Olga Sinitsyna, Independent scholar (Moscow)
The published letter was written by Alexandra Alexeevna Ershova (nee Shteven, 1865–1933), an Orthodox educator and social activist, in Moscow in 1930. The author of the letter raises the question of the need for the Gospel, Acts and Epistles to be read in Russian during the divine service in the church. At the end of the nineteenth century, A. A. Ershova was known in Russia as an orthodox educator, engaged in the establishment of literacy schools (primary elementary peasant schools). Between 1885 and 1895 she opened about 50 schools in Nizhny Novgorod province. Then, as the wife of a landowner from Tula, later Voronezh Governor M. D. Ershov, she continued to be interested in problems of spiritual enlightenment and education, and wrote journalistic articles. Her correspondents included Chief Procurator of the Synod K. P. Pobedonostsev, political and public figures of the early twentieth century: prince D. I. Shakhovskoy, A. I. Guchkov, P. B. Struve, writers Leo Tolstoy, V. V. Veresaev, V. G. Korolenko, educators and enlighteners S. A. Rachinsky, N. N. Neplyuev, and others. The Ershov family did not accept the October revolution of 1917 and emigrated to Ukraine. In the late 1920s Alexandra Alexeevna Ershova, along with her remaining children, moved to Moscow. She was acquainted with many Moscow priests, knew the church situation and wanted to be useful to the church, as the published letter attests.
Keywords: Orthodox Divine Service, translation of the Divine Service, Christian enlightenment, persecution of the Church in the twentieth century, A. A. Ershova.