New Hieromartyr Archpriest Peter Skipetrov (†1918) was the rector of the Church of Saints Boris and Gleb, which was next to the famous chapel of the Theotokos "Joy of All Who Sorrow", in the Kalashnikov district of Petrograd.[note 1] Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims flocked to the miracle-working icon of the Mother of God, and Father Peter enjoyed great influence among the people and was a strong enemy of the communists, whose regime he boldly denounced in his sermons. He was martyred at the time of the Russian Revolution by Bolshevik-affiliated soldiers. He is commemorated on February 1.
Early in 1918, the aged Father Peter had just returned from a diocesan council meeting. As he bade them farewell, Metropolitan Benjamin of Petrograd had advised the clergy not to go home alone, but in groups. Fr. Peter and his brother-in-law, the future Hieromartyr Fr. Philosoph, went off together in one of these groups. Outside the cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra they were met by a large detachment of Red soldiers and sailors. The agents of the secret police, the Cheka, wanted to inspect the silver coffin in which lay the relics of St. Alexander Nevsky. One of the soldiers crudely addressed Fr. Peter with insulting language.
According to one account, Fr. Peter was standing on the porch of the church wearing vestments and carrying a hand cross. His eyes flashed with anger, his long white hair, like an ancient prophet's, waved in the breeze. In vain did he try to stop the armed men, exhorting them not to do violence to the believers. A command sounded out, and Fr. Peter was shot in the mouth. He fell to the ground, covered in blood. The agents coolly stepped over the body and entered the church. Fr. Peter was taken to a small military infirmary on the Nevsky Prospect, but when the doctors came, they could do nothing more than a tracheotomy. The following morning he reposed.
The funeral was solemnly triumphant, for it occurred during the Paschal period and "Christ is risen!" was chanted. The burial service was led by Metropolitan Benjamin, accompanied by a large number of clergy. The sermon was delivered by Fr. Philosoph (Ornatsky).
- ↑ In 1914 the name of the city was changed to Petrograd; in 1924 to Leningrad; and in 1991 back to Saint Petersburg.
- Neo-martyr Archpriest Peter Skipetrov (+ 1918). JLA Forums.