The First Conference for Readers of The Urantia Book in Russia
By Tamila Ragimova, Medellin, Colombia
To understand the importance of the first conference for readers of The Urantia Book in Russia, one should understand the history of the Urantia movement in Russia.
The Russian translation of The Urantia Book was first printed in 1997 and was printed in France. The chief translator was Michael Hanian assisted by his brother André. The next four printings were printed in Saint Petersburg and were supervised by Vitaly Kondratiev. Vitaly wrote many wonderful articles about The Urantia Book and made many contributions to the Urantia movement in Russia. He died in 2014, and we thank him for his outstanding service to the Urantia Revelation.
Currently, in Russia and other Russian-speaking countries, there are many readers of The Urantia Book. Some of these readers have been studying the book individually, while others have met regularly via Skype.
For all this time, there has been no national organization of readers in Russia to organize a conference. So I decided to do it even though I have lived in Colombia, South America, for the last thirty years. I felt it was my responsibility because I was born in the former Soviet Union in Baku, Azerbaijan, and I spent ten years in Moscow doing a PhD in physics. I have been studying The Urantia Book for twenty years in Colombia and have visited study groups on my trips to Moscow. I have also met several Russian readers on the internet.
Preparing for the conference was a challenge and took about eight months to plan. My first task was making a list of all Russian-speaking readers in Russia and other countries. Then, with the help of a person who is not a reader, I found a site: the Hotel Novahoff Geo Spa near Moscow. Later, I had the help of a reader, Ekaterina Aleksandrova, who lives in Moscow.
From Colombia, I talked to every person on the list and encouraged them to attend the conference. There were four successive announcements about the conference, giving additional details and updates about the event.
We chose “Spirituality” as the theme of the conference. Presentations were discussed with some of the presenters via Skype. The logo for the conference and the program of presentations and workshops were prepared in Colombia.
The conference took place from September 9 to 11, 2016, in the Hotel Novahoff Geo Spa. Twenty-five persons attended from a variety of cities in Russia, as well as from Ukraine, Finland, and the United States. Russia is a big country, where the distances between cities can be enormous. One reader, Sergey Chupin, traveled eight hours from Vladivostok to Moscow.
The presentations and discussions at the conference brought a high level of educational quality to the study of the book. Workshop guidelines were given to each coordinator, with suggested themes. Coordinators were asked to guide the discussion to a high intellectual level and allow equal time to all participants without imposing views on one another.
Mornings were dedicated to presentations and afternoons to workshops in groups of five to seven persons. Presentation topics included “The Cosmology of The Urantia Book,” “Science and Spirituality,” and “The Life of Jesus: an Example for Humanity.” Workshop topic suggestions ranged from “Definitions: Truth, Beauty, Goodness,” to “The World, Society, and Civilization,” and “John the Baptist.”
The announcement of the conference stated that its purpose was “To meet, befriend, and love each other.” Participants were happy for an opportunity to come together, and they felt a spirit of unity and camaraderie. Social gatherings included informal sessions of storytelling, reciting poetry, playing music, and Saturday evening dancing and dining.
Following the success of the conference, a committee of readers was formed to plan the second Russian Urantia conference to take place in September of 2017. In addition, they are planning to design a new website and to start a Russian Association of Urantia Association International.
2016 Conference for Readers of The Urantia Book in Russia
Audio Urantia Book
Board Meeting Decisions
Urantia Foundation History