Here it is, this Penza "Mortirolog".
Another blow was dealt in the spiritual realm. It is no exaggeration to say that the 20th century, which brought global social disasters to mankind, entered the history of the Russian Orthodox Church as well as an era that gave the Universe Church innumerable sufferers for the faith of Christ and holy martyrs. The God-fighting ideology that triumphed in Russia in 1917 fiercely attacked the Russian Church with persecutions comparable only to those of the first Christians. These blows, which destroyed the Holy Church in our Fatherland - 1917-1919 and 1922 years, then merged into constant persecution of the Church and reached their zenith in the 1937-1938 years, and then continued in different forms until the 1000-anniversary of the Baptism of Russia . During this long, more than 70-year period, many thousands and thousands of Orthodox Christians — from church hierarchs to ordinary peasants living in the old religious order — suffered brutal repressions — were put to death and were sent to prisons and camps for the name of Christ, for freedom of conscience, in words proclaimed by the Soviet government.
And there were three people in Penza: Alexander Dvorzhansky, Sergey Zelev, and archpriest Vladimir Klyuev, who reviewed thousands of cases convicted for their faith, recruited employees of the FSB office in the Penza region, who undertook the hard work of investigating cases stored in the archive of the administration, and as a result of all these works they prepared the “Penza martyrology of the victims for the faith of Christ” - “The righteous will live by faith” in 583 pages. The work on the Mortirolog continued for as many 17 years. It contains more 2200 names of people affected by the faith. Victims in different ways: who was put for three years, and someone got the highest measure. Surprisingly, among the last many women are nuns. Could they have blown up trains, stolen kolkhoz grain, or poured sand into rubbing parts. Judging by their cases, they were shot simply because they were ... nuns. They shot women, not men, who could take in hand weapon. Or was the Soviet government so afraid of their courage and the words they could say? The fact that such a “punishment” is already unjust is undoubtedly, and in its essence, and simply criminal.
Page of "mortirologist"
However, the Church itself considered their death and regards it as a martyrdom feat for confessing the Orthodox faith, and is revered as one of the Christian virtues, as a gift from God, as a worthy crown of mortal life. The meaning of martyrdom consists in the complete and final rejection of oneself for the love of Christ, following the Savior to the sufferings of the cross, in his crucifixion and eternal union with God. The Lord Jesus Christ himself, through the holy Apostles, repeatedly spoke about this in the Scripture: “But if anyone who is hostile for Me and I, let himself be rejected, and take up his cross, and for Me to come” (Matt. 16, 24).
And among the people this feat of martyrdom has always been revered. The ancient Christians with great reverence kept the memory of the martyrs crucified on the crosses torn by lions in the arenas of ancient circuses. Their honest remains were removed from the crosses, buried with honors, and their righteous blood, like a shrine, was scraped by the hands of believers from circus arenas. Legends about their lives and deeds were carefully passed from mouth to mouth, from generation to generation. You can not take it all, you can laugh at it, and out loud, and to yourself, but it is impossible to cross it out, because in all of this, like in many other things, our culture, our civilization, is impossible to cross out.
Information about new martyrs began to be collected in Russia since the beginning of the persecutions of the Church. Thus, in one of the points of the resolution of the Holy Council of the Orthodox Russian Church of 18 on April 1918, it says: "Instruct the Supreme Church Administration to collect information and notify the Orthodox population through print publications and live words about all cases of persecution of the Church and violence against confessors of the Orthodox faith.
So the authors of “Mortirologa” did everything to extract from non-existence the names that were unfairly damaged during the years of repression for their religious beliefs. And now Penza residents can find out who they are, tortured for faith, whose fates are revealed in this book before their eyes. These were people of different origins, by education and their occupations, but somehow connected with the Orthodox faith, which for millennia was the basis of all Russian spirituality, culture and statehood. Whether this is good or bad - again, nothing can be changed here. It was! Orthodoxy, as the dominant religion of old Russia, was studied in all educational institutions. Fathers and grandfathers taught children to read the Psalms, the word of God was pronounced from the pulpits of temples; Church celebrations, religious processions, the glorification of the saints — all these events formed the basis of not only the spiritual, but also the secular life of the Russian people, since people did not work on church holidays. The whole life of a Russian person, his whole life, all his aspirations and undertakings were imbued and sanctified with faith in God. The spirit of faith and the fear of God have always lived in the Russian people, and with the coming of the God-given time, many people could not simply and change their Christian ideals, reject the past, lose their spiritual support.
And one more - someone's fate ...
Modern studies show that a significant part of modern Russian society could not fully adapt to the destruction of the Soviet system and the new market economy. They experience stress and psychological discomfort. Many take antidepressants, the sale of which is growing continuously. But after all, the same thing took place after the 1917 year, and even almost to a greater extent, only then no one had ever heard of psychotherapists, and alcohol was the main antidepressant.
Moreover, the Russian Church immediately after 1917 experienced a hostile attitude on the part of the Soviet authorities, and it was then that the first blows were inflicted on her clergy. It is not surprising that in the "Martyrology" clergy representatives make up more than half of his personalities. Many of the priests were famous and respected people in the Penza province. Educated and cultured people. People of high moral qualities. With faith and truth, they sometimes served God and their people for several decades in the same parish: they built churches, almshouses and schools, struggled with social vices, engaged in local history, published spiritual literature. As a result, they became objects of monstrous attacks from the side of the new Soviet society, which for its existence required enemies not only external, but also internal. And who, by the way, were those who came to replace them, was their spiritual culture and their moral duty to society so high?
The other large group is, as has already been written, the peasantry. The peasants, being church parishioners, were often very pious, served as chairmen of church councils, sang in church choirs and actively helped the priesthood. It would not be an exaggeration to consider that it was the peasantry in Russia that was the main social group in which Orthodox traditions were accumulated and preserved for centuries. Therefore, the number of victims for the faith could well be attributed to those who were expropriated and exiled during the years of collectivization. In addition to the clergy and laity who were repressed during the years of Soviet power for their membership of the Russian Orthodox Church, the book also mentions some landowners and merchants who, although they did not go directly to church affairs, but nonetheless suffered, being cathedrals, builders of temples and church benefactors.
A special group of repressed clergymen, who were bred in a special section at the end of the book, are representatives of the renovationist and Gregorian tendencies, who evaded the canonical Patriarchal Church and never reconciled with it until their death. Nevertheless, they also suffered for the faith, although they shied away from the accepted canonical way.
The absolute majority of the people mentioned in the martyrology were brought to criminal responsibility under the 58 article of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR, that is, for anti-Soviet activities. The latter was interpreted very widely, which made it possible to fight the enemies of the regime, proceeding not so much from the criminal component of the case, as from its political basis. And since religious activity was viewed as one of the types of anti-Soviet agitation, it is clear that it was the clergymen who came under the 58 article in the first place.
And this is also a nun and also shot ...
The book omitted the fact that there was such a measure as the deprivation of civil rights, and it applied to all clergy and staff of temples without exception. The beginning of this repressive measure dates back to the 1920 years. The “Lyshentsy”, in fact, were expelled from society. They were banned from the right to work in state institutions, they could not study in Soviet schools and other educational institutions, or join collective farms. They became outcasts of Soviet society, people who in essence were condemned to hunger and death. But many families of people associated with religion were large, where there were 10 children and more people. And the arrest of parents became a deep nervous shock for young children's souls. They knew that their parents, father and mother, did not do anything bad, they did not plan evil against the authorities, for “slaves obey not only good masters, but also harsh ones” - and they remembered it. Nevertheless, the authorities doomed such children to orphanage, and they dragged out a miserable existence in children's homes, children's homes, were mocked and insulted by the “right” Soviet collectives. What was there in their hearts that none of the Soviet leaders was interested in.
In "Martyrology" a lot of different sources. The authors cite documents, give excerpts from the surviving letters, copies of interrogation protocols and the memories of individuals, which makes it possible to better understand the life of the people described in it. It also contains a lot of photos, both pre-revolutionary and investigative photos from the cases of the victims, their relatives, the houses where they lived, the churches, where their ministry took place, and various documents. The most brief biographies are “born, served, shot,” or such: “Sentenced to 10 years of ITL”. And now think about what is behind this short line: night searches and arrests, crying of children, separation from his beloved wife, long night interrogations, beatings, seeing off on the platform, transfers through escorts, months-long carriages in dirty carriages and holds, and then - deep snow, dank barracks, ice slaughterhouses, logging, diseases, frostbite, death, rare letters to relatives on scraps of wrapping paper, soul chill and one thought - “For what, Lord?” and the thought behind it is “Forgive them, Lord for they know not what is yours Hm! "
But again, it is important to emphasize that these people suffered all their torments not for "politics" and not for "hesitating along with the party course", they suffered for believing in the ideal of Christ, for the Orthodox Church. And in the feat of this suffering, as in the first centuries, the greatness of the Christian spirit was fully manifested. Of the total number of people who were repressed for the faith and the Church associated with the Penza land, more than 30 people have already been glorified by the Russian Church in the face of saints, and the new martyrs and confessors of Russia are counted among the Council. Among them are the martyrs John (Pommer), the archbishop of Riga; Tikhon (Nikanorov), Archbishop of Voronezh; Augustine (Belyaev), Archbishop of Kaluga; Peacock (Kroshechkin), Archbishop of Mogilev; Thaddeus (Assumption), Archbishop of Tver; Hermogenes (Dolganev), Bishop of Tobolsk; Theodore (Smirnov), Bishop of Penza; Archpriest John Artobolevsky, Evfimy Goryachev, Vasily Yagodin; Priest Philaret Velikanov, Mikhail Pyataev, Vasily Smirnov, Gabriel Arkhangelsky, Arefa Nasonov, Vasily Gorbachev, Afanasy Milov, John Dneprovsky, Victor Europeans, Peter Pokrovsky; deacons Mikhail Isaev, Grigory Samarin; martyr hegumen Methodius (Ivanov), hieromonk Pakhomiy Skanovsky (Ionov), hieromonk Gerasim (Sukhov); clergymen Archimandrite Gabriel Melekesky (Igoshkin) and Archimandrite Alexander Sanaksarsky (Ugly); priest Ioann Olenevsky (Kalinin); Martyr Abbess Eva Chimkentskaya (Pavlova) and nun Elena (Astashkina); Martyr Agrippina Kiseleva Karaganda. Priest Nikolai Prozorov was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in 1981.
This “Mortirolog” is also interesting because there are a lot of truly unique photos in it.
Four candidates were represented from the Penza diocese for canonization: elder-priest Ioann Olenevsky, bishop Theodore (Smirnov) and priests Gavriil Arkhangelsky and Vasily Smirnov who suffered with him. The rest were nominated by other dioceses. The Day of Memory of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Penza established the 4 of September, which is the day of the death of Vladyka Theodore (Smirnov) and those who were killed with him.
Of course, today almost all people named in the martyrology have been rehabilitated. But what does this fact mean? This is nothing more than the natural result of the democratization of our society, but it does not add anything significant to the biography of these people who have already committed their martyrdom.
To be continued ...