The village is often called the village of experts
The names implicates that many experts of different trades have lived and worked in the village.
Now there are many labor dynasties, among them the coalminers’ dynasty of the Bugayovs whose total work record is 62 years in coalmines.
The labor dynasties were honored during the Village Day celebrated on November 21.
Mariya Shakliak who was born in 1923 is the oldest village resident. She was also honored at the Village Day festival.
Chernenko, Pilippenko, Shapovalov – these are three main family names in Yelenovka.
All in all there are about 70 households in the village.
I remember walking along the village streets:
- Dorozhnaya Street ("Road Street");
- Komsomol Street ("Young Communist League Street")
- Stepnaya Street ("Steppe Street").
- Zarechnaya Street ("Riverbank Street")
The village has no mayor. It is subjected to the village council of the neighboring big village of Chervony Prapor (“Red Banner”) located about two miles to the north of Yelenovka.
The mailing code of the village is 94321
St.Michael the Archangel is a very revered saint in Ukraine and Russia.
He is the patron saint of Kiev, our capital, and is represented on Kiev’s coat-of-arms.
There is St.Michael’s Square, St.Michael's Street and St.Michael's Cathedral in Kiev.
There is a cathedral named after this saint in Perevalsk County, in the same county as Yelenivka, in the village of Mikhaylivka.
We celebrate St.Michael’s Feast Day on November 21.
Since there are two feast days of Archangel St.Michael, they celebrate St.Michael's Miracle Day on September 19 as their feast day in the village of Mykhaylivka Perevalsk County.
So there are two churches with the same name in one county, but they have different feast days.
On November 21, 2008 the cathedral in Yelenovka was sanctified again after its refurbishment.
November 21 is a big holiday in the village for it is the day of the cathedral’s patron saint.
St.Michael the Archangel is the leader of God’s angels and the chief fighter against any lawlessness.
St.Michael's Day is celebrated in the West on September 29.
"On the Feast of Michael and all Angels, popularly called Michaelmas, we give thanks for the many ways in which God's loving care watches over us, both directly and indirectly, and we are reminded that the richness and variety of God's creation far exceeds our knowledge of it."Also, there is a prayer to St.Michael the Archangel:A Prayer to Saint Michael
Saint Michael, Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan
and all the other evil spirits who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls.
Since the village is connected with the name of Alexander Pushkin
(6.6.1799- 10.2.1837) there is Pushkin's Memorial Day:
February 10 - Pushkin's last day when he passed away after his terrible duel.
Alexander Pushkin was a friend of the Rayevskys. He studied at his lyceum (1811-1817) together with Nickolay Rayevsky, the son of the famous General Rayevsky. It was Nickolay Rayevsky Junior who took Pushkin to this village in 1820 to pay a visit to his relatives.
This is what the great Russian poet Pushkin wrote about General Rayevsky,
“Nickolay Rayevsky is a man with a clear mind and a simple and wonderful soul. It’s a man without any prejudices, with a strong character, a sensitive man who will attract anybody who is worthy to understand and appreciate his high qualities…”
There is a book about General Rayevsky (in Russian):
“General Rayevsky and His Family” by Grigory Shenkman
(published in 2003, 1,000 copies, 192 pages;
There are not many parishioners on any other day in the cathedral except on the cathedral's Feast Day on November 21.
Lots of pigrims attend the Feast Day.
The service starts at 6.30 a.m. The pilgrims who intend to receive Eucharist arrive on the previous night to get ready for the Eucharist and confession.
All in all, the Feast Day service lasts for about four hours and is over at about 11 a.m.
The service is followed by the traditional cross procession when all the pilgrims walk around the cathedral three times stopping for prayers. The priests sprinkle the pilgrims and all the parishioners with sanctified water and pronounce prayers to Achangel St.Michael and to Virgin Mary saying, God's Archangel St.Michael, pray God for us!.
It's customary for pilgrims to bring donations to the church.
There is a special donation tables over which you can see old icons painted on a piece of wood.
The table is too small and the nearest windowsill is full of donations too: bread, biscuits, sunflower oil, sugar, flour, etc.
The villagers experience a problem with water.
Not every house has a working well that would cater for enough water. Due to the extensive coalmining in the area water tends to disappear quickly.
Owing to that situation the villagers made one artesian well and provided it with an electric pump. They have to arrive to that place with their big bottles and water tanks and switch on the pump to fill their tanks and bottles with water and then take the cart home.
It is terribly inconvenient, if you want to do laundry or take a bath, but the people survive somehow and got used to it. Also, it trains your muscles to carry all the water home.
The people only fear the artesian well may go dry too.
There is a very special icon of St.Matrona of Moscow in the village cathedral.
St.Matrona of Moscow was born blind and she is usually depicted blind on all Russian icons.
However, the local cathedral was blessed to have an icon where the great saint is depicted with open eyes.
Father Alexander, the cathedral dean, blessed me to take a picture of that icon. He even opened its protecting glass to enable me take a good picture. They keep flowers and soil from St.Matrona grave in Moscow inside the icon cover.
About St.Matrona of Moscow, one of the most popularly venerated saints in Russia and Ukraine today.
Testimonies about St.Matrona
On November 21 every year there are a lot of pilgrims in Yelenovka.
They arrive to the village from the nearby towns, villages and cities of Donetsk and Luhansk regions to celebrate the Feast Day of Archangel St.Michael.
The morning service starts at about 7 a.m. and is followed by the liturgy.
After the liturgy there is a cross procession around the cathedral. The priests sanctify the parishioners and pilgrims with holy water.
Afterwards Father Alexander, the cathedral dean, invites everybody to the village club for a traditional lunch.