Where Two Rivers Meet: Russian Windows on the Gospel

by and Pádraig Ó Tuama (foreword)

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Book Details

Rating: ★★★★★

Format: Paperback (131 pages)

Publisher: Sacristy Press

Date of Publication:

ISBN: 978-1-78959-228-3

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Nicola Vidamour is a British Methodist minister who served in Pskov, Russia for six years. When she was feeling homesick, she would either go to the place in the city where two rivers meet or visit her favourite icons in the local museum.

Nicola enables us to look through the windows of these icons and discover more about life in Russia and the way in which the gospel can be read through Russian eyes. Excerpts from Russian literature enter into dialogue with biblical texts.

Through a mixture of memoir, theological reflection and spiritual insights, Nicola also invites us to think about where two rivers meet in our own lives and shares some of the paired streams which flow within her. These include Russian and English, Orthodoxy and Methodism, heaven and earth, poetry and prose, body and soul.

In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Where Two Rivers Meet provides a helpful foreigner’s guide to life in a Russian provincial town and offers much-needed assurance that the “other” can become a friend.

Vidamour weaves together personal experience as a mission partner, a prayerful understanding of scripture, a love of Russian iconography and Christian tradition, and a lifetime of pastoral wisdom and theological reflection to create a beautiful tapestry that bears witness to the ways that God meets us and transforms us when we have the courage to risk genuine encounter with otherness. In a time when division and fear are prevalent, this book is an inspiration and a needed reminder that God dwells in loving relationship.

Johnny Sears, Director of the Academy for Spiritual Formation at The Upper Room

It is not just the icons in this book that are beautiful—but the openhearted, generous and profound engagement with Russian spirituality, place and people which is made available to us by the author. This is a book that unites experience and theological reflection and invites us to enter Nicola’s experience through those windows and doors of Russian language, spirituality, history, literature and contemporary life. The book is vivid, joyful and memorable. I want to commend this book to individuals and small groups with conviction about the great treasures you will find in it. 

Helen Dixon Cameron, Chair of the Northampton District, The Methodist Church

Vivid and evocative, this inviting, holistic work blends memoir and commentary with the exploration of words and icons. Like the windows, like the icons, it focuses ‘in’ on glimpses of the personal and particular and it looks out on the broad horizons of scripture and salvation and the busy drama of human lives.  

Timely and illuminating, this work speaks to the present moment, not only in the references to the global challenges of pandemic, climate and racism but in the clear-eyed, open-hearted engagement with a history, culture and people now focused on through the lens of conflict.  

Miriam Gill, Art historian and Methodist local preacher

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