July 23, 2016
Northville, NY: Day of Remembrance of the Fallen Faithful at St. George Pathfinders Camp

Every year, St. George Pathfinders of America’s New York-based "Tsarskoe Selo" Chapter holds a summer camp for boy and girl scouts of Russian heritage in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York. The organization is a direct successor to the original Russian scouting movement founded under Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II in 1909. The Tsar charged Oleg I. Pantyukhov to organize the first scout camp in Russia, which met in Pavlovsk Park near the Royal Village, Tsarskoe Selo. Pantyukhov utilized the guides and materials prepared by scouting founder Robert Lord Baden-Powell, most significantly his handbook, Scouting for Boys.

On Saturday the 16th and Sunday the 17th of July, Tsarskoe Selo held its annual Remembrance of the Fallen Faithful (in Russian DPV) ceremony. Beginning with a roll call of all of the current organization members in attendance, the ceremony then goes on to honor scouts who have passed on into eternity. Especially honored are the founders and pillars of the Russian scouting movement, those who suffered or were killed for their scouting work, and those who dedicated their day-to-day lives to the organization.

The weekend began with the All-Night Vigil on Saturday evening at St. George’s Chapel, served by the camp’s spiritual director, Archpriest Yaroslav Belikow. Both before and during Vigil, all of the scouts and counselors – as well as many of the parents, alumni, and guests visiting for the weekend – confessed their sins. Dinner followed Vigil, after which the DPV ceremony began on the camp’s parade grounds. The camp was called into formation, and following the entrance of the Color Guard, twelve torches were lit, each representing one of the Twelve Points of the Scout Law. Roll call for the living and the dead commenced, and upon its conclusion, Fr. Yaroslav served a panihida for the departed. The Russian, American, and St. Andrew’s flags were lowered, and the ceremony concluded.

Everyone proceeded to a solemn bonfire, where patriotic and scouting songs were sung. Fr. Yaroslav, Chapter director Nicholas N. Pokrovsky, Matushka Irina Korolenko (one of the organization’s most senior and respected members), and others shared thoughts with campers regarding those who had left for the world to come, and about the meaning of service and sacrifice. A special bonfire was held afterward for senior campers choosing to renew their vows of service to the organization and join the auxiliary Krug ("Circle").

The following morning, Fr. Yaroslav celebrated Divine Liturgy in St. George’s Chapel. In his sermon, he spoke about the life and spiritual labors of the Holy Royal Martyrs; in addition to that Sunday coinciding with their feast day, the Royal Family is intrinsically connected with Russian scouting: Tsar Nicholas oversaw its inception, and Tsarevich Alexis was the first honorary scout. After breakfast, the flag-raising ceremony was held on the parade grounds, during which camp counselors were relieved of their weekly shifts and handed over leadership to the next week’s replacements. Campers who achieved certain scouting accomplishments during the week were honored, most notably Anastasia Maltsev. "Stasya" is the first member of Tsarskoe Selo to successfully achieve the rank of Expert Scout in recent memory. The entire formation joined in congratulating her with a thunderous, triple "Hurrah!"

After a group photo, campers were able to leave camp for several hours with their parents, before returning in the evening. Fr. Yaroslav led a discussion on the Holy Royal Passionbearers. Everyone then went back to their camps and preparing for the annual pilgrimage to Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville the following morning.

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese