The attached photos show the celebration of St. John’s Day at the Lutheran Church of Toksovo, Leningrad Oblast, on June 25, 2022. The divine service was celebrated by the senior pastor of the church Rev. Aleksei Uimanen and Rev. Dean Ivan Hutter of the ELCIR St. Petersburg Deanery. Rev. Mikhail Ivanov, senior pastor of St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg preached a sermon. Special guests of the church on that day were Mikael Agricola Choir from Vyborg Lutheran Church and the choir of Haapakangas Lutheran Church from Yukki. Agricola Choir opened the worship service by singing “The Procession” from Korpimessu (“The Taiga Mass”) by Arvo Survo. As baptism and its meaning were an important theme of the day, all the worshipers sang several hymns from the section of the ELCIR Hymnal on baptism and a catechetical chorale. The Haapakangas and Toksovo choirs sang between the Scripture lessons and for Holy Communion. A combined choir of all the singers conducted by Darya Shkurlyatyeva, Agricola Choir director, sang for the conclusion of the liturgy. Agricola Choir also sang several works during the fellowship around a campfire after the service.
The worship service was followed by a children’s program, a charity sale, lunch, outdoor games, the choirs’ performances, and Ingrian national songs and circle dances with Ryontyushki, a folklore ensemble from Toksovo. Bishop Emeritus Arri Kugappi said a homily during the program around a campfire.
Thanks be to God for the opportunity to get together, for the good weather, and for each and every person who prepared this great festival!
Information courtesy of Toksovo Lutheran Church; Darya Shkurlyatyeva, director of Agricola Choir, Vyborg.