Agafya’s letter for help
Published in the Siberian Times
In the letter, Agafya begs for a fellow Christian to join her and care for her in her hermit home, hundreds of kilometres from the nearest towns and villages.
‘I don’t know how God will help me survive the winter,’ wrote Agafya, who has repeatedly refused offers from officials to move to a house in a village, at least for winters. ‘There aren’t any logs. I need to get them into the house, and I need to keep reading my prayers. I’m suffocating, and I am getting too cold while doing it when the weather is freezing.’
‘Here is my battle for survival, alone and with the house to look after and things to do, all round the clock, until I suffer exhaustion’.
Agafya also expresses fears for her health. ‘I am all alone, my years are big, my health is bad, I keep getting ill. There is a lump on my right breast, and my strength is going. There is a need for a person, a helper, assuming there are kind people in the world, as the world has always had kind people.’
‘With tears and cries we beg you, in the name of Christ, not to leave me alone and pay mercy to an orphan in need. There must be Christians around.’
Agafya – who never attended school – states in her sometimes rambling letter: ‘My big stove stays cold, there is no time and no logs to heat it up. I only manage the small iron one. In the summer I lived outside. When the family was alive, there was enough to do for all of us.’
‘The stove was always hot. We cooked. We prayed together, and only went out to do outside works after prayers. And whatever else others were doing, one of us was forever inside, to keep reading our prayers. We prayed together during holidays. And now everything is on me, both the prayers and the household. I can’t do the full prayer, nor even the basic one.’
She claimed a previous plea for help in 2005 had not brought anyone to assist her. ‘I didn’t get any help. I’ve been asking for it for more than 30 years, I’ve been sending letters and been asking everyone verbally in person, and those ones who came to me last winter.’
‘Somewhere they say millions of Christians live, millions of people live in the world, but there is no help for an orphan.’
She told how last summer her potato crop was at risk from flooding of the nearby river. ‘The water came in and I only just managed to dig the potatoes.’
‘I am asking you in the name of Christ to not leave me alone for the spring, and to bring an aid if there are kind people around.’
‘All my thoughts are about surviving the winter,’ she said. A helper ‘does not need to bring the bedding, the pillow and the quilt, everything is arranged and waiting here,’ she explained. ‘I only need the person to come’.
‘Perhaps bring some seed too, like carrot and cucumber, and maybe turnip and onion. Number ten thread, too, for sewing’.
The Siberian Times thanks Krasnoyarskiy Rabochiy newspaper and Igor Shpilenok for the images of Agafya Lykova and her letter.