Good health to all of ye, oh laymen!
Thus I have decided to address you in such a wonderful and marvelous way. For we, priests, you know, feel somewhat too boringly from time to time, that's it. You go here and there to us in the crowds on festivals and public prayers, bow us up to over legs and kiss our white hands, yet you have almost no desire even to speak with us a bit. Maybe during only a confession – but do you believe that we do thirst for yet another tiresome monologue of that repugnant acts of yours? And deeds these of yours are sometimes so horrific, that we desire to curtail ears of ours into a tubule and to furiously hush on you – yet one has to suffer, listening to all that shitty rubbish, and to sigh sadly at the end of it, having once again said that phrase intimate like a robot about the remission of sins of yours, for all has been prepaid according to the price list by you already. And thus we can do no other but to listen to all that bullshit, pretending that it interests us up to exhaustion, while feeling boredom there, in that booth confessionary, especially for that purpose being dark and concealed, so that you cannot see expressions on the faces of ours.
Or, say, to all these corpses, in iron boxes by us collected and as relics by us named, you go and worship, for we once have dared to call them as sacred… you almost kiss them in these yours attacks ecstatic, and some of you even decided to speak with them, as if the dead ones could talk… and of us, you didn't remember as if we were not live at all and they were more lively than us?
And it also happens sometimes that some layman arrives, forms on public prayers on all his family up to the tenth generation having filled silently and gloomy, and throws them in hands after having paid according to the price list in a cash desk… and we have no better thing than to pray either for a health or resting in the peace of their souls in that services of ours as if we know clearly of what sort of people in mentioned in form of these – possibly, some truly disgusting ones? And so we have to pray for the ones we know nothing about for the purpose we know all about – for the sake of gold, surely… for what is the other reason to make a prayer cost money?
And even more nasty parishioners do appear from time to time – they silently enter our temple, insert bought from the third parties candles in our candlesticks and light them up… and they are doing all of this so quietly and mournfully, being afraid to utter even a single word so that a strange feeling sometimes overwhelms me that this temple is not a house of God at all, but truly resembles some sort of cellar or a cemetery… oh, horrific! Myself I am being frightened by that thought but can do nothing, for such are the orthodox canons of behaving in these churches of ours. And if someone dares to violate these rules invented by us – either dress somewhat differently or sing something strange – publicly curse him will we, the faith of ours and morals thus protecting, may he bear no doubt of that!
And so here it comes out that we, churchmen, have already become sort of robots to you, and cannot we exchange the word good and salutary with you. And if it comes out that you bear a desire to talk with us in a personal conversation – then of you, our ill ones, have we to talk entirely, edifying you constantly as necessary! Oh, what a difficult business is that – to lay out councils and spit out advice. It happens that one of you comes to one of us and, you know, starts to be grooved – here's something is wrong in his life, there something is not right in his life once again, and thus he totally misses and lacks something based on his endless desires. And here we must sit, listening to you, or even worse standing still like a monument, inventing advice on the fly. And what advice can we lend ye, if we know both you and your situation only superficially? And thus we are forced to give you advice general, universal, by the time itself proven, – to come and visit our church once again, to buy yet another candle from our hands, to order a monthly public prayer (it's possible to order one-time prayers as well, but no so greatly effective they are, for they are too cheap in a money equivalent, ye know). And so you can become so tired from these monologues monotonous and advice identical, that to howl on a moon you desire only, thank God that it's invisible during the afternoon.
And after all, we too sometimes desire to express ourselves, to expose the souls of ours and torments of conscience of ours to you, brother laymen! And wanted I to confess once, but then thought that inappropriate it would be for me, almost holy one, to confess before the very same priest, realizing clearly with what attitude will he listen to these inflaming speeches of mine coldly and indifferently. And thus I have decided to expose that my soul before you without any hesitation, oh my beloved laymen, my gold-bringing lambs, my humiliated and offended. And what should I hesitate and be afraid of, you will ask me, if I am going to tell you a little bit more of myself and stop right there, never going too deep into all those unworthy nasty details? And then I will simply absolve my own sins, thus becoming pure once again… it's that easy, after all.
And I will start with my preparation for entering of a spiritual seminary. Believe me or not at all, but have truly lacked I any serious diligence from the very childhood, as well as a desire to work hard and long. Liked I greatly to sleep for twelve hours or so, and to luxuriate at the table, having stuffed my stomach with all sort of delightful delicacies. And haven't I developed any useful abilities or skills during the time of my boyish years, cause didn't see I any sense in such sort of things – for only one live do we live, and may a flood wash them all astray afterward!
And so, when the time has come for me to decide my future way, my father advised me to enter a spiritual seminary to become a God's person, or so to speak. Work, he said, is not a wolf, would not howl from a grief on a moon, and besides, it's a stable source of income, especially if at the due time one manages to become a head of own church, that's it. Know only how to perform church services, carry out rituals, chide public prayers and talk with parishioners proforma from time to time, taking sympathizing and merciful sight. To convince before you here must I, that not so greatly did I believe in that God, the Maker of us, but whether it was truly necessary in order to execute some dumb rituals and learn several prayers by heart? Every monkey imaginable will easily handle that task mentioned!
And so, well, have I rushed into a whirlpool with all my head – it doesn't take you too much time with a desire, you know. Have educated myself, not showing my inner disbelief, and was assigned as the assistant to a prior from a local temple for my considerable successes. And successes of mine on that field were truly oh-so-great so that I couldn't help admiring myself, not to mention the attitude of my parents. Have I learned by heart somewhat about thirty prayers, had not clearly understood it's meaning, however, – but who is going to understand them if they are written in the out-of-date language, not these fanatical laymen, really? Was able I as well to find quickly quotes necessary in writings sacred, and explain effortlessly why Orthodoxy ours is so much better than all these devilish religions, these sectarians Catholic, Protestant and Buddhist homebrewed. Biographies of our sacred ones, in general, I have memorized well so that to impress people with their deeds both just and unjust, and even more to impress them with a quantity of these sacred ones canonized than with deeds of theirs, – for the more religion of yours have affirmed holy ones, the more powerful it becomes in the eyes of its followers, yeah? Well, a good priest must I have become, confessionally professional and religiously resistant.
And remember do I that once upon a time, while I was serving under the command of my brother-in-church, my prior, this hellish demon, at the back and call like a stepson, some young maiden has come to our temple. Oh, wonderful was that maiden by her look and proportion, so that I was almost losing my mind! She was about seventeen years old only, but was ruddy like the ride apple, with breast large and attracting and face of an angel. And she was speaking, as far as I could remember, that she has become orphan recently and she decided to turn to the God for the remaining lifespan, and thus she has come to us to become a nun in our humble temple. Such a silly human flesh, – I thought that time, – decided that the very God is living here with us… would He even care to listen to us, traders unscrupulous, for even in the previous time He decided to banish all us with a whip instead. But I, certainly, showed no sign, for too painfully beautiful was this young girl. And thus we, well, accepted her into our monastery by my advice to the prior. And that advice did give I with an ulterior motive, indeed – gradually, from the very first day have I started to cajole her, attaching to the sanctity of our church. And both a prayer aloud did I read to her, flaunting, and candles for her on the first floor in the evening did I lit for a bigger romanticism and tried both this and that approach, and still, I wasn't favored. Have been longing she during days and evenings in that home of ours, grieving of something personal and far, unknown to me, and by all signs was it obvious that this place was weighing her, and haven't she found here something she has been looking for, and might she leave us forever soon enough. And from desire my unfulfilled performed I the act desperate – into her private cell during the nighttime I rushed, her door with my keys having unlocked, and threw her on the bed, and jumped on her, being consumed by my burning desire. Wanted she to shout and call for help at first moments, but skillfully did I make her mouth shut with my hand, while deed of mine quickly performing. Didn't that maiden manage to make even a single peek, and ceased to resist soon enough.
And, leaving, threatened I her that would we separate her from the sacred church of ours if she decides to tell anyone of what has just taken place here, and will we scold her publicly as the one who have turned away from the God, and so greatly will we abuse and scold her, that even her parents who are resting in peace in the other world, to us unknown, will be frightened. Reconciled this maiden and nothing did she say in reply to these threats of mine – only on the following day have we found her hung up on a linen rope in the cell. Surely, silent like a death was I and told nothing, and even if I did – would commoners twist fingers only and grin, having not believed in that. Sort of sacred we have become in the eyes of these fools, innocent. Well, and this is probably for the best. Oh, and you should know as well that the prior of our temple was soon dismissed from the service for that awful accident, due to his oversight which has occurred, so as his second hand soon I have occupied his place and have taken all his privileges… quite skillfully, right? Ways are inscrutable, or so they say.
So, I have known neither a grief, nor cares, nor need since these days. Recently I have even though up an ingenious plan – to start producing temples inflatable, rubber. So that a procession can come into a new place to all these unholy non-Christian laymen, inflate that temple here on the spot quickly and effortlessly for a week, and then christen them all, and pray for forgiveness of their sins, and read the burial service for all, and bless all and damn everyone out there. Oh, faith our inflatable, to what ideas can a cunning human mind once come! And for that idea mentioned, should I note, by the higher church ranks I have been granted holy permission to wash cars of parishioners with a holy water for symbolic dues. Recently I even learned the art of banishing demons from these very gold-bringing parishioners, and such a simple procedure it appeared to be in practice: at first declare you someone terribly afflicted and a spawn of the devil, no less, and everyone jump then away from him in a fear and start christening, and fearing him like as if he is infected with pestilence, so that he even cannot say something in his defense, – and after that you start performing all sorts of “exorcism” rituals upon him, improvising until you get bored… both an honor and authority to your temple and a feeling of relief to the under-possessed! So that business of mine now grows and spreads, not by days, but by parishioners, as they say. Recently, for example, we have forbidden our poor sheep to bring candles along with them, period! Let they buy our ones from a local factory three times more the cost if they dare to pretend oh-so-believing. Faugh, contemptible ones!
Only one thing truly disturbs me at times, my dear laymen. Something burns down inside my breast somewhere from time to time and hurts, and aches. And so vile it becomes inside my soul, that I am almost ready to howl on a moon from that intolerable grief! Or dreams come to me of nature demonic, dreadful, so that I cannot sleep at all. But then is passes, thanks to the God! It must be the conscience, they say, yet do not believe I in the presence of it much, for what for must a man possess it while there are so many temptations lying around? Is that really a voice of our soul, given to us by God? It only disturbs me, silly one!
Poof, I guess I have become too frank to you, and have told you more than I should already. Have exposed my innards before you, so to say. And, because I have made it, I should now burn this note to ashes as soon as I calm down. For what is the reason for you to keep believing in us and us only and to read similar confessions, aye? Definitely to the detriment of your belief in our self-chosen hierarchy would that be! So will I burn it all tomorrow, burn it I will, and dispel the ashes on the wind without hesitation. And once again will I be pure like a newborn baby, and almost holy will I be!
…Oh, but why does the conscience keep burning inside me so that I cannot sleep?