Article composed from the memories of some former members of the Lodge “Yaroslav Mudry”.
One of the best Russian lodges outside Russia was the lodge “Yaroslav Mudry” in Belgrade. Now (in 1961) it is already difficult to collect materials about early years of its work. Yet we were able to ascertain that the lodge was founded in 1925. Its main organizer, inspirer and the first president was Yelena Pavlovna Solovskaya. The lodge never was very big; its membership not exceeded 15 or 16. After Y. Solovskaya its presidents were M. Yahontova, L. K. Brezinskaya and L. B. Tkachenko, but Y. Solovskaya till the end of her days remained an honorary president and all the time participated actively in the lodge work. The lodge was closely connected with headquarters of “R.T.S. outside Russia”, probably because Y. Solovskaya was a personal secretary of A. Kamenskaya. It’s hard to say where she has been more often: in Geneva or in Belgrade.
The lodge worked very concertedly and no storms could prevent its members from coming to the meetings. After so many years passed it’s difficult to ascertain which books were studied and when, but it’s enough to mention even some of them to demonstrate what a serious work was done. Among the others the following books were studied: “Ancient wisdom” and “Pedigree of man” by Besant, “First principles of Theosophy” by Jinarajadasa, “Thought-forms” by Besant & Leadbeater, “Building of Cosmos” and “Introduction to Yoga” by Besant, “Masters and the Path” and “Science of Sacraments” by Leadbeater, “Mount Everest” by Arundale, “Esoteric Christianity” by Besant, section on the Symbolism from the “Secret Doctrine” and many others. Of course, on the White Lotus day, on Vesak and Asala festivals the appropriate lectures were read. On the ethical meetings the work was based on such books as “At the Feet of the Master” by Krishnamurti, “Path of Discipleship” and “In the Outer Court” by Besant, “Meditations for Beginners” by Wedgewood, “I Promise” by Jinarajadasa, “Voice of the Silence” by Blavatsky, “Light on the Path” by Collins, “Bhagavad Gita” and many others. Working on these books, members wrote down their thoughts and later shared them on the meetings.
In 1940 some disagreements occurred in the lodge. The outer impulse was that some members didn’t want to have a convention of the representatives of the Russian lodges in Belgrade, as the Geneva headquarters proposed. Y. Solovskaya tried to persuade members not to destroy common work and not to weaken the lodge, and doing that she acted gently and with humility. But as a result, L. Brezinskaya with her husband, Mr. and Mrs. Kurilov and some others (around a half of the lodge total) have gone and formed the independent lodge “Bratstvo” (Brotherhood) which was attached to the Yugoslav Section. Apparently the main reason was that Y. Solovskaya was a hard-liner, strictly following course of Geneva headquarters, while not all members liked it. Majority of the members supported the honorary president and the convention was held successfully. It was during the outbreak of Second World War, and Belgrade was still the only quiet place.
The fact that part of members left the lodge didn’t shake its work and some of those who were gone even came again. One more year passed in fruitful work under Solovskaya’s leadership. But in 1941 everything ended.
Y. Solovskaya felt her death approaching. She was very sensitive. After her death in her notebook the notes for the last 10 days were found, in which she mentioned an “astral howl” which every day was approaching nearer and nearer. She already heard the victorious cries of the Germans.
On 6 April 1941, on the very first hour of German bomb attack, she was killed.
When speaking about the work of the lodge “Yaroslav Mudry” it is necessary to dwell more on Yelena Pavlovna Solovskaya as its main inspirer. Everyone treated her with deep respect and love. “When she left us in 1941 we understood whom we have lost,” wrote one of the lodge members.
“For all of us she was like a bridge to the higher. She always strove upwards and it seemed like she towed us behind herself. Of course, one cannot be always is a position of a little child, but how it is good to have such a lightly example before your eyes! She was totally deprived of ambition; only the sense of duty (which manifested sometimes somewhat sternly) moved her. It should be noted that many theosophists who done their work well, yet did it due to the certain ambition. Yelena Pavlovna gave the members full freedom in their work and always welcomed the initiative. The earthly happiness did not exist for her. She was with all her soul devoted to theosophy and to the Cause of Elder Brothers. The memory of her will be forever left in the hearts of all members of “Yaroslav Mudry” and friends who knew her.”
Another member of the lodge, remembering her, wrote: “She was an innate theosophist who devoted all of her and all her life to theosophy. She had a talent to explain the serious and abstruse things very simply and clear; there also was very much of childish rapture in her, and very much purity and self-control; she all “lighted” somehow. I’m not mentioning here her deep knowledge. (She was very educated; she graduated two colleges, one in Belgrade and other in Geneva, where she defended doctor thesis and got a degree of doctor of natural sciences). It seemed that there was no question to which she couldn’t give a detailed and grounded answer.
Often we met at her flat where her mother and sister received all of us very warmly. Her room reminded a cell; there was some especially pure atmosphere; no foolish or frivolous thought could come to one’s mind there. Sometimes I came to the meeting right from work and then she always have laid me to sleep for a while, till the others came. She liked very much to visit us (we lived out of the city) and often lived for several days with us, yet sometimes she complained that the relatives got jealous and don’t want to understand that she feels so good within the natural environment. She has even selected the special place in the garden and asked us not to touch it and even don’t go there: it was piece of the garden for elves. She concerned deeply for that we shouldn’t forget our native customs.”
“After her death we in her memory continued to work with the same efforts,” wrote one member of the lodge. “But it was so difficult to have meetings, that we even didn’t make a summer break but met always when it was possible. First there was the German occupation, then the change of power. Nevertheless the work continued officially till 1947 when Yugoslavian government demanded to close T. S. Earlier, in 1946, we had to join the Serbian lodge “Circle of Truth” because of the closure of “R. T. S. outside Russia.”
After joining the Serbian lodge the former members of “Yaroslav Mudry” continued to work privately in Russian. Since 1947 the lodge work ceased, as the personal work of former members and their private meetings and talks cannot be regarded as such.
In spite of the fact that the destiny diffused Yaroslavs all over the world, they continue the close brotherly connection between themselves. Some of them remained in Yugoslavia,  others got to Ireland, Australia, Italy and America but all of them and even those who left “Yaroslav Mudry” recollect with love their lodge and each other.
The lodge doesn’t exist on the physical plane long ago but her lightly and serious vibrations still continue to sound and influence not only former members but everyone who is able to receive them.
 After the renewal of the work of the Theosophical Society in Yugoslavia, in 1966, one of the former members of the lodge, Mr. Nikolai Brezinsky, became the president of the revived Belgrade's Lodge “Truth” and remained in this office until his death.
Translated from Russian by Konstantin Zaitzev.
Last update: January 2009