Orthodox America

 The Cry of the Martyrs – Remember the Martyrs 

      Archbishop Anthony of Western America and San Francisco, in his Nativity Epistle, calls upon his flock to remember their brothers and sisters under the communist yoke, "those who have suffered and those who even now suffer for their faith." He brings to mind certain of the New Martyrs of Russia who, "by their sufferings and death glorified the great feast days of Christ's Nativity and of Theophony.

      "On the first day cf the feast of Christ's Nativity in l918, Hieromartyr Nikodim, Bishop of Belgorod, celebrated his penultimate, and then on the second day of the feast, his very last Liturgy. Between the two liturgies he was under arrest, and on the evening of the second day of the Feast, he was arrested a second time. On the fourth day of Christ's Nativity, after being tortured, he was led out to be shot. A firing squad of Chinese soldiers had been charged with the execution. From where he stood Vladika blessed them with arms raised in the bishop's blessing. The Chinese troops refused to fire. Then, at the Bolsheviks' command, other soldiers were brought in and they carried out the execution; this time the holy father was led out before them in a simple military great-coat, concealing his identity.

     "...And this is what came to pass in the year 1919, in the village of Chernigovka of the Primerskayo region, 125 miles from Vladivostok. On the eve of the feast of Theophany, Archpriest Andrei Zimin served the vigil, but he never returned to his church to serve the Divine Liturgy. Rather, he was summoned by the Lord to concelebrate at the Divine Liturgy in heaven. A band of about 12 men, Bolsheviks from the adjacent villages, forced its way into his house. He was bound, along with his wife, Lydia; his wife's mother, the elderly Domnika; three daughters, aged from 13 to 17 years (the name of the eldest was Maria); and a female servant, whose name has been forgotten. They were tortured: the interrogators demanded money. Neither the virginity of the priest's young daughters, nor the chastity of his wife were spared as the men brutally assaulted them before the eyes of their family. The grandmother died instantly of heart failure. The children and the priest's matushka were then shot dead. As for Father Andrei, he was thrown upon the floor, bound as he was, beaten and subjected to various tortures, after which a door was placed on his chest and stomach, and he was crushed by the combined weight of the bodies of his executioners.

    "All were buried in a common grave by the church where Hieromartyr Andrei had served for more than twenty years.

     "Thus in their bodies arid in their souls did these New Martyrs of Russia glorify God in the season of the most radiant feast days of Christ's Nativity and His holy Baptism.

    "Glorify God, O brothers and sisters and children, by your fidelity to the Holy Church; glorify Him by your pious awe before the sanctity of these feast days; glorify Him by your love for the New Martyrs of Russia and by your prayers for the salvation of the Land moistened with their blood."