Orthodox America

  The Cry of the New Martyrs -  Hunger Strike in Ivanovo

The further perestroika progresses, the more evident becomes its ambiguity, Archpriest Kyril Fotiev, USSR

The authorities of the USSR make a great show, for example, about the opening of Valaam Monastery, which neither the Church nor believers are requesting, because they haven't ready means for its restoration. But there, where the people are asking for the opening of a church, they make every effort, as before, to crush their lawful demands.               --Payel Protsenko 

On the subject of believers rights, news from the Soviet Union continues to be a mixture of good and bad.

       Some 150 miles north-east of Moscow, believers in the city of Ivanovo (pop. 500,000) have long been petitioning for the return of the Church of the Presentation of the Mother of God, which was taken over by the government in 1935 and used to store state archives. The only church currently "working" in the city is woefully inadequate (accidents have occurred from overcrowding). Last November the Council for Religious Affairs granted permission for the church's return, but positive action has been obstructed by local officials. As Keston College reports:

      "Until August 1988 a nine-story building was being built for the archives. But when news of the believers' attempt to gain the return of the church came through, building work ceased....On complaint to the president of the civic executive committee, the community was told that the new nine-story building was not intended to house the archives"! 

      On February 21, the secretary of the regional Party executive, Dubov, asked believers to show 'Christian patience' and not go to Moscow. But three days later, when asked how long the community was expected to wait, this same Dubov simply laughed, and on March 6 he reported that permission for the return of the church was officially denied.