Orthodox America

 The Suffering Russian Land 

“..to a Christian in the hands of God, the cross laid on his shoulders is but a reward….” Felix Svetov (Zoya Krakhmalnikova’s husband

One of the most heart-rending psalms sung during the lenten season is Psalm 136, “By. the waters of Babylon..." Who is not moved by the cries of the Israelites in captivity? But how many of us remember that behind the Iron Curtain today are thousands of Orthodox Christians, new Israelites, also weeping in their hearts for their true home- land.

With each passing month there comes news of arrests, persecutions, further tightening of control over religious activities. Recently the Soviet government has forbidden the painting and selling of icons (apart from those prepared by the Moscow Patriarchate). Persons found engaged in this are liable to be sentenced under Article 162 of the Criminal Code: “occupation by prohibited trade.” Even in the Moscow Patriarchate Factory in Sofino, where crosses and icons are manufactured, they are avoiding the manufacture of paper and wooden icons which are aesthetically pleasing and uplifting to the soul.

According to information received in the West, Fr. Gleb Yakunin spent four months in solitary confinement in the internal prison of labor camp No.37 in the Perm region during the second half of last year.. His food ration during this period was 11/2 lbs, of bread daily and a bowl of gruel every other day. He was allowed no correspondence and had to sleep on the cell floor. Also, he was not allowed to wear warm clothing  The official reason for this harsh treatment was that Fr. Gleb had engaged in "religious agitation" among the young inmates of the camp.

(KNS 166)  

Let us each turn to ourselves and ask, what is our response to all this,our responsibility? Can we remain passive? Lent is a time of sacrifice, a time of resolve. Let us not forget those who are with Christ on Golgotha. By taking the time to pray for them, write to them, in giving ~ms to the Prisoner's Fund, we can offer a sacrifice pleasing to God.  

Solzhenitsyn Awarded Templeton Prize

Alexander Solzhenitsyn was named winner of the . Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion. In a message to John Templeton; the multimillionaire philanthropist and financier, who established the prize in 1972, Solzhenitsyn said, "You have the courage to support a trend which is most Un-popular in our days-when prayers in school are forbidden even in a free country, it is not much more tolerable than in Communist countries, only that it lacks the hammering in of atheism."

The citation accompanying the award says, "Alexander Solzhenitsyn is a pioneer in the renaissance of religion in atheist nations. . .His achievements have been made possible by a profound Christian faith." (AP)


“I thank you for your letter. Only God is my hope and my shield. I pray for all friends daily. I want to hope that you will receive my greeting too. May God bless you”

  This message was written by Igor Ogurtsov in replyto a letter he received from the West-it is the first time in 15 years that he has been able to receive such letters. May this greeting encourage you to write a letter or card to a prisoner today!



An underground press operated. in Moscow by a group of young Orthodox Christians has been destroyed by the Soviet authorities. The group was arrested in April. On Dec. 6, Viktor Burdytig was sentenced to 4 years deprivation of liberty and Sergei Budarov, VladimirMudarov, Nikolai Blokhin, Alexander Sidorov and Igor Kolyanov were sentenced to 3 years deprivation of liberty.

Stocks or literature, binding equipment and a duplicator were also confiscated. The group had been supplying prayer books at a nominal price to help satisfy the growing demand. It is likely that they have been charged under Article 162 of the Soviet Criminal Code concerning "engaging in forbidden trade."

(KNS 164)


Tatiana Shchipkova, arrested in Jan. 1980 for her involvement in the Christian Seminar ("OA" August, 1981), has been released from prison on completion of her sentence.  During her imprisonment she was denied treatment for an eye condition, advanced glaucoma, and was unable to get the necessary medicines to prevent blindness.

(KNS 166)