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New Martyrs of Kuban

New Martyrs of Russia
KUBAN Orthodox clergy

Eusebius, BISHOP of Yeisk, and Kuban DIOCESE

BISHOP Eusebius (Rozhdestvensky) of Yeisk, vicar of Kuban, came to his new destination of the Vyatka diocese in late 1921. For the first time he served in the Krasnodar St. Catherine's Cathedral on Christmas Eve. Afterward he went to Yeisk, as the first vicar of the Archbishop of Kuban John. He came from Yeisk in spring of 1922 and served several times in St. Catherine's Cathedral, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and St. George's Church (Holidays of St. Nicholas and the Assumption). On January 4, 1923 (new style), he was arrested at home and then was moved to Krasnodar.

January 7, that is, on the first day of Christmas, he received the first parcel of food by believers and they received a brief thank-you note from him. Bishop Eusebius was kept in Еxtraordinary Commission cell for about three months and only at the beginning of April he was transferred to the prison located in the outskirts of the city and, at the same time, appeared before the court of the Revolutionary Tribunal. A show trial was created with other defendants involved, in this case: his secretary - the priest Novak, personally pleaded for him after his arrest, an agronomist Gangesov Aleksandr and other spiritual and secular persons. The main point of the charge was opposition to the confiscation of church valuables in favor of starving in Volga region. The trial lasted 24 days, and the judges deliberated the sentencing about 24 hours. Court sessions have occurred in rooms of different cinemas and theaters in the city and collected a lot of people, especially on Saturday nights. Several dozen witnesses had been questioned, including Archbishop John of Kuban, Protoierei Theodore Delaveridi, Protoierei Bithyn, Protodeacon Katasonov and others. To the honor of the late Archbishop, he did not show anything against the bishop of Eusebius, and in a single combat arranged for then, he felt apparently, embarrassed and did not find how to answer the bishop's quiet questions concerning their differences. Here we must clarify that Bishop Eusebius absolutely did not recognize at that time organization by relevant organs of Soviet power of the so-called "Living Church", which in the Kuban region headed by Archbishop John (Levitsky). After a three-fold exhortation made by the bishop of Eusebius on the basis of the relevant church canon, as the first vicar of the diocese, he declared the Archbishop John a person who had lapsed into a new schism, no longer prayed for him at the divine services, and offered up prayers for His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon, never ceasing his prayers until his arrest. Bishop Eusebius, while proclaiming Arch. John fallen into schism, immediately created the Bishop's Council and thus took control of the Orthodox diocese, which did not recognize the "Living Church". From that moment on he was persecuted. Theodore Delaveridi, dressed in a podddyovka more than once had been seen coming in and out of the building of the Cheka, obviously, giving the material on Bishop Eusebius. Of all the witnesses of the persecution, he behaved against him unduly familiar, and being himself dressed in a green poddyovka, with red hair and his green eyes, was giving in a crude form traitorous evidences against the bishop, was himself a terrible picture of a portrait of Judas Iscariot. There were two prosecutors at the trial: a representative of Public Prosecutions House Rаusov (later on it was heard that he worked in Moscow at the Supreme Prosecutor's Office) and a representative of public prosecution private attorney Belousov, a former graduate of Stavropol Theological Seminary, and at that time was also a representative of the militant atheists . The last with special vehemence accused Bishop Eusebius, and allowed himself a public affront to all of the 4 defenders, admitted to the court to protect the entire group of defendants - about 15 people. The next day, the ardent prosecutor had to offer apologies to all four defenders after the opening of the meeteing. Approximately in the middle of a judicial investigation Belousov, wishing to embarrass somehow the bishop, had asked him this question: "Here you are sitting in the dock for two weeks and kept saying about the existence of God that is in heaven. However, every time as I look at the sky, I see only sky. Could you tell us more compelling the existence of God? " Bishop Eusebius in his thin voice answered quietly: "It's just incomprehensible to me as this that I'm sitting here on the dock, looking at you, your head and I know that it has a skull but I don’t see brains in it” - here a common noise happened, sometimes even laughter was heard, and Belousov, referring to the president of the court, quickly mumbled through his teeth:" I have no more questions. " In his accusation speech, he demanded the capital punishment for the bishop, and ended it with the words: "Citizens the judges, I would like that when you go the the jury room there were the shadow of the starving Volga with you and that and the verdict in this process were written by the hand of a starving Volga ". Bishop Eusebius, was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment with a strict isolation, as it was determined by the condition of the sentences. His faithful friend Gangesov, was sentenced to 5 years and other defendants were sentenced to different, shorter terms in prison. After several years it was heard that bishop Eusebius was in Irkutsk, and the fate of the rest was not known. In 1937, Belousov, was arrested in the same Krasnodar, this was not the first time, but at the same time the last, because he did not return and apparently died in detention as an "enemy of the people", the charge applied to him which was customary at that time. Prominent defender of this process was the Georgians Hintibidze Nikolaevich, who privately expressed his admiration for Bishop Eusebius, a man of exceptional intelligence and a gifted with high capacities, equal to which he didn’t have among his clients for his long-standing practice. Hintibidze perished after some time working in Moscow. For additional later information Archbishop Eusebius (Rozhdestvensky), being in the early 20's bishop of Yeisk, vicar of the Kuban, was in the mid 30-s in Irkutsk.

Bishop Theophilus (later Archbishop of New-Torzhsky, Tver Province.) arrived in Krasnodar in 1926. With him came hieromonk Fr Arkady, his laybrother and a secretary. One can say that Krasnodar's churches of the pre- and post-revolutionary period didn’t have such an archbishop who with such a love would apply generally to the church beauty, as he did. All the bishop's vestments and mitres were changed according to the holidays of the Church and each of them was executed exceptionally artistic. NKVD knew about it and at the time of his arrest, after making a thorough search of his home and church took 43 vestments and 12 mitres. Vestments were then taken to the sewing masters of the NKVD on the main street of the city, where they were converted to fashionable hats, so-called "skullcap." Bishop Theophilus showed no apparent irreconcilability to the authorities, rarely did sermons that were beyond any hint of politics, so perhaps because of this he stayed on the chair of the Kuban approximately more than 2 years or so. He read himself a well-known Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius in George Church at the end of the service before the prayer moleben, which caused considerable confusion in the minds and hearts of the believers, but the persecution of the church did not subside, and after a time he was arrested. His mother remained in the city - a 82-year old woman whom the good people, the family of the owne ofr chaise that was conveying often the bishop to the service - took into their house, permanently giving her shelter. Bishop Theophilus hair, despite his categorical protest, was forcibly cut , he wore long hair from a young age after taking of monastic vows. His fate is covered with darkness and obscurity, like so many others. In any case, more accurate information about him wasn’t heard. Father Arkady shared the fate of his bishop and was taken with him at the same time. Theophilus, bishop of Krasnodar and Kuban did not hang himself (as reported in the memoirs of Elder Archimandrite Eugene "B. Krishtofovich in the newspaper " Russia "on October 9. 1938) but was still alive in 1932

BISHOP Pamfil (Lyaskovsky), appeared in Krasnodar in about late 1933. Local authorities denied him the registration in the City Council, without which the clergy were not allowed to serve in the churches. He usually did not wear vestment in the altar and, coming out after the all-night vigil, silently blessed the people, and again retired to the altar. Finally, a few months later, he was allowed to serve. The believers gathered in large numbers to hear the first word of their bishop. The Bishop, nearly all grey, taught worshipers of spiritual wisdom and recommended them to visit the cemetery more often, or to think more about the inevitability of death, because these thoughts can cause a person to refrain from the many sins of his life. It was the first sermon of the bishop. He was surrounded with some people who belonged to the organs of the NKVD. The belivers were aware of this and the bishop himself was aware of it too. Especially unfavorably treated him the ractor of the St. George church, who was definitely tied with the NKVD. Position of the Bishop was difficult and was getting worse.. There was nowhere to seek protection, the fight was pointless. The bishop was moved from one apartment to another. Finally, he settled in the of protodeacon’s apartment, who was also suspected of ties with the NKVD. 23rd January 1935 the bishop Pamphilus was found early in the morning suspended from a tree in the garden of the house where he lived for the last time. Circumstances in which that tragic event happened remained unclear, as the government did not hold an inquiry and his body was taken to the dissecting room of the Kuban Medical Institute, where an autopsy of his skull was made, and the act of medical examination also was not published. Believers have demanded that the bishop be read the funerall service in accordance with his rank. When the procession, carrying the closed coffin of the bishop on its arms, came to the parvis of St. George's church, the rector, father Maksim appeared, who said that such a deceased he will not be allowed for the funeral service to the church. However, persistent requests, accompanied by threats from agitated parishioners were heeded and the coffin was taken into the church and placed at the entrance, where the clergy usually stands during the litiya. After the church funeral service the procession went to the cemetery, where after a brief prayer, the body was buried. So enigmatically over was the life of another Archpastor who had to ascent the Calvary of serving ministry in the Diocese of Kuban at those times. Soon, to replace the bishop Pamphil, the Archbishop Sophrony was sent from Moscow and was immediately informed by close circle of believers to what situation he came, but the hierarch said to close to him people that he had heard and knew what had happened. The bishop has served a relatively short period of time, and after being arrested was also expelled to some unknown to the people destination, taking with him the mystery of his disappearance. The bishops were not appointed on Kuban chair after the bishop Sophrony and the diocese was directly ruled by Metropolitan Sergius.


Archpriest Alexander PURLEVSKY
At the time of the beginning of the “Livnig Church” and the old church split, he served in St. Catherine's Cathedral. When Archpriest Delaveridi arrived from Moscow with directives from higher authorities to establish “The Living Church” represeted by Vvedensky, Krasnitski and others, to assert the "Living Church" and in the Kuban region, the diocesan convention was convened.

This Congress, in closed session, was attended by representatives of Soviet power, obviously, for more intimidation and pressure on the participants of the congress, exclusively clerics. Delaveridi declared bluntly: "Fathers," Living Church "must be accepted by us, this serves the interests of the Church, and when I see the hesitation of individuals observed in their statements and concern about the canonicity of such a step, then I see this as reason which should have no place if we aspire for peace and unity of the church. Silent are such pillars as Gregory Vinogradov (dean), father Peter Rutkevich (sacristan of the cathedral), and others, apparently under the impression of unsuccessful performances of some of the clergy. Bishop (he meant the presence of Archbishop John) is looking for support, but can not find it in these pillars. " When he mentioned the names of Vinogradov and Rutkevich, both were very confused and agitated. But soon afterwards, apparently irrevocably decided to take the path of division and were among first to sign, at the end of the meeting a declaration, that was on the table, on the recognition by the Congress unconditionally of the "Living Church" and its new senior management in Moscow that has arisen with the knowledge and the desire of the Soviet government.

During a break between meetings of the Congress the archpriest Delaveridi came to father Alexander Purlevsky and directly told him: "Father Alexander, I do not understand all your speeches, expressing doubts about the correctness of our path of the canonical side. I respect you and I know that you're a family man and I think that your behavior will have bad consequences.. My advice is that you unconditionally join us, and not to remain in the minority, so you do not regret later. " Father Alexander, among the last members of Congress, signed a recognition of "The Living Church." But from that moment on, as he later was telling, has lost his peace of mind and spent three days and three nights in reasoning and thinking. Three days later he filed an application for withdrawal of his signature under this admissiom.

Reprisals were not long in coming, and few days later the father Alexander was asked to vacate immediately the apartment in a church home at St. Catherine's Cathedral, where he lived with his family. Father Alexander Macov accepted Father Alexander Purlevsky with a joy, with whom subsequently was partly related his fate. All this happened in the autumn of 1922, and on December 16 (new style) they both were arrested and after several months of spending in a room of the the Cheka and in the city jail until their deportation in the summer of 1923.

Father Alexander Purlevsky had higher ecclesiasticall education. In 1926 he returned from exile and served some time with the father Alexander Macov, but was soon sent back and never returned to Krasnodar.

His daughter recalled that after his arrest in 1930, her father was allowed to settle in the Samara region, in the village Barskoe. "Dad was subjected to ridicule and insults on the street (he wa wearing a cassoc). At that time among the youth, it was considered a special prowess to offend a priest, to sing some filthy ditty. Then they blew up the church, everything was confiscated, and instead of beautiful, splendid church standing on a hill that adorned the whole village, only a pile of bricks was left. This procedure was accompanied by a sacrilege: songs, the Komsomol's holiday ... For cleanup of the rubble of the church people were hired. Many did willingly, because they were given ration of 800 grams of bread. "

It was heard about him, that when becoming a widower, he was consecrated into a bishop, taking the monastic name of Photius. It was rumored that he served in the European part of USSR. According to recent reports, Bishop Photius (Purlevsky) from 1922 to 1937 - 5 times has been arrested and spent 15 months in prison and 8 years – in banishment (three banichments).

Was sentenced by the NKVD of Gorky region to death and executed on Jan. 3, 1938 in the prison city of Gorky. The motivation for the sentence was "anti-Soviet activity." Around the same time, namely January 9, 1938, was shot in prison in the city of Kazan, his brother - Archbishop Nikon (Purlevsky).

During the seizure of church property in 1922 were executed and tortured ecclesiasticl persons of different ranks:
In Ekaterindarskii province - 69
In the Black Sea province - 37
In the Stavropol province - 139
In Krasnodar, in one night on the orders of Budyonny six priests were killed.
Total for the year1922 in Russia were killed 8100 people of the orthodox clergy.


2011-11-24  |  Print version


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