2007-06-21 14:52:00

The Moscow Patriarchate and the ROCOR to start composing common martyr list next month

Moscow, June 21, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia plan to start composing a common list of new saints, martyred by the Bolsheviks, in July 2007.

'The ROCOR has canonized many new martyrs without clear evidence that they were really martyred for their faith, such as interrogation or execution protocols. That could result in some mistakes,' the St. Petersburg Central State Archive official Mikhail Shkarovsky told the participants of the conference on Christianity, Culture and Moral Values in Moscow on Thursday.

According to him, the number of Soviet citizens martyred for their faith is still uncertain. We know, for instance, that out of 300,000 Orthodox clergymen 200,000 were murdered. At the moment, the Moscow Patriarchate has canonized near 1,500 new martyrs.

However, the canonization process involves some problems, Shkarovsky said. In particular, only few new saints martyred during the first two years of the Bolshevik rule have been canonized due to lack of documents. Members of the so-called 'rightwing opposition' or 'Sergianist movement' also have problems with canonization since the church people remain divided over the issue.

Finally, another problem with the canonization is that places of mass execution and burial of the new martyrs are still unknown.