Archimandrite Dorotheos (Dbar)
IN MEMORY OF YAKUB LAKOBA
My acquaintance with Yakub Vasilyevich Lakoba took place in the summer of 1995. Then four Abkhazian seminarians – Dmitry Dbar, Adgur Ampar, Rustik Sarsania and Germain Marchand organized the first divine service after the Patriotic War of the people of Abkhazia of 1992-1993 in the ancient Dranda Cathedral. A lot of people gathered at the Divine Liturgy led by Priest Vissarion Apliaa. Among those who came was Yakub Lakoba. After the service, he came up to me and said that his arrival that day was not accidental: Yakub Vasilyevich’s maternal grandmother was Dbar, and during the period of Stalinist repressions, being imprisoned in the Dranda prison, she suffered a lot. “I prayed for the repose of her soul!” he shared.
One of the large buildings of the Dranda Assumption Monastery was turned into a prison after the revolution of 1917. And in our time, as you know, the detention center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Abkhazia is still located in it.
In the middle or at the end of the 90s (I can’t remember exactly), Gennady Alamia baptized his little daughter. Yakub Lakoba was the godfather. It was summer, I was on vacation in Abkhazia and helped the priests of the Sukhum Cathedral. The sacrament of baptism was to be performed by Priest Georgy Khorkin (later Hieromonk Gregory). In the summer, the rite of immersion was performed by him at sea. We all went to the seaside in the Mayak area, Sukhum. When it was necessary to immerse the daughter of Gennady in the water, she was a little scared. Then Yakub took her in his arms, entered the sea, and together with her, under the words of the sacramental formula pronounced by Father Gregory, plunged into the sea water three times. For everyone who stood on the seaside, it was amazing!
On 15 May 2011, an important event in the modern history of the Orthodox Church of Abkhazia – the Church and People’s Assembly of the Orthodox flock of Abkhazia took place in the central cathedral of the New Athos Monastery. Yakub Lakoba also took an active part in this event. There was such an interesting moment: Yakub Vasilyevich, knowing that for several years I have been living and studying in Greece, after my speech, he suddenly turned to me in Greek. I did not know that he spoke a little Greek. According to him, he learned it from the Sukhum Greeks.
Our last meeting with Yakub Lakoba took place on 27 May, 2022 at the Abkhaz State University, at the 70th anniversary of Alik Nikolaevich Gabelia. They were neighbors and very friendly. Yakub Vasilyevich’s speech, as always, cheered up all those present. At the feast organized at the Faculty of History after the official part of the event, we made toasts, talked and joked. As soon as it became possible Yakub Vasilyevich expressed his respect and reverence for Sima Andreevna Dbar and me as representatives of the family from which his grandmother came.
Yakub Vasilievich! May the Lord rest your soul in Eternal Life, among the souls of your loved ones who have died! It remains for us to pray for the repose of the soul of our elder sister (ҳаҳәшьа ду) and her grandson!
10 July, 2022