Hierotheus, Bishop And Hieromartyr Of Veliky Ustiug And Those With Him 3 of 3

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"But then Kolya urged Basil to tell him quickly because the man with him (a policeman) wanted to take him to Kipshinka. He mustn't hinder him because a detachment was coming and would take Vladyka away. Then Basil told him to go to Alexandra. Kolya went up to Alexandra and said:

"'Where's Vladyka?'

"'Where's Vladyka? And why do you want to know where Vladyka is, Kolya?'

"As she told me later, she was very frightened at that moment. Then Kolya said the same to her as he had said to Basil. And Alexandra believed the demonic ruse and led them. Meanwhile Paula was with Vladyka in the wood. As she later related, he prayed the whole day and forced her to pray, saying that one must pray and pray and pray for everyone. Suddenly she heard a conversation. Vladyka was alarmed. Paula said to him:

"'You stay here, I'll go out to have a look.'

"When she saw Alexandra and Kolya, Alexandra asked her:

"'Where's Vladyka?'

"'Here,' said Paula. They went off, and Paula came to Vladyka and said that Kolya had come.

"On seeing him, Vladyka rejoiced and said:

"'Ah, Kolya.'

"'Don't move, Vladyka,' said Kolya loudly, and he raised his arm as if surrendering to the hidden policeman.

"'You wanted to shoot me, so shoot,' said Vladyka.

"Then Alexandra began to shout and weep and said to Kolya:

"'What are you doing? We took you for an angel, but you've turned out to be a Judas traitor. I will not let you shoot Vladyka. Shoot me instead.'

"Then she began to plead, and stand in front of Vladyka, which did no good at all. Then, O Lord, what a horror took place. They came up from the side and shot straight at his head. Our martyr-sufferer fell, covered in blood, and they went off singing, thinking they had killed him, while the girls stayed with Vladyka, weeping and saying:

"'Will Vladyka forgive us for what we've done? Forgive us!'

"Then he only looked at them and blessed them and laid his hierarchical hand upon their head. O Lord! They had all left him, they had all left without giving him any help. He lay alone on the earth, which was still covered with snow. They left him lying and pouring out blood until the morning. They came for him only in the morning and treated him crudely and mercilessly. O Lord, when the news came to the city that Vladyka had been wounded in the head, and had been found in the wood, what did we not suffer then! It is terrible even to think of it! The city was under military law. It was forbidden to walk late at night. They were arresting everybody and dragging them off in droves to the prison. A mounted detachment arrived, and a steamer, and people were saying that they were going to take Vladyka away on the steamer. They were waiting for him to be brought from Kema. They brought him quietly. He was so weak! In front went the prisoners, on either side were horses carrying the prisoners' knapsacks. And so the whole procession went slowly to the bank where they were waiting for them in the steamer. O Lord, it is impossible to describe all the horrors that took place then. Even before Vladyka's arrival the people were driven away from the bank. Noone was allowed near. Then:

"'They've brought him! They've brought him!'

"The detachment appeared, and the prisoners, and they brought Vladyka on a stretcher straight to the steamer. No-one saw our joy and treasure. As I write these lines, my heart fails. Then they brought the prisoners onto the steamer. Soon a doctor arrived and applied a dressing. When he saw Vladyka wounded and covered in blood he was shocked and said:

"'Hey, what have they done?! What have they done?!'

"But Vladyka looked at him with love and blessed him. When the doctor was applying the dressing, he asked that Vladyka be left there because he was weak and he would not survive until Ustiug. The dear one would die. But they did not agree. They said:

"'We must take him away even if he dies, otherwise there'll be a commotion among the people.'

"What groans, what tears were shed then! We were so sorry for our holy sufferer, instructor and leader. He did not spare himself, he shed his blood and laid down his life for the Faith of Christ. With his blood he washed away the sins of his pastors and his flock. He himself did not deny the Lord, and asked his flock earlier to firmly believe in Him.

"'Don't limp on two legs, but go the straight path to God, to heaven!'

"Yes, it was for that that the Lord glorified His servant. He gave his soul into the hands of the Lord and was counted worthy of martyrdom. He shed his blood and is now at the altar of the Lord rejoicing with all the saints and praying God for us and for his traitors and murderers.

"Soon the steamer departed taking our treasure, and we saw him no more. The people from the neighbouring villages ran along the river-bank weeping and shouting:

"'Vladyka, why are you leaving us? Take us with you.'

"But Vladyka did not hear their calls. The steamer soon arrived in Ustiug, where an ambulance was awaiting it. He was lifted up on the stretcher and taken to the hospital. One of the doctors gave him a good room and looked after him. Vladyka blessed him lovingly. An operation was decreed, and O Lord! they operated on him without an anaesthetic! But noone heard so much as a groan or sign; it was as if it happened with someone else. The doctors were amazed and said that they had never seen such a patient. After the operation Vladyka felt unwell, and the nurse who was looking after him told me that he would die soon. At that moment Vladyka asked to be raised a little so that he could pray - the first words anyone had heard from him. The nurse said he could, and he, raising himself, said:

"'Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. Accept my soul, and let my body be thrown to the dogs.'

"Then he lay back on the bed, crossed his hands on his breast and slept the sleep of the righteous. His holy, long-suffering soul flew to the throne of God for Whom he lived and laboured and suffered without sparing himself. Eternal memory to you, Vladyka, sufferer for Christ! Those eyes which looked straight into one's soul and caused it to tremble were closed. Those golden lips fell silent forever. And when he died he was buried without honour, and we do not know where his grave is. Where did they put him? That has increased our sorrow even more. Amen."

Bishop Hierotheus died on May 3/16 (according to another source, May 6/19), 1928.

While Vladyka had lain in the hospital, the authorities had ringed the building so as to let nobody in. But the believers made their own ring. There was one believer there who worked in the hospital. She said:

"I'll give you a sign. Tonight they're going to operate on him. If he lives, I'll come out onto the balcony, but if he doesn't live, I'll come out onto the balcony to shake out some sheets."

That was how the believers learned that Vladyka had died. But they did not know what happened to his body. One fool-for-Christ in the city, the clairvoyant Dunyuhska, said:

"The fish have eaten Vladyka."

In other words, they had drowned his body. And no trace of it was ever found.

After the death of Vladyka the arrests began. About 300 nuns who had been tonsured by Vladyka were arrested. The Kazan church was closed, and they turned the cathedral of the Meeting of the Lord into a prison. But the memory of the martyrs did not disappear. This memory is the salt of the Russian land, the earnest of her resurrection!

(Sources: Novice Tatiana, "Svyashchennomuchenik Episkop Ierofei (Afonik)", Pravoslavnaya Zhizn', 48, N 2 (554), February, 1996; Russkiye Pravoslavnye Ierarkhi, Paris: YMCA Press, 1986; I.M. Andreyev, Russia's Catacomb Saints, Platina, Ca.: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1982, chapter 8; M.E. Gubonin, Akty Svyateishago Patriarkha Tikhona, Moscow: St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1994, pp. 863, 973; "Novomuchenik Rossijskij Episkop Ierofei", Tserkovnoye Slovo, vol. 36, no. 5, May, 1992, pp. 11-20; Bishop Ambrose (von Sievers), "Istoki i Svyazi Katakombnoj Tserkvi v Leningrade i obl. (1922-1992)", report read at the conference "The Historical Path of Orthodoxy in Russia after 1917", Saint Petersburg, 1-3 June, 1993; "Katakombnaya Tserkov': Kochuyushchij Sobor 1928 g.", Russkoye Pravoslaviye, N 3 (7), 1997; "Episkopat Istinno-Pravoslavnoj Katakombnoj Tserkvi 1922-1997 gg.", Russkoye Pravoslaviye, N 4 (8), 1997, p. 4; Protopresbyter Michael Polsky, Novye Mucheniki Rossijskiye, vol. 1, chapter 20, p. 179, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, 1957; Lev Regelson, Tragediya Russkoj Tserkvi, 1917-1945, Moscow: Krutitskoye patriarsheye podvorye, 1996, p. 595; Za Khrista Postradavshiye, Moscow: St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1997, p. 489; I.I. Osipova, "Skvoz' Ogn' Muchenij i Vody Slyoz…", Moscow: Serebryanniye Niti, 1998, pp. 251-252)


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