Faith & Humor – Notes from Muscovy (6 of 6)

“You see, Reverend Father,” a novice once said to the confessor at a convent. “I’m bored at the convent. I started to dance at the age of four and I almost became a ballerina …

An excerpt from Faith & Humor:

When I took the veil, I threw away my ballet slippers and my tutu, as well as all the photographs which showed me dancing. Yet now I have such a strong desire to dance.”

The priest said nothing to the novice, but a month later, on her name day, he gave her a gift of pink satin slippers and a real tutu.

The novice was overjoyed. She tried on her new slippers and they fit her perfectly.

“When you think of your past,” said the priest, “and you get the desire to stand in third position or sixth position, I give you my blessing to put on your slippers and your tutu and to dance as much as you wish. You can use our conference hall. Get the key from Mother Eustaphia.

After that, the novice lost all desire to dance. She never asked for the key to the conference hall. She put the slippers and the tutu away in the corner of her trunk and didn’t think of them for months on end. But every year, on the evening of her old name day (she had by then become a nun and had taken a different name), she would open the lid, look at the priest’s gifts and remember his warmth and infinite love, and she would pray for the soul of the Hieromonk Andrianus, because the priest had long since passed away.


A word about the book: It is not a laugh a page; much of it is troubling. I guess you could say that it has an attractive existential quality that will comfort some and confuse others. I found it unique … and head-scratchingly refreshing.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

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