Orthodox America

The Cry of the New Martyrs – A Word of Thanks to Those Who Prayed  

     Russian Orthodox Christian Alexander Ogorodnikov, released last February after 8 years in prison and strict regime labor camps, wrote a letter of thanks to those in the West who campaigned on his behalf.

We are persecuted but not forsaken. (II Cor. 4:9)

    "I bow my head and bend my knee in deepest gratitude for your prayers and compassionate activity in defense of your Russian fellow Christians.

    "It is in the concentration camps which are scattered over the vast expanse of Russia, behind tail fences of barbed wire and high voltage cables, to the accompaniment of the frenzied howling of guard dogs, as you are buried in the tomb-like twilight of solitary punishment ceils, when the oppressive silence of faceless days turns time itself into an instrument of torture, when the heart begins to fail and your tongue cleaves to the roof of your mouth in a senseless babble of misery, when hunger gnaws your belly--then, it seems that an indifferent world has already consigned you to the grave, that the scrap of sky visible through the small window grating has closed over you, that you feel totally alone and abandoned, and despair washes over you like a tide.

     "But it was in these terrible moments in icy ceils that I physically felt the warmth of your prayers and compassion...

      The strength of your love and compassion turned my despair into indestructible hope, my cries into prayers, and the edge of madness into enlightenment

     "...In your selfless defense of the Faith against the forces of evil you have given a selfish world an impressive object lesson in love .... May your voice never be silenced before the face of the persecutors, a voice which bears witness to our Saviour Jesus Christ, a voice which defends the persecuted from the attempts of evil to seize souls and vanquish freedom, and which stirs an indifferent world to compassion for the driven."

Moscow, March 17. 1987