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An occasional record of one man's struggle for the salvation of his soul; or, the intersection of the Faith once for all delivered to the saints with the life of a man and a father.
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Christmas Eve in the Gulag
Tuesday, 15 December 2009 by Benedict Seraphim This from a 1987 AGAIN magazine article (link opens a Word document file) on Pastor Richard Wurmbrand’s experience in a Soviet prison, regarding an Orthodox priest and the man who tortured him, in the pastor’s own words: When I was in jail I fell very, very ill. I had tuberculosis of the whole surface of both lungs, and four vertebrae were attacked by tuberculosis. I also had intestinal tuberculosis, diabetes, heart failure, jaundice, and other sicknesses I can’t even remember. I was near to death. At my right hand was a priest by the name of Iscu. He was abbot of a monastery. This man, perhaps in his forties, had been so tortured he was near to death. But his face was serene. He spoke about his hope of heaven, about his love of Christ, about his faith. He radiated joy. On my left side was the Communist torturer who had tortured this priest almost to death. He had been arrested by his own comrades. Don’t believe the newspapers when they say

” In this prison cell in which there was no possibility of privacy. and when they quarrel one Communist with the other. The murdered gave absolution to his murderer. how much He loves you! And all the Christians whom you have tortured. They quarrel among themselves. During the night he would awaken me. But it was not a Christmas Eve in which we simply remembered that two thousand years ago Jesus was born in Bethlehem. slowly he walked past my bed. It was a Christmas Eve. I overheard the confession of the murderer to the murdered. They hate Jews. Prayer | 7 Comments Like . They hate everybody. they put the other one in jail and torture him just like a Christian. I have committed such terrible crimes. You wonder if your sins can be forgiven. and Christ loves you. they love you. And leaning on their shoulders. “I love you with all my heart. And he was dying near me. Life is more thrilling than a novel—no novelist has ever written such a thing. He desires for you to be with Him in heaven much more than you wish to be in heaven with Him. He is Love. they hate anti-Semites. He wishes you to be saved much more than you wish to be saved. You can say “love. and they beat him.” Then I saw a miracle. imagine Christ. saying. But he really loved. And so it happened that the Communist torturer who had tortured this priest nearly to death had been tortured nearly to death by his comrades. The priest said to the man. slowly. You only need to turn to Him and repent.” and it’s just a word of four letters. embraced each other. He wishes to forgive your sins more than you wish your sins to be forgiven. Posted in Orthodoxy. I watched a murdered man caressing his murderer! That is love—he found a caress for him. and caressed his head—I will never forget this gesture. They simply hate. “Pastor. I love you with all my heart. These are things which I have seen with my own eyes. His soul was in agony.that the Communists only hate Christians or Jews—it’s not true. please pray for me. I saw the agonized priest calling two other prisoners. and the priest went back to his bed. you did not know what you were doing. The murdered—near to death—received the confession of the murderer. They prayed together.” Then he went on. they hate Christians. “If I who am a sinner can love you so much. I can’t die.” But he did not just say the words. they hate everybody. One Communist hates the other Communist. It was a Christmas Eve during which Jesus was born in the heart of a Communist murderer. Both men died that same night. they hate anti-Christians. know that they forgive you. “You are young. sat on the bedside of this murderer. who is Love Incarnate.

on Wednesday. 15 December 2009 at 15:45 | Reply Margaret I can only echo Steve. on Monday. 19 December 2009 at 22:44 | Reply sophocles Amazing story. 5. 16 December 2009 at 0:59 | Reply Adrian The prison Wurmbrand is writing about was a hospital-prison in the city of Targu Ocna – Romania ( not in Soviet Union).Be the first to like this post.. on Saturday. 7 Responses 1. [. 16 December 2009 at 13:34 | Reply Enough said « Clumsy Orations of an Orthodox Catechumen [. 21 December 2009 at 14:35 | Reply Christmas Eve in the Gulag « Orthocath's Blog . 7. 16 December 2009 at 6:43 | Reply Benedict Seraphim Adrian: Thank you for that important clarification. on Tuesday... With love in Christ. Glory to God! I’m going to link it in Facebook. 4. anything else I might say would be fatuous. on Tuesday. 2.] 6. A Blessed Nativity to you and your family. Your website looks interesting.] This is Christianity. I wish I read Romanian (?). on Wednesday. Clifton. thanks for posting this. from Romania. 3. I would like to add that the man who saved pastor Wurmbrand (by handing him over his medicine) is was Valeriu Gafencu. 15 December 2009 at 10:50 | Reply s-p This is the Faith. Thanks for posting this. on Wednesday.. known as “The Saint of the Prisons”.

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If something did not reach the heart. incense and beautiful vestments. The best time for reading the Word of God is in the morning. If you can do this. You should of course read quite slowly. Stop reading when the soul no longer wants to nourish itself with reading. If the soul finds one passage utterly stunning. I have lost nothing." Fr. will fall down before Antichrist. Seraphim (Rose) of Platina "Do not trust your mind too much. he. Theophan the Recluse Here is a rule for reading: Before reading you should empty your soul of everything. stop there and read no more. Follow what you are reading with attention and place everything in your open heart. Lives of saints after the mid-day meal. you can be saved. Seraphim (Rose) of Platina "When I became Christian I voluntarily crucified my mind. Thus you can take up a little bit each day. Herman of Alaska "The true Christian is a warrior making his way through the regiments of the invisible enemy to his heavenly homeland. first of all." Letters from Father Seraphim St. thinking must be refined by suffering. The Path to Salvation . Seraphim (Rose) of Platina "Anyone who is attracted merely by glittering censors." "Signs of the End Times" Fr. Seraphim (Rose) of Platina "We are told by the Holy Fathers that we are supposed to see in everything something for our salvation. Arouse the desire to know about what is being read. and all the crosses that I bear have only been a source of joy for me. Turn prayerfully to God. and gained everything.Sayings of the Fathers Fr. or it will not stand the test of these cruel times." Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works St. stay with it until it reaches. and Holy Fathers before going to sleep. That means it is full." Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works Fr.

Enlightener of Georgia Our Father Among the Saints.December 2009 S M T W T F S 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 « Nov Jan » Top Posts Saint Genevieve of Paris Aristotle. Cyril of Alexandria Joe Sachs' Translations of Aristotle and Plato Recent Posts Saved Through What Is Given Joy is the Thing 2007 AFR Interviews about Fr Seraphim Rose Godparenting 101 Scripture. Virgin Martyr Categories . Equal to the Apostles. Canon. Akrasia. the "Practical Syllogism" and Procrastination Saint Nina. Tradition: A Flawed Apologetic Recent Comments Benedict Seraphim on Father Seraphim’s I… noel a light bearer on Father Seraphim’s I… KL on Father Seraphim’s I… Jennifer Aitken on Saint Lucy. Virgin Martyr Jennifer Aitken on Saint Lucy.

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