Hieromartyrs Of Eastern Siberia

In 1918, the priest Fr. John Litvintsev, from the village of Vishnevka, Nikolsko-Ussuruisk region, was killed with the whole of his family.

(Source: Protopresbyter Michael Polsky, Noviye Mucheniki Rossijskiye, Jordanville, 1949-57, part 1, pp. 211)

Fr. Philip Kuzmich Raspopov came from a family of small traders in Samara gubernia, where he was born in 1877 and where in 1894 he finished his studies at a parish school in Buzuluk. After passing the examination with distinction he was made teacher and psalm-reader in the village of Tunisovka in Buzuluk uyezd.

In 1898 he moved to the Amur region, where he continued his service to the Church under the leadership of Bishop Nicodemus of the Amur and Trans-Baikal. Philip Kuzmich was a humble and pious person who worked hard for the good of the Church, being simultaneously psalm-reader in the Duisk field church and choir-director in the Khabarovsk Dormition cathedral. He helped in the building-up of a catechetical school and conducted the written part of the Burukansk missionary camp. By his labours Philip Kuzmich won the respect of his parishioners and the trust of the Church leadership.

On January 28, 1906, Bishop Nicodemus raised him to the rank of deacon and made him permanent deacon of the Grado-Nikolayevsky Primorsky cathedral. His inclination for, and ability in, pastoral work was noticed also by the civil authorities, and by a decree of the Nikolsk trustees' council he was appointed teacher of the Law of God in the Pyanovskoye people's school.

The Lord judged that in 1910 his spiritual father became Bishop Eugene (Zernov), who in 1924 became, by common consent, the leader of the confessing bishops on Solovki. It was Bishop Eugene who on January 8, 1912 pronounced the sacred word "Axios" and placed his hands on Deacon Philip Raspopov, who became at that moment a priest of the Holy Orthodox Church.

He began his pastoral ministry in the Protection Church of the village of Vyatsk, and then from 1914 he was appointed vicar of the Holy Trinity church in the village of Dolya-Troitsk, which was picturesquely situated on the bank of the river Amur. At the same time he continued to care for the Protection church in the village of Vyatsk.

Fr. Philip continued his minstry without interruption until November 23 / December 6, 1919, when godless bandits of the "red partisan" Tryapitsin burst into the house where he lived with his matushka Olga (nee Olga Nikolayevna Savinova) and his five young children. What military secret could the pastor of God be keeping? What could be the guilt of this man, who had spent the whole of his life in service to God alone? For the servants of the Antichrist he was, of course, guilty, guilty if only because he was a witness to eternal truth on this earth. Fr. Philip was dragged out into the savage frost, almost naked, as far as the frozen Amur, where he was for a long time insulted and beaten. But however hard his torturers tried, they could not extract anything other than words of prayer from the freezing lips of the servant of God. The animals with the appearance of human beings let the sufferer down through a hole in the ice, where he received his martyric death.

Only in the early spring of 1920, when the river cleared, did a certain unknown fisherman discover the body of Fr. Philip. But the satanic authorities did not even allow him to receive a Christian burial. Even dead, a priest was an offense to them. The fisherman was forced to thrust the body of the sufferer for Christ away from the bank and into the current of the river.

(Source: Peter Filippovich Raspopov, in Pravoslavnaya Zhizn', no. 6 (497), June, 1991)

Fr. George Pargachevsky of the village of Ivanovka, Amur region, was shot with explosive bullets in 1918. He had eleven bayonet wounds in his body, and his head had been cut up by sabres.

Archpriest Serapion Chernikh of the city of Nikolayevsk on the Amur, during the consecration of the willow branches on the eve of Palm Sunday, was thrown into the river dressed in his priestly vestments.

Protopriest Andrew Zimin, a dean from the village of Chernigovka, Muchnaya station, 190 versts from Vladivostok (according to another source, the village of Chernigovka, Nikolsko-Ussuruisk region), was bestially murdered with his whole family in his own home. At Theophany, 1919 (according to another source, 1918), Fr. Andrew served the all-night vigil, but when the bell sounded for the Liturgy in the morning he did not appear. A band of about 10 to 12 Bolsheviks from the neighbouring villages had burst into his house and bound: Fr. Andrew, his wife Lydia Alexandrovna, his three daughters, aged between 11 and 13 (the eldest was called Maria), matushka's mother, Domnica Petrovna Shmarova (74 years old) and a servant. They tortured them, demanded money, and raped the children and matushka in the eyes of all. They shot the daughters and matushka, but threw Fr. Andrew, bound, onto the floor, where they beat and tortured him, then pressed a door onto his stomach and chest. They were all buried in a common grave beside the church where Fr. Andrew had served for twenty years. Not long before his death, Fr. Andrew wrote a letter to his relative and great friend, the professor of theology in the university of Vladivostok, Protopriest John Konoplev, asking him to open it only in the event of his death. In the letter Fr. Andrew described a dream of his that accurately and in detail depicted his future martyric death.

The priest Fr. Seraphim Sarychev of the Gondatievka station was shot after the Paschal Liturgy in 1921.

Fr. Joachim Frolov from Mikhailovsk village in the Amur region was burned to death on a haystack outside the village in 1921. Only a metal cross remained on the heap of ashes.

Fr. John Moslovsky from Verkhnyaya-Poltavka village in the Amur region was shot through the window of his house on September 7, 1921.

Fr. Theodore Archangelsky from Mikhailovo-Semyonovsky station in the Amur region was shot in 1921.

The priest Fr. Innocent Plyaskin died in prison in Vladivostok in 1923.

In the village of Dedino, Sebezhsk uyezd, an Orthodox priest was killed during the Divine service. In the village of Zasitino, in the same uyezd, collectivized animals were put into the church. At the demand of the peasants the church was opened again, but in revenge the chekists killed the priest at the altar. In the neighbouring village of Slbodka, the chekists dragged the priest out of the house of arrest, stripped him naked and hanged him on a tree. The GPU chief declared that he would hang anyone who "tries to save the pope" and shouted to the freezing priest:

"Let your God guard and save you."

In the village of Turka the chekists nailed the priest to the royal doors and then shot him.

The priest Fr. Andronicus Lyubovich, from Nikolayevsk-on-Amur, Fr. Michael Novgorodtsev, from the village of Peschanoozerka, and Fr. Emilian Shchelchkov from Muravyevka (a former subdeacon of Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky) were tortured and shot in January, 1924 by the executioner Bezlepkin.

The priest Fr. Modestus Gorbunov was killed near Hailar in 1929 by red bandits in Trekhrechye.

(Sources: Protopresbyter Michael Polsky, The New Martyrs of Russia, Montreal: Monastery Press, 1972, pp. 102, 104; Noviye Mucheniki Rossijskiye, Jordanville, 1949-57, part 1, pp. 211, 213-215, part 2, pp. 309-10; Vladimir Rusak, Pir Satany, London, Canada: "Zarya", 1991, pp. 96-97)

The priest Fr. Leonid Srebrennikov was martyred on the Nativity of Christ in the village of Lermontovka, near Khabarovsk (Rozentalovka station). He was returning home after putting a Christmas tree in the local school for the children when he was arrested, led to the river in the freezing cold and stripped on the ice. They made a hole in the ice.

"Well, diver, you have baptized, and now we are going to baptize you," declared the commissar.

Fr. Leonid was given several blows with a dagger and thrown through the hole. The thawed traces of the priest's naked feet were visible for several days.

In Blagoveshchensk Protopriest Alexander Uninsky was shot in the courtyard of his house. Before his execution he managed to put on his ryasa and cross.

In the winter of 1922, in one of the villages near Buriya station, between Khabarovsk and Blagoveshchensk, the Bolsheviks led the local priest out onto the high road, stripped him, sat him on a tree-stump and then poured water over him until an ice "statue" was made out of him.

In the village of Spassky, Nikolsko-Ussuriysk uyezd, Primorsky region, the Bolsheviks tied the local priest to a bed and cut his skin off him with a knife. He died in the midst of his tortures.

In 1922 Protopriest Demetrius Kuzmin and the priest Kuklin were tortured to death in the basement of the Khabarovsk prison of the GPU.

(Source: Vladimir Rusak, Pir Satany, London, Canada: "Zarya", 1991, pp. 37, 40, 102)

Hieromonk Paulinus lived in the Shmakovsky Holy Trinity monastery of Ussuriysk. When the young Red Army soldiers entered the monastery, bayonets at the horizontal, cigarettes on their lips and demanding "Money, money, gold!", he was on his knees in the church praying in front of the shroud of the Mother of God. Someone pointed to him, saying that he knew where the money was hidden.

"Call the black-tailed dog!" cried several voices.

The powerful but humble figure of Fr. Paulinus was brought out. The soldiers pointed their bayonets at his chest:

"Where have you hidden the monastery treasury? Where are the gold vessels? Where's the treasurer?"

Fr. Paulinus turned away from the madmen towards an icon of the Mother of God and crossed himself. Quietly he said:

"You don't frighten me with your bayonets, you'd do better to lower them. I myself engaged in hand-to-hand struggle with the enemies of my Homeland, and so you don't frighten me. With a clear conscience I can tell you that we have no wealth apart from what you can see with your own eyes."

Butt-stocks and ramrods rained down on him. Some blows were aimed at his legs. Soon crimson blood was seeping out of his boots. For a moment the comrades jumped away from the wounded martyr. Then they set upon him again. Several soldiers lifted him by the armpits and out into the courtyard. Fr. Paulinus was surrounded by soldiers and several people who had come to help themselves to the monastery's property. Some of them could not refrain from tears on seeing him, but others cursed and swore.

A way was made for the commissar. He unsheathed his sabre and with its flashing blade cut the martyr's forehead almost in two between the eyes. But to the astonishment of the crowd, who had suddenly become deadly silent, Fr. Paulinus stood still more firmly on his feet as if expecting another blow. The commissar hastily hid himself in the crowd...

Without waiting for another blow, Fr. Paulinus staggered away, his face covered with a dark brown mask of blood and dust. Then he fell, groaning, to the earth. One of the soldiers, taking pity, went up to him and thrust his bayonet into his heart...

The priest Fr. Alexander was in prison for one year in Vladivostok. Then, before 1925, he was exiled to Solovki.

(Source: Ikh Stradaniyami Ochistitsa Rus', Moscow, 1996, pp. 104-107; Za Khrista Postradavshiye, Moscow: St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1997, p. 51)

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