"...Please send a Bible to my home, as it is very difficult to find
one here. I also ask that you pray for me." --Antonina K.
"...Please forgive me for asking for religious books, but we have
such a spiritual famine here, we try to get anything we can." --Vladimir T.
"...For a Soviet person, a simple purchase of a Bible is more
difficult than a trip to Mars." -Vladimir B.
These and many similar appeals from the Soviet Union have inspired the
recent formation of "Ochag" (Hearth), an organization of the Western
American Diocese (ROCA), whose purpose is to collect and forward to the Soviet
Union Bibles and other books of spiritual content. Help is greatly needed with
Financial assistance for the purchase of books, postal and
other expenses; Donations of Orthodox books
Referral to people planning to visit the USSR and willing
to take in religious literature (now legal by Soviet law);
Names and addresses of people in the Soviet Union requesting such materials.
Similar work is being undertaken by the parish of St. John the Baptist in
Washington D.C., whose rector, Archpriest Victor Potapov, has received numerous
appeals from listeners to his Orthodox programs on Voice of America. A young
believer from Ufa writes:
"Often in your broadcast you talk about the Bible, but many Soviet
believers have not even seen it. It's true that in the summer they delivered 35
copies to the cathedral and 20 to the Protection Church and handed them out by
means of a lottery for the rather expensive price of 35 rubles. Not long ago
there were Orthodox calendars and prayer books, again in a limited quantity. The
calendars were distributed by lottery even among the clergy. With great
difficulty I managed to get a prayer book...
'Please, if possible, send me an Orthodox calendar and the book of the
Canons. I would very much like to receive a photograph of Metropolitan Vitaly
and Vladimir Rusak's book Witness for the Prosecution..."
"... In your broadcast I like the direct debates between theologians and atheists and their scholarly examples. Our atheists have only propaganda: if you believe in religion, it means you are a fool. But when I read the philosophy of Skovoroda and others, I understand: whoever knows the Gospel and the Old Testament can whip any atheist....I am not at all ashamed of religion; it has won the argument. No one can rip out of my heart that which I have accepted in my soul. It is true, I am ashamed to admit to you that ! have still not read the Bible. It isn't available in the stores.... This is my most sincere request-please send me a Gospel and Old Testament and let me know how I can pay for them."[OA/_private/oabot.htm]