|The Church of Our Lady, Queen of Peace, Ozjornoje, with presbytery and pilgrim accommodation.|
A lift in the parish van was available, to take me to Petropavlovsk, from where my train was due to leave for Irkutsk, Siberia, next day. The native Ozjornojan priest, the driver’s nephew, accompanied us as far as Kellerovka. Having given an icon of Our Lady to his classmate when i was at the seminary in Astana, i presented him with the other, an icon of SS Peter and Paul. I was then given a very nice welcome and lunch at the handsome Church of the Holy Trinity in Petropavlovsk. Having fallen into disrepair in soviet times, much of the restoration work was done by a Polish priest with very good English, Fr Zbigniew Kotlinski, now quite elderly and one of two assistant priests in the parish, who was especially attentive to all my needs. In the afternoon i was able to send an email to a friend in Kobe, Japan, who i’d met on my last evening in Israel, as it now looked as if i could be heading her way. With my train due to leave at 8am next morning, i attended the Saturday evening (Vigil) Mass, in honour of Our Lady Queen of Peace, after which i enjoyed a super supper. My last night in Kazakhstan was spent in another very comfortable room, for which i tried but failed to make a financial contribution, having been driven to the train station in the morning. A card with a picture of St Andrew (the Christian name of the parish priest), and a promise to write and thank them all, would have to suffice.