Thank you for your kind Christmas card in which you say that you are thinking of me. Thank you, who live so far away, for bearing me in your thoughts May Christ hold you in His keeping (A reply to a Christmas card)
WRITE .and Console
We have received a number of questions from readers concerning the writing of letters to Orthodox prisoners behind the Iron Curtain. The importance of writing such letters and cards cannot be over stressed. Prisoners whose names are listed in "Orthodox America," the Christians Prisoners List," and elsewhere, have already publicly confessed their faith and letters sent to them can in no way worsen their plight. On the contrary, reports from those behind the Iron Curtain give evidence that prisoners who receive letters and cards from the West are often treated less harshly Typical is the case of Orthodox research engineer, Anatoli Ponomaryov who has suffered gross abuse during repeated incarcerations in psychiatric "hospitals." Last year it was reported that his case was being reviewed because of the large number of postcards he was receiving from abroad! Again, in their letter to the WCC in 1975, Fr. Gleb Yakunin and Lev Regelson gave some Specific suggestions as to how those in the free world can help their "captive" brethren in Christ. They wrote: "Nothing can replace personal spiritual contact ... It would be extremely important for believers to correspond, offer material aid to prisoners' families.. If each confessor or his family could regularly receive greeting cards on Christian holidays from friends in various parts of the world, what a joy that would bring them!"
Letters and cards may be written in English. If they reach the addressee, a translator will most certainly be found (and many Russians, especially among prisoners of con science, know some English). Of course, it must be admitted that most do not reach their destination. Nevertheless, they too help the prisoner indirectly by letting the authorities know that in the West there is concern for the prisoner's condition. Cards with simple messages have the best chance of getting through. Use very plain stamps to avoid attention. Aerogrammes are also suitable. Keep your letters very short until you receive a reply (and you may never receive one-but keep writing!) Avoid writing about political is sues. Paper icons (one per letter) have a better chance of getting through than enclosed printed matter. Christmas cards may be of a religious nature. The Russian Christmas greeting shown on this page may be copied out.
Please PRINT each address exactly as it is given. Return addresses should be written on the back of the envelope. Those who wish to have more addresses are asked to send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Editor.
This is a time of great personal sacrifice and struggle on the part of the faithful under the heavy yoke of communism. Please, help to lighten their burden. Write a letter of encouragement to a suffering soul behind the Iron Curtain today!
Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.
Chusovskoi raion st. Polovinka
Orthodox priest serving a 10-yr. sentence from 1/11/1979; he has three children.
Mother of Orthodox Christian detained in definitely in psychiatric hospital.
Wife of Orthodox Christian in camp. 2 young children.
Aunt of Orthodox nun detained in psychiatric hospital
Miracle in a Psychiatric "Hospital"
From the lips of one who spent time in the psychiatric 'hospital" in Kazan: there is news of miracles. With her were 15 women interned for their faith and the spreading of the Gospel. These women were given injections which not only cause pain but, worse, they destroy the brain in such a way that with in two years the patient becomes insane. But in the case of these women, this did not occur, even though they have been given these injections for already 10 years. They experienced much suffering, but their brains were not affected. This surprised the "doctors." During the time of the injections they prayed and all remained normal. Among them were two nuns. All this strengthens faith, and it grows.
Catacomb Church Grows
Someone who recently returned from a visit to the Soviet Union brought reliable in formation concerning the plight of Orthodox Christians in much-suffering Russia. The Catacomb Church has grown considerably and has spread. Harsh persecution of the Catacomb Church can be expected, especially since terror is increasing in general. There have appeared in Russia "family churches, evidently from the expression "the family is a small church." Many lay people are involved in missionary activity. They have considerable success, even more than clergy. Hundreds are coming to the Church, especially those in their 40's.
"Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future" - in Russia
A recent visitor to the Soviet Union found out that in Moscow Hieromonk seraphim (Rose) is well known there. Many of his works have been translated arid are circulating in samizdat form. His most popular book is Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future. When it was first translated, the authorities somehow found out and confiscated it, so that it had to be completely re-translated! He also said that everyone in the Church in Russia rejoices at the Glorification of the New Martyrs, and icons of the New Martyrs are secretly circulating, although of course, they are forbidden. But people in the Church in Moscow take heart, he said, that so far the Patriarch has not spoken out against the Glorification.[../../_private/oabot.htm]