Music In The Sanctuary (Documentary)

Our documentary today is about a former KGB agent, a church piano and the tradition of sanctuary in Canada.



Part Two of The Current

Music in the Sanctuary (Documentary Repeat)

We started this segment with a clip from Richard Hergesheimer, the Pastor at First Lutheran Church in Vancouver. He was sitting in the balcony, overlooking the nave, or sanctuary of his church. The piano you could hear in the background was being played by Mikhail Lennikov. He came to Canada from the former Soviet Union.

In 2009 he sought sanctuary in the church after his request for permanent residency status was denied because he had been a captain in the KGB -- the Soviet Union's feared spy agency. Sanctuary is a centuries old concept and a controversial one. It offers no legal protection.

There's nothing to stop the Canadian Border Services Agency from entering a church to remove someone except for tradition. Mikhail Lennikov has supporters who say he should be allowed to stay in Canada and detractors who say he should be sent packing. And while they argue, he waits and plays the piano.

The Current's Ellen Saenger brings us Mikhail Lennikov's story in a documentary called Music In The Sanctuary. It first aired on The Current in January.

In March, Mikhail Lennikov's wife, Irina and their son, Dmitri, were granted permanent residency status in Canada. But the deportation order against Mikhail Lennikov still stands.

Meanwhile, another family that sought sanctuary in a church has won their long legal battle to stay in this country. Last month, Hassan Raza, his wife and their six children were granted permanent residency status in Canada. They live in Winnipeg.


Other segment from today's show:

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