CSU, Chico News

CSU, Chico Offering Tour to ‘Anastasia’s Russia’ Next June

Date: 10-28-2008

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Thomasin Saxe
College of Humanities and Fine Arts

The College of Humanities and Fine Arts, California State University, Chico is offering a unique tour to “Anastasia’s Russia” June 8–21, 2009. This custom-designed tour will take participants to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Suzdal, Kostroma and Pereslavl Azlessky. Jed Wyrick, professor of religious studies, will be the faculty-in-residence.

Professor Wyrick will be presenting an information session on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 4:30–5:30 p.m., Trinity 100. Professor Wyrick will talk about Russia and provide information about this tour to interested travelers.

The tour welcomes everyone, including community members, university faculty, staff, students, and friends and family from out of the area. Students can register for 1-3 units in either religious studies or humanities.

Wyrick, chair of the Department of Religious Studies at CSU, Chico and coordinator of its programs in Humanities and Modern Jewish and Israel Studies, first visited the (then) Soviet Union in 1987. Professor Wyrick earned his PhD from Harvard in comparative literature and his BA from Brandeis in classics. He is the author of “The Ascension of Authorship: Attribution, Textualization, and Canon Formation in Jewish, Hellenistic, and Christian Traditions” (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 2004).

“The tour will take us to the great sites from the Russian past and present: the vast metropolis of Moscow built on the site of a medieval wooden fortress; the neoclassical architecture of the majestic St. Petersburg, city of canals and the famous White Nights of June; and the ancient and fantastic towns of the Golden Ring, pivotal in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church,” said Wyrick. “I’m looking forward to helping the members of the tour bridge the gap from the Russia of Anastasia to the New Russia.”

Expert local guides will present historical and architectural sites and situate them in a cultural context. Simultaneously, Professor Wyrick will bring alive the religious background to Russian iconography, monasteries and cathedrals, as well as elaborate on the historical significance of the St. Petersburg Great Choral Synagogue, the Moscow Choral Synagogue, the Chabad Synagogue in Kastroma, and the Moscow Jewish Theatre. A classically trained pianist and an enthusiast of Russian music, ballet, opera, and literature, Professor Wyrick is especially excited about bringing the artistic achievements of Russia into focus.

As an added bonus, Wyrick will provide an introduction to Ancient Greek art, as participants stroll though the renowned antiquities collection at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. With a fascination for Russian Orthodoxy and Russian Judaism, a deep enthusiasm for Russian music and culture, and the playbill of “The Stars of the White Nights 2009″ International Ballet and Opera Festival in St. Petersburg, Wyrick, with the local guide, will provide a tour with a rare cultural and intellectual depth.

“It is exactly this kind of combined effort that the Travel Program of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts is best known for,” said Wyrick.

The $5,814 package includes round-trip airfare from San Francisco (including airport fees and transfers); comfortable, well-located hotels with private baths (including hotel service charges and tips, baggage handling and local taxes); buffet breakfast daily and three dinners; guided sightseeing tours led by expert local guides; and the full-time services of a professional tour director. (Note: the single supplement costs $725.) A tax-deductible portion of the cost goes to college scholarships and programs. A deposit of $450 holds your place. The last day to sign up unless the tour fills earlier is Feb. 8, 2009. The price of the trip will go up by $75 after Nov. 1, so early registration is encouraged.

Contact Thomasin Saxe, group coordinator, tsaxe@csuchico.edu or 530-898-4642. You may also check the Web: www.csuchico.edu/hfa/travel.