Hieromartyrs, Martyrs And Confessors Of Kazan Diocese

On the night of March 7/20, 1918 (according to another source, April 8), the humble and hospitable priest of the St. Macarius church in Admiralteiskaya sloboda, Kazan, Fr. John Petrovich Bogoyavlensky, was murdered. 26 wounds were administered to his face and his whole body. At the same time, they cut off the eyelids and burned out the eyes of his brother, a colonel, with methylated spirits.

Protopriest Paul Dernov directed the Elabuga abstinence brotherhood. One night three Red Army soldiers burst into his flat. They dragged away three of his sons, and soon after - the father. At dawn it became known that the sons were under arrest, but it was impossible to find Fr. Paul. But then they told his matushka that the body of her husband could be found outside the town by the mill. It turned out that Fr. Paul had been shot at five o'clock in the morning. The killers had wanted to throw the body through a hole in the ice, but some peasants appeared and did not allow them to mock the body of the hieromartyr.

Relatives besought the Bolsheviks to allow the sons to see their murdered father. When the sons heard that their father had been killed, one of them could not stand it and called the soldier "soul-destroyers". This was enough for them all to be taken out of the town and shot by the quayside.

On March 31 / April 13, 1918, at the funeral liturgy celebrated by Patriarch Tikhon in the Moscow theological seminary, Protopriest Paul and his sons were commemorated as martyrs for the faith.

Archimandrite Sergius, in the world John Zaitsev, was born in 1863 in the city of Gatchina, in the family of an official of the 10th class. Having finished his studies in the sciences in the Gatchina Emperor Nicholas Institute, he became a novice in the St. Nilus Desert in Tver diocese in September, 1891, having as obedience to assist the teacher of the St. Nilus parish school. On September 25, 1893 he was tonsured into monasticism with the name Sergius. In June, 1894 he was ordained to the diaconate, and on May 24, 1896 - the priesthood. On March 14, 1900 he was transferred to the post of treasurer of the Novotorzhsk Borisoglebsk monastery, and on July 1 - to the post of steward of the Hierarchical House. From August 13, 1904 he was temporary dean of the monasteries of the first district. At his request, Hieromonk Sergius was received into the brotherhood of the Hierarchical House in Kazan on April 2, 1905, and on May 11 of that year he was raised to the rank of igumen. On September 1, 1906 Igumen Sergius was appointed superior of the Sviyazhsk St. Macarius Desert, and from April 13 - dean of the monasteries of the third district. On January 17, 1908, by a decree of the Kazan Spiritual Consistory, Igumen Sergius was appointed dean of the second district of monasteries of the Kazan diocese (which duty he carried out until his martyric death), and on May 28, 1908 he was raised to the rank of archimandrite. On January 7, 1909 Archimandrite Sergius was appointed superior of the Kazan Zilantov monastery of the Dormition, where he acquired a good reputation for his ascetic life and his ability as a peacemaker.

Fr. Sergius found the monastery in a dilapidated state, and he spent a lot of time restoring the building and churches. He also introduced monks from other monasteries. Thus from the St. Macarius Desert came Monk Leontius, in the world Laurence Karyagin. He was born in 1870 into a peasant family in Kazan province. From 1901 to February, 1907 he was a novice in the Raithu Desert. He was tonsured into monasticism on December 20, 1909, six months after his transfer to the Zilantov monastery.

From the monastery of the Archangel Michael came Hieromonk Laurence, in the world Leontius Nikitin. He was born in 1872 into a Chuvash peasant family from Yadrinsk uyezd, Kazan province. At the age of 23 he entere the Cheremiss monastery, where he was tonsured into monasticism in August, 1902. In October, 1907 he was ordained to the diaconate. In February, 1908 he was transferred to the Zilantov monastery, where he was ordained to the priesthood on March 22, 1909. In April of that year he became temporary treasurer, becoming confirmed in that post on February 1, 1910.

The spiritual father of the monastery was Hieromonk Joseph, in the world John Tyurin. He was born into a peasant family in Kazan uyezd, and entered the Sviyazhsk Dormition monastery in 1892 at the age of 39. In March, 1893 he was tonsured into monasticism, and on March 30, 1894 he was ordained to the diaconate. In November, 1894 Fr. Joseph was transferred to the Kazan Hierarchical House, and in October, 1899 was ordained to the priesthood, being appointed treasurer in 1901. In 1903 he was transferred to the Kharkov Hierarchical House as steward. Four years later, at his own request, he was again assigned to the Kazan diocese, and in November, 1907 was transferred to the Zilantov monastery. Here, in view of his experience and piety, he was confirmed in the posts of sacristan (from February, 1908), dean (from May 15 of the same year) and spiritual father. As the numbers of monks in the monastery had increased, on September 25, 1910 he was relieved of the posts of sacristan and dean. His asceticism and ability to bring people to repentance won Fr. Joseph the respect of the Kazan clergy, and in November, 1911 he was appointed spiritual father of the Kazan Theological Academy

By 1918 there was only one hierodeacon in the monastery - Fr. Theodosius, in the world Theodore Alexandrov. He was born in 1864 in a peasant family of Kazan province and entered the Zilantov monastery in 1904, where he was tonsured into monasticism in August, 1910 by Archimandrite Sergius. He was ordained to the diaconate on December 24, 1910.

The revolution did not leave the Zilantov monastery untouched: lands and economic resources were confiscated, and many of the novices were called up into the army. However, in July, 1918, Archimandrite Sergius secured the transfer to the monastery of Hieromonk Seraphim, in the world Semyon Kuzin or Kuzmin, who was born in 1870 into a Chuvash peasant family from Kozmodemyansk uyezd, Kazan province. On March 25, 1903 Fr. Seraphim, who was a widower, entered the St. Michael monastery, on December 20, 1904 was made a rassophor monk, and on April 7, 1907 was tonsured into monasticism. He was ordained to the diaconate on July 20, 1910, and to the priesthood - in 1913. In 1914 he was called up into the army and fulfilled the functions of pastor in a mobile field hospital. On returning from the front, where he suffered much on seeing the sufferings of the soldiers, Fr. Seraphim was appointed sacristan of the monastery in 1916. In July, 1918, Fr. Seraphim asked to be transferred from the St. Michael monastery because of the racial tensions between Cheremiss and Chuvash monks.

Thus in the middle of 1918 there were 11 people in the Zilantov monastery: Archimandrite Sergius, Hieromonks Laurence, Joseph and Seraphim, Hierodeacon Theodosius, Monks Leontius and Stephen, and novices George Timofeyev (38 years old, a Chuvash, in the monastery since October 9, 1909), Sergius Galin, John Sretensky (the reader) and Hilarion Pravdin.

In August, the Czechs occupied the Zilantov monastery because of its strategic importance on a height above the city, and so on August 11 Archimandrite Sergius petitioned for the transfer of his monks to other monasteries in the city. However, on the eve of the withdrawal of the Czechs from Kazan on September 10 (new style), all the monks had returned to the monastery.

Early on September 10, the Bolsheviks stormed into the Admiralteisky sloboda on the outskirts of Kazan. Only one young officer offered them any resistance - Michael Mikhailovich Dogel, the son of the famous professor of International Law, M.I. Dogel, who fired at them from one of the two machine-guns placed on a high hill in front of the entrance to the Zilantov. The Bolsheviks came up and bayoneted him at his machine-gun.

Then they went into the monastery, where Archimandrite Sergius and his ten monks were in the trapeza after the Liturgy, listening to the life of St. Moses the Ethiopian, who had been killed by invading barbarians. The new barbarians lined the monks up against the wall, and shot them. When the Bolsheviks had left, the 65-year-old superior of the monastery, Hieromonk Joseph, crawled out from under the blood and brains of his martyred children, went into the city and took refuge with Igumen Ephraim in the monastery of St. John the Forerunner. He told the story to Archimandrite Joasaph, who himself served the burial service for the martyred Archimandrite Sergius and his brotherhood.

Fr. Joseph died in the monastery of St. John a year after the tragedy, which had left him deaf. He used to say:

"It seems to me that a part of the brains of the brother who fell with his shattered skull onto me has remained in my ears. I washed his blood and brains from my face before leaving the deserted community."

The doddery old man often served the Liturgy in the monastery that gave him shelter, teaching the flock to commemorate "the slaughtered Archimandrite Sergius with the brotherhood of the Zilantov monastery". Those who knew the meek and humble Joseph continue to do this.

(Source: A. Zhuravsky, Zhizneopisaniya Novykh Muchenikov Kazanskikh, Moscow, 1996, pp. 93-105)

Fr. Constantine Ilyich Dalmatov was born into the remarkable priestly dynasty of the Dalmatovs. Having finished his studies at the Kazan theological seminary brilliantly, in August, 1877 he entered secular service and until 1883 taught Russian and Church Slavonic in the Chistopol theological seminary. However, long meditations on the meaning of human life led Constantine Ilyich to accept ordination to the priesthood, which took place on September, 1883. He was ordained as priest of the village of Yamesheva, Yadrinsk uyezd. Later, Fr. Constantine served in the villages of Urakhcha (1888-1890), Kornoukhovo (1890-1901), Syukeyevo and Bogorodskoye (from 1901). The last place of his priestly service was the Sophia cathedral in the city of Sviyazhsk. By that time he was a revered and honoured protopriest. People of classes came to him for confession. He was an unacquisitive lover of the poor, with a wonderful simplicity and a rare gift for preaching. He taught the Law of God without pay in many parish schools, and this in spite of the fact that he had ten children to look after in addition to his matushka.

After the revolution Fr. Constantine spoke boldly from the ambon against the excesses of the atheist authorities, who planted atheism in the souls of children in schools and poisoned their consciousness with propaganda of unrealisable promises of peace and land, and who had plunged a vast and prosperous country into a terrible age of medieval terror and civil war.

When Trotsky entered Sviyazhsk in July, 1918, the 64-year-old Fr. Constantine was accused of shooting at the bells of the Sviyazhsk cathedral from a machine gun when the Red Army approached. His son tried to intercede for him, for which he was immediately shot. Then the protopriest was bayonetted to death. This took place on July 25, the feast of St. Anna. The bodies of father and son lay on the city square for two days. People feared to approach them for fear of being shot for showing simple human compassion.

Fr. Orestes Konstantinovich Alexandrov was born in 1863. He finished his studies at a theological seminary and in 1885 was ordained to the priesthood. In 1908 he became superior of the Trinity cathedral in the city of Spassk and teacher of the Law of God in the parish school. He lived very simply, in a one-storey house with a garden, a kitchen-garden, a cow and a horse, although he had, in addition to his five sons and daughters, several nephews to look after and a poor orphan called Lilya. Fr. Orestes loved the poor and never refused anyone anything. He was greatly revered in Spassk.

On July 31, 1918 a Red Army soldier came secretly to Fr. Orestes and warned him to flee, since he had heard that he would be arrested the next day. However, Fr. Orestes decided that he could not forsake his flock. The next day he was arrested together with two other citizens (one a merchant) and taken to the commanding officer's residence. The Latvian soldiers took Fr. Orestes into a separate room, sat him on a chair and mocked him. Then they danced around him, spat at him, pulled out his hair and threw him to the ground, where they trampled on him. When Fr. Orestes' matushka Lydia could not find him near the commanding officer's residence a boatman came up to her and told her that the Latvians had taken the three prisoners down river. Together with the boatmen, matushka found the bodies, which were barely covered with branches. All three had been tortured and then shot in the back of the head. Batyushka was buried in the city cemetery, which has now been drowned.

Fr. Chrysanthus Ioannovich Polyakov was born in 1886 and finished his studies at a theological seminary. He became priest of the Resurrection cathedral of the Tsarevokokshaisk, and was killed on August 3, 1918.

On September 6, 1918 (according to other sources, September 25), Fr. Paul Lukin, the priest of the village of Yanshikhov, Tsivilsk uyezd, was killed.

Fr. Peter Ivanovich Tsarevsky was born in 1882, and finished his studies at a theological seminary. He became the priest of the village of Antonovka, Tetyushsky uyezd, and was killed on September 7, 1918.

Fr. Arcadius Otarsky was born in 1878 and finished his studies at the Kazan theological seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1894 and in the same year appointed priest of the church of the village of Ismentsy, Cheboksary uyezd, where he was also teacher of the Law of God. By 1918 Fr. Arcadius and his matushka had three young children.

Towards the end of September, 1918, Fr. Arcadius was arrested on the basis of a peasant's denunciation, and taken under convoy to the Kazan provincial prison. 168 of his parishioners (all of the Cheremyss nationality) petitioned for his release, saying that he had never spoken to them about politics. However, on October 2 Fr. Arcadius was condemned to be executed for agitating against Soviet power, and on October 8 (new style) he was shot.

Fr. Basil Lvovich Agatitsky was born in 1880, and finished his studies at a theological seminary. He became a teacher of the Law of God and, from 1902, a priest of the Trinity church of the town of Tetyush. At the Diocesan Assembly of the clergy of Kazan diocese, which took place from June 8/21 to 22 / July 5, 1918, he was the representative of the Tetyush uyezd, and was chosen as president of the administrative commission. He was killed on October 4.

Fr. Leonid Evstafyevich Skvortsov was the priest of the Sophia church in the town of Laishev. When the Whites occupied the region in the summer of 1918, he retreated with them when the Bolsheviks regained the upper hand, but decided to return to his native town, where he was arrested by the Cheka. One witness claimed that Fr. Leonid had called on the people to support the White Army and "uproot the evil brought upon us by the Bolshevik authorities". Another claimed that in January, 1918, after explaining the Bolshevik decree on the separation of Church and State, he had said:

"Do you agree, beloved children, that our enemies should take the valuable rizas from the holy icons?"

He had gone on to explain, according to this witness, that according to Patriarch Tikhon's decree those who persecuted the Church were anathematised and could not receive Communion or even be buried by the Church unless they offered repentance. And he had said that this was only the beginning of much more terrible persecutions against the Orthodox Church, which was why Orthodox people should not join the antireligious activists of the new authorities.

The investigation into the case of Fr. Leonid lasted 24 hours, and on October 7 he was condemned for stirring up the people against the authorities, for serving a moleben for the White soldiers on the square and for being in the White Army. In the morning of October 8 he and four other inhabitants of the Laishev and the village of Oshnyaki were shot for "clearly counter-revolutionary activity".

The shootings continued. Thus on October 10, the Bolsheviks shot the priest of the provincial prison, Fr. Demetrius Mikhailovich Shishokin following the unfounded denunciation of a policeman. This took place in spite of the intercession of Orthodox communities, the prison administration and even the supervisors of the prison.

Fr. Demetrius was born in 1880 into a clerical family. His father was the rector of a church in Kazan which was destroyed when the city was being reconstructed. According to his nephew, he was buried by the church as a sign of respect. Fr. Demetrius finished his studies at Kazan theological seminary and wanted to become a monk, but unexpectedly he changed his mind and married Anna Mikhailovna Akramovskaya, the daughter of a priest. The marriage was very happy, and the couple had four children: Zoya Dimitrievna (born in 1905) and Sergius Dimitrievich (born in 1910), Victor Dimitrievich (born in 1907) and Andrew Dimitrievich (born in 1915). Fr. Demetrius was ordained in 1904, and on January 13, 1905 was appointed priest in the village of Tikhy Ples in Sviyazhsk uyezd, Kazan diocese. When his children were born he requested that he be transferred for the sake of their education to the Kazan prison, where he was transferred on January 13, 1913.

Fr. Demetrius was a humble man who had nothing to do with politics. He was a good pastor who was beloved both by the workers and by the prisoners, and did not leave the city with the Whites. On September 26, 1918 he was arrested on the basis of a denunciation by a young policeman, whom he had supposedly called to repentance for being a communist. He was arrested and thrown into prison in the Kazan Kremlin. 17 members of the staff of the Kazan provincial prison and 19 superiors of the Kazan correctional department, as well as the parishioners of the church of St. Paraskeva, which was near the priest's house, interceded for him

According to the witness of Fr. Demetrius' niece, the cheka demanded of him that he break the seal of the sacrament of confession, so as to reveal the "counter-revolutionary sentiments" of his spiritual children. But this he refused to do.

Only one letter reached his wife from prison. This was delivered by a person who risked his life in so doing. It was written in pencil and read: "Dear Anechka! I have made my choice, any day now everything will be decided. I cannot meet their conditions... I ask you not to come to me, or ask or petition on my behalf. It's useless, you'll only bring woe upon yourself and the children. All petitions on my behalf are useless, I feel this and know it, nobody and nothing can save me now. I cannot be different. I am consoled by the thought that such is the Will of God, and you will all survive through His mercy. Don't inquire about me, don't try and clarify anything, they won't tell you and it's dangerous. When they take me out of Kazan for my sentence, look for a chemical pencil along the wall. Demetrius."

Nothing more was learned about him for many years. Some bystanders said that a group of priests had been drowned on a steamboat and taken along the Volga in an unknown direction. In 1991 a tourist-guide from Kazan said in Sviyazhsk that in 1918 the Bolsheviks had shot a number of political prisoners in a slaughter-house in Sviyazhsk, which is situated on an island in the Volga some way from Kazan. A large group of priests from Kazan prison had been brought there. During the first years of Soviet power there had been a monastery and some functioning churches in Sviyazhsk. At first monastics from the surrounding monasteries had buried the shot priests by the monastery wall, but soon the monastery was closed and sacked, the monks were driven out, the churches were ruined and everything was desolate for many years. Sviyazshk was turned into a trans-shipment point for political prisoners, and almost no one returned from there alive. It is likely that Fr. Demetrius was shot in Sviyazhsk.

On October 13 the priest of the village of Kutush, Chistopol uyezd, Fr. Constantine Sergeyev, was killed.

Fr. Nicholas Neophitovich Priklonsky was born in 1871. He finished his studies at the Kazan theological seminary and missionary course. He was appointed teacher of the Law of God in a church parish school, and in 1897 was ordained to the priesthood. He served as a priest in the village of Abdey from 1901. On October 11, 1918 (new style) Fr. Nicholas was arrested by the police in Abdey and the next day was taken to the Mamadysh cheka, where he was accused of created a White Guard band from his sons, who had left with the Whites. On the same day, October 12, Fr. Nicholas was shot.

According to other information, however, Fr. Nicholas was shot on October 20 together with another priest who had finished a missionary course, Fr. Basil Afansievich Luzin.

On October 22, the steward of the Kazan Theological Academy and priest of the Academy church of the Archangel Michael, Fr. Philaret Velikanov, was shot together with the priest of the village of Verkhny Uslon, Fr. Daniel Stefanovich Dymov.

Fr. Philaret Ioannovich Velikanov was born on May 14, 1873 in the family of a deacon of the town of Verkny Lomov. Having finished his studies at the Penza theological seminary, on October 7, 1891 he was appointed reader at the church of Nizhny Lomov. From October 18, 1895 he was a teacher of the Nizhny Lomov resurrection school. On May 25, 1896 he was ordained to the diaconate, and on September 10 he was appointed to the teacher-deacon post at the church of the Exaltation of the Cross in the village of Surkino, Narovchatovsky uyezd. On June 11, 1897 he was transferred to the village of Bolshoj Azyas, Krasnoslobodsky uyezd, and on August 23, 1901 he was appointed steward of the Krasnoslobodsky spiritual school. On March 2, 1904 he was appointed deacon of the village of Oborochny, Karsnoslobodsky uyezd, in March, 1904 - steward of the Tikhonovsky spiritual school in Penza, and on June 10, 1909 - steward of the Penza theological seminary. On October 30, 1916 he was ordained to the priesthood. He was by this time a widower.

In November, 1916 Fr. Philaret was transferred to the Kazan diocese as steward of the Academy, a very responsible administrative post. At the same time he was appointed priest of the St. Michael the Archangel Academy church. On May 23, 1918 the Moscow Archaeological Institute elected him a member-co-worker.

When most of the clergy of Kazan left the city together with the Whites, the workers of the Krestovnikov brothers asked the Academy to let Fr. Philaret serve them in the Borisoglebsk church. This was granted for one month from September 11.

On October 11 Fr. Philaret was arrested on the charge of having walked armed through the Academy slobodka and threatened the communists in hiding with execution. He managed to smuggle a letter out of prison to Bishop Anatolius (Grisyuk) which showed that he had suffered much from the authorities, but that he was ready for death: "The whole of my life has been passed in sin. I do not know that I have done any good works...God is punishing me for my sins." The sentence of execution was confirmed on October 22, and S. Talyzin wrote to his father from the same prison that Fr. Philaret had "with fitting courage accepted his martyric death".

Fr. Daniel Dymov was born in Kazan in 1884 into a poor tradesman's family. From 1901 to 1904 he was a teacher in the people's school in the village of Verkhny Uslon. Then he was enrolled in the army. He served in Petrograd from 1905 to 1907, where, caught up in the general revolutionary fervour, he was among 120 people sentenced to exile in the Caucasus for two years. There he repented, and on returning from exile immediately joined a church reader's course. From 1908 he served for some time as reader in the Sophia church of Sviyazhsk together with Fr. Constantine Dalmatov, under whose influence he passed some further exams and was ordained to the diaconate in 1910. Soon he became a retired deacon in the Nikolsky church in Verkhny Uslon, where he was greatly loved by the parishioners. Finally, Fr. Daniel was ordained to the priesthood and from May 2, 1917 (old style) became priest of the Nikolsky church.

At the beginning of September, 1918 Fr. Daniel's four-year-old daughter Sophia were killed, and his wife was crippled, during a bombardment, and on September 10 he was arrested in Laishev. From September 11/24 to October 11/23 he was in prison, although he was accused of nothing. However, in spite of the petitions of hundreds of petitioners, Fr. Daniel was shot on October 9/22 "for counter-revolutionary propaganda".

On October 28, Fr. Leonid Polikarpov and seven other inhabitants of the village of Kukmor were shot for organising a military unit in the village, which Fr. Leonid denied.

The meek Fr. Theodore Mikhailovich Gidaspov was born in 1877 in the village of Trostyank, Buzuluk uyezd, into the family of a priest of Samara diocese. From an early age Theodore decided to go along the spiritual path. Having finished his studies at the Samara theological seminary, in November, 1895 he was appointed reader in the village of Ivanovka-Krivoluchy, Nikolayevsky uyezd. On February 4, 1896 he was ordained as priest of the St. Michael the Archangel church in the village of Krasnaya Polyana, Nikolayevsky uyezd. Here he zealously worked on the establishment of the village parish school, of which he later became the master and teacher of the Law of God. In January, 1899 Fr. Theodore was transferred to the village of Andreyevka, Buzuluk uyezd as being one capable of conducting anti-sectarian work. From 1901 to 1907 he was superior of the church in the village of Gamaleyevka, where he was also master and teacher of the Law of God in the local parish school.

In 1907 he entered Kazan Theological Academy, from which he graduated on June 15, 1911 with the degree of candidate of theology. On September 6, 1911 he was appointed teacher of the Law of God in the Ekaterinburg first women's gymnasium, and in September of the same year - superior of the gymnasium's church of St. Mary Magdalene. In August, 1912 he was raised to the rank of protopriest and transferred to the cathedral of the Nativity of the Mother of God in Alatyr. In Alatyr Fr. Theodore was president of the Pedagogical Council of the Alatyr diocesan women's school, president of the Alatyr section of the Simbirsk diocesan educational council, dean of the first church district of the Alatyr uyezd, a member of the Alatyr city board of the children's orphanage and workhouse, and teacher of the Law of God in the diocesan women's school and women's gymnasium.

In October, 1913, at the request of Archbishop James of Kazan, Fr. Theodore was transferred to the Kazan diocese and appointed second priest of the Kazan women's monastery of the Mother of God. Here he remained until April, 1916, being at the same time teacher of the Law of God in the monastery's parish school. During these years he was a lecturer in the very popular religious and moral readings in the Vladimir reading hall attached to the Pokrov church in Kazan. On April 7, 1916 Fr. Theodore became the priest of the "Pyatnitsky" church of the Mother of God in Kazan and teacher of the Law of God in the Pyatnitsky parish school. At the same time he became a permanent member and treasurer of the Kazan Diocesan Educational Council, teacher of the Law of God in the second women's gymnasium (from March, 1917), a member of the Orthodox Brotherhood of St. Gurias and dean of the first church district of Kazan.

During the war years Fr. Theodore did much to comfort and strengthen the suffering populace. He also went very often to the hospitals to see the wounded. Once Private Nicephorus Rudin was about to have a very serious operation, and was not expected to live. Fr. Theodore served an all-night vigil in the hospital in front of the Kazan icon of the Mother of God. During the night his temperature miraculously disappeared, his pain was removed, and everything was resolved so well that he did not even have to have an operation.

After the revolution of February, 1917 Fr. Theodore joined the Union of Pastors of Kazan and Kazan diocese. On July 27, as the icon of the Mother of God of the Seven Lakes was being escorted from Kazan back to the Seven Lakes monastery after a service (an annual celebration), Fr. Theodore was distributing leaflets published by the Union of Pastors in the Kremlin near the cathedral, among them one entitled "What does the Separation of Church and State mean?". A Red Army soldier came up to him and told him to stop this activity. When Fr. Theodore refused he was arrested and escorted, still wearing his epitrachelion, to the Kazan Soviet of Workers' and Peasants' Deputies, where his leaflets were taken from him. On the same day agents of the Soviet went to the printing house which printed the leaflets and forced them not to issue the remaining 9000 leaflets on the Separation of Church and State. On July 29 the local papers published articles accusing the Union of Pastors and Fr. Theodore for "Black Hundreds pogrom-rousing activity". The Union of Pastors met and rejected these accusations, declaring that it was their duty to inform the flock of Russia of the woes caused by atheism.

Early in 1918 Fr. Theodore read Patriarch Tikhon's anathema against the Bolsheviks to his parishioners, and himself preached against socialism. Once he spoke about the Biblical image of giving a stone instead of bread. Later, when he was in prison, he was accused of saying that the Bolsheviks were forcing the people to eat stones! He also said that those who rejected Christ were "antichrists" and that the God-fighting army of such people was "an antichristian army", whose aim was the destruction of Orthodox Russia and the construction of "the Kingdom of God on earth" - in other words, the Tower of Babel. Later, in prison, batyushka was accused of calling the Red Army "an antichristian army", and the White army - "God's [army]".

When, in July-August, 1918, the red armies occupied Kazan, Fr. Theodore daily went around his poor parish in Nagornaya street sloping down to the river Kazanka with a cross procession. On September 3, the White soldiers who had retaken the city asked him to bless their weapons in defence of the city, and Fr. Theodore did not refuse. His two sons joined the White army.

On the eve of the Bolsheviks' retaking of the city, Fr. Theodore took his family to Samara, where the mother of his wife lived. On October 22, having said goodbye to his family, he returned to Kazan to fulfil his duty as a pastor. On October 31 he was arrested and accused of counter-revolution. In spite of the appeals of his parishioners, the Diocesan Council and Bishop Anatolius (Grisyuk), he was executed on November 12.

In 1926 the Pyatniktskaya church was given up to the renovationists. In 1930 the cathedral of the Kazan monastery and part of its historic walls were blown up. In their place a factory was built. But next to it, in the Pyatnitsky church, the relics of St. Gurias of Kazan remained from 1926 to 1934. Then they were removed, and in the autumn of 1937 the church was converted into the sixth prison, for there were not enough prisons for the victims of the Yezhov persecution.

In 1937-38, many Christians passed their last days before being shot in this church, and passed into the better world some twenty years after the execution of its superior.

In the period from August to December, 1918, the following priests were killed:-

Fr. Anthony Nikolayevich Nikolayev was born in 1873, ordained to the diaconate in 1898 and to the priesthood - in 1902. He finished his studies at a teachers' seminary, and was a teacher of the Law of God. He was killed in Tsarevokokshaisk, where he was the priest of the Vkhodo-Ierusalimskaya church.

Protopriest Fr. Michael Nikolayevich Mansurov was born in 1852, was a reader from 1876, was ordained to the diaconate in 1876, and to the priesthood - in 1884. In 1909 he became dean of the all the yedinovertsy churches of the Kazan diocese. He was killed in the village of Kukmor.

In the village of Sungurov in the same uyezd another revered protopriest was killed - the dean of the Third district of parish churches of the Kazan uyezd, Fr. Nicholas Nikolayevich Philantropov. He was born in 1872, finished his studies at the Kazan theological seminary, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1886.

The priest Fr. Andrew Bragin was born in 1872 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1902, becoming the priest of the village of Levashevo. On May 23, 1918 he wrote to Metropolitan James of Kazan: "I consider it my duty to inform your Right Reverence that I have been judged by the court of the Spassky revolutionary tribunal as a counter-revolutionary for not recognising and not obeying Soviet power. On May 10 of this year I was sentenced to six months in prison, and from the day of that decision I have been in prison. In my parishes the needs have been served by nmy neighbouring brothers Fr. Lepeshkin from the village of Maslovki and Fr. Nesterov from the village of Lebedin. I am always suffering in soul for the good of the people and in particular for the good of the flock entrusted to me. During these days - the days of the great trials and woes of our hapless and tormented Homeland, I have always stood and will always stand on guard for the true interests of the people in accordance with the commandments of Christ, not fearing to suffer even to the shedding of my blood. Through my unceasing preaching of the word of God amidst my flock, I have in a short period won for myself their love and now they have spoken out in my defence, petitioning for my release. But - by the will of destiny - I am still in prison. Copies of this petition are with the Spassk soviet and the Commissar of Justice in Kazan, but I do not yet know the results. If it is pleasing to your Right Reverence to help expedite my release from prison, then I beseech you to send someone from the Diocesan Council with a petition for my release."

On June 7 (new style), this document was sent by the head of the Spassk uyezd prison to Metropolitan James, who entrusted the petition for the release of Fr. Andrew to M.N. Vasilevsky, the president of the commission for the defence of the interests of the Orthodox Church and clergy. Apparently, the efforts of the Diocesan Council were crowned with success, for Fr. Andrew was released and transferred, to avoid further persecutions from the local authorities, to the village of Chirki-Bebkeyevy in Tetyush uyezd. There, however, Fr. Andrew was killed at an unknown date.

Fr. Paul Mikhailovich Mikhailov was born in 1866, finished his studies at a teacher training seminary, and became a teacher of the Law of God and treasurer of the Diocesan School Council. In 1890 he was ordained to the priesthood, and from 1898 was the priest of the Mamadysh Trinity cathedral. On March 13, 1919, after being tortured, he was drowned by the atheists in an unfrozen patch of water in the river Vyatka.

(Sources: A. Zhuravsky, Zhizneopisaniya Nobykh Muchenikov Kazanskikh god 1918, Moscow, 1996; Protopresbyter Michael Polsky, Novye Mucheniki Rossijskiye, Jordanville, 1957, part 2, pp. 180-181; Pravoslavnaya Rus', N 8 (1509), 15/28 April, 1994, pp. 6-7; Za Khrista Postradavshiye, Moscow: St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1997, p. 54)

The priest Fr. Constantine Vasilyevich Agrov was born in 1880 in Tataria. He was arrested on February 3, 1930 and condemned on March 19, 1930.

(Source: Za Khrista Postradavshiye, Moscow: St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1997, p. 40)

We confidently recommend our web service provider, Orthodox Internet Services: excellent personal customer service, a fast and reliable server, excellent spam filtering, and an easy to use comprehensive control panel.

St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas