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Τρίτη, 5 Οκτωβρίου 2010

HIEROMARTYR CYRIL, METROPOLITAN OF KAZAN (+ 1937)
and those with him

By Vladimir Moss


Metropolitan Cyril, in the world Constantine Ilarionovich Smirnov, was born in the city of Kronstadt, St. Petersburg province, on April 26, 1863 (according to another source, 1862), in the family of a Church reader. After graduating from the St. Petersburg Theological Academy in 1887 with the degree of candidate of theology, he married; and on November 21, 1887 he was ordained to the priesthood and was appointed to serve in the St. Petersburg Resurrection church of the temperance society (by the Warsaw station). He was also a teacher of the Law of God in the Elizabeth gymnasium. In 1894 he became rector of the Kronstadt Holy Trinity cemetery church, and a teacher of the Law of God in secondary school number 2 of Saint Petersburg. On October 1, 1900 he became superior of the Holy Trinity church.

In 1902 Fr. Constantine’s daughter Olga died tragically after swallowing a needle, and then his wife, also called Olga, died from grief. On May 10 Fr. Constantine received the monastic tonsure with the name Cyril in honour of the enlightener of the Slavs. Then he was appointed head of the Orthodox Mission in Urmia (Persia) and was raised to the rank of archimandrite. On August 6, 1904 he was consecrated Bishop of Gdov, a vicariate of the Petersburg diocese. On October 31, 1905 he became the second vicar of the Petersburg diocese, and on February 15, 1908 – the first vicar. (According to another source, he was consecrated Bishop of Narva in 1907.)

Bishop Cyril introduced chanting by the whole congregation in the Alexander Nevsky Lavra. Being a monarchist, he did not approve of the revolutionary spirit which burst out during the abortive 1905 revolution. He was a member of the Pre-Conciliar Council.

Bishop Cyril was a close friend of the great luminary of the Orthodox Church, St. John of Kronstadt. In his will St. John asked that he be buried by Bishop Cyril, and Cyril fulfilled this request. In 1908, he was the chief celebrant in the funeral services and placed the body in the coffin.

During Theophany, 1909, it was decreed that because of an outbreak of cholera all water which was blessed for the feast in Petersburg should be boiled beforehand, and that the blessing of the waters should be performed over steaming pots. A church newspaper wrote: "More faith was shown in the firewood necessary to boil the water and kill the germs than in God. Fortunately, however, not everyone stepped away from the anchor of our salvation, and in the same Petersburg the Lord preserved for His chosen ones a single bishop who did not agree to yield his faith for the sake of peace with the enemies of Christ's Church. If these notes ever see the light of print, let them preserve the name of this loyal servant of God and archpastor, for the strengthening of faith and piety in my overburdened brethren. The name of this bishop is Cyril of Gdov. May his name be blessed from generation to generation." Defying the warnings of the police, and in the presence of the Royal Family, Bishop Cyril had blessed the water of the Neva at the St. Alexander Nevsky Lavra through a hole in the ice. The local police, however, took measures to ensure that no one was allowed to take water from the "Jordan".

Perhaps as a result of this incident, Bishop Cyril was transferred to the diocese of Tambov and Shatsk on December 31, 1909. On May 6, 1913 he was made an archbishop. It was on the initiative of Archbishop Cyril that the glorification of St. Pitirim of Tambov took place in the cathedral in Tambov in July, 1914.

Archbishop Cyril spent a large part of his time going round his large diocese. He always appeared suddenly, when he was not expected. In his sermons he showed a good knowledge of the life of the people: common themes of his were their drunkenness, foul language and prejudice against literacy and schooling. The fundamental aim of his life was the enlightenment of the people in the spirit of the Orthodox Church.

He was very exacting towards the clergy. It was enough for him to notice two deacons talking during a service for their names to appear in the local diocesan newspaper. But at the same time he was very merciful to the poor.

He was an energetic, practical person. Once he heard that several severely ill parishioners could not visit the cathedral. So he had telephones installed in their flats and in the cathedral so that they could hear the service in bed.

Archbishop Cyril took a leading part in the Local Church Council of 1917-18, being president of the section on the teaching of the Law of God. In this capacity he made a report which unmasked the antichristian plans of the Provisional Government for the education of children. He was the leader of the Council delegation which went to Kerensky with the demand for the re-establishment of the patriarchate, was elected to the Sacred Synod and was one of the 25 candidates for the patriarchate.

On March 19 / April 1, 1918, he was appointed Metropolitan of Tiflis and Baku and exarch of the Caucasus. However, he did not succeed in reaching his see.

In November, 1919 he was arrested in Moscow on a charge of “counter-revolutionary agitation by means of the distribution of appeals and relations with Kolchak and Denikin”. He was imprisoned in the Cheka prison in Moscow, but was released after two months.

Characteristic of him was his attitude towards the Soviet "authorities", whom he openly refused to recognize.

In April, 1920 he was appointed Metropolitan of Kazan, and in May he became a member of Patriarch Tikhon’s Synod. He arrived in Kazan on July 9, but was arrested again on August 19 because he “left Moscow for the city of Kazan without the permission of the Cheka”. On August 27 he was sentenced for “counter-revolutionary activity” to imprisonment in a camp until the end of the Civil War, but this was changed to a five-year sentence. From October 5, 1920 he was in the Taganka prison in Moscow in one cell with Bishops Theodore (Pozdeyevsky) and Gurias (Stepanov).

On November 7, while in prison, Metropolitan Cyril was elected an honorary member of the Kazan Theological Academy.

Abbess Juliana, whose particular duty was to supply food and help to imprisoned bishops, wrote: "In about 1919 Bishop Gurias was arrested; he was protector [of the Academy] in Kazan when Metropolitan Cyril was rector. Therefore the Metropolitan [who was in Moscow] called me in connection with sending some things to Vladyka Gurias. As it turned out, he had agreed with him beforehand as to how the Holy Gifts were to be sent to him in prison. For this he gave me a little box with what seemed to be small white pieces of bread, and he said that these should be registered among the other supplies which were to be given. I was upset at taking the Holy Gifts with me, and in general at the idea of carrying them at all, and I told this to Vladyka. To this he answered me:

"'What business is that of yours; I am sending you.'

"But having thought a little, he offered that I take the Holy Gifts from him early in the morning on the same day when I would be going with the packages for Vladyka Gury in the Butyrki prison. This was done. Soon I was going with packages for Vladyka Cyril himself, but not for long. In 1920 Metropolitan Cyril was in the Taganka prison; in the same prison at that time, perhaps even in the same cell, were Vladykas Theodore [Pozdeyevsky] and Gurias. In the Taganka prison the old rules were still in effect: for good behaviour prisoners were called or went over to the category of the 'reformed', and they enjoyed certain privileges. In the Taganka prison there were five prisoners in this category: Metropolitan Cyril, Archbishop Theodore, Bishop Gurias, Alexander Dmitrovich Samarin and Vladimir Fyodorovich Dyunkovsky. Besides the usual general visits, they were allowed once a week on a certain day to have visitors with the grating lifted. Usually, at the general visits, when many people were speaking with the prisoners through a double grating, it was almost impossible to converse because of the noise and shouting. Besides that, these meetings lasted only five minutes. On the other hand, visits to the 'reformed' lasted for fifteen minutes, and one could even give things right into the hands of the prisoners. Under these circumstances I had to speak with and give things to Metropolitan Cyril many times. When the Metropolitan was in exile we were able to help him not only with parcels but also by furnishing church service books."

On December 24, 1921 Metropolitan Cyril was released, and on January 18, 1922 he arrived in Kazan. He was met at the station by Bishops Joasaph and Athanasius and a crowd of joyful Christians. In April the Bolsheviks carried out their requisitioning of the valuables of the Kazan churches supposedly "for the benefit of the starving". However, on August 15 (or 1 or 21) Vladyka Cyril was arrested (he had already been arrested in April) for his involvement with the American Relief Organization which supplied food to the starving. After a spell in prison in Moscow, in January, 1923 he was exiled first to the province of Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, then to Ust-Sysolsk (Syktyvkar), then to Ust-Kul (Komi SSR) and finally to Kotelnich (Vyatka province).

During this period Patriarch Tikhon, too, was imprisoned, which gave the renovationist heretics the opportunity to seize control of the central administration of the Church. Even after the Patriarch was released from prison in 1923, the GPU tried to persuade the Patriarch to enter into negotiations with the renovationists, promising that if he did many hierarchs languishing in prison and exile would be freed. So in May, 1924, the renovationist leader Krasnitsky was admitted briefly into the Patriarch's Higher Ecclesiastical Council.

In the same month, however, Metropolitan Cyril was summoned to Moscow for negotiations with the GPU agent Tuchkov. Since he refused to recognize the renovationists, Tuchkov threatened to let him rot in prison. But Vladyka Cyril did not give in.

Vladyka then went to the Patriarch, who asked him his opinion about admitting Krasnitsky into the Council. He replied:

"Your Holiness, don't think about us hierarchs. There's no need to take pity on them, they are strengthening the Church. But you must not compromise with Krasnitsky."

Strengthened by Metropolitan Cyril, the Patriarch struck Krasnitsky's name off the list of the Council members. As a result of this, in July Metropolitan Cyril was again exiled, first to Yelsk and then to Perevolok. On January 7, 1925, Patriarch Tikhon appointed Metropolitan Cyril first locum tenens of the patriarchal throne although he was still in exile.

In the spring of 1925 he was in exile in Zyryansk region. As Protopresbyter Michael Polsky writes, he came "to some dense forest at which he arrived only after two weeks of travelling in a boat on a river. He was not given anything to eat, he was left to sleep in the cold outside the forest cabins in which the agents themselves lodged, he was dragged by the beard and mocked in such a way that he began to ask for death for himself. He spent a year under the rule of a communist in a forest where there were only two hunting cabins."

During this period, Vladyka governed his diocese through his vicars, Bishops Joasaph, Athanasius and Andronicus.

On March 25 / April 7, 1925, Patriarch Tikhon died. In his will, which was read out in the presence of 60 hierarchs in the Donskoy monastery, it was revealed that he had appointed Metropolitan Cyril as the first of three hierarchs who were empowered to become locum tenens of the patriarchal throne and take over the leadership of the Russian Church until a new patriarch could be elected. Since Metropolitan Cyril was not allowed to return to Moscow take up the locum tenancy, and since the second candidate, Metropolitan Agathangel of Yaroslavl, was also in exile, the post fell to the third candidate, Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsa.

In December, 1925, Metropolitan Peter was imprisoned for rejecting the GPU's terms for legalization of the Church. In the event of his death he appointed Metropolitan Cyril as the first candidate to the locum tenancy. And so the GPU agent Tuchkov went to Metropolitan Cyril and put the same terms for the legalization of the Church to him.

"If we have to remove some hierarch," asked Tuchkov, "will you help us in this?"

"Yes, if the hierarch appears to be guilty of some ecclesiastical transgression... In the contrary case, I shall tell him directly, 'The authorities are demanding this of us, but I have nothing against you'."

"No!" replied Tuchkov. "You must try to find an appropriate reason and remove him as if on your own initiative."

To this the hierarch replied: "Eugene Nikolayevich, you are not the cannon, and I am not the bomb, with which you want to blow up our Church from within!"

When Metropolitan Cyril refused to accept the locum tenancy on the GPU's terms, he was sent back to Turukhansk. However, Tuchkov did not leave him alone. According to Matushka Seraphima Bulgakova, a former cell-attendant of Metropolitan Cyril, "at the beginning of his locum tenancy Metropolitan Sergius had been firm and uncompromising. At that point Tuchkov went to Metropolitan Cyril, who was in exile at that time, in the hope that the latter, tormented by prisons and exiles, would make a compromise. He even succeeded in persuading the metropolitan to take up his post of locum tenens (he was the first candidate according to Patriarch Tikhon's will). Metropolitan Cyril left his place of exile, but, on arriving in Rybinsk, he stopped and sent his cell-attendant to an ascetic nun [Blessed Xenia] living in Rybinsk, and asked her what he should do. She replied that if he went to Moscow and accepted Tuchkov's offer, he would lose everything (spiritual) that he had gathered throughout his life. And the metropolitan went back into exile."

While he was there, in November, 1926, a secret ballot of 72 bishops elected him as the best candidate for the patriarchate (Metropolitan Sergius received not more than one vote). “And so,” writes a sergianist source, “Metropolitan Cyril was elected Patriarch. But his enthronement did not take place.” For almost immediately, on December 21, 1926, he was arrested in Kotelnich and cast into the special isolator in Vyatka.

On March 28, 1927, in accordance with article 58-6, he was sentenced to three years in exile in Siberia in “The Case of Metropolitan Cyril (Smirnov) and Protopriest Alexander Agafonnikov, Vyatka province, 1927”. The OGPU found that “Citizen Smirnov, while in Komi province in 1926 and later in Vyatka province, had relations with church activists with the purpose of consultation on church matters and exerting influence on them, while most recently he contacted a group of blackhundredist bishops whose aim was to give the Church the character of an anti-Soviet organization. Citizen Smirnov was planning to head this latter group, summoning it to church activity and bringing its anti-Soviet programme into life.” “The group of blackhundredist churchmen, who are being investigated in case N 39960, headed by Metropolitan Sergius Stragorodsky, the patriarchal locum tenens, decided finally to give the Church the character of a definitely anti-Soviet organization, and with this aim give it a patriarch as its head. They carried out elections for him [the patriarch] and indicated as a candidate the person who was the most anti-Soviet. The group set about the election in a very conspiratorial way. Moreover, the voting by sealed ballots was carried out only among the episcopate. A special ‘Address of the Orthodox Church to the Soviet Government’ was worked out, which had a directly counter-revolutionary and threatening character. This declaration was to be given out in the name of the new Patriarch and under his signature. The group indicated as their most desired candidate Constantine Ilarionovich Smirnov (Metropolitan Cyril), and contacted him for this reason although he, from 1919 until the present time, with a few breaks when he was subject to repressions because of his anti-Soviet activity, has been the most blackhundredist and counter-revolutionary churchman. At this time Smirnov, for the ending of his administrative exile, had been transferred to Kotelnich, where he came into close contact with the local priest Agafonnikov… Cyril and Agafonnikov, the first personally and the second in writing, received news from the already mentioned grouping concerning Cyril’s appointment as patriarch… But he received for Cyril the indication that ‘the bishops who are exiled and have suffered for the faith are against any degree of legalization,’ that is, in other words, they decided to continue conducting church politics in an anti-Soviet spirit. This was as it were a precondition for Cyril’s signing of the above-mentioned anti-Soviet declaration. Cyril immediately began having receptions as if he were the patriarch. Moreover, they were staged in an extremely conspiratorial way, with the doors locked and conversations conducted in a whisper. The visits by churchmen acquired a mass character: up to five people came to him at once. On the basis of the above Smirnov and Agafonnikov were arrested together with the blackhundredist grouping of churchmen. Since the investigation in the present case is finished, I suggest it should not be joined to case N 36960, whose investigation is still continuing. I suggest that the guilt of Smirnov and Agafonnikov be considered proven.”

Metropolitan Cyril was sent to Khantaika, Turukhansk region, in north-western Siberia. There he heard of the infamous declaration of Metropolitan Sergius, Metropolitan Peter's deputy, which placed the Church in the same position of servitude that Metropolitan Cyril had rejected. Cyril rejected the declaration and broke communion with Sergius.

From May to December, 1929, Metropolitan Cyril was in exile in Yeniseisk. From there he immediately wrote a letter to Sergius, denouncing him as a usurper who had overstepped the bounds of his authority by instituting a new church policy not approved by Metropolitan Peter. Although they exchanged several letters, Metropolitan Cyril did not succeed in persuading Sergius to change his course. On January 2, 1930 Metropolitan Sergius subjected Metropolitan Cyril to the judgement of a Council of bishops and removed him from his see, but with the right to serve if the local diocesan bishops allowed it. This decree was to come into force on February 15 unless Metropolitan Cyril indicated before that date that he had broken communion with the Catacomb bishops. However, Metropolitan Cyril maintained his position, and in January was taken from Yeniseisk to exile in Turukhansk region. On April 23, 1930, in “The Case of Metropolitan Cyril (Smirnov) and Protopriest Alexander Agafonnikov, Vyatka province, 1930”, he was sentenced in accordance with article 58-10 to deprivation of the right to live in Moscow and Petrograd provinces, and in Kharkov, Odessa, Dagestan and Tataria for three years. He was again sent into exile in the Turukhansk region for three years.

Several points were made by Metropolitan Cyril in his correspondence with Metropolitan Sergius which are of vital importance in evaluating the significance of the various schisms that have taken place in the Orthodox Church in this century. The first is the priority of “the conciliar hierarchical conscience of the Church”. As he wrote in 1929: “Church discipline is able to retain its validity only as long as it is a true reflection of the hierarchical conscience of the Conciliar [Sobornoj] Church; discipline can never take the place of this conscience”. Sergius violated the hierarchical, conciliar conscience of the Church by his disregard of the views of bishops equal to him in rank.

The second is that a hierarch is justified in breaking communion with a fellow hierarch, not only for heresy, but also in order not to partake in his brother’s sin. Thus while Metropolitan Cyril did not consider Sergius to have sinned in matters of faith, he was forced to bread communion with him because “I have no other means of rebuking my sinning brother”. If clergy have mutually opposing opinions within the Church, then their concelebration is for both “to judgement and condemnation”.

Thus in November, 1929, Metropolitan Cyril refused to condemn Metropolitan Joseph and his supporters, who had broken communion with Sergius; and he did not agree with the bishops in exile in Tashkent – Arsenius (Stadnitsky), Nicodemus (Krotkov), Nicander (Fenomenov) and others – who condemned Joseph, considering their hopes of convening a canonical Council to be “naivety or cunning”.

A third point made by Metropolitan Cyril was that even when such a break in communion occurs between two parties, both sides remain in the Church so long as dogmatic unanimity is preserved. But this immediately raised the question: had Sergius only sinned “administratively”, by transgressing against the canons, as Metropolitan Cyril claimed (until 1934, at any rate), or had he sinned also “dogmatically”, by transgressing against the dogma of the One Church, as Archbishop Demetrius of Gdov, among others, claimed?

On August 19, 1933 Metropolitan Cyril was released and went to live in the town of Gzhatsk, from where he continued secretly to lead the opposition to Metropolitan Sergius. During this period, while refraining from saying that the sacraments of the sergianists were graceless, Metropolitan Cyril nevertheless considered that those who partook of them knowing the unrighteousness of Sergius’ position partook of them to their condemnation.

Thus he wrote to an unknown hierarch: “It seems to me that both you yourself and your correspondent do not distinguish those actions of Metropolitan Sergius and his partisans, which are performed by them in proper order by power of those grace-given rights received through the mystery of the priesthood, from those other activities which are performed with an exceeding of their sacramental rights and according to human cunning, as a means of protecting and supporting their self-invented rights in the Church. Such are the actions of Bishop Zacharius and Priest Patapov of which you speak. These are sacramental acts only in form, while in essence they are a usurpation of sacramental activity, and therefore are blasphemous, without grace, non-ecclesiastical. But the Mysteries performed by Sergianists who are correctly ordained and not prohibited to serve as priests, are undoubtedly saving Mysteries for those who receive them with faith, in simplicity, without deliberations and doubts concerning their efficacy, and who do not even suspect anything incorrect in the Sergianist order of the Church. But at the same time, they serve for judgement and condemnation for the very performers of them and for those who approach them well understanding the untruth that exists in Sergianism, and by their lack of opposition to it reveal a criminal indifference towards the mocking of the Church. This is why it is essential for an Orthodox Bishop or priest to refrain from communion with Sergianists in prayer. The same thing is essential for laymen who have a conscious attitude to all the details of church life.”

These letters make clear that while Metropolitan Cyril was quite prepared to say of certain hierarchs (the renovationists, Bishop Zacharius) that they were deprived of the grace of sacraments, he was not prepared to say this – yet – of Metropolitan Sergius, “until a lawful Council by its sentence shall utter the judgement of the Holy Spirit concerning him”. He gave as one reason for his hesitation – or “excessive caution”, as his correspondent put it – “an incomplete clarification of the conditions which surround me and all of us”. Another reason was his ignorance of the position of Metropolitan Peter – an ignorance engineered, of course, by the Bolsheviks. Thus “for me personally,” he wrote, “it is impossible at the present time to step forth, since I am entirely unsure of the character of the attitudes of Metropolitan Peter, in order to be convinced of his actual views and to decide how to act…”

In about the middle of the 1930s Metropolitan Cyril issued an epistle in which he called on the Catacomb hierarchs to confirm his candidacy as lawful patriarchal locum tenens in the case of the death of Metropolitan Peter. We know the reaction of one hierarch, Archbishop Theodore of Volokolamsk, to this epistle. He was not enthusiastic, because he considered that in times of persecution a centralized administration was not obligatory for the Church.

According to the witness of his spiritual daughter, he once went to meet Metropolitan Sergius in Moscow. A guard stopped him from entering the building, but Metropolitan Cyril pushed by him and went into Metropolitan Sergius’ study. A few seconds later, he came out again. “Evidently,” writes a sergianist source, “everything had now become clear to him.”

On July 14, 1934 he was arrested on a charge of “counter-revolutionary activity” and was transferred to the inner isolator in the Butyrki prison in Moscow, where, on December 2, he was convicted of “counter-revolutionary activity” and sentenced to three years’ exile in Yany-Kurgan in Southern Kazakhstan. All attempts to find out where he was from the woman who had served him in her house proved fruitless, and ended with the disappearance of this woman, too.

In August, 1936 the Bolsheviks spread the false information that Metropolitan Peter had died. Immediately Metropolitan Sergius quite illegally assumed to himself Peter’s title of Metropolitan of Krutitsa. From this time, a distinct hardening in Metropolitan Cyril’s position is noticeable.

Thus in March, 1937 he wrote: “With regard to your perplexities concerning Sergianism, I can say that the very same questions in almost the same form were addressed to me from Kazan ten years ago, and then I replied affirmatively to them, because I considered everything that Metropolitan Sergius had done as a mistake which he himself was conscious of and wished to correct. Moreover, among our ordinary flock there were many people who had not investigated what had happened, and it was impossible to demand from them a decisive and active condemnation of the events. Since then much water has flowed under the bridge. The expectations that Metropolitan Sergius would correct himself have not been justified, but there has been enough time for the formerly ignorant members of the Church, enough incitement and enough opportunity to investigate what has happened; and very many have both investigated and understood that Metropolitan Sergius is departing from that Orthodox Church which the Holy Patriarch Tikhon entrusted to us to guard, and consequently there can be no part or lot with him for the Orthodox. The recent events have finally made clear the renovationist nature of Sergianism. We cannot know whether those believers who remain in Sergianism will be saved, because the work of eternal Salvation is a work of the mercy and grace of God. But for those who see and feel the unrighteousness of Sergianism (those are your questions) it would be unforgiveable craftiness to close one’s eyes to this unrighteousness and seek there for the satisfaction of one’s spiritual needs when one’s conscience doubts in the possibility of receiving such satisfaction. Everything which is not of faith is sin.... I am in fraternal communion with Metropolitan Joseph, and I gratefully esteem the fact that it was precisely with his blessing that there was expressed the first protest against Metropolitan Sergius’ undertaking from the Petrograd diocese...”

On July 7, 1937, Metropolitan Cyril was arrested in Yany-Kurgan and imprisoned in Chimkent on a charge of “participating in a counter-revolutionary underground organization of churchmen” together with Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd.

According to Schema-Monk Epiphanius Chernov, Metropolitan Cyril met Metropolitan Joseph in Chimkent, "lived together with him under arrest and received with him a martyric death. In any case, this fact was known in the Catacomb Church in Moscow. This detail was told to the author of these lines in prison by a Moscow priest. Every day, when they let Metropolitan Cyril and Joseph out for a walk, they walked side by side, pressed against each other. Now Metropolitan Joseph was tall, and by comparison with him the stocky Metropolitan Cyril was short. As they walked in a circle, they were always engaged in concentrated conversation. Evidently there, in the open air, no one could overhear them. And these two figures, as if fitting into each other, gave a touching demonstration of the 'two-in-one' nature of these hierarchs. And this walk of the metropolitans was watched by some catacomb nuns from a hill. This was not without danger. It was necessary to disguise it, so that the authorities should not notice this secret signalling. And it came to the point where the metropolitans gave them their blessing at the beginning and at the end of their walk. I heard this detail from inhabitants of Chimkent both in captivity and in freedom. So there can be no doubt about this sojourn of Metropolitan Cyril with Metropolitan Joseph in the autumn of 1937. Both 'Moscow' and 'Chimkent' witness to it. Now there are no traces left of the little house in which the hierarch-confessors were kept. They demolished it when they noticed that the place enjoyed special veneration from the believers..."

When the KGB archives were opened in January, 1992, it was discovered that after his arrest Metropolitan Cyril had been accused of leading “all the counter-revolutionary clergy”, but that he had conducted himself with great courage and had taken all the responsibility upon himself. On September 23 he was joined in prison by Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd. The two outstanding hierarchs were condemned by a troika of the South Kazakhstan region on November 6/19, and were shot together on November 7/20, 1937 in Lisiy ovrag, near Chimkent. They were buried in Lisiy ovrag.

Nun Eudocia (Alexandrovna Perevoznikova) was born on February 7, 1880 in the village of Cherenkovo, Salvichutsky uyezd, Vologda province into a peasant family. Before the revolution she struggled in a monastery, and then worked as a tailor in a workshop. Then she followed Metropolitan Cyril into exile in Yany-Kurgan, where she was his cell-attendant. The metropolitan called her his “carer”. On July 13, 1937 she was arrested and cast into prison in Chimkent. She was accused of “belonging to a counter-revolutionary organization” in “The Case of Archbishop Alexis (Orlov) and others, Chimkent, 1937”. The conclusion of the prosecutor was that “Maria Rykova and Eudocia Perevoznikova – active religious people – were constant links between [Bishop Eugene] Kobranov, [Metropolitan Cyril] Smirnov and [Metropolitan Joseph] Petrovykh, through whom instructions and directives were given to the leaders of the counter-revolutionary cells to develop counter-revolutionary activity and collect money for the centre.” At the investigation she said: “I am not a member of a counter-revolutionary organization and do not admit myself to be guilty of counter-revolutionary activity, and refuse to give testimony in this matter.” She was condemned to death in accordance with articles 58-10 and 58-11, and was shot on August 27, 1937 in Lisya balka, Chimkent, where she was also buried.

Nun Maria (Sergeyevna Rykova) was born in 1892 in Moscow. She was arrested in Chimkent on June 23, 1937, and in August was convicted of “belonging to a counter-revolutionary centre of churchmen” in “The Case of Archbishop Alexis (Orlov) and others, Chimkent, 1937”. At her interrogation she declared that “I do not belong to a counter-revolutionary organization and I have not conducted any counter-revolutionary work”. On September 27 she was shot in Lisya balka, Chimkent, where she was also buried.


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