Orthodox America

  The Cry of the New Martyrs Christian Pavel Protsenko


     Trina Dyakova, wife of Russian Orthodox Christian Pavel Protsenko (31), has appealed to the International Commission of Jurists to take up the defense of her husband who was arrested in Kiev on June 4, while visiting a nun, Mother Seraphima, and is now being held in the Lukianovskaya Prison in Kiev.

     Pretsenko first attracted the attention of the authorities six years ago when he wrote an open letter to Archbishop Pitirim of Volokolamsk protesting his slanderous remarks concerning Fr. Dimitri Dudko whom the archbishop had reportedly described as "a nervous, unbalanced person...it is not surprising that he has broken the law."

     On March 29 Protsenko was detained at a train station on his way to visit his father in Moscow. He was searched, allegedly for drugs; confiscated were a Bible, a prayer book and a manuscript describing episodes from the lives of Orthodox Christians who had, at one time or another, been persecuted for their faith. Although not intended for publication, the document provided grounds for charging Protsenko, under Article 187-1 of the Ukrainian Penal Code, with "fabrication and dissemination of materials discrediting the Soviet system."

     Friends in this country protest that Pavel never engaged in any political activity. "He is a family man. a devoted father and husband .... Life for him is a constant standing before God in all simplicity, humility and sincerity. He was deeply inspired by the lives and works ! of the early Church Fathers. The teaching of St. Basil the Great that "the greatest means towards perfection lies in selling one's possessions and sharing them with the poor,' made such an impression on him that three years ago he sold all his books and records (his family's only possessions of any value) and gave the money to the poor." Davydova also attests that her husband is innocent: "He lives as befits an Orthodox Christian, fulfilling his morning and evening rule of prayer, leaving home at 8 am to go to his job in the Kiev regional library and returning home at 7 pm." Davydora was not in Kiev at the time of her husband's arrest, having been forced to leave the area with their 2yr.-old daughter Xenia in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster. She has made this appeal despite threats of arrest should she pass abroad any details of her husband's case. Letters of support may be addressed to Pavel's father:

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