Log Cabins

The Lykovs lived in this hand-built log cabin, lit by a single window “the size of a backpack pocket” and warmed by a smoky wood-fired stove.

For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of WWII.  In 1978, Soviet geologists prospecting in the wilds of Siberia discovered a family of six, lost in the taiga. The mountain was more than 150 miles from the nearest settlement, in a spot that had never been explored.
Dependent solely on their own resources, the Lykovs struggled to replace the few things they had brought into the taiga with them. They fashioned birch-bark galoshes in place of shoes. Clothes were patched and repatched until they fell apart, then replaced with hemp cloth grown from seed.   They lived in their cabin for many many years, on their own.  Could you?

Tenderness (Умиление) Icon of the Mother of God

Tenderness (Умиление) Icon of the Mother of God

On January 2nd, 1833 the great ascetic, Christian mystic, wonder-worker and spiritual father Seraphim, was found dead in his small cabin in the woods surrounding the Sarov Monastery, Russia. He was found kneeling in prayer before an icon of the Mother of God which had served as an inspiration for him throughout his life: the Umilenie (Умиление) or Tenderness Icon of the Mother of God.

St Seraphim was a monk in the Sarov Monastery, and later was made the spiritual father and priest serving a small convent in the nearby village of Diveyevo. During this time Seraphim lived neither in Diveyevo, nor the Sarov monastery, but in a simple, single-roomed log cabin in the wilderness of the forests surrounding both places. In this humble abode, in the corner opposite his stove, hung the Umilenie Icon, which Seraphim called “Joy of all Joys” (Всех радостей Радость).

Painting of Russian monk sawing a log

11 years since moving to Wayne, Hermitage of the Holy Cross consists of numerous sites for work and worship. The property includes an outdoor chapel, a building for administrative offices and library, a gift shop and incense studio, a church, cemetery, and a kitchen and dining hall. There is a large guesthouse to accommodate visitors and to serve as a retreat space for the three local Orthodox parishes. Two structures original to the property include a log cabin, now attached to the administrative building, and a pole barn, now housing monks’ cells and the monastery’s soap workshop.

picture of Russian Orthodox Church Winter Sunset Kenai Alaska Image  Russian Orthodox Church Winter Sunset Kenai Alaska

The winter snow blankets the landscape and frosts the trees as the sunset lighting breaks through the scattered clouds highlighting a Russian Orthodox Church in Kenai, Alaska in the USA. The church is known as the Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary and was declared as a National Historic landmark in Kenai, Alaska in 1970.

This Russian Orthodox Church was built in 1894 and it is the second oldest one in Alaska with the first one being located on Kodiak Island. The church is still used today for regular Sunday services and volunteers from the church will provide visitors with a tour during the summer months.

This church is one of three buildings on this property, all having onion-shaped domes and all constructed from logs. Under the winter landscape, a graveyard, a small park and a reproduction of Ft Kenai can also be found on this property. The winter scene and the sunset lighting add a special touch to these heritage buildings.

St. Andrew Church

St. Andrew Church, in Dix Hills, New York

The parish is located in suburban Long Island on three and one-half acres of beautiful land.  In structure, a log cabin temple, is surrounded by pine and oak woods—the physical aspect alone provides a real oasis of peace and beauty in the world.

Log cabin  What was it like to live in a log cabin?  Picture a space no larger than your living room. Fill most of one end with a stone fireplace. Add two small windows and a door to the south. Lay rough boards across the beams to make a loft and put down split logs for the floor. Arrange a few pieces of furniture around the room-a table in the center, a chest, some straight chairs or stools, a trunk, a low rocking chair, and a pole bed in one corner. Shelves will hold the dishes.

All of the above noted people and parishes celebrated and  lived in small log cabins.  Did this bring them closer to God?  For most of them, it did.  Interesting!

Also, on another note, the log cabin has been a symbol of humble origins in US politics since the early 19th century. Seven United States Presidents were born in log cabins, including Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, and James Buchanan. Although William Henry Harrison was not one of them, he and the Whigs during the 1840 presidential election were the first to use a log cabin as a symbol to show North Americans that he was a man of the people. Other candidates followed Harrison’s example, making the idea of a log cabin—and, more generally, a non-wealthy background—a recurring theme in campaign biographies.  From Wikipedia

What do all these places and stories have in common? God.

Yes, So my ideal house is probably going to be along the lines of a log cabin, something that looks as if it grew out of the trees surrounding it.

0927131427bCurrently we live in an old brown Wooden Russian style home in the middle of woods.  If you have the desire to move to a cabin in the mountains or even in an urban setting, I urge you not to give up that dream. You can do it if your heart and prayer is in it! There are plenty of homes in the mountains and urban settings, waiting for people like you to inhabit them.  I believe log homes bring families together.

Remember, the family that prays together, stays together!

As an after thought, how about living in a Tiny House?

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About padrerichard

I am a Priest with ROCOR and serve as Rector at St. Joseph of Optina Parish in Virginia Beach, VA
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