Based on a true story of an early Russian missionary bishop's trip to the far reaches of Eastern Siberia, Nicolai Leskov (1831-1895), the master of the Russian short story, delights the reader with a tale of adventure and substance. Leskov, the Russian equivalent of Mark Twain, is a powerful storyteller, utilizing language and acute characterizations to weave an unforgettable tale.
This fresh, readable, yet critical translation by Michael Prokurat, with valuable notes and commentary, is an eminently entertaining and engaging story. The snowstorm scene is one of the greatest in Russian literature. Behind the adventure, however, Leskov delivers a profound message about human values, while constructing a model for Christian missiology.
The purpose behind the bishop's journey is to teach and baptize. During the process he learns through example and suffering that baptism without preparation is ritual devoid of content. And that in indigenous peoples of all cultures there is a striking dignity, as well as established codes of moral behavior that must be recognized and built upon as a foundation for all Christian conversion.