I Loved Martyrdom

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Nikolai Getman A day in gulag

 

 

May the Saint bless us and may we have a fraction of his courage and his endurance!

2 Corinthians 4:8-12

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.

The last spiritual will and testament of St. Luke of Crimea

TO MY THREE SONS, MY DAUGHTER, MY GRANDCHILDDREN AND MY GREAT GRANDCHILDREN
MY SPIRITUAL WILL

I am now 79 years old. My heart is weak and my strength is failing me and it is evident that my time of departure from this world is near.  St. Paul left a will to all the Christians. “Become followers of me, as I am of Christ.”  I certainly do not dare to say this to all the Christians but to you, my children; I can say follow my example just as I have followed the example of the Apostle Paul.  My life has been tough and difficult but never did I pray to God to make it easy.  Because “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” MT.7:14.

For more than twenty five years my life was identified with the work of a rural surgeon and professor of surgery. And for eleven years I suffered persecution for the name of Christ by being jailed and exiled.  From 1944 I combined the toilsome ministry of being a Bishop along with the healing the wounded at Tambor and only in 1946 did I stop being a surgeon and I continued as a Bishop.

Amongst most of the people it was inconceivable to understand how a great surgeon, who was honored with the First Prize of Stalin, could abandon a profession in surgery and become a Bishop.  Yet there was nothing unusual about that because from my youthful years, the Lord destined me to the high position of service to Him and to the people.

When I finished high school I received from the dean of the school my high school diploma. I placed this in the Book of the New Testament.  I had read the New Testament before but now, when I read it again, I heard the words of Christ that were directed to the Apostles say: “The harvest is truly plentiful, but the laborers are few, therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (MT 9:37-38) My heart responded and I cried out in silence: “Oh Lord! Are you lacking workers?”

Many years went by.  I became a doctor of medicine and I thought that I would write the book “A Treatise on surgery in treating festering wounds.” When I made that decision, the following strange thought came to mind:  “When that book is finished, it will be signed by a Bishop.”  I could not understand from where that thought came. But a few years later, I understood that it was a thought that was sent to me by God because after my first arrest, in the office of the head jailer, the first edition of my book was published and on the facing page I wrote: “Bishop Luke, “A Treatise on surgically treating festering wounds.”

Two more years went by.  I was in my first exile to Siberia, in the city of Geniseisk.  A monk suddenly came to meet me from Krasnogiarsk.  In this city, all the priests had compromised the faith and the faithful of the canonical Church had sent the monk to be ordained a priest but not to me at Geniseik but to Minousinsk, to a non-canonical orthodox bishop.  But there was an unexplainable force which directed him to me at Geniseisk.  When this monk saw me, he was startled and froze. He could not speak. He revealed to me, that when he saw me, he knew clearly that I was the same hierarch that he saw in an unforgettable dream ten years ago. That Bishop ordained him to the priesthood. At that time I was just a country doctor in the city of Perezlavl, Zaleski.

The Lord God has blessed me with different talents.  In high school, I finished my studies in the School of Fine Arts in Kiev.  I was very talented in artist and I decided to enter the Academy of Fine Arts in Leningrad.  But in the middle of exams I abandoned this effort because I thought that I should serve God and His people, in work that is more beneficial than art.  Even though at that time it was clear to me the direction my art would take if I didn’t abandon it; it would  purely be a religious direction or I would follow in the footsteps of V. Vasnetsof and Nesterof.

From that time theological issues concerned me very much.  The driving force in my character was a strong desire to serve God and His people, only because of that. But in spite of my opposition toward the physical sciences, I took exams for medical school at the University of Kiev and I graduated with honors.

My talent was revealed at the university in anatomy and surgery and my fellow students didn’t want to hear that I desired to become a rural doctor.  They had decided unanimously that I would become a professor of anatomy or a surgeon.  From what you now know, they had prophesied my future correctly.

As a rural doctor, I worked for thirteen years twelve to fourteen hours a day.  I was thinking seriously of abandoning the rural hospital in order travel to distant villages where the people were poor and dying because of the lack of medical help.  But the Lord had decided differently for me.  He sent me to Tashkent where I was one of the organizers of the University of Middle Asia and became a professor of topographical anatomy and the chief surgeon.  This was at the beginning of the decade of the 1920s.

During the years of the antireligious demonstrations during which they derided the Lord Jesus Christ, my heart was saying: “I cannot keep silent.”At that time there was a clergy-laity congress taking place in Tashkent.  I was present and during the discussions on some important issues I made an impassioned speech.  That speech made a great impression on Bishop Innocent of Tashkent and at the end of the congress he said to me; “Doctor, you must become a priest.”  That was something that was completely unexpected by me but the words of the Hierarch brought forth a calling through his lips and I did not hesitate one second in answering him: “Of course, Your Eminence, if that is the will of God, I will become a priest.” And the following Sunday, I, the professor of medicine, with a borrowed robe, appeared before the Bishop who was standing on his throne and I was ordained a sub-deacon and then during the course of the Divine Liturgy I was then ordained a deacon.  Within two weeks I became a priest and the pastor of the Cathedral Church.

One and a half years before that great event in my life, my wife and your mother died.  The smallest of you, Valentine, was then six years old and the oldest was fourteen.

Two years and four months later, the Lord made me worthy of being elevated to the rank of Bishop.  It was divine providence for me and for you, my children that was revealed to us at that time when the Lord called your mother to eternal life by allowing her to get sick with tuberculosis. By this happening to her the road was opened for me to enter monastic life and the hierarchical ministry.  All the responsibility for you, my children, I gave over to the care of the Lord and truly, I was not made a liar by believing in Him.  Your care and upbringing was provided for by sending me an unknown woman, Sofia Sergakevna Veletskagia, who during the times I was jailed and the three times I was sent into exile she provided for your care. With a great deal of self-sacrifice and love she lifted the heavy cross for your care during those years of the plague. She raised you successfully and gave you a good education.

Later on all three of you and my daughter, with the protection and the help of your guardian angels, completed your advanced studies.  Michael for some time now has become a professor, while Aliosa and Valia are teachers in the medical and biological sciences and in a little while they will become professors.

The Lord accepted all the sacrifices which I have offered Him and not only did He accept them but He changed and corrected many of them.  I abandoned doing any more surgeries so that I could spend more time preaching about Jesus Christ.  I was not concerned with the fame of a surgeon which certainly I deserve.  While this glory is important and belongs to God, the new freedom I had increased the power and content of my sermons. My well-known and famous book “The Treatise on surgery for festering wounds” was completed while I was in exile and when I was Archbishop.  My determination to sacrifice everything for the glory of Him, the Lord gave me another talent, that of preaching.  The nine volumes of my sermons have been recognized by the Spiritual Academy of Moscow as unique in contemporary ecclesiastical theology and a treasure of commentary on the Holy Bible.  And I, a self-taught theologian was chosen to be a member of the Spiritual Academy of Moscow.  For the Church, my sermons will have greater meaning than my “Treatise on the surgery for festering wounds.”

In addition to this, the miraculous events which I spoke about earlier which were directed by the Lord without my realizing it led me mystically to the Hierarchical ministry.   I often physically felt the presence of God in my communion with Him, in my spiritual life and in my prayers.

But if I have not said enough for any of you to convince you of these things  then I think his (Michael’s) involvement with the physical sciences have bewitched him so much that he does not want to hear those things that I have lived; the things I have undeniably felt many times.

In other words, I will tell you just the way it is, how astonishing and clearly the Lord God reveals His desire for those who fear Him and love Him.  When I was in Leningrad for an operation, during the time of a memorial service, the Lord in a miraculous and shocking way caused me to tremble with fright when He gave me this command: “Shepherd my sheep, feed my lambs.”  The years have since gone by and I, under the spell of a cunning diabolical spell, forgot that command of God and Satan again placed in my soul that great urge to return to surgery.  And this is why the Lord punished me by allowing the retina in my eye to tear.  My eye was operated on twice unsuccessfully by professor Ontintsof because God’s punishment had to remain with me.

The day after the second operation, when I was laying flat with my eyes bandaged, the strong urge to do surgery again overwhelmed me when the Lord sent me a shocking dream: I was in a Church without lights.  The only lit up place was the altar.  A little beyond the altar was a casket of a saint.  They had placed on the altar a wooden board and on this was a naked human body.  In the back and next to the altar I saw students and doctors smoking cigarettes and I was teaching them anatomy of the human body.

I was then startled by a noise and when I turned my head, I saw that the covering of the saint’s casket fell off.  The saint sat up in the casket, he turned and looked at me with a look of pain and shock.  I finally realized the great burden of my sin, of my disobedience to the command of the Lord Jesus Christ to “shepherd my sheep and feed my lambs.”  For the last fourteen years I begged the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive me remembering clearly my dramatic dream with the body and the dead person lying on the Holy Altar.  Lately I have been informed by God that my sin has been forgiven. Day after day, I see the body less and less on the Holy Altar where it finally disappeared completely.

And now, my children let me offer to you my last will and testament.  I believe deeply in God and I have built my whole life upon His commandments.  And I bequeath to you that you offer your lives to God and build all things upon the commandments of Christ.

For a long time and with great determination I sailed through life against the current of the world and to you my children I bequeath that you sail against the current, as difficult at that may be.  Turn your attention and your heart away from the great majority of human beings who pursue not the higher goals but those which are easy to acquire.  Do not accede to the great majority of people who live according to their own thinking and with the mind of their leaders.  They anchor their lives not with the commandments of Christ but on the directives of people who have the power to lead them not to the Kingdom of Heaven but to the riches of the earthly kingdom.

The purpose of life is to seek after the highest truth and to never divert from that road even when they force you to serve the purposes of the lowest form of  truth by trampling upon the truth of Christ.

You should be ready even to be martyred since you are sailing against the current.  Keep your faith firmly in your thoughts, in your husbands and in your wives just the way I kept it.

In your scientific endeavors and in your efforts to study the mysteries of nature, you should not look for your own glory but only to lessen the pain of your sick and helpless fellow human beings.

Remember that I, your father, sacrificed all my life in doing these things.  Imitate me just the way I imitated the Apostle Paul and do not work for your stomach but to help those who without your help cannot free themselves from the tortures of poverty and lies.

If you fulfill all these things that I bequeath to you, the blessing of God will come upon you in harmony with the  words of David the prophet. “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to such as keep His covenant, And to those who remember his commandments to do them.” (Psalm 103: 17-18.)

I have always prayed for that blessing and grace of God in my life for you my children, my grandchildren and my great grandchildren and surely I will always pray for your eternal life when I will stand before the throne of my God and your God, my Creator and your Creator.  That time is most likely near because my heart and my strength have been weakened.

Your father
Alousta, July 22, 1956

 

St-Luke-of-Crimea cross martyrdom orthodox pilgrim

 

“I loved martyrdom, which so strangely cleanses the soul.”

 

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The Saint’s last words

“My children, very much do I entreat you,

Arm yourselves with the armor that God gives, That you may withstand the devil’s tricks.

You can’t imagine how evil he is.

We don’t have to fight with people but with rulers and powers, in effect the evil spirits.

Take care!

It’s no use to the devil for anyone to think and feel

that he is close to him.

A hidden and unknown enemy is more dangerous than a visible enemy.

O how large and terrible is the army of the demons.

How numberless is their black horde!

Unchanged, untiring, day and night, seeking to push all of us who believe

in the name of Christ, to lure us on the road of unbelief, of evil and of impiety.

These unseen enemies of God have made their sole purpose, day and night to seek our destruction.

But do not be afraid, take power from the name of Jesus.”

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He Laid His Hand On Him

The Life and Ministry of St John the Baptist through Iconography

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St. John the Baptist has always been very special to me, ever since I converted to Christ and started regularly visiting my spiritual father, a spiritual child and tonsure of St. Paisios, at the Monastery of St. John the Forerunner (Prodromos).

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 John the Baptist uniquely bore record of both the Dove and the Lamb, la Colombe et l’Agneau. He was the angel-messenger of both the Holy Spirit and the Word, on earth, but also in Hades. He “saw” the Lamb walking in the middle of people in the Person of Jesus. And he testified with an absolute certainty that he “saw” the Holy Spirit descending on Him in bodily form like a dove. (Lev Gillet, La Colombe et L’Agneau, The Dove and the Lamb)

29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)

32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. (John 1:32)

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The Holy Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist  John is  a towering figure who bridges the Old and New Testaments and who reveals, more precisely than his forebears, the object, the aim, the goal, the purpose of the preceding two-thousand history of the Hebrew people: namely, the advent of the Messiah, the God-man, the Savior, Jesus Christ. That was so since, as Saint Nicholas Velimirović of Ochrid and Zica writes, Saint John “especially differs from all of the other prophets in that he had the privilege of being able, with his hand, to show the world Him about Whom he prophesied.” [Prologue, Vol 1, p. 34.  The Prologue of Ohrid: Lives of Saints, Hymns, Reflections and Homilies for Every Day of the Year]

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“Moonless” 
From your desert, my Saint John

where once your voice was heard

remember us and pity us

who are wasting away in a wilderness

full of human population.

By Alexandros Papadiamantis

 

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The Bridegroom and the Friend of the Bridegroom

“He that has the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.” (John 3:29)

Being born exactly half a year before Christ, John the Forerunner by the exact time of his birth depicted his mission of preparing the way for the Lord. He was born at the time of the year (June 24) when the day begins to grow shorter after the summer solstice, whereas the Nativity of Christ occurs (December 25) when the day begins to grow longer after the winter solstice. These facts are an embodiment of the words spoken later, by the Forerunner, after the beginning of Christ’s preaching:

“He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). “The herald of the Sun, the Forerunner” was John the Baptist, who was like the morning star that announces the rising of the Sun of Righteousness in the East. (Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco at http://passaicrussianchurch.com/books/english/ sermons_john_maximovich.htm#_Toc100019529)

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Life of John the Baptist, Baptistery of St. John (Battistero di San Giovanni), Florence

St John the Baptist "Angel of the Desert" (17th Century, Russian)

Amazing details above! … Why is this Saint, almost uniquely, shown in many icons with wings? … As well as “the Baptist”, John is also known as “glorious prophet and forerunner of Christ”. Therefore, the presence of the wings is to symbolize John’s status as a divine messenger (in Greek “Evangelos”, from where the word “Angel” is derived). It’s worth noting that the wings of the archangels (Gabriel, Michael etc.) in icons are largely symbolic too, as they are not specifically described as having wings in the Scriptures.

But if that were all, then why aren’t the prophets of the Old Testament, or the Apostles, shown with the angelic wings of divine messenger? The answer, in the words of Jesus Christ Himself, is because “among those born of women there is no one greater than John;” moreover, he is “the culmination and the crown of the prophets”, as the hymn from the feast of John’s nativity proclaims. Therefore, St John is a special example among the Saints of an earthly “angel” and a heavenly man. As such, he is also described as the “Angel of the Desert” in the inscriptions of icons.

The life John led in the desert was angelic for two reasons. On the one hand he proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, becoming a herald of God like the angels. On the other, he lived a life of chastity, abstinence, and prayer, not being mindful of material needs, but with his attention fixed firmly to heaven. This is the life of the angels, and why the monastic way of life is sometimes called “angelic”, as well as why St John is the patron of monastics, hermits, and ascetics. For both reasons, it is appropriate to show St John with the spiritual wings of a dove.

She that once was barren now brings forth Christ’s Forerunner, John, the culmination and the crown of all the Prophets. For when he, in River Jordan, laid his hand on Him Whom the Prophets preached aforetime, he was revealed as God the Word’s fore-chosen Prophet, His mighty preacher, and His Forerunner in grace.
(Kontakion from the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist)

Icon of John the Baptist (16th Century, now in Yaroslavl)

This is another vita icon, which shows not only John the Forerunner and Baptist, but many of the other feasts and traditions associated with him.

An explanation of the scenes often found in these icons is given below.

The scenes used in the 16th century Yaroslavl icon … are taken from a number of well-established sources: the Protoevangelium of James, the Gospels (notably St Luke’s), and other histories of the Church that record what happened to St John the Baptist’s remains after his beheading. Starting at the top left, and going from left to right across the icon, the scenes shown are:

  1. The angel Gabriel appears to St Zachariah in the Temple, announcing the future conception of a son: to be called John (Luke 1:11-17).
  2. Zachariah is struck dumb for doubting the angel’s words, the people outside the Temple realizing he has had a vision of God (Luke 1:18-22)
  3. The Conception of John the Baptist (Luke 1:23-25)
  4.  The visitation of Elizabeth’s cousin Mary, the Mother of God (Luke 1:39-42)
  5. The Nativity of John the Baptist
  6. The murder of St Zachariah in the Temple by Herod’s soldiers, for not revealing where John the Baptist was hidden (Protoevangelium of James Ch.23; alluded to in Luke 11:51)
  7. St. Elizabeth hides the young John from the Herodian soldiers in the cleft of a mountain (Protoevangelium of James Ch 22, paralleled by Mary and Joseph’s flight into Egypt with Christ; Matthew 2:13-23)
  8. St. John, as a youth, is led into the desert by an angel, fulfilling the promises given to Zachariah, and Zachariah’s own prophecy (Luke 1:67-80)
  9. After years of ascetic life, “the word of God comes to John… in the wilderness. (Luke 3:2)
  10. John baptizes Jesus Christ in the River Jordan
  11. John baptizes the multitudes who flock to him (Matthew 3:1-6)
  12. John denounces the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 3:7-10)
  13. John is imprisoned for his criticism of Herod Antipas (not the same Herod who ordered the murder of Zachariah)
  14. The Feast of Herod, where Salomne is presented with the head of John the Baptist after beguiling Herod with her dancing.
  15. The Beheading of John the Baptist (the last three scenes are all recorded in Matthew 14:1-12 and Mark 6:14-29)
  16. John’s disciples take his body away for burial (usually shown without the head – Matthew 14:12)
  17. St John the Baptist appears in a dream to monks, telling them where to find his head.
  18. The First Finding of the Head of John the Baptist
  19. The appearance of St John to a monk in his sleep.
  20. The Second Finding of the Head of St John the Baptist

Other scenes that might be present include: Zachariah, mute, writing out the name of John; the denunciation of Herod by John; the preaching of John in Hades (the forerunner of Christ in life and death); In the centre stands John the Forerunner himself: the “angel”, or messenger, of the desert, holding a platter with his head. Other icons may show St John holding a platter with the infant Christ on it, also known as the melismos, or the Lamb of God.

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The memory of the just is celebrated with hymns of praise, but the Lord’s testimony is sufficient for you, O Forerunner;
For you have proved to be truly even more venerable than the Prophets, since you were granted to baptize in the running waters Him Whom they proclaimed.
Wherefore, having contested for the truth, you rejoiced to announce the good tidings even to those in Hades:
That God has appeared in the flesh, taking away the sin of the world and granting us great mercy.

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Links:

The Protoevangelium of James

The Beheading of John the Forerunner and Baptist

The Nativity of John the Forerunner and Baptist

The Baptism of Christ (by St John)

The First and Second Finding of the Head of John the Forerunner

The Third Finding of the Head of John the Baptist

 

Icon of John the Baptist in the Greek Style

This Icon also encompasses all of the Church teaching about St. John the Forerunner: his announcement of the coming of the Messiah, Who was Jesus; his  preaching in the wilderness; his baptizing of Jesus Christ, and finally his beheading on the orders of Herod for censuring the King.

… John is depicted … in the desert, wearing animal skins, with unkempt beard and long hair … The axe laying at the foot of a tree is an obvious reference to John’s own prophetic warning recorded in Scripture:

And even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

To the bottom right of the picture, is John’s head on a platter, just as it was presented to Herod’s step-daughter, according to the Gospel of Matthew. It is because of this that John also holds a cross – the cross of martyrdom – and is turned to Christ in supplication, holding a scroll bearing the words:

Seest Thou what suffer those who censure, O Word of God, the faults of the unclean. Not being able to bear censure, Lo Herod cut off my head, O Saviour.

Over St. John’s camel-skin clothing is invariably a green robe, which symbolizes “earthliness”, and in this case it is because John grew up outside, in the wilderness. Later saints who also took up the Christian struggle in the wilderness can also be depicted in green for the same reason, and are sometimes known as “Green Martyrs”. That is to say they are martyrs (literally meaning witness) to the Faith, not by the shedding of blood, but by their ascetic struggle. Of course, St John is a both a green martyr and a martyr who shed his blood, hence the presence of the green robe and the cross.

John the Baptist preaching in hell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John was the forerunner of Christ on earth, but also in Hades. Before Jesus’ crucifixion, death, burial, and descent into Hades, John too descended there to preach the Gospel of Repentance and coming of the Messiah to the imprisoned souls: The glorious beheading of the Forerunner, became thus an act of divine dispensation, for he preached to those in hell the coming of the Savior. Let Herodias lament, for she entreated lawless murder, loving not the law of God, nor eternal life, but that which is false and temporal.

He Laid His Hand On Him!

Source: iconreader.wordpress.com

The ‘Trash Can’ Rescue

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The Trash Can Rescue was the code name for an undercover operation aimed at smuggling out Jewish children headed for the death camps in Paris. “The story occurs after Mother Maria had established the house with the blessing and help of her bishop, Metropolitan Evlogy Georgievsky, on rue de Lourmel.  Word got out that something was happening at the stadium, not far from the house. “. . .There was a mass arrest of Jews — 12,884, of whom 6,900 (two-thirds of them children) were brought to the Velodrome d’Hiver  . . . Held there for five days, the captives in the stadium received water only from a single hydrant, while ten latrines were supposed to serve them all. From there the captives were to be sent via Drancy to Auschwitz.”

Mother Maria of Paris wrote both poetry and religious essays in addition to running a soup kitchen and community center in a ghetto of Paris

Mother Maria of Paris wrote both poetry and religious essays in addition to running a soup kitchen and community center in a ghetto of Paris.

Because Mother Maria was well-known to the police and sanitation crews as she would scour the back alleys of Paris and the central market gathering day old food and recyclables for the poor of her community, she was granted access into the stadium.  She quickly sized up the situation.  The stadium had become a central transfer and processing hub for the thousands of Jews of Paris.

She prayed for assistance.  The idea came to her.  By employing the confidence of the local sanitation workers in charge of hauling the garbage from the stadium, Mother Maria perpetrated a plot that would at least save the children from the gas chambers: stuff them into the garbage bins, haul them out on the trucks from the stadium, and then under the cover of night, sneak the children to the house on rue de Lourmel where she then could orchestrate their continued passage to the south of France, an area outside of Nazi control, and to safety. The chronicle of the Trash Can Rescue has been memorialised in the children’s book Silent as Stone written by Jim Forest and beautifully illustrated by Dasha Pancheshnaya (St Vladimir’s Press: http://www.svspress.com/silent-as-a-stone/ )“It would have been possible for her to leave Paris when the Germans were advancing toward the city, or even to leave the country to go to America. Her decision was not to budge. “If the Germans take Paris, I shall stay here with my old women. Where else could I send them?” http://incommunion.org/2004/10/18/saint-of-the-open-door

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No one is sure how many children Mother Maria and her garbage crew saved.  But what is certain is that she eventually was found out by the Nazis. (When Nazis interrogated her about whether she had seen any Jews, she would point to an icon of the Mother of God or else point to the body of Christ on her crucifix.)  The priest, Father Dimitri Klepinin who had served alongside her in the “monasticism in the world” and her son Yuri were arrested.  They had been guilty of forging fake baptismal certificates for Jews who came begging for help.  Yuri and Father Dimitri eventually died in Buchenwald camp while Mother Maria was sent to Ravensbruck. … It was Good Friday, March 30th, on the eve of the liberation of Paris, 1945, that Mother Maria was one of those chosen for death. According to other accounts, she took the place of another prisoner who was marked for the gas chamber that day. …

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For the rest of the article go to http://greekamericangirl.com/mother-maria-of-paris-says-oxi-to-the-nazi-mass-murder-machine/

For more information about Maria’s activism, inspiration, grace, heroism, and hope-filled commitment, so needed in our world today, go to my earlier posts “Like a Russian Novel” at https://orthodoxcityhermit.com/2015/09/23/mother-maria-of-paris-saint-of-the-open-door/ and “Solitary and Naked Before God” at https://orthodoxcityhermit.com/2015/09/23/taking-up-the-cross/