Kozelsk, Russia, April 12, 2018
On holy Pascha, the feast of the Resurrection of Christ, a memorial service was celebrated in the chapel of the Resurrection of Christ in Optina Monastery, where Hieromonk Vasily (Roslyakov), Monk Trophim (Tatarinov), and Monk Ferapont (Pushkarev), who were martyred in the monastery on Pascha in 1993, are buried.
The lity, or abbreviated memorial service, was celebrated after the late Paschal Liturgy on Sunday morning. The memorial service is celebrated for the martyred brethren annually on Pascha, reports Optina Monastery’s page on the Russian social media site Vkontakte.
The three monks are widely venerated as holy martyrs, and accounts of their miracles abound, but as they are not yet officially canonized, memorial services are still celebrated in their honor.
Read about several of their miracles in the article “Miracles of the Optina Martyrs.”
The martyrs are also commemorated daily at the Divine Liturgies at the monastery, and numerous pilgrims come from throughout Russia and the world to venerate their holy graves and to seek their gracious help in spiritual and everyday needs.
Soon after their deaths, His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II sent a telegram to the abbot of the monastery:
Christ is Risen! I share the joy of Pascha with you and with the brethren of the monastery! And I share together with you sorrow over the tragic deaths of three monks of the Optina Hermitage. I pray for the repose of their souls. I believe that the Lord, having called them through martyrdom on the first day of the holy Resurrection of Christ, will make them participants in the eternal Pascha in the never-ending day of His Kingdom.
I am with you and the brethren in soul.
Patriarch Alexei II
April 18, 1993
An article from the Death to the World zine tells the story of the martyrdom of Frs. Vasily, Trophim, and Ferapont:
In 1993, Monks Trofim, Ferapont, and Father Vasily had been fasting with all of the brothers during Passion Week, anticipating Pascha, the glorious service, a celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. In Optina at Pascha there is a procession from the Monastery to the Skete of St. John the Baptist, which is some distance east of the Monastery proper. Over ten thousand pilgrims were present for Pascha. After the Liturgy the monks all went to the refectory to break the fast. After the meal, two of the bell ringers, monks Ferapont and Trophim, returned to the bell tower to continue the Paschal peal, ringing for the Resurrection of Christ. At ten past six, the bell ringing became uneven and suddenly stopped completely.
A man named Nikolai Averin, an admitted Satanist, had climbed into the belfry and stabbed monk Ferapont with a knife. He died instantly. Monk Trophim shouted, “God, have mercy on us!” before he too was stabbed. Rising to ring the bell, he yelled, “Help!” and fell down, giving up his spirit. Having committed the murder, Averin slipped the edge of the monks’ robes to their heads and pulled their klobuks over their faces. The murderer quickly fled toward the skete, where Hieromonk Vasily was also going in order to hear confessions. The criminal stabbed him in the back, then climbed over the monastery wall and threw away his self-made knife. According to police, it was double-edged, five centimeters wide, and resembled a sword. It was engraved on its blade with “ 666” and “Satan.”