Russian Church begins process of canonizing Rostov hieromartyr shot by Bolsheviks

Moscow, May 16, 2018

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The Commission for Canonizations of the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate decided yesterday to begin the process of glorifying among the saints Fr. Constantine Veretsky, a hieromartyr shot by Bolsheviks in 1918, reports

“Fr. Constantine will be the first citizen of Rostov canonized on a Church-wide level, with veneration in all other world Orthodox Churches. Rostov will acquire its first saint,” commented Igor Petrovsky, the press secretary for the Don Metropolitanate.

The commission, consisting of historians, clergy, and public representatives, examined Fr. Constantine’s biography before making their decision.

Fr. Constantine Veretsky was born into a priest’s family in 1874. His parents were determined that their son would devote his life to serving God.

Soon after his birth, his mother took him to Taganrog where the holy elder Paul of Taganrog lived at that time. The righteous man blessed the future priest in his infancy. Fr. Constantine later graduated from seminary and then set out on his spiritual path. He married the daughter of a Rostov businessman, and they lived for some time in the Yeysk fortification, where Fr. Constantine worked as a school teacher. They later returned to Rostov.

When the Bolshevik revolution took place, Fr. Constantine spoke of it in his sermons as a punishment for all Orthodox people. He would say that the Bolsheviks would destroy not only churches, but would also destroy and plunder cemeteries, children would play with skulls on the destroyed graves, and they would decorate theaters and monuments to revolutionaries with marble from the graves.

The socialist army of Rudolph Sievers entered Rostov in February 1918. On Saturday, February 10, a group of drunken sailors and Red Guard soldiers descended upon Fr. Constantine’s church where he was serving in the altar. He managed to commune and then silently went out to meet his uninvited guests. He was forcefully dragged out of the church and led out to the fence around the territory.

At the last moment, he managed to pull away and stood opposite his attackers. He calmly stared at them, not saying a word. His calm confidence confused the Bolsheviks, who for some time were frozen in indecision. They demanded that he turn his back to them, but Fr. Constantine refused and looked his executioners in the eyes.

A shot rang out and Fr. Constantine fell. His executioners continued to shoot him as he lay dying on the ground.

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