Moscow, 7 February 2013
|The Church of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in Butovo.
"In spite of numerous speeches at very different levels, including the very highest, and unlike in countries such as Kazakhstan and the Ukraine, in Russia there is not only no federal memorial complex in memory of the victims, but also no national monument to these numerous and, in the overwhelming majority of cases, innocent victims," said Fr. Kirill at the international conference in Moscow, devoted to the Orthodox New Martyrs who died for the faith in the 20th century.
As he noted, today there is not only no national commemoration of those who suffered in Russia in the 20th century, but also no nationwide Church view or veneration of the feat of the New Martyrs. Fr. Kirill analyzed data from sixteen dioceses of the Russian Church, according to which about 3% of churches are dedicated to the New Martyrs.
Fr. Kirill noted that at the Church located at the Butovo shooting field, where services to the New Martyrs are celebrated regularly and extensive work on the glorification of their feat is being done, services of intercession to the New Martyrs make up only some 5% of the total number of such services. In 2012 Butovo was visited by 6,170 people in organized pilgrimages and excursions.
Some years ago Butovo was visited by a Roman Catholic delegation. They had previously visited the Convent of the Protection where the relics of St. Matrona are kept. "Guests were very surprised that in Butovo, a place that means so much not only to our Church, but to the whole world, there were no visitors except for themselves, yet at the relics of St Matrona there was a queue that was hours long," said the Rector of the Church in Butovo.
In the priest’s opinion, services to the New Martyrs of Russia must be celebrated more often, and there should be special hours devoted to the study of the feat of these saints in the Church’s educational institutions.
We are reminded that Patriarch Kirill also considers it vital to honor the memory of those who suffered for the faith during the years of Soviet persecutions. In Smolensk in summer 2012, while blessing a memorial plaque to Tatiana Shipkova, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church called for similar memorials to the faithful to be erected all over the country.