Nursing home celebrates Russian Orthodox Christmas

Anna Filippovskaia, 9, of Gravesend, played an angel in the Russian Baptist Church’s production of “Why We Celebrate Christmas,” in Brighton Beach on Jan. 7. The play was performed for the Russian Orthodox Christmas, which is celebrated in January.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

The Christmas spirit lives on in Brighton Beach.

Residents of the Shore View Nursing Home in Brighton Beach celebrated the Russian Orthodox Christmas — which takes places each year on Jan. 7 — with a festive holiday play and sing-along in a 10th-floor event space at the Brighton Third Street facility.

The play, “Why We Celebrate Christmas,” was performed by members of the Russian Baptist Church, which holds weekly services at the nursing home. Approximately 70 residents turned out for the show, according to Fran Brivic, Shore View’s recreation director.

“The church did an excellent job of helping the residents feel involved,” Brivic said. “It’s extremely important for them to maintain a connection to the arts and enjoy the things they used to do when they were living in their homes.”

The Russian-language play set in Bethlehem told the story of Jesus Christ’s birth and featured 30 cast members dressed in elaborate costumes and a colorful hand-made set. After, the actors translated the performance into English, then joined the audience in singing classic Christmas tunes in both languages.

Brivic said half of Shore View’s 320 residents are Russian. Of those, roughly 10 percent are Russian Orthodox. She said the play capped the nursing home’s month-long celebration of different religious holidays.

“It was very touching,” Brivic said. “The residents really enjoyed it.”

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at dbush@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at twitter.com/dan_bush.

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