Orthodox America


  Time to Cry …Enough!


To be a true laborer in the fields of Christ,  to be a true shepherd means following the way of the Cross of Christ the Saviour to Golgotha. from Moscow

One of the co-founders of the Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, Fr. Gleb Yakunin was arrested in November, 1979 (see "Orthodox America", Oct., 1980). Since that time both he and his finally have suffered considerable harassment on the part of the. Soviet authorities. At the end of 1982 Fr. Gleb) spent four months in solitary confinement: he was deprived of correspondence, forced to sleep on the cell floor, not allowed to wear warm clothing.  His crime: "religious agitation among the young inmates of the camp." One of these young inmates was so moved by Fr. Gleb’s courageous confession of Faith that he wrote an appeal on his behalf addressed to "all Christians":

"A priest to be charged with 'conducting religious propaganda among the youth'! Can anything be more monstrous and absurd?!  It is as if a hearing person should have his ears cut off , one able to talk should have his tongue torn out, a seeing person should have his eyes poked out, or one capable of loving should have his heart pierced, simply because they can hear, talk, see and love. In Fr. Gleb Yakunin's case they are trying to achieve all this at once. The cruelty and hatred of the KGB knows no bounds. Fr. Gleb's case proves this yet again.. How inhuman must one be to forbid a priest to carry out his duties and to make him suffer all sorts of physical and moral tortures!

"How long this all will last, depends on all Christians. Being an Orthodox Christian and Fr. Gleb's spiritual son, I appeal to all Christians... to raise their voices in the defense of believers' rights in the USSR and to request that the Soviet authorities release the stalwart priest Fr. Gleb Yakunin who suffers torture, mockery and degradation for his religious convictions.. ..The time is ripe for all of us to act with the utmost resolution in the defense of our suffering pastor.

Perm Concentration Camp #37, 3uly, 1982

 

An Unshakable Faith

In yet another letter the same writer addressed Patriarch Pimen of Moscow:

To you, Vladyka,["my Lord"; used when addressing bishops in Russian.]  appeals a member of the Russian Orthodox Church. I bring you words of sorrow. It was a moment of great sadness for many Orthodox Christians, when on November 1, 1979. Fr. Gleb Yakunin was arrested. He was a devoted and conscientious servant of God and people. He always sought to alleviate people's sufferings and to help them find true support in their lives, i.e. faith in God Whom they had forgotten. This compassionate priest never refused

sympathy to anyone and always urged them to pray and to be meek. Being a truly virtuous and meek man of remarkable purity of heart and soul, he readily forgave all those who offended him  praying for their salvation. However, his Christian conscience would not allow him to forgive those who seek to destroy our Holy Orthodox Church and those who desecrate what we hold sacred-even the most sacred of all-our Lord's name and our Faith, which our ancestors bid us to keep pure and holy. His Christian conscience could not allow him to contemplate passively the truly satanic defiance of Christian Faith and persecution of Christians.. He set about to speak the words of truth, for "faith, if it hath not works, is dead" (James 2:17). His words struck the persecutors like thunder. They could not restrain their demonic hatred, and so Fr. Gleb was arrested, charged and sentenced to 5 years of concentration camps of strict regime to be followed by more years of internal exile.  The Holy Scripture says, Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven...  Surely, the above words of our Saviour apply fully to the reverend priest?!

For great many days Fr. Gleb maintained a hunger strike, before the authorities allowed him to use a bible in the camp. People throughout the world did not remain silent, but you, Vladyka, did remain silent. Neither the camp, nor privations, nor suffering could break this Orthodox priest. He remained firm in his thoughts and his objectives. Being in the same camp as Fr. Gleb and an Orthodox Christian, I saw him often, and the purity of his thoughts, the strength of his spirit and faith, and his firm belief in justice won my heart...

Vladyka, can anything be more monstrous? What can be more sacrilegious than to forbid a priest to take the word of God. to his fellow men and to punish him for doing so? Why, vladyka? Why do you remain silent?    You cannot close your eyes on all this, Vladyka The Orthodox Christians await your word and your deed... (August, 1982)

(Translated from a Russian Samizdat copy by "Orthodox Action" in Australia Printing Press of St. Blessed Xenia)

 

If the patriarch is but a mouthpiece of the Soviet government, one cannot be surprised at his silence. But where are our voices? May this earnest plea stir our hearts to raise a cry before the throne of God that He would have mercy on His faithful servant Fr. Gleb and upon his suffering family.

 

The Crime of Charity

In 1974 Alexander Solzhenitsyn and his wife Natalia founded the Russian Social Fund for the purpose of helping families of prisoners of conscience in the USSR. Monies received by the Fund consist of royalties from Solzhenitsyn's book, The Gulag Archipelago, plus voluntary contributions. In all these years the Fund has helped over 700 families including over 1,000 children-and this against all odds. In March Solzhenitsyn issued a press statement concerning the recent attempts on the part of the Soviets to terminate the charitable activity of the Fund altogether:

"After nine years of constant persecution of the Fund (searches, confiscation of food, medicines, clothing and money, interrogations, arrests, prison terms, beatings by KGB agents) the Soviet authorities have now instigated a newspaper campaign with the false accusation that the Fund operates on the money and at the beck and call of the CIA and for the first time, openly threaten the Fund's USSR distributors with Article 64, 'treason against the fatherland,' which is punishable by execution."!!!

 

PRAY!

In December, 1981, one of the distributors of thefund, ValeriRepin, was arrested After 15 months of complete isolation, Repin "saw the light"-"with the help of investigators" as be put it-and repented.

On April 7 or this year Sergei Kodorovich, manager of the Fund, was arrested in Moscow.  "Charity," he writes, "is not a pretext but the profound essence of the Fund ,..I became its manager in the USSR since its goal is in total agreement with my Christian world outlook." Now the threat of execution hangs over his head. Pray for him!

(Information from "Samizdat Bulletin" #123,July, 1983)

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