Orthodox America

The Cry of the New Martyrs - Cracks in the Wall  

Q. “Why did you [engage in dissident acts] if you thought you might be shot?” A. “What’s the sense of living one extra year if you continue in the fraud of not facing things?”   General Grigorenko


Cracks in the Wall

    One is not surprised when Soviet youth rebel against the existing conditions of their rigid and oppressive society. Less frequently we hear of dissenters from middle-aged and older generations. There are indications, however, that the dissatisfaction with the communist system is being felt by an increasingly broad spectrum of Soviet society. The hollow promises and empty verbiage of communist rhetoric can only serve to push thinking individuals into a search for the meaning of life, into a search for truth. In this way, many people of different ages and positions find their way, by God's mercy, to the doors of the Church.

The Confession of a Red Army General

     What was the embarrassment of the communist authorities when a member of their very own elite, a Red Army general, Pyotr Grigorenko, spoke out against Soviet persecution of minorities in 1961--at a Communist Party meeting. He was stripped of his rank, expelled from Army and Party, and sent to a mental hospital, where for three years massive drug injections were used to cure him of "reformism ." The General proved incurable. In 1976 he was invited to join the Helsinki monitors. The popularity and notoriety of the Ukrainian Grigorenko, prevented the state from daring to do any more than to strip the general of his Soviet citizenship and expel him. He arrived in the United States with his wife in 1978, at the age of 69.

    Since that time he has published a mammoth volume of memoirs which impressed one of our readers to write:

    "I've just finished the 800 pages of Gen. Grigorenko's memoirs, a remarkable book, an epic of the years 1910-1970, filled with graphic details of actual incidents and well drawn character sketches of people and friends with whom he had contact. I suppose he was typical of many young idealists of his age who enthusiastically adopted the communist ideology until finally they became disillusions by the actuality. Again and again, he stresses how the regime maintains itself through terror and deception."

    Like many dissidents, Grigorenko ended his uncompromising search by embracing the Holy Orthodox faith. In his memoirs he pays the following tribute to Fr. Dimitri Dudko who by his inspired preaching drew hundreds, if not thousands, of people to Christianity until the satanic Soviet authorities imprisoned him in a psychiatric institution, from which he emerged a broken man.

    "Acquaintance with the priest, Fr. Dimitri Dudko, produced a very great impression on me. He came into our family when I was in the psychiatric institution and brought with him a spirit of confidence and hope, a spirit of Faith.

    "His joyous, spiritual face with eyes radiating goodness conquered me. This was a true,  spiritual pastor. In any, dress he was a priest , but in his priest attire, this short thick-set man looked majestic.  Outwardly he was completely unlike the lean, little old man, my first spiritual mentor, Fr. Vladimir Donskoi. But in my mind these two images merged. Something in them made them related. Above all, this was a boundless Faith in the Almighty and love for one's fellow man. Several times I had the good fortune to be present at Divine service conducted by Fr. Dimitri, although this entailed traveling 50-80 kilometers from Moscow. I thank the fate also which afforded me the possibility more than once to converse with this intelligent, all-rounded, well developed man. It was he who united Zinaida and myself in a church wedding on the eve of our departure for the U.S.A."