Holy New Hieromartyr Ilarion Troitsky (1886-1929), prisoner for Christ’s sake on Solovki. The writing on his scroll reads, “Without the Church, there is no salvation”.
The commemoration of the Assembly of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia was noted on Sunday by Orthodox Christians. With the blessings of Patriarch Aleksei Rediger of Moscow and all the Russias, Archbishop Aleksei of Orekhovo-Zuevsky celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Assumption Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin, and Archbishop Arseny of Istrinsky did likewise at the Memorial Church of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia located in Butovo (Editor’s note: a place where many were murdered for Christ’s sake by the communists in the Soviet era). In addition, in many parish churches, services were held to honour those who were killed by the Bolsheviks.
The former NKVD training ground at Butovo was one of the main places where mass shootings and burials of victims took place during the persecutions of the 1930s through the early 1950s.During the period of the “Great Terror”, from August 1937 to October 1938 alone, some 20,765 people were executed here… and this was just from Moscow and its surrounding suburbs! At present, scholars have determined the names of thousands of the clergy and laity who were shot here, and many of them have been added to the list of saints. In 1997, the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate glorified the first of the Butovo Martyrs, Holy New Hieromartyr Serafim, Metropolitan of Petrograd, who is considered the Protomartyr of the Assembly of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Butovo.
Butovo is unique in all of Russia for the number of martyrs who were killed and buried in one location. In 2001, a decree of the Moscow Oblast administration declared it a protected historical zone. In 2004, construction began on the Memorial Church of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in the midst of the historical district. It was completed in the spring of 2007. In both the laying of its cornerstone in 2004, and in its consecration in 2007, both Patriarch Aleksei II of Moscow and all Russia and Metropolitan Lavr of New York, the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, acted as co-participants.
Professor Ivan Mikhailovich Andreyevsky of Jordanville NY (USA), prisoner for Christ’s sake on Solovki.
In August 2007, a memorial cross was erected on the Butovo field; it was crafted and blessed at the Holy Transfiguration Monastery on the Solovetsky Islands (also known as “Solovki” in colloquial Russian), which are north of Arkhangelsk in the White Sea. (Editor’s note: The monasteries on Solovki were used as political prisons in Soviet times. Two of the most famous prisoners were New Hieromartyr Ilarion Troitsky and Professor Ivan Mikhailovich Andreyevsky of Jordanville, NY) The cross went by ship from Solovki to Moscow through the Belomorsky (White Sea) Canal, Lake Onega, the upper reaches of the Volga River, and the Moscow Canal. (Editor’s note: the Belomorsky Canal was a project completed by the slave labour of political prisoners in the 1930s. Many died in the course of its construction. No doubt, this was one of the reasons why this particular route and mode of transport was chosen, in honour of those cut down by the Reds.) After arriving in Moscow, the vessel with the cross passed the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and the Novospassky Monastery on its way to the southern port facilities on the Moscow River. This was a symbolic connection of two “Russian Golgothas”, the Butovo field and Solovki.
New names are continually being added to the list of the Assembly of New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, including constant additions to the Assembly of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Butovo. Today, a joint working group of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia is compiling a standard and uniform collection of the names of the New Martyrs and Confessors who suffered for the faith in the Bolshevik persecutions.
10 February 2008