When Russia Came to Stay

by Lea Povozhaev


Paperback (May 2012)

ISBN: 978-1-933275-64-2

Price: $22.95 + S&H (USD)


When Russia Came to Stay is a story of a family’s journey into Orthodox Christianity from Protestantism. Becoming Christian and a multicultural family with small steps of faith, in each other, in God, is a difficult process in a Western culture that often perceives faith as a done deal with the utterance of the Sinner’s Prayer inviting Jesus into one’s heart. Life in Christ is a process of moment to moment seeking tobe in Him. This way of life is beyond culture and outside of time, even as it is lived in time and place. Miraculously, in trying for spiritual perspective, the impossible becomes possible, such as unlike families coming together in love — and staying together when there seems a lack of love.
     Povozhaev tells of her family’s roots and her husband’s family’s beginnings from Russia. She shares the story of falling in love with Dima, his homeland (with travels to Russia in 1999), and a deepening understanding of ancient Christianity as their source for transformational love. Perspectives change with growing family, including in-laws from Russia and children. Lea and Dima are baptized into the Orthodox Church with their first son and journey together with faith towards love. Despite challenges from coming from different corners of the world, sustained will to stay together grows acceptance and deepens the love between them. Orthodox Christianity, as a fuller expression of life in Christ, of Love, becomes the glue that binds together Lea and Dima.



When Russia Came to Stay invites readers into the heart of an American woman’s private struggles as she learns to navigate the emotional undercurrents swirling up in the midst of the perfect storm of a new marriage, motherhood and live-in Russian in-laws all at once. It is the story of “how love came to stay” — as nourishing and vivid as a hearty Russian meal with garlic and fish, leeks and goat cheese, swilled down with strong spirits and the even stronger bonds of family and tradition. With unflinching honesty and a gift for anchoring her perceptions with sensory detail, Povozhaev chronicles her discovery of an anchor in the face of in-law, outlaw tensions seeming at times to overwhelm and sweep her personal freedom aside without a thought. It is a hopeful, joyful faith, a love willing to “endure all things;” one that grows and reveals itself, not by going it alone in a faraway cave, but by finding in the rhythms and relationships of daily life as an Orthodox Christian, a home in Christ, the source of a hospitality of such proportions that there can no longer be strangers.

— Stephen Muse, author, When Hearts Become Flame and Raising Lazarus.


In this memoir, Lea Povozhaev addresses the subject of intercultural marriage with candor, realism, and hope. As her husband promised, Orthodoxy finally did “connect the dots” for them, but only after years of patient struggle. A must-read for anyone involved in or contemplating marriage to someone with roots in another culture.

— Katherine Bolger Hyde, editor and author


A heartfelt account of a young woman's spiritual and cultural journey. Lea Povozhaev has written a moving narrative of her discovery of Orthodox spirituality and the struggle to reconcile her Protestant American upbringing and the Russian family she joins by marriage. It is a story of joy and sorrow, misunderstanding and reconciliation ??? illumined throughout by the author’s increasing awareness of the mystical nature of the Church and the power of the Holy Spirit to unite us in love.

— Peter and Sharon Georges, Founders and Directors, St. Nicholas Uganda Children’s Fund



Lea Povozhaev, M.A., M.F.A., teaches Composition at Lakeland Community College and is studying for a Ph.D. at Kent State University (Literacy, Rhetoric, and Social Practice). Her current research is on the rhetoric of addiction.