faith healers

Spiritual Healers



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faith against inflammation
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Video: Healers in Russia



The Altai Mountains. This is where Russia borders Mongolia, Kazakhstan and China. It’s a destination for generations of pilgrims who come from miles around, seeking spiritual guidance.

Legend has it, this is a place to embark on a path of inner change.

Yelena Gamayun, Spiritual Guide: “The locals always say if you think out loud, then your thoughts come true. It’s important to remind yourself of that, in spiritual places like these.”

Those who come here call themselves “modern pilgrims”. They’re interested in yoga, healing rituals and self-discovery.

Yelena Gamayun acts as their spiritual guide. She regularly leads groups of stressed city dwellers to the Altai Mountains.

Female Visitor, one: “I was here a year ago. And all my wishes were fulfilled. I came to relax . . . but also to find miracles.

Gamayun directs the visitors to healing icons of the village monastery. And the confluence of two rivers is the place to wish for a spouse.

Yelena Gamayun, Spiritual Guide: “I think the Russians in particular are always on a quest for meaning. That’s the way we are.

I remember being a small child in the Soviet Union. And one of my relatives went to a healer. That kind of thing was normal.

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We’ve come to a village in southwestern Russia to visit the home of Nadya Melgunova. She says women like her used to be burned at the stake. Nowadays, doctors refer their patients to her. She’s known as the babushka, the village matriarch.

Nadya offers treatments with water, wax and prayers. But she only treats people who have been baptized.

Nadya Melgunova, Faith Healer: “There you go. You were really scared, but now the fear has almost gone.”

Nadya Melgunova, Faith Healer: “Everyone comes to me: rich, poor — even healthy people. If people are afraid, I can heal them. I can help fight against the evil-eye, sore throats, bad skin, inflammation, lots of things.”

Hundreds of kilometers away from Nadya’s village is another place where people arrive from Moscow and beyond, hoping for miracles.

Female Visitor, two: “I was diagnosed with cancer; I want to be treated here. Maybe I’ll be cured.”

Female Visitor, three: “To be honest, I came because I was interested in how to deal with my husband’s alcohol problems. I think alcohol is the number one problem in Russia.”

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In the former Soviet Union, belief in the supernatural was widespread. Nina Kolagina claimed to have psychic powers, conducted psychokinetic experiments in the 1960s, under the watchful eye of government intelligence agencies.

Shortly before the Soviet Union collapsed, a self-professed psychic named Anatoly Kashpirovsky, appeared on TV to conduct mass faith-healing sessions to millions throughout the Soviet Block.

And the faith-healer, Jurna Davitashvili is said to have helped Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and later President Boris Yeltsin.

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Nearly thirty years later, countless healing services are now available online.

The Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church considers President Vladimir Putin’s rise to power, a miracle of God. He also sees an impending apocalypse.

It’s not unusual for a police officer to ask a priest to bless a location where numerous car accidents have occurred. Christ has become an antidote for misfortune.

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Sociologists point to depression, anxiety and disoriented society as an explanation for the rising belief in the supernatural.

Lev Gudkov, Levada Center Polling Agency: “People have no idea what’s going to happen in the near future. They plan their lives from one paycheck to the next; maybe a few months at most.”

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Back in the Altai Mountains, Yelena Gamayun insists healers are more than a rural phenomenon. She says here clients from Moscow couldn’t get by without people like her.

Yelena Gamayun, Spiritual Guide: “My clients work with psychics, energy therapists, fortune tellers, maybe a good psychologist — or me.

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This interest in the supernatural appears to be a step back into the past as a strategy to cope with an uncertain future.

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1. The spiritual, mystical center of Russia is St. Petersburg. True or false?

2. What can visitors see at the Altai Mountain sanctuary?

3. Is there only one path or way to inner fulfillment? What are the various programs and activities there?

4. In modern times, people only seek out physicians. Is this right or wrong? Do only poor, uneducated people see Nadya Melgunova? What are some common ailments?

5. Does Nadya use pharmaceutical medicine? How does she treat visitors?

6. Faith and spiritual healing is a new phenomenon in Russia. Is this correct or incorrect?

7. Why is there interest in faith healing?

A. Are you familiar with traditional medicine or folk healing in your country?

B. Is there “New Age”, alternative or non-conventional medicine in your town, city or country? What sort of practices are performed?

C. Is alternative medicine becoming more popular? Or are these seen as quackery, and the practitioners are charlatans?

D. Is alternative, folk or traditional medicine effective? Is it “real”?

E. What might happen in the future?

F. What could or should people do?

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