Orthodox America

  Blessed are the pure in heart...

    During the Russian civil war in March of 1918 General Lukomsky and a companion were traveling in disguise on a mission through the Kuban in the Caucasus when they encountered a Bolshevik patrol which was suspicious of their identity and took them to Stepnaya to be investigated by the Revolutionary Tribunal. While they were waiting, a boy of 16 and a well-to-do Cossack were brought in. The Tribunal after a long dispute finally acquitted the Cossack.

    General Lukomsky tells what followed in these words: 

Not so fortunate was the boy.

    During the trial (I was present in the same room), to the question who he was and how he was caught the boy answered open-heartedly that he was a senior in the Novocherkask high school and with his contemporaries had been enrolled in Chernetsov's partisan detachment. He had not been at the front but had been in a group formed to guard the residence of the Don Cossack commander. 

     On February 23 it was decided to send their group to the front, granting each one either to go home or to go with the group as replenishments for Chernetsov's detachment, which had suffered heavy casualties.

     The boy decided to go home to his village, where his father was the priest.

     On returning home, first of all, he went to the local revolutionary committee, where he told everything about himself. The committee decided to give him, "as a priest's progeny," a good lesson and to send him to Stepnaya.

     The boy's sincere and ingenuous account caused a storm of indignation in the court: "a priest's son, a follower of Kornilov, a partisan of Chernetsov."

     The sentence was quickly pronounced by the president of the court: "Shoot this dog as soon as the moon rises."

     The unfortunate boy heaved a deep sigh and with lowered head stood beside the wall.

    When the court broke up and only we and two of the guards remained in the room, the boy asked permission to rest a little. He lay down on the floor near the wall, placed his bag under his head, and straightway fell asleep.

    In about two hours two soldiers came in; one of them poked the sleeper with his foot and said: "Stand up, time to go, the moon's up."

    The boy got up quickly, looked at us and said: "I am not afraid of death, but it's sad to die so young--you see, I have not yet really lived and I don't know life. Bless me."

    We bade him farewell, made the sign of the cross over him, and he went out.

    About five minutes later several shots rang out. 

(Translated by Mr. M.W. Mansur from General A.S. Lukomsky's Vospominaniya, vol. II, pp. 24-25)

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