Orthodox America


   Lydia


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Born in the city of Ufa in 1901, Lydia from childhood was sensitive, affectionate, and shunned all that was not pleasing to God. - Her father who was a priest joined the "Renovationist" schism but. blessing his daughter to remain in the Catacomb Church, he said to her prophetically: "See. daughter, when you will win your crown, that you tell the-Lord that although I myself proved too w e a k for battle (podvig), still I did not restrain you, but blessed- you."

Lydia succeeded in getting a job in the Forestry Dept. Even the most hardened lumber-jacks ceased using foul language in her presence, sensing in the young woman something other-worldly, as though they-were before a holy icon. At this time the GPU-(secret police) were trying hard to uncover and arrest members of the Catacomb Church. Lydia was arrested and subjected to 10 days of uninterrupted interrogation. When this brought no results, she was given over to the "special Command". Exhausted by her 10-day Ordeal, Lydia had- no strength to go down the stairs to the chamber where the special command" operated. The young guard on duty, Cyril Ataev, helped her down the steps.: "May Christ save you," Lydia thanked him. Ataev was deeply moved by her words and could not listen indifferently to her uninterrupted screams which lasted for more than an hour and a half. Finally, the torturers decided upon something new-sexual assault.- Another man was needed and Ataev was called in. On entering the room, Cyril immediately perceived the torturers' intent. Suddenly the miracle of conversion worked in his heart. Seized by a holy hatred of such an evil abomination, he killed on the spot the two torturers who stood before him. In an instant another GPU man shot him and he fell to the ground, his head toward Lydia. -

"Saint, take me with you!"

I will take you," Lydia smiled, radiantly.

These words so seared the consciences of the two GPU men who remained alive that one of them became completely insane and the other soon died of a nervous shock, but not before he had told everything to his friend, Seargent Alexei Ikonnikoff . The latter turned to God and for his zealous propagation of this story, he too suffered martyrdom.

All three of them were canonized by the Catacomb Church.

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