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The New Martyrs of Russia


This feast commemorates the millions who suffered with their lives for the faith under communist rule in Russia from 1917 to 1981.  In the Russian Orthodox Church, the Sunday closest to February 7th in the Gregorian Calendar is the “Sunday of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia,” but since use of this date is not possible in the Western Kalendar, February 11th was designated for this feast.  This date was chosen because that is the date in 1918 of the martyrdom of St. Vladimir (Bogoiavlensikii), Metropolitan of Kiev, who is referred to as the “Protomartyr of the communist yoke in Russia.”

The number of those who were murdered or died in gulags for their faith can be counted in the millions and most of their names are known only to God; notable among them are St. Elizaveta Fyodorovna and her companion, Sister Varvara Yakolevna; Metropolitan Benjamin of Petrograd; and Tsar Nicholas II and members of his immediate family and servants. This feast also honors those who did not die but nonetheless suffered under communism as confessors, most notably Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow.

In the words of Archbishop Haverland, the Feast of the New Martyrs of Russia is “an appropriate acknowledgement of one of the central battles of the last century: the battle between the Faith and the violent atheism of Leninism, which at one time held in its grip a third of the world. If the blood of the martyrs is, as we are told, the seed of the Church, then much fruit will come from the suffering of the Church of 20th-century Russia.”

Additional Information:

Ordo Kalendars are available from the Anglican Parishes Association Book Publisher.