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Russian Festival in Norwich makes happy reappearance

The 24th Annual Holy New Martyrs Fall Festival and Russian Bazaar was held on Oct. 4 at the Holy New Martyrs & Confessors of Russia Orthodox Church in Norwich. The festival has become somewhat of an institution in Norwich, with both parish members and the community alike looking forward to the event. The festivities are coordinated entirely in-house by church leaders and committee members and highlight Russian culture both here in Norwich and abroad.

This particular Russian Orthodox parish was established in 1998 and moved to its current location at 364 Canterbury Turnpike in 2005. Last year’s festivities were scaled back due to COVID-19 and only featured a drive-thru food event.

This year, the congregation, led by priest and rector Father John Malcom, was determined to bring the festival back to its full glory, while still adhering to all health and safety precautions set forth by the city.

The 2021 festival included a gift shop where attendees could purchase Christmas ornaments, shawls, Orthodox prayer books and other traditional items imported from Russia, with all proceeds going directly to the parish. There were also over 20 raffle prizes available, including baskets sponsored by local businesses like Norwich Bowling and Bubbles to Butterfly Swim School.

Father Malcom proved he could dish up both spiritual and physical food, as he worked the hot food station serving traditional Russian dishes like stuffed cabbage, pierogies, kielbasa and piroshki buns to festival goers.

Parish Deacon Father Cyril Gregoire also provided chapel tours and highlighted many of the traditions within the Russian Orthodox faith.

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