Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Greetings to My Friends

The snow covers the ground – finally!
(Click the pictures to see them bigger.)

Few days ago, we finally got a little bit of snow here in my area in Western Finland. Today, I took some pictures in my neighborhood, but the fact is that landscapes are not so beautiful yet. No snow enough. I want more. Haha. Well, anyway we got a white Christmas. Air temperature is about -4 °C or 24 ºF.

Otherwise, I have no special news to tell. Just the same. I have read a lot. The last two books were 'Uncle Fyodor, His Dog and His Cat' written by Eduard Uspensky and 'The Long Goodbye' written by Yury Trifonov. Both very good stories.

This year, it seems that I'm going to spend Christmas alone. Well, "so it goes like it goes". At least, I have time to read. Today, I started 'Doctor Zhivago', a huge Russian novel.

I am an Orthodox Christian, and for us, Christmas is the celebration of joy that light up the whole world. On Christmas night, the angel said to the shepherds, "Don't be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be to all the people. For there is born to you, this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (The Gospel of Luke 2:10-11).

"Christ is born, glorify Him!" This is Orthodox Christmas greetings.

I wish a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2015 to all my friends! May there be peace on earth. (^—^)

From Finland with love,


A later addition (December 24): Nika's Christmas video, filmed in Moscow and dedicated for me. I really like it and it makes me smile! (^—^) This is my best Christmas gift. Thank you very much, my dear Nikushka! Большое спасибо, мой ангел, мой Снегурочка!!! ❤

My photos (below):

Welcome to my home. :) A view from my living room.
Please note an old tube television (lol) and the painting
of Marshal Mannerheim (the Finnish military leader)
on the wall. A picture added on December 24.

A wintry view from my balcony.

The park in my neighborhood.

 Trees in the park.

One more picture from the park.

'Nativity of Our Lord', icon of the Orthodox Church.
Christmas is the Birthday of Christ.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Danger of a New World War Still Exists

People are too smart to create killing machines.

Frankly, I am very depressed at the moment. I am worried about the world situation and a new Cold War. World is such a crazy place currently. Peaceful people turn aggressive and warlike and stop treating each other as human beings. From time to time, millions of people shout everywhere, "Kill them, destroy them, kill them all!" Kill or destroy who? Someone says Muslims, someone says Ukrainians, or Russians, or Americans, or  so on... There are many groups or nations that hate some other group or nation. This happens everywhere, and it is very dangerous. This world is too full of wrath. We know where it took us in the 1930s.

I have read a lot of history, too much history, especially tons of military history. Therefore I am able to recognize the "mechanisms of war". At times I think the current era is too much like the 1930s. Maybe two more years, and The Big War breaks out again? I hope I am wrong, I really hope so!

The Bible says about the end of time, "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. - - Nation rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. - - At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other. - - Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold" (The Gospel of Matthew, chapter 24). This is very serious prophecy, and it is two thousand years old.

We don't need a new Cold War. We don't need a new arms race. We don't need stupid military blustering or new confrontations between the West and the East. It is dangerous and narrow-minded. There are good and bad people in every country and within every nation. We all have a common country, the Planet Earth. Black and white thinking or being racist or nationalist is not intelligent or wise at all.

For my part, I pray peace for the world, and I wish love and peace to all my friends around the world. Let's be the peace people all of us, okay? Being angry or full of wrath is not good for anyone's soul. The Bible says, "In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry" (The Epistle to the Ephesians, chapter 4). What a good advice, isn't it?

So keep calm and make peace, not war!

From Finland with love and peace,


P.S. Lastly, I link here one touching anti-war song called Where Have All the Flowers Gone, originally a melancholic Russian folk song. The first three verses were written by Pete Seeger in 1955. Additional verses were added by Joe Hickerson in 1960, which turned it into a circular song. Some lines were taken from the traditional Cossack folk song Tovchu, tovchu mak, referenced in the Mikhail Sholokhov novel And Quiet Flows the Don (1934). Please check out this touching song and video. Very appropriate at this time. Indeed, I wonder where have all the flowers gone... has the cold winter killed them all?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Early Winter Came to Finland

Early winter surprised Finland on September 23, 2014. A scene
from the Northern Finland. Photo by the Finnish website.

The swans are leaving Finland. Photo by the Finnish website.

Today, it seems like the winter has come to Finland. It is very early this year. Today, we got a first snow (well, not in my area in Western Finland, but in Northern and Eastern Finland)! Anyway, last night was very cold also here in the west coast, temperature was only -2 °C or 26 ºF.

On this morning, I saw three swans flying towards the south. It was a beautiful but also a plaintive scene. Now it really feels like summer is over and winter is coming. Well, no problem for me. As my friends knows, the winter is my favorite season of the year.

Lately, I have been very busy in my work, and that's why I've been so silent in my blog and YouTube. Yesterday, I started my 10 days summer vacation. I worked all summer long, and only now I have time enough to rest and relax and just be a lazy. :)

Let me tell some other news from my life.

Three weeks ago, I started to study Russian language in the adult training college. It's quite difficult but also very interesting. I can only do my best, and my Russian friend support me. At least I hope so. Haha. ;)

Last Saturday, I visited in the local antique store, and I bought four old Finnish military magazines, useful for me since military history is my job and also my hobby.

Well, these were the latest updates from chilly Finland. Stay tuned, and see you, my friends. Have a wonderful autumn to all!


P.S. The photos in this article are not taken by me, except the image of magazines.

My Russian textbook called «Пора!» (English: It's
time). In this case, it is time to learn Russian! :)

The old Finnish military magazines (mostly comics) which
I bought from the local antique store. Photo by Teisuka.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Impending Clouds

The time is stretching while I'm spending
a rainy night by listening to Revelation,
escaping the reality, running ahead,
behind me the enemy of humanity.

No time for love means no time for live.
Now what's the time and am I still alive?

In these times of wrath and insanity
the love of many is growing cold.
Friends turn their back to each other,
farewell to the flowers and cranes.

Dark clouds are rising in the sky,
warmongers are proudly marching
over the graves of past generations.
Does no one realize where it leads?

A poem by Teisuka (on 23rd of the Harvest Month, 2014)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Way of a Pilgrim – Amazing Spiritual Book

The Way of a Pilgrim tells about the secret of prayer.
It represents so called hesychasm, a mystical tradition
of experiential prayer in the Orthodox Church.

Hello, my friends, after a long time. ( ^.^)ノ I'm sorry, I've been too busy (or lazy) to write my blog lately. This time, I want to introduce one wonderful book that I read some time ago.

The book is a spiritual classic called The Way of a Pilgrim, a 19th-century Russian work, recounting the narrator's journey as a mendicant pilgrim across Russia while practicing the Jesus Prayer, the practice of ceaseless inner prayer and communion with God. The Russian title of the book is actually much longer than its English translation: «Откровенные рассказы странника духовному своему отцу» - literally, 'Candid tales of a pilgrim to his spiritual father'.

In this book, an anonymous pilgrim treks over the Steppes in search of the answer to the one compelling question: How does one pray constantly? Through his journeys, and under the tutelage of a spiritual father, he becomes gradually more open to the promptings of God, and sees joy and plenty wherever he goes. Ultimately, he discovers the different meanings and methods of prayer as he travels to his ultimate destination...

The Way of a Pilgrim is a really amazing and mystical book, one of the best Orthodox Christian books I have ever read. It represents so called hesychasm. It's a mystical tradition of experiential prayer in the Orthodox Church. The Greek-derived word hesychasm means "stillness, rest, quiet, silence". The Hesychast usually experiences the contemplation of God as light. It's called the Uncreated Light and is identified with the Holy Spirit. I feel hesychasm is right way for me.

Silence – often it also means loneliness. While longing for silence, soul doesn't like noise or noisy people. The Bible says, "My soul, wait thou in silence for God only; for my expectation is from him" (Psalm 62:5).

 The Russian front cover of The Way of a Pilgrim.

The Way of Silence and the Jesus Prayer

Here I want to share two quotes from the book:

"Sit alone and in silence; bow your head and close your eyes; relax your breathing and with your imagination look into your heart; direct your thoughts from your head into your heart. And while inhaling say, 'Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me,' either softly with your lips or in your mind. Endeavor to fight distractions but be patient and peaceful and repeat this process frequently."

"All that is necessary is to descend in silence into the depths of one's heart and call on the name of Jesus Christ frequently. In this way one can experience interior light and many things will become clear to him, even the mysteries of the kingdom of God. And what depth of mystery and what light there is when man realizes his ability to descend into himself, to see his inner self, to take pleasure in self-knowledge, to be touched and even to shed tears over his fallen and weakened will. It is not difficult to be reasonable and to speak sensibly with people, for the mind and the heart of man preceded knowledge and wisdom. When one has a mind, it is possible to cultivate it with learning and experience, but when there is no brain, no upbringing will help. The fact is that we are alienated from ourselves and have little desire really to know ourselves; we run in order to avoid meeting ourselves and we exchange truth for trinkets while we say, 'I would like to have time for prayer and the spiritual life but the cares and difficulties of this life demand all my time and energies.' And what is more important and necessary, the eternal life of the soul or the temporary life of the body about which man worries so much? It is this choice which man makes that either leads him to wisdom or keeps him in ignorance."

If you want to get a whole PDF book in English, just send me a private message via YouTube and give me your personal email address. (Please don't share your secret email address here in public.) Then I'll post you a free PDF file (3,74 Mb). The book contains 196 pages. You can find the original Russian text here (click the blue word). By the way, here is a real treasure in Russian language – a free digital Orthodox Christian library: Библиотечка Православной.

Regarding the Jesus Prayer, you can find my video from YouTube:

In this prayer, one sentence repeated over and over again. In English language it goes (in the shortest form): "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me." That's all. Very simple and short, but very powerful prayer.

These days, except that I'm working diligently, I'm just searching for the silence and the presence of God. In this quest, I'm using the Jesus Prayer. I am not a good Christian (far from it), but I try to do my best. We all have our own battles to win, and that's the way of sanctification or divinization...

Blessings to all of you, my friends. (^—^)

Best greetings from warm and sunny Finland,


The Finnish front cover of The Way of a Pilgrim.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Sphere of Beauty

In my darkest moment, came a girl and said: "Do not despair."
Then she was laughing, her laughter lighted the whole sphere.
"I'm just a girl", she said, "and I can not even speak so well."
But I knew, she was an angel, and she raised me up from hell.

Through her eyes she taught me to see the beauty everywhere.
"Behold!" the angel said, "Look at all those flowers out there."
Although far from each other we live in a conjunction.
Together we stand, we are safe – is it just a fiction?

A poem by Teisuka (May 31, 2014)

Monday, April 21, 2014

I Found the Joy of Easter

Me and the other guys just a moment before we became members of the church.
I am second from left.

Father Matti, and me (second from right) and the other "catechumens".

On the Great Saturday, we were accepted to become amembers of the parish in a formal
and beautiful ceremony called Chrismation (Russian: миропомазание, Finnish: mirhalla
voitelu, a direct translation: "anointing").

The priest anoints the recipient with "chrism", making the sign of the cross on the
forehead, eyes, ears, nostrils, breast, back, hands and feet using the following words
each time: "The seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit."

We got candles and also white roses after the ceremony.

As I told you before, I spent the Easter weekend at the Orthodox Church of Vaasa. I attended many services, and on the Great Saturday I was accepted to become a member of the parish in a formal and beautiful ceremony. At last, I am officially Orthodox Christian. A long, long journey has come to an end. This process began already in the summer of 2011, after my mother's passing. Now I feel like I have returned home.

Easter Night Service in the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church was stunningly beautiful, and it lasted for three hours (from 11:30 pm till 2:30 am). There were a lot of people from many different nationalities: Finns and Russians, Ukrainians, Greeks, Serbs, Ethiopians, and so on. All in all, our church has members from 24 different countries and they speak 14 different languages. Indeed, it's a very international organisation.

On the Easter Vigil, all who wanted, got the chance to ring the church bells. So I tried it too, and it was not easy at all to make it sound good. Haha. (One of my friends, Victor from Moscow, is a professional bell ringer, and I really admire him.) There was also a traditional outdoor procession around the church. In the procession, I carried the icon of the Mother of God.

I spent two nights in the church basement, in the room called playfully the "Crypt" by the members of the parish. My good friend also visited me on Friday evening. When I wasn't participating services, I was reading and praying in the Crypt. For me, it was like a monk's cell. (^—^) The book I was reading was the Orthodox Catechism written by Ivan Glukhov (he was a great teacher of theology from Moscow, died in 1999).

In summary, this was the happiest and the most memorable Easter in my life. I can say that now I have found the joy of Easter. Indeed, Christianity is a religion of joy, like Ivan Glukhov said.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so I put here some photos from my trip.
Note! A new photos added on 24 April, 2014.
Please click on the pictures to see them bigger.

Text by Teisuka
Photos by Jussi and Teisuka

Me in the church on April 19, 2014.

 St. Nicholas Church in the Easter morning light.

 A dome of the church.

 A view inside of the church before the service.

 My modest bed in the church basement.

 Orthodox Catechism written by Ivan Glukhov. This book is a real gem,
an extensive and detailed guide to the Orthodox faith, including more
than 500 pages.

Next to the church is the Lotta Svärd statue, designed by Tea Helene-
lund, unveiled in 2005. Lotta Svärd was a Finnish voluntary national
defence organisation for women that was active between 1921 and 1944.
The organisation was religious-patriotic, unarmed and non-political.

A view from the city center of Vaasa.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Happy Easter to My Friends!

The Resurrection of Christ, the icon of the Holy and Great Saturday.

I'd like to wish a Happy Easter to all my friends in advance, because I'm going to spend the next few days (from Friday to Sunday) in Vaasa and the Orthodox Church. I will spend my nights in the church basement. I have a special permit for that. (^—^) On the "Great Saturday" (April 19), I will become a member of the Church.

Probably, I'm not able to see my messages or blog comments before I return home on Sunday evening. So let me say once again: Happy Easter to my dear friends! I keep you all in my prayers. До свидания – "Until we meet again"!

Peace and blessings,


P.S. On the Easter Night, I'll whisper these words (with three kisses) to my angel: «Воистину Воскресе!» Because I know you will say the first words... ( ̄ー ̄)

P.S. 2. In the Orthodox Church, Easter is called Pascha. See also my previous blog article titled "Christ is Risen!" Easter Greetings in Many Languages.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Are We Living in the End Times?

Is the time running out for the planet Earth?

The Bible teaches about the end times, meaning the time before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. A few days before his death, Jesus spoke to his disciples about the signs of His second coming and the end of the present age. I want to take some quotes from this speech according to The Gospel of Matthew chapter 24, and The Gospel of Luke chapter 21. Please read them carefully and ask yourself: Is He talking about the time we are living in right now? In any case, everything is in God's hands. He is the Lord of history. Faith in Him can bring us peace and safety.

This is what Jesus Christ taught two thousand years ago:

"Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven."

"At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."

A burning tank in the Syrian civil war.

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011.

"If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time."

"So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man."

"There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

"But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. ... So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."

A meteor exploded over Russia in 2013.

"The stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies
will be shaken." (The Gospel of Matthew 24:29)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Significant Milestone

My home church (the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church) covered in snow.
Photo by Gilmore.

This morning, I attended the Liturgy of the Orthodox Christian church. It was a very special Liturgy for me, because in the middle of the ceremony, they accepted me to become a "catechumen". I stood in front of the church hall.  The priest laid his hand on my head and said a few certain words, and then everyone at the ceremony prayed for me. As I walked back to my spot, I was moved to tears. It was such a sacred and touching moment. In a sense, I have been a catechumen already since last year, but only now it's official. What does it mean?

According to the OrthodoxWiki: "A catechumen is one who is preparing for baptism in the Church. In modern usage, catechumen can also refer to one who is preparing for chrismation (or another form of reception) to be received from a heterodox Christian communion. In the ancient Church, the catechumenate, or time during which one is a catechumen, often lasted for as much as three years and included not only participation in the divine services but also catechesis, formal instruction from a teacher, often the bishop or appointed catechist. Catechumens are understood to be Christians upon beginning their catechumenate, and should they die before baptism, they are traditionally given an Orthodox funeral."

 «An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him...»

The catechumenate (Russian: оглашенные) period is a long process. At times, I have been frustrated, and I've been asking myself: "Why they make it so difficult and slow to join the church?" I have had to be patient... God has strengthened me by sending me an "angel" and spiritual guide (cf. the Gospel of Luke 22:43). Without her, I would have given up long ago. Like she used to say, "We are instruments in the hands of God". Amen to this. Afterwards we can understand the Divine providence. No matter how you feel, there is the guidance of God behind it all.

Today, I also found a "godfather" (Finnish: kummi, Russian: крёстный) for me, and he even lives on the same street as I do. That's really great because I had no idea who could be my godfather when I am going to be accepted to the church on April 19 (may God grant it). Now all these problems seem to have been solved...

Indeed, this was a great day for me! Thank God for the guidance, in spite of my weak faith. Thanks also to my "Russian angel" and to my friends.

Peace and blessings to all. (^—^)


The St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Vaasa. Православная церковь
Св. Николая Чудотворца в Вааса. The church was completed in
1866, and was originally built for the Russian population of Vaasa.
Photo by Teisuka.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Parcel from Russia

The Vladimirskaya icon, as Russians call it.

Last week, I received a big parcel from my dear Russian friend. The parcel included many kinds of items: a great religious book called Everyday Saints and Other Stories written by Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov), four CD's full of Russian Orthodox music sung by the Sretensky monastery choir, three T-shirts (very beautiful), sacred images (out of which one was a refrigerator magnet), an Orthodox bookmark, the Vladimirskaya icon, and a wonderful handmade Easter egg. Wow!

This was the best birthday gift I have ever gotten in my life and it made me really happy. I feel that the whole content of this parcel is caused by the guidance of God. I mean, I can recognize "the God's hand" or Divine providence in these gifts and it strengthens my weak faith. Thank you very much, my dear friend. Большое спасибо, мой ангел! You really are an angel sent to me by God. (^—^)

Blessings to all of my friends!


A handmade Russian Easter egg.

One of three Russia T-shirts (all different).

Four CD's, full of Russian Orthodox music sung by
the Sretensky monastery choir.

A religious book (Everyday Saints and Other Stories),
sacred images, a refrigerator magnet, and a bookmark.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Love Beautify the World

After a long time, I wrote a poem.

What a day for you whose heart is in love,
the sun is shining, the world is in harmony,
the unspeakable peace lives in your soul,
pure joy and gratitude – no shadows at all.
Everyone, everywhere is smiling, is happy,
you see all the beauty as for the first time,
all is clear, all is pure and white –
blessed are those who are in love.

Teisuka (January 22, 2014)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Long Range Patrol – the Best Finnish War Film for Years

Kaukopartio (Long Range Patrol) movie poster.

The film crew and some cast members. The premiere night
party at the museum. Sitting in the foreground, a film
director Harri J. Rantala (a submachine gun in his hands)
and a costume designer / a makeup artist Sanna Panula.
Photo by Teisuka. (Click the photo to see it bigger.)

This time, I tell something about a new Finnish war film called Kaukopartio (English: Long Range Patrol), written and directed by Harri J. Rantala, starring Eerik Kantokoski, Ali Ahovaara, Hannu Rantala, Eeva Putro, Kalevi Haapoja, and Kristiina Karhu. The world premiere was held on December 27th 2013 in the Civil Guard and Lotta Svärd Museum. Earlier, the Finnish crew also filmed one scene in the museum.

First of all, I want to explain the term "long range patrol" (Finnish: kaukopartio, Russian: дальний патруль, Chinese: 長距離巡邏, Japanese: ロングレンジパトロール), if some of my readers doesn't know that. Long-range reconnaissance patrols, or LRRPs (pronounced "Lurps"), are small, heavily armed long-range reconnaissance teams that patrol deep in enemy-held territory.

In Finland, long-range patrols were especially notable in the World War II. These units penetrated Soviet lines and conducted recon and destroy missions. During the trench warfare period of the Continuation War (1941-1944), long-range patrols were often conducted by special Finnish sissi troops. In English, a Finnish word "sissi" means something like patrolman, partisan, or commando.

The Finnish movie called Long Range Patrol is not a typical war film. I mean, it's not a heroic story. It shows the cruel and nasty side of war. To be exact, this movie tells about the Finnish war crime during the Continuation War. In 1943, a Finnish long-range patrol (three young men) makes a campaign to the Soviet Union, and they get a mission to bring a prisoner of war. The mission fails badly, and the end result is ugly. There is one truly shocking scene in the film. Despite this, the two soldiers receive a medal of honor at the end.

In my opinion, Long Range Patrol is a good movie in many ways: screenplay, theme, directing, acting, setting, costume design, cinematography, editing – all is well done. The only minus side is a little bit scruffy picture quality (not sharp enough). The running time is only 60 minutes, so the movie could be a little longer, too. Anyway, the shots or scenes are long and lingering, and I like that style.

For me, the movie raised up many questions, but it's just a good thing. The story is not too simple, not too obvious, and black and white. You have to use your brains and think – think hard. Long Range Patrol gives you a food for thought, indeed. What really happens? What's going on? Are there heroes at all, or are they all just an "inglorious bastards"? Well, for my part I believe, there are also heroes and good men in the war, but this film don't tell about them.

All in all, Long Range Patrol is a brave Finnish film. Brave, because we must have courage to talk about the war crimes too, and not only about the heroic acts. I dare to say that Long Range Patrol is the best Finnish war film since Ambush (Finnish: Rukajärven tie) from the year 1999.

You can find the official Kaukopartio website by clicking here. Facebook site is also available to everyone, please click here. Thanks for supporting the Finnish cinema – kiitos! (^—^)


A real Finnish ski patrol during World War II.