In the ancient town of Zilair in Bashkiria, shortly after the revolution, the priest Raphael and the deacon Terence were serving the Divine Liturgy. A detachment of Bolsheviks broke into the church wanting to take
hold of the church-servers, but the people prevented them, and the priest
prevailed upon them to allow him to complete the service. The deacon was terrified and ran away, while the priest remained to complete the Liturgy. But the Bolsheviks could not wait for the end. They took hold of the priest, tied his legs to the tail of a horse, and, with one of them sitting on the horse, they dragged the priest out of the town. They dragged him over the
stumps and bushes to the edge of a pit, and then threw him into it.
The next day the priest appeared in a dream to the deacon in shining
white vestments with a golden crown on his head and said:
"Brother! So you were afraid of your crown! It's waiting for you, inthe morning go and get it."
In the morning the deacon got up, recounted his vision and... went to the Bolsheviks. They took hold of him and led him out to the place where they had cast the remains of the priest. Several pious laymen were also led out with the deacon. They killed them and threw them into the pit, which was filled with rubbish and animal excrement.
In time a light began to appear over the place of the burial. And then a spring appeared, which gushed out bubbles in abundance. The water breathed, as it were; it gushed out air bubbles under great pressure, forming a little pool about 450 square metres in area, and breathing as it were in one place. It was very pleasant to the taste. And it remained at a constant cold temperature, never freezing during the most severe frosts.
Believers visit this source in summer and winter.
The names of the holy hieromartyrs are: Priest Raphael and Deacon Terence. There were about nine laymen martyred with them. But we do not know their names.
(Source: Reader Gregory Ivanovich Mukhortov, Pravoslavnaya Zhizn', No.2, February, 1995)
In 1918, Leonid Nitsa, a member of the Moscow Council of 1918-1918, was killed in Ufa.
(Source: Protopresbyter Michael Polsky, Noviye Mucheniki Rossijskiye, Jordanville, 1949-57, part 1, p. 203)
In 1918 Protopriest Nicholas Rusanov was shot in Kustanai, Orenburg province. He was one of six brothers, all protopriests, who were shot: Fathers Nicholas and Antonin in Kustanai, the rest in Chelyabinsk uyezd. In all, 80 clergy were killed in the northern uyezds of Orenburg province and diocese - the Chelyabinsk, Troitsk and Turgay regions that form part of that diocese.
Protopriests Alexander Zemlyanitsyn, John Evstratyev, Peter Kholmogortsev, Michael Penkovsky and others were taken out of Chelyabinskand disappeared without trace in 1918.
In 1918, in Orenburg diocese, Priest Fyodorov was killed in the following way. They tied a soapy waxed thread round his skull and began to twist with a nail until the upper part of his head jumped out.
Clergyman Simeon Ionin served in the city of Troitsk, Orenburg diocese. He was shot in Kustanai in 1918.
Protopriest Michael Gromoglasov was the superior of the cathedral in
Verkhne-Uralsk, Orenburg province. He was arrested before Pascha in 1920,
having been denounced by the second priest of the cathedral, Telegin. In prison an escort stabbed him with a bayonet. Soon he was released, he recovered and was arrested again. Fr. Michael was taken out of the city and ordered to dig his own grave. He asked permission to pray and fell on his
knees. Having prayed, he got up and said: "I'm ready." And was shot. A Kirgizian shepherd told the story.
In 1922, in connection with the confiscation of church valuables, 28
clergy and monastics of various ranks were killed by the Bolsheviks in Ufa province.
In the spring of 1929 the church on the hill Mayak in Orenburg, where the priest Fr. Basil Moiseyevich Kurdyukov served, was closed and turned into an electricity station. Then Fr. Basil and the priest Fr. Ivan Nikolayevich Mironov began to conduct services in Fr. Basil's flat. The NKVD considered this to be a crime and ascribed to Fr. Basil a whole antisoviet organization consisting of four groups: Orenburg, Belozersk, Putyatin and Nizhne-Arkhangelsk. 29 people were arrested in connected with this affair. In Putyatin they were: G.E. Sviridov, M.E. Nikulichkin, A.M. Lernikov; in Nizhne-Arkhangelsk they were: P.F. Igonin, F.P. Tuchin, A.Y.Teplyakov, K.A. Nasekin. In Belozersk there suffered: T.A. Safronov, I.A. Mishnev, N.M. Lomakin and others.
On April 19, 1930, in Orenburg, an OGPU troika for the Middle Volga region sentenced Fr. Basil and Fr. Ivan to be shot; four people received ten years in the camps; and the remaind twenty-three - various terms of punishment. Fr. Basil refused to accept any guilt, he said that he had formed no antisoviet organization, and that the community of 150 people which hehad formed pursued purely religious ends.
Monk Emelian Porfiryevich Efremov was born in 1888, being from the village of Stary Nekhratov in Kazan province. From 1913 he lived in monasteries in Jerusalem, Athos and Kiev. Before his arrest he was livingin the khutor of Malga, Petrovsky district, Middle Volga region. He was arrested by the GPU on January 21, 1931 and charged in accordance with article 58-11 as a participant in a counter-revolutionary organisation. On March 26, 1931 he was condemned to be shot. The sentence was carried out on April 5, 1931 in Orenburg.
Nun Praskovya Potapovna Ivanova was born in 1875, being from the village of Makovka, Buzuluk uyezd, Samara area. She was illiterate. Before her arrest she was living in the village of Pronkino, Sorochinsky district, Middle Volga region. She was arrested by the OGPU on February 11, 1930, and on April 27, 1930, on the basis of article 58-11, was sentenced to five years' deprivation of liberty. Nothing more is known about her.
Nun Darya Prokofyevna Kurdyukova was born in 1880, a native of the city of Bogorodsk. She lived in Orenburg, ul. Yansona, 15. She was the wife ofa priest, and had a son Ivan (b. 1912), a daughter Nina (b. 1919) and a daughter Lyubov (b. 1924). She was arrested by the OGPU on January 3, 1931 and sentenced on March 26, 1931 to be shot in accordance with articles 58-11 (counter-revolutionary organizational activity) and 59-7 (agitation of a revolutionary nature). The sentence was carried out on April 5, 1931.
Hieromonk Niphon Ivanovich Slavgorodsky was born in 1882, being a native of the village of Proskurino, Buzuluk region, Orenburg province. Before his arrest he served in the Klyuchegorsky women's monastery in the village of
Tally, Grachevsky region. He was arrested on September 21, 1928 for "conducting agitation and propaganda aimed at the undermining and weakening of Soviet power by using religious convictions of those in his surroundings" (article 58-10). On february 8, 1929 he was condemned to deprivation of liberty for three years. On October 28, 1931 his case was reviewed and after serving his term he was exiled to the Urals for another three years.
Nun Stepanida Matveyevna Samartseva was born in 1883, a native of the village of Vetlyanki, Sol-Iletsk region, Orenburg province. Before her arrest she lived alone in her birthplace. On January 27, 1930 she was arrested on charges of belonging to an antisoviet group and systematically conducting
anti-soviet agitation together with other nuns (articles 58-10, 58-11, 58-12). On April 24, 1930 she was condemned to deprivation of liberty for
Nun Eudocia Romanovna Samsonova was born in 1892, being a native of the village of Logachevki, Totsk region, Orenburg province. She was alone and
illiterate. Before her arrest she lived in her birthplace. She never worked. On January 24, 1930 she was arrestee on a charge of conducting antisoviet
agitation and calling on believers to resist the enterprises of Soviet power. On May 1, 1930 she was sentenced to five years deprivation of liberty.
The priest Fr. Alexis Petrovich Yasenev was born in 1877 in the village of Yelkhovka, Buguruslan district, Orenburg region. Until his arrest he lived in the village of Pavlushkino in the same district with his wife Maria, two sons and two daughter. He was arrested on January 20, 1930 in connection with article 58-10 and the next day was sentenced to be shot. Nothing more is known about him.
The priest Fr. Basil Andreyevich Shumov was born in 1890 in the village of N-Ozernovo, Pokrovsky district, Middle Volga retgion. He served in the
local church. In 1931 he was arrested on the basis of articvle 58-10, andon September 16, 1931 he was sentenced to three years deprivation of liberty. He had a wife Tatyana, six sons and one daughter.
Antonina Pavlovna Azarova, who was born in 1910, recounts that from the age of 16 she used to chant in the choir of the church in the village of Petrovskoye. There the priest Fr. Victor worked hard and brought the church into a flourishing condition. The deacon was Fr. Paul (perhaps Zhernikov,
born 1890, repressed in 1932), and the choir master was Philip Arsenyevich. It was a terrible time, there was shooting day and night. Philip Arsenyevich was forced to leave. Red army men surrounded the church, they shot over the heads of the terrified congregation. "Whoever comes near the church," they said, "will get a bullet in the head!" They mocked and bound Fr. Victor and Fr. Paul and dragged them off somewhere and were never seen again. Fr. Victor's matushka Natalya and here two children (one son had just died) lived for a time with the church warden. Then someone took them away.
Fr. Basil served in the church of the village of Chernij Otrog. During the famine of 1921 he organized a kitchen at the church and fed many starving people. He fed them with maize, which came from America as humanitarian aid. His daughter, Olga Vasilyevna, taught in the parish school. Fr. Basil was
probably a dean because priests would come from all the region around andhe would read them lectures and books, and talk with them for a long time. These seminars lasted for up to seven days.
Once the hierarch arrived, and a large crowd gathered in the square.The bishop thanked Fr. Basil and called on the people to not to give in and not to give up their church. However, when Fr. Basil was dekulakized they took away everything. The people wept, Fr. Basil's matushka died on the spot. He was arrested and taken, not to Orenburg, but to Kardeyevo (now Izyak-Nikitino), to the hospital. They soon let him out, but he did not recover.
After these events they sent another priest. He was very old, about 70. He served for two years and was then taken; no more was seen of him. He may have been Fr. Theodore Vecherko, who was born in 1865 and was repressed in 1932.
Monk Theodore Andreyevich Shapovalov was born on February 17, 1855 in the village of Ulanovo, Glukhov uyezd, Chernigov province. From 1896 he lived in monasteries of Chernigov province, from 1905 to 1929 in a monastery in
Buzuluk. Before his arrest he lived alone without fixed occupation in Buzuluk. On July 26, 1937 he was accused of belonging to a counter-revolutionary, church-sectarian revolutionary organization and on
August 27 was sentenced to be shot. The sentence was carried out on August 30, 1937.
Nun Maria Petrovna Filatova was born on July 17, 1871 in Krasnokholmskaya stanitsa, Orenburg district, where she lived without a fixed occupation. On September 18, 1937 she was arrested and charged with belonging to a counter-revolutionary, church-monarchist organization and calling people to fight Soviet power. On October 8 she was sentenced to ten years' deprivation of liberty. Nothing more is known about her.
(Source: Priest N.E. Stremsky, Mucheniki i Ispovedniki Orenburgskoj Eparkhii XX Veka, Saraktash, 1998, pp. 143-149, 183-5, 187, 190-194; Protopresbyter Michael Polsky, Noviye Mucheniki Rossijskiye, Jordanville, 1949-57, part 1, pp. 211, 213, part 2, pp. 309, 230; The New Martyrs of Russia, Montreal: Monastery Press, 1972, p. 102; Vladimir Rusak, Pir Satany, London, Canada: "Zarya", 1991, p. 24)
In the short period of his relative freedom, Archbishop Andrew of Ufa took care to leave a deputy in his place, and on November 29 / December 12, 1922 consecrated (together with some other bishop) Protopriest Victor Payarkov as Bishop John of Divlekanovsk. After Vladyka Andrew's arrest, Bishop John was appointed by Patriarch Tikhon as temporary administrator of the Ufa diocese.
Times were difficult, the renovationists were on the ascendant and had taken into their hands almost the whole diocese. The clergy were silent out of fear, the people had no leaders, and were in the full sense "sheep without a shepherd".
At this moment Bishop John issued his first epistle exposing the lies and treachery of the renovationists. The epistle was distributed round the parishes by volunteer laypeople, among whom there were some secretly ordained priests. Great in the eyes of the Church was the feat of these messengers; they were called in church circles "apologists" of Orthodoxy. It was they who pushed into action the sluggish clergy and led the movement of the people. They were the first to use the term "Soviet church", and defined their confession as "old church". There were many of them, and their fates were varied, but some of them received the title "ascetics" already during their lifetime. Such, for example, was the student at the pedagogical technical college Valentina Ch.
Valentina was a character of rare integrity, purity and energy. Many, even in the True Church, called her a fanatic; but she was not hindered by, or ashamed by, this title; and it was then that many understood that every Christian is obliged to be such a "fanatic". Valentina worked mainly among the women, and she did impossible things. Thus when she came to a parish, the situation was reversed with lightning-like speed, the renovationist clergy were driven out, the women created dvadtsatky (groups empowered to accept the church from the Soviet authorities) and removed the keys from the "livers" (as the renovationists of the "Living Church" were called) and simply compelled the representatives of the authorities to sign agreements with them concerning the existence of the "Tikhonite" Church. Often the dvadtsatky were joined by wives and sisters of leading party members - so great was the influence of Valentina, so powerful her word, so great the scope of her activity.
Literally the whole police force, the communists and the komsomol pursued Valentina. On the roads into the villages seized by the renovationists they placed pickets composed of people who had seen Valentina, but she was led along local paths and used to appear unexpectedly. An "old women's psychosis" would erupt, as the local papers called it, a parish would become "old church", and Valentina would disappear without a trace, so as to appear again where she was least of all expected.
Of course, in the end Valentina was arrested. But her work was already done. Renovationism was finished.
Valentina was taken out from a small quay on the Belaya river under a powerful convoy. Walking along the long gang-planks on the deck of the steamer, Valentina looked back and saw a silent crowd of women on the river bank. They had come out to escort her into exile. Then she waved her hand and shouted:
"We're best rid of them, sisters!"
At that moment her convoy behind her struck her in the back and she stumbled and fell from the gang-planks into the river. Both the convoy and the people rushed to save her, but it was too later: perhaps half an hour later she was pulled dead out of the water. The river's swift current had pulled Valentina under the steamer, where her dress had caught on some iron object and she was unable to surface. The authorities did not hand her body over for burial, but the people found her grave and secretly transferred her body to a village cemetery.
(Sources: M.E. Gubonin, Akty Svyateishago Patriarkha Tikhona, St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1994, p. 975; Protopresbyter Michael Polsky, Noviye Mucheniki Rossijskiye, Jordanville, 1957, part 2, pp. 253-254)
The priest Fr. Macarius Fyodorovich Kvitkin was born in 1882 in the town of Orsk, Orenburg province, in the family of the pious parents Theodore and Eudocia Kvitkin. From an early age he loved Christ and the Church. He often went to church, reading and chanting in the choir. He graduated from a teacher training college and became a schoolteacher. In 1904, Macarius married a pious girl from a well-to-do family, Euphrosyne Kondratyevna Beznosova. A year later their first child, Sergius, was born.
Having worked for some years as a teacher, Macarius went to a theological seminary, and after graduation was ordained to the priesthood.
Fr. Macarius began his pastoral service in the town of Novo-Troitsk, Orenburg province. Before the revolution he served in the village of Verkhnyaya Pavlovka, 25 kilometres from Orenburg, where his second son, Vladimir, was born in 1918. In 1920, Batyushka and his family settled in the village of Alexandrovka, Orenburg region. At first Fr. Macarius served in a prayer house, but then, in 1924, he constructed a small wooden church. In 1925, however, this church was closed, and they moved to Orenburg.
At that time the ruling bishop of the Orenburg diocese was Bishop James. In the autumn of 1925, Vladyka James appointed Fr. Macarius as the second priest in a large, three-altared church whose main part was dedicated to St. Seraphim of Sarov and which was situated in Forstadt, a suburb of Orenburg.
In 1925-26, the diocese was temporarily administered by Vladyka Dionysius. Fr. Macarius' son Vladimir was the bishop's staff-bearer and often travelled with Vladyka Dionysius when he served in the other, still open churches of Orenburg and in the women's monastery.
On July 16/29, 1927, Metropolitan Sergius issued his notorious declaration, which formally opened the way for the antichristian authorities into the Church. Over 90% of parishes in the Urals rejected Sergius' declaration.
The rector of the St. Seraphim church where Fr. Macarius was serving as the second priest at that time was Fr. Alexis S. During the first years of their serving together, he and Fr. Macarius had had peaceful, friendly relations. But after the declaration of Metropolitan Sergius, frictions between them developed. Fr. Macarius categorically refused to commemorate the puppet of Soviet power, Metropolitan Sergius, as the patriarchal locum tenens, but commemorated Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsa, who was at that time in prison. This difference in understanding of church truth and the true pastoral way led to the division of the parish into two groups, one supporting Fr. Alexis and the other - Fr. Macarius. Finally, the parishioners came to the decision that the priest who had the majority of votes would remain in the parish. Since the parish was a large one (more than 1000 people), a general meeting was arranged in the church.
The first to speak was Fr. Alexis. He rebuked Fr. Macarius for not recognizing or commemorating Metropolitan Sergius and thereby disobeying him as the rector of the church, and for creating a division and a schism. Then Fr. Macarius took the floor. He explained to the believers that through his declaration Metropolitan Sergius had betrayed church truth and had entered into union with the atheists, the enemies of the Church. For that reason he could not commemorate him for fear of becoming an accomplice in the sin of betraying the Church. This was why he did not agree with, and could not serve together with, Fr. Alexis.
Finally, Fr. Alexis suggested to everyone that those who agreed with him should go to the right part of the church, while those agreed with Fr. Macarius should go to the left. He was hoping for a majority, since he had been a priest for many eyars and was the rector of the parish. But then something unexpected took place: the left part of the church filled up with parishioners, more than two thirds of those present. Thus did the parishioners express their trust in Fr. Macarius and he became the rector of the church of St. Seraphim. Immediately a thanksgiving moleben was served with great prayerful enthusiasm. Many of the worshippers had tears in their eyes.
It seemed as if everything had gone according to the will of God and the parish had been pacified. But the devil, in the person of the Soviet authorities, was not pacified. In order to force the parishioners to close the church, they imposed an unbearable tax burden on them, and increased it after each payment. Usually the taxes were paid quarterly, but after a general meeting the authorities decide to increase the tax each month. At first the parish somehow managed to pay the tax, but then the authorities began to seize the gold and silver rizas and frames from the icons, together with the Gospels and other precious objects as if in payment of the tax. Then, in 1930, they closed the church on the excuse that the tax had not been paid.
By this time Fr. Macarius had four children: his daughter Olga and Raisa, and his sons Vladimir and Nicholas. His eldest son Sergius, who was a reader in the village of Chorny Otrog, Orenburg region, lived separately. With this family Fr. Macarius took refuge in a small old bath-house which had been adapted for living in.
This had come about as follows. On arriving in Orenburg in 1925, batyushka and matushka and their children had settled temporarily in the house of three sister nuns. Then they had rented a flat from a widow. However, the widow's son, who was a communist, had come and demanded that his mother throw the "pope" out of the flat. Meanwhile, Fr. Macarius had bought a small plot of land with a bath-house, intending to build a small house there later. They threw all the bath things out of the bath-house, installed a Russian stove with benches, put in a small table for meals, a bed for the parents and a trunk with clothes. The children slept on the trunk and the stove, and sometimes simply on the floor. They were all in one room with their parents. This small room, which could be entered only one at a time, served as their kitchen, dining room and bedroom. It was from this bath-house that Fr. Macarius was evicted and taken to prison...
The family lived on alms from the parishioners. They would creep up bringing bread and potatoes and furtively looking on either side as they entered the courtyard in case outsiders noticed them. The Kvitkins had no other kind of support since they were "depriveds" (deprived of civil rights, a category to which the families of clergy belonged).
The bath-house where they lived was located four or five blocks from the church. Every time Fr. Macarius and his children went to church in the morning for the Liturgy, or in the morning for the all-night vigil, they were met on the street by pioneers who threw sand and sometimes even stones at them. Batyushka ordered his children never to reply to these pranks, but to walk calmly on, for they could not expect support from anyone.
From the time that Fr. Macarius remained alone in the church of St. Seraphim, they began to terrorize him and summon him to the GPU. His first summons was supposedly in connection with his non-commemoration of Metropolitan Sergius as patriarchal locum tenens, and also because under his rectorship the parish did not pay the "lawful" tax. The second summons was accompanied by a warning: if the parish did not pay the indicated sum, they would close the church. The atheists suggested to Fr. Macarius that since they would close the church come what may, he should renounce God and his priestly rank in the columnns of the district newspaper. He was to admit that he had "drugged" the people with "religious obscurantism". In return, they promised him a place as a teacher, perhaps even as a school director. Fr. Macarius replied with a categorical refusal. Then they began to try and convince him that in this way he would save his own life and the life of his children. But Fr. Macarius replied that he did not fear death, and that he entrusted his children to the will of God, but that he would never, under any circumstances, break the vow he had given to God. The Lord did not disappoint the hopes of the martyr: all his children grew up to be honourable, believing and pious people.
The chekists advised him to think well about their proposition and to give them a final answer when they next summoned him.
And so, on January 21, 1931, they came at midnight to search the bath-house. The search laster until four in the morning. Of course, they found nothing. Before leaving, Fr. Macarius said goodbye to his family, blessed his matushka and children, and was taken to prison. On March 26, 1931 he was sentenced to be shot in accordance with article 58-11.
In the prison they accepted - rarely, but at any rate sometimes - small parcels of provisions and clean clothing. As always, on March 31, matushka with her elder daughter Olga brought a small parcel, but on that day they did not accept it. On asking why, she received no reply. Then matushka, Olga and some other people who had also brought parcels for their relatives, began to wait for the moment when they would be able to hand over their parcels. And then, at about three in the afternoon, all of them were driven away, the doors of the prison were opened and they led out the arrestees - between 25 and 30 people, among whom was Fr. Macarius. On seeing his wife and elder daughter, he waved at them from a distance. He looked completely healthy. The group were led to the building of the GPU and taken inside, while the relatives who ran after them were ordered to go home. They were told to come the next day at nine o' clock, and everything would be explained to them.
But some did not obey, and surrounded the GPU building waiting. They were given several warnings by the guards, and then some of them were arrested. Among these was the wife of Fr. Macarius and his daughter. Having held them in the basement until morning, they were given a certificate saying that Fr. Macarius had died in prison. Then they were very severely forbidden, under threat of arrest, not to tell anyone where they had been or what they had seen.
Fr. Macarius' wife asked:
"Where is the body of my husband? I would like to bury it."
The prison boss who issued the certificate swore and said:
"There's nothing to worry about, Soviet power will give him the burial he deserved."
Then he ordered them to go away before it was too late. Then they learned that this group had contained, basically, the priests of Orenburg and the surrounding district who had been the most popular among believers, as well as some steadfast true Christians who had got in the way of Soviet power. And all these people, who the previous day had been healthy and fit, and who had walked calmly and quickly from the prison to the GPU building, suddenly, the next day, "died in prison", a fact that was confirmed by certificates given out to the relatives. Later the rumour spread secretly that all of them had been herded into a basement room in the GPU and gassed. That was why no body was given to any of the relatives.
Fr. Macarius departed to the Lord on April 1, 1931, Palm Sunday. According to another source, he was shot on April 5, 1931 at 4.30 in the morning. In this way he gave his life for the true faith as a steadfast martyr and true pastor, loved by his parishioners, a true faithful server in the pastures of Christ.
Miracles were performed by the future hieromartyr even during his lifetime.
When Fr. Macarius' son Vladimir was ten years old, he fell ill first with measles, then with scarlet fever, and then with some unknown disease which the doctors could not cure. He had been ill for more than eight months, and already displayed hardly any signs of life. His mother only poured several spoonfuls of broth into his mouth each day. To put it briefly, he was just skin and bones. And then, one evening, Efrosinya Kondratyevna, with tears in her eyes, sat down and began to sow a garment from the remains of a sheet so that Volodya could be put in the grave in clean clothing. But Fr. Macarius went into the other room to pray and beseech God that He grant either death and an end to the sufferings of his son Volodya, or healing and health. In this depressed state, they all, with the exception of matushka, lay down to sleep. Then suddenly, at two in the morning, the bell sounded in the corridor. Matushka opened the door and met a friend of Fr. Macarius from his school days, a doctor now, whom they had neither seen nor corresponded with for more than five years. How he knew their address and what made him drop in on them at such a later - noone knows. In reply to Fr. Macarius' question, he replied that he was passing through on his way to Tashkent and had decided to visit his old friend. Matushka told him about the illness of her son and showed him Volodya. He immediately declared that he should be given cupping-glasses. Matushka told the doctor that this was almost impossible because of Volodya's thinness, but he himself applied several, albeit with great difficulty. And then a miracle took place. In the morning the boy began to give some signs of life, to move and even to open one eye. The doctor showed them how to apply cupping-glasses and told matushka to apply them every day, as many as possible. He left them at seven in the morning, and after this the family of Fr. Macarius neither saw nor heard of him again. By the mercy of God Volodya recovered, grew up, went through the war, and is alive now. This miracle, which was accomplished by the Lord God by the prayers of Fr. Macarius, is confirmed by his son Vladimir.
Again, in the madhouse in Orenburg there was a ten-year-old boy who was suffering from an illness that the doctors pronounced incurable. Fr. Macarius often used to go to this house and pray fervently for the boy's recovery. For two months he visited him - and then the illness passed. The doctors, to their amazement, recognized that the boy was completely healthy. He is now a grown man, and has been in sound mind ever since. This miracle was also accomplished by the prayers of Fr. Macarius.
This incident was recounted by Matushka Euphrosyne to her son Volodya before the Second World War, when they took Vladimir into the army.
The third incident took place already after Fr. Macarius' martyric death. Vladimir himself was a witness and remembered it all his life.
After the arrest of Fr. Macarius, his family continued to live in the same converted bath-house, in hunger and cold. They were not allowed ration cards. Matushka went to the country to exchange their remaining things for something to eat. She brought everything they had in the house, to the last towel. The parishioners tried to support the family in secret, but everyone was in difficult circumstances at that time.
Batyushka's daughters were not given jobs since they were "children of an enemy of the people". Nevertheless, in the summer of 1934 the second daughter, Raisa, succeeded in getting some work in an agricultural commune in the suburbs, and thanks to this, the family stocked up for the winter on dry potato tops, which they later used as fuel for the stove. Kindling wood for the stove was obtained by Vladimir and his younger brother Kolya, who went with sleds into the woods and gathered branches, standing up to their knees in the snow. Once all they had was taken away from them and they were nearly beaten to death...
Next to the bath-house was a communal household with several heads of cattle with a reserve of fuel. Once, when matushka was away and only the children were at home, a fire started in the neighbouring yard. The fuel ignited, the flames spread, and the sparks flew into the Kvitkins' yard, which was all covered with dry potato tops. The children crowded in front of the icons and fervently prayed to God. They also asked their deceased father to help them - and, by the prayers of the new martyr, God protected them.
(Source: "Novomuchenik Protoierej Makary Kvitkin", Pravoslavnaya Zhizn', N 7 (547), July, 1995, pp. 2-9; Priest N.E. Stremsky, Mucheniki i Ispovedniki Orenburgskoj Eparkhii XX Veka, Saraktash, 1998, pp. 113-120, 185)
Lydia, the daughter of a priest in the city of Ufa, was born on March 20, 1901. From childhood she was sensitive, affectionate, loved by all, fearing sin and everything forbidden by God. Upon completing girls' school, at the age of nineteen she married and lost her husband in the Civil War with the departure of the White Army.
Her father joined the schism of the renovationists in 1922. The daughter, prostrating herself at her father's feet, said:
"Bless me, father, to leave you, so that I will not bind you in the salvation of your soul."
The old priest knew his daughter, just as he was aware of the wrongness of his action. He wept, and, blessing Lydia for an independent life, prophetically said to her:
"See, daughter, when you win your crown, that you tell the Lord that although I myself proved too weak for battle, still I did not restrain you, but blessed you."
"I will, papa," she said, kissing his hand, thus herself also prophetically foreseeing her future.
Lydia succeeded in entering the Forestry Department, and in 1926 she was transferred to the Collective Lumber Industry for work with the lower-paid labourers. Here she immediately came into contact with simple Russian people, whom she warmly loved and who responded in the same fashion.
The lumberjacks and drivers, who had been hardened by the work they did under difficult conditions, related with amazement that in the officer of the Lumber department, where Lydia met them, a feeling came over them similar to the one, now almost smothered, which they had felt when before the revolution they had gone to meet the venerated icon of the Mother of God from the village of Bogorodskoye near Ufa. In the office foul language, insults and quarrels were no longer heard. Evil passions were extinguished, and people became kinder to each other.
This was amazing and was noticed by everybody, including the party chiefs. They kept watch over Lydia, but discovered nothing suspicious: she did not go at all to the churches that had been legalized by the Bolsheviks, and she attended catacomb services rarely and carefully. The GPU knew that members of the Catacomb Church existed in the diocese, but they could find no way of uncovering and arresting them.
With the aim of uncovering those who had not yet been arrested, the GPU suddenly returned Bishop Andrew of Ufa from exile. He was deeply revered by the people; but at his command he was received openly by only one church in Ufa, although secretly the whole diocese came to him. The GPU was mistaken: instead of being uncovered, the Catacomb Church deepened and spread, remaining as before inaccessible to spies. Convinced of the failure of its plan, the GPU again arrested Bishop Andrew and sent him into exile.
Lydia was arrested on July 9, 1928. The secret-operations department had long been seeking a typist who had been supplying the workers of the Forestry Department with typewritten brochures containing lives of the saints, prayers, sermons and instructions of ancient and recent hierarchs. It had been noticed that on this typist's typewriter the lower stem of the "k" was broken; and thus Lydia was discovered.
The GPU understood that there had fallen into their hands a clue for uncovering the whole Catacomb Church in the region. Ten days of uninterrupted questioning did not break the martyr; she simply refused to say anything. On July 20 the interrogator, having lost all patience, gave Lydia over to the "special command" for interrogation.
This "special command" worked in a corner room in the cellar of the GPU. A permanent guard was stationed in the cellar corridor. On this day the guard was Cyril Atayev, a 23-year-old private. He saw Lydia as she was brought into the cellar. The preceding ten days' questioning had drained the strength of the martyr, and she could not go down the steps. Private Atayev, at the call of his chiefs, held her and led her down to the interrogation chamber.
"May Christ save you,"
said Lydia, sensing in the Red Army guard a spark of compassion for her in the delicate gentleness of his strong arms.
And Christ saved Atayev. The words of the martyr, her eyes full of pain and perplexity, fell into his heart. Now he could not listen with indifference to her uninterrupted screams and cries, as he had previously listened to the same cries from others being interrogated and tortured.
Lydia was tortured for a long time. The tortures of the GPU were usually fashioned so as to leave no particularly noticeable marks on the body of the tortured one, but at Lydia's interrogation no attention was paid to this. The screams and cries of Lydia continued almost uninterruptedly for more than an hour and a half.
"But aren't you in pain? You're screaming and crying, that means it's awful?" asked the exhausted torturers in one of the intervals.
"Painful! Lord, how painful!" replied Lydia with a broken moan.
"Then why don't you talk? It will be more painful!" said the perplexed torturers.
"I can't talk... I can't... He won't allow..." groaned Lydia.
"Who won't allow?"
"God won't allow!"
Then the torturers devised something new for the martyr: sexual assault. There were four of them - one more was needed. They called the guard to help.
When Atayev entered the room, he saw Lydia, understood the means of her further torture and his own role in it - and there was worked in him a miracle similar to the unexpected conversions of the ancient torturers. Atayev's whole soul was repelled by the satanic abominableness, and a holy enthusiasm seized him. Totally unaware of what he was doing, the Red Army guard killed on the spot the two torturers who stood before him with his own revolver. Before even the second shot had echoed the GPU man who had been standing behind hit Cyril on the head with the handle of his gun. Atayev still had the strength to turn and seize his attacker by the throat, but a shot from the fourth one knocked him to the floor.
Cyril fell with his head toward Lydia, who was stretched out with thongs. The Lord gave him the opportunity of hearing once more words of hope from the martyr. And looking straight into Lydia's eyes, Cyril, with blood gushing from him, gasped his union to the Lord:
"Saint, take me with you!"
"I will take you," Lydia smiled, radiant.
The sound and meaning of this conversation as it were opened a door to the other world, and terror darkened the consciousness of the two GPU men who remained alive. With insane shouts they began to shoot the helpless victims who threatened them, and they shot until both their revolvers had been emptied. Those who had come running at the shots led them away, shouting insanely, and themselves fled from the room, seized by an unknown terror.
One of these two GPU men became completely insane. The other soon died of nervous shock. Before his death this second one told everything to his friend, Sergeant Alexis Ikonikov, who turned to God and brought this account to the Church. For his zealous propagation of it, he himself suffered a martyr's death.
All three - Lydia, Cyril and Alexis - have been canonized as saints in the religious consciousness of the Catacomb Church.
(Sources: Protopresbyter Michael Polsky, Noviye Mucheniki Rossijskiye, Jordanville, 1957, part 2, pp. 249-253; I.M. Andreyev, Russia's Catacomb Saints, Platina, Ca.: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1982, chapter 20)
Two brothers declared: "We have not refused to serve in that army which goes with Christ, but to serve in an army which is against God and Christ, that we cannot and will not do - we are Christians!"
First they placed them under arrest in the town of Sharlyk, Orenburg province. Then they took them to Alexandrovka, in the same province. This was where their parents lived, and the God-fighting authorities hoped that they would influence their sons, since otherwise death awaited them. But the God-fighters were mistaken. The parents, being convinced Christians, not only did not dissuade their sons from refusing to serve in the Red army, but also, quite the reverse, supported them in their decision. Knowing that death threatened their sons, the parents said, with tears in their eyes:
"Children, dear children, you are our hope. Apart from you we have no children. You know what awaits you... But remember that you have received Holy Baptism. And that is an oath of faithfulness to the Lord God Himself... We are your parents, and you are our beloved children. We bless you to be faithful Christians both in life and in death for Christ, the Lord of glory. The blessing of God is with you, and our fervent prayers are with you and for you... Go, dear ones, to eternity!"
The military command was by no means expecting this. Instead of dissuasion, a blessing... And both the sons and their parents were weeping tears of tender feeling. And even those of the command who were present were not themselves... But the Soviet system is such that people do only what they are ordered to do. And the fate of these valiant soldiers was decided accordingly.
A horse-mounted convoy drove them, on foot and in summer clothes in a fierce Siberian frost, from Alexandrovka to the town of Orenburg. This is about 150 kilometres. It is not surprising that they did not reach Orenburg. So as not to freeze, they had to run, but neither their hearts nor their legs could sustain them and they both fell and froze to death on the way.
Their parents, who had showed such exemplary firmness in confession, died on the same day, so they say, at the very same hour, suffering for their sons and knowing that in such a hard frost they were being driven down the road to Orenburg. And perhaps they killed their parents... Be that as it may, on the same day and hour the whole of this Catacomb Church family - two sons, father and mother - died a martyr's death in 1937.
Fr. Nicetas was a catacomb priest from Orenburg who was in hiding until his death. But during this period he continued to fulfil his priestly duties. He was constantly on the move, going from village to town, from town to village, from house to house, celebrating services in "house churches", confessing people and communicating them in the Holy Mysteries. He had to suffer very much for the Church, but he showed himself to be a true, exemplary, self-sacrificing pastor, bringing up his only son, Theodore, not so much by word and instruction as by his own example without words, teaching him to be a firm, self-sacrificing Christian.
The young Theodore was called up and went into the army. He knew beforehand that there awaited him an impious oath, not to the Lord God, but to the God-fighting Soviet authorities who had come in the spirit and the name of the Antichrist. And Theodore decided in advance not to accept it. He prayed to the Lord to strengthen him for the feat of martyrdom. In tears he said goodbye to his parents, knowing that he would never see them again. He took a blessing from his father, Fr. Nicetas, and from his mother. He besought them to pray fervently for him, that he would not weaken...
When all the other soldiers obediently swore the oath to the Soviet authorities, he alone refused. Boldly in front off everyone he declared that he could not swear such an oath to the God-fighting authorities because he was a Christian. There was a big stir. They forced all the soldiers to come out against the confessor of Christ. And the son of the catacomb priest Fr. Nicetas, the martyr for Christ Theodore, was shot in front of all the soldiers of the unit in 1937. He was an inhabitant of Orenburg.
In the same external circumstances as the soldier of Christ Theodore, there was also shot the soldier of Christ Peter Gerasimovich Zamesin, who fearlessly confessed his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His Holy Gospel announced to men for their salvation.
"So you say that your God, Christ, came 'for the salvation of men'? But what 'salvation' can there be for you personally if we shoot you tomorrow as criminal for breaking the law?" said the chief to Peter. "Your 'law' is not law. There is only one law in the world which everyone must obey. That is the Law of God. But God allows man both to break His Law and reject the Gospel Law of love and to accept an evil law, the law of diabolic hatred. Which is what you do... I believe in eternal life in Christ and I accept death for Christ with great joy!.."
The soldier of Christ Peter was shot in 1944 or 1945.
The martyred servant of God Michael Vasilyevich Avdeyev came from a strongly Orthodox peasant family, and he was directed by pastors who were confessors and martyrs of the Catacomb Church. He lived in Orenburg, and worked as a lorry-driver. At the time of his violent death, which took place in 1977, he was 35 years old.
Because of something wrong in the lorry he was forced to lie down under it and carry out repairs. As a result he caught a chill in his kidney and was admitted into a therapeutic hospital with the diagnosis: nephritis. He felt very ill and began to do what is "not allowed", even "in thought only", in the Soviet Union - to pray out loud in front of everyone, and, according to the Christian custom, to ask forgiveness of all those in the dormitory, saying that he was going to die. And he was not mistaken...
The Soviet doctors were called to this "disorder in the ward", and, of course, since he believed in God and prayed to Him, they certified "sudden insanity", "madness" in the sick man. For the Soviet State recognizes as completely normal only those people who do not pray and do not believe in God. And in the given case, evidently, there was clearly seen such an "impudent demonstration" of religious feelings and convictions. Therefore Michael Vasilyevich was quickly transferred to the psychiatric section of the hospital with the label: "socially dangerous patient".
But here he showed himself to be the same as in the therapeutic hospital. He continued to pray in front of everyone in the ward, and he asked everyone's forgiveness, saying:
"I'm dying, I'm dying!"
The rest of the story was recounted by a boy who was in this ward. To the question: what happened that Avdeyev so suddenly, on the first day of his stay in the hospital, died?, he replied:
"A doctor entered with a big syringe and said:
"'You're feeling ill? We shall give you an injection, and it will immediately make you feel better!'
When he had given this injection, the sick man didn't even move. He died immediately!"
With what cold-bloodedness did they kill the young man! As if he were an inanimate object. But the town of Orenburg has for long been "glorified" for its cold cruelty, both in the prison regime and in the hospitals subject to chekist supervision.
(Source: Schemamonk Epiphanius (Chernov), Tserkov' Katakombnaya na Zemlye Rossijskoj)
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