Orthodox America

  The Cry of the New Martyrs – Vladimir Rusak

Petition for Release!

    Reports have reached the West that Deacon Vladimir Rusak is in the hospital in Perm labor camp with impaired sight and hearing-theo result of head injuries suffered in camp. Rusak is among those 'political' prisoners whose cases did not meet the terms of last November's amnesty, and a campaign has been launched to secure his release,

     Vladimir Stepanovich Rusak was born June 17, 1949 in Byelorussia to a family of believers. His older brother became a priest and Vladimir, too, purposed to dedicate his life to serving the Church. He graduated from the theological academy at Holy Trinity St, Sergius Lavra and in 1977 received his master of theology degree. He began working in the publishing department of the Moscow Patriarchate. Thare, on assignment from his superiors, he was researching the history of the Russian Church from 1917 when he discovered some shocking documents testifying to the dark history of Church-State relations since the Revolution. His conviction that these materials must be publicized decided his fate. Dismissed from his job and stripped of his rank as deacon, he nevertheless managed to continue his research while working variously as a watchman, truck driver and stoker. The authorities, however, were anxious to protect Soviet history from revealing such ugly stains, and in April 1986 Fr. Vladimir’s archives were confiscated by the KGB.

     He was summarily arrested under charges of 'anti-Soviet agitation" and given the maximum sentence: 7 years' labor camp to be followed by 5 years' exile. Clearly, 'glasnost' has its limits.

    One of Fr. Vladimir's acquaintances writes: "He came to our Moscow home several years ago, where he gave an immediate impression of simplicity of heart, kindness and goodwill. He was interested in each individual present and desired to be of help to ,all. He sang some old Russian songs in his lyric baritone. Full of our own cares and troubles, we came to realize only later that out of humility he never spoke of himself."

     Now, during this Millennial year, is an opportune time to press Mr. Gorbachev to put a stop to the Soviet abuse of human rights, as illustrated by the cases of Vasili Shipilov and Fr. Vladimir Rusak. ….

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