The senior priest of the church of the Great Martyr St. George the Victory-Bearer |
Father Valeriy (his mundane name is Valeriy Polevoy) was born at the Urals in 1962. After
leaving school he worked at the "Electrotyazhmash" (heavy machinery building) as a turner-toolmaker.
He was drafted to the frontier troops in 1980 to serve the army for a fixed period. In 1981-1983 he was
serving in a moto-manoeuvre group in Afghanistan. After serving the army he worked at "Serp and Molot"
factory where he combined work and studies at a religious school. Later on he graduated from the Kharkov
theological seminary. Together with mother Yaroslava he brings up children - Oleg and Oksana. At present
he is the superior priest of the church of the Great Martyr St. George the Victory-Bearer.
"...I have learnt piety, purity of service and love from the Most Reverend Father in God Nikodim."
- How did you make up your mind to become a priest?
- It was an old dream of mine, I can't tell how old. I always enjoyed going to church, admired
the service. Sometimes I thought: "Why can't it be me?". But then I would comfort myself saying
that I might know the history of the Church not well enough, or had faith not deep enough. The Holy
Scripture says: "Not we choose God, but He chooses us", so I was waiting till God calls me Himself.
- How did you understand that you could be a priest?
- The soul, thoughts and flesh were directed one way - to bring the neighbours to Salvation through
love and self-expression. When reading in Church was entrusted to me - it went well, when I tried to
sing - singing went well too. I began to look deeply into the service and to understand it. The more
I learn the more there is the will to learn and to gain the deepest insight possible.
- You were born in the years of militant atheism, weren't you?
- Right, the pressure was strong, but you can neither chain no ban faith. The Holy Fathers
say: "You may possess my flesh, my belongings, yet no one can touch my soul, however you may want it".
- Were you brought up in a religious family?
- Yes, in a faithful Christian family. Unfortunately my parents died before I became a priest. I
think they would be glad. They went to church, prayed. The saying goes "like father like son". The
spiritual core was set as early ago as in the childhood by my grandmother and mother. Yet it was only
I of our kin who became a spiritual father.
- Did your relatives support your intention to become a priest?
- Yes, my brother was glad. When I visited hem in Bryansk I baptized my nephew and sanctified the house.
The Most Reverend Father in God Nikodim rewards the senior priest of the church of the Great Martyr St. George the Victory-Bearer with a pectoral crucifixion.
- Who did you fancy yourself when a child?
- When we lived at the Urals I was too young, and when we moved to Kaluga I saw nothing around me
which might capture my attention. When we moved to Naberezhnye Chelny I studied and had no specific
- Did you study well?
- Not bad, and I love studying now..
- You worked at a factory after school. Was it interesting?
- Yes, of course. I studied to become a turner-toolmaker. A turner is an artist working with
metal. You take a heavy rusty piece of iron. And you feel genuine pleasure when you turn it into
a detail and drive it to the highest degree of accuracy. Special pleasure affords hard and demanding
work. It took you 2 weeks to make a detail, and some 30 people come with inspection. And you are
standing apart thinking: "Go ahead and check - I am sure of myself".
Parishioners congratulate Father Valeriy and present a cake "Life-bearing well" to him.|
- Do you use the experience you obtained at the factory?
- Certainly. The church is not built using approximate measures. It is built according to
the design drawing. Reading blueprints means success of construction.
- What kind of sports did you go into?
- Classic wrestling, boxing, autosport.
- Could you please recall some episode from your childhood?
- Once I and my brother went fishing and hooked a huge fish. We were so much delighted that
we nearly jumped into water. We carried it holding its fins. And when we came home our father
could not even believe that two kids aged 9 and 7 could hook a fish as heavy as 2 kilos.
Although I hooked big fish afterwards, I never experienced such pleasure.
But the most vivid recollection is of the day the when I was deaconed. The night before I was imposed
to be a reader. I was in the grip of the deepest emotion although I knew the procedure. I felt an
incomparable joy of soul and heart after I was deaconed. You know, it must be similar to ascending
Everest: a man has mastered all the difficulties on his way, he reaches the top and sees many more
tops, and he thought this was the last one.
- For several years you were with the Most Reverend Father in God Nikodim. Can he be called your spiritual mentor?
- Father Nikodim is a spiritual mentor for all of us: you and me. But each says "mine". Because he
loves and respects him, esteems him as an arch-pastor. And seeks not to upset him, but to gladden him. It
is a person of great faith.
- Have you come across cases of conversion into a different faith?
- Once I baptized a citizen of Germany, a Lutheran. Having married a Ukrainian girl he decided on mutual
agreement to convert into an Orthodox Christian. Although communication was not in German, the expression
of his face revealed deep emotions. To my mind, spiritual reading is similar to vibrations and transmits
itself without translators.
The ceremony of Divine Liturgy |
What did you do after Afghanistan?
- I took the prescribed 3 weeks leave and then handed in an application to the factory. There was
also a number of proposals to join militia. But I did not fancy myself in militia. I worked at the
"Serp and Molot" factory. I am grateful to Vasiliy Vasilenko - the former foreman and present shop
superintendent. I came across him a while ago. He saw me in vestments and said: "Man alive!". We
hugged one another friendly and talked. He was not mistaken in me and I am grateful to him.
Afterwards I entered Blagoveshchensk Cathedral as a senior ipodeacon. I was engaged in supervision
and managing junior ranks, kept watch over order in the altar, set of things. Fulfilling my duties
I felt joy and warmth. It took long to create the warmth. But I understood that I had done the right
thing. After that the Most Reverend Father in God Nikodim appointed me as the household manager of
the eparchy administration. It was back in 1993 (1992).
On December 31, 1994 at the divine service I was imposed to be a reader. I was imposed to be a
deacon who takes part in services but administers no sacraments (consecration, christening and
wedding) at the divine service on January 01, 1995.
I was ordained on March 17, 1995. When my relatives and home-folks came to congratulate me and
I came out to them in vestments I blessed them and extraordinary happiness took over my soul. I did
not break, I made my way.