Russia's Catacomb Saints

Very little has as yet appeared in English regarding the reliable sources of information on the Catacomb Church. In academic circles, only one book has even attempted to approach this subject (William C. Fletcher, The Russian Orthodox Church Underground, Oxford University Press, London, 1971), and it is marred by an over-reliance on Soviet government sources which are far from the “objectivity” they claim.

In the case of the Catacomb Church, “objectivity” itself (even if this mythical ideal could be attained) is not enough. The Catacomb Church is a living organism, and one that is persecuted and seldom appears on the surface of “objective” life. An accurate picture of it can presented only by actual participants in its life, and comments on it in the Soviet press and the scholarly world (which are often grossly distorted, whether intentionally for propaganda purposes, or simply out of ignorance) must be evaluated by the picture which is presented by actual eye-witnesses and participants.

The primary sources for Catacomb Church life fall into three main categories:
(1) The official statements and unofficial letters of the Catacomb hierarchs and priests who separated from Metropolitan Sergius in 1927 and the few years following.
(2) Personal accounts of believers who belonged to the Catacomb Church in the period before the Second World War and then came to the West.
(3) Letters and accounts of Catacomb Church life which began to appear in the 1970’s, describing the state of the Catacomb Church after the Second World War. Soviet news accounts from this period, describing the uncovering of illegal cells of Catacomb believers, are also a kind of primary source, if one makes allowances for their obvious exaggerations.

Almost all of these sources are in the Russian language. The chief collection of them up to now has been the book of Protopresbyter Michael Polsky, Russia New Martyrs (two volumes, Jordanville, 1948 and 1957), and now also Lev Regelson’s Tragedy of the Russian Church (Paris, 1977), which concentrates mainly on official documents. But there are many other sources, both in manuscript and little accessible printed accounts.

The following is a list of the sources used in compiling the present book. With most of the authors the compilers have had personal contact (indicated by *), and some of the material has been solicited directly from them. Where a pronounced “Sergianist” or “anti-Sergianist” bias is present, this is indicated in the descriptive accounts of the sources below, for the sake of a balanced view of these sources. That all these authors are telling the truth as best they know and remember it, the compilers have no doubt whatever.
ANASTASSY,Archimandrite Z. (1915-) A relative of Sts. Archbishops Pachomius and Avercius, and a member of a family of New Martyrs. He experienced Church life in the Soviet Union before World War II, after which he became the cell attandant of Archbishop loasaph of Canada (see pp. 180-204) who died in his arms. Retired and residing today in California.

ANDREW, *Archbishop of Novo-Diveyevo Convent (t1979), Father Adrian Rymarenko before monasticism. A disciple of the Optina elders Anatole and Nektary and an avid propagator of the spirit of Optina, being himself a lay priest. He suffered greatly for his faith, was imprisoned, mocked and for years secretly liturgized daily hidden in a closet where he practiced the Jesus prayer and conducted pastoral counseling. He gave shelter to the Optina Monk-martyr Vincent (pp. 309-11) and others. Together with his wife Eugenia Gregorievna he left priceless memoirs on the renowned institution of Optina startsi or eldership. After escaping from the Soviet Union, he devoted the rest of his life to the “restoration of the Orthodox way of life” (the title of his book). He founded the Novo-Diveyevo Convent in New York state and ended his life as an Archbishop.

ANDREYEV, Gennady (Khmniakov). A contemporary writer of short stories.
was a former inmate of Solovki concentration camp and other atrocious Gulag institutions which he describes in his book Difficult Roads (Munich, 1959).
ANDRE YEV, * Ivan M. (see pp. 15-103).
ANFISA, Nun * (t1974) Cell-attendant of Abbess Juliana of Calistoga, California. She witnessed the martyrdom of Bishop Theophan of Solikam (t1919) and many others, primarily in the Novgorod region. Bishop Theophan was dragged by an enraged revolutionary mob which, giggling and laughing satanically, tied him to a pole next to the frozen Kama River. A hole was chiseled out through the ice and Bishop Theophaneg was slowly immersed into the icy water and held underwater for several minutes. He was then removed and a thin layer of ice formed around him. This was repeated several times and in this way he met his martyr’s death. The horrified Orthodox Christians stood helpless before the frenzied mob which had been instigated by Lenin’s ideas. (This account also appears in a short version
the life of Abbesa Rufina of Harbin.)
ARENSB URGER, * Mr. and Mrs. Professors in Monterey, California. They have provided testimonies of persecution in the Estonian region. They wrote a brief account of New Martyr Nikifor-Volgin, a talented young writer who, having met a wandering pilgrim of the Catacomb Church, was so inspired by his endless descriptions of the mystic experiences of the Catacomb Church, that he dedicated his whole life to the literary presentation of that phenomenon for which he was arrested in 1940, banished, and finally joined the choir of the New Martyrs. His two major books, A Pilgrim’s Staff and The Namesday of a Homeland, are today two of the most popular texts in Orthodox Samizdat publications, which rekindle in the hearts of persecuted Christians an eternal longing for the heavenly homeland.
ARIADNA, * Abbess of Our Lady of Vladimir Convent in San Francisco. Successor of the holy Abbess Rufina of Harbin (t1925). Originally from Harbin, Manchuria, and Shanghai, both she and Abbess Rufina have given abundant testimonies of the New Martyrs.
ASSUR * Ivan. The son of New Martyr Vladimir Assur who was an Orthodox educator and author of one of the first books on Orthodoxy in the German language (Berlin, 1928). when he was arrested he took with him only the Gospels and went to die as a martyr.
BARBARA, * (Tsvetkova), Abbess of the Gethsemane Convent in Jerusalem. Before her expulsion from Soviet Russia in the ‘20’s together with a group of theologizing intellectuals such as Berdyaev, she knew many Church figures, elders and righteous men who prophesied concerning the future of Orthodox Russia and died during the persecution.
BARBARA, * Nun of Lesna Convent (t1972). She contributed abundant information on the New Martyrs of Russia by recording in the church press various testimonies describing the horror of life under the Soviet regime. From her pen come the accounts of New Martyr Bishop Andrew of Ufa (pp. 321-8) and the suffering of the New Martyrs of Raithu Monastery.
CONSTANTINE, (Zaitsev), Archimandrite of Jordanville (t1975). Renowned Church thinker and writer. Of Jewish descent, he was editor for P. B. Struve in Paris and then in Shanghai under Archbishop John (Maximovitch) who baptized him into the Orthodox faith. For the last 25 years of his life he oversaw all the Jordanville publications which, until his repose, surpassed all other periodicals in dealing with the New Martyrs. The artificial silencing by liberal theologians of his profound contribution to the spreading of Orthodoxy in the Free World has greatly hindered the dissemination of the glory of the New Martyrs.
CONUS, Sergei. A pious layman of Boston, Mass., close to Church and monastic circles. He was in contact with righteous men and women in the Crimea and in New Athos, and collected a lot of information on the New Martyrs (see p. 440ff.).
DEPUTATOV, Archpriest Nicholas. Received a theological degree from the theo logical school in Harbin and wrote his thesis on Bishop Theophan the Recluse. From his youth he developed a hobby of collecting old spiritual books which led him on a quest for sobriety and correctness of spiritual life which in turn shaped his taste and feeling for truly spiritual people. He dedicated the rest of his life to recording God’s manifestation in people whom he knew personally and through others. Among other information, he has given a description of the righteous confessor Bishop Anatole. a saint of America. Now living in Australia, he continues to write for church journals. Author of Awareness of God, St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1975.
ERASTOVA, Novice Maria. A recent convert to Orthodoxy in the Soviet Union. Her life was changed through contact with contemporary confessors such as Matushka Eugenia Chetverukhin (pp. 404-16) and Elder Tavrion (pp. 512-4; see also his life in Orthodox Word, No. 96, Jan.-Feb. 1981).
FLETCHER, William C., author of The Russian Orthodox Church Underground. This work is significant in Orthodox literature because it demonstrates to the academic world the existence of the Catacomb Church and the validity of the New Martyrs. There are, however, serious flaws in his approach and “objectivity” to the subject matter. Fletcher is simply not well grounded in Orthodoxy or Church history, and he occassionally makes quite elementary errors of fact. For example, he fancies the traditional Orthodox calendar (which dates the years from the Creation of the world) to be a new sectarian invention (see p. 244 of his book). Also, he borrows heavily from Soviet sources, and their deliberate distortions cause the book to be one-sided and unbalanced. Thus the author rnisunderstands the opposition to Metropolitan Sergius’ Declaration of 1927, blindly following Soviet sources in attributing political motives to the “schism.” Furthermore, he unfairly divides various local manifestations of the opposition into disjointed and isolated groups. It is to his credit, however, that he quotes emigre sources, yet here also he lacks discernment and his sympathies lie with the ‘scientific” Soviet sources. Orthodoxy in the USSR today simply cannot be understood by a rationalistic scholar who is foreign to the spirit of Orthodoxy. Nevertheless, this book is still of consider able value for its sources and an informed Orthodox person can do much to correct the one-sidedness of its presentation. Used with knowledge, the Soviet sources themselves clearly testify to the continued existence of the Catacomb Church and the martyric courage of her members.
GABRIELA, * Nun of Novo-Diveyevo Convent. A spiritual daughter of Bishop Andrew of Ufa while he was in Kazan. She witnessed the destruction of the Zylontov Monastery in Kazan and a women’s monastic community founded by Bishop Andrew for the local Tatar girls (see pp. 321-8).
GERASIM, (Schmaltz), Archimandrite of Alaska (t1969) A Russian monk in the Optina tradition, he had close contact with many clergy who later became victims of communism. He came to Alaska in 1916 as a missionary and for the rest of his life suffered greatly at the knowledge of what went on in his beloved homeland. Through correspondence with his sister (later Nun Platonida) he received information about the destruction of various monasteries in Russia. Thus we have a description of the New Martyrs of his St. Tikhon of Kaluga Monastery. His staunch defense of the persecuted traditional Orthodox Church consciousness in America inspired the growth of true Orthodoxy in this country and promoted the canonization of St. Herman of Alaska.
GROTOFF, * Prof. Sergius of the University of Rome. Also known under the pen-names of Nestorov and Alexei Rostov; co-editor of Nuestro Pais (Nasha Strana) and the Vladimiraky Calendar. As a religious young man he went through the usual trials of arrests, banishment and concentration camps for his opposition to Sergianism. There he met many Church leaders (see pp. 88-103, 140-50, 151-6 1). He was a close friend of I.M. Andreyev with whom he collaborated on many projects. After coming out of the Soviet Union he wrote prolifically about the trial of believers under the communist yoke.
GURIAS,* Hieromonk of Jordanville. Orphaned as a child in the Soviet Union, he is today a spiritual father of the brotherhood at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville. He grew up in a pious family which was persecuted for its faith. The intensity of the grimness of daily soviet life of a believer under communism was too much for the young man and one day he vowed to God not to eat until God personally delivered him from his consuming despondency. He suffered hunger for several weeks when suddenly he was rescued by the coming of the German Army. In thanks for this miraculous deliverance, he made a vow to God to become a monk. He supplied material for Father Michael Poisky’s book.
IRTEL, * Sergius (Schema-Bishop Theodore) While a novice in the Valaam and Pskov Caves Monasteries, he acquired a living experience of persecuted Christianity. He kept contact with persecuted monks and laymen and preserved many memories of these people.
IVANOV,* Gali. A spiritual daughter of Bishop Arcadius; now living in Athens, Greece. Father Arcady urged Gali and her family to leave Russia prophesying in the early ‘20’s the frightful outcome of the satanic nature of militant communism. She preserved Bishop Arcadius’ portrait and his beautiful poetry dealing with enduring suffering and spreading goodwill to suffering mankind out of love for Christ. (See pp. 312-20.)
JULIANA , * Abbess (Barbara in Schema), formerly of Calistoga, Ca. (t1971) During the terrible persecution in the 1920’s she became a spiritual daughter of Archbishop Theodore of Danielov Monastery and took an active part in helping persecuted clergy. She was a leading member of the Myrrhbearing Sisterhood of the Church of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. Her direct duties were to supply exiled and arrested bishops with food and packages of clothing. She worked directly under the supervision of Metropolitan Cyril of Kazan, who received funds from an American relief organization to help hungry and abandoned clergy. These women formed a network throughout the Soviet Union and were able to keep the leading bishops informed of the whereabouts of other leading hierarchs. In the 1930’s she was sentenced to execution, but at the last minute this sentence was com muted to 5 years’ hard labor. She never forgot this near-death experience. In the Solovki concentration camp she managed to be in contact with and secretly help many bishops, preserving for us a complete picture of the inhuman trials that these descendants of the apostles had to endure. After the Second World War she came to the United States but could not find peace; her heart remained with the persecuted Orthodox people in Russia. She severely criticized the tone of Fr. Michael Polsky’s first two volumes because her own experience with Sergian clergy in Russia had been favorable. She supplied material for a few moving accounts of the New Martyrs which were published in the 1950’s in a Berkeley periodical, “Following in the Steps of Christ,” by Fr. Nicholas Vieglas.
KIETER, * Natalia Georgievna, Von Of German descent and originally indifferent to the Church, Natalia underwent a conversion experience through the prayers of New Martyr Bishop Stephen. She became a spiritual daughter of the wandering Schema-Bishop and New Martyr Peter (Zverev) who matured under the spiritual light of St. John of Kronstadt. Keeping in contact with persecuted clergymen, she became an ardent laborer for Christ, helping wherever she could. Under her influence her mother was tonsured a nun and died a holy death. She took part in church brotherhoods and dedicated her whole life to serving faithful Orthodox clergy, being a fierce opponent to Renovationism. She left many accounts of New Martyrs, among them Bishop Stephen, Bishop Peter, Hieromonk Barnabas (pp. 298-303), and Schema-Bishop Macanus (pp. 358-69). She died in Germany in July, 1981, and willed all her papers to the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood.
KOEHLER, * Ludmilla. Sister to the cell-attendant and subdeacon of New Martyr Archbishop John of Latvia (pp. 578-95). She is a living witness to the martyrdom of many Orthodox Christians in the Baltic States. Her recent visits to the Soviet Union indicate that belief in God in Russia is stronger than ever, and it is only the lukewarmness of Orthodox people in the West that prevents them from seeing the power of the New Martyrs.
KONTZEVITCH, * Helene Church writer. She was the niece of the Church writer Sergei Nilus, who discovered the Conversation of St. Seraphim with N.A. Moto vilov, and she has preserved throughout her whole life his zeal for Orthodox literature. She was in contact with the Optina Elders and the authentic Optina tradition, and later became an ardent collaborator in the work of her husband (I.M. Kontzevitch). In her youth she wanted to join the convent of Schema-Abbess Sophia of Kiev, about whom she has recently published a book (see pp. 293-311). To this day, in deep old age, she continues her literary activity, recording inform a tion about New Martyrs such as Hieromartyr Metrophanes, Bishop Hierotheus (see pp. 130-9) and others.
KONTZEVITCH, Prof. I.M. (t1965) A disciple of the Optina elders and one of the most important Church writers of the twentieth century who has helped to transmit the genuine Orthodox understanding of sanctity. He wrote the monumental work Optina Monastery and Its Era, which reveals the spiritual atmosphere which nourished the New Martyrs of Russia. This work was intended to be the third part of a trilogy: the first part is theAcquisition of the Holy Spirit inAneient Russia; the second was to be a work on the disciples of Elder Paisius Velichkovsky. Es pecially important is his “Definition of Eldership” (see The Orthodox Word, No. 95, Nov.-Dec. 1980), in which he theologically defines Orthodox eldership, which is so rare today. (See Father Nicholas Zagorovsky, pp. 370-82 and Elder Nektary of Optina, pp. 309-10).
KOVALENKO, * Alexandra She was the daughter of Priest-martyr Gabriel (Polsky Vol. II) and the author of the account of Bishop Vassily, Vicar of Poltava (Polsky Vol. II), an outstanding Josephite hierarch whose abundant epistles against the Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius have survived. Bishop Vassily was highly revered by Archbishop Andrew of Novo-Diveyevo.
KRAVCHINA, * Father Gregory A distant relative of Archbishop Andrew of Novo Diveyevo, now serving a parish in Monterey, California. In Pochaev Lavra, Poland, and during the war years in Germany, he witnessed many miraculous events in the lives of persecuted Christians. One farmer, under the influence of communist propaganda, refused to go to church and to abstain from working on St. Elias’ day, saying to himself, “If God exists, let the thunder of St Elias’ chariot prove it to me.” Hardly had he finished loading hay onto his cart when, as he was crossing some railroad tracks, an unexpected train thundered over him, severing his head which rolled like a ball away from the tracks. Father Gregory also has a vivid recollection of the Pochaev Lavra when its abbot was Archimandrite Vitaly, later Archbishop of Jordanville (t 1960).
LEONID, Abbot (Gess) of Lethbridge, Canada (t1981) A monk of Kiev in the Holy Trinity Monastery founded by the righteous Elder Jonah. Father Leonid leftseveral letters describing the martyrdom and atrocities committed against monks of his monastery. Some of them were thrown from a bridge into the Dniepr River while being shot as they fell. Others were undressed and mocked by fanatic communist soldiers. At the same time God worked great miracles in the Kiev region. In front of thousands of people, including unbelievers and Jews, church domes miraculously became gold, frescoes shone with miraculously renewed colors, beams of light played in the domes, invisible choirs were heard singing. In one case, a well supernaturally reflected the future of those who looked in it (see p. 348).
LEONTY, * Archbishop of Santiago (see pp. 502-9)
LEVITIN-KRASNOV, * Anatoty A deacon of the Living Church in the 1980’s, now Orthodox but of liberal views, exiled from the Soviet Union in the 1970’s. Author of the following books, in which he testified of the astounding reality of the New Martyrs: Likhie Godi Paris, 1977; Ruk Tvoyikh Zhar, Israel, 1980.
LOPESHANSKAYA,* Elena Nikolaevna (Lope) (t1972) The secretary of Bishop Damascene to whose memory she devoted her whole life. She was an outstanding Church writer known primarily for her works: Bishop Confessors (see pp. 234- 53 on Metropolitan Cyril, pp. 180-204 on Archbishop Pachomius, and pp. 210-38 on Bishop Damascene); Russian Myrrhbearers, published in “Orthodox Russia, 1949; and The Last Kievan Bishops, manuscript. Having received an excellent education in Russia, she dedicated her life to a literary career. She considered it her solemn duty to preserve for posterity and young people in the free world the correct ecclesiological understanding of church matters the way the great fathers of the latter times, such as Bishop Damascene, understood them. She published her outstanding accounts about the persecuted Russian Church when ever she could, but unfortunately, to her great consternation, due to the political bickering of church journals her voice was largely drowned out. She placed her hope in Archbishop Leonty. Her priceless first-hand accounts of the persecuted Russian Church breathe the spirit of the ancient catacombs and deserve to be published in English. She was terribly grieved when people dealt with the situation of the persecuted Russian Church in a categorical and legalistic way.
LYOVIN, Valentina Vatenanovna Formerly a professor at the University of Hawaii. She was the daughter of Priest-Martyr Valerian, who was in contact with St. John of Kronstadt. Now residing in Sacramento, California.
MAKOWSKAYA, Olympiada Anatolievna (f1976) A spiritual daughter of Schema-Bishop Anthony of Kiev and a friend of many New Martyrs and church figures in the Soviet Union. She was a poetess who kept alive the ideals of Holy Russia and shared her experiences, especially concerning the Kievan region. She encouraged many converte to Orthodoxy and was a close friend of Elena Lopeshanskaya.
MAKUSHINSKY * Subdeacon Alexis (t1977) and Zinajda Spiritual children of Priest-Brothers Ismael and Michael Rozhdestvensky (see pp. 340-7). In his childhood Subdeacon Alexis was in the choir of St. Andrew’s cathedral in Kronst and one of St. John of Kronstadt’s acolytes. They were staunch members of the catacomb Josephite church, and until the coming of the Germans were in constant contact with the catacomb clergy, helping them to preserve total secrecy.
MARIA, * Nun (Stakhovich) Secretly tonsured by the last elder of Valaam, Schema hieromonk Michael (f 1963). She is a living witness of the fierce persecution which Valaam monks endured for their staunch adherence to the Old Calendar and refusal to accept or bow down to the Spirit of Renovationism which they regarded as almost equal to the godless yoke in Russia. Nun Maria’s close relative, Abbot Rafael, a Valaam monk, together with a group of other monks was walled up alive in a Voronesh GPU prison.
MASICH, * Father Nicholas (t1973) As a young man he suffered persecution and harrassment for his faith. He was imprison in the Sarov, Sanaxar, and Tenmikoff concentration camp chain. He was forced to log and uproot the very forest in which st. Seraphim of Sarov labored. He knew many righteous men and women, all of whom ended their lives as New Martyrs. He left an account of the righteous Joseph the Silent of Kuban (Blagovestnik No. 12, 1968) and Gregory the Cross- Bearer (see pp. 445-7).
MASHIN,* Irene Former spiritual daughter of Bishop Arcadius (pp. 312-20) and New Martyr Bishop Avercius of Zhitomir (pp. 180-204). She now lives in the Novo-Diveyevo Convent in New York. Her reminiscences of the life of secret catacomb brotherhoods are a very rare contribution to the whole field of literature concerning the New Martyrs. Her son is also still alive and would not have survived were it not for the unanimity and love of the members of the Catacomb Church, who preserved him secretly.
MICHAILA * Nun (Kudiacva) The last surviving monastic toflsured in the Optina Monastery in 1918. As a sixteen year old girl during World War I, she joined the women’s corps as a soldier to defend Holy Russia. She lost her left arm and was nursed back to life in a hospital by members of the Royal Family. When the Revolution broke out she managed to join her brother, Father Innocent in Optina Monastery, where the elders with the consent of the Abbess of the Shamardino Convent tonsured her into monasticism giving her the name of the Chief of the Heavenly Host for her manful labors as a soldier. Before leaving Russia she saw the lay elder George of Chevriak who was martyred soon afterwards in 1919. With the retreat of the White Army she was evacuated westward and eventually settled in Brazil where she led a monastic life together with her brother, Father Innocent. She now lives in the New Shamardino Convent in Australia and preserves in her heart a great love and veneration for the New Martyrs, with many of whom she was in personal contact.
MITROFAN, * Archimandrite of San Francisco The son of a priest-martyr, he lived in the Voronezh region where he was in spiritual contact with the righteous Theoktista Michailovna and other ascetics. He married a daughter of the holy Priest-Martyr Mitrofan, who was a favorite spiritual child of Elder Nektary of Optina. As a faithful servant of Christ he endured severe persecution at the hands of the godless. He was greatly consoled and strengthened, however, by his contact with genuine men of God. It was this same quality of genuineness which he later recognized in Archbishop John Maximovitch, then ruling Bishop of Paris and Western Europe, and inspired him to dedicate the rest of his life to serving this blessed Archpastor. Fr. Mitrofan is the author of a complete life of Priest-Martyr Mitrofan of Voronezh (see p. 174) as well as the account of Blessed Theoktista, Fool for Christ’s Sake (see p. 173-9).
MOSTIKO, * Nicholas and Maria They were in contact with Bishop Onouphry (pp. 383-403) and other righteous slaves of God in the Soviet Union. After leaving the USSR they were employed by the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. where they live today. Mr. Mostiko is a subdeacon and, together with his wife, preserves a living veneration for the New Martyrs.
NABOK- Vasilkova (t1963) A flaming defender of Church consciousness in the Soviet Union. He was in contact with many New Martyrs and provided much information for Fr. Michael Polsky. He also left a manuscript entitled “Professor Platonov.” He died in Germany. See “Father Gennady” (Orthodox Russia, no. 4, 1971, in Russian).
NEKTARY, *Archimandrite A former member of the Catacomb Church, he became a monk in Jordanville where he personally typeset and edited both volumes of Fr. Michael Polsky’s Russia’s New Martyrs. He enriched it with much material from his own experience, having himself endured a living martyrdom for his faith. His spiritual father, New Martyr Abbot Barsanuphius, was a founder of the Catacomb Church in southern Russia who endured fierce beatings in the Sarov concentration camp which crippled and disfigured him for life. Here St. Seraphim visited him from the other world and granted him such consolation that for the rest of his life he felt an unearthly happiness and was filled with flaming love for his enemies.
NEKTARY, * Bishop of Seattle (Kontzevitch) The brother of I.M. Kontzevitch. From his childhood he was a spiritual son of Optina Elder Nektary, who prophesied that he would “be of service to us,” at the same time asking his mother to preserve him for such a vocation. During the time of fierce persecution of Christians, he was entrusted to the spiritual care of another Optina disciple, Archbishop Andrew of Novo-Diveyevo under whose guidance he matured into a pastor in Christ’s vineyard. His mother (Nectaria in monasticism) was in constant contact with the Optina Elders and helped many others to come in contact with them. She witnessed the destruction of Optina Monastery and many other horrors of the Soviet system. Both she and Bishop Nektary have provided detailed first-hand accounts of their experiences with a whole series of New Martyrs (see pp. 387-9), especially in the Kharkov region. Bishop Nektary is today Vicar-Bishop of the Western Diocese of the United States.
NESTOROV* (see Grotoff)
NICANDER, * Archimandrite (f1979) A Valaam elder who died as spiritual father of the Lesna Convent in France. He gave invaluable information aboutthe Martyrs of Valaam Monastery who were caught in the Petersburg and Moscow metochia of Valaam. He propagated the Valaam spirit until his last breath, transmitting it to his spiritual daughters in France.
NIKON, Archbishop of Washington and Florida (t1979) The author of the voluminous biography of Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky, in which he provides a true and very detailed account of the way in which the godless authority took hold of Holy Russia. This book mentions hundreds of Church figures and gives abundant data on New Martyrs. Archbishop Nikon was an inspirer of the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood and a propagator of the preservation of the ideals of Holy Russia. He provided information on Archbishop Pachomius (pp. 180-204), Bishop Andrew of Ufa (pp. 321-8), Metropolitan Cyril (pp. 234-53) and Bishop Hierotheus (pp. 130-9).
OVERT, Sergei He collected memoirs and information on New Martyrs from elderly Russian emigres, especially on the “Theodorovtsy,” who wore white crosses and refused to work for the godless authority (see pp. 445-7).
PAULIUSIK, Matushka Alexandra The wife of Father George, who was in close association with many New Martyrs in the Soviet Union before their escape to the free world during World War II. They contributed their testimony concerning Bishop Onouphry (see pp. 383-403).
POLSKY, Father Michael (t1960) Author of Russia’s New Martyrs, 3 vols. in Russian. Father Michael was a fearless priest in the Soviet Union, persecuted and exiled to various concentration camps, including Solovki, where he, together with many bishops, signed the famous protest of Solovki clergymen. He knew many righteous bishops, about which he later compiled his three volumes. Having become convinced that the Sergianist policy would prevail in the Soviet Union, he went south in hope of escaping in order to work for the free Russian Church Outside of Russia. He succeeded in escaping from the red hell in the early ‘30’s by way of Jerusalem, where Metropolitan Anastassy appointed him head priest in London, as a defender of the canonical position of the Russian Church Outside of Russia. After the Second World War he was a priest in the San Francisco Cathedral under Arch. bishop Tikhon, where he compiled his martyrology together with his editors, the monks of Jordanville. His third volume contains much material dedicated to “Operation Keelhaul” (the forced repatriation of Russians at the end of World War II); its publication was temporarily suspended in hope of separating the two phases of New Martyrs. The repose of Father Michael in 1960 prevented the Publi cation of this third volume. When the two volumes came out several witnesses
Soviet church conditions criticized his hastiness to categorize all clergy into only two groups, when actually the majority of bishops hoped that Sergianism would not survive, and thus they never officially separated from Metropolitan Sergj Several people who also suffered for Christ under the communist yoke in Russia thought that Father Michael was too quick to put into the Sergianist category those who hesitated to voice their protest against the Declaration. In addition, many out standing hierarchs who were definitely against Sergianism Father Michael either dismisses, mentions briefly, or tends to cast a shadow of doubt upon them. Some such as Bishop Peter of Voronezh, whose letters were preserved and published is categorized as a Josephite bishop by Father Michael, but there is no evidence of this. We can safely say, as these witnesses assert (Archbishop Andrew, Nun Xenia Natalia Kieter, Abbess Juliana, Nun Veronica, and Archbishop Leonty), that the Russian clergy as a whole definitely rejected the spirit of Sergianism. It was a small group of Metropolitan Sergius’ personal admirers (most notably Alexis and Nikolai) who signed the Declaration and thus formed the nucleus of the present-day Moscow Patriarchate. For this reason the free Russian Church, the Synod of Bishops Outside of Russia, does not have communion with the Moscow Patriarchate, yet remains united in spirit to the believers in the Soviet Union.
REGELSON, Lev (See pp. 491-510)
ROSTOV* (See Grotoff)
SAMOILOVICH, * Mrs. A resident of Our Lady of Vladimir Convent in San Francisco She has been a religious woman from her youth in the Poltava region, the setting for many stories of Nikolai Gogol, where she witnessed the closing of a church by the Soviets in St. Matrona’s Monastery. It had been announced that on a particular date the church would be destroyed. The doors and windows were boarded U and no services were permitted. One night the entire neighborhood saw a light burning inside the church, as if there were a fire, but since it was strictly forbidden for the citizens to come close, they watched from afar. A miracle occurred that was wit nessed by many. Pairs of Saints were seen leaving the church. The people clearly saw Sts. Vladimir and Olga, Boris and Gleb, Anthony and Theodosius, Dimjtrjus and George and others leave solemnly through the main doors of the church and vanish in the darkness. After hundreds of such pairs of Saints had exited the church, the light went out inside and it was left devoid of sanctity. The next morning when the authorities blew up the church the people knew that the Saints had re linquished their control of this church.
SERAPHIM* (Filimonov) Abbot of Holy Dormition Skete in Northville, Alberta, Canada. Since he came from an Old Believer family, it took great efforts for him to become an Orthodox monk. This fact, together with the suffering he endured under Soviet atheism and his subsequent imprisonment, gave him the ability to perceive and recognize who the real confessors for Christ were. (See pp. 433-9.)
SERAPHIM (Verbin) Archimandrite (t1962) He entered Glinsk Hermitage at a very young age and there became a monk. He left a whole volume concerning the destruction of the great Glinsk Hermitage as well as bits of information on the persecution of Christians and on the New Martyrs, especially concerning a new saint, Archimandrite Gennady, who perished in Kolyma. (See pp. 395-403)
SHATILOFF, Nun Maria (f 1975) of Novo Diveyevo A spiritual daughter of New Martyr Andrew of tJfa and a correspondent with Archbishop Theophan of Poltava. She testified as to how Bishop Andrew was mocked by the guards during his imprisonment in Turkestan and in Kirgjzia. They would also force him during terrible heat spells to stand in the sun barehead in order to evoke sunstroke. In such prison conditions, in one day he lost all his hair. (See pp. 321-8)
SHORETZ, *Archprjest Gerasim (f 1968) He emigrated during the Second World War from Lithuania, and then took part in the Church life of the free world and recorded in the free press information about the persecution of believers and the New Martyrs. (See PP. 358-69)
SHUKIN * Father Sergius (t1978) A priest who recently died in Canada. When he was a young man he traveled to Optina Monastery to get advice from Elder Nektary concerning how he should live a Christian life in an antichrjstian society. Having concocted elaborate plans in his mind as to how to start secret catacomb lay brotherhoods, he approached the Elder and asked him what he should do. Elder Nektary replied calmly, “Step by step.” Father Sergius left humbled, yet he followed the Elder’s advice, and after suffering for many years, he was ordained reader by Patriarch Tikhon himself and eventually became a priest, later emigrating to the West. He has provided a fascinating description of the life of the Catacomb Church (in which he describes himself in the third person as “Paul”). He kept abreast of information Concerning Orthodoxy in the Soviet Union (see Pp. 162-79), and personally interviewed Sergei Kourdakov at which time he discovered that he was an Orthodox Christian (see “The Orthodox Word”, no. 59, Nov.-Dec. 1974).
SKLIAROV * Archpriest Alexander and his Matushka Rypsimia Living witnesses to the destruction of holy places in Belgorod. He was a spiritual son of New Martyr Bishop Nikodim and Father Nicholas Zagorovaky. They are one of the basic sources for Father Michael Polsky’s Russia's New Martyrs.
STEPANOV, * Father Nicholas (t1964) A witness concerning New Martyrs, especially in the Kuban region. He chose to be a surgeon in the world, because to be a semi narian would have hindered his course in life due to the antireligious nature of the Soviet regime. Because he was a believer, he did not escape persecution and was in various concentration camps, including Solovki, where while functioning as a surgeon he was actually also a secret priest.. His last years he spent teaching in seminary and also testifying about the New Martyrs.
TABITHA, * Nun of Lesna Convent (f1971) She provided information about the destruction of the Raithu Monastery in Kazan and was one of the novices in the women’s monastic community established by New Martyr Bishop Andrew. She left biographical data on Bishop Andrew from the time when he was an Archimandrite. (See pp. 321-8)
TIMOFJEVICH,* Dr. Anatole P. (t1976) A physician in Novo-Diveyevo Convent. He was nurtured spiritually in the Kiev-Caves Lavra and was a witness to its terrible destruction. Beings highly talented writer, he left a volume of first-hand accounts of lives of righteous ones and New Martyrs whom he met in his life. These accounts are virtual lives of saints of the 20th century, depicting Holy Russia in its full glory. He visited Sarov and Diveyevo Monasteries just prior to their destruction in 1927, simultaneously with Archbishop Leonty, then a young monk. He had close ties with people in Sarov and Diveyevo, who entrusted him to preserve the miracle- working protrait-icon of St. Seraphim, painted while the saint was still alive. It was through the labors of Dr. Anatole and Archbishop Andrew that this icon safely arrived in America and is now treasured in Novo-Diveyevo Convent.
TKACHEV,* Tikhon and Thekia Living now in Detroit, Michigan. They were spiritual chlidren of Eldress Agatha of Belo-Russia, thanks to whose prayers they were saved and granted freedom to witness about that great saint of our day. (See pp. 417-32)
TOLSTOY, * Alexandra Lvovna The daughter of the great Russian Writer Leo Tolstoy and the foundress of the Tolstoy Foundation in New York. In a letter to Brezhnev in defense of imprisoned writers Sinyavsky and Yuly Daniel, she described how one former soldier on his death bed at the Tolstoy Farm described the following: As a Red Army soldier in his youth he, together with many others, was guarding a building where Lenin was dying. The area was several miles in circumference, a circumstance made necessary because of the horrible shrieks of the dying Lenin. They had to protect the area and were ordered to shoot to kill anyone who would approach the area. These cries of utter despair in death were so mystically horrible that he remembered them the rest of his life with shuddering, being deeply con vinced that these shrieks came from a soul that was foretasting infernal torments.
URUSOVA, * Natalia Urusova, Princess (t1964) From her childhood she led a highly spiritual life, something rare for someone of high society at her time. After the Second World War, having lost all of her six children (three of her sons were martyred for Christ), she wrote her complete biography, which was never fully published. Her book is a highly moving piece of evidence concerning the price Orthodox Christians had to pay to be in the saving enclosure of the True Orthodox Church. Due to her spiritual training She was able to discern quite easily the falseness of the Sergianist position, and in her book she offers a first-hand account of how Metropolitan Sergius personally, without pressure from the authorities, suggested which churches should be closed or blown up, and which clergy should be arrested. Hence it is not strange that her book has never been published. It is a mother’s lamentation over the death of her catacomb children. She has provided information on the following New Martyrs: Metropolitan Joseph (pp. 109-29), Child Sergius and Elder Anatole (pp. 299-302), Priest Vladimir (pp. 834-9), Abbess Antonina (pp. 433-9) Priest Alexander who drew fire from heaven while celebrating the Liturgy on a stump in the midst of a forest, and Archbishop Barlaam (pp. 261-90). In the last days of her life she wrote profound poetry which reflected the hopelessness of Orthodox Christians in the free world, simply because it was apparent to her that they were losing the savor of True Christianity—Orthodoxy. Archbishop Averky, her spiritual father, entrusted her memoirs to the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood for publication, expressing his hope that this book would see light in the English language for the preparation of our neophytes and converts for martyrdom.
VAGIN, * Eugene (Sec pp. 558-62)
VERONICA, Nun (Kotlarevsky) (t1952) An actress in the world, she was converted to Orthodoxy through the artistic movement of respect to Russia’s cultural past at the time of the Revolution. She became closely associated with prominent Orthodox believers, and because of her close association with holy men and women of the St. Alexander Nevsky Lavra, she herself was arrested during the Holy Night (see pp. 358-69) and suffered for many years in various prisons in the Sarov-Sanaxar Temnikoff concentration camps. During the Second World War she escaped to Europe and spent her last years as a nun in Paris, where Helene Kontzevich, having befriended her through their common interest in patristics, persuaded her to write her memoirs of the suffering Russian Church. These memoirs were published by “Russian Life” in 1954 in San Francisco; however, a good portion of them, due to jurisdictional church politics, was lost and only fragments of them were ever separately published, mostly by 1.M. Andreyev in the “Vladimirsky Calendar.” Unfortunately, her testimony of how Patriarch Alexis had direct responsibility for the outcome of Holy Night, was omitted due to the spirit of Sergianism in the free world. While she was in the Soviet Union she was in a group with Bishops Gregory and Stephen, who did not recognize Metropolitan Sergius officially but refused to separate themselves from his clergy. Only when she arrived in Paris and was confronted with the reality of the Eulogian position did she understand that the Josephites had done the right thing.
VON MECK, * Gatina A lay woman of high society. She endured persecution and related her experiences in her book, As I Remember Them. Especially moving is the account of the execution of an unknown holy bishop.
WELSH, *Alexander Damianovich (t1968) A professor in Monterey, Ca. He witnessed many atrocities performed in the Kharkov region. For years he worked in a chemical laboratory which the Soviet installed in the closed church of St. Elias Kharkov. Originally this church was built by a rich Jew who, after experiencing a great miracle that saved his life, built this church out of gratitude. Alexander testified that no matter what kind of gasses the church was exposed to, every morning the.chemists would smell the most aromatic fragrance of incense when they arrived, as if angelic services had been performed the whole night long. This miracle was known not only to the workers in the laboratory but to everyone throughout that whole city, and this lasted for years.
XENIA, * Nun of Our Lady of Vladimir Convent in San Francisco. A spiritual daughter of New Martyr Bishop Peter (Zverev) of Voronezh. She witnessed the atrocities performed in Voronezh and, together with her sister, preserved for posterity a whole series of letters decoded by her which Bishop Peter and other Solovki prisoners wrote in cryptic language. In this manner she preserved a whole poetic akathist to St. Herman of Solovki, written by Bishop Peter while he suffered at the site where the Saint labored and where the Saint’s relics were desecrated. He wrote the akathist on a number of post cards which he interspersed with other information to conceal from atheist officials the real content of his letters. Bishop Peter met his martyr’s death there in Golgotha Skete. (See pp. 163-5)