The priest Fr. Demetrius Zheltonogov served for 20 years in the village of Mikhailovsky, near the Prosyanaya station, Ekaterinoslav province, and was exceptionally beloved by his flock. In the autumn of 1919 he came out of his yard at the same time that a band of Makhno bandits arrived. He was caught and tied to a cart. Then they drove the horses as fast as they could, and he, beaten by the stones and hummocks, surrendered his soul to God. His wife Alexandra went out of her mind looking for his body, which was found in an unrecognizable state.
(Protopresbyter Michael Polsky, Noviye Mucheniki Rossijskiye, Jordanville, 1949-57, part 2, pp. 174-175; Za Khrista Postradavshiye, volume 1, Moscow, 1997, pp. 431-432) *
At Chaplino station in Ekaterinoslav province, Archimandrite Benjamin from Moscow was executed for interceding for the former land chief who was sentenced to death in the same place. They dragged the weak old man, who was barely able to move his legs, along the railway platform. At the place of execution they stripped him and divided his clothing amongst themselves. Then they began to beat him with ramrods. The strength of the blows was so great that his pigtail was cut off with one of them. The archimandrite stood in silence, all bloodied, and only prayed, but with blows to the hands they deliberately prevented him from making the sign of the cross. The torture lasted for a long time until they finally cut off his head.
(Protopresbyter Michael Polsky, Noviye Mucheniki Rossijskiye, Jordanville, 1949-57, part 1, p. 205; Za Khrista Postradavshiye, volume 1, Moscow, 1997, pp. 242)
In Bakhmutsky uyezd in the same province, they suggested to the village priest Popov that he serve a pannikhida for himself, and when he refused, they shot him.
The Bolsheviks cut out the eyes and pulled out the hair of the beard of another priest in the same uyezd.
In the village of Rozhdenstvensky, Alexandrovsky uyezd, the Red Army men cut off the arms and legs of the local priest to the trunk, and in this form hanged him by the hair on an acacia tree. Then they shot him and did not allow his body to be taken from the tree for three days.
In Kherson province, three priests were crucified on crosses.
In 1922, 191 clergy of various ranks were killed by the Bolsheviks in the Odessa-Kherson province in connection with the confiscation of church valuables, 92 clergy in the Ekaterinoslav region.
In about 1923, Protopriest Basil Kapinos, who served in the cathedral in Ekaterinoslav, was let down through a hole in the ice of the River Dnieper.
The priest Vladimir Kachkovsky suffered for the faith in 1928. He served in one of the small villages on the left bank of the Dnieper and was sentenced to five years in the camps for his preaching activity. The GPU had learned that many peasants from all the surrounding villages came to his small village church to hear his sermons, and they sensed in him an undesirable pastor of human souls. So Fr. Vladimir was accused of being an "anti-Soviet agitator".
Once, on returning from work, Fr. Vladimir did not find the piece of bread that he received for the whole day in the usual place that it was put. But he did not get angry; he only waved his hand and said:
"God be with them, perhaps somebody took it by mistake..."
However, this missing piece of bread caused anxiety because only an "urka" - that is, a criminal, as opposed to a political prisoner - could have stolen it, and they had an unwritten law that the theft of an arrested person's rations was a most serious crime against the comrades and was to be punished in the most merciless fashion.
The investigation into the missing piece of bread was undertaken by one of the chief criminals, and in ways unknown to us the guilty man was quickly discovered. He was a skinny, exhausted petty thief with the nickname "Senka-Shket". When the enraged criminals dragged the terrified, trembling Shket to Fr. Vladimir, who was lying in his place, I saw for the first time how changed his face was, what a deep, inner pain poured into his kind, radiant eyes.
Stretching out his hand, he drew the unfortunate Shket to himself, and began to stroke the lad's dirty, dishevelled head. The criminals were struck dumb at first, but when they tried to drag Senka out of the hands of Fr. Vladimir in order to "give him a lesson" - in other words, beat him to death, the meek batyushka was as if transfigured. Shielding Shket, he drew himself up to his full height and in a firm voice said:
"I forbid you to touch this child. He did not steal my bread, I myself gave it to him... Go with God."
Evidently there was something masterful in his tone, for the inveterate criminals moved back in perplexity, and, hiding their awkwardness under cynical jokes, went to their corner.
The three of us now while away our evenings together. Shket would sit at the feet of batyushka, and I listened with pleasure to Fr. Vladimir's stories about the life and sufferings of the Saviour, and the exploits of love of the first martyrs. Sometimes "batya" would go over to examples of lofty, true heroism that were closer to us. I especially remember a story about the extraordinary courage of the soldier Archippus Osipov, which he finished with the words:
"Remember, my friend, that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends."
I should point out that gradually the whole of the dugout had begun to listen to Fr. Vladimir's conversations, and even the most inveterate criminal did not dare to interrupt his talks with an inappropriate joke or comment.
The snow was already falling when the GPU bosses decided to have a look at our remote "mission" in the fir forest.
By 10 in the morning the road had been cleaned, and we were drawn up in five rows. But then, as was only to be expected, we had to freeze aimlessly until 12 o'clock, when the bells of the sledge were heard and that "persona" came up for whose sake 200 exhausted, half-clothed people had been shaking in the severe frost for two extra hours. The "persona" was dressed in a warm reindeer fur-coat and was accompanied by three chekists of a lower rank who bustled around him. The new arrival chatted for quite a long time at the "arch" with the sergeant-major, and then slowly came towards us. After looking down the ranks of frozen people he said:
"Whoever has a complaint or claims, come forward!"
If course, none of us moved. It was laughable even to think about a complaint. In any case, against whom were we to complain? One of us already had bitter experience of what happened after even the most lawful complaints, and for that reason the column stood in silence.
"That means there are no complaints? Everybody's happy?"
He was clearly mocking us. But as he was preparing to turn and go away, suddenly from one of the back rows a quite, but distinct voice sounded out:
"Curse you, you blood-sucker!"
The column shuddered and froze. We all felt that something terrible and incorrigible had taken place. The chekist's face went purple with rage. He stopped sharply and bawled:
"Who said that? Come out here!.."
Nobody moved from his place. Then, turning to the sergeant-major, the enraged chekist hissed:
"If the guilty man is not found in five minutes, shoot every tenth man!"
But at that moment there was a movement, the ranks rocked a little and in front of the formation there appeared the figure of Fr. Vladimir. His face was tense and pale, but completely calm. Staring point-blank into the eyes of the "persona", he said, loudly and distinctly:
"There's no need to punish them all. I said it!"
The chekist swore swinishly and screamed:
"A KR [counter-revolutionary]?"
"No, I am a priest," he replied, firmly as ever.
"You're all tarred with the same brush," shouted the "persona", and, turning to the sergeant-major, he said: "Immediately send him to Paradise and all the saints as an example to the rest."
Two of the guards hurled themselves at Fr. Vladimir, when the column suddenly began to move and an old professional, a pilot known as "Shtyba" pushed his way hurriedly out:
"Wait, boss!" he bellowed, "Don't touch this batya. Do you think he's really capable of that? I said it and can repeat it as much as you like!"
The "persona" said with a diabolical smirk:
"All the better. So shoot both of them. This one" - pointed at Shtyba - "for insulting the organs of the GPU, and that one" - he nodded in the direction of "batya" - "for trying to deceive Soviet power"...
Having pronounced sentence, the executioner quickly set off for the sledge that was waiting for him.
Fr. Vladimir and "Shtyba" were surrounded by a ring of guards and taken beyond the barbed wire into the woods. The other supervisors rattled the breech-blocks of their rifles and turned all four of the snub-nosed machine-guns towards the prisoners from the four wooden watch-towers surrounding the "mission".
Holding our breath, and trembling not from the cold but from inner suffering, we froze, listening to what was happening in the woods. One shot rang out, then another, and then two in a row... And then with my own eyes I saw a miracle: almost all the 200 men raised their right hands and made the sign of the cross over their breasts...
Then we were all driven into the dugout. "Senka-Shket" was writhing in my arms, sobbing hysterically, and out of his thin, childlike breast there burst out the doleful and wrathful words:
"For what? For what did they kill our 'batya'? For what?..."
In Odessa there was a Josephite church, the "Botanic", in which there served Protopriest Alexander Vvedensky. In Ananyev there was the Josephite priest Fr. Benedict Korolchuk, who was first under the omophorion of Archbishop Demetrius (Lyubimov), but then, in 1929, moved to Bishop Paul (Kratirov). In the church of the village of Mutykhi, Shevchenko region, there served the Josephite Hieromonk Thaddeus (Tarasenko). The community of the
True Orthodox in the village of Matyasi was led by Hieromonks Gudail and Dositheus, in the summer of 1930 arrived in Kherson to the local antisergianists (?). From the end of 1927 to 1931 a secret church was active in the village of Belvedery, Novoarkhangelsk region. The Josephite dean in Odessa was the priest Orlov.
In September, 1928 Archbishop Procopius (Titov) was officially removed from his see by Metropolitan Sergius, and the Kherson-Nikolayevsk diocesewas joined to that of Odessa. As a result the very authoritative Protopriest Gregory Sinitsky of Nikolayevsk separated from Metropolitan Anatolius of Odessa on October 1. In 1922 and the beginning of 1923 he had been the only priest in the city who waged an open struggle against the renovationists.Fr. Gregory left the Skorbyashchenskaya "Novokupecheskaya" church and began to serve in flats. He was followed by Deacon John Pavlovsky and a significant number of laypeople. Fr. Gregory was banned from serving, but continued his antisergianist activity. In 1929 he went to Bishop Damascene in Starodub and corresponded with Archbishop Procopius. Although the latter had issued an
epistle condemning the declaration of 1927 he had not separated from Metropolitan Sergius and did not approve of this step of Fr. Gregory. Vladyka Procopius told the Christians in Nikolayevsk that he was in correspondence with Metropolitan Peter.
Fr. Gregory had contacts with the Josephites in Elisavettgrad and Kharkov (in particular, with Fr. Gregory Seletsky). He received from themthe appeal, "The Church in the wilderness", a copy of which he sent to Kherson. However, when Archbishop Demetrius wrote to him suggesting that he join him, Fr. Gregory refused.
Fr. Gregory's parish continued to function until January, 1931. One of its active members, S.F. Vorobyev, led a strike at factory no. 61 on December 2, 1930, during which he called on the workers to deal with the communists. Fr. Gregory himself prayed for the Emperor Nicholas II and at meetings said: "The darker the night, the brighter the stars; the deeper the sorrow, the
closer is God; we are on the eve of the last times of the Antichrist."
Linked with Fr. Gregory was the superior of the church in the village of Peresadovka, Nikolayevsk okrug, Fr. Elijah Takovila, who also commemorated only Archbishop Procopius and Metropolitan Peter. On January 15, 1931 eleven people were arrested in Nikolayevsk. Five of them were separated into another case, while the other six, including Fr. Gregory, Deacon John and S.F. Vorobyev were charged as part of the case against the True Orthodox Church in the Ukraine.
A similar situation to that in Nikolayevsk existed in Kherson. Therea part of the clergy separated from Metropolitan Sergius and Archbishop Anatolius (Grisyuk) immediately the latter was appointed as temporary administrator of the diocese. When Archbishop Anatolius first arrived in Kherson on October 26, 1927, he was not recognized by the dean, Protopriest John Sadovsky, Protodeacon Michael Zakharov, the priest Demetrius Miroshkun and Hieromonk Athanasius. In a conversation with Vladyka they rejected his right to rule the Kherson-Nikolayevsk diocese. Archbishop Anatolius waited for several months for their written promises, but eventually lost patience and banned the "rebels" from serving within the bounds of the diocese. Protopriest John and Protodeacon Michael were expelled from the cathedral
church and began to serve in flats. They tried to obtain a church for themselves, as a "special independent tendency", from the authorities, but were refused.
Fr. John's parish in Kherson numbered about 100 members; it contained some individual Johnnites, such as P.P. Pis'mennij. Fr. John also went out to serve in the neighbouring villages, where he had spiritual children. The antisergianist movement gained a definite following in the Kherson, Golopristansky and Tsuryupinsky regions. It was joined by the majority ofthe nuns in the Dormition monastery in Aleshki and in the Annunciation monastery. By 1928 these communities had already been closed and their inhabitants lived in various villages of the okrug, above all Arnautki and Aleshki. Especially active in the antisergianist movement was Nun Maria (Khodanovich) from Arnautki, Nuns Hippolyta (Barkovskaya) and Filareta, who lived in Kherson, and Nuns Anna (Kulida) and Metrodora (Kobylkina) from Maliye Kopani. The latter village was, with Kherson, the centre of the movement. The superior of the local church was the True Orthodox Priest Demetrius Miroshkun. In 1930 there were several women's uprisings in Maliye Kopani in connection with work in the collective farm, and Fr. Demetrius was arrested, and then sentenced to be executed. The church passed to the sergianists and the nuns stopped going to it.
Fr. John Sladovsky's views were shared by Priest Cyril of the village of Novo-Zburyevka. It is also known that by January, 1931 the superior of the church in the village of Arkhangelskoye, Kherson okrug, was the Josephite
Priest Constantine Parokonev, who had earlier served in Elisavettgrad okrug.
Fr. John was in constant contact with Fr. Gregory Seletsky, who was his spiritual father. He also maintained links with Archbishop Procopius. Fr.
John made trips to see Vladyka in 1926 and 1928 (in the latter case in the city of Kem), while his wife, Matushka Catherine, went to the archbishop's place of exile in Obdorsk at the end of 1928 and in 1930. On the way back, towards the end of 1930 in Tobolsk, she was arrested and did not return to Kherson. Protodeacon Michael in his turn corresponded with Archbishop Procopius, with Archimandrite Barsonuphius, and with Bishops Damascene, Parthenius and Nectarius. Although Vladyka condemned Fr. John's separation from Metropolitan Sergius, Fr. John remained faithful to him and refused suggestions from visiting Josephite priests that he recognized Archbishop
The Kherson section of the OPGU began to follow the local antisergianists from October, 1929, but no arrests took place until January 15, 1931 - in the villages of Arnautki, Maliye Kopany and Kherson. Of the
seven arrested, Frs. John and Michael, Nuns Maria, Anna and Metrodora andthe laypeople K.Y. Kulida and D.G. Klimenko were charged in connection with the affair of the True Orthodox Church in the Ukraine. This enormous case was
fabricated by the OPGU of the Ukraine in January-June, 1931. The accused included 140 Josephites: two bishops, fifty-two priests, nineteen monastics, seven deacons and readers, and sixty laypeople. The prosecutor's conclusion declared that "the counter-revolutionary organization of churchmen, 'The True Orthodox Church', had many branches and embraced the whole of the Soviet Union", including the Ukraine. There was supposedly a tightly organized structure in the Ukraine controlled by the centres in Moscow and Leningrad. This net, according to the OGPU, consisted of three main branches: Kharkov, led by Bishop Paul (Kratirov), Dnepropetrovsk, led by Bishop Joasaph (Popov), and Odessa, led by Fr. Gregory Seletsky and Abbot Barsonuphius (Yurchenko). The first branch contained eleven groups: Kharkov, Sumi, Stalin, Kiev, Debaltsevo, Kadievo, Mariupol, Popasnyan, Berdyansk, Slavyansk and Krasnoluchinsk. In the second branch there were three: Novomoskovsk, Krivorog and Ladyzhino. And in the third branch there were: Kharkov, Poltava, Elisavettgrad, Alexandria, Nikolayevsk and Kherson. Each group was in its
turn composed of cells: "Each group and cell had its immediate leaders chosen from the most trusted and reliable people, who had links with the leadersof the branches Thanks to the constant links between the centres and the branches, a systematic leadership of the counter-revolutionary activitiesof the peripheral branches of the counter-revolutionary organization was guaranteed." Such assertions were undoubtedly far from the truth. As can be seen from the above material, the Josephites in various inhabited points of the Ukraine not only were not in "constant contact" with each other, but had tense relations with each other.
On December 14, 1931 there took place the first trial in connection with the affair of the True Orthodox Church. A special meeting of the OGPU College passed a sentence of antisoviet activity on one hundred and twenty six people - fifty-three were condemned to three years in the camps, fifty-eight to exile to the northern regions for three years, five were deprived of the right to live in twelve inhabited points while being restricted to their place of residence for three years, and ten were freed under guard. On January 2, 1931 the College condemned the fourteen leaders: Bishop Paul, V.V. Podgorny and Fr. Gregory Seletsky to ten years in the camps, while Bishop
Joasaph, Abbot Barsonuphius (Yurchenko), Abbot Eustratius (Grumkov), Archimandrite Macarius (Velichko), A.I. Krasnokutsky, N.V. Tolmachev, Fr.
Theodore Pavlov, Fr. D. Ivanov, Fr. B. Kvasnitsky, S.P. Labinsky and Fr. John Sadovsky were sentenced to five years in the camps.
The wave of repressions could not complete destroy the Josephite movement in the Ukraine. After the closure of all the churches of the True Orthodox in Kiev, secret services continued to be celebrated in the suburb of Irpen, where a women's monastic community continued to exist in the dachaof E.A. Babenko. It is known that on October 5, 1932 twenty-five Josephite nuns arrived in the village of Uglyanets, near Voronezh, from Kiev. However, massive arrests began there within a few weeks. The monastic community in
Irpen was destroyed in 1937, and all its inhabitants were exiled to a deer-raising state farm in the extreme north. Elena Babchenko managed to send a telegram about this to some former nuns of the Pokrov monastery living secretly in Kiev.
In the middle of the 1930s, after almost five years in prison, Abbot
Barsonuphius, now an invalid, managed to return to Kharkov and again began to serve secretly in flats. Periodically he would go to serve his flock in various parts of the Ukraine, Belorussia and the Kuban. During one of his
trips, in Odessa in 1936, he was arrested and sent to the terrible Kolyma
camps in north-east Siberia.
On July 6, 1933 the priest Eugene P. Lukyanov was released from the White Sea camps. He returned to Kiev and began to work as a stove-maker in a school. Fr. Eugene spent four years in very active illegal church work, looking after the former members of the community of Fr. Anatolius Zhurakovsky. He served in secret in flats, in the Solomensky cemetery, and every year served pannikhidas for Archimandrite Spirydon (Kislyakov). He buried the Josephite Alexander Kostkevich in April, 1937 Fr. Eugene maintained contacts with the exile priests Fr. A. Zhurakovsky and A. Bojchuk. He remained, according to the witness of F.N. Blazhkov, who served him, hostile to Metropolitan Sergius "since Sergius, he said, was in contact with the Bolsheviks and striving to destroy the Orthodox Faith." At the end of
1936 several of Fr. Eugene's spiritual children, Kozlenko, Salamasov and others, were arrested and condemned. He himself was arrested on June 12, 1937. On October 16, 1937 a troika of the Kiev provincial administration of the Ukrainian NKVD sentenced him to be shot, and the sentence was carriedout on October 16. After his arrest, his wife, Sophia Lukyanova, continued secret Josephite services in her flat.
At the beginning of June, 1939, Fr. Andrew Bojchuk returned to Kiev from exile. He was forbidden to live there, so from June 15 to December 9 he lived in Belaya Tserkov, first as a guard in a hospital, and then as a weigher in a poultry farm. During this period he was visited by the Josephite monk Kallinicus (Khomenko) and U. Kvasnitsky from Kiev. In December, 1939 Fr. Andrew left his work and went to "a town on the Dnieper", where he lived for eighteen months in an illegal situation. He spent his nights at the flatsof the nuns Natalia, Theodora, the former chanter in the Pokrov monastery Fenya and other Josephites, "illegally" carrying out needs in the Kiev cemeteries. Fr. Andrew maintained close links with Schema-Monk Erasmus and the former
reader of the Transfiguration church, and teacher of mathematics and physics at the medical course of the Red Cross, Alexis Glagolev. The latter was formerly a spiritual son of Fr. Anatolius Zhurakovsky and in the autumn of 1928 left, with Fr. Anatolius, the church of his father, Protopriest Alexander Glagolev. Fr. Andrew often served in the flat of Alexis, who himself wanted to become a priest. In 1940 he visited Schema-Archbishop Anthony (Abashidze), who was living in Kiev, and asked him to ordain him,but Vladyka refused. Fr. Andrew was arrested not long before the outbreak of war, on May 7, 1941. He was sentenced to be shot by the People's Commissar of internal affairs and procurator of the Ukraine, "in connection with the military situation". Fr. Andrew was shot on the same day.
(Source: M.V. Shkarovsky, "Istinno-Pravoslavniye khristiane na Ukraine",
Pravoslavnaya Zhizn', 48, N 10 (586), October, 1998, pp. 27-33)
Fr. Nicetas Porfiryevich Olshansky was born in 1886 on Donskoye farm, Preobrazhenskya station, Khoper uyezd, in a Cossack family. He finished his studies at a theological seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood and served in the church in the village of Voinova, Alexandria region. In 1926 he was under investigation on a charge of antisoviet agitation, but was released after two months. On January 17, 1931 he was arrested in connection with the affair of the Alexandria group of the Odessa branch of the True Orthodox Church. On December 14, 1931 he was sentenced in accordance with article 58-10 to three years in the camps, and sent to Siberia. On September 4, 1933 he was released from the camps and exiled to Sukhumi.
(Sources: M.V. Shkarovsky, "Istinno-pravoslavniye khristiane na Ukraine",48, N 10 (586), october, 1998, p. 25; I.I. Osipova, "Skvoz' ogn' muchenij if vody slyoz", Moscow: Serebryanniye Niti, 1998, p. 318)
Fr. Anthony Kotovich, a relative of Hieromartyr Nicholas Piskanovsky, Protopriest Anthony Kotovich was born in 1885 in the village of Novy Dvor, Grodno province. He finished his studies at a theological seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood and became dean of the Alexandria parish. He lived in the village of Kukulovka in the Alexandria uyezd. He took no part in renovationism. He was appointed second priest of the Protection church while Fr. Barsonuphius was first priest. When Fr. Barsonuphius was arrested, he
took his place. He was arrested several times, both in connection with the affair of Fr. Barsonuphius and for his refusal to recognize the declaration of Metropolitan Sergius. When Fr. Barsonuphius was arrested and the new superior of the Protection church submitted to legalization, Fr. Anthony publicly declared in the Pokrov church, where he was serving as dean, that he was leaving the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Michael of the Ukraine. He began celebrating the Liturgy every day in his flat, serving the believers there. For this he was arrested for the last time on January 3, 1930, in connection with the discovery in the flat of the Glinks dean, Fr. Simeon Ryabov, of antisergianist literature sent him by Fr. Anthony. Fr. Anthony was imprisoned and then sentenced to five years' exile in accordance with article 54-10.He was sent to Yeniseisk and shot in the second half of the 1930s.
In March, 1928 Fr. Anthony's Matushka Nina Feofilovna brought to Bishop Alexis in Voronezh a petition that he accept the Alexandria parishes under his omophorion. She was also arrested, with six priests, a deacon and three laymen, on January 16, 1931, and was subjected to tortures in the GPU in Alexandria. She was exiled, and returned at the end of her term. What happened to her thereafter is unknown.
However, the overwhelming majority of the parishes of his deanery followed him: in the villages of Pustelnikovo, Golovkovka, Zvenigorodka, Marto-Ivanovka, Ivanovka, Berezovka, Novaya Praga, Nedogarok, Krasnaya Kamenka, Voinovka, Schastlivoye, Kukulovka and Novostaroduba. Only the Pokrov church in Alexandria and the church in the village of Protopopovka remained with the sergianists. However, the Protopopovka later joined the Josephites. True, in the same city there were no True Orthodox churches and the Josephite clergy - Protopriest A. Kotovich, Protopriest John Shvachko and Fr. Nicephous Bryukhovetsky served in flats.
Fr. Ivan Polikarpovich Shvachko was born in 1873 in the village of Gubovka, Alexandria uyezd. He finished his studies at a theological seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood, but after 1926? He found himself without a parish. He lived in Alexandria. On January 16, 1931 he was arrested in connection with the affair of the Alexcandria group of the Odessa branch of the True Orthodox Church. On December 14, 1931 he was sentenced in accordance with article 58-10 to three years' exile in the north.
Several of those who attended Fr. Anthony's illegal services received long sentences. One of them, the virgin Charitina, received a ten-year sentence in the camps.
Fr. Anthony's was succeeded as Josephite dean by the superior of the
church in the village of Krasnaya Kamenka, Fr. Hilarion Genkin, and the assistant to the dean became the priest of the church in the village of Boinovka, Fr. Nicetas Olshansky. Fr. Hilarion Pavlovich Genkin was born in 1881 in Elisavettgrad, He finished his studies at a theological seminary.In 1909 he was ordained to the priesthood. In June, 1929, Fr. Hilarion, together with the Inguletsky dean, Fr. Nicholas Fomenko, went to Leningrad and was
received by Archbishop Demetrius under his omophorion. The Alexandrian Josephites commemorated Vladyka Alexis and Demetrius until 1931. But the life of the deanery was de facto administred in many things by Archimandrite Barsonuphius, who had served there until the middle of the 1920s. In 1930Fr. Hilarion was placed under guard on a charge of antisoviet agitation "against the removal of bells". On January 16 or 17, 1931 he was arrested in Krasnaya Kamenka in connection with the affair of the Alexandria group of the Odessa branch of the True Orthodox Church. On December 14, 1931 he was sentencedin accordance with article 58-10 to three years in the camps.
Fr. Gregory Rodionovich Bublik was born in 1889 in the village of Aleshki, Orel province. He was ordained to the priesthood and served in the village of Krasnaya Kamenka, Alexiandria uyezd. In 1930 he was placed under arrest on a charge of antisoviet agitation. On January 16 (or March 10), 1931 he was arrested in connection with the Alexandrian group of the Odessa branch of the True Orthodox Church. On December 14, 1931 he was sentenced in accordance with article 58-10 to three years' exile in the north.
Fr. Ivan Savvich Zhushman was born in 1882 in the village of Zelenoye, Petrovsky uyezd, in a peasant family. He finished his studies at a theological seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood and served in the
cchurch in the village of Schastlivoye, Alexandria region. On January 17,
1931 he was arrested in connection with the Alexandrian group of the Odessa branch of the True Orthodox Church. On December 14, 1931 he was sentencedin accordance with article 58-10 to three years' exile in the north.
Fr. Dionysius Arkadyevich Oratovsky was born in 1871 in the village of Maleshty, Moldavia. He finished his studies at a theological seminary. Hewas ordained to the priesthood and served in the church in the village of Kukulovka, Alexcandria region. In 1928 he was under investigation on a charge of "incorrect composition of lists of believers". On January 17, 1931 he was arrested in Kukolovka in connection with the Alexandrian group of the Odessa branch of the True Orthodox Church. On December 14, 1931 he was sentencedin accordance with article 58-10 to three years' exile in the north.
Fr. Theodore Vasilyevich Belinsky was born in 1879 in the village of
Krasnopolye, Alexandria region. He finished his studies in a theological seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood and served in the church of Kukolovka, Alexandria uyezd. On January 17, 1931 he was arrested in connection with the Alexandrian group of the Odessa branch of the True Orthodox Church. On December 14, 1931 he was sentenced in accordance with
article 58-10 to three years' exile in the north.
There were no Josephite monasteries in Alexandria, but there were sisterhoods. In 1929 the superior of the church in the village of Berezovka, Hieromonk Abercius (Orlenko), tried to organize with some of his parishioners a secret skete in Siberia. This attempt failed and he returned.
(Sources: M.V. Shkarovsky, "Istinno-pravoslavniye khristiane na Ukraine",48, N 10 (586), October, 1998, pp. 25-27; I.I. Osipova, "Skvoz' ogn' muchenijif vody slyoz", Moscow: Serebryanniye Niti, 1998, pp. 296, 298, 302, 307, 311, 318, 333)
Michael Ivanovich Chernobyl was a deeply religious church person. When the revolution took place, he saw in it the manifestation of antichristian principles. In his family he loved to pray and read the Holy Scriptures; he would read the New Testament from beginning to end every day. In spite ofthe heavy work he had to do he would get up at midnight and read his prayer rule with many prostrations. Sometimes he would suffer demonic attacks. He fulfilled all the church fasts, and on Wednesdays and Fridays did not eat
until three in the afternoon, whatever heavy work he had to carry out. On
feast days he unfailingly attended the services in church. He was very simple, meek and warm to his subordinates. His house was always open for wanderers, the poor, monastics, etc. He also gave help to the old and the
widowed and to individual poor and sick people.
Under the Bolsheviks he was in charge of a state nursery in Kherson province. In spite of the persecution against religion, Michael Ivanovich
continued to go to church and take an active part in church life. Moreover, in spite of the Bolshevik regulations concerning a six-day week, he continued to stop work on Sundays and feastdays.
Several times the Bolsheviks demanded with threats that he change his behaviour. Finally, in 1928, they arrested him, saying:
"Although you are irreplaceable at work, in view of your religious behaviour, we are compelled to remove you."
After some months in prison, he was exiled to the river Angara in Siberia, to its most north-easterly bend, in a very cold place on the island of Kezhma. Moreover, they drove him there on foot for 1000 kilometres in 60 degrees of frost, staying the night in cold nomad's tents. Even at home he prayed every day: "Lord, count me worthy to suffer for Thy name!" But here his suffering was so great that he asked God to give him death.
Michael Ivanovich lived for about three years on Kezhma in the most difficult circumstances, without the means to support himself and under the supervision of the GPU. He won the love and respect of the local population, so that sometimes one of them would visit him bringing him something - it
might be something from the Holy Scriptures or some church literature. The GPU used this as an excuse to arrest him, which took place almost on the eve of the end of his term of exile. During the investigation his conversations with the local inhabitants were held against him, including the fact thathe had greeted a boy and his mother who visited him on a feastday in a Christian manner. They also accused him of things he had never heard of. Thus some Soviet commission, going down the street, had noticed a board with a quotation from the Bible on it which had evidently been carried into the street by some children. In spite of Michael Ivanovich's decisive denial,he was accused of agitating among the local population by throwing such boards around. Later it emerged that the quotation from the Bible had been made by an evangelical and had fallen onto the street quite by chance.
Nevertheless, Michael Ivanovich was sentenced to ten years in the Krasnoyarsk isolator, where he was conveyed under convoy. Here, finding himself in conditions of complete isolation from the world, he gave himself even more completely to prayer. Apart from his usual prayers, and the Jesus prayer, he read services from the Chasoslov and everything that could be done in such circumstances, without being embarrassed by the presence of those
around him. His fellow-prisoners testified that Michael Ivanovich's presence with them was a great consolation for them - with such a person, one of them said, you could stay in prison the whole of your life. One atheist was converted to God by him and even became a priest.
In 1934 Michael Ivanovich was visited in Krasnoyarsk by his son, the
True Orthodox reader (later Archimandrite) Nectarius. Fr. Nectarius testifies that his father was given a further twenty-year sentence because his prayers made the chekists furious and he refused to obey their command that he stop praying. During his arrests and investigations, Michael Ivanovich always behaved with complete fearlessness. This truly Christian behaviour even in prison enraged the GPU and Michael Ivanovich, after completing ten years in the isolator, was given another ten-year sentence. The war with Germany began and nothing more is known about him. Michael Ivanovich was canonized by the Russian Church Abroad in 1981.
(Source: Pravoslavnaya Rus', N 20 (1617), October 14/28, 1998, p. 13)
James Romanovich Korobka lived in the village of Belvedere in Novo-Archangelsk region, Kherson-Odessa diocese. He was born in 1893, theson of a peasant, and completed the three-class church-parish school in the village of Skalyevoye. From his childhood he used to go on pilgrimages round the monasteries. He could read and write, knew the Holy Scriptures and was a zealous defender of Orthodoxy. He refused to go into the collective farm.
During the persecutions he dug out a cave under a hut in his kitchen garden five metres deep and seven by three metres wide. He was arrested in 1931 when the Bolsheviks learned about his secret church, where church services had
been conducted regularly for three years from 1927 to the day of James Romanovich's arrest. He openly confessed his faith and declared:
"I will not go into the satanic collective farm, and I do not fear you. You can kill me, cut me up, but you cannot kill my spirit."
He went to the court after his arrest with raised head and praising God: "Glory to God in the highest". After the trial he again chanted this hymn. He was exiled and his fate is unknown.
(Source: Protopresbyter Michael Polsky, Noviye Mucheniki Rossijskiye, Jordanville, 1949-57, part 1, pp. 204, 205, 210, 213; part 2, chapter 23,pp. 174-176, 216-219, 269-72; Archimandrite Nectarius (Chernobyl), "Vospominaniya", Pravoslavnaya Rus', N 7 (1614), September 1/14, 1998, pp. 11-12; M.V. Shkarovsky, Pravoslavnaya Rus', N 7 (1614), September 1/14, 1998, p. 13)
"Among other catacombniks in this camp were Archpriest Paul Kovalevsky from Odessa, Hierodeacon Polycarp from Moldavia - a good singer, a very humble man; and Hieromonk Cosmas Trusov, who belonged to our "case"
(Source: Archbishop Lazarus, "Out from the Catacombs", Orthodox America, vol. X, no. 10 (100), June, 1900, p. 6)
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