Παρασκευή, 25 Δεκεμβρίου 2009

HIEROCONFESSOR LUCIAN OF MARI (+ 1963)
Βy Vladimir Moss

Priest Lucian Georgievich Vasenev was born in 1900 in the village of Staraya Pizhanka, Orshansk region, in the Mari republic into a peasant family. His parents were believing people, and he had an elder brother, Arcadius, and a younger, Peter. He went to a two-class church-parish school. In about 1920 he married Alexandra Petrovna Kirtayeva from the village of Negodyayevo, Mari republic. They had one daughter, but she died young. Fr. Lucian became a priest in about 1923, and served in the nearest church, probably that of the village of Azanovo. His wife was the main chanter. As he said later, he married her because she had the voice of a nightingale. In 1928 he was removed from his parish because he rejected the declaration of Metropolitan Sergius. Then he conducted services in the homes of believers, travelling as far as the city of Yaransk. At the beginning of the 1930s he was offered a parish with the official church in Kazan, but he refused. He lived in a little half-dug-out in the village of Ometyevo. On January 13, 1930 he was sentenced to three years in prison. On being released, he returned to his catacomb flock in Mari. In 1946 he took his wife’s nephew, Eugene Georgievich Morozov, who was an orphan, into his family. On September 25, 1946 he was arrested in Kazan, and accused of “preparing an armed uprising on the arrival of the Germans in Kazan”. On March 25, 1947 he was convicted of being “a participant in the counter-revolutionary organization, ‘The True Orthodox Church’”. In accordance with articles 58-10 part 2 and 58-11, he was sentenced to death. In one cell with him, also awaiting death, was a prominent former communist. He said to Fr. Lucian: “It is easier for you to die. You’re a priest, you believe in God, that after death a good lot awaits you. It’s easier for you. I don’t believe in anything. And what kind of ‘enemy of the people’ am I? After all, I’ve done nothing wrong before the party. I have been unjustly condemned, and the whole of my family has now turned away from me, because I am an ‘enemy’, and nobody even brings me parcels. But you are a priest, you know what you’re dying for!” This communist was so hungry that he ate all his bed linen, mixing it up with his portion of bread and sucking it the whole day… However, Fr. Lucian was not destined to die yet. His wife hired a woman lawyer called Vladimirova who went to Moscow to see Stalin. As a result, on May 17, 1947 Fr. Lucian’s sentence was commuted to twenty-five (accordint to another source, ten) years in exile. He was sent to the settlement of Vodny, near Ukhta, Komi republic. He sat in one cell with criminals, and worked at chopping wood together with them. Of course, the criminals occupied the best places in the barracks, while Fr. Lucian had to sleep on the floor in the slush. Only later did they separate the criminals from the politicals. However, the criminals began to respect Fr. Lucian, and in time they gave him a better place… In camp Fr. Lucian again grew his hair and beard, which had been shaved during his investigation. On big feasts he asked the guards to let him to into the forest to pray. They let him go, because they knew that he could not escape – it was taiga all around. Some verses that Fr. Lucian composed in the forest have survived to this day… In 1956 Fr. Lucian was released because of illness, and he returned to his flock, which became very large. He had spiritual children in Kazan, Yosh-Kar-Ola, Borovoj, Matyushino, Paratsk, Volzhsk, in the villages of Komi republic, in Kosmodemyansk and other places. People even travelled to see him from the Ukraine. He was a humble, loving man, and many people sought his advice. If they followed what he told them, everything turned out well for them. During the fasts Fr. Lucian visited flock, but he had to act in secret, because opposite there lived a family who had been told by the authorities to spy on the priest. They recorded all those who came and went, and read Fr. Lucian’s mail before putting it into his box. In spite of that, many people came to the house, where Fr. Lucian served at night, covering the windows with blankets to stop the light showing in the street. Once a neighbour, Eugenia Mikhailovna, saw a very bright light coming out of the chimney during the night. She thought the house was on fire. The light came from the stove in which Fr. Lucian baked his prosphoras… Once a spiritual child of batyushka’s called Ivan, who worked as a lorry driver in Kazan, was warned by him not to work on Sunday. He ignored this advice, and very nearly had a serious accident… Fr. Lucian loved children. He would buy sweets for them and stroke them on the head. Now these children have grown up, and remember him to this day… Fr. Lucian died of anaemia in Kazan on November 19, 1963. He was buried in Ars cemetery next to his father and brother. After his death the police often visited his family. But they did not find his church books and utensils, which were handed over to another catacomb priest…

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