Orthodox America

  The Cry of the New Martyrs -  Scars of Atheism

Westerners are the only people who sincerely believe that Gorbachev wants real democracy. People believe what they want to believe. The West sees the Soviet Union like we see the moon – just one side.  Orthodox Poetess and former prisoner of conscience, Irina Ratushinskaya.


Scars of Atheism

      The only three weapons of the believers are truth, truth, truth. If Russian believers were free to witness, the atheists would quickly disappear. Vladimir Rusak speaking at CREED's November Conference


In launching perestroika, Gorbachev aimed at reviving a mined economy whose woes the Soviets had masked for decades with smiling slogans and bogus statistics. It is now clear that he vastly underestimated the task, having failed to recognize the still more serious damage inflicted on the country by seven decades of enforced atheism. True, he has made some conciliatory gestures--prisoners of conscience have been released and there has been talk about religious freedom--but Gorbachev's sincerity on this score remains questionable for many believers. As one Orthodox Christian wrote to us recently from Kiev:

      "Don't believe that the attitude of the authorities toward the Church has changed It's still the same morass. These are all temporary concessions for the sake of world opinion. The promised law on freedom of conscience has not appeared, and it's not likely to appear soon--if ever."

      While the West applauds Gorbachev's efforts to introduce various political and economic reforms, voices from within the Soviet Union are skeptical How can a fundamentally atheistic system offer any solutions to the essential problem: the disintegration of the country's most valuable resources the moral and spiritual fiber of her people. 

Beloved in Christ!

      This letter is written to you by a member of the Movement for Russian Orthodox Renaissance...

      At the turn of the century, in the world-view of a significant segment of Russian society, religion withdrew into the background, giving place to materialism; there was a reversal from a striving towards eternal, spiritual values to utilitarianism At the same time, the progressive loss of national consciousness intensified. The attempt to construct a "Soviet future" (a society of universal happiness), after producing victims and deprivations on a scale hitherto unknown in the history of humanity..., has brought the Russian people, at this threshold of the third millennium, to the brink of ruination. The peasantry – the root of the people and the bearer of its age-old traditions – has been destroyed; fertile soils have been made barren; the air has been polluted; seas and rivers have been poisoned; food supplies are full of chemicals; the mental and physical degradation of people is progressing.  The monopoly of atheism has led to spiritual and moral impoverishment: the country is scourged by epidemics of alcoholism and drug-addiction; families are disintegrating: over a million “orphans” with living parents crowd children’s homes; crime and profligacy are on the rise. Culture and politics are at a dead end. The nation’s economy is collapsing. The spectre of famine looms over the land. Relations among ethnic groups are being strained. The demographic situation is worsening: in Ukraine, Belorussian and Russia the birthrate is not keeping pace with the death rate. If this tendency does not change, then within a generation the number of Russians will decrease by one half.

     In this catastrophic situation, the only one who can save Russia from destruction is the Lord God. As we know, however, the Lord does not force anyone’s salvation. For this reason, if the Russian people do not want to disappear from the face of the earth (and this could conceivably happen in the not too distant future, within our children’s lifetime), they simply have no choice but to turn to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to repent, to revive then historical memory, to renounce their present way of life, and create new forms on the foundation of an Orthodox world-view, i.e., to engage in the re. creation of a Holy Russia.

       In an article published on the eve of Pascha 1918, "A Sorrowful fast," V.V. Rozanov wrote

      "Russia must be rebuilt from the foundation....Neither the cruel Tatar invasion, nor Napoleen's march on Russia, nor Crimea and Sebastopol, nor the Polovtsian or Pecheneg tribes caused a fraction of that breakdown of Russia's strength as thc past 14 months have wrought. We are standing quite literally at the beginning of Russia's history; it is as if her history has not yet begun. We must start everything over again; we have to sit the 1000 -year elder down with an alphabet book- -like a child."

      In the 840 months since then, the situation has become many, many times more tragic. As V. A Soloukhin testifies: the Russian people have lost 90% of their inheritance."

      Already several generations of or countrymen have been raised on historical unconsciousness and atheistic prejudices. Now, when the atheistic press has weakened somewhat, man's natural yearning for the spiritual is beginning to seek fulfillment. But because traditions have been shredded, it is impossible to acquire a Christian education; primary sources of Christianity (patristic texts, books by church writers) are virtually unobtainable for the broad strata of society. As a result, this longing for spirituality is beginning to seek satisfaction in dark sources of occultism; in a formerly Orthodox Russia, one now sees the spread of all kinds of sects, parapsychology groups, mediums, yogis, Hare Krishnas, Hindus...even satanists.

      In this tragic situation, patriotic Russian emigres can greatly assist in the renaissance of an Orthodox Russia by sending us literature (Christian and historical), letters, and through personal contact. 

May the Lord keep you!

Lizlov’s ideas are echoed by another believer from the Soviet Union, who adds a tone of urgency: 

    “I am convinced that the path of Russia’s rising from the ashes lies only through the Church, for the Church always was and will be the gathering force of the Russian spirit and the Russian state. Through the course of Russia’s history, only the Church was able to instill into the Russian lust for freedom the principles of temperateness and order, and for this reason She alone has the ability to restrain the Russian people, wounded by many spiritual ills, from a new, even bloodier revolution, from a new civil war. Spiritual rebirth must become a priority on today’s agenda.  We have no time to lose. It’s already too late to make future plans, especially long-range. Even if we haven’t much strength, we must expend what we have, trusting that it will be sufficient. The season of gathering is over.”