Excerpt from The Latter-Day Saints' Millennial Star, Vol. 65: August, 1903
On the way to the hotel We were surprised and interested by a custom that has since grown very familiar to us. Our cabman was evidently religious (though he did not scruple at demanding over twice the agreed and regular price at the end of the drive), and whenever he passed a church or shrine in the street he took off his strange-looking hat with his left hand, and made the sign of the cross with the right by touching his forehead, lower part of chest and shoulders. The falling rain did not deter him. Naturally this is an awkward thing for drivers to do, and many times they drop their reins for the moment while they attend to their worship.
A curious coincidence at the hotel was that President Lyman found, shortly after becoming located, that in the adjoining room on one side Elder John F. Home was living and on the other Elder Kenneth Crismon had taken up his abode. These Elders from Germany had attended the dedication services at Christiania, and later visited Stockholm, thence sailing to St. Petersburg.
Religious conditions among the Russians are naturally the most interesting subject to us, and to learn these was one of 'the motives President Lyman had for making the journey. There are many and conﬂicting currents of religion here; many that are deep and hidden which are not learned or understood without intimate association with the people. But in few places is it possible to see and at least partly understand the religion of the great majority. We went into the Kasan cathedral soon after arriving, and there saw a scene of most active worship. Russian churches have no seats, and there is room for the devotee to kneel or prostrate himself if he wishes. People of all classes were there. Beggars in their rags (their purpose being to obtain charity), the lame, the halt, the blind, laboring people, richly clad men and women, officers of the army, all kissed the same icons, made the cross and bowed before the images, and in some cases kneeled and touched their foreheads to the ﬂoor. One poor fellow, evidently with a heavy weight on his conscience, we noticed when we entered, making the cross, kneeling, bowing to the ﬂoor and rising again only to repeat the movements. During the whole time we were there he continued. The only thing to break the monotony of it was that some times he remained down for a few moments and smote his breast with his hand. The churches are open all day and the people come in and usually go out after a few moments' worship.
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