Archimandrite Eugene (Emelyanovich Matveyev) was born in 1852 in St. Petersburg. In 1886 he was tonsured into the mantia with the name Eugene, was ordained to the priesthood and raised to the rank of archimandrite. From 11925 to 1932 he served in the chapel of the podvorye of the Valaam monastery in Leningrad region. In 1922 he was arrested. On February 17, 1932 he was arrested again in connection with the affair of the Leningrad branch of the True Orthodox Church. He was sentenced to three years' exile.
In one night, February 17-18, 1932, all the monastics remaining in prison, together with the clergy and laity linked with the monastics, 500 people in all, disappeared into the prisons of Leningrad.
On February 17-18, 1932, in the midst of a nation-wide swoop on monastics, the monks in Slavyanka were arrested, and all the above-mentioned monks were sent to the prison on Shpalernaya. The investigation continued for a month, and on March 22 the monks and nuns from Leningrad and its surrounds were condemned for counter-revolutionary and anti-Soviet activity. The Athonite monks received a sentence of three years' exile in Kazakhstan. Monk Victor died in prison.
The monks who remained in freedom left Slavyanka and began to petition the Greek embassy in Moscow for Greek citizenship. Archimandrite Macarius already had this citizenship, and he went to Moscow to plead for his monks. The embassy gave him a document saying that the Athonite podvorye was an offshoot of the St. Andrew skete on Mount Athos.
However, on October 4, 1932, Archimandrite Macarius was arrested together with Hieromonk Joseph (Mramorny), who had been a monk for 27 years, Hieromonk Dorotheus (Gutynin), who had been a monk since 1894, Hieromonk Glycerius (Sorokin), who was from the Ryazan peasantry and had been tonsured on Athos in 1896, Hieromonk Raphael (Zhivotov), who had been a monk since 1902 and a priest since 1922, Hieromonk Damian (Otryganyev), who had been a monk already for 33 years, Hierodeacon Hilarion (Andreyev), who was from the Novgorod peasantry and had come from the Odessa podvorye, Hierodeacon Jason (Basov), 57 years old, who had also been in Odessa from 1910 to 1923, Hierodeacon Hermogenes (Krylov), who had been a monk since 1902, and Monk Bissarion (Kolchin), who had been tonsured on Athos in 1900. This group, who were all from 50 to 60 years old and had lived on Athos in their youth, called themselves "supporters of the Church of the old monarchist orientation". They recognized neither the renovationists nor the sergianists. Although it seems that they were not formally united to the Josephite Catacomb Church, they were arrested in connection with the affair of "the followers of the True Orthodox Church" who "were exclusively oriented towards Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd, who has remained until recently their sole authority in the whole of their activity". Apart from the standard accusations of anti-Soviet activity, the Athonite monks were accused of helping their imprisoned brothers and of contacts with foreign diplomats, to whom, it was alleged, they gave information on the Church situation in Petrograd. Since they were linked in this way with the Josephites, the Athonite monks received stricter sentences on December 8, 1932. Archimandrite Macarius was given ten years in the camps, and evidently perished there in 1937 or 1938. Some of the monks were exiled, others were sent to Svirlag, where Hieromonk Raphael died on May 8, 1935 and Hieromonk Dorotheus - on March 5, 1937. Hierodeacon Jason died in 1936 after returning from exile, in Novgorod. Hieromonk Glycerius survived in the Gulag, and died after the war at the age of 84.
According to one source, in 1929 Archimandrite Macarius.was secretly consecrated to the see of Pskov by Josephite bishops.
Hieromonk Tikhon (his surname is not known) spent fifteen years in prison for the faith of Christ, and after his release was forbidden from living in Moscow or Leningrad. He settled in Okulovka, where Catacomb Christians came to him from Leningrad, Sukhumi, Central Russia and Ukraine for confession, communion and strengthening in the faith. They arrived alone or in small groups to avoid betraying the secret of their pastor's dwelling-place.
Fr. Tikhon died on January 31, 1976. His spiritual children did not know about his death immediately, and the day of his death was not spread abroad because of the danger involved. After his death the Petersburg community of the Catacomb Church sought out the priest Fr. Michael Rozhdestvensky, who looked after them until his death in 1987.
Fr. Tikhon's cell-attendant, Alexis Petrovich Solovyev, died in December, 1998 and was buried on December 12, 1998 in St. Petersburg by ROCA Bishop Michael of Toronto.
(Source: Vertograd-Inform, N 2 (47), February, 1999, p. 4)
The priest Fr. Andrew Savitsky, the son of the priest Fr. Vladimir Savitsky from Saint Petersburg, was killed shortly after joining the Russian Church Abroad in 1995.
On September 1/14, 1997, the feast of the Church's New Year, Protopriest Alexander, of the Russian Church Abroad, was shot and killed near his flat in Gatchina, near St. Petersburg.
He was born on February 12, 1946. After graduating from the Leningrad Theological Academy, he served in parishes of the Leningrad district of the Moscow Patriarchate in Luge and Siversk. In 1981 he was transferred to the church of St. Alexander Nevsky, Shuvalovo, on the outskirts of Leningrad, where he became superior in 1990 with the rank of protopriest.
Fr. Alexander was very simple in speech, he did not like to talk for a long time or in a rhetorical manner. He spoke briefly, but amazingly to the point. He served simply, without pomposity. His faith was deep, and there were many among his parishioners who had been converted to Orthodoxy after a short talk with him after a burial or some other service. He lived with his wife and children in a small flat in Gatchina. Every day, dressed very humbly, he would go into the city by train.
Since he did not mix with the "venerable" priests of the diocese, or try to ingratiate himself with the diocesan leadership, he was little known among the people. He did not succumb to the temptation of making himself out to be an "elder", and when some of his spiritual children tried to treat him like one of the Optina elders, he would say: "You know, I'm not an elder, I can't take on myself what they did." However, he never refused requests for advice, and those who were led by him can witness that they received great spiritual benefit from his advice, and that his prayers were powerful to help.
By his own efforts, and without any help from the diocese or rich sponsors, he built a church dedicated to New Martyr Great Princess Elizabeth Fyodorovna attached to city hospital number 3 in the Kalinin district. This church was consecrated in February, 1993, building began on December 6, 1994, and on Christmas Day, 1996/97, services began. Batyushka built the church mainly on loans; the builders agreed to wait for their remuneration out of love and respect for him.
From about 1993 Fr. Alexander began to get concerned about the heresy of ecumenism, in which the Moscow Patriarchate is deeply immersed. He did not go very deeply into dogmatic discussions; he just felt intuitively that uniting with the heterodox was wrong. He thought that when the time came to leave the patriarchate, he could leave with the new church he was building.
On the night of May 31, 1996, the church of St. Alexander Nevsky in Shuvalovo was set on fire. Batyushka succeeded in putting out the fire, but the damage was considerable. It was necessary to repair the major damage at least before the rains set in. Although he had no money, batyushka succeeded in this; the rains began on the day after the most essential repairs had been carried out.
At the request of Fr. Alexander a new superior was appointed to the church of St. Alexander Nevsky. It was at about this time that the first evil rumours about Fr. Alexander began to be circulated; he was accused of stealing, and then of covering up his thefts by setting fire to the church. On hearing this, batyushka was so upset that he fell ill.
In January, 1997 another priest was appointed as second priest in the church of St. Elizabeth. Soon he demanded a salary of 15 million rubles a month from batyushka; he was refused. Then some young people came to the church and tried to go into the altar in search of the second priest. A few days later, on March 5, this priest's Ford automobile (a 1996 model) mysteriously blew up. On the television that day they said that the car "belonged to the superior of the church". This was not true; batyushka never owned a car. But the rumours now spread that batyushka was linked with the mafia.
That spring, batyushka was recovering for three weeks in hospital after an operation. While he was there, another priest was sent to serve in the church under the supervision of the diocesan secretary, Fr. Alexander Kudryashov. Then the diocese received a denunciation against batyushka, saying that he was making huge profits in the hospital morgue, and was not sharing them with the metropolitan. It was claimed that he was carrying out on average eighteen burial services a day, and receiving $200 dollars for each one. In actual fact, there were far fewer services, and not every day, and batyushka received much less money from them. Sometimes he served for nothing.
However, Metropolitan Vladimir (Kotlyarov) of St. Petersburg believed the slander, and at the end of May he summoned batyushka. Using very crude language and thieves' slang, he accused him of swimming in money, of keeping all the money from burial services for himself, and of building nothing at all. He wanted to send batyushka to Bsevolozhsk, and when batyushka disagreed, he said that he could send him anywhere he liked. A new superior was appointed for the church - Valery Dorokhov, a close friend of the metropolitan's from his Rostov days. Batyushka was transferred to Volkhovstroy, four hours from the city.
However, batyushka immediately retired, and began studying ways of leaving the patriarchate. But he had no intention of abandoning his spiritual children. When they, seeing the persecution he was undergoing, asked him whether he was abandoning them, he always replied: "No, I'm going nowhere, I'm staying here until I die!"
Dorokhov came to the parish, and after examining its financial situation, was deeply disappointed. He and the metropolitan began to threaten
batyushka - jokingly, at first, so that batyushka in his simplicity did not at first believe that these were real threats. But then Dorokhov began working on individual members of the parish, first making various promises, and then threatening them. They were disturbed and frightened, but did not desert batyushka. Seeing this, Dorokhov resorted to more radical measures. At the beginning of July he dissolved the whole parish assembly. However, on June 11/24, 1997, batyushka had already been received into the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad...
The slanders against him immediately increased. Valery Dorokhov waged a vigorous propaganda campaign against batyushka, and in spite of the fact that he drove around in a new Opel car and every day stuffed all the parish's receipts into his own pocket, he managed to win some of the parishioners to his side. It was quickly forgotten who had built the church. It was said of batyushka that he had "built the church on money from the Church Abroad, had fallen into debt, and they had forced him to move". He had "sold himself to foreigners", "gone to serve burial services for foreigners for dollars", "linked up with the American church", "linked up in the morgue with the Mafia, who were trading in internal organs".
Batyushka exclaimed: "What spite there is all around!" But he got less upset now on hearing the latest slander. He just waved his hand.
However, on August 15 the builders sealed the church because of the non-payment of the debts on the building work. They agreed to wait while batyushka gradually paid off the debts, but Valery Dorokhov had no intention of paying, nor did he want the building to continue. Then Dorokhov with some parishioners who were loyal to him tried to break into the church. But the builders did not let him in; they just allowed him to take away some personal things before sealing the church again.
Immediately after joining the Church Abroad, batyushka tried to get the parish registered. But in spite of all the efforts of the lawyer, the department of justice rejected the application. They were constantly demanding new documents, and it was obvious that they were dragging their feet. Meanwhile, the police received denunciations against batyushka, as a result of which they sealed the chapel in the morgue where burial services were carried out on the pretext that since the parish had not been registered, batyushka did not have the right to carry out burial services. Metropolitan Vladimir sent a letter to the head of the hospital demanding that he close the chapel on the grounds that "banned priests who slander the patriarch are serving there". The chapel was closed, to the sorrow of the hospital workers and the patients, for whom it was the almost the only comforting place in the institution. It was there that the Liturgy was served on Sundays, there it was possible to have Confession and Communion, to pray, to put out a candle, and to take some booklets to read.
Nevertheless, it looked as if the matter of the registration of the parish with the Russian Church Abroad was approaching a successful conclusion. The attitude of the morgue workers and hospital management to batyushka did not change; if anything it improved when they say the campaign of slander that was being waged against him by the patriarchate. The builders firmly decided that batyushka would continue to serve in the church that had been the work of his life. Everyone was waiting just for the registration, after which the parish could again begin to live a normal life. Batyushka was making plans for the construction of a church house, for the opening of a Sunday school attached to the church...
On September 6, following a denunciation, officials from the department for the struggle against economic crimes of the Petersburg GUVD came to the chapel at the hospital and interrupted the Divine Liturgy. At first they acted very roughly, forcing one priest, Fr. Alexis Tarkhov, to put his hands up against the wall while they searched him - all in front of the relatives who had come to the burial service. The other priest, Fr. Alexander, was threatened with violence if he did not give up the keys to the chapel. The militia claimed that their goal was to shut down this parish of the Russian Church Abroad. They confiscated all the finances of the parish, claiming that it was unregistered.
After a long interrogation, the two priests the woman at the desk for candles were taken to the local police precinct, where they were further
interrogated for several hours in an attempt to make them reveal details about other communities of the Church Abroad. Finally they were released, but told that they could not participate in any financial operations, including selling religious literature or candles, or receiving remuneration for their services. The interrogators stated that this action was taken on the initiative of the local diocese of the Moscow Patriarchate. The two priests were told that their future activities would be closely scrutinized by government authorities.
At one point the investigator declared that he was putting them in a cell. "Good, we'll serve there," said batyushka. "Serve whom?" asked the
investigator in amazement. "The Lord God." "How?!" "According to the rule." Already the policemen had begun to soften towards batyushka. One of them told him: "We don't need you, it just that you're hindering someone there."
They sealed the room of the priest in the morgue, but not the chapel. However, the hospital management was forced to seal the chapel because of a special letter of some kind from the metropolitan. Not long before this some supporters of the patriarchate had been collecting signatures from the patients. They asked some people who had no connection with the church: "Do you want an Orthodox chapel to be occupied by the Church Abroad?" The majority, on hearing the word "abroad", replied in the negative.
Then the quite irrational rumour began circulating that batyushka controlled the whole of the city's trade in honey!
At about six o'clock on Sunday, September 14, Fr. Alexander left his home in Gatchina, saying to his wife that he would return in the afternoon. When he had not arrived by the evening, she became worried. She phoned the information service of the morgues and was told that a corpse answering to his description had been discovered at 10.30 and placed in the morgue in the city of Pushkin. There had been a traffic accident. In the morning she went to the morgue and identified the body of Fr. Alexander. She immediately saw that he had been murdered. The pathological examination revealed bullet wounds and the story about a traffic accident was rejected.
It seems that some people had been lying in wait for batyushka on his way to the train that would take him from Gatchina to St. Petersburg. He was not killed immediately, but after a serious struggle - he had been shot in the head and the chest, and then run over by a car in order to make his death appear accidental. The ruse worked for a while, because it was two days before the police coroner noticed the bullet wounds. The police ruled out random crime or theft. It is clear that this was a professional hit.
We confidently recommend our web service provider, Orthodox Internet Services: excellent personal customer service, a fast and reliable server, excellent spam filtering, and an easy to use comprehensive control panel.