Reliable sources in the Soviet Union report that an unofficial monastic community forty miles from the city of Sukhumi was destroyed by the Soviet authorities last March. Some eighteen monastics took refuge in a cave. An incendiary device was dropped from a helicopter and landed at the mouth of the cave killing everyone inside the cave. Only the monastic names of some of the victims are known.
Keston College comments that the existence of unofficial monastic communities in
· the Soviet Union is a direct result of the Soviet government's desire to stamp out monastic life. There has been mounting evidence of increasing pressure on the few existing monasteries and a severe curtailment of admissions into them. Monasticism has always been a key element of Russian Orthodoxy and articles in the official press bear witness to the authorities' concern at the revival of interest in monasticism among young people in the past 10-15 years. Information reaching Kcston over the years suggests that there is a great deal of unofficial monasticism in the U S SR, often called "monasticism in the world,; Quite frequently these “Secret” monks and nuns, who cannot retire to monasteries, take up “caring” professions such as nursing. Overtly, they are ordinary members of the secular community, but in private life they observe monastic obedience and practice.