Bishop Maximus, in the world Michael Alexandrovich Zhizhilenko, was born on March 2, 1885 in Kalisha (Poland). His elder brother, the professor of criminal law A.A. Zhizhilenko, spoke in defence of Metropolitan Benjamin during his trial in 1922. In 1908 he entered the medical faculty of Moscow university. On graduating from university in 1910, he worked as a psychiatrist in Sokolniky. In 1911 he married, but a year and a half later lost his wife, who died during pregnancy. He was a fine musician and composed music. He had a particular veneration for St. Pantaleimon the healer. In 1914 he was a doctor on the Austrian front, where he almost died of typhus, andremained a military doctor until 1920.
According to one source, he was arrested at the beginning of the 1920s and exiled to the north for three years before being secretly tonsured with the name Maximus in 1925.
From 1920 to 1928 he was chief doctor of the Taganka prison in Moscow, where he won the respect of all, and was nicknamed the prison's angel guardian. He was a great master of the heart, a comforter and a father. Even the most hardened criminals confessed before him as before a priest, and found not only consolation but a return to an honourable life. He slept on bare boards, ate only prison food, and gave all his pay to the prisoners. In Moscow he was known as "the elder of Taganka".
Since he was always a deeply religious person, Michael Alexandrovich became a close friend of Patriarch Tikhon's while he was still a layman, and was entrusted with many of the Patriarch's most intimate thoughts. He was also highly esteemed by the Patriarch's successor, Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsa, who knew him well. Once, not long before his death, the Patriarch confided in his friend that in view of the increasing demands of the Soviet government, it seemed that the only way out for the Church in order to preserve her faithfulness to Christ was to go into the catacombs. Therefore the Patriarch blessed Michael Alexandrovich to become a secret monk and then, if in the near future the highest church authority betrayed Christ and conceded to Soviet power the spiritual freedom of the Church, he was to become a bishop.
Michael Alexandrovich saw in Metropolitan Sergius' declaration of 1927 the betrayal of the Church of which the Patriarch spoke, and separated from him on December 17, 1927. He was then tonsured in secret with the name Maximus, and in March, 1928 (February or May, according to other sources), at the petition of Protopriest Alexander Kremyshansky and the Serpukhov flock, he was consecrated Bishop of Serpukhov in the church of St. Pantaleimon of the Alexander-Oshevensky podvorye on Piskarevka, by Archbishop Demetrius of Gdov and Bishop Sergius of Narva. This elicited the protest of Bishop Arsenius (Zhadanovsky) of Serpukhov, who was in exile at the time. However, after the arrest of Vladyka Maximus, Vladyka Arsenius asked his forgiveness for having entertained suspicions of his intentions.
The town of Serpukhov, of which Vladyka Maximus was made archpastor, had already taken the lead in the opposition to Metropolitan Sergius in the Moscow region. On December 30, 1927, the Catacomb clergy of Serpukhov had written the following appeal to Metropolitan Sergius which may have been composed under the influence of Vladyka Maximus:
"Since we find it no longer possible for us to remain on the slippery, ambiguous path which you have placed the Orthodox Church on by your declaration and decrees, following the voice of our conscience and our duty before God and the believers, we the under-signed break canonical communion in prayer with you and the so-called Patriarchal Synod and refuse to recognize you as the Deputy of the Patriarchal Locum Tenens for the following reasons:
"1. Your declarations of July 16 and October 20, and everything that is known about your government of the Church clearly speaks of the fact that you have placed the Church into a position of dependence on the civil power and deprived her of her inner freedom and independence, thereby breaking the church canons and going contrary to the decrees of the civil power.
"2. Thus you are nothing other than the continuer of the so-called renovationist movement, only in a more refined and very dangerous form, for in declaring that Orthodox is unshakeable and that you have preserved canonicity, you have clouded the minds of the believers, consciously hiding from them that abyss to which you are inexorably dragging the Church by all your decrees.
"3. The result of your politics is obvious to all of us. The believers of the city of Serpukhov are disturbed by your decrees and very anxious and perplexed with regard to the destiny of the Holy Orthodox Church. We, their pastors, have been placed by you in an ambiguous position which not only cannot introduce peace into their hearts and minds, but arouses suspicions in them that you have betrayed Orthodoxy and gone over to the camp of the renovationists.
"All this forces us boldly to raise our voices and stop what has now become a criminal silence with regard to your mistakes and incorrect actions and, with the blessing of Bishop Demetrius of Gdov, we wall ourselves off from you and the people around you. In leaving you, we are not leaving the lawful Patriarchal Locum Tenens, Metropolitan Peter, and we submit ourselves to the judgement of a future council."
It was rumoured that Vladyka Maximus was also the author of the "Prayer concerning the Holy Church", otherwise known as the "Prayer about the Bolsheviks" which was inserted into the Divine Liturgy by the Catacomb hierarchs of Petrograd.
Vladyka Maximus remained in Moscow until the end of 1928, and in January, 1929, moved to Serpukhov. In this period, according to one (dubious) source, he signed the decisions of the so-called "Nomadic Council" of the Catacomb Church.
The leader of the Serpukhov Josephites before the arrival of Vladyka Maximus was Protopriest Alexander Anatolyevich Kremyshensky. He was born on July 31, 1897 in Serpukhov in the family of an accountant, and from July, 1918 to 1920 served in the Red Army. He finished three courses at the Moscow Theological Academy in 1923. In 1920 he was ordained to the diaconate, and in1924 - to the priesthood. He was the superior of the Trinity cathedral in Serpukhov. On January 2, 1928, on his initiative and without the permission of the authorities, a meeting of the clergy of the whole city was convened, at which Fr. Alexander called on everyone to break all links with Metropolitan Sergius. Immediately after the meeting he went to Moscow to see Professor M.A. Novoselov (the Catacomb Bishop Mark), and then to Leningrad to see Bishop Demetrius, who appointed him the dean of Serpukhov.
At first a clear majority of the clergy and laity of the city inclined towards the Josephites. However, on April 25 Metropolitan Sergius appointed the fairly authoritative and experienced hierarch, Manuel (Lemeshevsky) as bishop of Serpukhov. Arriving in the city on May 5, Bishop Manuel immediately entered into struggle with the Josephites, being supported on all sides by the Bolsheviks. As a result, by the summer of 1928 the sergianists had gained control of ten of the city's eighteen churches. If earlier the supporters of Metropolitan Sergius had simply been afraid to serve in the churches of Serpukhov, from the summer of 1928 they - including Metropolitan Sergius himself - often came to the city in order to draw the parishioners to their side. Never before had Serpukhov seen so many hierarchical services.
But in spite of all the efforts of the sergianists and the repressive measures of the authorities, for several years eight parishes and the monks of the Vysotsky monastery remained faithful to the Josephite movement. And after Bishop Maximus was raised to the episcopate and became the leader of the movement in the Moscow region, in a short period a significant proportion of the parishes of Zvenigorod, Volokolamsk, Kolomna, Klin, Zagorsk, Skhodny and other cities and villages joined the Josephites.
Arrests soon followed. On August 13 (according to another source, in September), 1928, Protopriest Alexander Kremyshevsky was taken, and on October 8 the OGPU condemned him to three years' imprisonment on Solovki. On February 13, 1930, his sentence was increased by two years. In December, 1930 he was taken under guard from Solovki, and on January 27, 1931 was imprisoned in Butyrki prison in Moscow in connection with the affair of the "True Orthodox Church". On February 18, 1931 he was sentenced to be shot. The sentence was carried out on June 4, 1931.
Bishop Maximus appointed Hieromonk Parthenius as the new dean in place of Fr. Alexander.
However, the massive repressions of May, 1929 severely weakened the Josephite movement in Serpukhov. Vladyka Maximus himself was arrested on May 24. During the course of the investigation, he behaved very cautiously, and the investigatory organs were not able to incriminate him in anything except the fact of his secret monasticism while working as a doctor in the Taganka prison. During interrogations, Vladyka Maximus constantly repeated one and the same thing:
"I accepted secret monasticism because I did not want to advertise my personal religious convictions before the Soviet authorities."
In reply to the question what diocese he ruled, Vladyka Maximus answered that he had no administrative responsibilities and that he lived like "a retired bishop". He categorically refused to speak about his religious convictions and spiritual life and activity, giving as reason the fact that this constituted "too intimate territory, into which he could not initiate anybody".
On July 5, 1929, an OGPU collegium sentenced Bishop Maximus to five years in the camps. Also sentenced to various terms of imprisonment at this time were Hieromonk Parthenius, the superior of the Vysotsky monastery Archimandrite Panteleimon (Orlov), Igumen Nikon (Khrilokovin) of the same monastery, the superior of the Spaso-Zanarskaya cemetery church Protopriest Nicholas Bogolepov and many others. However, the Josephites remaining in Serpukhov continued their activity in a vigorous manner.
Archimandrite Panteleimon, in the world Peter Ivanovich Orlov, was rector of the Serpukhov Vysotsky monastery. He joined the Josephites in January, 1928. In June, 1929 he was arrested and exiled.
Hieromonk Terence, in the world Taras Illarionovich Chernyavsky, was born in 1875 in Grodno province. He served in the church of the Vysotsky monastery in Serpukhov. He was arrested on December 4, 1930 in connection with the "organization True Orthodoxy" and on February 18, 1931 was sentenced to the camps.
Hieromonk Cosmas, in the world Basil Fedoseyevich Trusov, was born in 1907 in the village of Demkino, Ryazan province, in the family of a worker. He finished four classes in school. From 1923 he was serving in the Moscow Nikolsky church on Ilyinka. From January to May, 1929 he was the cell-attendant of Bishop Maximus of Serpukhov. In 1929 he was tonsured into monasticism. In March, 1930 he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Nectarius (Trezvinsky) in Kazan. He served in the church of the Vysotsky men's monastery in Serpukhov. He was arrested on November 15, 1930 and on February 18, 1931 was sentenced to ten years in the camps.
Protopriest Nicholas Bogolepov was rector of the Josephite Spaso-Zanarskaya cemetery church in Serpukhov. He was arrested and sentenced to the camps in 1929.
Their leader was Fr. Nicholas Trophimovich Ishchenko, who was born on December 2, 1887 in the village of Kosyakovka, Tarashchansky uyezd, Kiev province, in the family of a reader. He finished his studies at the Kiev theological seminary. In the 1920s he was serving in village churches in Kiev diocese. In July, 1926 he was sentenced to one year in Ekaterinoslav prison. From 1927 to August, 1929 he was rector of the church in the village of Kupievaty, Kanevsky region. Archbishop Demetrius (Lyubimov) appointed him rector of the Spaso-Zanarskaya cemetery church in August, 1929, and he was the Josephite dean in Serpukhov from February, 1930. On November 15, 1930 he was arrested, and on February 18, 1931 was sentenced to be shot. The sentence was carried out in Moscow.
Fr. Basil Nikolayevich Shishkanov was born in 1902 (or 1903) in Rzhev in Tver province in a peasant family. He studied in a village school. From April, 1928 he became a Josephite and served as a deacon in a church in Tver from 1928 to 1929, and from the middle of 1929 in the village of Gora, Orekhovo-Zuyevo district. On May 23, 1930 he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Sergius (Druzhinin) in Petrograd. He was sent from Tver to serve in the Trinity cathedral in Serpukhov from May, 1930. He was arrested on November 15, 1930 in connection with the Serpukhov branch of the True Orthodox Church, and on February 18, 1931 was sentenced to ten (or five) years in the camps. He declared: "I, as an Orthodox Christian, have always been an opponent of Soviet power, because Soviet power does not believe in God, implants atheism and persecutes the Church and the clergy."
From June to November, 1929, Archbishop Demetrius himself ruled the Josephite churches of the Moscow diocese. Thus he ordained to the priesthood Hieromonk Anubius (Kapinus), who served in the Pokrov church in Serpukhov and later became a well-known activist of the Catacomb Church.
Hieromonk Seraphim, in the world Semyon Nikolayevich Bublikov, was born in 1874 in Moscow province, in a peasant family. He studied in a village school. He was tonsured with the name Seraphim and ordained to the priesthood, serving in the church of St. Nicholas in Berezen, near Serpukhov. On November 15, 1930 he was arrested in connection with the Serpukhov branch of the True Orthodox Church and on February 18, 1931 was sentenced to be shot. The sentence was carried out on February 23 (or 25), 1931. He declared: "I read the prayer for the much-suffering Church because I consider that the Church is persecuted... I have a negative attitude towards the politics of the Soviet authorities... since these authorities... are unquestionably an antichristian power insofar as they do not recognize God and mock religion. The whole politics of this power consists in the reconstruction of life on socialist principles contrary to the spirit of Christianity. I also consider the collective farms to be an antichristian organization insofar as there they have no opportunity to pray or observe the fasts."
Hieromonk Cronid, in the world Cyril Irodonovich Dubrovsky, was born in 1871 in the village of Chepelevo, Krolevetsky uyezd, Chernigov province, in a peasant family. He was a novice in Glinsk desert (from 1888), in Holy Trinity - St. Sergius Lavra (from 1895), and in the Kolomna Trinity monastery (from 1897). In 1900 he was tonsured into monasticism. He served as a priest in Kolomna from 1903 to 1908. He was a monk in the Nikolo-Peginoshsky monastery (from 1908) and the Serpukhov Vysotsky monastery (from 1909). During the First World War he was a regimental priest on the Romanian front. From 1919 he was living in the Vysotsky monastery. In 1930 he went to serve in the church of the village of Lipetsy, near Serpukhov. He was arrested on November 15, 1930 in connection with the affair of the "True Orthodox Church", and on February 18, 1931 was sentenced to be shot. The sentence was carried out in Moscow.
Each of the clergy of Serpukhov contributed fifteen rubles a month to help their exiled compatriots, and much was also given by laymen. The money collected was taken away by the nun Elikonida, who was born Eudocia Nikitichna Volkova in Serpukhov in 1890. She was tonsured in the Holy Trinity monastery. On November 15, 1930 she was arrested in connection with the Serpukhov branch of the True Orthodox Church and on February 5, 1931 was sentenced to five years in the camps.
The arrested Josephites were continually commemorated in the churches. Besides the prayer "for the much-suffering Church", which was brought from Leningrad, and which the OGPU agents searched for with special zeal during arrests, the Serpukhov churches also resounded to the sound of another "counter-revolutionary prayer" composed by the superior of the church of the Meeting of the Lord, Hieromonk Nicodemus.
Fr. Nicodemus, in the world Nicodemus Dmitrievich Rybakov, was born in 1867 in Simbirsk province. He was tonsured and ordained to the priesthood, serving in the church of the Meeting of the Lord in Serpukhov. On November 16 (or 15), 1930 he was arrested in connection with the Serpuhkov branch of the True Orthodox Church, and on February 18, 1931 was sentenced to five (or ten) years in the camps.
All this activity was carried on in an atmosphere of unending arrests and shootings of believers, which was well conveyed by Fr. Nicholas Ishchenko during his interrogation:
"We lived as if on a volcano, every minute awaiting arrest, because the representatives of the Dmitrov movement had been arrested precisely for belonging to that church orientation, and not for actual transgressions of the law..."
Vladyka Maximus arrived in the fourth department of SLON (the Solovki camp of special destination on the island of Solovki in the White Sea) at the end of October, 1929. There he worked as a doctor, being in charge of the typhus barracks. I.M. Andreyev writes:
"We doctor-prisoners went up to our new comrade in chains and introduced ourselves. Our newly arrived colleague was tall, very strongly built, with a thick beard and grey whiskers and brows which hung severely over kind, light blue eyes.
"Every new arrival was very carefully examined by the doctor-bishop, and the first notes in the history of the disease were always huge. Besides a basic diagnosis of the main illness, Dr. Zhizhilenko always wrote a diagnosis of all the accompanying illnesses and gave a detailed summing up of the state of all the organs. His diagnoses were always exact and correct... During later visits it seemed as if he paid little attention to him (the sick man) and stayed at his bedside no longer than a minute, feeling his pulse and looking fixedly into his eyes...
"... The sick always died in his arms. It seemed that he always knew exactly the moment of death. Even at night he would suddenly go to the dying man in his department a few minutes before death. He closed the eyes of every dead man, folded his hands on his breast in the shape of the cross and stood in silence for a few minutes without moving. Evidently he was praying. In less than a year all we his colleagues understood that he was not only a remarkable doctor, but also a great man of prayer...
"... After exchanging names and general questions, all three of us brothers told the new arrival that we knew (through friends in the office of the medical unit) his past and the reasons for his arrest and imprisonment on Solovki. Then we went up for his blessing. The face of the doctor-bishop became concentrated, he knit his grey brows still more tightly, and slowly and triumphantly he blessed us. His blue eyes became still kinder and more welcoming, and they were lit up with a joyful light.
"... The arrival of Vladyka Maximus on Solovki produced great changes in the mood of the imprisoned clergy. At that time in the fourth department of the Solovki camps (that is, on Solovki itself) the same schism could be observed among the imprisoned bishops and priests as had taken place 'in freedom' after the well-known declaration of Metropolitan Sergius. One part of the episcopate and the white clergy broke all communion with Metropolitan Sergius, remaining faithful to the invincible position of Metropolitans Peter, Cyril, Agathangel and Joseph, Archbishop Seraphim (of Uglich) and many others who had witnessed to their faithfulness to Christ and the Church by their confession and martyrdom. The other part had become 'sergianists' by accepting the so-called 'new church politics' of Metropolitan Sergius, which founded the Soviet church and introduced a neo-renovationist schism. Most of the prisoners who arrived on Solovki before the declaration of Metropolitan Sergius were 'sergianists'. But on the other hand, most of those who arrived after the publication of the declaration were so-called 'Josephites' (from the name of Joseph, around whom the unshaken and faithful children of the Church mainly grouped themselves). With the arrival of the new prisoners the numbers of the latter became greater and greater.
"By the time of the arrival of Vladyka Maximus, the following 'Josephite' bishops were on Solovki: Bishop Victor of Glazov (the first to come out with a critical letter against the declaration of Metropolitan Sergius), Bishop Hilarion, the vicar of Smolensk and Bishop Nectarius Trezvinsky. The 'sergianists' included Archbishop Anthony of Marioupol and Bishop Joasaph (prince Zhevakhov). Less outspoken, but still a 'sergianist', was Archbishop Hilarion Troitsky, who condemned the declaration, but had not broken communion with Metropolitan Sergius as 'the canonically correct First-Hierarch of the Russian Church'.
"Vladyka Maximus' arrival on Solovki gave an exceptional impetus to theinfluence of the 'Josephites' (which was dominant even before then).
"When, after the most cruel bans laid by Metropolitan Sergius on the'disobedient', these latter began to be arrested and shot, then the trueRussian Orthodox Church which was faithful to Christ began to depart into thecatacombs. Metropolitan Sergius and all the 'sergianists' categoricallydenied the existence of the Catacomb Church. The Solovki 'sergianists', ofcourse, also did not believe in her existence. And suddenly - a livingwitness: the first catacomb bishop, Maximus of Serpukhov, arrived on Solovki.
"Archbishop Hilarion Troitsky was soon removed from Solovki, and withhim there also disappeared the 'sergianist attitudes' from many. OnlyArchbishop Anthony and, especially, Bishop Joasaph (Zhevakhov) remainedstubborn 'sergianists'. They did not want even to see or talk with BishopMaximus. However, Bishops Victor, Hilarion (of Smolensk) and Nectarius quitequickly found the opportunity not only to meet, but also to serve withVladyka Maximus in secret catacomb Divine services in the depths of theSolovki woods. The 'sergianists' behaved too cautiously and never arrangedany secret services. But then the camp administration were more condescendingto them than to the bishops, priests and laymen about whom it was known thatthey 'did not recognize' either Metropolitan Sergius or the Soviet church.
"All those arrested for matters relating to the Church (and suchconstituted up to 20% of those on Solovki according to official statistics)were unfailingly asked during interrogation what their attitude was to 'our'Metropolitan Sergius, who headed the Soviet church. The chekists woulddemonstrate with evil joy and sarcasm the 'strict canonicity' of MetropolitanSergius and his declaration, which 'did not violate either the canons or thedogmas'.
"In denying the Catacomb Church, the Solovki 'sergianists' also deniedthe rumours that reproachful epistles had been written to MetropolitanSergius and many delegations had gone to protest to him from the dioceses.Once Archbishop Anthony of Marioupol, who was lying ill in the prisonhospital, learned that I had participated in one of these delegations as alayman. So he wanted to hear my account of the journey to MetropolitanSergius together with the representatives of the episcopate and the whiteclergy. Vladykas Victor (of Glazov) and Maximus (of Serpukhov) blessed me togo to the hospital where Archbishop Antony lay and tell him about thejourney. If, after my account, he declared his solidarity with the protestorsagainst the 'new church policy', I was allowed to take his blessing. But ifhe remained a stubborn sergianist, I was not to take his blessing. Myconversation with Archbishop Anthony lasted more than two hours. I told himin detail about the historic delegation of the Petrograd delegation in 1927,after which the church schism took place. At the end of my account ArchbishopAnthony asked me to tell him about the personality and activities of VladykaMaximus. I replied in a very restrained and short manner, and he noticed thatI did not completely trust him. He asked me about this. I openly replied thatwe catacombers feared not only the agents of the GPU, but also thesergianists, who had often handed us over to the GPU. Archbishop Anthony wasvery upset and for a long time walked up and down the doctor's surgery towhich I, as a consultant doctor had summoned him, as if for a check-up. Thenhe suddenly and decisively said:
"'But still I will remain with Metropolitan Sergius.'
"I rose, bowed and was about to go. He raised his hand to bless me, butI, remembering the instructions of Vladykas Victor and Maximus, declined toreceive his blessing and left.
"When I told Vladyka Maximus about what had happened, he again insistedthat I should never receive the blessings of stubborn sergianists.
"'The Soviet and the Catacomb Churches are incompatible,' VladykaMaximus said significantly, firmly and with conviction.
"And after a pause he added quietly: 'The secret, desert Catacomb Churchhas anathematized the sergianists and those with them.'
"In spite of the exceptional severity of the Solovki camp regime, whichexposed them to the risk of being shot, Vladykas Victor, Hilarion, Nectariusand Maximus not only often served together in secret catacomb services in thewoods of the island, but also carried out secret consecrations of newbishops. Only on the eve of my departure from Solovki did I learn from aclose friend, a celibate priest, that he was no longer a priest, but a secretbishop.
"We had several secret catacomb 'churches' on Solovki, but the most'beloved' were two: the 'diocesan cathedral' of the Holy Trinity and thechurch of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker... Services were more often performedin the church of St. Nicholas. In the 'Trinity diocesan cathedral' serviceswere performed only in summer, on big feasts and, with especial solemnity, onthe day of Pentecost. But sometimes, depending on circumstances, strictlysecret services were also performed in other places. Thus, for example, onGreat Thursday the service with the reading of the 12 Gospels was performedin our doctors' room in the tenth company. Vladyka Victor and Fr. Nicholascame to us supposedly for disinfection. They served with the door bolted. OnGreat Friday the order went out in all the companies that for three daysprisoners were allowed to leave their companies after eight in the eveningonly in exceptional circumstances, with special written permission from thecamp commandant.
"At seven o'clock on Friday evening, when we doctors had just returnedto our rooms after a twelve-hour working day, Fr. Nicholas came to us andannounced that a plashchanitsa the size of a man's palm had been painted bythe artist R., and that the service - the rite of burial - would begin in anhour.
"'Where?' asked Vladyka Maximus.
"'In the big box used for drying fish which is near the wood not farfrom such-and-such a company. The sign is three knocks, followed by two.Better come one by one.'...
"Half an hour later Vladyka Maximus and I left our company and headedfor the appointed address. Twice the sentries asked us for our passes. We, asdoctors, had them. But what about the others: Vladyka Victor, VladykaHilarion, Vladyka Nectarius and Fr. Nicholas... Vladyka Victor worked as anaccountant in the rope factory, Vladyka Nectarius was a fisherman, while theothers wove nets...
"Here was the edge of the wood. Here was the box, over two metres inlength. There were no windows. The door was scarcely visible. It was aradiant twilight. The sky was covered with thick clouds. We knocked threetimes and then twice. Fr. Nicholas opened. Vladykas Victor and Hilarion werealready there... A few minutes later Vladyka Nectarius also came. The insideof the box was converted into a church. The floor and the walls were made ofspruce branches. A few candles were burning. There were some small papericons. The small burial shroud the size of a palm was drowning in greenbranches. There were about ten worshippers. Four or five came later,including two monks. The service began. In a whisper. It seemed that we hadno bodies, only ears. Nothing stopped or hindered us from praying. I don'tremember how we returned 'home', that is, to our companies. The Lordprotected us.
"The Mattins of Pascha was to be served in our doctors' room. By twelvemidnight all those who were intending to come had arrived - without writtenpermission, on one of another urgent excuse connected with the medicalsection. There were about fifteen people. After the Mattins and Liturgy wesat down to break our fast. On the table were cakes, pascha, coloured eggs,snacks and wine (liquid yeast with cranberry extract and sugar). At aboutthree in the morning everyone dispersed. The camp commandants made hiscontrol inspections of our company before and after the service, at eleven inthe evening and four in the morning... Finding us, four doctors with VladykaMaximus at our head, still awake, the commandant said:
"'What, aren't you sleeping, doctors?' And he immediately added: What anight! One doesn't want to sleep.'
"And he left.
"'Lord Jesus Christ, we thank Thee for the miracle of Thy mercy andstrength,' said Vladyka Maximus with emphasis, expressing the feelings of allof us.
"The white Solovki night was on its way out. The tender, rosy Solovkipaschal morning with its playfully joyful sun met the monastery-concentrationcamp, turning it into an invisible city of Kitezh and filling our free soulswith quiet, unearthly joy. Many years have passed since that time, but thefragrance of this tender paschal morning is unforgettably alive, as if itwere only yesterday. And the heart believes that it was holy between usthen...
"On July 5/18, 1930, the feast of St. Sergius of Radonezh, our friends from the office of the medical section informed me that I would bearrested that night and sent with a special convoy to Leningrad 'in connection with a new affair'. Being warned, I got ready, said goodbye to myfriends, and without lying down to sleep, began to wait for my arrest. At two o'clock in the morning I heard a noise and steps below (our roomwas on the second floor). I bowed to the ground before Vladyka Maximus (who had also not slept) and asked him to bless me and pray thatthe Lord would send me strength to bear the coming sorrows and sufferings, and perhaps - tortures and death. Vladyka got up from his bed,stood to his full, knight-like height, and slowly blessed me, kissed me three times and said with emphasis:
"'You will have many sorrows and heavy trials, but your life will be preserved and in the end you will get out into freedom... As for me, in afewmonths they will also arrest me andâ€¦ shoot me. Pray also for me, both while I am alive and, especially, after my death.'"
This prophecy was fulfilled exactly, both in regard to I.M. Andreyev and to Bishop Maximus himself.
With regard to the future, "Vladyka Maximus... remained a pessimist, or, as he defined himself in the words of K. Leontiev, 'an optimisticpessimist'.The tragic end of world history is drawing near, and for that reason, according to the word of the Lord, it is necessary to 'raise our heads' inexpectation of the certain triumph of Christian truth..."
By the end of 1930 the authorities had brought an end to the legal existence of the Josephite parishes in Serpukhov. On August 19 therebeganthe investigation of the affair of "the church-monarchist organization 'True Orthodoxy' in Moscow region". The OGPU claimed that thisorganization occupied itself with "anti-Soviet activity under the flag of the defence of true Orthodoxy from the 'Godless' authorities". The mainarrests took place between October and December, and on February 4, 1931, the investigation was terminated. In the course of it,twenty-eight of the most active Josephites were arrested in Serpukhov. Almost all of them behaved with great courage during theinterrogations.
Hieromonk John (Trusilin), superior of the Pokrov church, remarked: "We consider the commemoration of the authorities inadmissible forourselves,because they have been sent by God to punish us, like a whip.. The clergy and the monks lived much better under the Tsar since there were norestrictions."
Deacon Paul Trofimovich was born in 1891 in the village of Melikhi (Melekhi), Lokhvitsky uyezd, Poltava province. He lived in the village of
Novo-Nikolskoye, Serpukhov region, Moscow province. He served in one of the churches of Serpukhov region. On November 15, 1930 hewas arrested and imprisoned in the Butyrki prison in Moscow. On February 5, 1930 he was accused of "participation in the anti-Sovietorganization 'The True Orthodox Church' and on February 18, 1931 was sentenced to three years deprivation of liberty.
Nun Maria, in the world Maria (?) Vasilyevna Koroleva, was born in 1895 in Moscow province. She lived in Serpukhov. She was arrestedon December 3,
1930 in connection with the affair of the "organization True Orthodoxy". On February 18, 1931 she was sentenced to the camps.
Nun Matrona, in the world Matrona (?) Dmitrievna Merzlyakova, was born in 1875 in Serpukhov uyezd, Moscow province. She lived inSerpukhov. OnNovember 15, 1930 she was arrested in connection with the affair of "the organization True Orthodoxy" and on February 18, 1931 wassentenced to the camps.
Nun Nadezhda, in the world Nadezhda (?) Konstantinovna Sharapova, was born in 1873 in Serpukhov. She lived in Serpukhov. OnDecember 9, 1930 shewas arrested in connection with the affair of the "organization True Orthodoxy" and on February 18, 1931 was sentenced to the camps.
On October 28, 1930 Bishop Maximus' sentence was increased to five years. However, on November 27 he and Protopriest AlexanderKremyshensky werearrested on Solovki in connection with this same "True Orthodoxy" affair, and on January 27, 1931 they were taken to the Butyrki prison.Neither interrogations nor tortures succeeded in getting anything out of them, and on February 18 the OGPU sentenced them and fifteenothers, including Fathers Seraphim (Bublikov), Cyril (Dubrovny) and Nicholas Ishchenko, to be executed. The sentence was carried out onJune 4 (according to another source - on June23 / July 6).
(Sources: M.E. Gubonin, Akty Svyateishego Patriarkha Tikhona, Moscow: St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1994, p. 872; Lev Regelson, Tragediya Russkoj Tserkvi, 1917-1945, Paris: YMCA Press, 1977, pp. 597-600; Protopresbyter Michael Polsky, Novye MuchenikiRossijskiye, Jordanville: Holy Trinity Monastery Press, 1949-57; Bishop Ambrose (von Sievers), "Istoki i svyazi Katakombnoj Tserkvi vLeningrade i obl. (1922-1992)", report read at the conference "The Historical Path of Orthodoxy in Russia after 1917", Saint Petersburg, 1-3June, 1993; "Katakombnaya Tserkov': Kochuyushchij Sobor 1928 g.", Russkoye Pravoslaviye, N 3 (7), 1997, pp. 17, 19; "EpiskopatIstinno-Pravoslavnoj Katakombnoj Tserkvi 1922-1997g.", Russkoye Pravoslaviye, N 4(8), 1997, p. 6; Schema-Monk Epiphanius (Chernov)Tserkov' Katakombnaya na Zemlye Rossijskoj, 1980 (typescript); A.P., in Pravoslavnaya Rus', N 7 (1532), April 1/14, 1995, pp. 9-10, fromN. Astafyeva, E. Serovaya, "1930: OGPU obvinyayet pravoslavnykh svyashchennikov v zagovorye protiv sovyetskoj vlasti", MoskovskayaPravda, 8 October, 1993; M.V. Shkarovsky, "Iz noveishej istorii Russkoj Tserkvi", Pravoslavnaya Rus', N 18 (1543), September 15/28,1995, pp. 9-12; "Maksim, episkop Serpukhovskij", Vozdvizheniye, N 8, February, 1995; Iosiflyanstvo, St. Petersburg: Memorial, 1999, pp.334,
338-339, 342-345; Victor Antonov, "Svyashchennomuchenik Sergij (Druzhinin)", Pravoslavnaya Zhizn', 48, N 2 (554), February, 1996, p. 8;Za KhristaPostradavshiye, Moscow: St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1997, pp. 30-31; I.I. Osipova, "Skvoz' Ogn' Muchenij i Vody Slyozy", Moscow:Serebryanniye Niti, 1998, pp. 260, 312, 334, 339, 358; M.V. Shkvarovsky, Iosiflyanstvo, St. Petersburg: Memorial, 1999, pp. 333, 338,340-341, 343)
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