future generation.
Oksana recalls how, at the last lesson, at the request of the children themselves, she showed them a documentary film about the Chernobyl accident. They showed a special interest in this topic, but as it turned out, this interest was generated by the Stalker adventure game 3D. The guys expected that in the film they would now see explosions, blood, mutilated by the radiation of mutants and wandering around the stalkers zone.
“This is not because children are evil,” says Oksana, “they just perceive the history of Chernobyl as a computer game, and this is a problem of our time, when the healthy perception of reality from those who cognize this world of inquisitive children's eyes is distorted by TV and the Internet. When the guys saw that ordinary people were shown in the film - the liquidators of the accident, skepticism appeared on some people. I was able to shake it when I explained that these real people gave their lives, sacrificed themselves so that we would not turn into mutants, that the possibility of nuclear catastrophes is very likely in our life today and no “reset” will help here.
Having learned, for example, in history lessons at the club about the amazing travels of the merchant Afanasy Nikitin, the children thought about how valuable their culture is for a person, his native language, his religion - only sometimes does a person begin to understand this when he is away from it, he loses it. Oksana Yasko is convinced that, thanks to history lessons, gradually all children will wake up love for their native history and culture.
“In our time, military-patriotic education is very important, because today many moral guidelines have been lost,” remarked one of the founders of the club, Lieutenant Colonel Vadim Fedyukov. - If nothing is done, then nothing good will arise instead of this lost or something negative arises. We are now trying to mobilize all forces so that children who come to us, in addition to physical education, which we do with them, receive spiritual education, so that they realize not only the weight of physical training, but also live moral values.
Churching or not churching - that is the question
As hegumen Nektariy explained, in many respects the creators of the Patriot followed in the footsteps of the oldest Russian military-patriotic club Peresvet in the Trinity-Sergius Lavra. The experience that its leader Archpriest Dmitry Boltrukevich shared with Saratovists helped to avoid possible mistakes. The main principle is not to emphasize the churching - “Patriot” also took it, and no one here is completely embarrassed by the fact that this process is not taking leaps and bounds, but very gradually.
The Patriot does not have the task of bringing the children to the church: in the opinion of its creators, to a large extent this is utopia. In order for a person to churchize, it is necessary to work with him very seriously, and directly in the Church. The children are helped to join the faith, to see that the Church and Christ are close, dear, a part of our life. Children are also helped to understand that courage, courage, fortitude are needed for faith ...
“We, rather, create conditions in our club for churching,” says Father Nektariy. - As soon as cadets learn something about the Church, its place in the history of our country and, thus, in their own life, they gradually - one by one, two by three, three - come to the temple. This is not to say that this process is fast, but our pupils definitely feel themselves Orthodox and can tell something about their faith. And let this phenomenon not yet have the proper depth - nevertheless, some conscious choice in the life of children is already present, there is also a willingness not to back down from their faith, to protect it with accessible and non-legal means. Still, the most important thing, for the sake of which we all started and are doing this, is the guys themselves.
It is no secret that today no one is really engaged in children. The child turns out to be left to the street, to himself, but to a greater extent to the modern mass culture, to what comes to life from the screens of televisions, computers, and cinemas. And there is absolutely nothing to oppose to all this. Many teachers argue that this is why today the necessary moral core is often completely missing in the soul of a modern teenager.
The school largely lost its educational functions. Parents who are seriously engaged in raising their children are much less now than we would like. Father Dimitri from Peresvet warned that there would be moms and dads who would just like to give up their children for hours-long classes and go about their business. It came true. But on the other hand, there are parents who spend time in the "Patriot" with their children - they look, they support their own.
Igumen Nektariy sure:
“Such things as patriotism, heroism, love for the Motherland today for the majority of our schoolchildren, students, is an empty sound or even something to laugh at. But for the cadets of our club it is not. Of course, I will not say that everyone equally clearly understands what it means to be a citizen of Russia and what it is in general — Russia. Nevertheless, this understanding is present to a much greater degree than that of their other peers. It is clear that the rootedness of these ideals in children's souls must pass some test of time and life, but the very existence of these ideals is important.
Forward and wide
Today, about 300 people are involved in the Patriot. This number includes cadets from the branch opened in the 108 school of Saratov. Just recently, another branch of the club opened - in the 36-m Lyceum. “Patriot” is addressed from many schools, but according to the club’s management, in order to go further, additional financial resources are needed. In 36, the lyceum, fortunately, has financial resources, and the management promised to pay for coaching and instructor's work, to buy equipment.
At first, the expenses for the development of the club were a purely symbolic amount - but now the expenses have increased, and the amount has also grown. Thank God that there is a reliable source of funding - the Foundation "Orthodoxy and Modernity", while he is coping, but this will not always be the case. After all, the more children come to engage in the club, the more money you need. And take in the "Patriot" of all comers.
The club is also not experiencing a staff hunger yet, but is on the verge of it, because practically all the employees of the regional UFSKN are involved in the project. At this stage, it has already become possible to dilute the number of trainers-teachers with guys-athletes without shoulder straps.
Along the way, the Hand-to-Hand Combat Federation was created, which naturally was joined by the team of the special forces of UFSKN. Both in the past and this year the team won the Russian hand-to-hand fighting championship. Not only employees of the unit train in the Federation: someone comes from the side, someone from those guys who started out as pupils of the club has grown up. They have more than 18 years, they migrate directly to the team. This is a natural process, according to management.
The offices of the Patriot are at a sufficiently large distance from each other, but this does not at all interfere with a very rapid accretion: the guys enter the same team, go to competitions.
- Children have a certain feeling of unity, community - a feeling that they are all “of one blood”. “I would like all this to continue,” Father Nektariy exclaims. - For me, our trips outside of Saratov - to Moscow or to Sergiev Posad, to competitions became a very good indicator. And I want to note that our guys look much more united, friendly. How much warmer the relationship between them than in other teams! I did not hear any angry or boorish shouts from our guys - they were brought up in the spirit of respect, or even - love for the enemy.
At each competition, the priest always says that the upcoming fight, even at the moments when it will be painful and offensive, is in fact a study. Father Nektariy teaches boys and girls to be grateful to their rival, with whom and thanks to whom they learn in battle, without which this study would not have taken place. And I must say, the guys get. Of course, sometimes some difficult relationship between children does occur. If you are selfish and not used to reckoning with anyone, then you will not take root in the team. And vice versa - if you are used to giving, then the team will love you.
The leadership of the Patriot is approached from various districts of the Saratov region, from neighboring dioceses for best practices and advice. And the club has never refused to provide consulting assistance, only so far no one has finally decided to take up this kind of close. Experience has shown that in order to organize a branch of the club on a school basis, you need about 20 – 25 thousand per month plus one-time expenses for the purchase of mats, kimonos and other sports equipment.
Of course, as far as wear goes, something will have to be bought, but all this is not at all an enormous expense for the school or the parents whose children are studying at this school. And most importantly, these are not expenses for those enterprises, firms, companies that are in close proximity to schools. Father Nectarios comments on the current situation as follows:
- For me it is still wonderful and incomprehensible: why, apart from Sergey Georgievich and the Office, we did not find anyone else who would like to take part in the development and support of the club? Approach, are interested, but further it does not go. Sometimes it seems to me that soon they will start asking for money themselves ... And if someone came and said: “I also want to do this - in such and such an area, in such and such a school”, then we would help everyone. We are ready to educate coaches, to exercise "supervision" - there would be little money and desire.
Hegumen Nektariy dreams that the club "Patriot" would serve as an impetus for the development of a movement for the military-patriotic Orthodox education of children in the region, and maybe beyond. Well, every pious deed, having passed through the crucible of trials, is crowned with success ...