New Martyrs of Butovo

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The Synaxis of the Martyrs of Butovo honors Orthodox faithful who were martyred at the Butovo Shooting Range during Stalin's purges of the mid 1930s.

Seventeen miles south of Moscow, there is a place that is known as the Butovo Shooting Range, which was an execution ground and mass burial site near the village of Butovo, used by the Soviets during Stalin's purges. This site is often referred to as the "Russian Golgotha".[1] Executions took place there on an industrial scale during the Great Terror. On some days they executed 500 people or more. Records show that 20,765 people were executed and buried at Butovo between August 1937 and October 1938, during the peak of Stalin's repressions, of that number, about 1,000 people were known to have been executed because of their Orthodox faith. There is now a church dedicated to the New Martyrs on the site.[2] In 2004, Patriarch Alexei II, and Metropolitan Laurus jointly laid the cornerstone of this Church, which was the first joint liturgical action of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad since the 1920's, and on May 19th, 2007, they consecrated the Church together, two days after the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion, which formally reconciled the two parts of the Russian Church.[3] The Synaxis of the Martyrs of Butovo is celebrated on the 4th Saturday after Pascha.

Notes

  1. New York Times: Former Killing Ground Becomes Shrine to Stalin’s Victims, Sophia Kishkovsky, June 8, 2007
  2. The New Martyrs of Russia, Mother Sarah, March 2007
  3. Dmitry Solovyov, Reuters: Unified Russian church honours Soviet era martyrs, May 19, 2007; see also this account of the consecration of the Church at Butovo, which includes video of the service:Fr. John Whiteford: Moscow Trip, Part 4.
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