Orthodox America

  The Cry of the New Martyrs – From Russia with Love

 “…a governmental machine unprecedented in power and scale is directed toward the extermination of the very feeling of faith in “Soviet” man.” Russia’s Catacomb Saints 

This second letter from Russia shows a Church “persecuted, but no forsaken; cast down but not destroyed…” 

     · .. I won't hide the fact that I  desire no other life than that of a monk. With all my heart I dream of serving God in some monastery, if this is found pleasing to Him. But our times are such that it may happen that the only place for solitude will be the desert of the heart. But O, how difficult it is at times to find salvation in that desert, which is not yet entirely a desert, but is filled with the vanities of this world. Moscow-- if it is not Sodom (in comparison with Los Angeles) has already become a Babylon.

    In Russia today it is impossible for a Jew to enter a seminary or monastery; it's simply forbidden· Jews are feared by the authorities as a very active element, But the movement which has begun is irreversible. We are clearly experiencing the period of the Church of Philadelphia, when from the very ranks of Satan's assembly, from those who say they are Jews, "they will come and worship before Christ" (Rev. 3:9). And afterwards--the horrors of Laodicea...

    There is a great temptation gnawing my heart: to leave for America. They are again allowing people to emigrate. There I could enter a monastery and become a monk. But an inner voice resists this temptation. To go means not to humble down before God's will, it means leaving Russia for the sake of oneself and oneself alone. Most likely--this is sinful. I think that each one of us is placed in the very best of all possible conditions for working out his salvation. Of course, the "best conditions" do not mean simply what is nice and pleasant.

     I also had the thought that since I came to the Faith here in Russia--it was here that the Lord granted me this great mercy of becoming Orthodox--then perhaps I should also serve Him here. God willing the time will come--it is already coming--when the harvest will ripen; it has begun. So this is how I persuade myself.

    Besides, whom could I benefit there in America? Again, I would be going only for my personal salvation. But here is yet another persistent thought: the most crucial happenings, what is central to all world problems, the key events--all that is most, most significant, is destined to take place here in Russia. There will come a time when I shall thank God that I was a witness to those events, unique in human history.

    I'm reminded of a passage in Dostoevsky's novel The Possessed in which the dying Stepan Trofimovich requests that he be read aloud the Gospel story of the demons which were cast into the herd of swine (Luke 8:327). ,"You see," he says to his friend, "it is just like our Russia. Those devils or demons coming out of the sick and entering into the swine--they are all the festering sores, all the poisonous vapors, all the filth, all the demons and the petty devils accumulated for centuries and centuries in our great, dear, sick Russia .... But the sick man will recover and will sit at the feet of Jesus and they will look at him in surprise..."

The situation among our clergy is very grievous, at least in Moscow; it's very obvious. Renovationism, which once endured defeat, has reappeared in a hidden guise. It's outward manifestations are perfectly orthodox, but within are "wolves in sheep's clothing," It's easy to deceive the people.

But by the faith of the Russian people the Lord preserves the Church, and it will not be destroyed. The spiritual consequences of Metropolitan Sergius' politics [1], are very much in evidence. Nevertheless, the heart is penetrated again and again by the assurance that nowhere outside much-suffering Russia is the mercy of God so powerfully expressed and the Protection of the Theotokos so apparent. Perhaps it is precisely on account of its sufferings, its martyrs who have so abundantly moistened the Russian land with their blood.

    Again, I thank all those who prepared and hastened the glorification of Russia's New Martyrs. This was a great consolation for us. In general we look with great love towards the Russian Church Outside Russia. Glory to God that there still exists a stronghold of Orthodoxy, of its dogmas, canons and piety...

    Thanks to the efforts of a friend and the diligence of our translators, we have had the good fortune to become acquainted with the books of Hieromonk Seraphim Rose. A wondrous, shining lamp, simply a living miracle of God, even though he is dead in body. Many people have read and re-read his books, Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future and The Sou1 After Death. We learned about him in greater detail from the special issue of the newspaper dedicated to his memory. [2] Give rest, O Lord, to his light-bearing soul!

[1] By his "Declaration of 1927 ,' Metropolitan Sergius placed the Moscow Patriarchate on the reprehensible path of submission to an atheist state, enabling the Soviet government today to use the Patriarchate as a mouthpiece for its propaganda concerning world peace and religious freedom, and grieving those of its members who remain faithful to Christ. 

[2] "Orthodox America," Aug.-Sept., 1982