Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The KGB Still Persecutes Russia's New Martyrs

Belarusian KGB Discourages Veneration of Russian New Martyrs.

Even now, the Communists are trying to force their Christian victims down the memory hole:
Belarus discourages the commemoration of Orthodox Christians killed for their faith by the Soviet Union, Forum 18 News Service has found. Today's KGB secret police have sought to have icons of the New Martyrs, as they are known by the Orthodox Church, removed from Grodno Cathedral...

Bishop Artemi (Kishchenko) of Grodno and Volkovysk refused to take them down. "He told the KGB that he couldn't rewrite history." KGB officers also often monitor visitors to Kuropaty, where New Martyrs are probably among mass graves of Stalinist repression victims, a local Orthodox source told Forum 18. The act of going there - even to light candles - is "fraught with tension" with the current Belarusian regime, according to the source. An Orthodox chapel planned for the site has never been built.
The KGB has never learned its lesson. As the Psalmist and the Church services (both Eastern and Western Rite) declare, "The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance." Doing our part to combat this, here is a beautiful, interactive icon of the New Martyrs.

Of course, undoubtedly among the many holy saints numbered with the New Martyrs would be those who provided for St. Tikhon's Liturgy just a decade before the Revolution. (They would join St. Tikhon, St. Raphael of Brooklyn, and St. Nicholas of Japan as saints who approved of, and actively sought to create, a Western Rite Orthodox liturgy adapted from the Book of Common Prayer.) In addition to their own sanctity, this is an another reason the New Martyrs are commemorated in the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate's Orthodox Missal (on February 4). The Collect is as follows:
O God of unspeakable mercy, Who didst enable Thy holy Russian martyrs to overcome their enemies by dying for Thy name: deliver us, we beseech Thee, at their intercession from slavery to sin: that wtih them we may come to Thy perfect freedom in the heavenly fatherland. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
New Martyrs of Russia, pray for the suffering faithful in Belarus, and for us! May their intercessions keep the faithful of Belarus safe. And if the Parousia does not intervene, may the faithful venerate the New Martyrs generations after the State's faceless thugs have been forgotten by history.

(Hat Tip: Mere Comments)

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