Sts. Cyril and Methodius Chapel
The Saints Cyril and Methodius Chapel was consecrated on May 24, 2009 in the
building of the medical faculty of Ulyanovsk State University (1 K.Libknekht St.)
More than 100 years ago the ancient building of the medical faculty of USU belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church. It housed an Orthodox school in the name of the Saints Cyril and Methodius, Slovenian teachers. In the course of last years the tradition of spiritual education at institutions of higher learning was renewed at Ulyanovsk State University.
The idea of establishing a chapel belonged to the USU leaders, along with the Simbirsk and Melekessk Eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church.
A special cooperation agreement was signed between the university and the eparchy. Among areas of joint activity provided by this agreement are:
- Joint scientific research in the humanities field, formation of temporary research teams;
- Joint development and implementation of academic courses with a religious emphasis as part of degree programs offered by USU in accordance with the state educational standards;
- Joint preparation of textbooks for students of the university;
- Involvement of leading theologians of the Eparchy in teaching humanities students;
- Joint scientific symposiums and educational seminars concerning religion and moral education in the student environment, etc.
The chapel opening ceremony was scheduled to coincide with the celebration of the Day of Slavic written language and culture. It is no accident: the brothers Cyril and Methodius were orthodox monks who created the Slavic alphabet and converted many people of the Eastern Europe to Orthodoxy and enlightenment.
The consecration service was held by Archbishop of Simbirsk and Melekessk Prokl. Mayor of Ulyanovsk Sergey Ermakov, Chairman of the Ulyanovsk City Council Vasily Gvozdev became honorary guests at the event, which was also attended by USU teachers and students.
The Saints Cyril and Methodius Chapel holds regular services to give students and employees of USU a unique chance to address God with a prayer within the university walls.
Prior of the chapel is archpriest Dmitry Savelyev.
He had been brought to this service by the logic of previous events of his scientific and spiritual life. For many years he combined service at Ulyanovsk St. Prince Vladimir Church with professional scientific work. Dmitry Savelyev graduated from Moscow State Culture Institute (1984), went on to be a postgraduate student at the State Pedagogical University of Russia (St.-Petersburg, 1993) and Moscow Theological Academy (2006). His professional career started at Ulyanovsk Institute for Advanced Professional Training, where he used to work as a chief researcher. Dmitry Savelyev is a holder of the Candidate of Pedagogy degree, the author of several books on pedagogy.
The Christian guidance of students and teachers of the university, implementation of missionary and educational activity are the main goals of the chapel.
Church services devoted to religious holidays, especially close to students and teachers, became outstanding events of the spiritual life of USU. Among them is consecration of water in the Sviyaga River near the main university campus on the Epiphany Day, when Orthodox believers take a traditional dip in the icy water.
Undoubtedly, one of the central events is celebration of the Day of the Holy Martyr St. Tatiana, which is traditionally celebrated as a Student Day.
The Day of Cyril and Methodius, or the Day of Slavic written language and culture, has a great cultural value for both Russia and the whole world.
The emotional experience of these holidays does not only introduce students and teachers of the university to good traditions of the past but also makes them inheritors of the spiritual and cultural process whose creative potential resulted in great achievements of the European science, culture and education and is far from being exhausted nowadays.
The important aspect of the chapel's activity is missionary meetings with students and teachers. Several such meetings were held already in the first year of the chapel's work. They discussed philosophical and ideological issues (happiness, life and death), as well as traditional theological topics (the Sermon on the Mount, the necessity of church for believers). Besides, topical youth problems were highlighted. The very first meeting was devoted to the Christian understanding of the phenomenon of fashion.
Besides face-to-face meetings, contacts by means of modern technologies are maintained. The group of USU student self-governmentDynasty" created an Internet webpage titledthe Orthodox Expert" on the national social networking siteVKontakte" (http://vkontakte.ru/club7663897), where prior of the chapel answers questions of students related to religion and spiritual life.